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Do what is right, not what is easy

Do you want to start a blog? Write and share your own creations, thoughts, content; don’t mimic the work of another.

Do you want to create more financial freedom? Dedicate time today towards cleaning up your spending and researching how best to invest your money, rather than thinking its too difficult, boring, or can wait for another day.

Do you want to change your work environment? Face your fears and do so, even if it means leaving the familiarity of the current.

Do you want to change your physique? Get up and move your body every morning, even if you want to stay in bed or watch TV

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of a meditation practice? Sit your butt down everyday and meditate, even if you’re tired, un-interested or only have 5 minutes.

Do you want to achieve deeper levels of intimacy with your partner? Openly and clearly communicate with them, rather than accepting and desensitising yourself.

Do you want do what is right? Do you want to move towards greater levels of freedom, transcendence and joy, and not be limited by control, security or familiarity? Then just do it. Let go of the easier option. Let go of excuses. Go after your dreams – accepting it might be challenging along the way, but relaxing into the intrinsic knowledge that this is what you’re meant to do and it will ultimately deliver to you what you greatly desire.

Namaste

Kundalini Yoga

You may have seen (or attended!) some of our Kundalini Yoga Workshops over these last few months with Kylie. They have been a big success – many attendees saying they have felt more creative, enlivened, all-embracing, and clear-thinking after their Kundalini class. So we are listening to you and keeping them on our regular schedule! You can keep up to date with our latest classes on our app.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the practice, we’d like to take the time to explain it to you here –

Kundalini Yoga is an uplifting blend of movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting of mantras. The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness. It does this through strengthening the nervous system, increasing willpower, clearing brain fog, improving breath, enhancing visualisation, imagination, and creativity, opening the heart, upgrading communication skills, boosting compassion and gratitude, awakening intuition, and developing wisdom. Now that’s a list of benefits!!!

Like all yoga, Kundalini yoga is not to be taken lightly. It is like an express train that shakes and wakes you up. Some classes will leave you feeling high and totally blissed out. Other will really provoke and confront you. What’s important is to stay present and accept pleasure and pain as part of the same journey to health and balance. Our ego naturally leans toward pleasure and comfort. It takes concerted effort and discipline to begin to release the ego’s grip on our consciousness. This effort is the work required to begin to access the truth of who we are, to create a strong connection to our soul and to start to take great strides towards being more at peace and in harmony with ourselves.

We sincerely encourage you to experience Kundalini yoga for yourself. It will add depth to your existing practice and to your life. This Saturday, 7th September we are offering a special Kundalini Meditation and Gong Bath Class. The class will be 90 minutes, from 10:15am to 11:45am. It’s suitable for all levels – beginners and expecting women are welcome! The cost is free for members and $28 for non-members. You can book and pay direct to the studio, or contact Kat o 0439 068 058, or Sherry on 0422 684 789. We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing, preferably white or light colours, bring water, mat, bolster / cushion and small blanket. Come a few minutes early to get settled in, we start on time.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Namaste

Yoga can help to close (yes close) your heart after grief.

Grief is the heart-breaking feeling people experience after they’ve suffered a loss. This loss may be from an illness or death, somebody leaving home or moving away, someone changing, physically, emotionally or mentally, and is no longer what or how we expect they should be. It could perhaps also be due to a change of residency, getting married, or becoming pregnant. Regardless, we grieve the significant changes that take place, as we come to realise life as we knew it, will never be the same again. Even if we have a tremendous gain as a result of the change, such as moving to a beautiful new home, we can still grieve the loss of the comforts of the old – the friendly neighbour, the favourite cafe nearby, the customs we had in the home. We somewhat expect grief to arise around death, but it also shows up ‘unexpectedly’ in other areas of life.

While everyone experiences grief and loss differently, yoga can help with the process of moving on and healing for all. The combination of both the heart opening backbends and the nurturing forward bends work together to heal and mend your broken heart. The backward bends help to stretch and ‘crack open’ your chest – allowing suppressed emotions to flood out, flow freely and pass naturally. This can be confronting and challenging – even emotionally painful – but the breath-work that comes with your asana practice helps support you through this process, and return you to a place of calm. It’s very important to allow these feelings to flow freely, rather than trapping them inside. The longer you hold onto them, the deeper they will ingrain. The more you let them free, the quicker the healing process will be, and the lighter you’ll feel.

