Neuroscientist Sara Lazar, of Mass General and Harvard Medical School, started studying meditation by accident. She sustained running injuries training for the Boston Marathon, and her physical therapist told her to stretch. So Lazar took up yoga.
“The yoga teacher made all sorts of claims, that yoga would increase your compassion and open your heart,” said Lazar. “And I’d think, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m here to stretch.’ But I started noticing that I was calmer. I was better able to handle more difficult situations. I was more compassionate and open hearted, and able to see things from others’ points of view.”
Eventually, she looked up the scientific literature on mindfulness meditation (a category into which yoga can fall). She found the ever-increasing body of evidence that shows that meditation decreases stress, depression, and anxiety, reduces pain and insomnia, and increases quality of life.
So she started doing some neuroscience research of her own.
In her first study, she looked at long-term meditators (those with seven to nine years of experience) versus a control group. The results showed that those with a strong meditation background had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex, as well as insula and sensory regions.
This makes sense, since mindfulness meditation has you slow down and become aware of the present moment, including physical sensations such as your breathing and the sounds around you.
However, the neuroscientists also found that the meditators had more gray matter in another brain region, this time linked to decision-making and working memory:the frontal cortex.
In fact, while most people see their cortexes shrink as they age, 50-year-old meditators in the study had the same amount of gray matter as those half their age.
How long do you have to meditate to see such results?
Well, in the study, participants were told to meditate for 40 minutes a day, but the average ended up being 27 minutes a day.
Several other studies suggest that you can see significant positive changes in just 15 to 20 minutes a day.
One of the most significant discoveries of all time was made during the 2nd half of the 20th century. It is now known that gamma brain waves have the smallest amplitude and fastest brainwave frequency. The gamma wave, which typically has a frequency of 40 Hz, can increase the overall quality of life, enhance cognition and mindfulness. More importantly, this brain frequency can be harnessed to boost cognitive abilities. This can result in higher clarity, expedited problem solving, better concentration and an overall increase in human efficiency. Gamma waves are associated with better cognitive functioning, along with feelings of compassion, happiness and relaxation (Basar, 2017, p. 165).
The Absence of Gamma is Harmful
Conversely, in the absence of adequate gamma brainwaves production, humans are vulnerable to multitude of symptoms. This can range from panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia and sleep deprivation. In severe cases, the lack of gamma wave production can lead to cognitive degeneration, memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s (Basar, 2017, p. 165).
Human beings can harness these methods to increase gamma waves’ flow in the brain:
It is one of the simplest ways to alter the brainwaves and we will feel less stressed and more centred. Regular meditation (this includes meditation -in-motion, yoga) is a relatively faster method to trigger gamma wave activity within the brain. It has been observed that students practicing Bhramari Pranayama (a breathing technique method) generated high frequency gamma waves. According to researchers who have studied yoga teacher training, yoga does produce a high volume of gamma waves inside the brain. Monks and nuns have been observed with having the highest level of concentration and cognitive functioning. Yoga is a popular practice in Portugal (Desai, 2015, p. 118). There are many yoga studios all over Portugal, including some well known ones at Praia da Rocha Beach and Algarve (Castelo, 2010, p. 113).
2. Brainwave Entrainment
Brainwave entrainment is a process that trains the human brain to produce brainwaves of a specific frequency. With the help of a brainwave entrainment specialist, a brain can be trained to produce waves that are the difference between two different frequencies sent into the same ear. It is one of the many ways to escalate gamma wave production inside the brain (Basar, 2013, p. 248).
3. Listening Music Using Binaural Beats
The binaural beats can naturally produce gamma brainwaves inside a human brain. This can result in improvement of long-term memory and trigger bettered data processing functions. On the other hand, it could also be used to prevent memory deterioration in the future. Apart from this, gamma waves at 40 Hz initiate a therapeutic response for a listener since neural connections are improved (Le Scouranec, 2016, p. 58).
For listening to binaural beats, an individual would require stereo headphones and an MP3 player. It is advised to refrain from tasks that require undivided attention, the likes of which includes driving or reading (Le Scouranec, 2016, p. 58). The individual requires the following:
A quiet place
30 minutes of continuous listening
Stereo headphones since each ear hears sound at a different frequency
For a bolstered effect, music can be plugged in while performing yoga and meditation (Le Scouranec, 2016, p. 58).
4. Isochronic Tones
Isochronic tone is an audio-based method to stimulate the neural activity. They are known to be fast and helps in improving energy levels, relaxation, heightens focus and improve sleep cycles. Isochronic tones can improve all of these in a human without requiring an external source (Basar, 2013, p. 248).
In essence, the isochronic tones simply guide the dominant brainwave to another frequency as an individual listen to it, allowing a sudden change in mental state and how an individual feels. The effects of these tones are instantaneous. They are regular beats of one tone only. During listening, the isochronic tone is simply turned on and off very speedily (Basar, 2013, p. 248).
