Yoga in Kent

Karma yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

World of Karma – Beginning

Without a doubt, at least once in life we have heard the word Karma. However, not all of us have a clear understanding of the meaning of it.

First, Karma means movement of change and this change is brought about by action or deed. Moreover, Karma is something we can not avoid. In fact, when we are born we have to act. We get food, earn living, interact with the outside world. Second, it is not possible to exist without Karma. Third, absence of Karma means absence of life.

In the modern world, the explanation of Karma will be “what goes around comes around.”

If you give out good energy and positive vibes, it will come back to you in a full circle. The same can be said for negative energy and thoughts.

New life Karma

In the modern world, the explanation of Karma will be “what goes around comes around.”

Spirit of Karma in Yoga practice  

Many people live their lives on autopilot mode. They are not aware that their thoughts influence their realities. Much of the unrest we see in the world today is a direct result of people’s thoughts. All of the conflicts, wars, complaining, and general unhappiness begins with a thought carried out with action.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union. The roots of yoga are founded in a philosophy of union. Union of the mind, body and soul. Union of the self with the divine. It is the concept of oneness — of each individual being a part of a universal consciousness.

Busy people

Through Karma yoga we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain.

Yoga is a union

Karma yoga – Yoga of action

If we integrate Karma and Yoga together, the meaning of Karma Yoga will be action that joins or unite. It is the action that joins us to everything around. And what is around? It is the creation of God, which includes living beings, nature, animals, other human beings. Any action that unite us to everything around us is Karma Yoga.

Karma yoga is the yoga of action. It is about purifying your heart by learning to act selflessly in service of others. Through Karma yoga we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain. The idea being that learning these lessons helps us to step away from our ego. I fact, it is freeing us to move one step further on the path to enlightenment.

Karma yoga – Three attributes of action

 According to Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred text, there are three attributes of actions. Therefore, if the action has these three dimensions, then it will be Karma yoga.

 First, the action should be without selfish desire. Apparently, desires create strong attachments. So, as a result of desires, we have attachments to the fruit of our action. These attachments are the cause of our stress and unhappiness.

Yoga and study

For example, if you are studying for the exam and you can achieve a higher grade then you may get highly paid job. And then you will get attachment with higher grade and this attachment brings lot of stress. It means that in Karma yoga the action should be performed without any desires. After that, while you perform any action without any attachment then you have no stress, anxiety and depression even if you fail.

Karma yoga – The second dimension

The second dimension of Karma Yoga is selfless action. In other words, action without false ego and action not for me. When you are doing something, you say: “I am doing it for myself.” That “I” is false ego.

For example, I decide to travel to Paris for the Christmas holidays, but if I cannot travel that leads to a big disappointment and sad feelings.

In Karma yoga there is no sad feelings, no quilt and just peace and contentment.

The third dimension is that it should be in line with your duty, responsibility. The right action in that moment and situation and space.

For instance, if I am a mother then I have certain duties towards my children. Moreover, if I live in a society then I have to follow the law and respect others. The society has given me a lot, so I have to give back. After all, I receive so much from mother nature. That means I have to give back to mother nature.

Good vibes

In Karma yoga there is no sad feelings, no quilt and just peace and contentment.

Karma yoga – Daily practice of every human being

How can we practice Karma yoga in our daily life?

First, when it comes to practicing Karma yoga, it is important that the service comes from a selfless place. It is about giving to those in need, sharing love, and spreading light.

Second, start practicing Karma Yoga at home, with yourself. In other words, when you live your life with awareness, you carve a path to nourish the universe that eventually nourishes you. Besides, being kind to ourselves and taking care of ourselves is not selfish but rather critical. If you are not healthy and peaceful, you cannot help others.

Good Karma to help orphan kids

Be honest with people, tell the truth. Put out your best effort and stay your true self in the world, and the universe will send you experiences and people to match your energy.

Help others and they will appreciate your help. Surprisingly, you will make an ever-lasting mark on their life. When you help others, you also help yourself. Everyone needs a purpose in life, and helping people should always be a part of that purpose.

Recycle

Karma yoga – Way of right living

Contribution is a big part of Karma yoga practice. It might be a donation, volunteering or simply listening to someone (friend or doorman) who is having a bad day. Nevertheless, this is also a contribution. Helping an elderly person carry groceries is also a contribution – a huge one!

Be kind and respectful to nature and animals. People need to respect nature and living things. The environment is also good for our health and helps us to breathe too.

Hurting the environment hurts animals and pollutes the earth. Hence, Karma yoga takes a huge part in saving the environment of mother nature.

In conclusion, whatever you choose to do, making the above things a regular part of your life. This is the key of practicing Karma yoga. It can become more than just a practice. After all, it can become a way of your truthful and harmonious life.

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Meditative Asana

The science of breathing in yoga – A UK Yoga Teachers Blog

The science of breathing in yoga – Beginning 

 It’s assumed that we all know that breathing is an essential process in staying alive on this planet. It starts at the time of birth and stops at the death. We already have been talking about breathing in a previous article – Traditional Hatha Yoga. This article however will be focussed on the science of breathing during yoga practice.

