Two years ago, I was in Indonesia preparing to lead a yoga teacher training beginning in 72 hours. My phone rang. On the other end, I was told my sister had just died from a heroin overdose. Speechless and gutted, I pulled my arms in front of my chest. I dropped my head into my hands and felt paralysed.
From my previous experience with loss, I knew these actions were causing a “shaking in” of the trauma. The best thing to do in this situation is to run around, move the limbs and yell— “shake out” the trauma. However, we’ve been conditioned to intellectualise the sadness first. This makes navigating and unravelling the inner workings of our feelings difficult, yet an understanding of the Chakras can help. This knowledge was integral in helping me deal with the loss of my sister. I hope it can serve you in your own unique grieving process.
Grieving Through the Chakras
system of the chakras defines how we move. Grief affects each chakra
individually and the system as a whole. Each chakra (energy center) has its own purpose and
receives energy or information from the outside world. Chakras assimilate and
integrate this energy, combine it with their particular states and expresses this
combination back into the world.
1st chakra, Muldhara– stability and survival: Healing from loss and grief here comes through grounding practices. Silence and slow and methodical movements nurture it. Sink into the support of gravity.
garden, get your hands in the dirt.
2nd chakra, Svadisthana – fluidity and emotions:This chakra likes flow of all kinds. Nurture it by experiencing pleasure through all of the senses. Eat delicious and nourishing foods. Look at the beautiful blue sky. Flow in your yoga practice—combining breath and movement supports the relationship between the first and second chakras.
Pro tip: dance.
3rd chakra, Manipura –power and self-discipline: Nurture this chakra by caring for your first two chakras daily. Consistently roll out your yoga mat and move. This ignites the fire this chakra needs to thrive.
Pro tip: care
for your first two chakras, even when you don’t feel like it.
4thchakra, Anahata – breath: Grief affects
this chakra by making the breath shallow or causing it to be held. Heal here through deep breathing—especially
through the mouth in the early stages of grief. Notice how the body moves with
each inhale and each exhale. Let the space between the two begin to lengthen
Pro tip: match the rhythm of the breath with the rhythm of your heartbeat.
5th chakra, Vishuddha – creativity, speech, and listening: When grieving, listen to others share their stories of loss and heartache. Meet with people who can relate to your experience without judgement or sympathy, heard by people that understand that it’s your journey, your own healing timeline.
Pro tip: sing.
6th chakra, Ajna – perception of ourselves and others:We can easily
allow the perception of a loss to define us. Who are we once someone is gone?
Do we feel guilty moving on? Through experience, I know that the sixth chakra
will feel supported, if the time has been taken to care for the lower five
Pro tip: sit quietly with the eyes closed. Bring the gaze up to the space between the eyebrows and connect to your inner wisdom.
7th chakra, Svadisthana – connection and attachment:The healing journey
encompasses the attachment to our perceptions and the stories we tell
ourselves. Who are we if we are no longer that thing which defined us? Do your grounding
practice. Give the first chakra what it needs to build a foundation, then slowly
work your way up through the chakra system, to find answers.
Pro tip: practice stillness. Commit to one minute at a time, then slowly increase the time.
After my sister died, I found safety in my anger and brokenness. It served me until one day it didn’t. If I had rushed the healing process to suit someone else’s timeline, I wouldn’t feel as whole as I am beginning to feel right now. When grieving, take your time. Go through the process of nurturing your chakras, and the healing will find its way.
Denise Payne Teacher Training School in Bali One Song Yoga has been serving the yoga community as a registered school since 2009. Our guiding principles are steeped in yoga tradition and philosophy and offer bespoke teacher training to fit the growing needs of the expanding yoga community. www.denisepayneyoga.com
Praise of Yoga Gymnastic article by Paolo ProiettiTantra Yoga Teacher, books author-Rome, Italy
Yoga “gymnastics” will be the new tag from now on, to introduce all my classes, courses and seminaries.
has the merit of being simple and honest; nowadays there are hundreds of
different Yoga in the “spiritual market” and most of the time they run into
contradiction. That’s why I think it’s therefore right and proper to get back
to clarity and simplicity.
