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Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019

Good Yoga workshop with ropes (Kurunta Yoga)

Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga               Kurunta: Marioneta

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Learn and enjoy the freedom of a Yoga practice using your own body weight and ropes fixed to the wall to provide  greater traction and stability in various Yoga poses allowing the student to experience and enter more deeply into their practice and enjoy even more the great benefits of a Yoga than they could do alone.

  Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga  Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga

Sign up soon to relieve joint tension as well as pain along the spine and hips while increasing overall flexability from your toes to the top of your head. Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga

See you there!!

—————

Date: Saturday 10th of November 2018

Time: 11:00-14:00

Price: 30€ (Early Bird) 35€ at the door.

Limited spots available: 8

Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga

Place: Centro de Yoga & Bienestar Sevilla

Address: Calle Arjona 10, escalera 3, 1ºD

Good Yoga workshop with ropes: Kurunta Yoga November 2019 - Goodyoga

 

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018

Happy Holidays!

Get prepared to welcome a New Year & New You with Good Yoga!

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - GoodyogaI hope everyone is ready for the great adventures that await us in the year 2019. To help you maintain your calm during all the changes that are most certainly going to occur this year and to help you keep focused on your goals and desires, there is always Yoga. Yoga is a holistic science that works with many different aspects of our lives. Hatha Yoga works specifically with the body via the endocrine and nervous system to affect and improve both mental and emotional function so that we can experience the clarity and calm we are all looking for.

This desired calm and clarity is first found by controlling and relaxing the body. The mind follows the direction of the body. The secondary effect of a relaxed body is a relaxed mind. This is because the reality of the mind-body complex is that they are one and the same and it is impossible to change one aspect without affecting the other. There are many pills and recipes that offer a way to influence either the mind or the body with promises of relief from physical pain, anxiety, stress and depression.  Nonetheless, it is not necessary or even recommended to swallow a pill to find relief as the secondary and long term effects are often worse then the primary problem.

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Hatha Yoga offers another way. The science of Hatha Yoga is explained with a different vocabulary from that of western medicine but the theory is the same. The endocrine system as outlined in western medicine is centered purely around a physical approach whereas in Yoga both the physical and energetic components of these glands are taken into consideration and outlined in the chakra system of Yoga science. By aligning and releasing energy blocks in the body, otherwise known as chakras in Yoga, physical and psychological problems associated with various parts of the endocrine system, can be released and relieved. This article summarizes how the chakras correspond with the major glands in the body (the endocrine system) and how certain postures interact with their functioning. Or you can experience for yourself the great benefits of a full Hatha Yoga practice with an all day workshop of Good Yoga to start the holidays off right!

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

Christmas Yoga Workshop

The Koshas and their connection to the Chakras

The first part of Yoga science to understand are the koshas and their connection with the chakras and consequently the endocrine system. Yoga philosophy states that everything is energy, our bodies included, and that the differences we observe in appearance and texture are simply points of energy vibrating at different frequencies. Nothing is fixed or solid. Quantum Physicas now confirms this.  The mind-body complex is both united and seperated by different frequencies. In the tradition of Ayurveda (the medical branch of Yoga) these different frequencies have the name of Kosha or ´layer/sheath´. There are 5 different layers (koshas) that vibrate at different frequencies. The idea is that if there is an imbalance or block somewhere along these different layers or frequencies, other layers will also be affected. For example, a block along the manomaya kosha (mind layer) will not only manifest at the level of the mind but will also be reflected at the layer of both the breath (Pranamaya Kosha) and the physical body (Annamaya Kosha). One can see this connection by observing how both the breath and physical body change in reaction to stress stimuli that first primarily affects the mind (Manomaya kosha). It is this mental stress response that is the culprit behind so many modern day physical ailments.

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

Inside this system of Koshas there are the chakras. Chakra in Sanskrit literally means ´wheel´. Chakras are therefore seen as wheels of energy located along the spinal column. One of the purposes of Hatha Yoga is to open the blocks in these wheels of energy first at a physical level and then going deeper into the Pranamaya kosha, the Manomaya kosha and eventually all the way to the Anandamaya kosha.

The Chakras and the Endocrine System 

 Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga       Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

Each chakra is associated with physical and psychological characteristics as well as different sounds and colors. The science of Yoga shows that the location of each chakra is associated with certain glands of the endocrine systems. The endocrine system acts as a great network of communication between brain and body and is in charge of various metabolic functions that facilitate cellular communication as well as stimulation and hormone release. In order for the entire human organism to function well it is necessary that these endocrine glands produce and maintain a balance of these various fluids and hormones.

  • Samsara & Anja Chakras: The balance and release of the various hormones throughout the body is controlled mainly by the hypothalamus as well as the pituitary gland which is associated with the crown chakra, or Samsara chakra at the top of the skull. These same chakras are also closely related to the pineal gland which is often associated with the Third Eye/Ajna (associated with intuition and spirituality…as well as the release of DMT).  Headstand/Sirsasana is the most beneficial in activating these glands/chakras, hence why it is considered the King of Asanas. Nonetheless any kind of inversion is useful for activating and balancing these chakras. It is not necessary to hurt your cervical spine to active the crown or third chakra. Look for modifications of the pose if you have any physical discomfort along the neck or spine.

 

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - GoodyogaChakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

  • Vishuddha Chakra: Moving down to the Thyroid and Parathyroid glands. The Thyroid is located in the throat and associated with the Vishuddha chakra (throat chakra). It is responsible for controlling metabolic rate, growth and therefore, cell processes. Functioning of the Parathyroid determines how much calcium and phosphate are in the blood and if you regularly do the shoulder stand/Sarvangasana (Queen of Asanas) and the fish pose/Matsyasana you might just find your teeth are stronger, your sleep and appetite regulated as well as an increase in energy levels.

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - GoodyogaMatsyasana

  • Anahata Chakra: Below the Vishuddha Chakra in the location of the heart resides the Anahata Chakra. This chakra is associated with the thymus gland that produces cells for the immune system. Postures that open the chest and increase oxygen intake in this area help to activate this chakra. Virsasana, Ustrasana and Virabhandrasana I, II are good examples. With these postures you also have the added benefit of working with the Root/Muladhara chakra as well as the solar plexus/ Manipura chakra.

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

  • Manipura & Muladhara Chakras: Below these glands we then come into contact with the Pancreatic and Adrenal Glands which are associated with the Solar Plexus/Manipura and the Root/Muladhara chakra, respectively. (These glands work closely together so I put them in the same paragraph and left the Sacral/Svadhisthana chakra for the end). The pancreas aids in digestion while the adrenal glands guide our ‘fight or flight’ response. It is said that due to high stress levels and diet the majority of people nowadays have low functioning adrenals that result in a sense of fatigue and foggy thinking. Doing postures that massage these glands as well as the spleen and pancreas helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which has a huge impact upon both physical and emotional well-being. Working with these chakras can also help with weight-loss due to the regulation of insulin that occurs as a result of massaging the aforementioned glands. Mayurasana, or the Peacock, is great for this, but often too advanced. Doing twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana or back bends like Dhanurasana (The Bow), as well as Supta Virasana are very useful in activing these glands as well.
Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

Supta Virasana

  • Svadhisthana Chakra: Finally, we move to the ovaries and testes where the Sacral/Svadhisthana chakra resides. Postures such as Samakonasana, Uppavista Konnasana, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose) or variations thereof, that open the pelvis and and/or work pelvic floor are usually quite beneficial as they bring blood flow to this area and can help with issues of fertility and/or menstruation. On an emotional level, Ana Forrest claims in her book Fierce Medicine that hip openers, especially if maintained for extended periods of time tend to get into really deep seeded emotional baggage that can have their roots in issues of security and/or sexual/emotional repression or abuse. Breathing through the pose will help you to release the baggage.
Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

Uppavista Konnasana

Yoga is a Personal Journey

This is a VERY brief summary of certain Yoga postures and their associated chakras (aka glands) as well their connection to the koshas of Ayurveda medicine. Yoga is a holistic practice and like the body it cannot be separated into parts and pieces nor can it be isolated into one specific approach. One pose will almost definitely work with more than one gland and to maintain balance in body and mind, each gland deserves your breath and attention. For that reason it is important to participate in a complete Hatha Yoga practice that addresses the activation of each of these chakras without causing harm at either a physical or psychological level. Look for an experienced and trained instructor to help you and enjoy the great benefits of this ancient practice.

