Yoga Can Heal Your Body!

Annually, millions of dollars are spent by people seeking medical assistance. But did you know that yoga can heal your body? It is ironical that one can go to all lengths to find treatment, while by engaging in this renowned form of medication or exercise, some illnesses can be obliterated from the body.

Before delving into the exact healing abilities of yoga, it is important to remember that a human being is a system that consists of the mind, soul and body. When you get sick, it is not only your body that is responsible for the illness. Much of what you consider sickness begins in your mind. Similarly, you can be healed much faster if your mind and soul exudes positive energy. When your mind is unsettled, you are likely to become sick.

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Yoga Poses – Asanas

Spirituality also plays a great role in healing. People who have a working relationship with the Supreme Being tend to have a higher propensity of overcoming illnesses than those who don’t have any spiritual leanings. When the body, mind and souls are working in tandem, you are in a more beneficial position to overcome illnesses than vice versa. Understanding this linkage is crucial to appreciating how yoga heals.

One of the ways in which yoga heals is through relaxing the body and mind. This relaxation is responsible for stabilising the heart rate. Those with hypertension know why it is important to lower the heart rate in managing the illness.

Moreover, yoga helps to heal back problems. As you pose during yoga, you become more flexible and strong and this takes off pressure from your back thus relieving pain that is associated with the back. This is especially important for people that spend most of their days arched behind office desks.

Recent studies also indicate that when you engage in sun salutations during meditation and when your perform dog poses you significantly reduce inflammations in your body. Inflammation is the primary reaction of the body to irritation and injury. Cardiovascular illnesses, arthritis and diabetes are all associated with inflammation. This is a problem that affects many cancer survivors thus making them feel fatigued for days after they have finished therapies. According to a study carried out in Norway among women who were recovering from breast cancer, participants experienced less fatigue and more vivacity three months following treatment as opposed to those who did not engage in yoga.

Studies also reveal that when you engage in about two hours of yoga (including postures, meditation and breathing works) there are positive influences in the body including genetic makeup. This happens because your PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) are affected positively by yoga exercises. In essence, there is close relationship between yoga and the wellbeing of your blood and cells.

Closely related to positive changes in your blood flow is the boosting of the immune system. By now you know that your body has a natural mechanism for fighting infection called the immune system. When your immunity is strong, you ward off illnesses and vice versa. Engaging in yoga activities has been shown to boost your immunity because of the positive impact these exercises have on your cells.

Moreover, your digestive tract and other organs stand to gain a lot from yoga exercises. Like other forms of workouts, yoga enables movement of food within the digestive tract. Clogged food in the system is responsible for many stomach and digestive illnesses as well as headaches. When food moves efficiently in your body, other organs work optimally. The heart, liver, kidney and skin are able to flush put toxins or pump blood as the case may be and this results in a healthy disposition.

Yoga also promotes mental wellbeing by helping you to manage stress levels in your body. Stress is the cause of many health problems that we go through. There are many times when you go to see the doctor because you are feeling unwell but the real problem is actually in your mind. With the many problems you face on a daily basis as you try to make ends meet and as you interact with other people, stress is bound to affect you.

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Yoga brings tranquility to the mind. It brings you in touch with your inner self and Divine Power. When you engage in the breathing and movements of yoga, you begin to appreciate what life has given you and you face life with confidence. Every session brings in greater optimism. You view life positively. In the process, most of the illnesses you suffer dissipate because they were just happening in your mind. Hopefully you understand the placebo effect, which demonstrates the relationship between belief and actual happenings in your body.

The link between yoga and healing is just beginning to be verified through science. However, those who have practiced it over time have no doubt about the healing qualities of this ancient practice. From the look of things, more of these positive effects of yoga will continue to be discovered with time. For now, you have enough reasons to continue practicing yoga.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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What Are Chakras?

In Sanskrit the word “Chakra” means a disk or wheel. Chakra basically refers to wheels of energy that are located in your body. Ayurveda and meditation hold that there are seven key chakras that are located between the spine’s base and the head’s crown. There is unseen but powerful energy, called Prana, within each Chakra that ensures you remain healthy, vibrant and alive.

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How Chakras Function

A Chakra is a collection of nerves and organs in addition to emotional, mental and spiritual states of existence. These wheels of energy must remain open since the body itself has constant movement of energy.

Keeping chakras open is premised on the idea that the body, mind and souls are interconnected. Consequently, you can easily tell when there is an imbalance in any of the chakras. If energy is blocked in any of the chakras, illnesses can result.

In an ideal situation, every chakra contributes to your health and life and your feelings, instincts and thoughts are all in tandem. Unfortunately, you are likely to have imbalances. For example some may be overactive to compensate for those that are not open enough (under active). The most important issue is for you to ensure that every chakra is operating optimally and that none is under-utilised or burdened.

