Sandra's Blog


My ‘Mini-Me’

Sandra, 73 years young

Sandra, 73 years young

My “Mini-me” lives in my feeling heart. I call her, “Sandra”, and when she feels sad, I comfort her. When she needs support, I am there to encourage her. I love all the parts of ‘Mini-me'; the parts that work and the parts that stumble along in need of MY encouragement. I am ALWAYS there to help ‘Mini-me’ now and forever – no matter what happens.
I sustain her throughout the trials of my life and I, also, allow ‘Mini-me’ to enjoy my happiness, successes and triumphs.

YogaFictionYogaTruth, eBook 2 For more. http://bit.ly/1KqguKJ

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Understanding How Your Mind Works

Sandra at 72 years young.

Sandra at 72 years young.

 

All of your body is in your mind. But not all of your mind is in your body.
Sri Aurobindo

The electrical activity of your brain is recorded as brainwaves on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Brainwaves are measured in frequencies (hertz). There are four brainwave frequencies or states ranging from the most active to the most tranquil.

 

• Beta: mentally active—14-30 hertz
• Alpha: slow activity of the relaxed state—8-13 hertz
• Theta: very slow activity—4-7 hertz
• Delta: deep sleep—0.5-6 hertz

To be EFFECTIVE brainwaves need to be STRONG. For example, arriving at the Yoga class after a busy day, we are often in low amplitude BETA. We feel tired and our minds are scattered and foggy. But after stretching and breathing Prana flows and is more balanced and we feel less stressed. BETA brainwaves are now STRONGER and we focus with greater ease.

Relaxing even more we slide into ALPHA, where we encounter INTUITIVE INSIGHTS. If Alpha is weak these insights scatter but as relaxation deepens Prana gains strength, ALPHA brain waves INTENSIFY and the information stays with us.

By the end of the class, when our bodies are profoundly relaxed, Prana pulls us into THETA. STRONG Theta brainwaves inform us about the deeper, inspirational aspects of our beings and our lives.

Extremely robust Prana guides us into DELTA, the deepest brainwave state of all. Here we receive knowledge, usually ONLY available to us during deep sleep.

Yoga opens ALL aspects of our minds. In BETA, we are focused and relaxed; in ALPHA, insightful and intuitive; in THETA, imaginative and inspirational; and in DELTA, we experience deep peaceful sleeps or, if awake, cosmic consciousness.

However, for this to happen, brainwaves need clout. Powerful brainwaves calm the conscious ‘rascal’ mind and create powerful energy fields.

Nothing of a lower vibration enters into a higher energy field—it dissolves on contact.

Strong energy fields protect us from physical and emotional toxins, including viruses and contaminants. They also shield us from the fear and anxiety so prevalent in today’s society. This may sound strange but consider the following.

Most students float out of their Yoga classes feeling open and powerful. Yet, within a few hours their energy dips, and they run back to their classes. Many attend daily. This is beneficial for new students, who find it difficult to practice at home. However, attending weekly classes, and learning Asana for our level and unique body types, along with the understanding and experiencing of Prana; we balance Prana, on our own, whenever we wish! (See next chapter.)

From YogaFictionYogaTruth, eBook 2
Flowing Prana, Sparks Your Creative Volition

For more Click Here

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What Exactly Are Our Breathing Muscles?

In Yoga we breathe ONLY with—our proper breathing muscles—the Muscles of Respiration because they give space for the diaphragm (major breathing muscle) to slide EASILY up and down.

Widening through the lower back, side ribs...

Widening through the lower back, side ribs…

The FULL movement of the diaphragm liberates and powers Prana. Imagine? Breathing with our correct breathing muscles releases stress all day long! (Upper chest breathing creates and maintains anxiety, while excessive abdominal breathing gives way to lethargy.)