Scientifically-proven Benefits of Gamma Brainwaves
Studies have shown that individuals with heightened gamma waves activity are exceptionally compassionate, intelligent, happy and have photographic memories. Similarly, their IQ scores are also higher than other individuals. As high gamma production is correlated with peak performance, famous musicians, elite athletes and high achievers have maximum production of gamma waves (Ernest, 2018, p. 529).
People with very high levels of gamma activity have shown scientifically that they are more intelligent, compassionate, happy, and have excellent memories and strong self-control. IQ scores of people with high gamma wave activity are correspondingly high (Ernest, 2018, p. 529).
ATHA GAMMA THE MOVIE #COMINGSOON
Başar, E., Başar-Eroglu, C., Karakaş, S. and Schürmann, M., 2013. Gamma, alpha, delta, and theta oscillations govern cognitive processes. International journal of psychophysiology, 39(2-3), pp.241-248.
Başar, E., Başar-Eroğlu, C., Karakaş, S. and Schürmann, M., 2017. Are cognitive processes manifested in event-related gamma, alpha, theta and delta oscillations in the EEG?. Neuroscience letters, 259(3), pp.165-168.
Castelo, R.M.A., 2010. Business plan for a health club (Doctoral dissertation).
Desai, R., Tailor, A. and Bhatt, T., 2015. Effects of yoga on brain waves and structural activation: A review. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 21(2), pp.112-118.
Ernest, N.C.H., 2018. Mindfulness and Buddhist economics in the financial market–generating Delta or Alpha? Society and Economy. In Central and Eastern Europe ǀ Journal of the Corvinus University of Budapest, 40(4), pp.515-529.
Kaufman, M., 2013. Meditation gives brain a charge, study finds. Washington Post, 3, p.2005.
Le Scouranec, R.P., Poirier, R.M., Owens, J.E. and Gauthier, J., 2016. Use of binaural beat tapes for treatment of anxiety: a pilot study of tape preference and outcomes. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 7(1), p.58.
Bandha is also known as lock or bind. Bandha is an ancient practice that is deeply rooted in the yoga tradition. Bandha is a term of Sanskrit language which means to tighten, to lock, to block. The purpose of bandhas is to lock the energy and gain control of your life force- prana. Bandhas are not only utilized to gain control of your subtle energetic system but at the same time directs this energy to various parts of the body wherever you desire the energy to go. Bandhas are sometimes first learned and engaged during practices of pranayama and kriya, however, once efficiently practiced, they can be engaged throughout the asana practices too. It is important to note that engaging bandhas to the most refined degree takes a lot of practice and often times at least ten years to fully understand their nuances.
Towards the end of the 200 hour YTTC at Bend it like Buddha studio we learn breath retention- kumbaka with Moola Bandha which has a powerful effect of prana-life force leading more of an upward motion which activates powerful kundalini shakti.
At our classes at our yoga studio Bend it Like Buddha, along with the other 200 hour teaching courses also offer Bandha related topics. The four main Bandhas in the body includes Moola Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Maha Bandha. Moola Bandha is a yoga technique in which the subtle energy in the pelvic floor is activated. In Uddiyana bandha, energy is then drawn upward within the core of the body and along the spine (Makhwana and Arora, 2016). One of the famous books, in this regard, known as Moola Bandha: The Master Key has been written by Swami Buddhananda for yoga practitioners focusing on the theory and practice of Moola Bandha. Jalandhara Bandha: the throat lock, on the other hand, engages the neck muscles in order to activate and energise the 5th chakra centre-Vishuddi. According to Kumar, Uddiyana Bandha also known as flying upward, abdominal bandha involves pulling the abdomen under the rib cage thus taking a false air to inhale and holding the breath followed by releasing the abdomen after a pause (Kumar, 2016). Maha Bandha, also recognised as the great lock, is a combination of all the three bandhas, Moola Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. Maha Bandha is associated with the activation of Maha Shakti that further results in the awakening of the Kundalani Shakti at the spine base (Makhwana and Arora, 2016).
Several scientific studies have been conducted determining the benefits of engaging bandhas. Bandhas are extremely essential for brain centres, for activating the neural pathways, the nadis, the kanda-or root of the thousands of energetic pathways and the channels through which prana streams. Bandhas are directly associated with purification, removal of blockages and toxins thus, resulting in a balanced body and mind. (Kumar, 2016). Bandhas temporarily halt the blood flow. For this reason, when released there is an increased flow of fresh blood. This does not only result in flushing away the older dead cells, at the same time, result in activating, renewing, strengthening and rejuvenating the organs. The Master Key, by Swami Buddhananda states that activating Moola Bandha taps into the great reservoirs of the body assisting in total harmony within the organism, energizing it with vitality and longevity.