Human energy body

Chakra EnergyWhat are Chakras? - Find out now with Grace Guru!

Taxonomy of the Chakras

The seven chakras are divided into three classes. The first three are called chakras of matter since they deal with physical issues. The fourth one denotes the link between spirit and matters. The last three are called the chakras of the spirit. Let us now delve into the seven chakras in details.

The root chakra (Muladhara): It is located at the base of the spine within the tailbone section. It represents stability and feeling that you are grounded. When this chakra is open, you will feel stable, grounded and secure. You will have more trust in people and situations. When this chakra is not active enough, you will feel nervous, fearful and unwelcome. When it is overactive, you will tend to be avaricious and materialistic.

The sacral chakra (Svadhisthana): It is located between the pubic bone and the navel in the lower abdomen. This chakra is concerned with sexuality, feelings, wellbeing and pleasure. If your sacral chakra is open you will be over-emotional and open to intimacy and passion. When it is under active, you will hate to express your emotions or open up to others. Over-activity in this chakra will make you emotionally attached to others and also sexual.

Navel chakra (Manipura): it is located between the navel and the breastbone. It relates to self-expression, control, self-esteem and self-worth. It makes you assertive when you are in a group. If your navel chakra is not adequately active, you are likely to be indecisive and passive. Conversely, when your navel chakra is overactive, you will be aggressive and domineering.

Heart chakra (Anahata): It is located at the centre of the heart and is the nexus between the lower chakras and the upper ones. It deals with affection, love and kindness. If your heart chakra is open, you tend to work in harmony with others. If it is under-active, you become distant and cold to others. When this chakra becomes overactive, you are imbued with love, although you may be motivated by selfish motives.

At this point it is important to state that if you open up the three physical chakras, it becomes easier to open up the last three spiritual chakras.

Throat chakra (Vishuddha): It is found within the throat area and relates to your ability to express yourself. When it is operating optimally you communicate openly. In an under-active situation, this chakra will be manifested through taciturnity, shyness and introversion. When the throat chakra is over-active, you are likely to speak too much, scare off others and become a bad listener.

Third eye chakra (Ajna): It is located in the forehead, particularly the area between the eyes. It involves visualization, intuition, wisdom, imagination and thinking. When it is fully open you are likely to fantasize and have a good intuition. When it is not performing optimally you may rely on others to think for you, be rigid in thinking and over-rely on dogmas. If it is overactive, you will over-fantasize and even hallucinate.

Crown chakra (Sahaswara): The crown of your head is the seat of this chakra, which deals with spiritual connection, spirituality, enlightenment and the Higher Being. When it is open, you tend to be unbiased and at home with yourself and the universe. If this chakra is under-active, you are likely to be unaware of spirituality and obstinate in thinking. If you begin to view everything from an intellectual point of view, become too spiritual or neglect your bodily requirements, your crown chakra is overactive.

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Key Issues to Remember!

1. Chakras operate based on the fact that you have a soul, a body and a mind and each of them depends on the others for optimal functioning.

2. An open chakra operates optimally and performs the roles assigned to it without burdening other chakras or taking over the latters’ tasks.

3. While you may want your chakras to be open at all times the fact is that some will be under-active while others will bear the burden and over-perform.

4. It is your responsibility to detect which chakra is blocked and to restore it to normalcy as soon as possible.

5. You need to be aware of your chakras and their balance in order to open them up when they get clogged.

6. But detecting imbalances is not easy since your body is always undergoing change. This does not mean, though, that balancing is impossible.

7. Instead of attempting to make overactive chakras less active, unblock the under active ones so that they carry their own loads and unburden the overactive ones.

8. Health complications are very crucial in determining where there is a blockage. For example, if you experience headaches often, there is a problem with your crown chakra.

9. The lower chakras deal with instincts while the upper ones deal with your thinking abilities but they are all interrelated.

10.  Deal decisively with negative feelings because they contribute to blockage by preventing chakras from spinning, thus causing illnesses.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Our Recommended Inspirational Feel-Good Summer Books!

Summer is getting to an end it this is your last chance to select few more books before the last holiday ends and everybody is back in to the September rush! Also I love summer especially because it arouses in me some form of curiosity and creativity. Perhaps it is because of the warmth and the small but loud voice that urges me to go out and bask in the rays of the sun. More importantly, summer puts me in the mood for reading.

I want to share with you some of the books that I believe you should read this summer. But before I do so, allow me to underline that reading is not a waste of time. I am not talking about reading for an examination or any academic course for that matter. I mean reading for the sake of getting knowledge, acquiring some skills or imply enjoying a story. Reading imparts knowledge, relaxes the mind, reduces stress and puts you in the mood for sleep and some very nice dreams!