Happy Yoga practice and Happy New Year!!!

Chakras and the Endocrine System: Full day Yoga workshop December 2018 - Goodyoga

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May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes)

Taller de KURUNTA Yoga con GOODYOGA

May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga               Kurunta: Marioneta

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Learn and enjoy the freedom of a Yoga practice using your own body weight and ropes fixed to the wall to provide  greater traction and stability in various Yoga poses allowing the student to experience and enter more deeply into their practice and enjoy even more the great benefits of a Yoga than they could do alone.

  May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga  May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga

Sign up soon to relieve joint tension as well as pain along the spine and hips while increasing overall flexability from your toes to the top of your head. May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga

See you there!!

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Date: Saturday 25h of May 2018

Time: 11:00-14:00

Price: 30€ (Early Bird) 35€ at the door.

Plazas limitadas: 8

May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga

Place: Centro de Yoga & Bienestar Sevilla

Address: Calle Arjona 10, escalera 3, 1ºD

May 2018: Kurunta Yoga Workshop (Yoga with ropes) - Goodyoga

 

Full complete breath for a full complete life

Full complete breath for a

Full complete life

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

Everyone enters into this world with an inhale and exits with an exhale. It is the bridge that exists between life and death. With the combination of our inhale and exhale we live and without it, we die. Nonetheless the majority of people today do not know how to breathe and enjoy the sensations and benefits that a full and complete breath offers. The majority of us have forgotten how to breathe correctly due to bad posture habits and/or stress.

When we breathe an incomplete or shallow breath the results can be digestion problems, skin problems, anxiety, stress, depression, unexplainable aches and pain, as well as difficulties in thinking clearly, sleeping, high blood pressure, weak immune system as well as struggling with low levels of energy.

Thankfully, breathing a full and complete breath is an easy thing to learn and enjoy. It just takes a bit of practice and awareness.

 

Why is it important to maintain a full and complete breath?

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

Oxygen is food for our brain and nervous system. We get this molecule with each inhale and we make space for more with each exhale. Getting this brain nutrition isn´t any more complicated than breathing in and breathing out. Nonetheless the depth of the inhale and exhale determines the quality and amount of nutrition we wish to offer our mind and body. The quality of each breath determines if we are well fed or underfed. Just think about what your life would be like if you ate and drank very little water for 1 day, 2 days…10 days? What would your levels of energy be like? How long would you live?

It is the same with your breath. If we do not breathe fully, bit by bit we cause our entire bio-neurological system to suffer and slowly die due to lack of oxygen nutrition.

What is a full and complete breath?

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

A full and complete breath uses all of the space we have inside our lungs for the inhale and releases all the air that is inside on the exhale. In order visualize this, think about 360 degrees of breath and notice the movement of the breath not just in the chest but also the belly and back.

Think about the lungs like a big balloon housed inside the ribcage. With each inhale see if you can feel the breath pressing out towards the sternum and down towards the belly button, to the left to the right underneath the armpits and to the back down towards the lumbar spine.

There is actually more space in the back of the lungs than in the front and so when we breathe fully and completely, we open the entire ribcage which can help to relieve shoulder and neck tension while at the same time giving a massage to the internal organs and the spine.

What is the function of breath in the practice of Hatha Yoga?

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

When we breathe consciously and fully we are able to use the power of our breath to help us correctly execute the poses and enjoy all the benefits that they offer.  With each breath we affect all the different levels of our body-from the bone to the skin, from nerves to cell and cell to the very atom. Various forms of Hatha Yoga poses target different aspects of each of those levels.

Each breath acts a bridge between the form and intention of each pose.

When practicing Yoga try and visualize an expansion with each inhale not just in the lungs but also throughout all the systems of the body. With each exhale allow that expansion of muscle bone and cell to then sink into that newly created space created by the inhale.

Often times when we practice a pose it is easy to forget to breathe, especially if we are in a difficult pose but if we bring our intention into the breath and direct it to those points of resistance and learn to accept and then let go of those sensations with our breath and awareness, we are able to start to observe how the body and mind change. When we start to observe and let go of the resistance that exists in mind and body during our practice via the bridge of breath, that is when we really start to enjoy  the process of Yoga not just the end result and deep relaxation of Savasana.

How to achieve a full and complete breath?

Yoga Postures (Asanas)

Full complete breath for a full complete life - GoodyogaAll the poses of Hatha Yoga have the purpose and goal to help us sit comfortably in meditation while maintaining a deep and full breath. As I often mention in all of my blog posts, Yoga is all about connections and it is an error to disconnect one pose or one part of the body from the other. Nonetheless I will highlight some specific poses that work directly with the ribcage, diaphragm and consequently the lungs and breath.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - GoodyogaPoses like Ustrasana (Camel Pose) work directly with the ribcage and the lungs housed inside. In this pose one should focus on lifting the sternum up to the sky, the shoulder blades down away from the ears, in towards the spine and bringing the breath to space below the sternum and xyphoid process more than simply leaning backwards. Think of it as an extension UP and then back. Keep the legs strong to lift out of the pelvis. In this way you are able to start opening the chest while working with the vagus nerve and protecting the lumbar spine.

 

Parighasana (Gate Pose) is another excellent pose to help increase space for the breath because the lateral flexion opens the space between the pelvis and the ribcage as well as between each rib. Bring the breath towards the side with the bent knee thinking about  pressing the breath out through the ribs and skin along the sideline. Be careful to not lift the shoulders up to the ears, especially when lifting the arm up overhead. Doing this will hurt the neck. Also, keep the legs and gluts active to allow you to align the spine extend out of the pelvis and protect the lumbar spine.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

Forward folds allow space to be created between the shoulder blades if the intention of the breath is brought to the back.  The extension forward separates the ribcage from pelvis allowing more room for the diaphragm. To avoid compression of the spine, it is important to keep the lumbar spine extended and avoid curving it. If you are doing a forward fold on the ground, sitting over a few blankets or blocks with the sit bones firmly placed on them (not tucked forward) can help in achieving the full benefits of these poses while avoiding injury to the lumbar.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - GoodyogaFull complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

These are just some examples of the poses that can help you breathe better while activating the vagus nerve. However, it is also important to work with the pelvis to maintain the space in the ribcage and along the torso. To understand this connection between pelvis, posture and breath, you can read more here.

Pranayama

Prana in Sanskrit means vital energy.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - GoodyogaPranayama is a way to maintain control and increase this vital energy via breath exercises.  One can say that the postures of Hatha Yoga prepare the body for Pranayama and Pranayama is preparation for meditation. There are many different ways to practice Pranayama. All the various forms help us to become more aware of the movement of breath so that we are more and more capable of extending the inhale and exhale via both nostrils to maintain a balanced breath- allowing us even access to both parts of the brain. I have already written a blog highlighting some different forms of Pranayama with pictures and explanations. If you would like to learn more about the different forms of Pranayama, Kriyas, Bandhas and their benefits, you can visit this page.

Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR)

I love the tangible logic behind the routines and techniques of Yamuna Body Rolling. Due to the pressure of a ball in specific points throughout the body it becomes easier to open and release blocks within the body as well as become aware of the importance and movement of breath than with Yoga poses alone.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

Stand Tall: Posture Workshop

YBR offers a way to enter the body with greater depth and awareness since the balls are something that one can feel and the breath is subtle and intangible. Combining YBR breath routines with Yoga asanas is a way to quickly increase lung capacity, relieve neck and shoulder pain and make Hatha Yoga poses and pranayama more accessible and enjoyable. I invite you to experience the difference yourself by signing up for one of the Good Yoga workshops centered on either the pelvis, neck & shoulders and/or breath…or all three!

En Fin…

As mentioned at the beginning, the benefits that one enjoys living a life with a full and complete breath are expansive and positive.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

The lungs form a part of the digestive system and for that reason they not only help us with the ingestion of oxygen and the expulsion of carbon dioxide but a full and complete breath offers and massage for all of the internal organs and spine. This can manifest in less digestive problems, more energy, better skin, lower blood pressure as well as activation of the vagus nerve which influences parasympathetic activity which lowers levels of stress and anxiety, can improve quality of sleep, offer an ability to think with greater clarity and move with better coordination.

 

When we integrate the habit of breathing during our asana practice, especially during the more difficult poses, this habit can be transferred into our daily life. When confronted with a stressful situation we have a greater capacity to use our breath to center us in our pre-frontal cortex, and act with logic rather than reacting from a place of fear or instinct (link here).

Full complete breath for a full complete life - GoodyogaThe connections that exist between mind and body, between each muscle, bone and cell are incredible and vital. The breath acts like a bridge between each of these connections. So with a full and complete inhale and a full and complete exhale we are offering ourselves an opportunity to enjoy and thrive a full and complete life within and between each of these connections.

 


If you are interested in enjoying a full and complete breath don´t wait to reserve your place in the upcoming Good Yoga Breath workshop the 7th of June 2018  where Yamuna Body Rolling and Hatha Yoga (Asanas, Kriyas, Bandas, Pranayama) tecniques will be used to help open up the entire ribcage to alleviate neck and shoulder pain, clean the respiratory system, activate deep core muscles like the pelvic floor and increase lung capacity by removing blocks from the ilias soas and diaphram so that you can enjoy all the benefits that a full and complete breath can bring.

Full complete breath for a full complete life - Goodyoga

The nervous system, back bends and inversions

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

As we continue to get through the colder, darker and more sedative months of winter, inversions and backbends are a fantastic and holistic way to combat the symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), exhale out the stress of the holidays and warm up the body and soul. Below is a little introduction to the physical and neurobiological mechanics of backbends and inversions. I also offer some insight and instruction on how one can correctly execute these great mood enhancing poses that not only help to relieve lethargy but are also great for releasing neck and shoulder tension.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions:

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

Urdhva Dhanurasana

One cannot discuss the nervous system without introducing the Vagus Nerve.  This is a fascinating nerve that is linked to everything from digestion to depression. Dr. Levine and Dr. Kolk in their research hypothesize that there is a direct connection with the poor functioning of the vagus nerve and its associated organs with anxiety and depression. Simply put, the hypothesis is that anxiety has it´s root in an overactive fight/flight response and depression is then the result of the frustrated fight/flight response. In other words, when the nervous system perceives that there is no way out of a perceived threat, the biological defense response is a kind system shut-down that results in what researchers call ´freeze´ and what would be experienced on the emotional level as depression.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

Levine and Kolk argue that these sensations of stress, anxiety and depression occur first in the body and are then interpreted in the brain. The primary path of this communication from body to brain is the vagus nerve. There is more and more literature discussing the importance of a good ´vagal tone´ to maintain both mental and physical health. In fact, pharmaceutical giants Glaxo-Smith-Kline are trying to make profit out of this fact by investing over 50 million dollars in researching a device that would provide vagus nerve stimulation  (Medicine Beyond, p. 235). Lucky for humanity, Vagus nerve stimulation is something that Yoga provides naturally and free.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

 

What is the Vagus Nerve?

Vagus is Latin for ´to wander´ and that is exactly what this nerve does. It starts up behind the ear moves down the neck and continues to spread out it´s tentacles along the chest, around the heart and into the gut. 70-80% of the information that is passed along the vagus nerve moves from the bottom up and only 20-30% of it moves from the top down. This is why some people say the second brain is in the gut. All those sensations that are experienced in the gut (which has as many neurons as a cat´s brain) and along the organs connected to the Vagus Nerve are sent up to the brain to be analyzed and interpreted by the pre-frontal cortex, language centers and amygdala. That means working with the vagus nerve and the organs connected to it can modify messages sent to the brain about sensations that are experienced in the body.The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

In fact, the majority (80-90%) of the ´feel good´ neurotransmitter, serotonin is produced in the gastro-intestinal tract. The upward movement of information along the Vagus Nerve and the connected internal organs demonstrates how working with the body, one gets to the brain. Amy Cuddy demonstrates this beautifully in her own research which can be viewed here.

Cuddy, Kolk, Levine and other renown researchers like Dr. Steve porges are demonstrating how direct work with the body influences our energy levels, sexual desire, sleep patterns and digestion…and working with the body to control the mind and increase quality of life IS precisely the theory behind the practices and postures of Hatha Yoga.

Poses for Vagus Nerve Tone: Examples and why they work

One Yoga pose will activate multiple meridians, muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments all at once.  Nonetheless, if one wishes to focus upon the activation and toning of the vagus nerve- which has its chakra associations with the solar plexus (Manipura), heart (Anahata) and throat chakras (Vishuddha )– than backbends and inversions are the way to go.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

 

Backbends/Back extensions:

Due to the physical form of these poses backbends work directly with the vagus nerve. Backbends, or back extensions as they are also known, work by opening and toning the front of the belly, chest, sternum and throat which, as mentioned earlier is home to that wandering vagus nerve. Via breath, pressure, stretching and by holding back bends CORRECTLY while breathing into the pose the organs associated with the vagus nerve and the nerve itself is activated, toned and strengthened. A well ´toned´ vagus nerve and the attached organs means that the brain receives biological signals of relaxation such as a regulated digestive tract, slower heart rate and deeper breath. It signals to the brain, via the Vagus Nerve, that all is well and there is no need for fighting, running way or freezing up.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

DHANURASANA

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

shalabhasana

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

ustrasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Precautions:

It is important that when practicing backbends that one take great care around the lumbar spine. The most common mistake in these poses is to clench the buttocks-which can result in compressing the lumbar spine. Also, when going up into poses like bridge (urdva danurasa), compression of the lumbar occurs when one pushes straight up through the public bone or belly button rather than lengthening the lumbar and lifting through the sternum. My advice in all back bends is, to think about internal rotation of the thigh bone and activation of the abductors…the muscles on the inside of the thighs. This action will automatically open the space around the lumbar and activate the abdominals which need to be strong to protect the lumbar.  Always start slow and gain real awareness of what the space around the lumbar, stretch across the chest and strength in the abdominals FEELS like. Look for the correct sensation, not just the correction formation.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

supta virasana

Inversions:

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - GoodyogaFor thousands of years human beings have practiced inversions and now in various physical therapy clinics, props like inversion tables are common.

