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21-day Yoga Challenge – September 2010

Yes, we are getting ready for this big event once again. Are you ready for this exciting and one of the most memorable yoga experiences of your life? Take the challenge and be transformed. Here are the particulars:

  • When: Wednesday, September 8 – Tuesday, September 28. I can accommodate a maximum of 15 people.
  • Time: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
  • Where: Kalasrishti – 3000 Bearcat Way, Suite 112, Morrisville, NC 27513 (off Aviation Parkway)
  • Commitment: A  firm commitment to complete the program without missing a day (except in an emergency)
  • Cost: $100

Please contact me if you would like to participate.

Get all the details here…

26 comments to 21-day Yoga Challenge – September 2010

  • Sarayu

    I joined the class today..Subash ji is very nice…This is my first time doing yoga…hope this 21 day program will change my life for the better..
    Thank you Subash ji!

    • admin

      Dear Sarayu, thank you so much for your feedback. I certainly hope that you will find the course helpful in developing an on-going practice so you can fully reap the benefits of yoga.

  • admin

    The 21-day yoga challenge program that started on 9/8/10 is now in full swing with 15 participants. In these sessions, we will be practicing the basic Integral Yoga style routine which consists of asana, deep relaxation, pranayama and discussion on concepts in yoga philosophy. In these periodic comments, I plan to record some of the concepts that we discuss in the class as well as any special variations or new asanas/pranayama techniques covered in class.
    Yesterday, we talked about the definition of “asana” – “sthira-sukham-asanam” – firm/steady and comfortable. This implies that in its final position an asana must feel comfortable (you should be able to maintain a smile on your face!). To get into a comfortable asana, we need to apply the concept of “prayatna shaithilya” or letting go of effort and getting fully absorbed in the experienced of the asana.
    In the session this morning, we reviewed some of the sitting postures used for meditation. You can get more information on a previous blog post here – We also talked about why Abhyasa (practice) is so important to derive full benefits from the yoga practice. Abhyasa is defined with these three characteristics – “deergha kala” (long duration which could mean the entire life-time or multiple lives), “nairantarya” (without any interruption) and “satkara-asevitah” (done with a sense of devotion and total faith).

    Please feel free to add your valuable feedback and comments.
    – Subhash

  • admin

    Day 3

    In today’s session, we reviewed the five koshas (sheaths):

    1. Annamaya Kosha (physical sheath)
    2. Pranamaya Kosha (vital sheath)
    3. Manomaya Kosha (mental sheath)
    4. Vijnanamaya Kosha (intellectual/intuitive sheath)
    5. Anandamaya Kosha (bliss sheath)

    You can get more details on one of the blog posts here.

    We also talked briefly about the six commonly mentioned negative emotions that we all go through from time to time:

    1. Kama (lust)
    2. Krodha (anger)
    3. Lobha (greed)
    4. Moha (delusion)
    5. Mada (arrogance/false pride)
    6. Matsarya (jealousy)

    A regular yoga practice is known to act as an effective antidote for these negative emotions.

    In the asana practice, we went over the shoulder stand pose (Sarvangasana). You can get full details, along with a video, of this asana on this blog here.

    During the pranayama session, we practiced the two cooling breaths – Sheetali and Seetkari.

    I would love to see your comments here. 

  • admin

    Day 4

    Have you ever wondered why we always say, "om shantih, shantih, shantih", repeating the word shanti 3 times? Well, Sarayu, one of the students in the class, did some research and provided us this insight – we chant shanti 3 times to ward off three types of suffering that we all face in life:

    1. Adhi-bhautika (physical): this includes physical suffering – bug/snake bite, noise pollution, auto accident, physical injury/sickness etc.
    2. Adhyatmika (mental): these are predominantly suffering that we inflict upon ourselves through our ego. All the negative emotions that we talked about in an earlier class (anger, greed etc.), strong likes and dislikes, fears, emotional outbursts, stresses and strains of modern life etc.
    3. Adhi-daivika (divine): these include suffering caused by sources beyond our control – tsunami, earthquake, disease epidemic, storms etc.