Furthermore, it releases pent-up emotions, anxieties, depression and repressions. Through activating bandhas the trauma memories passed in and out of consciousness, like bubbles floating harmlessly to the surface and bursting. Besides this, engaging the bandhas also result in the development of a calm and clear mind, controlled breath while further strengthening single point concentration. Bandhas, in this way, aids in the regulation of internal systems of the body from metabolic and digestive to hormonal systems (Shankar, 2016). Furthermore, as a result of the released blockages, the energy channels are purified and the exchange of energy is improved. Most importantly, Bandhas alleviate stress as well as any other mental restlessness thus bringing about the inner balance and harmony. These practices help free the shoulders thus aligning the upper spine properly. Different studies over the years have repeatedly backed the benefits of Bandhas (Sweta et al., 2018).
At our yoga studio, we teach students how to isolate specific muscles of the Bandhas. Assessing each type of Bandha requires focus. Our introductory courses will be a great starting point while sooner or later you will definitely experience such a moment when you will feel the effect that activating bandhas have in your body, especially with the advanced pranayama courses. As Moola Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha have their own benefits, Maha Bandha offers the combined benefits of all the three bandhas thus regulating the entire endocrine system. Communally, the yoga bandha benefits stimulate perceptions and helps in stopping the meaningless wandering of mind.
Practicing specifically Moola Banda, the master key lock has the potential to release us from depression, anxiety and unpleasant emotions which dampen our joy in life and prevent us from living our most authentic path. Practicing daily bandhas especially the master key is a technique to open the door to freedom, joy and liberation.As sensitivity and awareness both expand, our emotional issues can be solved as well as we clearly see the root of the problem. Therefore, Moola Bandha for example is a means to cut the mental problems at the roots and so establish mental health and a greater sense of well being.
Kumar, P., 2016. Effect of yoga on mental health of adolescents. International Journal of Science and Consciousness, 2(1), pp.6-12.
Makhwana, B.J. and Arora, N.N., 2015. Tooth extraction without anesthesia using ancient Indian technique called jalandhara bandha yoga. Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Sciences Research, 3(1), p.201.
Shankar, G., 2016. Yoga Psychotherapy around the world. Health Psychology, 1, p.219.
Sweta, K.M., Godbole, A., Awasthi, H.H. and Pandey, U., 2018. Effect of mula bandha yoga in mild grade pelvic organ prolapse: A randomized controlled trial. International journal of yoga, 11(2), p.116.
“Breath is central to Yoga because it is central to life.” T. Krishnamacharya
The word Pranayama is originated from Sanskrit language and is composed of the two Sanskrit words ‘Prana’ and ‘ayama’. Prana indicates vital energy or life force ‘the breath’ while ayama means to draw out. In this way, Pranayama means “the extension of life force”. Pranayama is one of the most important of the yoga disciplines whose origin lies in the ancient Bharat, the present day India or Hinduism. Pranayama is linked with controlling the breath and involves several physical techniques that result in the clearing of granthis or nadi blockages in the body, both physical and emotional. Regular sustained practice of Pranayama allows the body freedom to breathe through the flow of prana – the life energy through the body.
Pranayama is essential to our daily practice and thus, must be taught all across the world both in the west and east. In a similar manner, our yoga studio “Bend it like Buddha” offers a variety of approaches to Pranayama in our 200 hour teacher training courses and other yoga courses. Soon we will be sharing these techniques in the yoga teacher training online. Pranayama lies at the heart of yoga and so is given the extreme importance in our yoga studio. The vital force called prana that is circulating through us can be channeled by means of breathing exercises and working with bandhas. Pranayama, for this reason, can be considered as a bridge between the practices of yoga – the outward and the surrendering practices leading towards the deep states of meditation. For different pranic activities in the body, there altogether are the five types of prana. They include Apana, Udana, Prana, Samana and Vyan among which Apana, the downward flowing, and Prana, the upward flowing, are considered as of great importance.
Practicing Pranayama is linked with balancing the pranas that further results in a healthy mind and body. The different types of Pranayama have a wide range of benefits associated with them. The benefits include improving circulation of blood, concentration, relieving depression, stress, anxiety and hypertension (Hegde et al., 2012). Besides neurological problems, Pranayama further helps in curing headache, asthma, migraine and gastric problems. Our school Bend it like Buddha in praia da rocha beach, Portimao in Portugal offers several Pranayama and yoga related courses based on the fact that longevity depends on breathing rate. Lowering of breathing rate is likely to increase life expectancy. Pranayama, on the whole, is associated with better functioning of the autonomic system. By practicing Pranayama toxins are removed from the body and organs get more oxygen. Various diseases, in this way, are prevented that further results in strengthening the immune system (Vialatte et al., 2009).