Breathing is like no other body function because it connects us with our environment. Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. While human beings and animals inhale oxygen-rich air and exhale air high in carbon dioxide.

Meditation

Yoga breathing exercises help to increase the gas exchange in the lungs and in all the cells of the body.

The science of breathing in yoga – Respiratory Rate

 Perennially most of the time we breathe involuntarily. Thanks to respiratory-control centres located in the brain. An average adult respiratory rate varies between 12 to 20 breaths per minute per rest. It is moving about half a litre (1 pint) of air in and out of the lungs. This is the vital capacity.

When the adult exercises, the respiratory rate can go up to 35-45 breaths per minute. In this case, increasing vital capacity to over 4 litres (8 and half pints) of inhaled and exhaled air.

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Yoga breathing exercises focus specifically on opening two major Nadis – the Pingala nadi and the Ida nadi – and strengthening the flow of Prana in them.

Stone and flower

The science of breathing in yoga – Mind and Breath 

 The mind, consisting of thoughts and emotions is closely related to the breath. When the mind is calm and relaxed, the breathing is smooth and slow. If you are stressed, the breathing is fast & shallow. But mostly through the chest.

When we get angry, the breathing becomes fast and forceful. In depressed states we sigh, when in pain we gasp and in anxiety it is shallow and rapid.

In this way, the mental and emotional states directly affect breathing.

The science of breathing in yoga – Prana

 Yoga breathing exercises help to increase the gas exchange in the lungs and in all the cells of the body. Oxygen is provided to all the parts of the body including organs and cells. After all oxygen is life, a vital force of energy.

According to a content of Hatha Yoga, this vital energy is called Prana. It found in all forms of life, from mineral to mankind, where its force controls and regulates every part of the body. 

Although prana is in all forms of matter, it is not matter itself. It is the energy that animates matter.

Prana is in the air, but it is not oxygen. It is in food, water, and sunlight. Yet it is not a vitamin, heat, or light. Food, water and air are only the media through which prana is carried. We absorb prana through the food we eat. As well as the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

Yoga and balance

According to the ancient yogic texts, prana circulates through the body in a network of 72,000 astral energy channels, or Nadis. It is a Sanskrit word, which means tube, pipe or blood vessel.

Yoga breathing exercises focus specifically on opening two major Nadis – the Pingala nadi and the Ida nadi – and strengthening the flow of Prana in them.

 The Pingala nadi corresponds to the right nostril and left hemispheres of the brain. The Ida nadi to the left nostril and right brain. In the mystical language of yoga, the Pingala nadi is warming and corresponds to Ha, or the Sun. The Ida is cooling and corresponds to Tha, or the Moon. Therefore the purpose of Hatha yoga is to bring the balance between Sun and Moon or Pingala and Ida nadis.

​​The science of breathing in yoga – Pranayama

 Afterward there is also a process of controlling the Prana. Furthermore, it is regulating the breath and calls Pranayama. It is the science related to vital force supplying energy and controlling the body mind complex. Every part of the body can be filed with prana and when we do this, the entire body is under our control and control of Pranayama.

Breathing is the process of taking in this vital energy and removing the waste products out of our body and mind. Generally breathing includes inhalation and exhalation. Pranayama also includes retention of breath. This is a very important process. The ancient texts say that retention of air increases the level of prana (energy) in the body. Also, it regulates the flow of pranic energy throughout the body. So, Pranayama in yoga practice helps remove all the ailments and also can stop the aging process of the body. 

Relaxation in yoga

Less breaths per minute we make, the longer is life.  In fact, animals, who takes less breaths per minute live longer. This is also believed to be why dogs generally have a short life compare to other animals.

​​The science of breathing in yoga – Benefits of Pranayama

 Currently there are different types of Pranayama which have a different effect on the body, mind and even spirit. Regular practice will train the respiratory muscles and develops use of your lungs capacity. It improves your body’s supply of oxygen while reducing its carbon dioxide levels. It also helps to relax and strengthen your nervous system, calm the mind, and improve concentration.

Pranayama practice is proven to energise the body. People who complain about weakness and have a low energy can be benefited as well.

Movements in Pranayama stimulates the heart and lung muscles improving blood circulation.

Sunset yoga

Pranayama is also useful in removing stress and mental problems like anxiety, depression, anger. It is useful for heart patients as well. 

The practice of Pranayama improves digestion, harmonizes the secretions of the reproductive organs and all the endocrine system.

Stretching exercise

 The most common practices of Pranayama are: Deep or fast breathing, Bellow’s breath, Humming Bee Breath. In addition, Cooling breath, Victorious breath, Alternate nostril breathing and more.

In order to archive the above benefits of Pranayama, always practice under the direct guidance of an expert yoga teacher. For the reason that it may be of no use or even it may be harmful to your health. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced yoga practitioner.

Hence, aim to practice Pranayama for up to 20-30 minutes every other day, before or after asana practice. It will increase the flow of prana through the body, which literally recharges your body and mind and will make you happier every day of your life.

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