Why should we not learn yoga from a book or dvd?

The other day my yoga teacher shared an interesting experience. A woman from a club called him to conduct a yoga awareness session ACOGYT (Awakening Call of Golden Yoga Tradition) for her members. She had a strange request. He shouldn’t talk during the session as their members can’t understand English. He was requested to directly teach the practices. Wondering how to conduct an introductory awareness session without talking, he arrived at the venue. Ten minutes into the session he figured that most of the members can understand English. He went ahead with the session in the typical ACOGYT way predominantly interactive with some practices interwoven to make it experiential.

By the end of the session, the audience was enthralled. They were all physically, emotionally, intellectually and psychically charged. The organiser approached him in the end and apologised, ‘I didn’t know you speak so well. I didn’t want my members to get bored. Please do not take it otherwise. Thank you so much for the wonderful session’.

Similar is the experience during several ACOGYT sessions – even sceptic and uninterested members among audience end up getting involved and inspired. This is because as an expert trainer he knows to connect with his students / audience.

Yoga is a powerful tool to positively influence, integrate and harmonise all facets of human personality – physical, physiological, vital, mental, emotional and intellectual. This requires the teacher connects with the audience. We normally start any yoga session with the prayer – “Sahana vavatu, Sahanau Bhunatthu, Saha viryam Karavavahai, Tejasvinavadheethamasthu, Mavidvishavahai”. Through this prayer both the teacher and student seek to connect with each other.

Learning Yoga is about connecting with the teacher

Each individual is unique and has different needs. Same practice administered with varying levels of intensity can have varying effects on the physical and mental level of the student. A good yoga trainer understands this well and gives necessary inputs gauging the needs of the student.

Moreover, yoga deals with energy levels of the student. A yoga trainer invigorates the student during a session by connecting with each of his students.

Caught up with the new trend of e-learning and distance learning one is frenzy about learning yoga from a book,  a TV show or DVD. These can definitely not help achieve the objective of Yoga? Yes, one can use these for additional inputs to be clarified later with the teacher.

If you are serious about learning yoga the right way and benefit most from Yogic wisdom, you need to get hold of a good trainer nearby, and not pick up a book or DVD from a nearby store.

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Stop spreading nonsense in the name of Yoga

Do we want to benefit from Yogic Wisdom? or Do we want the capital houses to exploit us in the name of Yoga?

Yoga is a treasure-house of time-tested wisdom handed to us by our ancestors. It can make one’s life meaningful, happy and holistic.

Several traditions of Yoga are in practice today. About a century ago, Yoga was restricted to sages and saints in caves and forests. It was not within the reach of common man. Some people had the opportunity of getting into the depths of yoga. They were blessed with varying experiences. They were convinced that Yoga can be a great to tool to make our lives better. Based on their experience and understanding several traditions and approaches to Yoga emerged to suit varying needs of people. While some traditions focussed on one or two aspects of human personality, some like Satyananda Yoga followed a holistic approach. While some focussed primarily on research, some simply followed what is said in scriptures without going for empirical validation, rare few followed an integral approach.

With emergence of repeated empirical evidences and experiential proofs from across the world on efficacy of yoga, it started gaining popularity. It has reached a stage today where maximum countries in UN had pledged their support to declare June 21st as World Yoga Day. A proud moment in the re-emergence of a great wisdom to make the life of humanity saner, happier and peaceful.

Or is it really so?

Has Yoga become a name or buzz word to make a quick buck in the market place? Has the term Yoga lost its sanctity in the hands of capitalist houses?

No-Nonsense Only Yoga

Are the multitude of yoga trainers emerging in the market place aware of the scope and depths of yoga? Or are they simply trying to make a quick buck by learning a dozen of asanas to proclaim as yoga trainers?

Worse still is the trend to give some nonsense by adding yoga as a suffix to what they have to offer. I was shocked to read in last week-end edition of Times of India about some emerging trends.