The science of relaxation is a valuable gift and researches have also revealed the scientific benefit of Pranayama. Much of what Pranayama does to the human mind and body is due to its effect on the autonomic nervous system that controls the physical processes in the body including immune function, respiration and digestion etc. (Sengupta, 2012). A study involving five minute breathing practice has revealed that Pranayama lowers the heart rate, diastolic and systolic pressure (Pramanik et al., 2009). Another breathing practice, known as Brahmari or humming bee breath that sometimes involves placement of the fingers close to the eyes and the mouth and production of buzzing sound through the nose, has been observed increasing the activity of the brain. In another research, it has been highlighted that even a short period of Pranayama yoga practice results in curing hypertension (Vialatte et al., 2009). Diaphragmatic breathing is observed associated with lowering the oxidative stress and improving the antioxidant level significantly benefiting those with diabetes. Besides this, relaxed abdominal breathing has also been observed benefiting patients with non-erosive GERD, decreasing their stomach acidity and thus, improving the quality of life (Eherer et al., 2012).
The above-discussed research studies proved to be the scientific evidence of considering Pranayama yoga as a valid therapy to improve one’s health and well-being. Pranayama at our yoga studio will help you balance the energy flow in all areas of the body evenly while improving the cognitive functions. Ask us about Bend it like Buddha online or in-person Pranayama and Breath work courses. We will be happy to share with you some effective and calming breathing techniques to improve your life and lower your stress levels significantly with daily practice.
Eherer, A.J., Netolitzky, F., Högenauer, C., Puschnig, G., Hinterleitner, T.A., Scheidl, S., Kraxner, W., Krejs, G.J. and Hoffmann, K.M., 2012. The positive effect of abdominal breathing exercise on gastroesophageal reflux disease: a randomized, controlled study. The American journal of gastroenterology, 107(3), p.372.
Hegde, S.V., Adhikari, P., Subbalakshmi, N.K., Nandini, M., Rao, G.M. and D’Souza, V., 2012. Diaphragmatic breathing exercise as a therapeutic intervention for control of oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 18(3), pp.151-153.
Pramanik, T., Sharma, H.O., Mishra, S., Mishra, A., Prajapati, R. and Singh, S., 2009. Immediate effect of slow pace bhastrika pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(3), pp.293-295.
Sengupta, P., 2012. Health impacts of yoga and pranayama: A state-of-the-art review. International journal of preventive medicine, 3(7), p.444.
Vialatte, F.B., Bakardjian, H., Prasad, R. and Cichocki, A., 2009. EEG paroxysmal gamma waves during Bhramari Pranayama: a yoga breathing technique. Consciousness and cognition, 18(4), pp.977-988.
Mantra is also becomingmorepopular with spiritual practices like meditation and yoga. Considering the benefits of mantra, we chant Sanskrit mantras at our yoga studio. Our school was started as a yoga co-op by our community of yoga teachers. Bend It Like Buddhateamis ayogafamily that offers Yoga retreats, Ayurveda Massage courses and 200 hour teacher courses to thestudentsat some of the most stunning locations. The word ‘Mantra’iscomprised of two different words ‘mind’ and ‘tra’. Mantra can be considered as an instrument ofthemindandprobably a vibration or sound powerful enough to make a person enterintothe deepest state of meditation. A mantra can be considered as a seed that results inactivatingthe intensionsor Sankalpa. Mantra, in a yoga setting, issometimesused in silent repetition to keep the mind focused and connected to a particular state. Some of the earliest mantras were composed by Hindus in India, commonly known as Sanskrit Mantras, at least 3000 years ago.
Chanting mantras is one of the ancient spiritual practices of experiencing divine love and light. Chanting is a process of gathering the divine and spiritual energies that help in the transformation of different life issues thus benefiting each and every aspect of life. Physical body issues, mental blockage, energy blockages, emotional imbalances,trauma,spiritual blockages, challenges associated with relationships along with the negative emotions.Allof theseissues can be healedwith Mantras.The ancients believed that chanting worksthroughcarrying one’ssoul vibration and frequency with light, love, compassion and forgiveness. That is, mantras help totransform the vibration and frequencyofyourlifeto higher vibes and more loving dimension.
Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages with its unique power and beauty reflecting the great importance through its precise pronunciation.Being one of the oldest languages Sanskrit carries a sacred resonance with it.
The Sanskrit vehicles of chanting are the sacred prayers called mantrawhich were channeled by great yogi masters thousands of years ago.
At our yoga studio,Bend it like Buddhawe offer Sanskrit chanting that can help you experience a life-changing journey of wellness and health. Chanting has more benefits than you might expect. Several scientific studies have been conducted to observe the meditative effects on the body. The benefits of chanting have been observed in the form of improved pulmonary function, increased mental alertness, increased environmental awareness and potential relief from depression and stress (Ferreira-Vorkapic et al., 2015). Another study has postulated that chanting mantras can enlighten and purifytheheart, mind, body and soul, make oneself and others happier and healthier, spreads compassion, love, forgiveness and most importantly uplift the spiritual standing (Lynch et al., 2018).