Yoga is the Art of Human Being; it’s the practical application of Sanatana Dharma teachings’ (the perpetual Indian Philosophy) and it has been turned into a desinence or a suffix that aims at attracting new potential consumers inside the lucrative market of spirituality.
The same happened in the ‘70s with the word Zen: everybody thought to do Zen meditation and they applied it to all sort of activities, from motorcycling to tennis, from theatre to writing. Today it’s Yoga turn.
This fact itself it’s not right or wrong; it’s just a fact, a social phenomenon that we can’t disregard. The consumer who embraces spiritual and holistic arts from the East will look for a particular Yoga, so the market will adapt itself to meet specific demands.
Ashtanga, Power or Acro Yoga will be chosen by someone who has a physical approach, otherwise somebody interested in Western gymnastics with low-impact exercises will find Yin Yoga, Mindful Yoga, Yoga Pilates (or Yogiaates) and Postural Yoga.
with a strong passion for philosophic issues, will be fascinated by Advaita
Vedanta (more often in the reinvented version of American psychologists), they
could also enjoy the Tibetan Yoga and other courses that introduce the word Meditation
in their package, another magic word from the Holistic business.
Then we have the Shamanic Yoga, the Yoga related to symbols, the Five Tibetans’ Yoga rites, the Laughter Yoga, and so on. A Yoga for everyone!!
As I already said before, I personally prefer the definition of “Yoga Gymnastics” (or Gymnosophy) because it’s clear, simple and honest.
During my lessons, we practice a series of physical exercises (gymnastics), positions, sequences, gestures and breathing techniques. We work on perception and the use of Subtle Energies. We study philosophical texts.
It’s the combination of these three components of our work that must or should lead to a series of physical, psychic and mental transformations.Therefore, Yoga Gym.
Then we can discuss between us, in private, about the singularity of Yoga, and we could also talk about the risks of this “spiritual market” and its adhesion. Yes, we speak of risks, because it may happen that many people practice (or even teach) Yoga without ever having read a Yoga Upanisad or an Agama.
They could pass off a simple psycho-physical exercise as an ancient traditional technique; an exercise that might be good for health and state of mind, but at the same time it’s similar to Yoga as the pin-pong is to hunting. This is the risk of inventing new disciplines with techniques and concepts mixed together to meet the taste of the public.
Look at the picture below:
The hippie man in his underwear it’s me in the 70s. It’s supposed to be in Capraia (a gorgeous Italian little Island) looking at the shape of those rocks. I was there during one of the “voluntary Yoga retreats” organised by a very large group, with manifold practitioners. There were some Babaji’s disciples, some “Orange”, a few Hare Krishna, some Sri Aurobindo followers and a group of people just returned from India.
We met periodically in the island, where we spent one or two weeks doing “gymnastics exercises”, meditation and mental visualisations. We also talked at night about the teachings of some masters, in front of the bonfire. The most knowledgeable showed us some readings written in English, that they brought from India, and we talked for hours about Sanatana Dharma, Vedas, Gods, demons and heroes.
Beliefs and opinions were different, but I remember that everybody knew and practiced the basic asanas, we all had precise ideas on chakras and we could sit for hours meditating in the lotus pose. We named it just Yoga and none of us would ever think to ask someone else “What kind of Yoga do you practice?”. Because Yoga is (or maybe it was) only one. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions
Let’s talk about Yoga Upanisad.
you ever heard of them? And if the answer is yes, have you ever studied one of
Upanisad are 108 and they are divided into 4 groups:
1) main upaniṣad
2) upaniṣad of
renunciation (or surrender upanisad)
3) Yoga upaniṣad
4) upaniṣad on
There are also other groups of religious nature in addition to them, but now we’re going to analyse the third group about Yoga Upanisad.
There are 20 upanisad (or 17 according to some commentators) and they describe the yogic path to Realisation. A very accurate and clear path, with gymnastics exercises, breathing techniques, mental visualisations and meditation.