The Muscles of Respiration depend on our Back Breath. Unaware of our numerous back breathing muscles, we overuse the front ones and the so-called accessory breathing muscles, such as the scalene, sternocleidomastoid and upper chest wall muscles, which make us more anxious.

However, once the Muscles of Respiration are established—even under duress—the ONLY respiratory muscles needed are the Muscles of Respiration because they KEEP US CENTRED AND CALM because they pump Prana through our bodies (and eventually Kundalini!)

Since most people breathe with their accessory breathing muscles and overuse their front respiratory muscles, SWITCHING to Back Breath brings IMMEDIATE relaxation and alertness.

The Back Breath widens and stretches our back ribs and this activates the back brain, fostering intuitive awareness. It also stimulates the adrenal glands, making us alert (without the caffeine!), bestowing a feeling of strength. (To say someone has a ‘strong back’ implies we can lean on them.)

I came upon the Back Breath while teaching my first Yoga retreat. Since I wanted to hang out with the students (and teach the retreat!) I needed to stay grounded, so I focused on widening my back ribs. Soon my breath was centred in my back and I was alert and stable with lots of energy!

So I stopped teaching the Belly Breath and, instead, taught my students to Back Breathe. This was the early 80’s. Imagine my surprise when years later I saw all those back breathing muscles! (Click here for a short video of breathing with the Muscles of Respiration.)

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Sexual Allegations & Yoga

I SUPPORT the women, who accuse Bikram Choudhury of rape and sexual assault.

I SUPPORT Jill Lawler, a former teacher at Bikram White Rock Yoga, for filing a civil suit against Bikram Choudhury for allegations of sexual assault.

I SUPPORT and applaud Bikram White Rock Hot Yoga for changing their name to Nourish Hot Yoga in SUPPORT of Jill Lawler.

I SUPPORT and ask Nourish Hot Yoga to remove the name ‘Bikram’ from their studio, Facebook page and website.

I SUPPORT and applaud Nourish Hot Yoga for SUPPORTING the abused and distancing themselves from the abuser.

Bikram Choudhury joins a long list of Yoga gurus, such as Swami Satchidanada, Swami Rama, Amrit Desai, John Friend and Kausthub Desikachar; accused of sexual allegations.

I SUPPORT all of us in being aware of the shadow side of others, regardless of how much power they yield.

For more comments to this blog look here

 

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My Life In My Closet

Sandra in her closet.

Sandra in her closet. 73 years young.

I live a secret life inside of my closet.

I go there most mornings to sit, breathe and meditate.

It’s small, dark and quiet and no one bothers me. Most times, they don’t even know I’m there.

I love my closet, mostly because it’s dark. I shut the door and keep my iPhone beside me so I can see to write down inspirational flashes that come to me, while breathing and meditating in the dark.

The closet helps me with my life. In this small, dark place, intuitive insights guide me. With my eyes closed, I ‘see’ where, in my everyday life, I’ve gone wrong. Here, all by myself, I correct my actions and ‘see’ what I need to do next.

The closet envelops me in inspirational energies and I don’t feel alone. There are inner lights, subtle energies and forces that visit me in the closet. They help and guide me and tell me which way to go.

And, when I exit the closet, I leave the carcass of my ‘old’ self behind and step out into the world, armed with new energies and insights.

I love my closet.

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I Want To Be An Old Person In My World

photo 2 12.45.55 PM

Sandra 73 years young…

There needs to be old people in the world and I am signing up for the job. I am old and I LOVE it.

There are downsides and perks to every age. Now that I am 73, what I lack in memory and body movement, is made up for in greater sensitivity and caring for others.

The important thing is to try to be healthy and, most of us can do this by eating simply, stretching and opening our bodies with breath, meditation and movement.

A few of my tips to stay ‘young’ are to avoid medications and vitamins, unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. The least amount of medication (and vitamins) for the most amount of benefits with the least amount of side effects.