This summer, I don’t want you to read only conventional texts. I want you to try different authors. Further, endeavour to read on a range of topics and genres. I know romance novels are exciting, but it is important to try a classic or autobiography for a change. Without further ado, here is my recommenced list for summer reading.

1. Happiness 365: One-a-Day Inspirational Quotes for a Happy YOU! – Chopra and Harry

This is a unique motivational book that gives you a quote to inspire you every day. Life is not always straight. There will be days of gloom and others full of happiness. Sometimes you will feel like giving up especially if you don’t have people near you to cheer you up. This book will ensure you have some uplifting nugget of wisdom to ponder as you go through your daily struggles. Chopra and Harry had you in mind when they created this wonderful text.

There are people who read more than one quote. They simply cannot wait for the following day. The most important thing is that you have something to cheer you up every day. You can begin reading this book at any time because every day has its portion. If you begin this summer, you will have a quote for each day until next summer. Happiness 365 will help you to inculcate the habit of reading. Irrespective of your age, this book will make your summer enjoyable.

2. Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With The Truth – M. K. Ghandi

As we depart from the norm in summer reading, I want you to read this autobiography. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the most exceptional people that ever lived. He was an Indian freedom fighter who advocated for non-violent means of freeing India from British colonialism. He became the first Prime Minister of India. In this book you will read about his early life, studies, experience of fighting for freedom and the dreams he had for his country.

An autobiography is crucial to any keen reader because it allows one to interact with the author’s life and to learn important lessons for life. Gandhi is one of the most quoted people and authors you will ever come across. His experiences in different continents and interactions with people of all races place him among the greatest people who ever lived. Instead of living in your own narrow world, read the extraordinary story of this great lawyer, author, politician and leader and gain lessons that you can apply to your life this summer.

  1. Communication Skills: Communication Skills Made Easy! Talk to Anyone with Confidence, Influence People, Master your Conversations! – David Cross

My summer reading list contains more surprises. Have you ever wondered whether you are a good communicator? Many of us assume we are, but we are far from being people who can use communication effectively. As you relax this summer, read this book to improve your communication skills. David Cross’ book is appropriate for an individual as well as a professional who wants to improve their people skills.

There is much that you can accomplish with excellent communication skills and this book will equip you or help you to sharpen skills you already have. You will learn how to appreciate yourself and your communication behavior. This book will teach you how to craft the best communication for the appropriate moment. If you are a person who is often involved in persuasive communication, here is the right text to help you influence people. If you have problems speaking to many people at once, this book will equip you with public speaking skills.

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

Next in line is a novel. A well-told narrative with twists and turns will cheer you up and rev up your imagination this summer. This story revolves around Bernadette Fox and her daughter Bee. The mother is quirky and notorious. She means different things to different people. Although her husband is a techie, she claims to know more about life than him. Her fellow parents at school consider her a disgrace. She is adored by her fashion crazy friends. But to her eleven-year-old daughter, she is everything; a heroine, friend and most of all, a loving mother.

The story becomes interesting when Bernadette disappears and Bee has to create some kind of a description or history of her mother in order to find her. Apparently, Bernadette did not like Seattle and decided to travel. This novel details the efforts of a daughter to find her mother despite all the odds. It illustrates the close relationship between the two. This is not a novel you will want to put down before you reach the end.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Happer Lee

The next book on our summer list is a classic novel. There is something that modern writing misses and can borrow from classic writings. You may have read this text in a literature class during the course of your studies. If you did, relive the moments, this time without the agony of knowing there is an exam waiting for you. If you have never come across this text, prepare yourself for a gripping narrative that explores race relations and chides society for being hypocritical about race.

The novel is set in the Deep South during the 1930s. A black man (symbolized by the Mocking Bird) is on trial for allegedly raping a young white girl. The narrator is a child and this allows readers to explore how race, class and justice interact when a black man is on trial during an era when racism was prevalent. There is reason why this novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and why the narrative was turned into a film. Read it this summer to find out.

6. The Absolute Best Dump Cake Cookbook: More Than 60 Tasty Dump Cakes – Rockridge Press

This is another surprise inclusion on our summer reading list. It is important to learn a new skill or improve the one you have this summer, thus a cookery book. I know cookery is gradually becoming a rare art since people prefer to eat ready-made food, especially fast food. Dump Cakes are the easiest type of cakes for anyone to make. They don’t require a lot of expertise yet those who eat them will praise you for your skill!

This is an award winning book having been declared a best seller on USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The recipes are simple and you can use locally available ingredients to make a delicious and nutritious dump cake. Learn how to spice up dessert with 56 exceptional recipes. For those who like eating healthy snacks, don’t worry because this book will teach you how to bake a cake and enjoy it without feeling guilty! This is a skill you must learn this summer.

7. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This at School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By – Cary Siegel

This summer you are likely to spend a lot of money as you travel to different places to rejuvenate your body during vacation. This will definitely put a hole in your pockets. The reason why you are broke every time summer ends is best known to you. Here is a book that will ensure that this summer is the last one when you will complain of being broke after enjoying the sun and sand.

