Yellow for Surya Nanda Yoga

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It was such a wonderful time seeing each and every teacher of Surya Nanda Yoga studio gathering-not just for the photo shoot but also to update and hang out together.

I totally had great time doing all those crazy poses. Bonding with other teachers is not just an ordinary day. There is no better way to act like kids. Here are some cute pictures of my lovely friends.

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Astanga Vinyasa Master class with Teacher Clayton Horton

“Surya Nanda Yoga students and instructors had the privilege to practice with Ashtanga Yoga Master Teacher Clayton Horton who conducted two separate Ashtanga Master classes in Surya Nanda on November 10 and November 12.”

“Clayton Horton is the Director of Greenpath Yoga. He has been a student of yoga for over 22 years and began teaching in 1996. Clayton has studied with both masters Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the Greensufi for for a period of over 14 years. His practice and teachings are rooted in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Tradition and daily meditation. He is a member of the Yoga Society of San Francisco Brahmananda Ashram and a Founding Board Member of the Green Yoga Association.”

“From 2001-2006, Clayton operated Greenpath Yoga Studio in San Francisco, California. The studio was one of America’s first Green and Environmentally Friendly yoga studios and was an inspiration with its progressive yoga programs, philosophies, events and authenticity.”

“Clayton received Formal Authorization to teach Ashtanga Yoga from the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute of Mysore, South India in 2003. He received Authorization to teach the full Intermediate Series from Sharath Jois in 2010.”

“hClayton is currently based in Boracay, Philippines, and travels regularly to Asia, Europe and South America to teach workshops, trainings, retreats and teacher training intensives.”

दीपावली Dīpāvalī a Festival Celebration

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I just would like to share this. Surya Nanda Yoga family and teachers gather in the Ashram owned by one of our dearest friend named Rana. It was such a beautiful time unfolded by the generosity our host. By the way how did you celebrate Diwali?

“Different races, different religions, different nationalities, different beliefs.”

“We came as a whole to celebrate one of the most significant festivals of the year in India. We may be located more than 2000 miles away from India. But the spirit of celebrating Diwali lies in our hearts.”

“Diwali signifies many different things to people .While Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the inner light”.

“Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Diwali as the “victory of good over evil”, refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance — the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings anand (joy or peace). Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this “Inner Light.”

“We celebrated Diwali in our small special way by sharing healthy foods through potluck, chanting and kirtan, getting to know new people and discussing the history of Diwali.”

Sage of Vamadeva Pose

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 This posture is dedicated to the great Sage Vamadeva.

From downward facing dog.
Go to pigeon pose.
Sit on the (right/left) hip
Bend your knee
Draw your front heel (right/left) close to your groin/Perineum.
Make sure that your upper body is straight and perpendicular to the floor.
Bend your back leg and bring your back foot particularly close to your front foot.
Hold your front foot with your hands and draw your soles together.
Hold the pose for 10 breathes or longer. 

Benefits 
This is an excellent posture to make the hip joint more flexible and to work on abdominal muscles.
The thighs and the gluteus muscles are stretched to their fullest degree and helps in strengthening and keeping these muscles supple.

Horse pose (Vatayanasana)

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One of my favorite poses. Try this and share your experience. Namaste. ^_^

How:

Depends on your entry

Tip toe balance
1. Draw your (left/right) knee to the floor. Let it touch the surface of the floor.
2. Bring your hands together to prayer pose.

Standing Half-bound Lotus
1. Do the same thing as stated above.
2. Lower your self a little close to the floor(bend your standing leg), place your (right or left) foot on top of your opposite thigh.
3. Lower down your knee (right or left) to the floor.

BENEFITS:
strengthens the leg muscle and knee joints

CAUTION:
Avoid doing this pose if you have knee, leg, foot injuries.

The Eight Realizations

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The First Realization:
All the world is impermanent.
The earth is fragile and perilous.
The four great elements inhere in suffering and emptiness.
In the five skandhas there is no self.
All that arise, change, and perish,
Are illusive, unreal, and without a master.
Mind is the root of evil;
Body a reservoir of sin.
Thus observing and contemplating,
One gradually breaks free from birth and death.

The Second Realization:
Excessive desire is suffering.
Birth, death, and weariness in life
All originate from greed and desires.
Desiring less, being wu-wei,
Body and mind are at ease and free.