In other words, chanting mantras can heal emotional, mental, physical and spiritual bodies and in this way transforms all souls to divine mindfulness (Lolla, 2018). Furthermore, mantra is empowered by faith, concentration and intention and thus is considered as a beneficial meditative practice. There;s even more; doctors and nurseshavealso recommend mantra for medical treatmentdue to the outstanding research. Psychological benefits of mantra repetition include decreased heart rate, lowered level of tension as well as a decreased rate of blood pressure (Deodhar, 2015).
Chanting vibrations with concentration enable to reduce the adrenaline leveland cortisol andreducing the level of stress. Besides this,sound seedvibrations have a significant impact on improving the efficiency of the spinal cord. Meditation not only improves concentration but also strengthens the controlonreacting to emotions, at the same time, helpswithdetoxification. Chantingthese sound seedsalong with a constant deep breathing process improves blood circulation by providing more oxygen to the body thus restoring youthfulness both externally and internally. Moreover, the other health benefits include filtering out negativity, getting enough sleep and nurturing throat and thyroid glands (Lolla, 2018).Moreover, chanting mantras helps clear the throat chakra.
Kirtan is the repetition of mantras in a rhythmic manner seeking tobridgethe spiritual world with the physical world. It is important to note that chantingis more powerful in a groupof peoplelike in Kirtan. Chanting unifies the entire group on a spiritual level and in this way, ties each and every person in the group all together to the divine,both as individuals and as a group. The benefits of mantra repetition are multiplied by the number of people practising chanting. Chanting out in the form of a group helps in the purification of the blocks much faster along with the further amplification of health benefits. In this way, the higher frequency vibrations work well in a group.
At our yoga studio, our Sanskrit chantingalong with sound journeyshasdeeply touched others and helped to restore and transform in surprising yet miraculous ways. So, what are you waiting for?You are warmly welcomed to participateinthe Bend it like Buddha Yoga Journey…
Deodhar, S., 2015. Make in India: Re-chanting the Mantra with a Difference.
Ferreira-Vorkapic, C., Feitoza, J.M., Marchioro, M., Simões, J., Kozasa, E. and Telles, S., 2015. Are there benefits from teaching yoga at schools? A systematic review of randomized control trials of yoga-based interventions. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.
Lolla, A., 2018. Mantras Help the General Psychological Well-Being of College Students: A Pilot Study. Journal of religion and health, 57(1), pp.110-119.
Lynch, J., Prihodova, L., Dunne, P.J., McMahon, G., Carroll, A., Walsh, C. and White, B., 2018. Impact of mantra meditation on health and wellbeing: A systematic review protocol. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 18, pp.30-33.
Yin isastyle of yogathat we absolutely love at Bend it like Buddha school to help balance out an active Ashtanga or Vinyasa practice.To some of the moreactiveand dynamic yoga styles today, Yin Yoga can be considered as a complementary yoga practice. Yin Yoga is an art more than an exact sciencewhichwas introduced by Master Paulie Zink who is the sole protégé of Chinese martial arts. Paulie, himself, was taught Taoist arts comprising of flexible training, physical conditioning and energy cultivation along with some of the distinct Kung-fu styles by his master Cho Chat Ling (Yin Yoga – Founder Paulie Zink, 2019). Yin Yoga, in other words, is a unique style of Taoist yoga introduced by Master Zink that has originated from the philosophy, spiritual traditions and ancient Taoist health practices in China. The art of Yin Yoga has been drawn upon theChinesedoctrine of elements-water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Yin andYang used as Chinese principles harmonised withtherhythm and the flow of nature (Eliot, 2018).
The martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink started teaching Yin Yoga to the western world in the late 1970s. This unique form of Yoga was taught in Europe and across North America. Now our very own yoga studio Bend it like Buddha in Praia da Rocha beach, Portimao-Portugal offersYin class styles. As well asthe other training courses such as 200-hour teacher training along with the other such yoga instructor programsand teacher certifications.
Yin Yoga is a meditative approach having more passive posture mainly on the floor.The majority of these posturesare held between 3-5 minutes on each side. In one class perhaps only 7-10 poses will be practiced.Several advantages have been observed associated with Yin Yoga such as energy regulation in the body and lowering the level of stress. Besides this, Yin Yoga willgive students acalming and balancingsense inthe body and mind, increase mobility, help with migraines and stress, better lubrication and protection of joints together with offering more flexibility inthejoints as well as connective tissues (Chang, Liao and Wang, 2013).