Why do they make math and English compulsory in school, yet the problems we face in most cases after school have to do with poor management of money? Read this book to understand 99 lessons on personal money management that will transform the way you view and handle your finances. These are lessons that no school will teach you – not even an MBA syllabus has such content. These are practical lessons from Siegel, meant for his children, but now availed to you to transform your financial life.

8. The Power Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

The last item in our summer reading list is a book that will help you to come to grips with your day-to-day life. Habits are very powerful and unless we understand and control them, we will end up being unproductive. Unlike other comparable texts, this author does not simply lecture you on habits, but gives you the scientific background behind them. The examples and illustrations used in this text are derived from real workplaces and instances of human interaction.

The author is emphatic that whatever you want to achieve in your life boils down to habits. Whether you want to lose weight or become more efficient in what you do, you need to understand the science of habits. This text is intended to make you better in whatever you do, whether you are alone or with friends and society at large. As you count down to another year until the next summer, it is time to adopt good habits and drop the ones that pull you down.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Secrets For A Younger You!

From time immemorial, we have been taught to believe that ageing is inevitable. We naturally expect to grow older, frail and eventually succumb to death. History and experience also bear witness to this fact. After all, aren’t we witnessing our elderly folks going through the same process?

It is for this reason that many people are pleasantly shocked when they hear that the aging process can be decelerated and that human beings can grow younger! Did you know that your body is actually a field of energy and intelligence? Are you aware that your body and mind are closely connected and that you age because your mind believes you must age?

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This implies that you begin to lose your physical and mental abilities with the passage of years largely because you have conditioned your mind to believe that this must happen! Since your mind influences your body cells, the ageing process can be reversed, accelerated or slowed down.

You may be asking, “Isn’t ageing genetic?” Yes it is a factor, but it is not the key determinant. The ageing process and your health are not predetermined. You can choose to behave in such a manner that your body is transformed to beat the biological clock. Here’s how:

  1. Begin by Changing your Attitude

Humans are fond of underestimating the power of the mind. You need to stop viewing your body as a preconditioned machine that must eventually succumb to biological wear and tear. Shift your mind to seeing yourself as a field of energy that continues to transform itself and has renewable intelligence. Begin to make positive affirmations about your body and ageing. Stop glorifying ageing and other inherited weaknesses and focus on living for many more years to come.

Positive Thinking is my Lifestyle! - Grace Guru

  1. Deal with Stress Effectively

Stress is inevitable considering the struggles we go through life and the fact that we have to deal with people who do not necessarily share our points of view. Remember stress accelerates the ageing process. It is, therefore, imperative that you reduce stress in your life if you are to grow younger. One of the best strategies to do this is to meditate. During meditation, your body and mind relax, you breathe more slowly, the heartbeat slows down and the hormones that control stress also relax.

  1. Get Adequate Sleep

You age faster when you fail to sleep adequately. If you are not getting between six and eight hours of restful sleep every day, then you are not doing your body any favour. This habit also weakens you immunity and disrupts you body’s internal balance. The best indicator that you slept restfully is to be energetic when you wake up. To arrive at this ideal, ensure you take a light meal before 7:30 pm and then sleep by 10.00 pm.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating fresh food or that which is freshly prepared is a strategy for curbing ageing. You also need to eat a balanced diet and ensure it includes foods that are pungent, astringent and bitter, in addition to the common salty, sweet and sour ones. Do not forget to make your food colourful by including foods that have antioxidants. I am suggesting that you eat lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes like mustard, spinach, peppers, lentils, tea, lettuce, radishes and ginger.

  1. Work Out Regularly

It is impossible to discuss strategies for growing younger without considering exercise. When you work out, your biological processes are invigorated and you begin to have brain cells that are close to one another. Your mind is rejuvenated and your emotional health is boosted. To this end, endeavour to engage in cardio, aerobics and strength training with the help of a fitness trainer. A cheaper but equally effective strategy is to jog and stretch out regularly.

  1. Invest in the Social Sphere

You can grow younger by surrounding yourself with love and affection. Research has shown that people who are lonely and isolated are more prone to heart and mental illnesses than those who have constant company of loved ones. I am not talking about old people homes but a real family that offers love and support to its members. Create emotional bonds and invest in them instead of spending the entire day watching television.

  1. Learn from Children and Imitate them

To grow younger, you need to be childlike. Remember when you used to be carefree and would laugh and play knowing everything was fine? I know today you are conditioned to believe that that was foolish behaviour. The truth is that a childlike disposition is essential for reversing or controlling ageing. Get time to relive those childhood days by engaging in some of the games you used to play. You will be surprised at how fast youth will flood back.

