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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Yoga Prop Substitutes You Can Find At Home

Hi!

I remember not buying myself yoga props until about 10 years into my yoga journey... Why? Simply because I did not feel the need to use them and because most of my teachers did not use them for our lessons. Some of the benefits of props are though that extra assistance with tightness, a bit of extra support when we feel unstable or wobbly and also to help go deeper. I have also seen through my clients and students that yoga props are helpful for managing healing injuries by not straining them while practicing and generally provide alternative ways to practice postures that might not feel within their range for the time being.

Okay so I have added a couple of links at the end of this article for you of places we buy yoga props from. But if you are like me, you can get creative till you get them delivered to your home. Here is a list of alternatives for Yoga props commonly used in a yoga class:

#1 The Yoga Bolster - You can substitute this prop by:
- Rolling up your quilt with a couple of yoga blocks between it.

- The back cushion of your couch if it can be dettached.

- Wrap a couple of cushions within a thick blanket to make a cylindrical structure that is firm and can take some weight.


#2 Yoga Blocks - The important thing with this one is to see how much weight it can  handle:
- Full 1 litre tetra pack of anything
- Milk bottles
- Text Books
- Full Tissue Boxes
- Large Tin Cans





#3 Yoga Straps - You will want to use this mostly as extension of your arms or in tricky binds

- A long belt
- A long towel
- A strong long scarf
- A Thera band
- A Skipping Rope






#4 Yoga Blanket - If you have a couple of blankets at home that will suffice to make do for both blanket and a bolster to help you feel supported in those lovely restorative postures.


So do you think you can find these items around your home? 

We don't get endorsed by any of these companies but here are a couple of places we buy props from and are satisfied with:

www.empind.com.au 
www.iyogaprops.com.au 

Their prices are wholesale prices but the postage might add a lot more to your purchase. So what I suggest is connect with a couple of your yogi friends and make a bulk order to share the cost of postage.

Did this article help you? Do you know of any other substitutes for any of the props above? If so, please share your ideas below so our readers can benefit.

Hari Om
Supriya Roy - Yoga Teacher Trainer & Ayurveda Practitioner 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Creating a Yoga Space

Don't be surprised to hear that you are NOT the only one struggling to feel comfortable to practice at home. And for many home is a shared space with other people, so privacy, solitude and social distancing is a huge challenge. I sympathize with you and want you to know that this is all too common a challenge for an urban yogi/ni and it's just a matter of following a few steps to create the space for you.

Step#1 Know that space is both a mental and physical thing - So what you find challenging is both a physical and mental challenge. The first thing people will quickly say is "I don't have enough space to practice Yoga at home". So I suggest you start with replacing this statement with "How can I create space to practice Yoga at home?" and instead of trying to figure it all out, let the answer come to you... but the main thing here is - first be welcoming of the question and detach yourself from the statement of "not enough-ness".

Step #2 Use designated spaces - Before owning a yoga studio I had to share spaces with many others at community halls, dance studios, conference rooms, people's lounge rooms and even backyards. And we did not share the same values when it came to organisation or presentation. So the one common agreement we came up with was that we will at least keep the space clutter free and ready to use for whatever purpose. Everyone sharing the space took this responsibility to put back all items to their designated spaces after use. And this process even got us to designate spaces for various items. Having grown up in cities, physical space has always been limited so for a very long time my bedroom was a multipurpose room. And if your bedroom is your only space then look at ways to designate spaces, use boxes, drawers and zip locked bags to store your belongings away to create as much visible space as possible.

Step #3 Use a dedicated candle and some incense- Before practice light a candle and some incense to create a physical anchor as a reminder that it is time to start your practice. Only use this candle or incense when you practice and once you are finished dispose of the debris or put the candle and holder away to a place you can locate it next time.  Alternatively you can also diffuse essential oils of your choice at the time when you practice.

Step #4 Always clean up after use - Use some tea tree or eucalyptus oil and water to clean your yoga mat, or dust off dry skin / hair / dust particles off your mat, roll it up properly and put it away in its designated space. Just like you do at the studio. 

Step #5 Allow time to set up - Plan to set up to practice at least 15 minutes before you start. Just like you allow yourself time to clean and chop your food before cooking, you would do the same for practice. Allow yourself time to set up the physical space. And know that your practice starts then, when you start preparing. Start with: Scanning your space for things on the floor (put them away), Light the candle / incense / switch on the diffuser. Roll out your mat and enjoy what you can see around you, smell and hear. If your household is noisy, put on some music to keep your attention within your area of the house. Let others know in the house during this time that you are not to be disturbed and to have them get whatever they need from your room / space before you start.