Another highly discussed benefit of Yin Yoga is the release offascia throughout the body.During Farrah Furtado’s Breath to Breath sessions space is held to release the fascia through movement, sound and breath work.Several types of research have been conducted determining the benefits of fascia release. The fascia network is more like a network that scaffolds throughout the entire body (Eliot, 2018). The network of the connective tissues weaves through our entire body encasing the muscles, joints, vessels and bones. It has been said that all of our past memory and history is locked as a memory in fascia and thus, many times our past anger, confusions, sadness, anxiety lie here. Yogaand stretchingis considered as an effective way of releasing stress, anxiety and other such negative things affecting the body. The emotions want to be liberated from the body otherwisebeing stuck there maycreate body pain. Yin Yoga is an effective way of releasing fascia andrelaxingthe body and mind (Ajimsha et al., 2015).
The idea of fascia holding past memories is a controversial topic in clinical exploration andwesternmedicine. Tozzi (2014) has postulated this release of memoryas accompanied by some sort of sensory experience. Another research conducted by Cubick et al. (2011), has highlighted that a manual therapeutic technique called Myofascial release fiscal restrictions(MFR) showing improvement in fatigue, pain, cervical and thus the entire quality of life. In anotherstudyconducted by Ajimsha et al. (2015), it has been stated that release( such as in breath work or yoga stretching)is the best way to work with fascia and is beneficial for both ourmind,health and well-being.
Practicing myofascial release means working with fascia to rehydrate the connective tissues, the muscles and ligaments.Moreover,Yin Yoga postures is an effectivemannerof releasingblockages and difficultmemories. Akindof obstruction is created when the fascia is damaged.In our Yin Yogaclasses, intensive breath work and stretching fascia with binaural healing music and sacred sounds such as the Tibetan bowls we will share some light on a new way on how totarget the fascia, release blocks and emotions. During Yin in our sacred space at Bend it like Buddha studio, Praia da Rocha, Portimao Algarve our instructors will share these myofascia release techniques to help you feel better, heal yourself through your own miraculous body and start your healing process to renewed health.
Ajimsha, M.S., Al-Mudahka, N.R. and Al-Madzhar, J.A., 2015. Effectiveness of myofascial release: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 19(1), pp.102-112.
Chang, J.H., Liao, Y.S. and Wang, T.Y., 2013. A Progressive Staged Digital Yoga Game to Stimulate the Interest of Elders. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 3(3), p.209.
Cubick, E.E., Quezada, V.Y., Schumer, A.D. and Davis, C.M., 2011. Sustained release myofascial release as treatment for a patient with complications of rheumatoid arthritis and collagenous colitis: a case report. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 4(3), p.1.
Eliot, T., 2018. A Journey Into Yin Yoga. Human Kinetics.
Have you ever seen the world with an expansive vision? The enlightenment of understanding can come from feeling whole and complete and at the same time sensing how others are interpreting the world around them. This expansive vision can come through from a Kundalini awakening.
Kundalini awakening is a process of experiencing specific energy that is associated with the resolution of all of the issues, conditioning patterns, emotional trauma, pain ect… Over the last few years, there are more transcendental experiences which yoga students have been experiencing.
Here is a Yoga Nidra meditation I recorded which you can practice at night before you fall asleep or during the day to help you feel energized. It is up to you and your intention of what you would like to receive from this meditative practice.
Every year the Watkin’s magazine publishes the names of the top 100 spiritual teachers on the planet. Bend it like Budhha yoga in Portimao, Portugal wanted to see what some of these teachers have to say about Kundalini and spiritual awakening.Our students also enjoy learning more about this topic in our Philosophy classes during the 200 hour teacher training courses so we thought to have a look at what the top spiritual leaders have to say.
Have you ever seen the world with an expansive vision? The enlightenment of understanding can come from feeling whole and complete and at the same time sensing how others are interpreting the world around them. This expansive vision can come through from a Kundalini awakening. Kundalini is a term that is used to refer to our vital force, prana or energy we all hold within us. This universally acknowledged and deeply ingrained potent source of energy is also recognised with a number of different labels such as Holy Spirit, Shakti and based on a contextual belief system. The identification or name is not important here because this potent, vibrational force which is the catalyst for this bliss does not have words to describe it. As soon as you try to name it. The experience is gone…poof!
The aim of Kundalini is to awaken the potent, serpentine energy within oneself and thus, those who decide to pursue this practice of connecting to this powerful energy are said to be rewarded with higher conscious awareness and thus, spiritual enlightenment (Taylor, 2015).
Kundalini awakening is a process of experiencing specific energy that is associated with the resolution of all of the issues, conditioning patterns, emotional trauma, pain ect… Over the last few years, there are more transcendental experiences which yoga students have been experiencing. For example, one moment you are meditating peacefully and the next you feel out of body and one with all living things and in ecstasy. This is normal and is a part of the yoga journey and a level of awakening. Feeling happy to be alive is our birthright! These students have had their Kundalini awakening from different perspectives or practices and have gone to live healthy and productive lives.