Don’t Forget:

  1. It is possible to become young if you engage in deliberate activities that change your thinking and body processes.
  2. Ageing is not mandatory; we are conditioned to believe that we must grow old and eventually die.
  3. You have a right to live for as long as you like and this is what some people discovered a long time ago and we keep honouring them with Guinness World Records.
  4. You cannot grow younger unless you begin to eat fresh food and freshly cooked meals instead of junk food.
  5. You may have heard that rich people sleep less hours every day. Why should you sleep less, get more money and eventually have a shorter time to enjoy what you work for?
  6. Stress is inevitable but it can greatly enhance ageing unless you control it through meditation and other effective techniques.
  7. Your attitude is paramount in the quest to grow younger. Whatever you believe influences ageing. Believe you are a field of energy that renews itself every day and it will be so.
  8. Stop being a hermit and surround yourself with people. Love and affection are essential ingredients for growing younger.
  9. Control your emotions and learn to forgive and forget. Didn’t you hear that holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die?
  10. Get out, stretch your limbs and body and sweat profusely. You cannot grow younger without regular exercise.

 With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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5 Essential Tips For The Working Woman’s Health!

The contemporary woman is quite different from the conventional one. Today, women perform more of mental than physical jobs. A lot of time is spent behind computers and phones as opposed to kitchens. More and more women are occupying boardrooms and spending a lot of their time in various types of meetings. This implies that they exercise and physical fitness needs must vary to fit into their working lifestyles. 

The following tips are important for women who want to keep fit while leading productive professional lives.

  1. Endeavour to Live A Healthy Life

Instead of always thinking about losing weight, look at the larger picture – becoming fit. Many working women obsess about their excess body weight and forget to actually remain fit. Remember that your body is created differently from that of other women. You could be having what other consider excess body mass, but you are still healthy. Establish the appropriate exercise routine for you, eat a balanced diet and your weight will reduce without you fretting over it.

  1. Watch Your Sitting Posture

Always endeavour to look straight at your monitor or have it slightly above the level of your eye. Ensure you are seating upright and facing the front. Your chair should be positioned in such a manner that you do not slouch or slump. Keep your back straight to avoid chest and back problems in future. Every time you realise your neck, shoulders or back are aching, adjust your sitting position to eradicate the discomfort.

  1. Train With A Partner

Not many people can work out for long alone. It is human to require company. In case you are the type that gets easily bored when working out, or you get discouraged quickly, look for a training partner with similar goals as yours. This will motivate you and create a sense of responsibility not only to yourself, but also to your training partner. You may also consider taking your pet for a walk as part of your exercise as this will give you some company.

  1. Have Realistic Expectations

You cannot attain all your fitness goals in a few days or weeks. Avoid overworking your body in the quest for fitness. Do not stay longer at the gym thinking this will make you lose fat in a flash. Never forget that you gained excess weight over a long period and it will take sustained effort to shed it off. Talk to your fitness trainer and together develop realistic targets and training regime.

  1. Maintain A Positive Disposition

By now you know that laughter is medicine by itself. Learn to enjoy light moments when you are working out. There is a lot of fun to be derived from sharing weight gain and weight loss experiences with your gym and training colleagues. Your body may not be what you like but you are making progress. Don’t be despondent and kill your morale by thinking you cannot make it.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Inspiring Maty Ezraty Reveals Her Latter’s Approach To Ashtanga

Practicing yoga is not always easy, as most of us who have tried it will know. During a session with my yoga teacher Karina Scherbina last week, I struggled to keep my balance in the mountain pose “Utthita Hasta Padangustasana”, so she sent me a link to a very interesting and inspiring YouTube interview to calm me down and give me some guidance ;)!

In it, anatomy master Stu Girling speaks to Maty Ezraty about her approach to Ashtanga. Maty is truly inspiring and first I would really like to share her share a bit about her background!

 Who is Maty Ezraty? And what does she stand for?

Maty is an iconic figure, instrumental to the development of yoga in the United States. She is described by the Yoga Journal as an “innovator”.

She was an experienced dancer when she stumbled across yoga in her early twenties. Like all of us, she was also searching for meaning in her life. She found what she was looking for in yoga: peace of mind, a great feeling of being centred and confidence.

Maty developed and reached her full potential as a yoga teacher with a dynamic style, a sharp eye for observation and vast knowledge born through years of experience.

Sunset Warrior Pose Yoga - Grace Guru

Being in Los Angeles gave her the chance to train with and learn from the top three best yoga educators at the time: Donna Holleman, Pattabhi Jois, and Gabriella Giubilaro.  In 1985, while teaching and serving as director for the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles, Maty met Pattabhi Jois with whom she would embark on a long journey of learning and practice. This included many trips to Mysore, India, where she became one of the few women able to complete some of the more advanced yoga sequences.