The Third Realization:

The mind is insatiable,
Always seeking, thirsty for more,
Thus increasing our sins.
Bodhisattvas renounce such conduct.
Always remember to follow the way,
Be content and at peace with poverty,
With wisdom as the sole vocation.


The Fourth Realization:

Indolence leads to degradation.
Always practice with diligence,
Vanquish all vexations,
Subdue the four maras,
And escape the prison of the skandhas.

The Fifth Realization:
Ignorance leads to birth and death.
Bodhisattvas are always mindful
To study and learn extensively,
To increase their wisdom
And perfect their eloquence,
So they can teach and enlighten all beings,
And impart great joy to all.

The Sixth Realization:
Poverty and hardship breed resentment,
Creating harm and discord.
Bodhisattvas practice dana,
Beholding the friendly and hostile equally;
They neither harbor grudges
Nor despise malicious people.


The Seventh Realization:

The five desires are perilous.
Even as laity, be not sullied by worldly pleasures;
Think frequently of the three robes,
The tiled bowl, and instruments of Dharma;
Aspire to the monastic life
And cultivate the Way with purity;
Let your actions be noble and sublime,
Showering compassion on all.

The Eighth Realization:
Birth and death are like a blazing fire
Plagued with endless afflictions and suffering.
Vow to cultivate the Mahayana mind,
To bring relief to all;
To take on infinite sufferings for sentient beings,
And lead all to supreme joy.

These eight points are the realizations of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. With diligence they trod the way, with compassion they hone their wisdom.They board the vessel of the Dharma body, and sail to the shore of nirvana. Then they return to the cycle of birth and death to help others cross to that shore.

These eight points can direct us in all things, and they can show all sentient beings how to understand the sufferings of birth and death; they can help us disentangle ourselves from the five desires and turn our minds to the saintly way. If a discipline of the Buddha chants these eight points, thought by thought he will eradicate his infinite karmic debt; and he will approach the awakened state, and quickly become enlightened; then he will forever be free from the cycle of birth and death, and abide in joy forever.

BUDDHISM, By Master Hsing Yun

A Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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This is such an interesting at the same time a challenging pose. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do this pose. This arm balance is part of the third series in Astanga Yoga. Pattabhi Jois calls this pose as Visvamitrasana B. Koundinyasana II is also called as the Albatross Pose, Hurdlers pose or One-Legged Arm Balance. The English Translation of the sanskrit name Eka pada Koundinyasana is one-Legged Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya.

Your way in to this pose depends on your entry say for instance Adho Mukha Svanasana or Lizard pose.

first option
– From downward facing down
– Lift one leg (right or left) behind you to one legged dog.
– Swing or draw your leg (right or left) close to your (right or left) elbow.
– Rest your leg (right or left) on top of your (right or left) arm.
– Then you can adjust yourself in this stage.
– If you are ready, you can start bringing your back leg (either right or left)
off the ground.
– Lean forward to balance your self perfectly.
– Lift your head and look forward
– Allow your breath to flow.

another option: the lizard pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
– If you are in lizard pose
– Straighten your arms
– Then square your elbows. Similar to the crow elbow. Strong and stable.
– Bring your back knee (left or right) off the floor. Use you back foot to
balance your self.
– Then flatten your front foot (right or left) to the ground.
– With your squared elbow- bring your (right or left) arm under your (right or
left) bended leg. Then slowly bring it out
for you to be able to rest your leg on top of arm.
– Lift your chest until your torso is parallel to the floor.
– If you are confident now. Slowly lean forward and straighten your front leg
at the same time lift your back leg as
high as you can.
– Lift your head and look forward
– Allow your breath to flow.

There are other ways to go into Koundinyasana II as well such as:
– Visvamitrasana
– Kala Bhairavasana
– Warrior poses

Benefits
Strengthens the arms and wrists
Tones the belly and spine
Balance
Concentration
develops abdominal strength
hamstring flexibility

Contraindication
avoid doing any arm balancing yoga postures if you have any wrist or lower back injury

Enjoy your practice. Namaste. ^_^

The Sixth Chakra

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CLEAR THINKING . INTUITION . INSPIRATION . DREAMING . VISUALIZATION INTELLIGENCE . MYSTICISM . UNDERSTANDING

Known as आज्ञा, the BROW Chakra, Ajna (command centre). This chakra is difficult to open due to our ego.
Location- middle of the forehead linking the eyebrows
Represented by – indigo Ajna mandala (command centre)
Petals- Ajna has two white petals, said to represent the psychic channels, Ida and Pingala, which meet here with the central Sushumna nadi (channel) before rising to the crown chakra, Sahasrara. Written upon them in white are the letters ‘Ham’ on the left petal, and ‘ksham’ on the right petal, representing Shiva and Shakti, respectively. These petals also represent the manifest and unmanifest mind, and are said by some to represent the pineal and pituitary glands.