The concept of Kundalini activation comes to the consciousness that has been dormant and coiled at the base of the spine since birth and that is the source of life force. Yoga science has suggested that Kundalini may arise as a result of spiritual practices or may be in response to life events. One can find the acknowledgement of this spiritual experience in many yogic and tantric traditions (Field, 2016).
More and more people are coming forward and are sharing their very personal experiences with this other worldy dimension to the world. There are countless people, spiritual leaders, activists, authors and scientists that have played an important role in changing the world and thus are known as the most spiritually influential living people (de Castro, 2015). These people are assisting with the evolution of human beings to reach a higher state of consciousness. That is, they are assisting us to transcend from the dense material, fear-based survival mode into a joyful, peaceful and love-based higher frequency dimension.
According to Andrew Weil, “What part of ourselves needs to evaporate in order to concentrate on our essence? What do we have to let go?” Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk has been inspiring through his words of spiritual wisdom for decades. One of his famous quotes “Nothing is permanent” make us believe that the problems in life are temporary and one can easily go through them by not being overly-sensitive or over-reactive. At our 200 hour Ashtanga and Vinyasa teacher training we teach a variety of meditation and pranayama practices daily to help cultivate peace starting from within.
The Watkin’s top 100 spiritual leaders and other such personalities are contributing their part in assuring that awakening to a higher dimensional vision of ourselves and the world we live in continues to grow.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” (Desmond Tutu)
According to David Lynch, “The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you”. On the other hand, Alejandro Jodorowsky has highlighted that
“Awakening is not a thing. It is not a goal, not a concept. It is not something to be attained. It is metamorphosis”.
Since yoga is originally taught as a route of enlightenment, those who are interested in enlightenment are now seeking out Kundalini -style yoga as their yoga practice of choice. For the discovery of your own Kundalini energy, focus on your breath, sit up straight and reject negativity by focusing on some of the more positive aspects of life (Taylor, 2015). Be sure to move your body through exercise, walk along in nature, watch the sunset, activate your interest and enjoy every day.
Kundalini awakening, itself, is not dangerous but forcing oneself may harm yourself. The krya practices, techniques and methods are not to play foolishly with. This is very powerful stuff!
Please remember to have good body awareness and be aware of how you are feeling. Your body and emotions are your compass with these practices.
A person experiencing Kundalini awakening may experience physical (headache, increased heart rate etc.) and mental (fear, anxiety, irrational thoughts etc.) kinds of symptoms (Jindani and Khalsa, 2015).
According to Caroline Myss, “What drains your spirit drains your body. What fuels your spirit fuels your body.” Hamza Yusuf, on the other hand, has quoted that “Reality of things is hidden in the realm of the unseen”. Kundalini yoga awakening, when done with proper preparation, can play a significant part in activating your Shakti and balancing your body, mind and soul.
de Castro, J.M., 2015. Meditation has stronger relationships with mindfulness, kundalini, and mystical experiences than yoga or prayer. Consciousness and cognition, 35, pp.115-127.
Field, T., 2016. Yoga research review. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 24, pp.145-161.
Jindani, F.A. and Khalsa, G.F.S., 2015. A yoga intervention program for patients suffering from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder: A qualitative descriptive study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(7), pp.401-408.
Taylor, S., 2015. ENERGY AND AWAKENING: A PSYCHO-SEXUAL INTERPRETATION OF KUNDALINI AWAKENING. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 47(2).
Have you lost touch with your true nature, like most people today?
How to Develop your Intuitive Abilities
Everyone’s reason for practicing yoga is unique, the real challenge is mustering up the courage, carving out time to practice and if you cross the hurdles to reap the rewards of yoga, you will find it as amazing and beneficial as it is. You have made the decision, joined yoga for beginners or online yoga classes, it is difficult to imagine what will happen until you actually practice mindfully and regularly. There are many benefits to practicing yoga but did you knowyoga develops intuitive abilities?
Intuition is the ability to have insight and wisdom received by an individual outside of their own intelligence, without the use of reason, logic or scientific evidence. Do you know who Patanjali was? He was considered the Einstein of Psychology and human behaviour in India because he was able to channel such ground-breaking guidelines in the 8-fold path of Ashtanga yoga. He was able to do this successfully without science. Now modern science states what Patanjali channelled intuitively thousands of years ago. That is, yoga along with meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) has a multitude of benefits for the health and harmony of the mind, body and soul(Paniccia et al., 2018).Patanjali utilized his intuition and founded the great knowledge which we have today on this incredible practice of yoga. In yoga, intuition is considered to be developed over time through spiritual disciplines and meditation or pranayama. Your intuition are unexplained feelings you have that something is true even when you have no evidence or proof for it. Have you ever had an intuition that something was wrong and later proved to be correct? That was your gut knowing or intuition speaking to you. This special occurrence of knowledge may arrive instantly and not through the process of analysis and perceptions of the facts. Often times it happens to us when we are doing something routine such as walking to work or taking a shower. Also practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama over time results in a gradual development of intuition. This is a practice which encourages individuality and helps bring answers to important life questions. It also provides a road map leading a person to explore their inner self- their true nature and unique life path off and on the yoga mat(Sadhu, 2018).
