Before, no After Yoga

There is a BEFORE yoga , 
there isn’t an AFTER
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or to quote one of my first and maybe most inspiring yoga teachers Kathy Elder “yoga has a beginning, it doesn’t have an end”. I knew she was right, but how right, how much truth about the practice she confined in that sentence, I think I’m still in the beginning to grasp that truth. (If it can be grasped at all)
Yoga isn’t about being flexible , it is not even about becoming flexible, it is about removing the limitations of tightness and weakness, anger and fear, delusion and ignorance .
The journey of yoga, an inward journey, is a never-ending journey without any final destination. Its a process. A process of self-realisation and self-exploration. Inquiry and investigation, together with discipline and wonderment.
Yoga (Especially the Ashthanga sequences and method) is a system, call it a science, and because of that we can see results. Not that it is about results, but we need results to move onwards.
How to measure yoga? That is only what you can do for yourself, and that is one (and maybe the only) thing the yoga practice is about; that internal communication with your Self. But we like something concrete, something our ego, and with that our third chakra, can relate to. We want visual facts. For the practitioner often the question rises of “how long?” How long before I can catch my toes? Have my legs behind the head? Lift up and float to chaturanga? And when can catch my heels? There isn’t an answer, as everyone is different, and we have to honor that. But here are my facts.
I never started yoga because I was flexible, neither because I was strong and stuff like handstand was easy. No, my BEFORE yoga was a super tight body, couldn’t reach my toes with straight legs, and all that stuff like handstands, lotus, back drops, cartwheels and legs behind the head was somethings I couldn’t do, I never did, not even as a child and didn’t know it was possible. If I had seen it before, I was sure you had to be female, Russian, or at least eastern European , and under 12 years old.
That I started yoga, was a mere coincidence (if there is something like coincidence), when a colleague invited me to a a yoga class at the gym. But I did felt the benefits from that first session, and that kept me going on the journey.
And I never started teaching teaching because I was flexible, or that it came easy to me. Even after my YTT I still had so much mobility and body awareness to ‘gain’.
And that journey is ongoing.
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To put it on a timeline ;
After a about a year of doing about 3 yoga classes every day I was able to reach my toes in a sitting forward bend.
After about 6 months of doing 3 yoga classes every day, I got introduced to the Ashthanga primary series. I didn’t know anything about it, and I didn’t know that there were more sequences to come, I never heard about jump back vinyasa, floating, kapotanasana or back drop .
I have to say; yoga changed my life, Ashthanga changed my yoga.
After 3 months of Ashthanga I was doing half lotus, and attempting full lotus. Marichyasana D was getting there, and the chest was moving down towards the floor in upavistha konasana. Back bending would be more challenging and slower journey .
These are the BEFORE (after 1 year of daily Ashthanga primary series practice, and 1.5 year of a daily intense yoga asana practice, I just started to manage drop back, coming up was a definitely “not yet”, and I just started practicing at KPJAYI) and AFTER, exactly 5 years later.
The video I shot on my old note book, I can not open anymore on my tablet . And I had to use another ancient laptop to play the out of date video format and record it with my phone.
(Video recordings check Facebook for video #plate486)
And the spine can change, the body can change, that are the concrete visual results.
5 years of practice, often it felt I hardly moved half a millimeter at a stretch or not at all. And its all in progress, it is still moving, changing and it will never stop. Its a story, it is a journey. So if you are tight, if you are stiff, if you feel like you cannot move at all. Take that journey, and it will lead you somewhere, step by little step, breathe by a deeper breathe. Let the asana become a story of journey. And being stiff that journey will be probably more colourful and meaningful. To end with a quote of Iyengar; “natural flexibility is the greatest enemy of yoga “.
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Mysore style practice