These are always
and every single time the same and they are described with a simple language,
This language is not absolutely suitable for metaphorical or theological interpretations. Let me give you an example: Parama-Karuna-Devi
is an Hindu master of Italian origin and she made a translation of the 108
upanisad from which I’m going to transcribe some passages.
I really suggest my colleagues and the practitioners of thousands different styles of Yoga to read them. (The author does not use the transliteration of IAST, so for instance upanisad is UPANISHAD, Siva will be SHIVA and so on..)
Here you can read two verses from the Varaha Upanisad (composed between the 13th and 16th centuries CE) :
The (fundamental asanas are 11: Chakra, Padma, Kurma, Mayura, Kukkuta, Vira, Svastika, Bhadra, Simha, Mukta and Gomukha. (5.15 to 16)
It seems to be
clear enough, isn’t it?
According to the varāha upaniṣad, which forms an integral part of Yajurveda, the practitioner must know how to do at least 11 asanas, in order to undertake the path to realisation. They include the following poses:
gymnastics exercises, Yoga gymnastics, which are fundamental for a Yogin,
according to a traditional Indian text.
It must be said that upaniṣad are not manuals made for buskers or for exhibitions of gymnasts, but they are clear instructions to achieve the yogic path to Realisation.
Do you think varāha upaniṣad is an isolated case?
As if, difficult
poses as it’s considered the Peacock one (Mayurāsana) are believed to be basic
in almost all Yoga upanisad.
It explains that
what it was called to be Yoga, was a discipline made of fundamental poses,
without a doubt. Among these essential poses, there were (and there still are)
some movements quite complex, but they are part of gymnastics exercises.
Like for basketball or the boxe; have you ever heard of a basketball player who does not know how to dribble? Or a boxer who does not know how to throw punches? No, and the same is for Yoga.
As far as I could see and read, nowadays there aren’t a lot of people who know how to perform the bridge on their arms, the head stand or the Peacock pose. In many of these thousands types of Yoga, we could even hear that it is not necessary to learn how to do Padmāsana (the lotus pose), because it could be dangerous for the knees. Moreover, the Head Stand (the king of asanas) has become an optional, good only for performances.
So, the new tag “Yoga Gymnastics” is welcomed, considering that essential asanas poses of the upanisad are left to gymnasts.
But let’s read another passage from the Varāha Upaniṣad:
must be practiced repeatedly in the following order: inhale, hold the breath
and exhale. The main work of pranayama concerns nadis, the channels through
which the energies flow”. (5,18)
“The body of every human being is 96 fingers long. In
the middle of the body, two fingers above the anus and two fingers under the
genital organ, we can find the center of the body called Muladhara”. (5,19)
“Nine fingers above the genitals there is the core of
nadis that takes the shape of an oval; it is made of four fingers on each side,
surrounded by fat, meat, bones and blood. There is a nadi chakra in it with 10
rays, it supports the body and it’s where Kundali resides.
Kundali’s face covers up Brahmarandhra (the
“opening of Brahma”) on the channel called Sushumna. At the sides of
the Sushumna there are the nadis called Alambusa and Kuhu”. (5,20-23)
“The next two rays are Varuna and Yasasvini. On the
southern ray of Sushumna there is Pingala.
On the following two rays there are Pusha and
Payasvini, while on the west side of Sushumna there is the nadi called
“The following ray is Hastijihva, finally there is
these rays of the wheel, 10 nadis move 10 vayu in a clockwise direction from
left to right, and they are intersected in various points like filaments of a
fabric. They also have different colors (5,27-28) “
I think the message of the Yoga Upanisad, the practical handbooks of Yoga, is very clear: a yogin, to be a yogin, must be a gymnast and an inner alchemy expert at the same time. This doesn’t mean that psychic and mental well-being cannot be reached in another way; because one’s self could be realise in many manners.
But what it was
used to be called Yoga included the following activities: gymnastics, inner
alchemy, meditation and knowledge of traditional texts.