Taking a longer savasana after a backward bend will be extra nurturing for you, as will the forward bend that usually follows. Forward bends give your heart the added comfort, love, and support it needs as it rebuilds and restrengthens itself – as it starts to put the pieces back together. Forward bends are like giving yourself a giant hug. It’s not surprising in Bikram yoga, the deepest backward bend of the series (Camel / Ustrasana) is followed by the deepest forward bend (Rabbit / Sasangasana).

The asanas, breath-work, and stillness that comes with your yoga practice all work synergistically to support you through your grieving process. It’s a safe, wholesome space for you to feel your emotions, set them free, and gently put the pieces back together.

If you don’t feel up to a dynamic practice, we also offer a slower style, Yin Yoga. Yin also offers forward and backward bends, and gives extra time within the asanas for you to release stored or trapped energy.

We hope to be of service and support to you always- but especially through difficult periods of life, such as when you’re grieving a loss or experiencing significant change in your life. If this is you right now, please prioritise your yoga and self care. It’s tremendously important.

Namaste

Create the time for meditation

While we may have heard a daily meditation practice brings with it many benefits to our overall happiness and wellbeing, there’s often resistance to committing to it. Common resistances include thinking ‘I don’t have time’, ‘It’s boring to just sit still’, or ‘I am not good at it, my mind just runs the whole time’. These last two examples are similar to expecting an untrained puppy to sit still the first time it is asked. Whereas the first, simply requires you to have an honest conversation with yourself about what your priorities are, and perhaps shift the expectation of exactly how much time you need to dedicate towards mediating.

Just like your asana, meditation is a practice, not a performance. So a good place to begin is removing any outcome you perceive you need to achieve, which may be ‘successfully meditating’. I know this is one I’ve had in the past. Benefits and blessings will come to you over time, but for now, all you need to do is sit down, try to be still, and practice the meditation technique shown to you. If you don’t have one already, don’t worry, there is one included at the end of this blog.

Initially, sitting still for a period of time can be challenging, especially because we’re so use to ‘moving’ and ‘doing’ constantly. In our modern world, it seems even sleeping is becoming something we ‘do’, rather than being really enjoyed. So to begin, simply designate a specific time window, duration, and place to practice on a regular basis. Begin with five minutes, and set a timer so looking at the clock won’t distract you. Commit to practicing meditation before you have your breakfast in the morning, in a quiet corner or room in your home. Another option is to close the door at your office, and practice your meditation at your desk. Otherwise, you may choose to commit five minutes at the end of your yoga class, when you’re in savasana. Regardless of where and when, we can all create 5 minutes of space in our day. Over time, you can gradually lengthen your practice.

For most people the normal state of the mind is a constant chatter. Don’t be put off by this; Rather, use the stillness, use the quiet, to bring awareness and observation to how much your mind chatters. With repetition of practice, you can use this awareness to soften the chatter, and delve deeper into your consciousness. The associated benefits to this such as a calm mind, eased stress, anxiousness, and depression, healthier sleeping patterns, increased creativity, improved relationships, and self-appreciation and respect, make the practice even more enticing, and even easier to commit to.

Again, just like your asana practice, meditation will bring with it a new experience each day; some will seem ‘easier’ than others. If you a miss a day, feel distracted throughout, or finish early, just start again. Have faith your mind will come to settle down and feel at ease with regular practice and eventually longer periods of sitting. Be as gentle with yourself as you would a puppy you love, and allow your mind to learn to release in the same way it has learned to hold on.

Meditation Technique:

Sit or lie comfortably, with your spine straight. Set a timer on your phone or meditation application (we recommend 1 Giant Mind, or, Insight Timer) so as not to be distracted by looking at the clock. Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths in and out of your nose to calm your body down and prepare for meditation.

Next, place extra attention on your breath. Stilling breathing by your nose, bring your inhale and exhale to the same steady length, and then continue to observe your breath. Feel your chest rise on the inhale, and then the chest fall on the exhale. Feel the coolness of the air on the inhale, and warmth of the air on the exhale. Maintain your focus and observation on your breath. If at any point, you notice your mind wandering, gently come back to the awareness of the breath. For some extra support, you may choose to silently say in your mind ‘inhale’ as you breathe in, and ‘exhale’ as you breathe out.

At the end of your practice, give a statement of gratitude. For example, ‘I am thankful for making the time to do this meditation’, ‘I am thankful for my breath’, ‘I am thankful for how relaxed I feel’, or, anything that naturally arises in to give thanks for.

Some general recommendations to support your meditation practice include, not eating or consuming caffeine/ any other stimulants just prior to meditating, finding a private and quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, and keeping a journal to track your insights and progress.