The ´Yoga Form´ mechanics of inversions are fantastic not only for decompressing the entire spine, which is of course has its effect on the entire nervous system both posteriorly  (along the spinal cord) and anteriorly (vagus nerve) but is also great for increasing lung capacity, activating digestive organs, strengthening the immune system (by helping to activate the lymphatic system), regulating hormone release and increasing the production of all those feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

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The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

AdhoMukhaSvanasana

All this neuro-biological activity that occurs during inversions results an overall more balanced state of emotional, mental and  physical well-being.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

uttanasana

Just like with back extensions, one must be very
aware of doing these poses correctly

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

Pincha mayurasaa

to avoid causing damage to the cervical AND lumbar spine. The most common mistake in inversions is putting too much pressure on the neck and not bringing the weight of the body into the shoulder girdle. Again, look for the correct sensation, not just the correction formation.  One should feel activation in the triceps, the dorsal spine and the pectorals NOT the neck or lumbar spine. Think about pushing the shoulder blades up towards the hips, the elbows and wrists towards the ground and maintain the aforementioned rotation of the thighs, like you would in a back extension, to keep the core active and the lumbar spine protected.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

Every yoga pose (asana) should be done with awareness and with careful internal observation-after all asana means ´seat of awareness´ – and this awareness even more important for backbends and inversions.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

If you would like to learn more on how you can correctly execute these poses without causing harm to yourself or others while increasing vagal tone and achieving all the feel good effects highlighted above,  sign up for the workshop on February 9th 2019 in the well equiped center of Yoga & Wellbeing Seville. 10% early bird discount for those who sign up before the 1st of February 2017.

The nervous system, back bends and inversions - Goodyoga

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - GoodyogaToday one of the most common complaints from people revolves around neck and shoulder pain. The origin of the pain is different for different people and depends upon habits, age as well as skeletal structure. Nonetheless, the modern day habit of spending hours in front of a screen is probably the main culprit behind shoulder and neck pain as well as stress and it´s effect on the body at a physiological, emotional and energetic level. For this reason it is essential to to work with the entire neck, shoulder girdle to hand connection to achieve relief and correct pain creating habits.

 

The Neck:

The neck is the connecting point between the head and the shoulders. Proportionally speaking the human head is quite heavy. It is for that reason if the natural curves of the spine are not present, for example shoulders fall forward creating an exaggerated curve of the thoracic spine, the vertebrae of the neck, which are not as strong or stable as the vertebrae of the thoracic spine, suffer as well as all the tendons, ligaments, fascia and muscles attached.

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

Furthermore, the connection between neck and jaw can also cause pain. This connection is easy to feel for yourself. Simply close your eyes and observe the neck and jaw. Now, clench your jaw and observe what happens with the neck. Observe what happens through the skull. You will observe that automatically the muscles in the neck and skull, especially along the temples of the forehead, also tense up. This connection can be responsible for different kinds of pain including not just neck pain, but also headaches and other discomfort in and around the skull area.

It is for this reason when looking for pain relief around the neck and skull area, it is important to work with the entire structure of the shoulder girdle, the neck and jaw and not just where the pain is centralized.

 

The Shoulders:

The shoulders have only one point where bone connects to bone. This point is located just below the throat in-between the left and right clavicle bones right below the interclavicular hole. The rest of the shoulder girdle is connected and held together with various tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers. This structure is fantastic for mobility and grants the human body more movement in the shoulders than around the pelvis, but it also means less stability. For this reason it is important to not only work with the flexibility around the shoulder girdle area to correct a posture where the shoulders fall forward, but also with the entire muscle structure of the thoracic spine to help lift the sternum and maintain the scapula back and resting over the ribcage and not up and forwards into the ears.

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

Good Yoga shoulder & neck workshop 2015

When the scapula are resting over the back of the rib cage and the sternum is lifted up and away from the pubic bone, the natural curve of the thoracic spine is able to fulfill its structural role and help to carry the weight of the skull instead of placing the majority of the work upon the cervical spine. This of course means less neck pain as well as more space for the diaphragm to move which means a deeper and better breath as well as better functioning digestion and balanced activation of the nervous system, especially that of the Vagus Nerve.

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

The Emotional Connection

When the Vagus Nerve, digestive system and breath are functioning well we are more able to observe and control our stress response. When we are relaxed we are better equipped to employ the pre-frontal cortex and act in a logical, creative and compassionate manner rather than from the amygdala and its corresponding emotion of fear which commonly has its root in conditioned responses formed by past experiences rather than in the reality of the present moment.

 

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - GoodyogaConnections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - GoodyogaConnections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - GoodyogaConnections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - GoodyogaConnections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

The Energetic Connection:

There are six main meridians in Chinese medicine that run through the shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. For this reason, not only on a physiological level, but also on a energetic level, it is important to connect hands with arms and arms with shoulders and all of these with the neck to provide pain relief in the upper part of the body. The six meridians located in the upper part of the body are the Heart, the Small Intestine, the Large Intestine, the Lungs, the Pericardio and San Jiao.

Each meridian has its role but all of them have something to do with pain and discomfort located in and around the torso and neck as well as problems around the skull including issues dealing with the ears, teeth and eyes. Furthermore the meridians located around the torso and neck especially that of the Lung are related with emotions of melancholy, anxiety and other mental health problems. If you would like to learn more about the meridians I would recommend visiting this page as it offers clear and easy descriptions of each meridian and its corresponding location.

 

The practice of Yoga is an integral practice of connections.

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

Visualizing the human experience and human body from an integrated perspective instead of one of pieces and parts is what separates the eastern approach to medicine and philosophy from the western approach. In Yoga the body and mind exist together and are impossible to separatehence the name Yoga, or union. For this reason when working with the body one must observe and work with all of the physical, mental and energetic connections. This is the purpose and wisdom of Hatha Yoga as well as other mind-body practices such as Yin Yoga and Yamuna Body Rolling.

 

.             .Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga        Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga    Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

To learn more and feel in your own body and mind the effects of an integral practice of Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga and Yamuna Body Rolling, contact Good Yoga and reserve your spot in the February 9th  workshop in the Yoga & Wellbeing Center Seville which will be addressing shoulder, arm, skull and neck connection  via Hatha Yoga postures and the work of Yamuna Body Rolling.

Connections: Neck, shoulder and skull. Feb 2019 - Goodyoga

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019

4th annual Good Yoga & Core Focus Series of Yamuna Body Rolling and Yoga: Well-being Integrated Techniques.  

Combining the wisdom and alignment focus of Good Yoga with the transformative power of Yamuna Body Rolling and Yamuna Body Logic.

 


Change how you think, move and feel in mind and body from the inside out. 

 

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

March/April 2019 Yoga Yamuna Series of Workshops

Don´t miss this great oppurtunity to learn from the great teacher and healer, Norma Goodrick of Core Focus. Norma is certified in Pilates, Yoga, Yamuna Body Rolling,Yamuna Body Logic and has more than 20 years of international exerience integrating these disciplines into her work as both private practioner and group teacher.

Working with her daughter, Michelle Goodrick of Good Yoga, both will teach how to take care of oneself, reduce and remove chronic pain or tightness from your feet to the top of the skull in the workshops of Yamuna and Yoga: Integrated Techniques for Wellness. In each workshop series Michelle and Norma will guide students in the work of Yamuna Body Rolling and then take them through various Hatha Yoga poses to stregthen the mind-body connection of what it feels like to be aligned and move without pain and with ease.




Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

Good Yoga + Core Focus Técnicas Integradas 2015

Integrated Techniques for Wellness Program 2019: 23, 30 of march/ 6 of april

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Series 1

23 of March: Feet to Pelvis: Our base of mobility depends on how the feet and pelvis function. The pelvis is the point of support and fulcrum of movement for the entire body. From the there the spine lengthens upwards and the legs extend downward. If there is misalignement or tightness in this area the rest of the body structure will also suffer. Furthermore, misalignment in the feet will translate upwards into misalignment around the ankles, knees and into the pelvis. In this series of workshops Good Yoga and Core Focus will teach how to release tensions around the pelvis, the legs, sitbones and the iliapoas as well as basic foot care and alignment that will translate along the chain of movement thoughout the whole body, aligning misalignment so that you can feel again the joy of movement.  11:00 – 14.30

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

Tabla de cadera: Yamuna Body Rolling

23 of March: Shoulders, neck and skull: The majority of neck tension and pain begins with its connection to the shoulders and their connection to the thoracic spine. A lack of space and alignment in this area often results in a weak or collapsed sternum and rounded shoulders. Due to this closed structure, those who hold this often experience shallow, quick breathing instead of a full complete breath. A full breath is not only important for levels of vitality and energy, it also works to massage and support the entire thoracic spine in 360 degrees from the inside out. Learn how to release tension of the neck, increase shoulder flexibility while improving overall lung capacity, energy levels and posture via the the guided pressure of Yamuna Body Rolling and the aligned postures of Hatha Yoga 17:00 – 20:00

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

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Series 2

30 of March: The pelvic floor, abnominals and your breath: Move from your core.

The center of our body affects each part of our health: weakness and tension in this area can cause problems of the spine as well as issues connected with internal organ funcion. Opening and strengthening your core can relieve and correct problems associated with scoliosis, lumbalgia as well as discomfort associated with menstruation and menopause. It is also great for improving digestion, incontinence and fertility.  As well as reducing levels of anxiety and stress. Working around the diagphram both releases emotional tension often held in this area as well as increasing lung capacity. Learn how to use the pressure and traction of Yamuna Body Rolling combined with postures and practices of Hatha Yoga to heal and strengthen yourself from the inside out. 11:00 – 14:30

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - GoodyogaGood Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - GoodyogaGood Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga 

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Series 3

6 of Aprill: Detailed foot and hand work:

There are very few forms of exercise that address the problems in our feet and hands, but this work is essential because our feet and hands are at the end of our neuromuscular, circulatory and energetic systems. The degeneration in the feet and hands can result in more than arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome. Weakness and tension here can translate in pain and discomfort further up the chain in the legs, hips and spine as well as the joints in the arms up into the neck and shoulders. It is for this reason that Yamuna Zake developed Yamuna´s Foot Fitness and Hand Fitness.

The feet: Our feet are the base of our movement, and problems in our feet can cause problems further up the muscle chain in the ankles, knees, hips right up into the spine. Learning how to align, strengthen and release points of tension in the feet will result in better alignment, balance and movment throughout the entire body.

Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - GoodyogaGood Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - GoodyogaGood Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

The hands: Our hands are very similar in design to our feet. Problems in the hands can result in problems and pain further up in the wrists, shoulders and neck. One can see a real life photo of this connection in Norma Goodrick herself, here. These types of problems are very common among people who work a lot with their hands`. It is becoming more and more common in the general population as the communication in our modern and technological world depends on our hands ability to use a keyboard or touch screen. This continous and repetitive use on a daily basis can result in chronic pain.

Movment of the legs and hips begin in the feet, and movment in the neck and shoulders begin in the hands.  Feel and enjoy the release of this connection from the feet up through the spine and from the hands into the shoulders and neck in our your own body and learn how to maintain healthy, happy hands and feet for life. 11:00 – 14:00




It doesn´t matter if your are an experienced or inexperienced student of Yoga or Yamuna Body Rolling. You will not want to miss this great chance that happens just once a year-to learn from Norma Goodrick of Core Focus and her daughter  Michelle Goodrick of GoodYoga in the fully equiped Center of  Yoga y Bienestar Sevilla.

———————–Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - GoodyogaGood Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

Contact  Good Yoga to reseve your place in the workshop series or to schedule a private session of  Body Logic, Table Treatment or Body Rolling with Norma Goodrick.

See Norma´s availability here.



Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

March/April 2019 Yoga Yamuna Series of Workshops

 

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Good Yoga + Core Focus: Yamuna Body Rolling & Yoga Series 2019 - Goodyoga

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny

Fact: You are not a victim of genetics or chemistry.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Breaking free of the psychopharmacological cycle of genetic victim and chemical fate by changing your center of control and perception.

Any new discovery of truth does not contradict past truth but fits into it (Patanjali/Vivekananda 1:7)

I started my morning meditation with this phrase from the Yoga sutras fresh in my mind. It is a phrase that I have heard often in one form or another and in many distinct places-from the mouth of my mother, in the hallways of church and in the great lecture halls of university. It is the base of the scientific method and as a reformed researcher I cannot help myself but apply this method to everything, especially in the context of psychology and the concept of happiness and well-being. A truth that I have observed repeated and again in throughout various world mythologies, religions, philosophies as well as in the sciences of biology and psychology is what Pantanjali wrote over thousands of years ago: the base of all suffering has it´s root in the attachment to pleasure and the aversion to pain.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

These two things tie us to external expectations and situations and as a result takes away our perception of freedom to choose and form our decisions from a place of internal motivation. This external focus results in lower life satisfaction. The idea that we are happier when we perceive that we are in control of our life circumstances is supported by the psychological measurement of Locus of Control. The studies of this scale show that when we give more control of our lives to external circumstances and people we are less happy. It is for this reason that I would conclude that the perspective that we are victims of our biology and genes, a perspective that goes totally against the philosophy of Yoga, is causing so much harm in the western world at both a physiological and psychological level.

Psychopharmacological drugs: A western epidemic

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - GoodyogaIn their books and research Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic) Thomas Szasa (The Myth of Mental Illness) and  Russell Brand (Relovelution) all claim that the movement of psychiatry towards a medical model that is guided by genes, chemistry and drugs rather than a philosophical-social model that is guided by introspection and communication, has caused a huge surge in the diagnosis and relapse of psychological disorders. This is supported by data that shows in countries where there are more economic resources with easier access to psychopharmacological drugs there are higher rates of mental illness and relapse. For example, Whitaker highlights a study done over a period of 10 years, completed by the WHO (World Health Organization) that shows very clearly that a person is less likely to suffer from a psychological disorder and more likely to overcome one if they live in a less affluent country like India or Nigeria rather than in the USA or the EU.Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

In other words, if you have some sort of psychological mental illness or disorder you are more likely to overcome it if you live in a place where there is less access to psychopharmacological drugs rather than a place where there is much more ease of access.

 

Furthermore, the WHO in another multi-national report in 1998 found that the use of anti-depressives was associated with higher levels of long term depression rather than the other way around. In addition to the increase in depressive symptoms consumption of anti-depressives was also associated with all sorts of side effects such as insomnia, sexual dysfunction, apathy, suicidal thoughts and mania, which as a result could manifest another diagnostic of bi-polar disorder.