Mysore style

The Mysore style of yoga teaching is unique to the Ashthanga Vinyasa Yoga tradition designed by Sri K Pattabhi Jois last century. It enables the student to practice (explore) a fixed sequence of yoga asana on her/his on pace by following external as well as internal guidance. External guidance would be a teacher, who assist with mostly hands-on adjustments and fewer verbal instructions, and the inspiration of the fellow students around. Internal guidance would be foremost the breathe, the internal dialogue and body intuition / intelligence.
The student is not blindly following the instructions of the teacher but is activley present with the yoga sequence that is happening. The mind aswell as the body are involved in the sequence. Some days the body isn’t moving at all, other days the mind just seems totally out of it. It is here that observation of both body and mind takes place. Concentration, focus, preparation, calculation and observation are all qualities of the brain that need to be trained too. To remember which pose comes next requires some mental effort, and prevents the brain of zoning out into oblivion. It keeps the brain connected to the present, what is happening here and now. Mysore style of teaching puts more responsibility with the student and allows more space for the internal observation. It honors the diversity of the body, and let the student work with that diversity.
The teacher is not instructing the student with which asana comes next; but allows the student to move through her/his practice and adjusting where necessary. The adjustment are mostly physically and directed directly to the body, to prevent ego involvement. Though the teacher will observe both body and mind, and will work on both to create space, strength and ultimately balance and harmony.
The Mysore style of teaching goes hand in hand with the Ashthanga vinyasa sequences, though the style of teaching could be extended to any kind of sequence. As long as the student and teacher know which sequence is being followed, the Mysore style class could be functioning. Different sequences for different students to honor the diversity of the students. It requires intimate involvement of the teacher which her/his student practice and it asks from the student a commitment to the practice and an independent attitude. As a student you have to follow your inner guidance, using your internal devises to navigate yourself through the practice (and eventually life). The teacher is not there to tell you which pose is next and what to do, though will tell you when you forget. The teacher will guide you through the practice where it is necessary by letting you do your own practice.
The body remembers by repetition, its the mind that’s label’s repetition as boredom. The mind likes to spin, to move in between opposites. When the body remembers stillness, it will ask for more. That is where the asana and vinyasa comes in, the effect of the asana plus the sequence is one of inducing stillness (how stimulating, energizing, aggravating or heating it may seem at first glance ). The body and eventually the mind will long for that stillness. From there chance will happen.
Ahimsaka is offering every weekday the possibility of Mysore style classes from 6 a.m. to 7.45 a.m., at Dili Ashthanga Yoga, hosted at Dili Wellness / The upstairs Studio , Comoro road (opposite Leader, next to Harish and Dili Club). Please contact Ahimsaka first if you like to practice Mysore style.

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Ashthanga yoga & running

(Ashthanga) yoga & running
Ashthanga vinyasa yoga practice can benefit your running practice.
“I cannot take a yoga class because I’m not flexible is like saying I cannot take a shower because I’m dirty “. As yoga isn’t about being flexible, actually not even about becoming flexible (though it is a beneficial side effect), it is about purifying the body and mind. Mosts sports start with “I can’t do that”. But after the initial start it moves towards the attitude of “I ran 5 miles, maybe I can ran 10 next time” or” I did 10 push ups, maybe I can do 15″. The reply to not able to do yoga would be;” you could when you start training”. Which coincides with the infamous saying of the father of Ashthanga yoga himself, Sri K Pattabhi Jois; “practice, practice, practice and all will come.
Running will not make your physical practice of asana better, but yoga will definitely make your running better, physically speaking. As long as runners can make peace with that idea, it will make it a whole lot easier to move through 1st series ashtanga yoga for 90 minutes. You are bound to be tight, but without yoga you will only get tighter and probably experience more injuries.
Both in 90 mins of ashtanga yoga or 90 minutes of running you will have to overcome the quitter’s mind. That during 90 minutes of either activity you are probably going to question yourself ; “What was I thinking to do 90 minutes of yoga/running.” Something is going to hurt, some posture, or mile is going to be brutal, and you might start to lose your motivation. When doing anything physical you are going to run up against that voice in your head that is the pessimist, the nay-sayer. This is where running and yoga are similar. They are both working on the mind, more than on the body. Your body can do just about anything it is the mind that is often the limited factor.
When practicing / training 99% of the people are actually facing doubt, insecurity, worry, fear the “negative” self. The nay-sayer voice that around mile 16 tells you, “You can’t do it.”, is the same voice in yoga that will try to tell you you can’t come up out of a back drop either. The voice is the same, it comes from the same place and can be put to rest the same way no matter if it’s running or yoga. The yoga teacher, Tim Miller, likes to say “Experience is the remover of doubt.” Every time you run 5 miles, it erases the doubt that you can’t run 6. Every time you run 6, it erases the doubt that I can’t do 7. .
The surya namaskars are equivalent to the first mile of any run you go on. It’s the warm up mile, where you find your legs and the rhythm of your breathing. The standing poses are equivalent to a 5k (3 miles), it’s enough of a run on a busy day. The seated postures, up to Marichyasana are equal to about 5 miles. Right in the heart of what are commonly called the speed pump poses in ashtanga there is navasana, bhujapidasana, kurmasana. These are like mile 6, where you start second guessing yourself, and this crazy idea of staying fit. Mile 7 of a 9 mile run starts to smooth out just a bit as you start thinking you’re in the home stretch. Just like the poses baddha konasana, upavishta konasana, and supta padangsthasana do in yoga. You might think backbends are mile 9, but they are only mile 8, you must save enough energy after backbends to complete your inversions and come in strong to savasana. Savasana is equivalent to the cool down after a long run. You don’t just sit down after a long run, or you will quickly stiffen up. You will struggle just to get your shoes off later, if you don’t incorporate a good cool down. Savasana is necessary and so is a good cool down walk after a long run.