People are trying to popularise drugs and smoking in the name of ganja yoga, spreading nudity in the name of nude yoga and what not… Not to mention about some other forms of business products emerging in the name of yoga – Power Yoga, Swimming pool Yoga, etc.,

Can we stop the spread of nonsense in the name of yoga? Probably the question should be how can we stop spreading nonsense in the name of yoga?

Regulating the spread of nonsense in the name of yoga is each one’s responsibility. It is not a service one is doing to Yoga but to themselves and their fellow beings. One has to do a basic research or study, validate the claims of yoga trainers and studios with freely available popular knowledge, exhibit caution and restraint from getting attracted and lured to marketing gimmicks.

Yoga is a valuable science that can make our lives better and let that be so…

Happy YOGA Life…

Why Exercise ?

Some principles which help in determining the need for and the right kind of exercise:

  • The theory of use and disuse by Lamarck states “that which is put to use develops and unused degenerates and disappears.”
  • Various parts of the body – from organ system level down to cellular level need exercise. The physical body is built of trillions of cells, each cell containing a miniature life and energy for a definite function. Individual lives are really only bits of some degree of intelligence enabling the cells to work properly.
  • Various cells of the body, which are used like building bricks, get their energy and nourishment through the blood stream. Ensuring proper circulation and supply of oxygen is thus an important purpose of exercise.
  • The  physical body is not on its own. It is closely connected and influenced by the mental body/state. Hence the right exercise regimen should also have a positive effect on the mental domain.
  • The yogic philosophy takes this a step forward and states that it should have a positive effect on the pranic energy as well. It is well-known fact that all the three – physical body, pranic/vital energy and mental state of an individual are closely related.
  • The five factors that influence the efficiency of a muscular act – the initial stretch of the muscles, temperature, the viscosity of the muscles, the speed performance and fatigue.

With this background let us take a look on the right kind of exercise needed for our body.

Right Exercise

The modern physical fitness programs are designed to develop the muscles. Fitness experts try to enhance fitness by mechanical movements and exercises. Muscular development of the body does not necessarily mean a healthy body, as is commonly assumed, for health is a state when all organs function perfectly under the intelligent control of the mind. Yogic exercises apart from developing the body also broadens the mental faculties. Through this one also can develop the ability to master over the involuntary muscles and systems in the body.

The main purpose of exercise is to increase the circulation and the intake of oxygen.  This can be achieved by simple movements of the spine and various joints of the body, with breath awareness and deep breathing but without violent movement of the muscles. During strenuous exercises, for instance, we are unable – even though respiration is deeper and faster – to breathe in enough oxygen to meet muscular demands. An oxygen debt is created.  This debt is the difference between the amount of oxygen actually needed by the active muscles and what is actually received. In moderate exercise the oxygen supply can keep pace with the oxygen used and no oxygen debt results. The only residual effects will be a depletion of the carbohydrate reservation and a need for more protein to be used in rebuilding the cells that broke down in activity.

In strenuous exercise programs, the greatest limiting factor for the maintenance of severe exertion is the oxygen supply. Even though the spleen is stimulated to contract and discharge red blood cells into the blood, the intake of oxygen cannot meet the muscular demands for it, so, lactic acid is accumulated in muscle and in blood. Without enough oxygen to reconvert, fatigue sets in. There is a limit to the size of the oxygen debt that an individual can incur and here is where slow-motion exercises of yoga help.

Moderately, loading a muscle is the most efficient way of getting the most work done. When not stretched enough, the muscle is not very efficient. Although viscosity is wasteful of efficiency, it is really an inherent reason of safety.  It acts as a brake to prevent muscles from responding so fast as to tear themselves apart. A moderate speed of performance is, therefore, more efficient. It is now being recognised that driving a man at his work to the point of exhaustion is not practical, with regard to the health of the person, or about getting more and better work done.

Moderate and consistent Yogic exercises, aside from making you feel better and relaxed, can help your body to become more adequate for the demands placed upon it.  Moreover, a well-trained body helps a great deal to train the mind.

Most common causes of fatigue are heart trouble, diabetes, kidney infections, and glandular disorders. Most of these symptoms could be easily removed with natural diet, relaxation, breathing, and Yogic exercises.

