Backbend for a Stronger Back

Backbends are one of the most difficult asanas for the body to perform, as they require great flexibility and balance. Contrary to popular belief, backbend stretching is neither stressful nor dangerous, but is highly beneficial to the body as well as the mind.

One of the most notable benefits of backbends is relief from anxiety and stress. By opening up the frontal portion of the body, muscles and joints are relieved of the accumulated stress. This in turn helps one in coping with anxiety and other stress related ailments. In case of irritability, lack of sleep or even mental chatter, backbend poses bring immediate relief.

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The Science behind Stretching

Stretching has been an integral part of yoga and also exaltation to the yogis. However, it has invoked several questions among its practitioners, scientists and skeptics. Modern science has nevertheless deciphered the technical know-how behind all the twisting, stretching and bending involved in yoga asanas and how the benefits manifests on the practitioners.

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Treating Vertigo with Yoga

Vertigo is a type of symptom of dizziness characterized by a sensation of spinning and misbalance due to a disturbance in the sense of balance and equilibrium in the brain. It affects the inner ear, the area that monitors the directions of motion, arising from calcium or fluid build-up or even a virus. However, it has been proven that certain yoga postures improve balance and stimulate the nervous system, thus removing vertigo from the system definitively.

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7 Yoga Asanas to Swim Better

Swimming is perhaps the only full-body workout activity that helps you burn calories without sweating. Not only does it involve well-coordinated use of upper and lower limbs, but also requires on good breathing capability. Whether you swim for pleasure or are a professional athlete, chances are that you might encounter injuries at some point of time. While it is impossible to avoid injuries completely, taking precautionary measures to minimize their effect is definitely within your reach.

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Yoga for Gamers

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – this is a phrase we all have heard growing up. While the essence of this phrase was to emphasize on having a fine balance between working and enjoying your life, some might feel otherwise. For a select few, playing is all that there is to life. They can literally eat, drink, pray and sleep sports. Amongst this fine class of sports enthusiasts, a new breed has sprouted in the past decade or so. The couch is their arena, the headphones their headgear, and game controllers their accessories. Unless you’ve been living under the rock, there is a fair chance that you’ve come across the new age gamers who love spending hours in front of a TV or computer, and join clans across the globe with complete strangers, to wander off on dangerous quests.

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5 Yoga Poses to Fight Swine Flu

With Swine Flu spreading like wildfire, the panic amongst people has been on the rise too. To prevent this deadly virus from bringing you down on your knees, it’s important to take the arm yourself with necessary precautions. While medicines and vaccines can help avert and overpower the flu, one must work towards raising the immunity level to safeguard their health. Simple yoga poses like the ones mentioned below can help build immunity level and also strengthen your mind:

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Stay Young with Anti-Aging Yoga

The next time you are watching your favorite soap opera, pay close attention to the commercials and you’ll find a pattern emerge – 1 out of every 3 commercials is of a cosmetic product. Surprised?

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You are a Free Bird – A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

If you are not crazy, you will never find God. Become crazy! Becoming crazy means coming out of your bondages.  Become free. “Vimuktoham”. “I am free”. Feel the freedom.
You are like a free bird. You are fully open. Feel that you are flying like a bird. Fly. This is something which you have to experience within yourself. There is nothing else. If you consider yourself as bonded, you will remain bound here. There should be nothing on your head. This is the meaning of surrender.
What is surrender? Not having anything in your head. If you are traveling in a train, once you get on that train, you put all your things down. You do not carry your things on your head or hold it in your hands. The moment you board a plane, you put your things under the seat or above, you may even go off to sleep.
Experience freedom. When will you experience freedom? After you die?  Become free now, Become contented. There is something in you which says “I have to do this. I have to achieve”. Sometimes, sit at ease thinking ‘I have nothing to do now”. When you sit formeditation you should not even talk. Do not practice this on the dining table, “ I have nothing
to say. Let the food enter my mouth”. This cannot happen. We apply all our principles according to our convenience. If you are told to get up early in the morning and come for meditation, do not say, “I have nothing more to do. I am fine”. The problem with knowledge is that, everything can be interpreted wrongly.
“Naturalness, love, faith, acceptance” these are the four legs of the chair you are seated upon. Even if one among them is cut, your chair begins to shake. You begin to fall.
You say to someone close to you “If you want anything I am there for you’. You should become capable of saying this to everyone. “if you need me I am there for you”. That is called seva.
“I am there for you”, do not be afraid to utter these words because you fear that you will be used by people. Nothing of that sort will happen. You are afraid of opening your fists. We say, “open your fists. The whole sky will be in your hands”. What is there with you, that you have to hold your fists?  You have nothing with you. Be natural. Be with love. Do service. Celebrate all your life.

From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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what is boredom? – Talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

What is boredom?…  Just a repetition, without love, repetition of anything to the extent that it surpasses liking or interest, is boredom. It is not bad, neither is it good. Only man is capable of boredom; no other animal is capable of getting bored. That’s why cows are not bored; they look perfectly happy and seem to be enjoying. Suppose if you have to sing a song and if you don’t like it or if you have to sing it several times you get bored. Suppose you love a song, then it doesn’t bore you, you can sing it the whole day.

Boredom is lack of interest and love. If you keep doing all your practices again and again, that creates boredom. Is there any permanent solution for boredom? What are the reasons behind it? What are our feelings when we are bored? The want of new

What is the nature of the mind? The mind needs something new constantly, every minute, every second… It wants something today,something else tomorrow or an entirely different thing the day after tomorrow. You get bored if you have to eat the same vegetable everyday. You want to taste different varieties of food every day. Why? Mind wants something new all the time.