    We also went over the definition of yoga according to Patanjali – "yogashchitta-vritti-nirodhah". You can read more here.

  • Roger Ehrlich

    The following is a perhaps overly lengthy reflection I wrote this morning. I hope Subhash will feel free to edit it or create a separate link if it if it cluttering up the blog! -Roger

    I’ve been thinking lately about how practicing yoga helps me feel vital and heightens my senses to feel more passionately connected with the world, and how this seems to conflict with teachings that to learn to control the mind, and live more peacefully and blissfully, one should learn to limit the arousal of the senses.

    I find it beneficial to meditate by closing off sensory input, as we did this morning, or by focusing on only one sense, or the breath, but I’d like to share an experience I had yesterday– a spontaneous more sensual form of meditation– to illustrate what I’m talking about.

    After riding my bicycle back from the Unitarian Fellowship of Raleigh, which our family attends, I stopped at the NC Museum of Art. I find that bicycling helps to put me into a meditative state and helps my lateral balance. Contemplating the art in the museum also contributed to my calm, but energized state of mind. By the time I worked my way around to the Rodin sculptures, however, I was quite cold, and glad to step outside into the warmth of the garden.

    At the center of the courtyard is a rectangular reflecting pool with a drain slot running through the center that produces a soothing sound of flowing water, while keeping the pool smooth and calm.
    The pool is surrounded by a narrow perimeter of large smooth black pebbles. Since I was cold, I followed my impulse to stretch out on my back on the pebbles to enjoy their warmth and a water-level view of the pool. The sparkling sunlight, blue sky and white clouds were reflected in the black water. Beautiful lily pads and flowers floated at the surface. I let my arm fall in relaxation to the water’s surface. The water, air and my body, were the same warm, comfortable temperature. It felt wonderful, and I played a fascinating game of watching my arm, palm, and fingers sink slowly, partially underneath the water and back up again. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the sparkling, gently rippling water as well as the reflections of the moving clouds and my own arm. I focused on the water slowly flowing in and out of my palm and up and down my fingers, like an ocean tide on a mountainous coast. I occasionally shifted my attention between this and the other beauty around me: the translucent pink lotus flowers; their green pads wavering at the cusp of water and air; the reflections of cloud and sky; the clear darkness of beneath the water’s surface; and “Oh!” just inches away, a dragon fly perched on the tip of a flower bud with it’s lively eyes and irridescent wings!

    And throughout these blissful minutes my mind occasionally returns to self-awareness: how special this experience is, how I would like to share it, pride in my lack of inhibition and ability to enjoy myself in this way in public, that the few people who occasionally enter the garden and walk around the pool might not only share my enjoyment of the pool, but might be inspired by my obvious enjoyment of it, that I might later try to preserve something of this experience in writing, that I’d like to stay there until the sun set, but cannot, that the stones feel warm and smooth under my back. Yet my focus keeps returning to the overwhelming beauty of the sights and sensations around me, and especially to the water slowly playing over my arm at the surface of the pool (?Is it hurtful ego that observes my partially immersed arm is more beautiful in the sunlight and water than any Rodin sculpture?)

    After several more minutes meditating in this way, I sit up, I joke with a family taking a picture of their newborn daughter with her grandparents that the picture would be better if they stood in the pool, I begin to leave, my wife calls, I ride home past the NC state pastures enjoying the view streaming by. As soon as I’m home we leave for a picnic and outdoor concert by the NC Symphony and we watch my children and their friends happily performing “interpretive dance” to the music. I notice some beautiful young women without, I think, a disturbing level of desire, I enjoy a little wine, we return home, I love my wife, we sleep, I awake, I go to yoga.