Let us know how you’re going with your meditation practice. Leave us a comment on this post, share in our facebook group, or talk to any one of us at the studio! We look forward to hearing of how meditation is supporting and enriching you in your life.

Namaste

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

While many think yoga starts and finishes on the mat, the truth is yoga extends far beyond the classroom – it expands into your entire day, throughout your lifestyle choices, and deep into your mentality, morals and spirit. The physical expression of yoga, also known as Asana in sanskrit, is what you do for 90minutes when you visit the studio to do class. You’ll also do some breathing techniques, which is another integral component of yoga, called Pranayama. However, there are indeed 6 other limbs or components which together unite to be the system or science of living and being that we call Yoga. The eight limbs are –

  • YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
  • NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances
  • ASANA – Posture
  • PRANAYAMA – Breathing techniques
  • PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
  • DHARANA – Focused concentration
  • DHYANA – Meditative absorption 
  • SAMADHI – Bliss or enlightenment

1 Yama: The first limb yama refers to our interaction with the external world, and specifically the disciplines or practices we use to ensure peace within ourselves and with the environment around us. There are five yamas – Ahisma (non-violence), Satya (truthfullness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (right use of energy), and Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding). These yamas are unconditioned by time or place – which is to say, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practiced, we can still all aim to instil the yamas within us.

2 Niyama: The second limb, Niyama, are primarily our personal disciplines towards ourselves, but they still have meaning for our interactions with the outside world as well. There are five niyamas – Saucha (cleanliness), Santocha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study and study of spiritual texts), and Isvarapranidaha (surrender to a higher power). These disciplines are intended for us to explore ourselves beyond the layers, to discover our essence, and to (re)build our character,

3 Asana: The third limb explores the physical aspect of yoga – perhaps the one we are most familiar with. Yet, something we may not realise is that asana doesn’t refer to someone’s ability to do a handstand or an aesthetically impressive backbend; rather it means ‘seat’ in english, or more specifically, the seat you would take for the practice of meditation. You move through the sequence of postures to heal and harmonise your body from injury and illness, so as to sit steadily, comfortably and in stillness during meditation, without complaint.

4 Pranayama: The fourth limb can be broken down in two parts – Prana means breath, energy, or life force – it is the very essence the keeps us alive, as well as being the energy in the universe around us. The Chinese call it ‘Chi’ or ‘Qi’, and the Japanese, ‘Ki’. Yama refers to control and thus by breathing in a very specific way, or controlling our breath, we can improve our state of being.

5 Pratyahara: Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means to ‘withdraw’ or ‘draw back’, and ahara refers to the information we receive from our senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It’s useful to practice withdrawal from our senses when we sit down to meditate, want to achieve deep concentration, without distraction, or really be in the present moment. This can be achieved through focus on the breath (or pranayama).

6 Dharana: The sixth limb, Dharana, refers to ‘focused concentration’. Dha means ‘holding or maintaining’, and Ana means ‘other’ or ‘something else’. It’s closely linked to the previous limbs; In order to focus on something, the senses must withdraw so that all attention is put on that point of concentration, and in order to draw our senses in, we must focus and concentrate intently. Tratak or candle gazing, visualisation, and pranayama (focusing on the breath) are all practices of Dharana.

7 Dhyana: The seventh limb is ‘meditative absorption’ – when we become completely absorbed in the focus of our meditation and free of engagement with the activity of the mind.

8 Samadhi: The eighth limb Samadhi (Sama, same or equal, and Dhi, to see) refers to ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment’. This doesn’t mean to float away on cloud nine in a state of happiness; Rather, to have the ability to see equally, and realise the truth or reality that lies in front of us without any disturbance from the mind or pain in the body fluctuating and governing it. There is observation rather than attachment, and this is freedom.

While our attachments, aversions, desires and habits may creep back in and pull us out of Samadhi, continually practicing the 8 limbs of yoga will help to purify our mind and body until we can maintain Samadhi in a permanent state. This is when we attain Moksha, also known as Mukti, meaning a permanent state of being liberated, released and free. 

Do you practice the eight limbs of yoga already? What benefits and changes have you noticed in your own life since following these yogic principles? Please leave us a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear!

Yoga and Sleep Quality

(Hopefully) We all know sleep is crucial to our well-being, and it’s quality is a big determinant in how happy and healthy we are day to day – there’s no question we feel better after a good nights rest. However, most of us will encounter sleep disturbances through out our lives – in fact, one out of three people will experience insomnia at some point in their life.