 

The great lack of evidence behind the psychiatric-medical model

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

What I am going to write here is fundamental to understand and in the beginning completely surprised me. There is NO evidence that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain before taking psychopharmacological drugs. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. It could be the brain of someone diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, PTSD or mania. There is no scientific evidence that shows with well documented and well-designed studies that there is a chemical imbalance behind this behavior. This imbalance only seems to occur AFTER the consumption of psychopharmacological drugs. This chemical imbalance explanation is a great myth constructed without scientific facts. This myth has been told by Big Farma and their friends in the psychiatric world during the past 40 years. The result has been lots of money for Big Farma and the psychiatric profession with little benefit for their patients.

 Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

The data shows that in the long term and in fact, in the short term as well, the majority of the psychopharmacological drugs have little to no effect greater than a placebo and in the worst case scenario can end up causing permanent brain damage. Whitaker has documented this reality with historical records as well as qualitative and quantitative research. In his research he shows very clearly that psychological and physical risks and symptoms increase with the amount of time and the psychiatric drugs are taken. Furthermore, the younger a person starts, the greater the risk. From the philosophical approach taken from both the Yoga sutras of Patanjali and the Myth of Mental Illness written by Thomas Sanz it is no surprise that the consumption of the anti-psychotics and ant-depressives are correlated with an increase in psychological risk over the long term rather than a decrease in symptoms. Here is why:

 

Locus of Control

 

In Psychology  of Hatha Yoga Part I: Locus of Control I explained via the psychological measurements of Locus of Control what was written in the Yoga sutras, that the ingredients of suffering are attachment and aversion. These measurements of Locus of Control have a strong correlation with levels of well-being and depression.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - GoodyogaHigh levels of Internal Locus of Control is correlated with higher levels of well-being whereas high levels of external Locus of Control is associated with higher instances of depression. You can read more here.

 

Aversion

From a psychological perspective as well as in accordance with the philosophy of Patanjali and the Yoga sutras is it logical that a world where people take pills in an attempt to feel better, experience less life satisfaction than those who take nothing when confronted with a negative emotional experience. When we avoid uncomfortable and negative experiences by taking on an external solution (ie pills) we start to strengthen our sense of external Locus of Control instead of developing a greater sense of internal Locus of Control. We increase levels of internal Locus of Control  when we learn how to accept and confront these negative circumstances using internal resources, like self-observation and breath, two great skills that form the base of Hatha Yoga.

 

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

Attachment

The psychiatric-medical model offers a fixed label that patients and doctors can attach themselves to in order to explain a psychological problems (ie. Schizophrenia, ADHD, PTSD, Bi-polar, etc.) Thanks to this labeling and the great marketing scheme created by Big Farma patients internalize their problem as something genetic and chemical that they themselves do not have the power to change. With this kind of perspective and attachment to a fixed label and identity the problem becomes something outside of the patients control and the solution that is offered is an external one, a pill, rather than an internal one (self-talk, self-observation, breath work, creative expression…etc).

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

The result of a treatment based on psychopharmacological drugs creates a vicious cycle of attachment and aversion. There is an aversion to confronting negative symptoms that is justified with attachment towards a label of a psychological disorder. According to the Yoga sutras of Patanjali combined with the measurements of Locus of Control it is only logical that this cycle of aversion and attachment results in a greater number of relapses and lower quality of life (measured by a patients ability to live independently and maintain important relationships) than patients who never enter into this cycle of psychopharmacological drugs.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

In this graphic one can see that a person suffering from schizophrenic symptoms who does not take psychopharmacological drugs in the long term, lives a better life than a patient who takes psychopharmacological drugs. This is also demonstrated in cases of depression. In 1995 in a study done over a period of 6 years with 547 patients who suffered symptoms of depression, it was shown that patients receiving psychopharmacological treatment were 7x more likely to become incapacitated and 3x more likely to abandon their principal social role than patients who did not receive psychopharmacological treatment. (NIMH 1998).

From both a psychological and Yoga perspective I would hypothesize that this is because patients who are given psychopharmacological drugs to avoid psychological pain are never taught and never learn how to overcome their condition using internal resources (self-observation, breath, self-talk…etc). They are dependent on external resources (psychopharmacological drugs) in order to survive. This dependence is justified by the attachment to an identity of a psychological disorder. An identity and disorder that doctors say is out of their control. The result is an increase in the levels of external Locus of Control which is of course directly correlated and related to lower levels of life satisfaction.

 

Another way…

 

You were never bound by laws. Nature never had a bond for you (Patanjali/Vivekananda 2:18)

 

Before the year 1992, western Lapland Finland had some of the highest levels of schizophrenia in the EU. According to the psychiatric-medical model schizophrenia is genetic and a result of an imbalance of dopamine in the brain caused by an error in the genetic code. Most often, once a person has received this diagnostic the patient has to accept a lifetime of anti-psychotic medication which is known to increases levels of apathy, dull creativity as well as academic success. However, with the introduction of a social therapy called ´Open Dialogue Therapy´ in this region of Finland, the levels of schizophrenia have dropped to some of the lowest in the EU for both diagnosis and relapses. Furthermore, 84% of the patients of this therapy are either working or attending university. This means that either schizophrenia is not genetic or if it is, therapies based on social support and self-knowledge, can help a patient overcome and control it. Or from a more general perspective, it is possible to let go of the attachment to a destructive identity (schizophrenia) and the aversion to negative experiences via confronting and accepting difficult sensations and conversations.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

It is interesting that the base of Hatha Yoga as well as Open Dialogue Therapy and other therapies such as Somatic Experience is to help the patient and student learn how to observe their bodily sensation, their thoughts and with support learn how to analyze, control and let go of them. Russel Brand (ex-addict, actor turned Yogi and activist) in his book Relovelution and his documentary From addiction to Recovery says the same approach is needed to overcome the problems of addiction.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

The researchers Dr. Kolk and Dr. Levine have arrived to the same conclusion in their research and have written prolifically about the theme. You can read more about that here and here.  I would say this is because this kind of mind-body approach follows a happiness truth that is supported by multiple resources and practices. This truth has its root in increasing our perception of internal control and leaving behind the victim outlook that leaves all control to external circumstances.

 

Hatha Yoga: A complete system of well-being

All the various ideas that arise making us believe that we require something external to make us happy are obstructions…and are the result of past impressions´ (Patanjali/Vivekananda 4:26)

I learned many years ago during my studies at university the importance of our own perception in living a happy life. Each one of us has the freedom to either be the victims or owners of our lives and it isn´t any more complicated than choosing the appropriate perspective. Nonetheless, we are products of our past and cultural conditioning and sometimes it is hard to realize that we have the capacity to choose how we want to live, act and perceive the world. It is more common than not that we feel a huge attachment to our identities constructed by our past and culture and at the same time a great aversion, a great fear, in confronting, changing or letting go of these identities.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

Nonetheless, Robert Whitaker, Thomas Szanz and Russel Brand-an investigative journalist, a psychiatrist and an ex – addict now activist -respectively speaking –  are all in agreement and show with scientific evidence, logical arguments and personal experience what Patanjali wrote thousands of years ago in his Yoga sutras. We are not victims or slaves to our biology, family, culture or past and that the act of aversion and attachment to anything takes away our freedom and causes us to suffer. If we let go of our attachment and aversion to these various social constructions/labels and chemical crutches we can begin to take responsibility for our own lives and perspectives. As a result we let go of suffering. Hatha Yoga offers a complete system for us to do just that.