Our physical bodies age but: our light bodies get stronger. Wrinkly bodies run Prana (light) easily, breaking up emotional worries and blockages. This is why old people (and peri-menopausal women!) easily get nervous. Too bad they are medicated out of this growth cycle.

My advice, cry, if you need to. Makes us look younger. Identify with the Prana (light.) It feels good and it brings insights to help navigate our problems.

Find ways to give everything you’ve learned away. The younger people need your support and help. It may not look as if they are listening but they do take it in and it inspires their lives.

This is the best legacy we can give. Our own lives (with all of our continuing problems and obstacles) lived and died well.

Photo taken by Tangi Bell.

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Please, NO Lifts in Shoulderstand

Requested by Shell Andrea, Yoga Teacher in Winnipeg

Placing lifts under the shoulders in Shoulderstand started with Mr. Iyengar. He thought, by adding a lift, the neck would be free and the student would lift easier, up into the position.

He was right. Placing the shoulders on a lift creates space at the back of the neck and with the elbows on the lift, the student extends, more easily, upwards.

But; Mr. Iyengar was wrong in thinking this was good for the body. In fact, using lifts compresses the cervical spine of the neck and changes the energy flow of Shoulderstand. I will tell you how.

Picture 773

Half Shoulderstand

First, let me explain what happened to me. Studying with Mr. Iyengar in India, he placed me on lifts and instructed me to do  Shoulderstand and Plough every day.

Being a good student, I followed his advice and after about three years my neck hurt so I went to my doctor, who told me I had bone spurs, with irreplaceable neck damage. I stopped doing and teaching Shoulderstand and Plough.

To the rescue came several people but not before I discovered  other serious practitioners, who used lifts, were also having neck problems.

One of my rescuers was a chiropractor, in my Yoga class and another was Vanda Scarvelli, who told me, “No lifts. Keep your weight away from your neck and into your elbows.” The chiropractor agreed.

The Sivananda people never used lifts. Instead, they taught Half Shoulderstand to beginners and recommended that the Fish (Matsyendrasana) follow Shoulderstand.

I noticed the Fish was healing my neck. To this day (I’m 73 years young and practice full Shoulderstand, Plough & Fish regularly) my neck is strong and flexible!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandra in Full Shoulderstand

After practicing the Half Shoulderstand for about a year, my arms and core got stronger.

And, I slowly moved towards the full position, with the weight of my body  into my elbows,  AWAY from my neck. I could lift my shoulders off the floor and easily roll my head from side to side, since MY CHEST WAS SOFT AND RELAXED.

And, my head touched the mat at the BASE OF MY SKULL or occiput. It is this pressure, on the base of the skull, that creates the relaxing Yin effects of Shoulderstand.

When the head touches the mat higher up, towards the top of the occiput, as it DOES with a lift, the CERVICAL SPINE IS COMPRESSED—between the shoulders and the skull. No wonder teachers warn, “Do NOT move your head.”   When the cervical spine is free, as it is WITHOUT a lift, the head easily moves from side to side.

Teachers also tell students, on the lift, to tuck their shoulders under. This locks the neck even more.

Without a lift, students arms extend downwards and the CERVICAL SPINE LENGTHENS! This action and the Fish HEALED my neck.

In addition, when the weight rests higher up on the skull, Shoulderstand turns into the energy of Headstand. The energy of Headstand is frontal and Yang, while Shoulderstand gives us relaxing Yin, back-brain energy.

I notice teachers, who practice Shoulderstand with a lift, are more frontal and Yang.

So there you have it. Please, NO lifts in Shoulderstand because it doesn’t matter where you are in Shoulderstand, with the weight on the base of the occiput, natural tranquillizers, just for you, are released into your body.

That’s why I nicknamed the Shoulderstand, The Tranquility Position. So find an easy place in Shoulderstand and enjoy!

For a detailed video of the Shoulderstand, Plough and Fish click here.

If you have questions about Yoga, please contact me at Sandra@sammartinoyoga.com 

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