Sign up and get a FREE meditation audio
* indicates required

Yoga for a healthy, pain-free lower back

cat
Cat Pose

In this article, I am presenting a few simple poses that can help strengthen the back and relieve back pain. Back pain, especially pain in the lower back, is perhaps the single most common reason why people seek medical attention. This is also the most common cause why people come to yoga classes. On a quick google search, I found several studies that have confirmed that yoga indeed provides a lot of relief to backache sufferers. Despite the well-known benefits that can come with a regular yoga practice, it is strongly advised that in case of severe pain you consult with your doctor before commencing a yoga routine.

Most of the poses mentioned in this article have already been discussed individually in earlier blog articles. In this video I have combined these simple asanas for taking care of low back pain in a single video sequence. This way you can follow the video for this sequence to derive full benefits from the practice.

Continue reading »

21-day Yoga Immersion, Aug 15 – Sep 4, 2016

warrior2
Virabhadrasana (Warrior2)

I am pleased to announce the next 21-day Yoga Immersion program. The past programs have been very well received by all the participants. For most of them, it has been truly a life-transforming experience. I invite you to join me on this exciting and deeply rewarding 21-day yoga journey. Here are the particulars:

  • What: 21-day yoga immersion
  • When: Monday, Aug 15- Sunday, Sep 4, 2016
  • Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
  • Where: 4000 Bear Cat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Cost: $125
  • Continue reading »

Nadi Sanchalana (Rapid Breathing)

vishnu-mudra1.jpg
Vishnu Mudra

In an earlier blog post, I talked about the various pranayama variables that were given by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Based on these variables, over a period of time, a large number of pranayama practices have evolved.

In this article, I would like to discuss a pranayama technique that involves fast breathing. As you know, practices like kapalabhati and bhastrika also involve fast breathing. However, in those techniques, either inhalation or exhalation or both are forced out in short bursts of breath. In this technique called Rapid Breathing, both inhalation and exhalation are even and unforced. That means both are of the same duration, and there is no force used either during inhalation or exhalation. Also, there is no conscious effort to breathe deep breathes. We allow the breaths to just "happen".

Continue reading »

FREE Yoga class – July 4

Happy Independence Day!

adhomukha-small.jpg
Downward Facing Dog

Come celebrate 4th of July with me! Treat yourself to the gift of a FREE yoga class on Independence Day:

  • What: FREE yoga class
  • When: Monday, July 4, 2016
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: Integral Yoga Studio, 4000 Bearcat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Register here

Continue reading »

Yoga for healthy knees

chair
Virtual Chair

Problems with knees and low back pain are perhaps two of the most important reasons why people come to yoga for help. In this article, I would like to present a few simple poses that can help relieve knee pain and also make the knees and the surrounding muscles – hamstrings, quads, calves etc. stronger. When the muscles surrounding the knees are strong and flexible, they can support the knees much more effectively, thus preventing injury and pain in the knees.

If you already have any kind of knee pain, please try to practice under the guidance of a yoga teacher. Be careful not to engage in any movement that causes more pain or discomfort as that can further aggravate your situation.

I hope you will enjoy practicing with the video.

Continue reading »

21-day Yoga Immersion, July 11-31

warrior2
Virabhadrasana (Warrior2)

I am pleased to announce the next 21-day Yoga Immersion program. The past programs have been very well received by all the participants. For most of them, it has been truly a life-transforming experience. I invite you to join me on this exciting and deeply rewarding 21-day yoga journey. Here are the particulars:

  • What: 21-day yoga immersion
  • When: Monday, July 11- Sunday, July 31, 2016
  • Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
  • Where: 4000 Bear Cat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Cost: $125
  • Continue reading »

Basic Pranayama Routine recommendation

In an earlier article, I discussed the different pranayama variables that have been given by Patanjali in the Yoga sutras. Based on these guidelines provided by Patanjali, and using different permutations and combinations of these variables, a large number of breathing techniques have evolved over time. One of the main sources of information on various pranayama techniques is the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika", a classic yoga text which was written by Swatma Ram about a thousand or so years ago. This contains a complete section on Pranayama and lists a variety of pranayama techniques.