She continued studying in at the Iyengar Institute in Pune India and attended the classes of Greeta Iyengar. The Iyengar system is known to have deeply influenced Maty as shown in her teaching and practice.

The year 1987 was a milestone year for Maty as she opened her own Yoga Works, a unique school of yoga that nurtured diversity and dialogue in the community of yoga. It offered classes for different kinds of yoga such as Iyengar and Ashtanga plus workshops involving many of the best yoga authorities and iconic figures worldwide.

Her purpose was to  make the curriculum consistent, while at the same time mixing the various elements from different traditions.

Classes were broken down into levels and used the Vinyasa concept of Ashtanga, coupled with the precise directions of the Iyengar system.

Yoga Works is a success story that grew into a progressive yoga school with 120 classes each week with more than 700 daily students. Although it was sold in 2004, it remains to be the leader of the pack, perhaps due in part to its reputation of having produced some of the best yoga instructors in the United States.

Currently, Maty conducts workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats around the globe. She is also studying Vipassana meditation and has studied with Joseph Goldstein at California’s Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. Her years of learning the Ashtanga and Iyengar traditions have resulted in a holistic and unique point of view. She is highly regarded as a teacher’s teacher, and is popular for having a style that is determined but yet joyful and engaging. She continues her purpose and draws inspiration from her years of experience, Maty has a whole-hearted devotion to impart the spirit of yoga and meditation to all of her students.

A Quick Description

Iyengar Yoga:

Named after B. K. S. Iyengar and developed, is a form of Hatha Yoga. It has a great attention to detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas. Iyengar yoga has 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama with the variations from the basic to advanced. It is very helpful for students to build up their strength step by step and develop their mind, body and spirit, from beginners to advanced.

Ashtanga Yoga:

A system of yoga recorded by the knowing Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript “said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy” (Jois 2002 xv). It was summariesed and popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois and is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. (Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”) Yoga.

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 None Is Superior To The Other

Maty does not believe that Iyengar or Ashtanga is superior to the other because both are Yoga. Granted, each has an approach that is different from the other and their objectives are different. However, they are not in conflict and none is better than the other. Ezraty chooses which one applies to her at a specific time.

The Essence of Iyengar

According to Ezraty, Iyengar emphasizes precision, details and alignment when performing asana and controlling breathing since this is the best way to develop mobility, stability and strength. Iyengar also allows for props like pillows and benches to be used for support during the initial learning stages.

Avoiding Fundamentalism

Ezraty asserts that we must avoid fundamentalism – believing that our way is the best and the rest are wrong. Flow is a state of mind and revolves around concentration, which can be attained at any time while performing any task and focusing.

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Ashtanga Depends On The State Of The Practitioner

On Ashtanga, Maty advocates for no particular approach and rather suggests that one should adopt the approach that best applies to them instead of forcing themselves to do what is not possible within their ages. Yoga requires flexibility and satisfaction, not rigidity. The state of the student determines which approach to use. Yoga is a therapeutic practice and depends on what the student is feeling or has experienced. Ashtanga tends to be a little bit masculine and women should not attempt to compete with men. Men should also learn to be a bit softer.

Not Coercion

Maty opines that Shri Pattabhi Jois also adapted Ashtanga for students. Although this approach to Yoga was meant for internal healing, he did not force anybody to engage in a sequence. Sequences would be developed to fit into current practices. On Vipasaana and meditation techniques, Maty urges people to let go of the technique and engage in open meditation. She says you should go with the moment unless you get lost and return to what you are taught to do.

Indian VS. Western Minds

Iyengar helps to know the right body techniques. He taught a lot of westerners to practice yoga. He observed that the Indian mind is different from the west. Indians are more confident of themselves. Westerners are critical of themselves. They hate themselves and feel unworthy. Iyengar wanted to help westerners find solutions to such problems through Yoga.

Yoga Inspiration Post - Grace Guru

A Yoga Diehard

Maty Ezraty comes across as an enlightened person on matters of Yoga and one who advocates for continuous learning. Apparently, Yoga is a flexible art. All you need to do is listen to your body with an open heart and mind. In the final analysis, Maty is deeply ingrained in Yoga to the point of being sensitive and wise about it.

If you want to see the interview in full, here it is! Enjoy!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Secrets Of The Amazing Ayurveda Medicine

Ayurveda, also referred to as Ayurvedic medicine, came into existence around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley Society, which is one of the oldest civilisations on earth. The civilisation, which is located in present-day North West India, produced the culture which had documented sciences, in form of “The 4 Vedas”, comprised of Sanskrit verses.

Ayurvedic medicine is based upon the belief that wellness and health depend upon a fine balance between the body, spirit and mind. The focal point of Ayurveda is to uphold good health, as opposed to fighting disease. However, treatments might be recommended for particular health problems. Ayurveda is regarded as a type of complementary and alternative medicine in the United States and in some parts of Europe.