Now you are ready.

Know that the fight over space is an ancient problem that gets passed on from generation to generation. If you don't manage to get the space inside your current home, you can convert even your balcony, garden or any space you can sit in or stand in to create some space to practice in. It's a matter of prioritising and honoring your personal well being. You can even change your practice slightly to be a standing practice to transition to a chair based one to suit your own needs. The practice can always be adapted to you. But most importantly to come out of a lack of space state, consider asking a question like: "How can I ......" than a statement as "I don't have enough..." and see the magic of your mind unfold on how you create space for anything you want...

The science of Ayurveda and Yoga are both derived from Rg Veda which is the ancient and original text where these sciences were prescribed for healing the mind, body and spirit. There are subjects like Rituals discussed in great detail and a branch of Ayurveda called Vastu Shastra (Indian Feng Shui) also that goes into more detail on how to position everything in our living space to create optimum energy flow. In this day and the age of Corona Virus , while we are at home, creating a good living space, that allows everyone to live harmoniously is just a big a need as is everything else. To stay mentally healthy we can all learn ways to change our habits, and create the best out of situations that might not feel so great. Once our physical space shifts it automatically shifts us mentally, so consider creating a space for whatever holds a lot of meaning for you and your personal well being right away.
 
Hari Om

Monday, March 23, 2020

5 Steps To Keep Flowing With Life With a Home Yoga Practice

All yoga practitioners know there will be obstacles on their meditation journey but the Yoga sutras of Patanjali have provided the solution for those obstacles. The main message in chapter one verse 30 to 32 is that there will be obstacles like illness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, dullness, attachment and dellusion. And the only solution to them are 2 things: Keep practicing with One-pointed focus and enthusiasm on the path and train the mind to stay focused. In other words it tells the yoga student to be like a river that can flow over, around or under the boulders and rocks along the way .... regardless of their size.

So now we are in self isolation to flatten the curve for the nation as a global team and while at home, we yogis must not forget our practice. So here are my 5 steps and tips to set up your Home Yoga Practice with alternative ideas for not so ideal situations:

1) Create a Space for your practice - even if it is your bedroom, this is a good time to clean up this space to place your yoga mat. The space for your practice must be clean and remind you of a special area away from all other clutter. Try to face South or North. And if you aren't able to minimize noise, put on some noise cancelling headphones or some headphones with soothing wordless music. Eg: sounds of the ocean, dolphins, wales, natural sounds.

2) Block out time and commit to your practice - It doesn't matter how long you get on your mat but commit to a time that you can allow regularly. But put aside a minimum of 15 mins. I even schedule this time into my planner daily, the night before so I know it will get done. If you are a Pitta Vata like me you might even enjoy this level of organisation. :)

3) Eliminate distractions - Tell family members not to call for you, switch off your mobile, your laptop, your smartwatches and the tv. To stream online yoga lessons you will use the internet and your laptop so make sure you switch off all notifications for the duration of your practice.

4) Plan the Practice - Knowing ahead of time what you will practice will help you organise yourself better. If its a Hatha vinyasa flow or a Restorative sequence, you can then set yourself up for your practice time beforehand. In my 200hour Yoga Teacher Training I teach a collection of 30 beginner level postures, 8 essential Pranayamas, basic Mindfulness, Mantras, Mudras, Bandhas and Philosophy. The course is 50% theory and 50% self-practice with guidance from me. The value is that the person takes the next step on their yoga journey integrate yoga in daily life.

5) Keep a Journal - Maintaining a journal has been an ancient practice of the sages and is an essential tool for a yogi in the modern time as well. If it weren't for the rishis keeping a journal we might not have access to the ancient instructions, hymns, realisations of the wisdom that is within. So I highly recommend you keep a practice journal. For more information see my article 5 Benefits of Keeping a Yoga Journal to access an example of what information you could record in it along with your own commentary.


With all this said, these times of self-isolation is going to strengthen you to stand in your power, learn to protect what is important to you, and align your actions, thoughts and feelings to what really matters most to you.


If you want to take your personal practice to a more self lead practice I recommend you take my 200 hour teacher training program. This course is the beginning of taking your practice home in an informed way and establish yourself in a steady foundation level practice. More training is provided to you after this phase via advanced teacher training for when you want to go out to be a teacher in the community. But first my advice to you is focus on yourself and invest in yourself for yourself.

>>>> The next intake for my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (delivered online) is in June 2020. Dates are to be confirmed. However you can apply through this website.