Yogic exercises pay great attention to the spinal column and other joints.  Moreover, they keep up an even supply of blood to every part of the body by helping to increase circulation and keep arteries elastic. The elasticity of the arteries also plays an important role in preserving health for it maintains the pressure between beats of the heart.  It keeps the blood flowing steadily.  The flow of the blood would be intermittent with inelastic arteries; a spurt would seem with each systole. With elastic arteries, the blood is forced steadily along the capillaries and veins.

Yogic exercises are mainly designed to keep the proper curvature of the spine and to increase its flexibility by stretching the anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments.

Long before the modern scientists knew anything about the endocrine glands and their functions, the Yogis advocated exercises for these important endocrine glands.  Yogis knew that the endocrine system affects the emotions of the mind, and vice versa. Yogic postures help to strengthen the endocrine system through exercise, and bring the emotions under control through concentration and relaxation.

Satyananda Yoga Workshop at St Anthony’s, Egmore

Ankur organised a workshop for students of classes VIII and IX at St Anthony’s Anglo-Indian High School, Egmore on 29th Aug 2013.

St Anthony's Yoga Workshop

“Satyananda Yoga” workshop at St Anthony’s

 

The session started and ended with a meditative practice, where children scanned their body and observed the change before and after the session. They were then given an experience of basic asanas in typical Satyananda Yoga style followed by lively interaction. By the end of this they were convinced about the need for asana practice in keeping themselves physically fit and healthy. Yoga games that followed helped them realise the importance of improving focus and concentration.

Smt Uma Jeyagopal of Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane knowledge partners of Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd conducted the session in a lively, fun-filled and enjoyable manner.

St. Anthonys session with Parents

Sn ShivRishi Ji interacts with parents at St. Anthony’s

The fact that children thoroughly enjoyed the session apart from learning and implementing the same was realised during the session with parents conducted a couple of days later. Several parents came to the session beaming with joy that their children have started practicing yoga daily in the morning. In the experiential interactive session with parents Sn. ShivRishiji, founder of Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane shared his personal experience with Yoga, the transformation Yoga brought in his life, emphasising the need for integrating yoga into the lives of children at a young age.

Ankur Thanks for the opportunity provided and Congratulates headmistress, Sister Jeyarani for the initiative and keen interest to introduce Yoga to her school children.

CCE, Yoga, What next in Getting back to OUR ROOTS?

Six and half decades since political Independence…

There are now signs of Independence for Indian Education System?

We are now slowly but steadily moving away from the Macaulay system of education introduced by British

We are now getting back to our roots…

We often complain about the faults in our education system and reforms that are required to make it effective and meet the goals of holistic education. They are relevant for the policy makers and institutions to consider and act upon.

In this article we take a quick peek at some of the recent initiatives, especially by CBSE and various state education boards that are in a positive direction taking us back to our roots… and the next step? in this direction.

Yes, efforts are on and there is a long way to go to make sure that all schools are empowered to implement the above effectively. But, the good news is that the journey…

to get back to our roots… to revive the essence of Ancient Indian education system and gurukul pattern… has now begun

Is Sanskrit literacy the next step in this direction?

Sanskrit with its grammatical perfectness is also acknowledged as most suitable language a computer can understand. Lot of research is happening in the west in this direction. NASA has already started using it in its experiments. The day is not very far when computer programming is made only in sanskrit. In that scenario sanskrit literacy will become a mandatory requirement for programming professionals. Last time around India missed the boat when west marched past during industrial revolution.

Schools in Europe have realised this and many advantages Sanskrit learning has. They have made it compulsory in their schools. They also realise that chanting of vedic mantras help in stimulating various centres in the body and help in learning, memorising, concentration, diction, etc., They no more associate sanskrit and vedic mantras with religion. Sanskrit and vedas have now entered into their definition of secular and scientific education. Has it entered ours? Edison, Einstein apart from other philosophers, scientists, etc., across the world have long since acknowledged the universal applicability of Gita and Vedas.

