Sankalpa - A Yogic Resolution
So it's January again! And as ever, we are all thinking up of our New Years Resolutions and goals. Both Aya and I write our usual list of a billion of things to do, goals to achieve, places to go, things to stop doing, things to start doing, our lists are endless. We can imagine we are not alone with this. So what if there was a way to work towards all of this at the same time in a simple and even relaxing way? Well there is. In the practice of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra can be described as practice of deep relaxation or 'Yogic sleep'
"You can say that the main purpose of Yoga nidra is to realise one’s sankalpa. Whether this is true or not, sankalpa has the potential to release tremendous power by clearly defining and focusing on a chosen goal. Its effect is to awaken the willpower within by uniting the conscious awareness with the unconscious forces lying dormant." (Satyananda)
A Sankalpa is a Yogic resolution, in some way it is similar to our News Years Resolution. The difference is that this one is a life long affirmation, that will grow to improve all areas of your life.
Sankalpa, described as a golden seed, is planted during Yoga Nidra, into the fertile soil of the subconscious mind. (This is when we are asked to repeat our sankalpa during Yoga Nidra/Relaxation). Our subconscious mind is most 'fertile' when we are in that almost asleep state. You can also use a sankalpa in your day to day life by repeating it in the mind, or setting it as an intention during your physical Yoga practice.
So why not take some time to have a think about that one special sentence that could manifest joy, peace, abundance and love in all areas of your life. In fact if you had all these things wouldn't all your goals and dreams already be coming true? And if you already a sankalpa, stick with it, keep it with you and keep it in your practice. It is sure to grow and emerge into lots of wonderful things!
If you would like to practice more Yoga Nidra with us, we always do plenty on our Yoga retreats and workshops. We even have a very special New Years Workshop coming up this Sunday 8th Jan 5-7pm at Islington Arts Factory, checkout the link below to book your place!
Stop, Drop and Savasana!
In times of stress and struggle, triumph and joy, transition and change and basically in any moment of our lives Savasana can be key to gathering ourselves together and coming home. Savasana can create the time and space for us to let go, move on and surrender to whatever is happening in the wonderful world around us . In fact in times of stress, if everyone in your workplace would just stop and lie on the floor in silence for 5 minutes, we are sure that the world would be a better place! We would say, when in doubt, 'Stop, Drop and Savasana!'
Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Despite its grim name, Savasana can be one of the most uplifting and feel good postures there is. Yes it is an actual Asana (Yoga posture) rather than just lying on the floor! Here are some benefits;
Stress Relief- The body holds stress in the form of muscle contraction. As you lie on the floor and relax, the body can begin to let go of this tension. No need to hold yourself, or hold anything at all, let the floor hold you. This can leave the body and mind feeling safe, calm and free.
Decompress the spine - Gravity is pushing down and compressing our spine everyday. Sitting at a desk for long hours and carrying heavy bags (especially on one shoulder) can really take its tole. The poor body needs to be decompressed. When you lie down, gravity will be pressing down on the whole body in your favour (spreading you out, rather than squashing you down from the top of your head), making space in the spine and your joints.
Self Acceptance - After working so hard in your Yoga class, or your day at work, savasana is a moment where you can just be. No need to do more or do anything at all. Just be in your body, in this moment and breathe.
*Keep the back on the neck long, lightly tuck the chin towards the chest.If this is too difficult you may need a block or pillow behind your head.
*If you have a bad lower back, you maybe more comfy with the knees up, or an extra mat under the knees. See the picture above.
*When coming out of the posture roll to the side first and use your hands to help you up. See below.
So why not add a little savasana into your daily life? Its so simple, easy and so worth it. When you have 3-5 minutes to spare, simply stop, drop and Savasana. It can leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for anything!
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas (morals of Yoga) from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It can be transalated as,“non-hoarding”, “non-possessiveness” and “non-attachment” This Yama can be related to so many situations in its meaning. Anything from hoarding to many shoes, clothes and lovely things to being over possessive in our relationships, or too attached to our status or jobs. The one phrase I would say best describes Aparigraha is to 'let go'. We can remind ourselves to practice Aparigraha in our physical Yoga class by letting go. Whenever we remember to stop clenching our jaw when balancing, or holding on for dear life by crunching up those toes, and stop holding our breath, we are practicing Aparigraha.
When we learn to phyically let go of what is not needed in our yoga practice, we can stop trying too hard. We can get out of our own way and just let it happen with ease and enjoyment. This concept can be seen in our daily lives too. Have you ever struggled with the following? We certainly have at times!
There's an important difference between giving up and letting go.
Ahimsa - Be kind to yourself
As we strive to keep up with our Yoga practice, what can we do to ensure our intentions and efforts will last a lifetime? We would like to share with you something that we think is key to keeping up, enjoying and fully benefiting from a regular Yoga practice.
The word Yoga means union, union of the body, mind and soul. The physical practice of Yoga as we know it, is actually just a small part of many elements that make the bigger picture of 'Yoga' There are many moral underpinnings of Yoga, one of which is Ahimsa- अहिंसा; Non harming and the practice of kindness to yourself and others.
Have you ever found yourself doing the following in a Yoga class, or even in your day to day life?
'Ahimsa is the highest ideal. It is meant for the brave, never for the cowardly'