The rhythm of breathing, the rhythm of the legs and arms working together, and how the pessimistic mind doesn’t have to win out. Most runs and most yoga practices conquer negativity. Push through the rough spots and come out on the other end better for it. Staring down your inner self has a profound way of changing you. Running and yoga remove doubts by doing the things that you thought couldn’t be done.
Running tightens you, Yoga will save you from injuries and even burn-out. It will also give your running longevity. Ashtanga yoga is an excellent tool for building strength, flexibility, reducing anxiety, and keeping a person fit. To give an inner focus which often lacked and increased body awareness. Running tightens and stresses the body; it can be harsh and jarring. Yoga strengthens the entire body; lubricates each joint; deepens and calms the breath; and, in addition to all the physical and emotional benefits, is a deeply spiritual practice that makes us more mindful and peaceful.
Deep or diaphragmatic (as opposed to chest breathing) brings more oxygen deeper into the lungs, ultimately engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. When were are in “parasympathetic dominance,” the mind is calmer, the heart rate is slower, less stress hormones are produced, and perceived exertion decreases.
In “Going the Distance”, (again in Yoga Journal, though this one is available to read online), Nancy Coulter-Parker writes about increasing athletic endurance—what she defines as “the ability to persevere”—with yoga, which made her feel strong and capable. Through her asana practice she became intimate with her breath, and learned what pushing too hard sounds and feels like. Before yoga she felt like her body was an inanimate object outside of herself. Something that, for better or worse, hung dispassionately from her head. Yoga has and continues to reintroduce and reintegrate herself to herself.
Yoga helps athletes focus on what is going on inside the body. It is really good at honing that internal voice,” she says. And because Ashtanga is so physically challenging, she has been forced to cultivate the yogic practices of mindfulness, awareness and non-self.
Yoga is not an athletic endeavor. It is much more, and in some ways, more difficult (much like the practice of maintaining self worth apart from achieving the full expression of a particular pose). So while runners should be mindful of the practice they choose, the lessons yoga has to teach any athlete are many. The yoga’s tradition of interconnectedness where all things—including running—are as divine (and yogic) as you let them be.
Often, even our understanding of “concentration” is equated with a straining mental force. In meditation we begin to learn that real concentration depends on a light, delicate, patient kind of mental control, and in time this becomes an effortless, undistracted mindfulness. Both Ashthanga vinyasa yoga  and running, or anything else with a repetitive rhythm (like just breathing!), helps to enable that mind falling “into the moment”.

Based on the post by Stand and face the sun, Posted on 11/15/2013 and other online articles.
Related Online Articles:
BoulderRunning.com, “Runner’s Best Friend – Downward Dog,” by Katrina Mohr.
LA Yoga, “Running into Yoga,” by Ryan Allen
Yoga.com, “How Yoga Can Better Your Running Technique,” by Maia Appleby
Yoga Journal, “Yoga for Runners,” by Baron Baptiste and Kathleen Finn Mendola
“Running Buddahs ” Christopher J. Hayden wrote and produced a 1992 documentary on the the monks of Mount Hiei and John Stevens wrote the book The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, published by Shambhala Publications.

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wake up yoga

Mondays-Fridays,

Upstairs Studio @ Dili  Wellness 

Celebrate a new day with a 2-in-1 dynamic yoga class:
6:15-6:45am = wake-up yoga, short

(Sun salutations + variations: take some rest and move wakefully into your day.)

6:15-7:30am = wake-up yoga, long

(Or, stay and continue into a standard ashtanga inspired morning yoga sequence.)
Both parts of this unit class are intended to create your own morning yoga ritual.  For regular practitioners the class can be modified to create your own personalized yoga routine.  For the occasional practitioner and the curious a wholistic, dynamic yoga sequence is offered to help you feel complete and awake in this new day.

Price:

Drop-in for short session = $8

Drop-in for long session = $15

5-class pass for short session = $25 (valid for 1 week only, Monday-Friday)

5-class pass for long session = $60 (valid for 1 week only, Monday-Friday, for any long wake up yoga or yin classes)
20-class pass = $200 (valid for 1 month only, for any long wake up yoga or yin classes)

*Ahimsa-ka prefers pre-registration for all of his classes.  Please pre-register by contacting him at: ahimsaka.satya@gmail.com+670-7349-7678

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yoga class and workshop schedule december 2014 into 2015

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class schedule from December 2014 and onwards (2015)


Ahimsaka extended his stay at the Gedong Gandhi Ashram in Candidasa, Bali-east and will dedicate his time to teaching according the following schedule at this ocean front location.


-every Monday* & Wednesday ; 4pm – 5.30pm hatha yoga


-every Friday & Sunday ; 4pm – 530pm yin/pratyahara yoga


-every morning 7am ; sun salutations and variations, yoga-puja for and with the ashram members, more than occasionally open to ashram guests and visitors. Designed to support a self-practice and to enkindle the inner-fire or our solar energy.