Today I’d like to
to call it Gymnosophy, or Yoga gymnastics. I’d really appreciate that my
colleagues and friends who teach Yoga and practitioners of disciplines with the
suffix (or “prefix”) Yoga will read the Yoga upanisad too, when they
have enough time.
In order to know what it was meant to be the word Yoga, since ten years ago. When it was considered to be necessary for meditation to tie the legs in the lotus pose while holding the back straight. As well as the head stand was not considered to be the evolution of an exhibitionist, but it was a technique to stimulate precise energy channels, to transform the perception of one’s body and of evident reality.
Greetings Paolo Proietti -Rome,Italy
Paolo Proietti is a Tantra Yoga teacher and books author. Paolo he has been practising yoga and oriental martial arts since 1974. Instructor of ASI / DOS (Discipline Holistic Health – Holistic Arts and Oriental). Member World M.Y.A. (World Movement for Yoga and Ayurveda), World MIFA (World Movement for Indian Fine Arts), E.Y.F. European Yoga Federation.
The Divine Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji Spiritual Leader, PhD, books author, director International Yoga Festival Rishikesh and much more….
The noble traditions of Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama have, over the last three decades, become a catalyst for transformative and positive changes to the mind, body and spirit. As an example, in the United States, yoga practice increased from 9.5% of the population in 2012 to 14.3% in 2017 according to a 2017 National Health Interview Survey. Involvement by children doubled during the same period. As part of this increased participation, people are coming to realize that Yoga is more than asanas and meditation.
Yoga, as taught by Patanjali, is an eight-fold path with each limb flowing gracefully and naturally, one into the other, yet flexible enough the limbs may be experienced ordered in a multitude of variations. The first two limbs of Yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas, or the ethical rules for living and interacting within community. This, by extension, can encompass the world at large. The third limb refers to the practice of asanas for keeping the body healthy and supple. Asanas are also critical for preparing the mind for the more subtle practices that come next. The fourth limb is Pranayama, or control of the breath – the vital energy permeating the body. It is said that the number of breaths we are allowed to take on this earth was written at the time of our birth. Yoga teaches that longevity depends on the rate at which we breathe. As we lower the rate of breathing, we can increase the length of our lives. Pranayama has an effect on both body and mind, and is a means of attaining higher states of awareness and consciousness.
The final four limbs help to refine and discipline the mind. They are Pratyahara or control of the senses, Dharana or concentration, Dhyana or meditation and contemplation, and Samadhi or enlightenment. One very powerful Dharana is envisioning the world completely devoid of our presence. This reminds us that we are not this body and nothing material is of substantial importance. Samadhi is the final state of enlightenment and oneness with the Supreme Consciousness.
Yoga is primarily a spiritual process designed to help the practitioner attain self -knowledge and Samadhi. It is rooted in Sanatan Dharma. Millions of people around the world are involved in the practice and spread of Yoga. From its origins as Ashtanga, many asana variations have been developed. Examples include Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Bikram. The essence of the original practices, however, remains intact because no new asanas have been developed.
Yoga is also a science that has been verified using scientific methods. Tests have been conducted for decades on the effect of Yoga on the body and mind. Studies show asanas, pranayama and meditation in combination with allopathic medicine can be an alternative treatment for many health issues. Research is now being undertaken to determine whether Yoga can cure and prevent cancer. Initial findings are encouraging, and show that yoga improves the physiological and physical symptoms of cancer patients and reduces stress, thereby improving quality of life. Yoga is also being studied to determine its effectiveness in treating issues such as autism, PTSD, trauma, anxiety disorders and issues related to the mind. On the individual level, yoga is an experiential process because the practitioner can directly observe changes in their body and mind as a result of a sustained practice
A whole world of possibilities is available through Yoga, and new opportunities are being discovered every day. Yoga can be considered one of the most important tools in the twenty-first century for health and well-being – physical, mental and spiritual. We humbly request that all teachers and practitioners treat Yoga as their most precious jewel and protect it in the same manner.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Ph.D, was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to live at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for 22 years, engaged in spiritual practice and service.
