The Importance of Disconnecting

A big percentage of society spends an extremely excessive amount of time online, where everything they do, see, and experience can be viewed by everyone and where there are phone applications that you can use to identify strangers you see on the subway or at the park and that with the click of a button, you can pretty much deduce where they work, what they do on a daily basis, and what they ate for lunch yesterday.

There are no secrets, and everyone is in everyone else’s business.

What started as an interesting way to connect with everyone has slowly evolved into a time-consuming and detrimental hobby, if you could still call it a hobby rather than an addiction.

If you go to any public place in any major city, I can guarantee you that at least 7 out of 10 people will be glued to their phones or at least checking them every now and then.

Many studies have been done over the past few years to show the negative effects of staying online, whether on social media, reading or being on social media, have had on people, most especially children. From severely shortening a person’s attention span to promoting violence, there have been numerous accounts of why staying glued to your device for longer than necessary damages people.

How crazy is it that the challenge for us now is that we consciously have to pursue the real world in order to escape the online one? Have you heard of retreats or hotel and resort accommodations that purposely require their guests to surrender their electronic devices in order to stay?

The amount of time humans spend online now compared to 10 years ago has made such a big difference to society. The “real world” has been skewed with the online one, where everything just seems so much better than they really are.

We’ve gotten to that point that we escape and jump from one pseudo-reality to another in order to thrive in this world. It’s become a repetitive form of channel switching like what we used to do with TVs. Can you imagine constantly switching the channels for almost 20 hours a day? That’s pretty much what you’re doing as you scroll down Instagram or Facebook, looking for something to ‘like’ briefly and then moving along, never staying long enough to see the whole story and only sticking around for the good parts or the parts you like. It’s something you shouldn’t get used to.

So, what can we do to fix that? We limit our time online. We purposely choose to distance ourselves from too much of the rest of the world so we can focus on what’s in front of us and be okay with what we find, sticking around long enough to see what’s there and what can happen. When you do this long enough, fighting the urge to take a photo of everything you find becomes easier. You can witness sooner, deal with things better, and overall, might make us more present every day.

Ways to Get a Whole Household Interested in Yoga

Ways to Get a Whole Household Interested in Yoga

As a parent, or even as a child, Yoga is an ideal practice to share with your family. However, given the shortage of time and constant pressures on family members to fulfill school, work, and social commitment it is quite challenging to find ways to encourage your family to participate in yoga.

As a Yoga Teacher, I am always asked “do your children practice yoga?” People have images of me spending glorious Sunday afternoons with my children practicing yoga. In fact, the reality is, my children (three teen daughters, twins aged 16 and 19) have grown up with me practicing and teaching yoga yet do not have their own yoga practice. To them yoga “is mum’s job!” When they were younger, my children attended yoga classes I held at their school and at home would sit quietly with me whilst I meditated or practiced yoga.

What they do have, and this is what I encourage you to develop and share with your family, is an open mind, a flexible attitude to life, the understanding of ‘healthy eating‘, knowledge of self-healing techniques, a caring and compassionate nature, and trust in life. I believe as they get older, maybe have families of their own, they will actively embrace a yoga practice – till then their interest in yoga revolves around seeing me do my daily practice and learning to embrace life on their own terms.

Putting all this to one side, from experience, here are five tips and techniques I have used over the years which you may find useful to encourage your family to be interested in yoga.

Five Easy Ways to Encourage Your Family to be interested in Yoga

1. Find a space in your home where you or any family member can safely practice yoga. This might be a space in the main living room or a quiet corner in your bedroom. In this space, all you need is space to lay down a yoga mat and maybe light a candle, burn incense, and have a few soft cushions. Once here, if your children are young they can sit on the cushions and watch you or even join in at their own pace.

2. Be gentle. There is no point trying to force your friends and loved ones to join in yoga with you. Yoga is a personal journey, there are many forms and branches of yoga and you must trust that each family member will come to yoga in their own time and own path. It is more important for your family to see you regularly practice and live the benefits, then trying to press-gang them into joining a class.

3. Be creative. Yoga has many branches and schools. If your family is into singing, find a local yoga studio which offers Kirtain (devotional songs). Harmonizing with your family through yoga songs and chanting is a wonderful way to uplift and unify your family’s energy. Maybe your child or partner is artistic? If so, coloring in Mandalas, is a relaxing activity you can do together as a family.

4. Be open. Yoga encourages you to be open, to recognize individual differences and see beyond the illusion. Yogic stories and poetry are wonderful tools to share with your family. Stories about Krishna or yoga for children books are colorful and easily enjoyed by all ages.

5. If your child or partner have trouble falling asleep, there are lots of yoga relaxation DVDs or CDs they can watch/listen to, to aid a restful night sleep. After a few nights of restful sleep, your partner may be more inclined to accompany you to your class.