Supriya Roy - Ayurveda Practitioner & Registered Senior Teacher

Monday, March 16, 2020

5 Eastern Personal Hygiene Systems We in the West Should Adopt - For Sustainability!

Me at Tanshikar Spice Farm
where we will host our
yoga retreat in March 2021
Why? Because the West has become a running joke for the toilet paper and drinking water fights... plus its time we made some collective resolves on reducing our use of unnecessary "necessities" that aren't actually promoting good health and hygiene anyway. While we were sold ways to maximise on time and to some using really nice toilet paper is a sign of wealth and comfort but it's actually NOT hygienic. And let's also consider how quickly we ran out of supplies and what kind of mayhem something so UNHYGIENIC caused among us mortals, convinced we are fighting for some great cause. (LOL!!!)

I wanted to share with you the BASICS of Hygiene in living a natural and sustainable lifestyle. Where you get to care about yourself and do it with care for the environment too. You will find some hyperlinks below to guide you to more information on what each practice is.

It's time to go back to the basics because they work really well and can give you a break from stressing over the small stuff.

#1 Excretory Organs -
  1. Use water to wash and clean with a small vessel  using non-dominant hand (the hand that you don't eat with)
  2. and maintain a personal hand towel to dry body parts
  3. Follow through with washing hands and nails as you would for 20 seconds at the least

#2 Digestive Organs Mouth -
  1. Use herbal toothpaste, 
  2. Gargle with warm water and salt or Pre-soaked clove water, 
  3. Use a copper Tongue Scraper to scrape the surface of your tongue gently to remove the bacteria that comes up from the gut nightly. 
  4. Use warm sesame or coconut oil as mouth wash - coconut oil has antibacterial properties and is not harsh for the tissues inside mouth. 

#3 Respiratory Organs -
  1. Use a Neti pot to rinse your nasal passage 
  2. followed by Nasya - a couple of drops of sesame or any oil to keep the nasal passage lubricated.

#4 Social Etiquettes -
  1. Wave a Hi / Bye, Smile and use endearing language to greet each other. 
  2. Optional to use Namaste honoring your personal space and spirit when greeting others. 
  3. Cough, Sneeze or burp onto your arm as always. 
  4. Clean up after yourself wherever you are. 
  5. Keep all living areas clean and dry (including bathroom floors). 

#5 Hydration - 
  1. Use copper utensils for purifying drinking water.
  2. Drink only warm water, always to aid with best digestion.

In all honesty my eastern friends and I have been laughing at the toilet paper fights while still soothing ourselves that we couldn't make it back to India this year. So this whole kerfuffle over toilet paper and bottled water wasn't all a waste of time... it did put a smile on everyone's dials, and a thousand odd memes were created to keep our spirits high.. But what say you now? Do you think you can manage the above?

Do you need help? I'm here to guide you. Write me an email at supriya@sevayoga.com.au


Supriya Roy- Ayurveda Practitioner & Senior Yoga Teacher

My 5 Tips For Urban Yogis Navigating Uncertainty - We are all in this together!

image by: Balzinder Balz
1. Maintain a Seasonal Ayurvedic Diet - For Australians this is Autumn. Autumn being a very unstable season it is imperative to know how to manage digestion. In Ayurveda the immune system is dependent on the health of your stomach and heart. Energetically this is your solar plexus and heart plexus. You must eat right to maintaining a good gut and digestive fire. If you are having gut issues, now is the time to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner that you know. You can get a consult with me online for a holistic diet and lifestyle plan tailored for this time in your life.

2. Prepare for deep sleep every night with gratitude- after practicing your night routine, write down 5 things you are grateful for right now. Gratitude is the antidote for all the sadness and heavy hearts you are sensing. Don't forget you are an empathic being, and most likely have a lot to be grateful for but you are forgetting this due to osmosis of the pandemic energy all around you. Please remember to spend at least 15 mins at the end of your day to acknowledge your blessings to stay connected to your soul's light.

3. Daily practice light stretching and simple Pranayama every hour of your waking life - reset yourself. More than likely you are practicing yoga regularly BUT I'm asking you to stay connected to your breath and muscles hourly, just for now. With the surrounding energy you must stay in the flow and just 1 hour of a flow class with 23 more of tension does not help. So stay in touch with your body and breath every hour. Acknowledge that you are a vessel through which energy must flow through on earth right now.

4. Stay connected with positive people in your life and understand those that distance themselves from you - nurture the friendships and relationships that keep you aligned to your values, beliefs and vision. Offer support only if you are feeling upto it otherwise know that everyone is going through the same situation right now and everyone has the opportunity to cultivate positive relationships with themselves and others. Don't take it away from anyone by being the rescuer. You are allowed to maintain your personal boundaries at this time to maintain your emotional and psychological hygiene.

