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Newsletter May, 2012

In this issue:

Class Cancellation (May 9-13)

There will be no yoga class May 9-13 as my wife and I will be in New Jersey for a wedding (yes, another family wedding in less than two months!). Regular schedule will resume with the class on Monday, May 14.

Tapas (Austerity)

Tapas is listed as the third of the five Niyamas in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The word Tapas (तपः) means heat or fire. As a verb (from the root तप् - 'tap') it can also mean to cause pain or suffering or to heat something up. Some of the common translations of Tapas are asceticism, austerity, self-discipline, determination, mortification etc. This niyama implies that we are putting the body through intense heat with the purpose of purifying it. The action is similar to that of a goldsmith who puts gold through intense heat in order to make it of a purer grade. Through the practice of tapas, one can become "tough" both physically and mentally so that one can withstand hardships that one faces in life.

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Five States of the Mind

Vyasa, who is the most revered commentator of the sutras, defines the word yoga as being in the state of samadhi. It comes from the root word "yuj" which depending upon the context in which it is used, can mean either "in samadhi" or "union, yoking" etc. In the context of the yoga sutras, given the definition and objectives of yoga, Vyasa has decided to use the meaning "in samadhi".  Samadhi refers to a state of the mind wherein the mind is calm, free of any agitation, free of affliction (stress-free) and can stay in an undisturbed state under the most trying circumstances. In that state, as per sutra 1.3, the spiritual self (Purusha) is established in its own natural state which is considered unalterable and immutable.


Yoga in the News

Superbrain Yoga to Make You Smarter

Most people who grew up in India would recall this "yoga exercise" as a form of punishment that our teachers gave us when we didn't do well in an exam or didn't do the homework right. Now it has been "re-invented" as a yoga routine to make one smarter!


Yoga for Athletes

"Yoga is often not connected with athletes too well. However, it has been proven that yoga is actually quite effective for athletes wanting to make a mark on their field.

A lot of hit NBA players like Baron Davis and Blake Griffin already practice yoga as part of their routine. The long-distance runner Joan Nesbit Mabe explains the benefits of yoga for an athlete in her own words -"

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Yoga Gets in to Medical Schools!

While yoga sessions for med students are not unique (the University of Connecticut Medical Center and Georgetown Medical School both offer them), teaching students about yoga's physiological and neurological effects is. Saper, who will be one of several guest speakers addressing issues from positive thinking to the neurobiology of stress over the 11 weeks of class, says the class "targets the unique challenges and stressors medical students face as well as offers a fairly advanced level of intellectual content appropriate for the medical students.

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Have a question/suggestion?

If you have a yoga-related question, please write to me and I would do my best to provide an answer in a timely manner. I would love to hear your suggestions for future newsletter articles.

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