(please inquire if classes are open before hand with Ahimsaka)


hatha2ashtanga workshop (long weekend)

every first and third friday of the month
(see information below)


ashtanga vinyasa immerison workshops
(see information and dates below)


for more information & inquiry about the workshops @
http://www.baliashramyoga.com or
baliashramyoga@gmail.com


– for additional (private) yoga sessions at the ashram please inquire with ahimsaka; available time slots 10am to 11.30am
(or other slots maybe created depending on the situation/ not available during workshop and retreat).
ahimsaka.satya@gmail.com


additional (private) yoga sessions can be personally catered to your body-mind needs, using yoga (asana, pranayama, meditation) as therapeutic skills, or to create some more time to explore the different aspects of yoga or target different parts of your complete body**. The classes can be shaped onto a focus on asana (classical-, vinyasa- or yin-style), pranayama and/or meditation. The classes can be for one person or more, and can be used for the ashram guests if they desire more yoga.  


* if workshops are happening these afternoon sessions will be tuned in with the workshop and focused on yin/pratyahara yoga
**Alternatively the classes can be aimed to assist with different activities as diving, surfing or a mysore-style format.


>>> hatha2asthanga workshop >>>
twice a month, every 1st and 3rd friday of the month***
(***except when dynamic hatha retreats and asthanga vinyasa immersion workshops are scheduled)
This twenty hours workshop is a middle path between the dynamic hatha yoga retreats and the asthanga vinyasa yoga workshop. It follows the same structure as the ashtanga vinyasa workshop but allows for more openness and diversity in the classes. Depending on the participant preference and needs it can be individually catered towards a more strengthening ashtanga vinyasa practice (set out by Sri Patthabi Jois), or personal designed sequence to (re-) establish a yoga self-practice for in depth exploration of the practice. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga has it roots in hatha yoga, and both share the same source, the 8 (astau) folded path of yoga written down in the yoga sutras by Patanjali. This exploration will cover all the limbs of the 8 folded path of hatha yoga. The yoga practice has been designed to awaken the inner fire of yoga, which is the thread that weaves through the classes of yoga offered in this workshop. To bring out positive changes in our body,mind and life we must enkindle our inner fire. The workshop is hosted at the Gedong Gandhi Ashram and offers a sublime space for self-reflection and self-realization. This exploration workshop is for anyone who likes to move a bit deeper within, to builld a foundation for a yoga self-practice or just wants to immerse into three full days of yoga to balance body/mind.

Hatha yoga creates an understanding of our solar (ha), and lunar (tha) energy in our body and mind and to use both in our (asana) yoga practice and beyond. The Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence has an equal focus on lengthening and strengthening the body. In the hatha into ashtanga workshop we take both angles and join them together as a starting point into our own personal practice. The Ashtanga Primary sequence is used as inspiration for the on going journey into yoga and working our complete body/mind.
The early morning classes will establish a set sequence of yoga asana for you to take up as a self practice. This sequence will have the same structure as the primary series and can be used as a preliminary into the primary sequence, it could also be used as a therapeutic alternative depending on the current body/mind needs, or as a complimentary sequence targeting specific areas of the body/mind that need more attention and development to help facilitate the primary sequence. The mid morning classes will target specific area’s of yoga asana as back bending, inversions, hip-opening, core-strengthening and vinyasa. The mid afternoon session is questions and answers and could cover more the theoretical aspects of yoga. The late afternoon session will be focused on pratyahara yoga; sense-withdrawal, concentration and meditation techniques integrated with the breath and yoga asana. This workshop can be used as in introduction, preparation or exploration into the ashtanga vinyasa yoga as well.

Ashtanga vinyasa is a more strenuous yoga practice, and meant to be heating and purifying the body/mind. Both hatha and vinyasa yoga have many therapeutic aspects in them and are meant to be a (w)holistic practice, targeting the complete body and mental body. The first guide line is always to move within the limits of your own body. Learning to listen to your own body (and breath). From there we explore these limits, taking them as frontiers rather then limitations, and going beyond any set expectations you maybe have of your body/mind.

>>> Hatha2Ashtanga >>>

Format: (meals and puja times etc are according the ashram schedule)
” 6.30 am to 8.15 am: Ashtanga inspired Led class
” 10.15 am to 12 noon: special class
” 3 pm to 4 pm: Q&A Discussion
” 4 pm to 5.30: Yin-yoga/Pratyahara yoga- targeting connective tissue, sense-withdrawal,
breath-work, meditation. (open to non retreat’s participants)

Ashtanga Vinyasa Immersion workshop

An immersion into ashtanga (-vinyasa-) yoga for beginners, the curious and the ashtanga
practitioner who wants to explore and deepen their self practice. Inspired on; but not limited to, the ashtanga vinyasa sequence of Sri Patthabi Jois

dates 2015
23-27 April
4-8 July
15-19 July
24-28 October

(can be combined with the dynamic hatha yoga retreats happening prior to these dates)