But how much newness can exist? The wanting for newness has to stop somewhere.

Become Aware of the constant Repetitive Cycle

There is no boredom in love. When lovers write letters they write love, love, love, love all over. They never get bored of it. As you keep repeating and doing your practices again and again,  boredom vanishes and love arises.

Many eat rice everyday, only the vegetables served are different, but the rice is the same. People who are used to eating rice every day never get bored with it and in fact feel unhappy if there is no rice for even one day.

If you are used to somebody shouting at you all the time, you get so used to it that you just let him or her shout, however long they want to and you continue with your work. When you are used to anger, the heat of anger does not affect you.

Whatever the mind gets used to because of practice, it never gets bored with it. So there is a close relationship between practice and love. How? There is repetition in love and there is repetition in practice.

What is the purpose of practice? Practice means doing the same thing again and again like japa or sadhana. The purpose of sadhana is to first bring up boredom and then destroy the boredom. The goal of practice is to root away the boredom within us.

Where is love

The self is all love and love is always repetitive. If the self is all love, then how can you get bored with yourself? Not possible! You are bored with your mind, not with yourself. Mind always wants change. It is bored without change and practice is doing the same thing, repeating the same thing without changing so that the mind gets thoroughly bored and bored and bored.

Sometimes you hum a line of a movie song, bhajan or traditional music which suddenly flashes to you while bathing. You later realise that you would have hummed the whole day, the same line. This is because love and practice has happened. So sit for half an hour every day and say something, Ram, Ram, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva. You keep saying ‘Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya’ and you get bored and bored and the boredom becomes so much that nothing else can really bore you. Only when you penetrate this boredom does love arise.

Boredom and Enthusiasm

Have you noticed a child? A child never gets bored. It says the same thing again and again. If a child asks a question it keeps asking the same thing and it goes on non-stop. You get bored but the child doesn’t get bored. The child is not bored opening the same book several times. There is nothing new in the book, but it opens and closes, opens and closes. That is why mothers have time. They give some toy to the child, the beads in a string. They go on stringing the beads from this side to that side.

If you take children to an exhibition and they see the roller coaster or merry go round and they want to sit on it. You try to convince them, “don’t sit on it, your head will turn. Not today, we will come again tomorrow”. After listening to all that you say, at the end of it they, “daddy I want to sit on it. Mama, I want to sit on it”. Repetition is children’s nature.

When you cannot get bored with yourself, you cannot get bored with anything else in the world. Then if you have to say the same thing over and over again you will say it with the same enthusiasm. Wherever your mind goes meditate on that !

Maharshi Patanjali said, “yathābhimatadhyānādḥvā”. “Wherever your mind goes meditate on that”. If your mind drawn towards your grand child then meditate on your grand child. See God in your grand child and worship the child. Do whatever pleases you. At least let your mind get used to that half an hour of pr

actice. “yathābhimatadhyānādḥvā”. Do whatever pleases you the most. We had been to a place near kerala where we saw an idol. The idol was half Ganesha and half Hanuman. We were surprised to see this new idol. We had seen nothing like it before. We have seen Ganesha, Hanuman, Ardhanareeshwara (half man and woman) and Harihara (Shiva and Vishnu together). So we were surprised to see half Ganesha and half Hanuman, Ganesha’s trunk was cut into half and had become the face of Hanuman, Why this?

Humans have used up all that was there in the past and are bored by it, so there was this new combination of Gods. The idea was to arrest the mind in the new form. Now the mind runs towards Ganesha and also towards Hanuman. So what to do? Okay, join both of them. There is no harm in doing this. It is good if the mind stands still.

Move from Boredom to celebration

We are often bored with our own selves. To take away the boredom in us we keep doing many things and keep wandering everywhere. If the stink is arising from your mouth what is the use of applying perfume all over the house? What is the use of spraying the air-
freshener or lighting an agarbathi (incense) stick in the house? From where is the stink coming? It is coming from the stomach. Till you treat the stomach, the stink will not vanish. If you want relieve yourself from your boredom and you try to be in someone else’s company, they will be more bored than you, If you are bored with your self, they how much boring you must be for others?

Do your personal satsang everyday. Sit down everyday and assume that you have a return ticket in your hand and think that you are going to leave today. See how peaceful the mind becomes. You can see a vision. A vision which reveals that everything is a dream and
this life is only for a short time. The moment this realization dawns in you, the fault-
finding mind which keeps saying “that is not right, this is not right”, becomes calm, unless the grumbling mind is quietened, you will never get the ultimate. ‘When we are joyous with ourselves, then nothing from outside can seem boring to us’

Even if your practices are boring, then know that is doing its job. If it is giving you joy, then also know that it is doing its job. In eitherway practice, whether it is giving you joy or boredom. Don’t change your practices if you are bored with them. Be with the boredom,be with the practice and you will see a break through happening in you. If you change the practice and then you do another practice, you will just keep changing the practice and the mind remains as it is. It does not get transformed. Boredom is the boiling point of the mind, the mind bursts.

From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Cupid’s Struck my Yoga Mat!!

Valentine’s Day is back! For some it’s a pressure test, for others it’s about butterflies, for a few it’s about expressions and the rest just flow with the feeling! We are breaking the monotone this Valentine’s and making it adventurous! Breaking the ice with a new partner or deepening intimacy with your old flame will take a new meaning henceforth! Flowers, chocolates and diamonds can take a back seat and you can now connect with your favourite person on the Yoga mat! These six Yoga poses will help you have fun, recharge, and heat up the chemistry beyond the mat!

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