A mere week of unrest or sleep deprivation can cause severe changes in mood: depression, decreases in emotional regulation, and obvious depletion. On the contrary, it seems that a good night’s rest can enhance the positive feelings and states of being. There’s really something to the idea of “sleeping off” difficult experiences.

So what does affect quality of sleep? Well, three common factors include stress, hormonal imbalances, and obesity. When you are experiencing one or more of these, your body is going to be operating more in the sympathetic nervous system state – also called ‘fight or flight”. This is a more heightened state of being, and it’s very hard for your body to relax, ‘let go’, enter sleep onset (the natural oncoming of sleep), and stay asleep through the night. You see, the body cannot tell the difference between an external and internal threat or imbalance – it only see that’s something’s not right and in order to survive, it must be switched on and ready to either fight or run away from the stressor.

How Yoga can improve sleep quality is that firstly, it helps move you into the parasympathetic nervous system – this is when you’re functioning more in a rest and digest state of being. The long slow breathing exercises, combined with stretching and stillness, help increase parasympathetic dominance. This is where stagnant energy has shifted, the mind has calmed, physical tension releases, and emotion dissipates. The stiffness has gone and in this state, its much easier to move into the natural onset of sleep.

Leading on from this, a second therapeutic benefit of yoga is that in this parasympathetic state, your body is more receptive to change and healing. Your endocrine (hormonal) system is gradually rebalanced, your muscular skeletal system is realigned and strengthened, leading to body transformation, and your mind-body connection is increased, improving awareness and confidence. You really do leave with a renewed mind and body, each time you come to a yoga class.

Researchers seem to agree. In one study on yoga and sleep, participants practiced Bikram yoga regularly over a two week period, and results showed they woke up fewer times in the night, a sign of better sleep quality.

A regular yoga practice can greatly improve your overall health, including the quality of sleep you achieve each night. Have you noticed any positive changes in your sleep or general health since practicing Bikram or Yin Yoga at our studio? We’d love to hear your stories and feedback!

Bikram Yoga Helps Improve Bone Mineral Density

In our last post, we looked at how Bikram Yoga (BY) helps with physical fitness. This week, we will discuss how BY improve bone mineral density, which is important all through out our lives, but especially as we age.

Maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) reflects the strength of bones, and is important in reducing instances of osteoporosis and falls-related fractures. Healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, regular exercise – especially resistance training, and impact based activities, help minimize BMD loss and reduce the risk of fractures later in life.

Yoga can be an excellent tool in helping maintain peak bone mass and slow down bone loss. We know some of the main components of the BY practice is balance, flexibility, lubrication of joints, increased range of motion, spinal alignment and a significant improvement in lower-limb strength. It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, where students use their own body weight to create resistance in the postures and torque on the bones to build bone density, much in the same way you build muscle strength (through Wolffs Law). Bones get stronger and stay strong when they are called upon to do more. Given all of this, your yoga practice helps keep you more stable and sturdy, helps reduce the risk of falls and fractures, and helps maintain BMD, especially for those who cannot engage in high-impact or more dynamic activity such as running.

A study in 2010, “Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women“, clearly shows this link between BY and a higher BMD – saying that BY practitioners had above average bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, hip and in total body scores. Even more impressive, each of the subjects had a total body calcium Z-score one standard deviation above the norm for their age and ethnic cohort. Please click on the highlighted title to read the article yourself.

If you have a story you’d like to share on how BY has helped with your own body, we’d love to hear, and if possible, feature you in our newsletter or on social media! Please talk to Sherry at reception, or send your story to info@bikramyoganorthbrisbane.com.au . You can follow us on Instagram @bikrambrisbane

How Bikram Yoga helps with your Physical Fitness

Over the next weeks, we are going to explore the benefits of the Bikram Yoga series, and will begin with how Bikram Yoga helps with your physical fitness.

Physical fitness consists of five fields of health (cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition), and six skill-related fields (balance, reaction time, speed, agility, power and coordination). The health related fields are particular interesting as they are associated with better overall health and lower risk of chronic disease, disability and mortality.

After reading through some research performed on a group of Bikram students over an eight week period in Colorado, USA (link is at bottom of this blog), the observed recordings and data proved what we all experience in our bodies from a consistent Bikram practice. The research results showed significant increase in both upper and lower body range of motion, balance, muscular endurance and strength, coordination, and reductions in back pain, adipose tissue (body fat), inflammation, and BMI due to the increased energy expenditure. Lastly, they did note a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals who were otherwise more sedentary, asthmatics and older. There were also recordings of improvements in hormonal-imbalances.

