WEEK 2: FINDING BALANCE
Week 2 is all about finding balance. Yes our yoga practice can help us to access a greater sense of balance and stability within our physical body but it also provides many tools for helping us access greater balance emotionally, spiritually, constitutionally and in our everyday lives. In fact, so much of yoga philosophy is really informed by the dance of polarity and the pulsation between expansion and contraction, the balance of the masculine and the feminine, the lunar and the solar.
When we come to understand that life is always moving and that the universe delights in the dance of pulsation we (with practice) allow our lives to expand and contract, our realities to open up and manifest as well as break down and be destroyed. Sounds dramatic huh? Well we will explore the ways that stability is actually equal parts creation and destruction, expansion and contraction and we will practice the art of letting go of resistance so we can go with the flow, ride the wave and enjoy the ride!
The whole world is an ocean filled with waves, learn to float on them and don’t get caught in them. Equanimity or balance is yoga. Learn to balance yourself and you will enjoy everything.
Week 2: Balance
This week is all about balance. Whilst we do work with some balance postures throughout this sequence the focus is on finding balance through the breath, throughout the different sides of the body and the balance between muscle energy and organic energy – all of these things in turn will help balance the nervous system as well as help you feel more steady in balance postures.
Whilst you are working with your asana practice this week I would love for you to focus on balancing the duration of the inhale and the exhale breath – even when the postures get a little more stimulating.
Happy practicing yogis!
PRANAYAMA: ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
This pranayama is the ultimate for balancing the nervous system. It is presented here in a few different levels to give you room to progress over the duration of the challenge or perhaps longer. Just remember, for these practices to have a balancing effect – holding the breath retention should only be explored once you feel comfortable with the basic version of the pranayama. If your breathing feels forced or laboured in any way – return to the basic version and only move on once you can do so with ease.
MEDITATION: EXPLORE THE BALANCE OF PULSATION
The breath serves as a steady anchor for our wandering mind bringing a sense of calm and focus to our meditation. This meditation uses this base to explore the pulsation of the breath as an inquiry into our experience of pulsation and polarity more generally. It subtly points us toward becoming in tune to our world ever expanding and every contracting forever in balance when we let go of the urge to resist.
The more effortless we are able to become in our our experience of the breath the more we are able to enjoy the flow and the play of movement and this provides a meditative practice ground for being able to trust the flow and perfect balance of our lives.
Meditation: Inquiry into the pulsation of the breath
DAILY RITUALS WITH AYURVEDA
Simple ways you can ground, nourish, balance & enliven with Ayurveda
Our beautiful tips and tricks for daily rituals have been provided by local Ayurvedic practitioner Prue Keenan. Prue runs health consultations and Ayurvedic treatments out of Alchemy Health in Port Kembla and can be contacted on 0424 955 348 for more information and bookings.
LIFESTYLE PRACTICE: BALANCE YOUR HORMONES WITH DAILY NASAL DROPS (NASYA)
Nasya (Nasi-ya) is the practice of applying cold-pressed sesame oil or medicated oil* to the nasal passages, which then reaches the brain and enhances the function of the nervous system and endocrine system. When done regularly, it is extremely effective for balancing hormone secretions from the pituitary and pineal glands, therefore alleviating many symptoms and disorders women experience associated with their menstrual cycle, also pre-menopause and menopause.
Nasya is so effective because the nose is the direct route to the brain, and also the doorway to consciousness. A daily practice of Nasya – particularly using medicated oil will:
- Support breathing by soothing and protecting the nasal passages
- Support proper flow of prana throughout the head and body
- Alleviate cold symptoms and sinus congestion by lubricating and cleansing dry nasal passages
- Help release tension and stiffness in the head, neck and jaw area, therefore an effective treatment for ongoing headaches
- Calm the mind & help relieve accumulated stress
- Enhance mental clarity and stimulate memory
- Aid in an overall feeling of health & vitality
You can begin by using cold pressed sesame oil (available in health food shops) and then move onto the medicated Nasya oil after a month if you experience hormonal imbalance (menstrual issues, menopausal), headaches or sinusitis. The herbal infused Nasya oil is available from Ayu Ayurveda.