In the yoga classes that I teach and also in the special 14-day pranayama intensive programs, I cover several different pranayama practices. You may like to visit the pranayama page on my blog to get a list of these techniques, as well as links to detailed descriptions on the blog. However, since one can only allocate a certain limited amount of time on a regular, daily basis, I recommend a basic pranayama routine which should form the core of your practice. The basic routine should be practiced on a daily basis, adding other practices as and when you can allocate extra time for your practice.

Continue reading »

14-day Meditation Intensive, June 6-19

padmasana01.jpg
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

I am pleased to announce the next Meditation Intensive. In this program, I plan to discuss the basic concepts of meditation and practice several of the meditation techniques. Most of the information that I will be sharing is based on the concepts discussed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and related classical yoga texts.

No prior pranayama or meditation experience is required.

Here are the particulars:

  • What: 14-day Meditation Intensive
  • When: Monday, June 6 – Sunday, June 19, 2016
  • Time: 6:00 – 7:30 AM
  • Location: 4000 Bearcat Way, Suite 102, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Daily Routine: Light stretching (10-15 minutes), Pranayama (15 min), Relaxation (15 min), Meditation – discussion and practice (45 min)
  • Commitment: A firm commitment to follow this schedule and attend every day
  • Fee: $90
  • To register: fill out the registration form, providing information in all the fields, and submit it online

Strongly recommended

  • Light,’sattvic’, nutritious, VEGETARIAN food
  • No alcohol, drugs, tobacco or any other item of similar nature
  • A personal commitment to continue the practice after the program is over

Please visit here for more details…

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to your participation.

Pranayama variables

nadi-shuddhi1-small.jpg
Vishnu Mudra

Ever wondered as to which of the physiological functions in humans are both voluntary and involuntary? On a brief reflection on this question, you will come up with the answer – breathing and blinking of the eyes. Involuntarily, breathing happens 24 hours of the day, without our knowledge or intervention. However, it is one of the key physiological functions that can also be modified voluntarily.

The great ancient yogis recognized this fact about the breath. As they always were experimenting with the natural phenomena around them, they must have decided to experiment with the variability of their breath. They realized that the breath can be varied in multiple ways – it can be made short, long, loud, soft, forced, unforced etc. In addition, one could even stop the breath for a certain amount of time. Not only could the breath be varied in all these ways, they also found to their great delight that each one of these variations also provided great benefits at multiple levels.

We are all familiar with instances when our emotions can control the breathing rhythm. For example, when we are very angry or agitated, our breathing is very uneven, fast and shallow. When we are very sad, we breathe uneven, sobbing breaths. When we are calm or engrossed in some pleasant activity, like listening to some soulful music, our breathing is very gentle, even and soft. When we are trying to thread a needle, we naturally suspend our breathing as we attempt to move the thread through the hole. These examples demonstrate that our breathing pattern is a good indicator of the state of the mind that we are experiencing at a given time.

Continue reading »

21-day Yoga Immersion (April 2016) – feedback from students

Most people tend to practice yoga with the main objective of achieving physical well-being. As a result they focus only on the "asana" (physical postures) part of yoga practice. If we go by the eight limbs of yoga defined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, then asana is only one of those eight limbs. In fact, if we dig a little deeper, we realize that the word asana refers ONLY to a sitting posture. The word "asana" is derived from the Sanskrit root "aas (आस्)" which literally means "to sit". The word asana means either the posture you sit in or the seat that you sit upon. The whole series of physical postures were developed so the body could be made strong and flexible enough so that one could sit in a meditative posture for long periods of time. As per Patanjali, it is only through the practice of meditation that one can attain a perfectly calm state of the mind, which is the goal of yoga.

When these postures were developed, instead of coining a new name for them, the yogis decided to keep the same name "asana" for these postures as well, which Patanjali used for a sitting posture. This is how the whole science of Hatha Yoga evolved. The text that is most commonly referenced for all current yoga practices is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swatmarama.

Continue reading »