Hatha Yog and the psychology of Well-being

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

In former blog posts I have gone into detail how practicing the postures of Hatha Yoga either chest openers or pelvic work we can learn how to let go of both physical and emotional blocks including ones associated with post-traumatic stress. Hatha Yoga classes and the Yoga community offers us a safe space and social support (Sangha). This social support has been shown to be key for our happiness. Furthermore, in the observation of the sensations of each pose in Hatha Yoga, combined with the power of breath we learn how to listen to ourselves and self-regulate. We learn how to let go of aversion towards uncomfortable sensations-at first at a physical level than at a psychological one. In the conscious practice of Hatha Yoga we increase our capacity of self-observation and we gain control over our own mind-body system. With this control we are able to observe when we are in a state of attachment or aversion and we have the tools to leave the associated suffering behind. Consequently, we overcome the need to be dependent on external resources (psychopharmacological drugs) to alleviate suffering. The result is an increase in the scientific measure of internal Locus of Control that the philosophy of Yoga and states to be a universal truth – that when we leave behind the attachment and aversion to the external…

…we require none else to make us happy, for we are happiness itself (Patanjali/Vivekananda 2:27).

 

Psychology of Hatha Yoga Part II: Break free from chemical destiny - Goodyoga

OM

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control

The Psycholgoy of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control

 

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

The Joy of Freedom

Attachment and aversion towards the past or the future is what makes us resist the freedom and joy found in the present. Physical or psychological resistance is what ties us like slaves to external opinions, conditions and experiences and as western psychology has shown with measurements like Locus of Control, being tied to external conditions lowers our level of well-being. When we accept our reality just as it is, without getting ourselves stuck in the game of blame, we are free to move ourselves in whatever direction suits us and with an energy that propels us forward from the inside rather than feeling pushed or pulled in one direction or another by external motivations or conditions. A conscious and consistent practice of Hatha Yoga can help us in this path toward freedom and joy.

 

 

Attachment, Aversion & our perception.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

´Attachement is that which dwells on pleasure. Aversion is that which dwells on pain…both result in suffering.´ (Patanjali/Vivakananda 2: 7-8)

 

In his translation and commentary of Patanjali, Swami Vivekananda explains that all suffering comes from an attachment that gives us pleasure and aversion to what does not give us pleasure. Meditating over these sutras the psychological concept of Locus of Control(LOC) came to mind once again. It is a concept that always comes up when I find myself contemplating the themes of psychology, Yoga and happiness. I believe that I always return to this concept because our perception of control is an important key to our sense of well-being. Basically, the theory behind Locus of Control states that if you believe you are responsible for the things that occur in your life you will have a high internal Locus of Control score and if not, if you believe that things just happen due to fate or luck than you will have a high external Locus of Control score. According to the Rotters Scale, there is a highly statistically significant correlation que shows that a high score of internal Locus of Control is highly associated with higher levels of well-being and satisfaction while a high score of external Locus of Control is highly associated with higher incidences (and I say incidences because this can be overcome) of depression and anxiety. The concept of internal vs. external control can help us to understand from a western psychological perspective why attachment and aversion tocan cause us to suffer.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

Attachment and Aversion: Two sides of the same coin of suffering 

 

Suffering is in the desire to prolong or continue something external that gives us pleasure-even though sometimes, ´we find pleasure in strange things…´ (Patanjali/Vivakananda  2:7). All of us would like to continue indefinately the things we would define as pleasurable. However, if we observe nature, we can observe that the only thing constant in life is change. If we start to have a perspective of life as if it were a continuous experience, we can start to leave behind the pain of resistance that can come up with each new ending of a pleasurable experience. We can start to live in the present.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

On the other side of the coin of resistance we have aversion. Aversion makes us suffer because we want to avoid something that we believe will cause us pain. We have a fear of something and in order to not confront it, we resist what is by avoiding it. Maybe it is a conversation that we should have with someone, maybe it is a lifestyle change or starting a new activity. When we go into avoiding any type of experience we create resistance and we lose lots of energy in the construction of walls built of excuses and fear. Furthermore, like attachment, we lose out on the joy found in the present moment.

In this cycle of attachment and aversion one loses the perception of control over their life and runs the risk of becoming a slave of externally conditioned desires and fears instead of their master. Often this slavery to such conditioned responses is what drives addiction. This perception of control is exactly what Locus of Control measures.

 

The Victim  

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - GoodyogaIn spite of the psychological reality that we are happier when we take responsibility for our lives, we are all guilty of playing the victim role and leaving that responsibility of our own lives and experience in the hands of others. Patanjali states that this surrender to the victim mentality is a result of ignorance on our part and our own inability to see and accept just how powerful we truly are.

When we integrate the concepts of non-attachment and non-aversion in our daily philosophy we increase levels of internal Locus Of Control and lower levels of external LOC because our happiness is not tied to external  conditions. These external conditions come in many forms. Some of the most common are the opinions of others (good & bad), work worries, the fear of being alone or losing someone we love and/or the desire for fame, money and external beauty. By letting go of our aversion or attachment to these external conditions we can brush off the dust of ignorance and we can begin to enjoy the creative power and joy that is our nature.

You are free

´You were never bound by laws, Nature never had a bond for you´ (Patanjali/Vivakananda 2:18)

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

With this entry Vivekananda is explaining that we don´t have to be the victims of our biology, genetics or culture. Because Yoga asana is the philosophy of Yoga in action, with a constant and disciplined practice of Hatha Yoga we can increase our perception of internal LOC. With every asana carried out with intention and conscious observation we let go of the stress that gets stuck in the musculature of the body and we practice being witnesses of our experience, being both the observed and observer. With each asana and observation of that asana we learn that this union between mind and body responds to our intention and breath. We have total control over that intention and breath. With a conscious practice of Hatha Yoga we can understand on both a visceral and psychological level what Patanjali says throughout the Yoga sutras-we are not victims nor slaves of any kind to an external force. Everything starts from the inside. With this awareness recorded in the cells of our body and the neurons of our brain, we can leave behind the suffering associated with the both the psychologcial and physiologcial signs of resistance (aversion/attachement) and transform ourselves into free and blissful beings.

Psychology of Hatha Yoga: Part 1 Locus of Control - Goodyoga

OM

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon

What is Hatha Yoga?

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

This is a question I get a lot. I would define Hatha Yoga as a practice which via physical postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama) and the observation of them (meditation) the practitioner gains balance and control over their physical body as well as their nervous system. In other words, it is a way to balance mind and body. I teach and practice Hatha Yoga. Good Yoga is simply a name made up to help differentiate what I offer from other styles of Hatha Yoga, and there are as many styles of Hatha Yoga as there are teachers. I seek to follow the guidance of Patanjali and make every asana accessible to each student no matter their level, age or experience. A more descriptive name might be Patanjali Good Yoga Hatha. If it wasn´t such a long name, perhaps I would change it. Either way, I hope the following explanation of Hatha and Yoga serve to help clarify the questions that I have received.

Hatha Yoga literally means ¨Sun and Moon¨ and Yoga means the union between the two. Through the union of both these forms we become free. Translated directly from Sanskrit to English this translation of Hatha Yoga might not make a lot of sense. However, when one starts to reflect over what the sun and moon traditionally represent within mythology throughout the world, the wisdom of the combination of these two opposites in one word begins to manifest.

In the world of Hindu mythology (and most world mythologies) traditionally   the symbol of the sun is related to the masculine and the moon with the feminine. These two energies work and exist together to create and maintain a delicate balance of life on this planet.

