Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2011. április 27., szerda

Stress relief and Yoga – Vata balancing series for all who suffer from anxiety

This mornining I woke up very tired and nervous. I had nightmares, therefore I could not get a proper sleep. My head was in pain and I felt tense everywhere. Anxiety, inquietude and flying thoughts were all signs that my Vata dosha went out of balance. I could feel the stress in all my pores and I knew that I had to „yoga it out” immediately.

Surely, you all had such moments when stress invaded your body completely, so I thought I will share today this Vata balancing series inspired by my morning practice.

First of all, when all your movements are erratic, your mind is running in all directions and you are simply unable to stay still, it is best to start practice with a little soothing pranayama. I suggest the alternate nostril breathing through the left nostril called Chandra Bhedana breathing. For this, sit in vajrasana on your heels and prepare your hands. Block your right nostril and then breathe in through the left nostril. If it feels comfortable you can hold the breath for a short period, then exhale on the right side. Switch and block again the right nostril and inhale on the left side. Left right, left right. Repeat at least ten times and then do five full yogic breaths. This morning I was just so excited that I felt unable to practice full yogic breathing. The alternate nostril breathing is a little more diverse and moving so it led me gently away from the rajasic stir to the sattvic and wholesome full yogic breath.

To warm up I did six rounds of Surya Namaskar with Surya mantras. Mantras help to engage your mind and to turn your attention inwards. If your mind is so troubled then mantras are really helpful. They are like crutches.

I continued with three stable standing poses: Parvatasana, Utkatasana, Vrksasana. In all these postures I focused on Stability, the quality I was missing so much in that moment.

To follow up I practised some more strenuous poses to feel my grounded pillars, my legs: Virabhadrasana III, Eka pada prasaranasana, ardha hanumanasana, parsvakonasana, dwi pada prasaranasana or plank pose held with alternately raised legs, and at the end, after repeating all on both sides, I took a rest in Adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog. While doing these poses, I repeated internally „On a firm basis, I grow high up to the sky”. Such personal mantras always help to match the practice to your individual needs. This self-knowledge based practice is the foundation of Ayurvedic yoga.

Then I did urdhva prasarita eka padasana, the standing split. You shall not be scared off by the name, there is no need to do the full pose at your first attempt, but at least start to prepare your pose with some preliminary steps. Holding this pose you can really feel the stability of the Earth touching you through the palms and the supporting sole. Inhale this grounding force and observe how it carries your legs higher as you push your hands into the floor.

Holding Malasana longer is a very useful pose for Vatas. The slow repetition of going from Malasana to Uttanasana and back a couple of times is also beneficial. Malasana helps to open the hips, which is one of the biggest bone in the body, so one of the main sites of Vata accumulation. In addition, Vata is eliminated downwards from the body which is highly promoted by this posture. From Malasana I went to Kaakasana, the Crow and then up to headstand, first with alternate legs and then into the final pose. Then I reposed in the reclining hero, or adho mukha virasana. This pose further opens the hips, takes you even closer to the earth so that you can experience its upholding, preserving power.

With this calm transition I arrived to my closing sequence: janu shirshasana, paschimottanasana, kurmasana and yoga nidrasana. These latter two I hold really long, while during the forward bends I repeated the mantra RAM. I chanted it out loud about fifteen times. The chanting helped me to deepen my breath not to mention that RAM is a very stabilizing and nurturing mantra giving you strength, stability and a brave heart. A very good choice for Vata.

Finally, I finished with nadi shodana alternate nostril breathing and then with a 20 minutes meditation. I remembered my Mysore teacher, Acharya Venkatesh giving us the instruction during the Christmas meditation to focus on the heart of Jesus. I was touched that it was possible to do devotional meditation with Christian symbols. Yoga is so universal and welcoming. All should focus on what is close to their hearts. Slightly after Easter, I thought, the love of Christ is a very appropriate choice. I imagined the love energy flowing from his heart. I opened myself and invited this energy to enter my heart. I had a beautiful meditation this morning. It is just interesting why I could never experience the same way before the validity of the say so often repeated in the church that you shall open your heart to Jesus, and let him fill your whole being. But the Divine is always knocking at your door.

Vatas, who are by nature very active and moving and who will be more inclined to do karma yoga, the yoga of action, might find it rather difficult to practice devotional meditation invoking divine qualities, the yoga of love and devotion, bhakti. On the other hand, if you feel the protective hug of the nurturing Divine Love, you will be able to balance out disturbing Vata energies and keep yourself in a healthy harmony.

At the end, I finished today’s practice with a clear mind, calm nerves and the headache caused by sleeping troubles was also gone.

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