Basic principle – Knowledge of Being
Function - Inner Vision – Without inner vision we will stumble in darkness. Ajna will balance the light and dark.
Body Parts – Cerebral hemispheres, autonomic nervous system
Sense – telepathy, intuitiveness or ESP, and other latent abilities within 85% of the brain which we don’t normally use.

Note and Mantra–The note is high A and the mantra is Om (Aum), Vowel sound – e

Astrological Signs – Cancer, Scorpio, Sagittarius/Jupiter, divinely inspired thought, higher knowledge; flashes of intuition of Aquarius/Uranus; imagination, intuition, and access to inner truths through devotion of Pisces/Neptune.
Crystals - Lapis lazuli, azurite, fluorite, sodalite, quartz crystal, sapphire and indicolite tourmaline
Element – Light, water
Related Herbs – Sandalwood (Santalum Album) and Elecampane (Inula Helenium)
Related Foods and Plants - echinacea, eggplant, ginseng
Related Aromatherapy - Gardenia, Lavender, Rosemary
Related Incense – Mugwort, Star Anise, Saffron and Acacia

Indigo relates to self responsibility – being responsible for one’s own life, responsible to oneself to follow the soul’s path and needs and trusting one’s own intuition. (the ability to see things from a ‘higher’ viewpoint rather than purely for satisfaction of the ego or one’s material comfort.). The indigo energy connects us to our unconscious self, and gives us the experience of being part of the whole universe. Strengthens intuition, imagination, psychic powers, and increases dream activity.

positive aspects

– highly intuitive
– faithful
– clear sighted
– integrity
– orderly mind
– Intellectual abilities and skills
– evaluation of conscious and unconscious insights
– receiving inspiration
– generating great acts of creativity and intuitive reasoning – emotional intelligence.
– forgiveness and compassion
– openness

Personality Traits: Intuitive, fearless, practical, idealistic, wise, and a truth seeker.

negative aspects

– inability to trust intuition
– scattered mind
– inconsiderate
– blinkered vision
– causes spiritual fatigue
– lack of concentration
– too sensitive
– an unwillingness to look within and excavate one`s fears
– fear of truth when one`s reason is clouded
– fear of relying on external counsel

Associated problems or Physical Dysfunctions – tension headache, migraine, visual defects, short-sightedness, long-sightedness, glaucoma, cataracts, sinus problems, ear problems, Brain tumor/hemorrhage/stroke, blindness, deafness, spinal problems, learning difficulties, seizures.

Chakra Meditation Technique to Open Third Eye

- Take a comfortable sitting posture with back straight and hands on knees. Close your eyes for a short time and then open your eyes and look forward at a fixed point, then look upward as high as possible without moving the head.

- Now, focus both eyes at eyebrow centre and concentrate. Try to suspend the thought process and meditate on Ajna chakra. It is important that the eyes converge towards eyebrow centre. If this is done in a correct manner, you will see two curved images of the eyebrow centre merging with each other at the top of the nose and forming a solid V-shaped point.
Close your eyes while holding this mudra. Do not strain excessively.

- Now inhale deeply and begin to chant in a soft, slow, steady voice the manta OM (pronounced AUM). One chant of OM (AUM) Mantra should last for the entire exhalation. Its a long “Oh”, followed by a semi long “Mmmm” during each exhalation. Once all the air has been expelled, inhale fully again and begin to chant the mantra once more.

- Visualize the OM sound coming from a point in the middle of the forehead just above the eyebrows and emanating throughout your entire body.

- Continue for the duration of the meditation. If your eyes tire from shambhavi yoga mudra release the mudra but continue to chant the OM (AUM) mantra as above. Reapply the mudra again when ready.

- Once you have completed the meditation, rub the palms of your hands together to make them warm and place them on your eyes as you open them slowly. This will relax and comfort your eye muscles.

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