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Yoga Tips for Anger

Many people have approached me asking how they can better deal with anger through yoga.⁠

So here are some tips for you!⁠


⁠Sitali/Sitkari Breathing

Anger is a fire emotion. Sitali and Sitkari pranayama are the best to cool down your body and mind.⁠


Forward Folds

Practice any pose available to you that involves bending forward. Forward folds release tension in the back, shoulders and neck, and soothe the nervous system, getting you out of the fight-or-flight mode.⁠

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Lay down, arms relaxed down next to your sides and legs slightly apart. Slowly, bring your awareness and relax your body part by part, starting with your toes, your feet, ankles, calves etc… relax the jaw, separating the teeth and the lips, hinting a smile to relax the whole face. Finish on the crown of your head. This is a delightful exercise for falling asleep as well!⁠

Svadhyaya

This means self-study. Study yourself when you feel anger rising. Take awareness of the emotion, notice where you feel it in your body, notice your breathing. Try to identify your triggers, and reflect on how you can change that.⁠

Empathy

Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. When you change perspective you may gain a new understanding and become less angry

What are your tips for dealing with anger?

Yoga Tips for Anxiety

Anxiety is a common issue in many people. It can be daunting but there are little things you can do to help both in the short and the long run.

Here are some things I find helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Abdominal Breathing

When we’re anxious we take short, shallow breaths through our chest.
However the lower part of our lungs is responsible for the majority of our oxygen intake, so breathing through the chest means not enough oxygen in our bloodstream!
This leads to tiredness, impaired thinking, altered moods, and can stir up anxiety and depression.
So sit with your spine straight or lay down, bring one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, and try to shift your breathing to your stomach. The hand on your chest should be barely moving. This will help lower your heart rate and oxygenate your body.

Guided Meditation

Meditation is one of the best tools to deal with anxiety and deal with our emotions. A Guided Meditation is the easiest to go through, you can easily find one online. Just 10 minutes can make a big difference.

Nature Sounds

Rain, ocean waves, forest sounds… These sounds are very even and have a pleasant pitch, which makes us feel safe and reduce our fight-or-flight response.

Take a Walk

Walking is a cardiovascular activity and as such it boosts the production of endorphins, which reduce stress. Again, something as little as 10 minutes can be helpful.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is also called Yogic Sleep. These deeply relaxing sessions include body-scans and visualisation. This mimics REM sleep. Being sleep deprived has a noticeable effect on our ability to cope with emotional events and our moods in general. And guess what? Most people tend to be sleep-deprived, especially when suffering from anxiety!

Find an Outlet

Journaling, painting, playing an instrument, writing, sculpting, knitting, photography, woodturning, sewing, baking, origami, colouring books, make-up, pottery, scrapbooking, candle-making… Find a creative outlet that allows you to focus on something and express yourself without judgement.

Give these a try and let me know what you think!

I’m also curious to know, what are your methods for coping with anxiety?

What is Hatha Yoga?

Nowadays yoga styles like Vinyasa and Ashtanga are all the rage, while Hatha yoga is not as widely practised. It doesn’t have any strong defining traits, so some can be confused as to what exactly it entails.

Truly, Hatha is a practice of yoga that entails physical movement, meaning that all styles that include an Asana practice are types of Hatha yoga. There are instances of yoga styles that focus solely on breathing techniques and meditation, such as Raja yoga.

Generally, a Hatha yoga class entails a complete practice of poses, breathing and meditation. The poses are not practised back to back, but rather you are prompted to rest in recovery poses in between. As with all styles, Savasana is the most important pose.

Where does Hatha Yoga come from?

The term Hatha yoga can be understood in two ways:

  • the yoga of force’ due to the effort required to practice it, since techniques of breath control are strenuous
  • the union of the sun (ha) and the moon (ṭha) in the body.’

Some Buddhist texts and later medieval literature feature the term ‘hatha’, presenting it as a preliminary practice, often in rivalry with Raja yoga. A few texts claim that Raja yoga is superior because it is effortless yet fruitful. Hatha yoga, on the other hand, requires too much effort to reach the same goal. However, Hatha texts refer to practices with neutral words such as ‘carefully’, ‘diligently’, ‘gradually’, ‘gently’, sometimes ‘vigorously’, ‘energetically’ or ‘forcibly’.