To start Nasya you’ll need:
A small dropper bottle
Cold pressed sesame oil *
How to do Nasya:
- Place your dropper bottle of sesame oil in a mug of boiled. Wait a few minutes for the oil to warm up. Test on your wrist, it must be warm.
- Either lay down or stand with head tilted back with nostrils to the sky.
- Apply 3 drops in each nostril, taking a big sniff to direct the oil to the very top & back of the nasal passage. For the first time it will help to test how much 3 drops looks like in the dropper so you don’t use too much.
- With some warm oil on your fingertips, direct the oil up towards the brain by making circular movements around both eye sockets beginning with strokes upwards along the sides of the nose (taking a long strong sniff!) & across the top of eyebrows, around the eye & back to the lower end of your nose, at the same time.
DO NOT swallow the oil if you feel it at the back of your throat. No harm in this but the oil can dampen your digestive fire.
- Rinse mouth with warm water & spit.
DIET/NUTRITION: BALANCE YOUR DOSHAS WITH KITCHARI
Whatever your body type, this light and easy to digest meal is a nutritious whole food that is balancing for all three Doshas (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) and is considered the traditional detox food of Ayurveda. It’s basically a mushy mix of rice, dal and digestive spices that also burn toxins. It’s an ideal ‘go-to’ food during times of stress, overwork, illness, pregnancy/ post-natal period or change of season.
There are so many versions of Kitchari. And while you can certainly add seasonal vegetables, when you’re feeling out of balance, feeling the need for a cleanse day or are unwell, or suffer gut issues, the original Kitchari is a plain meal intended to be the easiest and least taxing on your digestive system and therefore overall body. This allows you to conserve your energy, help heal the gut whilst balancing your Doshas (bodily intelligence).
Here below is a classic Kitchari recipe. During the drying Vata months now (and if your body is prone to dryness), I would leave out the mustard seeds which are drying. Asafoetida or Hing is available from Indian grocery shops. It isn’t essential, but this resin in powder form is used for digestion and stagnation in the GI tract.
SUPER IMMUNITY WINTER SALAD
I make some version of this salad for dinner at least one night a week. It’s so great because it’s easy to just work with whatever is in season, (or whatever you have in the fridge), it makes a big batch so it’s great for healthy ready to go lunches the next couple of days and it’s super nutrient dense!
I am ready a book on super immunity at the moment and it talks about how brassicas, greens, mushrooms, pomegranates and nuts and seeds are for building a healthFUL environment in your body. So as you will see, this “salad” really ticks all the boxes. Whenever I get stuck on what to do for dinner my go to is just chop kale up and massage lemon in and go from there…. something always great comes of it and I know it will be delicious and healthy!
RECENT AUDIO CLASSES
Amidst the turbulence of the ever evolving Coronavirus situation the call went out for people all over the world to join in a global mass meditation on Sunday 5th April 2020 (Australian Time). Yoga Vidya answered the call and led 39 participants through this meditation. Here is the recording.
One Hour Basics class exploring the Anusara principles of Muscle Energy and Organic Energy through standing poses, balance and backbends.
This practice explores the idea that there is only so much we can DO within the scope of our yoga practice. There is a wisdom, a sense of awakening and revelation that we are seeking yet (and this is what we call yoga) but we cannot make this happy. So in this sense we cannot DO yoga – we can only create the conditions under which it naturally arises.
This 90 minute practice invites a contemplation of the Tantrik world view that God is divine, loving, playful and creative awareness and energetic potential.... and you are God. No more or no less than your neighbour or a blade of grass. Practice casting off your...
This 90 minute open hatha flow practice both starts and finishes with Viloma Pranayama and asks you to use the breath the brighten and expand the inner body. Expect to strengthen the back and work through standing poses, Vasthistasana and variations of Hero’s pose.