Some reports and video links:

With the nativity advantage, we are better equipped to make our upcoming generation sanskrit literate by making it mandatory in schools and thus catching up with the next big thing. Moving ahead of the pseudo-secular tag, our policy makers have Introduced an elective course on knowledge traditions and practices of India in CBSE. Carrying on with the spirit, there is also serious debate happening in this direction to better understand the relevance of Sanskrit in modern times. Hope this translates into reality and we see our upcoming generation converse in Sanskrit.

For all these steps and initiatives to be effective, there is a definite need for all stakeholders in the system – parents, teachers, school management and policy makers to act in cohesion. Teachers and parents play a key role in this process. They have to be taken into confidence, informed and trained so that they are better empowered in playing a constructive role in nurturing our children to face the challenges of 21st Century.

Taking Yoga to Schools… Ankur Children Yoga Festival 2013… Has YOUR School Registered?

CYF_2013_Logo

Yoga when adapted as a lifestyle bestows immense benefits on physical, vital, mental and intellectual faculties of an individual helping in balanced and holistic growth. In the recent years CBSE at the national level, Samachheer Kalvi in Tamilnadu and several other state educational boards have thrust on yoga education at the school level and some of the boards have made it mandatory.

Yoga as a philosophy / discipline does not encourage competition. Abiding to this basic principle, Sn Shiva Rishi, Founder of Satyananda Yoga Education Charitable Trust (SYECT), an extension of Bihar School of Yoga in Chennai has been celebrating Children Yoga Festival every year.

This year, being the golden jubilee year of its parent organisation, SYECT has joined hands with Ankur Learning Solutions to take the festival to a minimum of fifty schools in Tamilnadu.

The festival was inaugurated on 14th Feb 2013 at DAV Girls Higher Secondary School, Gopalapuram by its Hony Secretary Shri Jayadev Ji in the presence of Shri G P N Gupta, Chairman – BLISS Group of Companies as the Guest of Honour.

Shri Jayadevji Inaugurating the Festival

Shri Jayadevji Inaugurating the Festival

Several schools from DAV Group, Vivekananda Group, Mahindra World City have already participated and more schools have committed to host in the coming days.

SuryaNamaskar during Inaugural Event

SuryaNamaskar during Inaugural Event

It is a unique opportunity available only for schools in Chennai to host this prestigious event on a historical year.

Demonstration based on Chakras at Mahindra World City School

Demonstration based on Chakras at Mahindra World City School

The festival is being held in three levels – School, Zonal and City levels. The school level festival, being held in the participating school premises shall go on till end-September. The zonal level festivals shall be celebrated in Oct-Nov’13. The grand finale of this year-long festival – City level event, will be held on 14th Feb 2014.

Unique feature of this festival is that it includes various disciplines of Yoga – Hatha Yoga (Asanas, Pranayama, etc.), Nada Yoga (Music), Bhakti Yoga (Keertan/Chanting) and Jnana Yoga incorporated appropriately at different levels.

This being a festival and not a competition, participating students at all levels are considered winners and given away participation gifts and certificates. Selected participants for the final level shall be taken on an all-paid, one week trip to Bihar School of Yoga, Munger.

Being the 50th year of Bihar School of Yoga (our parent institution) we want to give opportunity to 50 schools in Chennai. So please rush in your registration. We will nominate one of our yogacharyas or sevaks who will meet the assigned teacher in your school and help you take it forward.

There is no registration fee for taking part in this festival.

Contact: 98400 76654 or mail to syctchennai@gmail.com for more details

My Experience with Yoga Nidra

According to me, Yoga is a small light which helps people whose thoughts are fully drowned in dark ocean.  Small light helps people find their correct path out of the dark ocean. Likewise, yoga helped me and many people, to get on to our correct path and reach our destination from time to time.

Even though I learnt several practices, I was very much attracted to ‘Yoga Nidra’.  It helped me a lot in keeping my physical and mental stress away from me.

Basically, I was a person who forgets many things, especially in my studies.  I used to get frightened and tensed in each and every thing. According to me and people around me, I am the world’s patience-less girl who lacks self-confidence, who is very sensitive, etc.