    And yet, as blissful as this day was, I know sickness and old age and personal catastrophes are inevitable, and all days cannot be so full of pleasure and contentment. And many times I have reached for food and other stimulus in a wrong-headed attempt to distract myself from some internal pain, or obsessed over some desire in an unhappy way, realizing all the while that there is something else (or nothing?) that I should be attending to. And I still wonder what blissful states of mind, or sustained higher consciousness might be achieved be achieved through ascetic practices or disciplining the senses (i.e. dietary restrictions, fasting, solitude, celibacy, tantric practices.) On the other hand I am cautious of the esoteric and extreme. When does discipline actually become a form of obsession? To what extent are some of these practices little more than marketing gimmicks, or used to control followers in a cultish fashion rather than help people find fulfillment and minimize suffering? I know the practice of getting up earlier than I have ever before on a regular basis and the regular practice of yoga has been extremely beneficial. I am grateful for Subhash’s teaching and disciplined but reasoned approach and the others participating in this community of practice!

    • admin

      Dear Roger, thank you for your beautifully expressive account of your blissful day! You have captured in these delightful words the true essence of “being in the present moment”. As long as you can enjoy these moments of life, you don’t need to follow any of those gimmickery practices which smell of marketing hype. I am glad you are enjoying the yoga program. Please continue to share your experiences in the coming days/weeks.

      • Sarayu

        What Roger said is very true..I was not used to waking up early in the morning…unless it is absolutely needed for prayer at temple,or school or something else…and thats about it…
        This yoga program is beneficial in every way possible…I wake up early in the morning…silence in my bedroom, calm in my living room…(no TV, no other noises..), mild music from the prayer chant that plays in the prayer room all the time, is so soothing to my ears…once I am outside going towards my van, I hear the bug sounds…trrreeeckkk treeecckk…so cute…birds chirping here n there…still dark outside…but pleasant weather…the same road that has traffic jam about 8-10am is so empty, I am the only driver on the road…awesome…play the music in the van n drive easy…lovely I enjoy every moment of this…everyday!!
        Usually, I plan my day ahead of time and try to find time for all the work in my daily sheet…yet sometimes stress takes over and I start to loose my cool…
        Then yoga, with Subashji, asking how my day was, feels good that someone cares…in this busy life…with OM practice and my fav is Surya Namaskar…to see my yogamates on a daily basis..people from my home country and resident on their faces… heartfelt happiness fills up turn I care for myself and my family much better…stress free and relaxed…thanks to all of you for making each day memorable !!

        • admin

          Beautifully said, Sarayu! Stress-free and relaxed – you have summed it up pretty succinctly! Enjoy the rest of the session.

  • admin

    Day 5:

    Delicious breakfast, lively conversation and getting to know each other. Thank you, everyone, for bringing all the goodies and sharing.

    Day 6:

    We practiced these pranayama techniques:

    Ujjayi: hissing, ocean-wave-like sounding deep breath, achieved by partially closing the epiglottis (the air passage at the base of the throat).

    Bhramari: humming bee breath. Symbolically closing all the sense organs – ears, eyes, nose and the mouth – with the fingers of the hands, creating a deep humming bee sound during each exhalation.

    Bhastrika: forcing both inhalation and exhalation with short, brisk, forced breaths. We use the movement of the arms overhead along with the breathing pattern.

    Udgita: repeatedly chanting the sound of OM, getting completely absorbed in the vibration of the OM sound, and staying with that vibration even after the chanting is complete.

    Day 7

    Trataka (candle gazing): This is one of the six cleansing routines in Hatha Yoga. The technique is to gaze at the flame of a candle which is kept at eye level at a distance of about 6-8 feet, directly in front. Helps improve the health of the eyes as well as improves focus and concentration. Used as a preparation for meditation.

  • Sirisha

    First-of-all I would like to thank Subhash ji for offering this program. He is a great yoga instructor. It’s been only 7 days since I started practicing yoga but I already started experiencing some the benefits of it especially in developing a discipline to wake up early in the morning and being energetic all through out the day.

    Also I was amazed to learn in how many different ways yoga can help us improve our health and life. Today, I was searching if yoga would help lower the bad cholestrol and yes it indeed does help lower the cholestrol. I came to know that specific yogasanas like Sarvangasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Shalabhasana, Vajrasana help in lowering cholestrol.Link to cholesterol-yoga:

    I am glad that I enrolled for the 21-day yoga challenge program. Subhash ji covered all of these cholestrol-yoga techniques/asanas (which I was looking for) in this yoga program.