A full yoga program covering all the 8 limbs (Ashtanga) of yoga according to the yoga sutras. 3 days of exploration and with the focus of establishing, or fine-tuning, your own yoga practice. Not only the yoga asana, but as a whole (holistic) life style. Depending on where you are with your body and mind the sequence can be modified, adding or skipping asana (or vinyasa), and with additional classes specialized in hip-opening, back-bending, vinyasa, and “yin-yoga for ashtangi’s” (weaving the limbs of the 8/astau limbs of the yoga practice into the physical asana practice) to supply you with more technique, information and practice. Early morning classes are built around the “primary ashtanga sequence”, sun salutations, the primary asana sequence working the whole body/mind. The late morning classes are more of a workshop based class, which target specific parts of the body and mind and go deeper in some of the hatha/ashtanga yoga technique and asana. The late afternoon classes are “lunar-energy” style asana (3rd limb) classes, based of sense-withdrawal “pratyahara”(5th limb), breath exercises (4th limb), concentration techniques (6th limb), elements of yoga nidra and meditation (7th limb). The afternoon session center around the “sukham” part (ease/joy) of the yoga asana, and to apply that into the morning classes, creating sthira (steady/balanced) and sukha within the asana. Making Self-expression part of the whole.

The ashtanga practice is definitely a more strenuous practice, and meant to be a “purifying” practice, the first guide line is always to work within the limits of your own body. Learning to listing to your own body (and breath). From there we explore these limits, taking them as frontiers rather than limitations, and going beyond the set expectations you maybe have of your body and mind.

Ashtanga Format: (meals and puja times etc are according the ashram schedule)
” 6.30 am to 8.15 am: Ashtanga primary Led class
” 10.15 am to 12 noon: special class
” 3 pm to 4 pm: Q&A Discussion
” 4 pm to 5.30: Yin-yoga for Ashtangi’s – targeting connective tissue, sense-withdrawal,
breath-work, meditation. (open to non retreat’s participants)

commends on the previous ashtanga vinyasa immersion workshops and dynamic hatha retreat 2014, at the Gedong Gandhi Ashram.

Alison Worthington (Australia)

I felt truly blessed to have found the Gedong Gandhi Ashram and this retreat during my visit to Indonesia this year. The retreat and the peaceful location provided me with so much inspiration for my yoga practice. The Ashtanga practice was very challenging but was delivered so capably and with such generosity of spirit by Ahimsaka. I wish I could stay longer in his company to mine more of the riches of Ashtanga yoga with his guidance. Everything else in the retreat was just a bonus on top for me. The beautiful community meals, being invited to join in puja, and the afternoon Yin practice filled my days so wonderfully. I want to congratulate Ahimsaka, Rudi, Jackson and all of the Ashram crew and members for welcoming us retreat guests so warmly. Huge thanks also to my fellow yoga students Naomi, Lissette, Rudi, Olivia and Nico (and Elke!). We shared some very special times in our practice, the warmest and friendliest I have ever been part of. I felt very comfortable and encouraged by you all.. thank you for the smiles.. and thanks in advance for all the photos!

Naomi Koster (Hatha) from the Netherlands

Let me start by saying that I had an amazing time in the ashram during the yoga retreat! First of all, the ashram itself was wonderful. Its location next to the ocean, the wide set-up, with several bungalows not too close to each other and the yoga place in the middle make this a very peaceful place to stay. Since my bungalow was near the sea,  I woke up every morning with the sound of the waves, which is a good way to wake up! Also the ashram members made me feel very welcome from the beginning. Everyone seems very relaxed and open to other people. I liked the ‘communal’ meals, with all the guests of the ashram together and besides that the food itself was delicious. I really liked to taste real Indonesian food. In total I stayed for three weeks in Indonesia, but the food at the ashram was the best food I had! The bungalow itself was also nice. I especially liked the hammock outside and the fact that we got tea or coffee at 3 each day to enjoy on our terrace. The only (minor) point of improvement (yes, I promised I would give a few!) is that the mattress was very thin, which made the bed not the most comfortable one I’ve been in. Related to that, one more thing to make it reaaaally comfortable would be to have hot water to shower. However, I hardly had that anywhere on Bali and the temperature outside is warm, so it is not a very important point.
Then of course, the yoga retreat. As a yoga beginner, beforehand I was a little bit scared the level would be too high for me. However, immediately during the first class I found out that level didn’t matter. Since Ahimsaka is such a good teacher and the yoga group was small, everyone could do the class at their own ‘capacity’. I really liked that we just did the whole sequence in once instead of taking one part each day, because this way, I could see improvements much better and I could get used to the sequence so I could practice it at home as well. Ahimsaka had adjustments to the sequences for every level, which means for me that I now know some variations to poses that I’m not flexible enough for. The programme of the ashtanga retreat was also very well balanced. I liked the fact that it was quite intensive, with three classes each day starting at 6.30, and I really liked the midmorning ‘workshops’ where we got into much more depth on specific elements.I think the small group size was a big advantage, because that makes it easier to connect with the other people in the group and also to help each other during the yoga classes I also appreciated the ‘question and answer’ hour a lot! I found it very useful (30 minutes practice to do at home) and inspirational (background and mindset of yoga).
So overall judgement is a 9 out of 10 I would say! I really enjoyed my stay and if I want some time for myself, to do yoga and relax, I will definitely come back. Also, I’ve been continuing the yoga practice at home, alternating between the whole sequence and the 30 minute one, feels great!