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

It is easy to observe that without the sun we would all die due to the cold and lack of nutrition that comes from its rays. What we do not see is that if the moon did not exist, life as we know it would cease to exist as well. If it were not for the ocean tides that the moon produces with its gravitational pull we would not be here. Primordial life started in the small tide pools that stay behind at the exiting of every tide. Without the moon the tide pools, which are like the petri dishes of creation, would not exist. I don´t think it is pure coincidence that there are many creation myths that start with a goddess or god coming out of the water. In fact, in the story of Genesis, land comes out of the ocean depths, not the other way around and the creation of the human being comes from a mix of both dirt and water (ie. Mud) not simply one or the other.What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

 

Furthermore, without the moon, the entire orbit of our planet would be different. Without the moon there would be total chaos in the seasonal patterns that we depend on to raise crops and cattle. The loss of the moon´s mass and its gravitational pull would put an almost complete end to the ocean tides. This would negatively affect marine life as well as life on land and result in certain death of most plant and animal species who depend upon the nutrients that are distributed throughout the world via the ocean and the constant ebb and flow of her waters. Our eco-system, like our mind-body system, is very integrated and everything is connected.  If one part isn´t completing its function, the entire organism, the entire system, suffers. To learn more about the importance of the relationship between the moon and the earth click here. 

The sun, the moon and the human body

Men and women, we are different biologically. Women have vaginas and men have a penis, obviously. In Sanskrit, the word Yoni (origin of creation) is used and Shishna respectively. Focusing only on the physical we can say that the female sexual organs exist inside the body whereas the male sexual organs exist outside. The sexual act of the male is external and that of the female is internal. Furthermore, although both men and women do have hormonal cycles, the menstrual cycle of the woman usually follows a 28 day rhythm, which syncs up with the rhythm of the moon. In fact, the root of the word menstruation comes from the Greek meaning moon. My opinion is that due to biology the things that we can see and feel clearly, like the light and heat of the sun are associated with masculine energy where as the things in nature that are less visible, like the gravitational pull of the moon, are associated with the feminine. This does not mean that one or the other is more important or more powerful than the other. As I have already explained, without the moon or sun we would not have the conditions necessary to sustain life on this planet.

 

This balance between the masculine and feminine is necessary as well to maintain a healthy mind-body system. In Yoga this balance is reflected in the energetic descriptions of the body-specifically in the representation of the channels (nadis) of energy (prana) known as Ida (moon/mental strength/Yin/feminine/internal/cool) and the pingala (sun/vital strength/yang/masculine/external/heat). These channels of complementary and opposing energies spiral up the center of the spine (shushumna). They start at the base of the sacrum and rise up to the top of the skull. A constant practice of asana, pranayama and meditation offers a way to develop and maintain a balanced flow of these two energies. A lack of balance between these two energies is what can cause pain on both physical and psychological levels.What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

For example, physical strength is important. Physical strength would be a characteristic traditionally associated with masculinity. However, too much strength without flexibility, for example in the hamstrings, can pull on the pelvis out of alignment and cause lumbar pain. Likewise, an imbalance between strength and flexibility in the upper part of the body can cause lots of tension in the shoulders and problems with the cervical spine. Also, too much flexibility (a traditionally feminine characteristic) without strength can create painful problems of hyper-extension in the joints and a lack of bone density.

The human body functions at it´s optimum mode when we are both strong and flexible and are able to react with both strength and agility. This principal of balance amongst two opposing forces within the body is also applicable we discuss psychological health as well.

The sun, the moon and the human mind

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

Traditionally one could say that masculine energy is associated with words like aggression, extroversion, logic, control and ambition. Whereas, the feminine is often associated with words like submission, introversion, emotion, chaos and empathy. The philosophy of Yoga teaches us that each one of us has the responsibility of developing both these types of energy that exist within us independent of our gender or biology.

On a psychological level, a lack of balance between masculine and feminine energies can result in anger problems and abuse or being the victim of these. Likewise, a person who puts too much emphasis on emotion and creative chaos without using logic or the strength necessary to confront life challenges will live life without much direction resulting in many dreams but with few results. On the other hand, a person who does everything from a logical perspective, with lots of ambition, without empathy, without thinking in the experience or suffering of others would be tagged as a psychopath. This type of hyper-masculine energy not only represents a danger for others but also diminishes the great opportunity and joy that is available when we connect with other human beings on a psychological-emotional level.

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

We are biological machines made up of both mind and body, of thoughts and emotions. Emotion starts first in the body and is then later interpreted by the mind. For example, the famous example of the snake and stick. If you go walking in the forest and see a stick that looks like a snake, the first physical reaction is a great surge of adrenaline that then moves blood to our exterminates away from our heart, lungs and digestive organs so that we can run away quickly. It actives the brain stem and shuts down activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the seat of logic. If we stay in that mode without using the mind to re-interpret reality, we could very well end up running and screaming away from a stick. On the other hand, if we didn´t have these quick instinctual reactions, we run the risk of reacting too slow, thereby increasing our risk of being attacked by a snake or any other creature.

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

It is important to know when it is a stick and when it is a snake. The stress response triggered by fear is not bad in and of itself. As mentioned, this stress response could save our lives. What causes us harm is if this stress response simply continues and does not shut-off. In fact, most of the illnesses today have their root in this chronic stress response that is constantly putting out high levels of adrenaline and cortisol. Due to the movement of blood and oxygen moving continuously to our exterminates instead of providing and exporting important nutrients to our most vital parts such as our heart, lungs, digestive system and brain, eventually these chronic states of stress result in a compromised immune system and diseases like cancer, heart disease and inflammation of the brain that has been associated with depression and Alzheimer’s.

Finding balance betweeen the energies of the Sun and Moon

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - GoodyogaChronic stress and its associated illnesses are the result of a great lack of self-observation. If your boss yells at you, you are in a major traffic jam or you end up sitting next to someone whom you don´t particularly like, normally our habit is a stress driven response instead of a logical one that would help us to maintain our calm. A yelling boss is not going to kill you, a traffic jam is not going to kill you and even though the person sitting next to you talks a lot or smells bad, most like they are not going to kill you either. Many of our stress responses have their base in past conditioning. It could be that we had a traumatic experience that makes us react in an illogical manner or simply, it could be that we are reacting with a pattern we learned, unconsciously from our parents or culture. Within the practice of Yoga asana (posture) maintaining the pose for more than just a few breaths can help the student to learn how to enter their bodies, observe and let go (NOT ignore) of the emotions and sensations that appear with these instinctual stress responses. Entering and observing the body, where this unconscious information is stored, we have the ability to redirect our energy to our more vital organs, including our brain, giving us the chance to use our logic to search for a solution.

Nonetheless, it is important to state that we cannot only live in our heads. There is a balance. By observing the body without judging or interpreting the millions of sensations that occur, we start to be able to enjoy more and more the simple things in life like food, the movement of our feet upon the land and the physical connection of a hug, a caress, a kiss or the act of making love without an objective, motive or end goal.What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

Today this type of observation of sensation without interpretation has the brand name of Mindfullness. I would say that the practice of mindfulness is the practice of yoga. The practice of Yoga is the union of mind and body, the union between sensation and interpretation, the union between the masculine and feminine, between the associated energies of the sun and moon, the ida and pingala, the yin and yang. Between the Ha and Tha. This union can only happen when one practices constant observation of both mind and body and Hatha Yoga practice offers a way to do that. The mind is an invisible thing that can be difficult to observe and guide whereas the body is tangible and can be much more accessible to observe and guide.

It is for that reason that a consistent and conscious practice of Hatha Yoga we have the opportunity to enjoy a life of balance that comes with a connected mind and body. In the observation of our thoughts and body we become free from our animal instincts and conditioned thoughts. We have the chance to be free and live in bliss which in the end, is the true purpose of Yoga. To help you remember you are already free.

What is Hatha Yoga? A union between two opposites: Sun & Moon - Goodyoga

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