Of course how your nourish your body with food and lifestyle choices will influence your physical fitness as well, we cannot ignore that. However, the benefits of a regular Bikram practice will put you in good stead towards feeling your best and moving confidently as you age. The twenty-six postures and 2 breathing exercises systematically moves fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, stimulating each of the body’s system to perform optimally, it boosts detoxification, enhances coordination, flexibility and balance, and requires you to both use and improve your own body strength.

We love hearing from our students how their health and lives have changed since including Bikram into their routine. If you have story to share, please let us know at the studio, on our blog, or any of our social media pages. We are on instagram – @bikrambrisbane and facebook – Bikram Yoga Nundah.

We look forward to seeing you at the studio xx

You can look further at the studies here:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201303000-00035

June ’19 News

A warm hello to our community! We hope you are enjoying your time at the studio, and look forward to seeing you more in the hot room as the cooler months set in. We’ve added two state-of-the-art humidifiers to the hot room (you may have noticed the extra mist inside!), ensuring that we are still getting our sweat on each time we step on our mats for Bikram or Inferno Hot Pilates. Our Yin classes are still on every Thursday at 6:30pm, and Sundays at 6pm, our monthly silent class is on the last Sunday morning at 7am, and our Kundalini workshops have been added to the schedule every month now, by popular demand. We are even looking to at putting them on fortnightly, so please let us know if this is something you’re interested in.

We’d be so grateful as well if you could please post and check in on your social media when you come to class. Did you know, Before Yogananda died in 1952 he whispered to his student- “something called social media is coming… and if you don’t post and check in, it’s the same as not doing savasana at the end of class” but worse 😉  Help us promote our family business, we really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you to our teachers, for the knowledge and care you share to your students in your classes, carrying them through from start to end, and helping them feel better in themselves and their bodies. Thank you to our angels, for keeping our studio clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy! And thank you to our students, for coming to the studio and taking positive action towards being the best version of themselves possible. You are a big inspiration!

See you at the studio soon! Love Sherry and the team at BYNB xx

June Special – Members can bring a friend for free to our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates Class

We invite our members to bring a friend complimentary to one our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates class. It must be your friend’s first time to our studio.

Thinking of doing two Bikram classes in one day? Here is how to pace yourself:

Back to Back

So you’re going to do a double, good for you! There are two kinds of doubles that you could do: back to back (only 1/2 hour between classes) and a split double (one in the morning, one in the afternoon/evening.)

– Take it easy in your first class, pace yourself. Gently remind yourself that you are doing a double during the class. It can help give you perspective and keep focus. If you didn’t get through standing bow without falling out a lot, remind yourself that you are going to be doing it again in the next class, so don’t sweat it, just take note of what you want to focus on the next time. As it’s coming right up!

-Second class you may notice you’re more flexible. You might have more energy or you might be fatigued. Just notice how you are feeling and listen to your body. The second class usually feels as if it goes by quickly.

– Have something to drink in between classes that will replenish electrolytes and give you a little sugar. Fresh juice or coconut water is ideal. You might even try raw dates (just one or two), they digest very quickly and provide immediate fuel for your body to burn. Some people can even have a banana or some fruit, just not a lot – and give yourself at least 15 mins before the next class is going to start. Don’t ingest any protein or large amounts of fiber (like a smoothie) as it can take your body a while to break this down.

– Eat a fresh and balanced meal afterwards to replenish electrolytes and drink more water than usual.

Split Double

– Replenish your electrolytes after your first class. Drink water throughout the day. Set a goal of maybe two or three liters before your next class. Don’t drink it all at once!

-Try not to eat a really large meal in between your morning and evening classes. Try a couple of small meals instead. Have a snack two or three hours before taking your second class. Make it a healthy one. (nuts, fruit, veggies)

– The second class can be a bit of wild card depending on what you did with your day in between classes. Some people will feel more flexible others may feel rather tight in places they didn’t expect. Just take it one posture at time. Remember something you did in your morning class that worked for you and see if you can bring your attention to it.

-Have a juice/electrolyte drink or smoothie waiting for you after your second class.

Doubles in general:

-Avoid drinking alcohol on days that you are going to, or have done a double.
-Avoid excessive caffeine. (skip the afternoon latte before your second class!)
-Get to bed early the night before.
-Be proud of yourself!

They’re not as scary as your mind makes them out to be!

Anyway

This weeks blog – guest author, Mother Theresa

ANYWAY
Mother Theresa

”People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!
If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!
If you are successful, you will win
false friends and enemies.
Succeed anyway!
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building may be
destroyed overnight.
Build anyway!
People really need help
but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway!
Give the world the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway!

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.”

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