Olivia and Nico (France)

“It was a great experience. The Gandhi Ashram is a wonderful place where you can feel spirituality and quietness. The members of the Ashram are lovely. Ahimsaka is a amazing teacher, living according his practice, enthusiastic, careful, generous, always guiding us to go further than our limits. He has an ideal balance between physical practice and interiority. A great teacher !!!
The Schedule was great, a lot of practice, that was perfect.
We really appreciated a lot than you finally find the arrangement with Kelapa Mas, letting us having this wonderful experience despite the fact we couldn’t stay at the ashram. {Due to Ashram’s strict married couples requirement. -Ed}
The class in the water palace was great, it was lovely to take us there. Thank you also for taking me to the healer who was helpful for my foot.
Just a few ideas to make this stay really perfect :
Maybe a week of practice or 5 full days could be better and a  vegetarian diet as it is written in the wall (Gandhi’s words) and according the yogic rules of non violence
Thanks you to all of you, Take care and go on with this peaceful and compassion spirit of the Ashram, We hope meeting you again

Kinds regards, Olivia and Nico
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108 benefits of meditation

Physical Benefits:
1. It increases blood flow while slowing the heart rate
2. It decreases, normalizes respiratory rate
3. It lowers, normalizes oxygen consumption
4. Increases exercise tolerance
5. Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation
6. Reduces high blood pressure
7. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate
8. Decreases muscle tension
9. Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis, etc.
10. Reduces pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms
11. Helps in post-operative healing
12. Enhances the immune system
13. Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14. Enhances energy, strength and vigor
15. Helps with weight loss
16. Helps reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17. Improves higher skin resistance
18. Decreases cholesterol levels, lowers risk of heart diseases
19. Improves flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing
20. Decreases the aging process
21. Promotes higher levels of DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone)
22. Prevents, slows or controls pain of chronic diseases
23. Makes you sweat less
24. Cures, alleviates headaches & migraines
25. Promotes greater orderliness of brain functioning
26. Reduces need for medical care
27. Minimizes energy wasted
28. Promotes inclination to an active lifestyle
29. Helps relief from asthma
30. improves performance in athletic events
31. Helps with normalization to your ideal weight
32. Harmonizes the endocrine system
33. Relaxes our nervous system
34. Produces lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35. Enhances fertility (reduces the stresses of infertility which can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation)
Psychological Benefits:
36. Builds self-confidence
37. Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behavior
38. Helps to resolve phobias & fears
39. Helps control with our own thoughts
40. Helps with focus & concentration
41. Increases creativity
42. Increases brain wave coherence.
43. Improves learning ability and memory
44. Increases feelings of vitality and rejuvenation
45. Increases emotional stability
46. improves relationships
47. Slows mental aging
48. Helps to eliminate addictions and bad habits
49. Enhances intuition
50. Increases productivity, minimizing procrastination
51. Improves relations at home & at work
52. Improves the ability to see the larger picture in a given situation
53. Helps with letting go of petty issues
54. Increases ability to solve complex problems
55. Improves your character
56. Develops will power
57. Improves greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58. Promotes faster and effective reaction time to a stressful event
59. Increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60. Promotes higher intelligence growth rate
61. Promotes increased job satisfaction
62. Increases in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63. Decreases in potential mental illness
64. Promotes better, more sociable behavior
65. Promotes less aggressiveness
66. Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol and other forms of addiction
67. Reduces need for and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68. Helps with faster recovery from little sleep or sleep deprivation
69. Helps promote less time to fall asleep, helps with insomnia
70. Increases sense of responsibility
71. Reduces road rage and violence in general
72. Decreases restless thinking
73. Decreases tendency to worry
74. Increases listening skills and empathy
75. Helps make more accurate judgements
76. Promotes greater tolerance
77. Gives composure to act in considerate & constructive ways
78. Promotes a stable, more balanced personality
79. Helps to develop emotional maturity
Spiritual Benefits:
80. Helps keep things in perspective
81. Provides peace of mind, happiness
82. Helps you discover your purpose
83. Increases self-actualization
84. Increases compassion
85. Promotes growing in wisdom and awareness
86. Enhances deeper understanding of yourself and others
87. Helps brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88. Promotes deeper levels of spiritual connection
89. Increases acceptance of oneself
90. Helps learn forgiveness
91. Changes inflexible attitudes toward life
92. Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93. Promotes enlightened states of being
94. Promotes greater inner directed-ness
95. Helps living in the present moment
96. Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97. Promotes discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98. Enhances experience of the inner sense of “knowingness”
99. Enhances experience of “oneness”
100. Increases the synchronicity in your life
101. Enhances a deeper appreciation for nature
102. Promotes greater connection with others
103. Promotes greater contentment and peace
104. Helps with living in the “now”
105. Promotes a deeper sense of gratitude
106. Brings greater quality of life
107. Enhances greater connection to universal truths
108. Enhances the experience of universal love