There are many other tools that help in developing intuition. Yet meditation, pranayama and yoga are some of the best ways which helps in letting go of attachments and to discover the inner self. But how does one even begin to find this inner voice? Usually the intuitive voice is subtle, gentle and not obvious. Finding stillness within is essential in being able to listen to your intuition(Bagya et al., 2018).The key understanding of our true nature or inner self comes with learning how to widen the gap between thought to thought or still the senseless mind chatter or what Buddhists at Fo Guan Shan monastery, Taiwan call the “monkey mind”. Remember this proverb, “silence isn’t empty. It is full of answers”. One needs to develop the ability to distinguish between the noises and the voices, the voice of fear and the subtle voice of inner wisdom.
Whenever you want to understand something or to make a decision, ask for guidance from inner higher self and then experiment. The resistance, tension, built-up emotions, trauma or stress… the physical practice of yoga will burn out the stress-energy from the body accumulated through years of samskaras, which means the mental impressions, recollections or psychological imprints in Sanskrit. Different yoga vinyasas or poses on the mat for example, despite the skill level, will help in your cultivation of intuitive skills(Schiffmann, 2013).
A yoga practice re-develops the intuition ability to consider what is healthy in each moment. In today’s busy, technological world we have completely lost touch with this intuitive ability. As a person learns to turn inwards both mentally and emotionally, they start the process of cultivating the intuition, instinct and intelligence. Following one’s own path requires courage, saying no to the things that don’t serve you and confronting your own demons. Yoga helps to practice opening the chest and heart, core engagement, self-grounding, calm and slow breathing and thus, emulating a courageous yet conscious warrior on the battlefield of life.
The voice of intuition is basically our inner hidden voice, calm, collected and sure. Intuition provides confidence and courage to make such decisions which serves us, regardless of the inside and outside voices. Yoga is designed in such a way so as to prepare the body for meditation and meditation in movement is yoga. Yoga represents union and as a person progresses through yoga, onemaystart experiencing prolonged periods of union within and thus stronger intuition(Paniccia et al., 2018).Yoga helps a person to tune into his emotions and to develop perception. Intuition is not a result of using the logical mind orover thinkingrather it is a feeling of knowing that which we don’t know. During the yoga practice, we become intuitive when our body becomes physically aligned, naturally, with our breath movements. We feel different sensations, shaky and sweaty. We begin to think if these feelings are triggered by our thoughts. In the end, we come to know that these feelings are from our inner heart space(Sadhu, 2018).
ThepopularNetflix movie “Innsaei” has highlighted the global journey of soul searching. This movie has shown the power of intuition by uncovering the art of connecting within today’s world of distraction, stress and disconnection. The expert in indigenous consciousness and neuroscience in the movie shows a belief that human beings use only a small fraction of their capacity that is resulting in devastating consequences. Humans must need to learn something new, discover their inner self that which willbirthmiracles. The intuition binds us together and without this we, as human beings lose our sense of purpose.
But how to regain intuition? Invite silence into your day, start with a short meditationorthrough yoga or watching the sunrise. Allow the voices in your mind to float away, do not engage with them and invite your inner voice to guide you. Connect yourself with the breath of divinity. Check within yourself, what are you thinking? How are you feeling? Feel your presence and it will make you dilute the stress and offer you the best solutions and inner wisdom of always knowing what to do next.
Intuition, meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices not only help in overcoming fear, but they also encourage self-love and love for others. At first, learning to listen to your intuition may seem strange or challenging. Listening to your intuition, however, will allow you to see and believe how our life journey and nature is being carried out in surprisingways.How truly miraculous and incredible it is to be alive! Essentially, we are spiritual beings living a human experience through this dense, material container of the physical body…we are light warriors and destined to do great things on thisbeautifulplanet and being in touch with our intuitive abilities will assist us and carry us throughlife’schallenges.
Bagya, D.A., Ganesan, T., Maheshkumar, K., Venkateswaran, S.T. and Padmavathi, R., 2018. Perception of stress among yoga trained individuals. National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 8(1), pp.47-50.
Paniccia, M., Knafo, R., Thomas, S., Taha, T., Ladha, A., Thompson, L. and Reed, N., 2018. Mindfulness-Based Yoga for Youth With Persistent Concussion: A Pilot Study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(1), pp.73012050040p1-73012050040p11.
Sadhu, M., 2018. In Days of Great Peace: The Highest Yoga as Lived. Routledge.
Schiffmann, E., 2013. Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness. Simon and Schuster.