5. Acknowledge your personal hardships - because you must be there for you, especially right now. Whatever the case, your story matters and no one is better or worse than yourself. You are allowed to feel jaded, broke, helpless, lost, unworthy, sad and everything else that is coming up. Use this as a chance to practice radical honesty with yourself to help you process your emotions. Daily, connect with yourself by placing your hands on your own heart and asking yourself - How are you feeling right now? What do you need help with? You can reach out to a mentor, a healer, an Ayurvedic practitioner, a Yoga teacher or a coach, a Therapist to book in some time online to navigate your thoughts, identify the direction you want to head toward in the next phase of your life (coming soon after this is all over).

I hope these tips help you out right now and keep you engaged to your personal growth during this time of greater uncertainty and a global shift everyone is a part of currently. We are all in this together and nothing outside of ourselves is within our control so this is ultimately the most important time to practice self-care and stay energised to hold a frequency of stability for all else around.

Let's admit it, nothing will ever be the same once this pandemic is all over and if we don't start to prepare for what is next now, we might struggle to catch the next wave of even bigger change.

My hope for us individually right now is that we learn to lean in, improve our relationships with ourselves and others and practice mindfulness and yoga (union) in all areas of life. This is not the time to close everything down, especially not our minds because it was the human mind that created this for its own evolution. So like it or not, we have to all learn how to individually embody the frequency it will require for us all to experience this shift in consciousness, together.

Let's remind each other that we can chose to place our focus on what we do want as well as acknowledge the stuff that is unpleasant. And whether this is apparent right now to everyone or not that is different but everyone is dealing with their stress differently, so my plea to you is not to get lost in being a rescuer rather be there for yourself and naturally remain fit for when your time comes to serve anyone at whatever time you are called.

If you are finding yourself sitting alone, quiet and aimless right now then receive this as a gift to recharge your spirit, reserve the energy for your next calling in the next phase... look after your mento-emotional-physical immunity at all cost.

Hari Om Tat Sat

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Practical & Sustainable Yoga Mats & Clothes - Explained

Best guidance for Hatha Vinyasa / Restorative Yoga / Meditation classes taught in an urban yoga studio. 

NOTE: This advice is NOT from a HOT YOGA STUDIO.



CONSIDER THIS WHEN BUYING A SUITABLE YOGA MAT

The yoga mats we recommend are based on the type of practices we teach at Seva: Hatha Vinyasa, Restorative Yoga and Meditation.

Since the lessons focus on developing strong foundations from feet up, what this means is that your mat needs to offer a high level of steadiness while you are moving or standing still. Mats that are both sticky on the floor and under your feet or hands, work the best. 

The next thing we value greatly is comfort when in floor postures, either on knees, hands, belly or back where it supports your body weight. You want the mat to offer just the right amount of thickness which can absorb your body weight without sinking to the floor.

So we recommend you consider a yoga mat with these specifications:

Note that sustainable materials will always be the most durable and eco-friendly
So choose one made of Natural Rubber / Jute / High grip rubber
4mm to 6mm Thickness 
1-2.5kg in Weight
Minimum cost: $75 +

Here is a site with some reviews of the kind of mats that are quite popular with the above specs: 

https://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/ 


TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING YOGA CLOTHES:

There are many schools of thought on yoga clothing and at Seva we value practicality and sustainability most, when recommending the correct clothing for practice. This applies to both men and women and we recommend you consider the following tips;


#1 While there are many fitness clothing brands, chose the ones that fit well, are durable and promote comfort and confidence. Eg: if you feel that you get hot very easily, wear a singlet underneath your full sleeve top. And for ladies, you can opt to a crop top under your singlet / tshirt / long sleeve top. You are allowed to change out of and into whats right for you, in class. But over time, this fluctuation in body temperature will reduce, so you won't need to worry about this for too long.

#2 Always choose materials that are fitted and flexible which assist in feeling light and mobile.

#3 Choose natural fabrics that are suitable for the warm or cold season, ones that allow you and your skin to breathe. 

#4 If you're attending a Restorative or Meditation class, chose clothing to support stability in your body temperature which will support your focus while still. Clothes that promote a natural warmth but not overheat or cool you.

#5 Avoid Synthetic and Polyester fabrics because they trap sweat and become breeding ground for bacteria on clothes and body.