Other sources saw Hatha yoga as a second-rate practice for second-rate students, since it wasn’t a purely intellectual practice. However, just a few centuries later the Haṭayogapradīpikā joined Hatha and Raja yoga into a complete system, still under the name of Hatha Yoga, asserting that they are dependent on each other.

Interestingly, no texts before the Haṭayogapradīpikā ever focused on asanas (or postures) in any significant way. This means we have no way of knowing how prevalent asana practice was.

The First Mentions of Asanas

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali calls asana any seated posture that is stable and comfortable to hold through the whole practice.

A later commentary of the Yoga Sutras specifies eleven asanas and indicates by an ‘etc.’ that the author knew additional postures. These are meditative asanas, which allow the practitioner to sit with a straight back for a long time.

Why the focus on seated postures? Simply, when you’re standing the mind cannot focus in the same way, and when lying down you could easily fall asleep!

The Innovation of Hatha Yoga

The goals of Hatha yoga, traditionally, are the same as those of other varieties of yoga: supernatural powers and/or liberation.

However, what made Hatha yoga different is the fact that the body does not function solely as a pneumatic system when it comes to breath control practices, it is not something that needs to be abandoned upon reaching liberation. The body is seen as a complete instrument, that can be perfected and retained after liberation, even cheating death with clever use of the advanced practice of Samadhi.

Is Hatha yoga then a superior practice? It depends on the practitioner’s goals. All yoga can be practised by all, regardless of their identity or beliefs, as it is practice alone that leads to success.

6 Transformational Benefits To Using Singing Bowls In Your Yoga Practice

Why use singing bowls? Well, have you ever listened to the sound of one in person?

If you have attended one of my classes you will know I love using Tibetan singing bowls at the end of class, walking around with one so that everybody can feel the vibrations. Like a mini sound-bath.

 Of course, this is not an original idea of mine, as many teachers use either Tibetan singing bowls, which are made of metal, or crystal singing bowls.

I have tried both, but I find that I’m drawn to metal ones more. Materials aside, the main difference is in sound: crystal bowls have a lovely light and ethereal sound, while metal ones are more soothing and grounding.

What are they?

Singing bowls are like standing bells, you can play them by striking them or rotating the mallet around the rim.

They originated in China, and they were made of bronze or cast-iron. Traditional Tibetan bowls are said to be made of a bronze alloy containing copper, tin, zinc, iron, silver, gold and nickel, metals that are connected to the 7 planets of the Solar System.

Crystal bowls, instead, are usually made of crushed Quartz.

Regardless, the bowls are tuned to certain notes, which are said to stimulate the corresponding Chakra.

singing bowl

The Benefits of Singing Bowls

I often find that my mind is pretty volatile, I’m always thinking about the future or the past, generally overthinking. Similarly, students most likely come to class wanting to shake off the day. Here, the comforting vibrations and harmonic sounds of the bowls are of great help. We know it from experience, but there is some science behind it too!

It has been estimated that about 75% of illnesses can be attributed to stress, especially hypertension and cardiac disease. There is a handful of scientific articles presenting evidence for the benefits of meditation and the mantra Om, the vibrations of which are replicated by the sound of the singing bowls. The main recorded benefit is the effects of such vibrations on blood pressure and heart rate. Using these instruments, especially during a relaxation session, significantly decreases both, which is extremely helpful in treating hypertension! Additionally, using them to accompany meditation has been shown to significantly reduce the feeling of physical pain, as well as decrease negative moods such as tension, anger and depression!

singing bowl

So, here’s 6 benefits to using singing bowls:

  • Deep relaxation;
  • Reduces stress, anger, and anxiety;
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate;
  • Improves mood;
  • Better pain management;
  • Improves hypertension.

I hope you will include the use of these lovely instruments in your future practices!

Share this article if you’ve found it interesting, and let me know what your experience with bowls is!

Om Shanti

P.S. If you’re interested in reading the data-filled articles I mention in this post, you can find them here and here.

P.P.S. Enjoy some singing bowls music from my Instagram!