But after doing Yoga exercises, especially Yoga Nidra and Pranayama, I was able to kick away all my negativity and problems from me.  Now I am a happy girl who enjoys life by facing all problems and taking decisions with a lot of self-confidence.

Soundarya. R, Student, Lady Sivaswamy H.S.S, Mylapore

Proven Strategy… To Build Your Luck

He is a Lucky Guy…

If only LUCK favoured me…

I work very hard. But Luck never favours me…

Why doesn’t Luck ever favour me?

If only there is a strategy to build LUCK into my life…

These are some common statements we hear about LUCK.

Someone described Luck as the meeting point of Opportunity and Awareness.

LuckFormula

This is not far from the truth. Ancient Indian scriptures have logically and scientifically established the presence of what is commonly described as Luck. They have gone a step ahead, described a strategy and provided us with tools to build Luck. One need to use the power of WILL to build his LUCK. There is no free lunch in this world. Anything requires an effort. Luck is not an exception. 🙂

When the results of our action are proportionate to our efforts and action, we do not call it luck.

Sometimes results of our actions are disproportionately favourable or unfavourable. If it is favourable we call it Luck or Grace of God. If it is unfavourable we call it unfortunate or unlucky and term it lack of God’s Grace.

To gain God’s Grace people run around temples or other holy places according to their faith. They offer prayers and try to lure God (?!?) with attractive offers. Scriptures explain that God’s Grace is impartial and equally showered on all. Running around Holy places may provide temporary mental relief.

Prayer

Permanent solution… Luck or unluck; fortune or misfortune are purely dependent on our willful actions. Let us see how…

Actions always take place at two levels – Gross and Subtle.

We know a building or a creation first happens at the mental level before getting physically translated. Similarly intentions are later manifested into physical actions.

Intentions are thoughts happening at the mental level, subtle in nature and not visible to the naked eye. Physical actions happen at the gross level and are visible to the naked eye.

Just like results of our physical actions are dependent on the actions of others around as well (Read: foot ball story), result of our intentions are also influenced and manifested based on other’s intentions. The difference being, results of physical actions are visible to the naked eye (Drushta – Visible) and manifested immediately. However results of  intentions are not visible to the naked eye (‘A’Drushta – not Visible, Sanskrit translation for Luck) – in the sense they are not manifested immediately.

Scriptures declare that our intentions (thoughts) draw upon and interact with the universal thought energy or universal consciousness (presence of which is now being widely acknowledged even by modern psychological studies. Quantum physics also has now come to accept this long-established truth) and manifest much later.

Cosmic Energy_2

When these manifest, the results of our physical actions are disproportionately affected. Since these are not visible (not apprehend-able  when they manifest, we attribute it to Luck (ADrushta) or Unluck (Dur-Adrushta).

To enhance this non-visible (Luck) factor’s effect to positively influence our actions…

Simply put, to welcome Luck into our life we need to…

  1. Develop and become aware of our thoughts and intentions
  2. Categorise the thoughts
  3. Weed out the negative thoughts and beautify our thought garden
  4. Enhance our Will-power to translate these thoughts/intentions into actions

Techniques for developing thought awareness, mind-purification (Chitta-Suddhi) and concentration (Chitta-Ekagrata) are provided to us in the form of Pranayama and Pratyahara practices like Yoga Nidra, Antarmouna, etc.,

Cosmic Energy

Effect of our earlier actions and thoughts – when we have been inadvertently and through lack of awareness undertook actions will continue to influence our present. This is called Destiny. The good news is that we are not puppets in the hands of destiny, as is commonly believed.

Born as Humans, we are gifted with the power of WILL and Awareness. Unlike animals, we have the ability to respond and not react to situations. Let us gracefully accept the current life-situation and resolve to chart the course of our future by filling it with LOTS OF LUCK.

Let us enhance our awareness, live mindfully and meet our opportunities more often…

LuckFormula

Changes do not happen overnight. Willful thoughts have to be consistently translated into persisting actions.