She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, one of the most revered spiritual leaders in India and the President of Parmarth Niketan.
by TOMOKO KOJIMA owner of a wellness company ” Purewells LLC”
Oman, a connection hub in the Arabian Peninsula between the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), about 45 minutes flight distance from the famous Dubai. A country that is fond for neutral diplomacy so to be called the Switzerland of the Middle East, is where you can feel the real spirit of yoga.
A country overflowing with warm hospitality and generous people with good manners based on seniority respect and family care. Beautiful and expressive mountains, coastline of shallow water, colorful garden of flowers blue like a clear sky, and the capital of Oman, Muscat, where you can feel the balance between the new and the old culture all around the city.
I have had the opportunity to teach yoga for 7 years in Muscat with the exquisite balance. I have noticed change in people’s consciousness toward yoga in the last seven years and more are accepting the concept of yoga. Due to development of technology such as social media, people have greater access and understanding the benefits of yoga. In addition, it has become trendy, health conscious and more acceptable by people to practice the Western style of yoga.
I would like to share the three things that I am most careful about teaching yoga in the Omani market that is still expanding.
– It is said that the class composition of a mix gender is not preferred. However, some women who live overseas don’t mind such class, but the majority are not open for such class.
– It is important to get approval if all pictures taken with women in yoga before sharing on SNS.
– Since there is a possibility that yoga may be interpreted as a religion, chanting is best avoided unless it is for advanced practitioners
Along with the growth of yoga populations and the SNS, Oman’s yoga situation changes year by year. I am looking forward to the maturity of the yoga market in Oman.
Tomoko is a RYT, registered Yoga alliance teacher, from Japan.
She is based in Oman for last 10 years and is an experienced yoga instructor with 7 years teaching and conducts open classes. In addition, she teaches private sessions that are custom designed for her clients to meet their different needs by using various yoga techniques and methodologies that she learned from around the world. Her main focus is mental wellbeing, physical strength and detoxification in an effective manner.
The largest ever World Championship of Yoga Sports to kick off Saturday December 1st 2018 in Beijing
The Swiss based International Yoga Sports Federation is organising the largest ever World Championship of Yoga in Beijing, China. This is the first time that the competition is organised in Asia after running in London in 2014 and Italy in 2016 (Pordenone Yogah School).
135 athletes from 32 nations and 5 continents will be participating in this exceptional event, the biggest ever from the foundation of IYSF in 2013, raising interest for Yoga Sports all over the world. Each competitor will be evaluated by 10 international judges on a series of 6 asanas, 1 forward compression, 1 backward, 1 stretching, 1 spine twist, and 2 optional postures. This year the whole event will be placed under the high patronage of Rajashree Choudhoury, who has decided to handover her position of Executive President of IYSF at the end of the competition.
Two Italians are the youngest competitors in the Youth category. One is the 2016 World Champion who will defend “Like a Champion” the well deserved title!
We are glad to bring our champions Davide Toneguzzi and Riccardo Basso, students of the Yogah School since they were five years old, at World Yoga Championships, scheduled in Beijing. Davide Toneguzzi, 15, a student of the “Torricelli” sports school in Maniago, is the current world champion in the Youth category and on December 2nd (at 3 pm local time) in the Chinese capital, he will defend the title won in 2016.
Thanks to the Yogah school and its young athletes, Pordenone has received unexpected planetary visibility. The city and the territory have now repaid the boys of the Yogah School supporting them in this new, exciting sporting adventure. “Pordenone responded with great warmth to our appeal – explains Nicola De Simone, who with Gabriella Buzzacchi directs the Yogah School and is the Master of the two athletes – really a choral participation, almost moving.”
Along with Davide Toneguzzi there will also be a club and contemporary partner, Riccardo Basso. Student of the “Grigoletti” scientific high school, he is twice world and European champion of the Youth category. In short, Pordenone holds world leadership among young yogis.
Youngest World Yoga Champions from Italy Yogah School- Pordenone and their Master Yoga Teacher Nicola De Simone
Rajashree Choudhoury President International Yoga Sports Federation