    I am excited to learn and enjoy more of yoga…

    • admin

      Dear Sirisha, thank you for your positive and kind words about the 21-day yoga program. I am really glad to see that you are already feeling some benefits from the program. Thanks for sharing the link about cholesterol and yoga. Hopefully, you will continue to benefit from a regular yoga practice in the future.

  • admin

    Day 8

    OM – its meaning and significance – read more about it here

    Day 9

    Jala Neti demonstration – Jala Neti is one of the best known techniques for taking care of sinus problems, seasonal allergies and other disorders of the bronchial system.

  • Day 10
    Yamas and Niyamas are the first two of the 8 limbs of yoga. We focused on the yamas this morning:

    Ahimsa (non-violence)
    Satya (truthfulnss)
    Asteya (non-stealing)
    Brahmacharya (moderation – generally applied to sex but should be extended to include control of all types of sensual urges.
    Aparigraha (non-hoarding – lack of greed)

  • Day 11
    Pranayama: deep sectional breathing (upper, middle and bottom section of the lungs), rapid breathing
    Day 12
    12 rounds of Surya Namaskara with the mantras

    • Sarayu

      I remember the upper breathing, but want to go over the middle and bottom section breathing again…

      Will check with you when we meet tomorrow.
      Thank you,

  • Aparna Motkar

    I thank Subashji for offering this wonderful yoga program. I agree completely with fellow bloggers and yogis as to the instant benefits I have been seeing from this program. I have practiced yoga before on and off, but to tell you the truth I never saw my energy levels and sense of fullness go up so high ever before..not sure what is contributing to this but I am happy it is working. I used to feel very low and dull before I started the program and was not even sure if I could get up and come in the morning as I never do. But surprisingly, it was never a problem and indeed I would like to continue longer as I feel more energetic and productive in my day also. There is some mysticism in the practice, maybe everything the time, the teachings , asanas and breathing ( though I still don’t follow the correct breathing pattern.. is contributing to this benefit. Hope I will be able to continue after the class also.

  • admin

    Day 14

    Neck and shoulder stretches. Brief discussion of the 8-limbs of yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.

  • admin

    Day 15

    Five Tibetan Rites – yes, we did these five rites this morning, repeating each rite 21 times. I was really glad to see everyone participate enthusiastically. I would love to hear from you as to your experience with the routine. Please add your comments here.

    Pranayama: we practiced the Khechari Mudra. Deep Ujjayi breathing while the tongue is rolled up with the tip of the tongue going back against the upper palate.

    • Sarayu

      Will never forget the Tibetian Rites ever…Some day, I will be able to do all five 21 times each…with ease..will keep practising..
      A summary, dizzy pose/ hip-knee pose/table top pose/boat pose/up down dog pose…my fav is the dizzy spinning pose..

      Thanks for teaching us these poses…loving it!!
      But we donot have time to do my favorite Surya Namaskar these days…

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    • Sarayu

      Day three of the second 21 day at home yoga…going on good..My husband and I are doing it together at 6am…we feel husband said he hurt his back while doing the front back rocking pose…hopefully, he should be okay soon n get the hang of doing it the right way…

      Subhashji, Could you please make another dvd with asana variations, that is not there in the first dvd that we bought from you…when we do it with your dvd, it is very nice and we do it the right way…
      hope u consider making the dvd…
      also, I downloaded a ‘OM NAMO NARAYANA’ chant from online …it has 54 repetitions for about 9 mins…it is very nice, meditation experience, my kids like that too…we do it together..

      Thanks Subhashji, for introducing yoga to our family..
      Have a wonderful day !!

      Sarayu Srikanth

  • admin

    It is great to see that you and your family are all practicing yoga together in the morning. As for a DVD with asana variations, since we do so many variations, it is hard to include them all in a few DVDs. Let us talk about it off-line. Thanks.