As you can see, it is possible for you to introduce yoga to your family. Yoga is a holistic practice with many shapes and forms to choose from. All you need to do is trust, find a space, led by example and do your own practice; be gentle, open and creative and try other less traditional ideas. The more you live and be yoga, the easier it becomes for your family to accept and try out this ancient practice. I would love to know which tips work best for your family. Drop me a line and let me know.

Yoga Garment Comparison—Which is Better: Loose or Fitted?

The development of self-care requires reflection on yourself, by yourself, and placing an emphasis on the things that can make you feel like your best self. Sometimes, confidence and feeling great can start with being comfortable in the presentation of yourself to the outside world. The better you feel, the more you will engage in the world around you. One thing that can have a real effect on how you feel is your clothing. Certain clothes can make us feel different, and it is important to take control of your wardrobe and choose items that make you feel good.

While the overall trend has certainly moved towards tighter, fitted clothing, remember that you have options when it comes to your wardrobe. Engaging in certain workouts may be more comfortable with loose clothing rather than fitted. Unsure of which garment is better for a given day? Below is a small sampling of activities for which we have compared the two and decided, ultimately, which is a better choice.

Winter Workouts: Fitted

Even at ankle-length, loose clothing allows for a little bit of ventilation. During the winter, yogis typically need to keep their legs as warm as possible and fitted clothing does just that. By hugging your legs, pants with elastic or lycra materials essentially provide a second skin that keeps your body protected from the cold air.

Vinyasa Flow Class: Loose

During a vinyasa flow class, your body is moving quickly and holding postures where your arms and legs are extended. With repetitive movements such as vinyasa flow sequences, sometimes fitted clothing can shift, causing you to take a break in the practice to adjust your waistband, tug upwards on the material around your upper-thighs, or readjust material around your arms. Loose clothing typically allows you to continue a vinyasa flow sequence without the interruption of emergency wardrobe readjustments.

Summer Sessions: Both Fitted and Loose

Summer yoga can often be hot and sweaty, which makes yogis hesitant to wear ankle-length fitted clothing. Depending on the environment, even loose ankle-length pants can be too hot to bear. The best solution in this scenario is a combination of the two: try loose shorts that have fitted spandex underneath them. This allows you to practice without being self-conscious of accidental flashing while also enjoying the light ventilation that loose material can bring.

On-the-go Session: Fitted or Loose, Depending on Your Activities

If you have a lot planned for your day, you may need to pre-plan your yoga wardrobe with your other destinations in mind. Will you feel more comfortable in the grocery store wearing a certain garment over another? Anticipate the places you may go and people you may see before and after a session and pick the style of clothing that makes you feel confident.

Place a priority on self-care; consider what clothing is best for your body so that you can enjoy a fulfilling practice.

Tantra Yoga – Considerations

We’ve taken the liberty to explain the origin, concepts, practices and common misconception of Tantra Yoga in our modern society. Sadly the Tantra in the western world is perceived as a sexual, uninhibited practice between couples. Due to the fact that this topic became popular, people took advantage of it and misrepresented it to the public in order to become rich.

Definition of Tantra Yoga

“Tantra” literally translates to “technique”. With this in mind, the following places the attention towards deep inner techniques and not the perception of methods, considered unusual. The main focus of this style is to raise awareness for all states of the mind. It’s one of the hardest styles to advance in as the main goal is to deprogram your brain. Each activity, breath, action, movement, observation and anything else you could think of from the birth of a person programs the brain in a particular manner, which makes us have a biased view of the universe. Tantra Yoga strives to demolish those influences. That would enable us to react positively and be more flexible to seek and enact change. Change is viewed as a main part of evolution, which goes beyond the limitations to a person’s consciousness.

Origin of Tantra Yoga

Tantra originates from ancient practices which adopt a combination of mudra, asana, mantra and bandha, which are considered energy locks and chakra, the energy center. The combination and usage of them will help a person accomplish success and obtain strength and bliss on a daily basis.

Practice of Tantra Yoga

It is indeed a fact that Tantra Yoga could help you obtain high energy levels which could be used for long sexual experiences; however, this is not the main point. The focus is on an experience which should be much deeper for the couples and bring them to new levels of intimacy. That energy could be cultivated and used in your daily life for whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.

Principles of Tantra Yoga

The core principle is called Shakti, which translates to “capacity” or “power”. The tantric philosophy preaches that all energies that exist in the world could be found within our inner selves and bodies, and that each of the energies within our bodies can also be found in the universe. Shakhti is expressed through the following methods:

Asana and Mantra – The combination of sound and feeling enabling the mind to lead
Mudra – The expression of one’s heart
Bandha – Body postures meant to lock different parts of the body such as perineum and chin
Chakras – Energy centers located on seven primary points within the body

Breaking the Sexual Misconception

The physical body is not referred to as an intimate part to one’s self according to Tantric beliefs. Only when two energies (that is why it is practiced as a couple) clash and combine is it possible to reach an overwhelming intimacy level leading to a fulfilling experience.