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Have you ever listened to the sound of a singing bowl in person?⁣ ⁣ If you have attended one of my classes you will know I love using Tibetan singing bowls at the end of class, walking around with one so that everybody can feel the vibrations. Like a mini sound-bath.⁣ ⁣ But did you know that singing bowls are not just musical instruments?⁣ ⁣ There is a handful of scientific articles presenting evidence for the benefits of meditation and the mantra Om, the vibrations of which are replicated by the sound of the singing bowls. ⁣ ⁣ The main recorded benefit is the effects of such vibrations on blood pressure and heart rate. Using singing bowls, especially during a relaxation session, significantly decreases both, which is extremely helpful in treating hypertension! ⁣ ⁣ Additionally, meditation accompanied with singing bowls has been shown to significantly reduce the feeling of physical pain, as well as decrease negative moods such as tension, anger and depression!⁣ ⁣ Keeping in mind that it has been estimated that about 75% of illnesses can be attributed to stress, being able to keep it all in check with such an easy and relatively affordable item is amazing!⁣ ⁣ What is your experience with singing bowls? Have you ever had a sound bath?⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #yoga#singingbowls#yogalove#yogainspiration#yogalearning#yoganerd#yogapath#hathayoga#hatha#yogateacher#yogaofinstagram#singingbowl#singingbowltherapy#singingbowlmeditation#meditation#mindfulness

A post shared by Elisa Citro | RelaxYoga (@elisa_relaxyoga) on

The Secrets of the Yogic Diet

Every time we go online or open a newspaper or magazine we will find a new ‘miracle’ diet that will supposedly allow us to lose all the weight in the blink of an eye and that will make us the healthiest we’ve ever been. These diets usually involve being very restrictive with the kinds of food that we eat, but having celery juice in the morning and a whole head of lettuce for lunch is not a good plan long term.

Achieving and maintaining physical health is, of course, one of the basic aims of yoga. If we lack physical health, we cannot advance mentally or spiritually. If you are sick and you try to meditate, what will happen? Well, Nothing. Your mind feels foggy, you feel sleepy, your back and your neck hurts, your foot is falling asleep, you need to cough, and you’re also getting a migraine.

Therefore, we have the 5 points of yoga:
– Proper exercise;
– Proper breathing;
– Proper relaxation;
– Proper eating;
– Positive thinking and meditation.

All of these are the tools to achieve health.

The Yogic diet is very simple, and follows the rules that doctors already recommend: have of freshly prepared, wholesome food that gives us energy (or Prana, a derivative of that universal energy which keeps us and the universe alive). You should eat slowly and chew properly. Avoid snacking. Do not overeat, rather leave some space in the stomach for stronger digestion. Eat with awareness, avoiding discussions or distractions of any kind. If we feel stressed while eating, it will impact our digestion. Have food that was prepared with love and care. Meat is greatly discouraged as we will absorb the last emotion that the creature felt before passing, which is usually fear, anxiety, or anger. The Yogic diet is therefore historically vegetarian, but many yogis nowadays prefer to take a step further and become vegan.

Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

Food is divided in three categories called Gunas, or qualities of nature:
Sattvic
 foods are fresh, in season, pure, and create balance. Sattva is the quality of light, knowledge, balance and purity. These are the kind of foods we should eat the most. These foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, milk, grains, legumes etc.
Rajasic foods are stimulating and if taken in excess can make us aggressive and irritable. They give us a big rush and then have us crash. We should have these in moderation. They include spicy and salty foods, as well as sugar and caffeine.
Tamasic foods create dullness, they represent the principle of inertia. All stale foods are tamasic and even freshly cooked food becomes tamasic after couple of hours of preparation. They are hard to digest, and make us more prone to illness. These also include meat, alcohol, processed foods, onion, garlic etc. Tamasic foods are strictly discouraged for those on the spiritual path and even for those who aren’t, are best kept to a minimum.

Achieving health is not an easy task, but we should do all we can and not take it for granted.
Living in the hectic, modern world makes it hard to follow the rules of proper eating, because we’re stressed, we’re in a rush, we don’t know where our food comes from, we eat foods that cannot be grown without the aid of chemicals, and at the first sign of illness we rush to medicines and antibiotics that deal with the simptoms but not the root of the problem.

Having a perfect, proper diet is extremely hard, and food should not become such a big factor in our lives that it defines who we are.

Experiment with food, listen to your body, really try to understand what gives you energy, what makes you feel tired, but also try to gauge what is doable for you.

Be kind to yourself.