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chandra namaskara

ahimsaka satya chandra namaskara

salutations to the moon
As there are many variations of sun salutations, there are also different variations of moon salutations. Often less know though, or mixed as variations within sun salutations.  The moon salutations add lunar energy to a solar energy dominated practice, create harmony, and can be a grounding, calming end to a session of sun salutations.
The following sequence of a moon salutation series, can be practiced as a stand alone practice, for a more grounding and calming practice. Or as a start for more “yin-yoga”, lunar energy, focused practice.  Where the classical sun salutations predominately alternate between forward bends and back bends, this sequence of moon salutations focuses more on side stretching and twisting. It is a complementary asana sequence, when combined with classical sun salutations gives full range of movements to the spine. 
Whereas the twelve positions of surya namaskara relate to the twelve zodiac or solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of chandra namaskara relate to the fourteen lunar phases. In the lunar calendar the fourteen days before the full moon are known as sukla paksha, the bright fortnight, and the fourteen days after the full moon are known as krishna paksha, the dark fortnight. The name of each day introduces each asana and is used as a basis for learning the days of the lunar cycle. Doing both both the left and right site, all the lunar phases are being passed.
The lunar energy flows within ida nadi, relating to the para-sympathetic nervous system in our physical  body. It has a cool, relaxing and creative qualities. It has a introverted or mental force and is responsible for consciousness.
When practicing the chandra namaskara as a stand alone practice, honoring the moon, it is best practiced at night, especially when the moon is visible, or at dawn at the time of the full moon. Be aware of the different experiences giving by the changing aspects of the moon. Make sure the stomach is empty before starting the practice. Synchronize the movement with the breath and where the breath is in the body (where can the breath move freely and where is the breath restricted) while holding each position. For activating the ida nadi, start with the left leg first, and take the left side of the poses first. This will have a more calming and grounding effect. When in the “moon-pose” ( shashankasana, shashank also means moon in sanskrit as is the word chandra, also translated into hare or rabbit pose, or balasana, childpose, but in this variation keeping the hands to the front of the mat ), create a feeling of instant relaxation, surrendering the body and mind, and let the breath deepen. Visualizing a full moon shining over a dark blue ocean at night.
Suggested a slow practice of 3 to 7 sets.
Benefits;
Bringing the body and mind into a more calm, centered, peaceful state. Cooling for the brain and helps to eliminate anger. Side stretching helps facilitate the breath. Twists are purifying, stimulate the digestive system and give a nice massage to the internal organs. The asana help to relieve constipation, to release pressure from the spine and regulates the functioning of various glands in the body.
mantra’s accompanying the movements
1 om kamesvaryai namaha             salutations to she who fulfills desires
2 om bhagamalinyai namaha        salutations to she who wears the garland of              prosperity
3 om nityaklinnayai namaha        salutations to she who is ever compassionate
4 om bherundayai namaha            salutations to she who is ferocious
5 om vahnivasinyai namaha         salutations to she who resides in fire
6 om vajreshvaryai namaha          salutations to she who possesses vajra (the                                 thunderbolt) and is adorned with diamond ornaments
7 om dutyai namaha                         salutations to she whose messenger is shiva
8 om tvaritayai namaha                 salutations to she who is swift
9 om kulasundaryai namaha         salutations to she who is virtuous, respectable and                charming
10 om nityayai namaha                   salutations to she who is eternal
11 om nilapatakinyai namaha        salutations to she who is adorned with a blue flag
12 om vijayayai namaha                  salutations to she who is ever victorious
13 om sarvamangalayai namaha  salutations to she who is the source of all good                         fortunes
14 om jvalamalinyai namaha         salutations to she who is fenced with instant flames
the mantra (sanskrit for that what protects the mind) creates a back ground sound (noise), preventing other thoughts to arise, they create a vibration for the breath, a rhythm for the mind and a pattern for the body together with the movements.  The effect is a calming almost hypnotizing for the mind, making the movements go with ease and seemingly without effort.
breath; deep rhythmic breathing
round one, starting with left leg
pose 1 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose arms forward on the mat, palms down
pose 2 inhale on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 3 exhale, left leg steps forward point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 4 inhale take hands and arms to the sides, horizontal palms facing front
pose 5 exhale take left side first, left hand up, right hand down, stretching left side
pose 6 inhale back up, center
pose 7 exhale take right side, right hand up, left hand down, stretching right side
pose 8 inhale up and exhale left hand back, look over the left shoulder, right hand forward, twist
pose 9 inhale back to center
pose 10 exhale right hand back, look over the right shoulder, left hand forward, twist
pose 11 inhale back to center
pose 12 exhale hands together point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 13 inhale, left leg goes back, on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 14 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose, arms forward on the mat, palms down