 

Ayurveda Principles

From the Ayurvedic point of view, everything within the universe is linked. Well I would say, this is not the Ayurvedic point of view! So, good health is attained when your spirit, body, and mind are in accord with the universe. Poor health and illness can result if this harmony is disrupted.

Ayurveda practitioners believe that anything which affects your emotional, spiritual, or physical health can cause you to fall out of harmony with the universe. The following are some of the things which can lead to a disruption:

  • Injuries
  • Birth or genetic defects
  • Age
  • Climate changes
  •  Emotions or feelings

How your body functions to prevent disease and your unique psychological and physical traits combine to produce your body’s prakriti or makeup. Your prakriti is said to remain the same throughout the duration of your life. Nevertheless, how your body breaks down food and gets rid of waste can affect it.

Every individual is composed of a blend of 5 fundamental elements found within the universe – air, space, earth, water and fire. These elements combine within the body to produce 3 life energies or forces, referred to as doshas. The three doshas, which influence the functioning of your body, are:

Kapha dosha (earth and water)

Vata dosha (air and space)

Pitta dosha (water and fire)

Every individual inherits a unique blend of the 3 doshas. Generally one dosha is more dominant and each dosha influences a distinct body function. Ayuverdic practitioners say that your likelihood of becoming ill is connected to the equilibrium of your doshas.

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Top Benefits Of Ayuverdic Treatments and Medicines

  1. Lowers Blood Cholesterol and Pressure

Researches have revealed that Ayurveda relaxation methods and diets can help decrease plaque accumulation as well as reduce inflammation. Also, it can reverse arterial wall thickening (atherosclerosis) in healthy adults as well as in individuals who are susceptible to heart ailment and problems.

Atherosclerosis is a condition wherein the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to an excessive buildup of plaque around the arteries. This plaque accumulation can result in stroke and heart attack. Happily, high blood cholesterol and pressure can be lowered naturally using Ayurvedic techniques.

  1. Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Since stress can affect the overall well-being of an individual, an Ayurveda practitioner may call for several different methods utilised to naturally manage symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce cortisol levels, and bring into balance the body’s hormones. These treatment methods can include yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, skin brushing, herbal treatments, repeating inspiration mantras or visualisation.

Scientific investigations have shown that with transcendental meditation, an aspect of a branch of Ayurvedic medicine known as Maharishi, helps reduce anxiety symptoms if practiced regularly. Furthermore, Pranayama, which is a set of different targeted breathing workouts, helps calm nerves and thus improve hormonal function, promote restful sleep and boost energy levels.

Also, yoga has been shown to help decrease anxiety and stress levels. In fact, studies have revealed that practicing yoga on a regular basis can enhance the functioning of the autonomous nervous system, or the body’s “flight or fight” response. It has also been shown that yoga can aid cancer survivors manage weight gain, which boosts self-esteem as well as the capability to function normally.

  1. Beneficial For Weight Loss

Ayurvedic medicine can aid an overweight individual get rid of excess body fat utilising stress reduction methods, a healthy diet, and essential oils for fat loss. A recent scientific investigation carried out in India, showed that regulating an individual’s healthful diet to take into consideration food requirements and preferences effectively helped participants to slim down. This is possibly due to the fact that Ayurveda encourages compliance and advocates that an individual’s diet should be practical, easy to follow and balanced.

  1. Promotes Recovery From Diseases And Injuries

Certain herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine, has been shown to help reduce swelling, pain, enhance blood circulation as well as combat inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Also, Ayurveda is especially beneficial in detoxifying the body utilising various teas, herbs, lots of rest and healthy foods. Some Ayurvedic practices increase liver function and blood circulation. For instance, Abhyanga (the practice of applying essential or herbal oils on the skin), enhances blood circulation and helps remove toxins from the body via the skin.

Woman having Ayurvedic spa massage.

Healing with Ayurveda treatment

  1. Helps To Control Hormonal Imbalances

For thousands of years, people have been using Ayurvedic medicine to naturally balance hormones, have a healthy menstrual cycle or conceive as well as have a healthy pregnancy. Also, certain Ayurvedic treatments have been shown to be effective in the treatment of infertility caused by PCOS. PCOS is a widespread reproductive disorder caused by hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.

Woman having Ayurvedic spa treatment.

Ayurvedic Spa Treatment

  1. Help Boost Metabolic Rate

Ayurvedic practitioners say that drinking hot water together with lemon is an excellent way to boost the body’s metabolic rate in the morning. This practice can also help eliminate toxins from the body. Studies have shown that the body absorbs hot faster than ice or cold water, which enhances digestion and aids prevent constipation. As for the lemon content, lemons contain high amounts of minerals and they help eliminate toxins from the kidneys and liver. This helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.