Here is an article on fabrics used in fitness to consider before buying:



Remember: You don't need much to practice yoga and the attire and props do not define you as a practitioner. However from a pragmatic sense, the correct attire and accessories do assist and support, should you chose to invest with the right intention and clarity. 

Many get swayed by appearances in magazines and websites but Practicality and Sustainability will always help guide you when you chose the ones right for you. 

Practicality refers to suitability of the item for the type of activity you will be participating in and Sustainability refers to being both good for your health and how long you will be able to use those materials. 

Practicality and sustainability don't need to mean the cheapest or the most expensive. You can define what they each mean to you by just starting wherever you are right now, on your yoga journey. Then work your way to the best for where you want to go next.


Did this help you? 

If you have questions or comments, share them below so we can have a conversation about this.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Why Is Being Present So Hard?

Hi my friends,

One of the chief complaints with many of my clients is about the unending mind chatter they find themselves in. This is also a big issue as it becomes a cause for relationship breakdowns, communication barriers, limited self expression and loss of joy in life.

It's a commonplace for many experiencing difficulty being present in personal, spiritual, professional activities because of this never ending chatter. And if you look this up you will find many names for this issue like depression, anxiety, stress disorder, schizophrenia and on and on and on.

Has diagnosing helped with the problem yet? What about the medication? Have they helped dissolve the overactive mind's nature to be overactive? Have we been able to medicate without distorting the person's energy and spirit? I am yet to find the perfect example. Not saying medicine does not help but the question is not about the diagnosed condition. The question is about how did the mind get in that condition in the first place? And just to clarify I am here sharing my personal opinion from my own experiences and from having worked with clients that helped me arrive at my understanding of the cause.

And very commonly I found it to be; DISCONNECTION from a very early age.

As one grows and matures, they start to notice their inner uncontrolled mind's way, a growing disconnection appears within their life, their storyline, body, mind and spirit. These minor fractures in connectivity to one's whole self, can also show forms of conscious adaptive behaviors, coping mechanisms, unconscious behaviors and then behavioral patterns to being some acceptable way, that neither changes nor improves the situation. Fear starts to make itself more visible, anxiety increases and everything becomes conditional.  Eg: I'll be happy if ____ when ______.  Or I will do it when I have ______. Or I can't, not me. Or If s/he does this then I might _____.

When we look at ourselves so closely, having accumulated decades of experiences, is it of any wonder there are so many thoughts and beliefs that need our attention and review? But where most people chose to back off or distance themselves is when they feel guilt or shame arising from not feeling Okay in life (especially being a grown adult)!

Of course education on self-awareness, personal development is never on anyone's priority list since the common man's story is systematized from birth to death starting with academic development, to increasing the net worth, growing the blood line, and keeping up appearances on what's working better than ever.  Also because we are not encouraged to seek education on how NOT to dump our stuff on others and practice self-care and be better friends, partners, colleagues and parents.

And sooner or later, the patterns of disconnection do dominate and sabotage success or forward movement.

So what's the solution? CONNECTION. It's also a rite of passage! If you believe you were not born to work, pay bills, and feed mouths and sleep through life only. If you believe that you were born to learn, grow, love and serve, then it is a rite you will be called to take. Yes, your inner / higher self will call you out. The inner chatter will get louder till you do something about it. 

Establishing a Connection to your personal life, storyline, body, mind and spirit is a rite to reclaim personal power, integrity and sovereignty.

Connection is also the fundamental pillar of increasing health in all areas of life like finance, career, relationships, vocation, spirituality, business and creativity. But it takes special effort and willingness to develop and open our hearts this way.

So all and all, this article is about understanding and thinking differently to pave a way from disconnection to connection. To invite ourselves to become friends with the inner chatter. Getting out of the falsehood that some day the volatility will vanish in one swoop second. That some mystical experience will take away all the disconnection we have been cultivating by and without choice in all this time.

Ever since I can remember realizing the urgency to respond to my inner chatter's call, I have invested multiple thousands in dollars and hours for developing myself, educating myself for my mind and body. To have cultivated a strong heart to create a life that supports my well being despite the storyline I was born into. And I want you to know that its available for you too.

The dividends come in many and unexpected ways and I am so grateful to get to share with you this possibility of deeper connection with yourself. Allowing your higher self to guide your steps, breaking the ties with disconnection and growing stronger from within.

All my programs are tools of self-awareness and personal development to creating a different mind, body and life trajectory. And if you're curious - go to www.sevayoga.com.au or send a message with your questions.

What did you think of this article? Please comment below with any questions you have or if you had any Aha moments of your own.

Much love,
Supriya Roy (Ayurveda Practitioner, Yoga Teacher Trainer)