round 2, same but starting with right leg and take right side first.
pose 15 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose arms forward on the mat, palms down
pose 16 inhale on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 17 exhale, right leg steps forward point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 18 inhale take hands and arms to the sides, horizontal palms facing front
pose 19 exhale take right side first, right hand up, left hand down, stretching right side
pose 20 inhale back up, center
pose 21 exhale take left side, left hand up, right hand down, stretching left side
pose 22 inhale up and exhale right hand back, look over the right shoulder, left hand forward, twist
pose 23 inhale back to center
pose 24 exhale left hand back, look over the left shoulder, right hand forward, twist
pose 25 inhale back to center
pose 26 exhale hands together point hands and arms forward, palms together
pose 27 inhale, left leg goes back, on knees hands at the chest, palms together
pose 28 inhale and exhale, centering, moon pose, arms forward on the mat, palms down

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Malasana A & B (garland pose)

Malasana A & B (garland pose)

malasana

An abandoned pose.
There was a time that the 1th, 2nd and the advanced didn’t existed and the asana’s were taught one after another. The first Westerners receiving teachings from Shri K Pattabhi Jois have been instructed in this matter. Somewhere in that time, the introduction of Asthanga yoga to the west, Shri K Pattabhi Jois systematized the sequence further and divided it into separate series, and each with a different focus.  From that time on, the series has had several changes,  asana’s were taken out (janu sirsasana D), others put in (parivritta parsvakonasana). Malasana was abandoned, which used to have a key function in connecting the 1st with the 2nd series.
Malasana is a squatting pose variation (upavesasana), and very good for maintaining mobility. The benefits are;

  • Malasana stretches the ankles, groins, sacrum, lower back and hips.
  • Tones the belly and can provide relief from lower back strain.
  • Stimulates metabolism and digestive organs.

Squatting was very much part of the daily life in India in those days, and luckily still is (to a lesser extend) , and this pose wouldn’t have been considered a difficult pose. For most western people it does seem to be impossible (without use of a belt), sitting in a squat position, wrapping the arms around the knees and joining the hands on the back, + keeping the heels on the floor. Squatting a couple of times a day keeps the pelvic floor healthy and strong. (it is pushing abdomen in and down). In the pelvic area are two cavities, the deepest one, in the narrow bottom part between the hip bones, keeps the bladder, reproductive and bile organs. The upper one, separated by a membrane,  contains the small and large intestines.  The pelvic floor has a hammock shape keeping the organs together and nice in position. When organs are compressed, which will happen with pelvic prolapse/weak pelvis,  it can lead to cancerous cells, (cell compression in general can lead to cancer). Maybe good reasons to fit malasana into your (daily) yoga asana practice.
Malasana used to be the connection asana between the 1th and the 2nd series (ashtanga vinyasa), from setu bandhasana into malasana going to pashasana. The story of these asana’s is that the 1st series is for the mortal, the second for a stage higher then that. Crossing the bridge (setu bandha) from the 1st to the 2nd series, from the mortal to a stage closer to the gods. You surrender yourself in malasana (Mala/Maalaa, garland, a string with 108 beads used in prayer), after that; binding the gods together in pashasana.*
Malasana with bending forward is a counter pose after the setu bandhasana and prepares for another version of the squat pose, pashasana, with an added twist. Pashasana is now considered the first asana of the 2nd series. Variation B is wrapping the hands around the heels, bringing the top of the head closer to the floor and rounding the spine more.

‘Malasana’ comes from the Sanskrit word “Maalaa” ;
माला = Maalaa = garland; Necklace; Rosary
मल = Mala = excrement, primarily stool
The pose described here, and used to be in the ashtanga series, and also described in Iyengar’s; “light on yoga”, is a variation of squatting. There is variation A) taking the arms around the knees and joining them on the back. B) taking the hands around the heels, and bringing the chin to the floor. Both symbolize surrendering and the arms are like a garland around the legs. Often the upavesasana, the regular squat pose, with the hands in namaskar mudra in front of the chest, and the feet wider apart, is translated into English as the garland pose, as both poses are similar. Though, as yoga describes that in this posture, the intestines are in the best position to release all waste that is left after digestion, the upavesasana can be be also named Malasana, referring to the meaning of Mala = excrement, primarily stool. In transliteration from Sanskrit into English, where the English is lacking a proper writing for the long “aa” and short “a”. Mala can refer both to Mala, or Maalaa.

*This information has been obtained from Noah Mckenny (see biography for details)

Precautions
This asana should be avoided in case of groin, knee injury, back problems, high blood pressure or any cardiac problems, recent surgery and pregnancy. Be slow and careful while doing the asana as in almost all the yoga asanas. This asana should be avoided by ladies if menstruating or should be performed under guidance of a yoga expert during those days.

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