Have you ever wondered why the yoga teacher folds his/her hands after the lesson and bows to the students saying “Namasté”, even though yoga is not a religion? The word “Namasté” comes from Sanskrit and means freely translated: “The divine in me greets the divine that I see in you!”
It means nothing else than that we are all the same and everything is connected. And now you’re probably thinking “And what about the idiotic neighbour who gets on my nerves whenever I see him? ”
About 8 years ago I started yoga. I wanted to bring more mindfulness and clarity to my turbulent family life with three children and a husband who works abroad 4 out of every 7 days a week.
Already after the first hour my yoga fire was kindled. The “death position” or “Shavasana” in Sanskrit was a revelation to me. So energetically connected to myself, such clarity in my thoughts. That’s what I was looking for.
From the ‘once-a-week hour’ slowly but steadily it became a daily practice, which was deepened in workshops, yoga retreats, and then with ‘Yoga Teacher Trainings’.
In 2014, ‘Yoga Elements’, a yoga centre at Lake Zurich was founded. In 2015, my husband and me opened Cal Reiet, the holistic centre in Mallorca, to offer many people an ideal place to grow physically, mentally and within their hearts.
HOW CAN YOGA AFFECT YOUR OWN LIFE?
The ‘true being’ is right in the centre of the yoga practice.
Through the ‘asanas’, physical exercises, you begin to perceive, observe and understand your body and the processes in your body, such as breathing, feelings and emotions.
It’s not about feeling happy, even if, of course, you can feel better and happier after the physical exercises. You begin to become aware of emotions and feelings that come and go like clouds on the sky. You realize that everything is transient. You’re more than all the sudden feelings dominating your life. These feelings often are only an expression of your imprints.
So it may happen that you feel bad at the yoga practice. For through the in-depth work with yourself, the unrecognized, previously unconsciously oppressed can penetrate the level of consciousness. Therefore, a daily yoga practice can be so transformative both inside and outside.
TOOLS FOR A GOOD BEING
In order to let the mindfulness flow into the daily routine, we practice on the yoga mat.
We use the tools like ‘asana’ (physical exercises), ‘pranayama’ (breathing exercises), meditation, and ‘chanting’, (the singing of “mantras).
Yoga is not only a way to make your body flexible and strong, but also to clear your mind.
If you can develop your awareness in your regular practice, it will affect your breath and mind as well and help you in making decisions about what is important to you in life.
To connect with your centre, the real being, and to feel that everything is connected with each other, becomes an experiential certainty.
From an early age, our parents, our environment and society have shaped us.
To make free choices, we need a practice that helps us become clearer and more alert.
Yoga, meditation and awareness exercises help us to stay in this information-flooded daily life, to wake up and act on its essence.
HOW CAN I STAY CALM IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS?
There are some things that are very important to understand. Without practicing yoga, we cannot give the best in difficult situations. When we do respiratory exercises, meditate and strengthen our body daily and keep it moving, we optimally prepare our nervous system to respond appropriately to stressful situations.
When we react anxious or angry in everyday life, we hold our breath. We know that breathing is connected to emotions. If you can control your breathing in exercises, it starts with exhaling, and then you also manage to control your feelings when they get out of control.
You become freer and are no longer controlled by your feelings. You decide where you want to be! You feel more and more at peace with yourself.
PRANAJAMA exercise to try:
The 15-minute vagus meditation for disturbing or stressful moments
With the help of breath and eye exercises we turn to the ‘Servus Vagus’.
The vagus is the most important and largest nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system, the so-called ‘resting nerve’.
Its opponent is the sympathetic, our ‘stress nerve’. Both regulate vital bodily functions.
Take a comfortable sitting posture. Close your eyes.
Take your breathing into account: how it flows into the tip of the nose, into your lungs and then the rest of the body before it leaves through the tip of the nose again.
Emphasize the exhalation; that is to say, breathe out considerably longer than a regular breath. This is very important, because the parasympathetic us predominates during exhalation. Spend some time doing this breathing – being aware.
With eyes closed, fix the eyelids from behind. At first everything is black, but soon colours appear. They come, they go. If the concentration can be kept while playing with colours, the relaxation comes immediately. Behind the eye lies a bundle of nerves, the ciliary ganglion and from there the stimulus of relaxation via the 3rd nerve reaches the brain stem and reaches the vagus.
Now you can also add your voice during the long exhalation.
Keep your lips closed and sum up while exhaling.
Take the slight vibrations; feel them in your skull.
With a little practice, you will be able to connect your breathing, your eyes and your voice. Ideally, do each exercise for 15 minutes.
(“Health takes place in the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system” from the book by Prof. Dr. Med. Gerd Schnack; The big rest-nerve, Herder publishing house)
I look forward to meeting you directly on your yoga mat, at the Yoga Elements Center in Lake Zurich or at Cal Reiet, Mallorca at one of our retreats.
Sat 21st to Wed 25th of April 2018 „A Return to Innocence“. Meditation with Björn Natthiko Lindeblad/ Yoga with Petra Bensland
Wed 5th to Sun 9th of Sept. 2018 „Gratitude“ Yoga Retreat Yoga Elements with Petra Bensland