Advanced Train the Trainer Certificate Program In Life-Skills

Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane have together evolved a comprehensive life-skills program, ANKUR-SKILLS – Life Skills based on Indian Wisdom, in a structured curriculum format for the K-12 space to address the needs of education system as well as the industry.

This program apart from including the ten life-skills as determined by UN, also incorporates

  •  Vital-energy optimization, an essential tool that effectively manages the physical, mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual domains of an individual.
  • Essential financial and career planning skills that are necessary to be successful in the 21st century global capital economy.
  • Prepare children to bring out their dormant inherent potential at an early age through various time-tested and established Yogic tools.
  • The program respects all faiths and does not interfere with the faith of the individual.  Instead, it empowers the essential domains of the individual for resource-fully responding to emerging needs of life.
Come... Join the Movement...

Come… Join the Movement…

Our Advanced Certificate Training Programs in Satyananda Yoga and Ankur-Skills also provides the following advantages to the participants:

  1. The curriculum is developed and designed based on the knowledge acquired over half-a-century of research, experiments and findings at the Bihar School of Yoga adapting Indian Wisdom.
  2. The content, delivery model, training methodology have been validated by leading educational institutions across the world.
  3. Two year comprehensive program imparting experiential learning during first year.
  4. Earn while you learn… paid internship during the second year.
  5. Opportunity for qualified trainees to be inducted into the rolls of Satyananda Yoga Centre or Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd., who are offering these programs in schools or to take employment elsewhere.
  6. Our comprehensive ANKUR-SKILLS training program will empower one to become a sought after trainer in this space.
  7. On successful completion, promising participants also gain an opportunity to be supported for establishing / running the franchise Ankur Learning Centres.

Why Us?

Bihar School of Yoga (BSY) established, by Sri Swami Satyananda, 50 years ago on the banks of Ganga at Munger has been doing extensive research in one of India’s pride – YOGA.  Sri Satyananda strongly advocated the importance and benefits of Yoga by saying ‘Yoga is going to be the culture of the future’.

BSY has successfully transformed lives of lakhs of children over the past five decades through Yoga programs the world over.  The experiences of not only these children but also youth and adults who attended the various programs at BSY have been documented and researched in a scientific manner.  Based on these findings, a curriculum was developed which has been accepted as part of the child’s education program in many countries across the globe.

Satyananda Yoga Centre Triplicane, an extension of the Bihar School of Yoga in Chennai, has dedicated and invested its time and effort in taking Satyananda Yoga into the school education system.  Through its initiatives several private schools as well as government-run schools have successfully introduced Satyananda Yoga as part of their curriculum.

Over the five decades, Chennai based BLISS Group of companies, are actively involved in the education space through several non-profit organisations and trusts, as part of its CSR initiatives.  We have a clear understanding of the rising industry need-gap in skills in Indian graduates.  To play an active role in this space, we have established Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd, as a socio-preneurship venture.

Hand-picked and highly experienced faculty – both in-house and guest trainers – from various domains and industries shall transfer the knowledge to the participants of the program.

The ideological harmony between Satyananda Yoga Centre Triplicane and Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd., initiated this socially relevant endeavour.  As per the saying ‘anything that comes free has no value’, we have consciously marked a notional fee.  This fee is returned to the committed trainee as internship stipend in the 2nd year.

We strongly believe in the ethos of our association – do your mite to preserve and propagate our ancient knowledge, the organic way.

For updates about this program and other details keep in touch at http://ankurlearning.com/train-the-trainer

or mail to ankur@blissgroup.com

Ankur CYF 2013 – Inaugurated

An impressive thematic Yoga Demo, Chanting and Game by students

Inspirational speeches and insights by Shri Jaidev, Secretary, DAV Group of Schools, Chennai – Chief Guest; Shri G P N Gupta, Chairman, BLISS Group of Companies, Chennai – Guest of Honour and Shri Jeyagopal, Founder, Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane

Kick started the six month long Ankur Children Yoga Festival 2013 in an impressive manner. Watch the video of the inauguration Yoga Demo by the Students of DAV Girls H S School, Gopalapuram, Chennai…

Ankur CYF 2013 – Inauguration

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