Ocean view in Varkala Kerala India

Kerala

I have done Ayurvedic retreat few years ago in Kerala, near Cochin! My main aim was just to detox my body and to relax. Although the Indian doctor told me I was Kapha and Pita, I could never resist trying the delicious food buffet from the Vata side too. So make sure when you choose a good SPA in Kerala, and I would definitely recommend only Kerala region as this is what is most famous and specialised for. Make sure you choose something that has a strict menu!

I absolutely loved this experience and would definitely do Ayurveda in India again!

Even though I did not loose much weight, I was definitely relaxed within my mind and body, returning back to London full of new energy and lots of inspiration.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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BOOK REVIEW: “Life Lessons From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” – Robin Sharma

Reading Robin Sharma’s “Life Lessons from the Monk who sold his Ferrari” is like sitting at the feet of a guru and imbibing timeless and precious wisdom. It places you among a select few living wholesomely – enjoying life in all its facets.

Who is Robin Sharma?

He is an international best-selling author and motivational speaker whose writings and speeches have given readers and listeners the impetus to start again and achieve crucial life goals. So successful is Sharma in his career that his writings have been translated into over 70 languages and published in about 60 nations globally.

Why “Life Lessons from the Monk who sold his Ferrari”?

This book contains 101 motivational, challenging and practical lessons that will forever change your attitude towards life, people, parenting, careers and spirituality. Actually, the alternative title for the text is, “Who will cry when your die?”

Forgetting The Essence Of Life

From the very onset, Sharma asserts, “We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about.” Do you ever make money yet not enjoy spending it because you have too many struggles and worries? Have you ever wondered how you can balance your career, family, personal goals and community responsibility? This book was written for you.

Short Snippets Of Practicable Wisdom

Unlike many mundane and abstract ‘motivational’ books, “Life Lessons from the Monk who sold his Ferrari” contains short chapters (between one to three pages each). They include: Discover Your Calling, Keep a Journal, Don’t Pick Up the Phone Every Time It Rings, Model a Child, Learn to Be Silent, Get Up Early, Always Carry a Book with You, See Your Children as Gifts, Build a Library of Heroic Books, Drink Fresh Fruit Juice, Find Three Great Friends and Plant a Tree.

Grab your copy today!

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Can God Hear Our Prayers?

Billions of people on earth pay homage to one Supreme Being or the other. This devotion to the unseen is manifested both at individual and collective levels. Think about the temples, churches, shrines and different manifestations of religion that you see in your locality and you will understand how serious of an issue religion and belief are…

One of the main tenets of religion is that there is a god or God who hears prayers. In other words, adherents of different religions believe they can create a personal connection with God, present their supplications and expects results. Come to think of it, if there were no God who answered our prayers, how many people would still be religious?

Coming To Grips With Prayers…

But it is important to ask, “Does God answer prayers?” If you answered yes, does he or she exercise selective answering to prayers depending on the person? Sometimes one cannot avoid perceiving God as the benefactor behind a phone line which worshippers use to make requests. He picks some calls but ignores others. He grants some requests but declines others.

What Actually Happens When You Pray?

You retreat to some quiet and solitary place and send a prayer to God. Then you enumerate your needs to God and hope he will consider your request. But how many of these prayers are answered? Perhaps only 10% of those who pray receive the things they asked for. In essence, either God does not listen to some people or, you, the believer has some problem.

Let’s face it; you know that your prayers are not always being answered. But I know that even the most irreligious of us still find themselves disadvantaged and offering a prayer to some Supreme Being somewhere. Why does this happen?

The Philosophy Behind Praying

Depending on the religious beliefs you subscribe to you have a certain image in mind of how God looks like. Is he a loving parent siting behind a throne and lovingly dolling out gifts to those who pray to him? What exactly is your image of God? Are you aware that the beliefs in your community and your experiences are the ones that shape your image of God? If God’s omnipresence is to be believed then you don’t need a line to talk to God because he is there with you all the time. In his greatness he should have all that you need to live a better life.

The truth is that there is no single universal definition of God. Neither do people have to believe the same way and practice the same doctrine because God is invisible. Nobody has seen him to be able to give an exact image of him. But people believe that God exists and he hears their prayers. Moreover, whether the prayers are heard and answered depends on you and your experiences.

Motives And Desires 

Let us take a look at Indian tradition and spirituality. It explores the origin of desires since prayers are fundamentally voiced desires. But it is not a simple desire like you wanting to eat chocolate. Prayer is not like reaching out for a bottle of wine. This is a situation in which whatever you desire is not within your reach. The reason people ask God for assistance is because they cannot achieve it through their own human power.

At this point the wise of men of India came up with a different notion. They suggested that your common desires may not after all be different from the prayers you offer to God. Now do you still believe in the idea of a direct line to the Supreme Being? They went further and suggested that the link between ordinary desire and prayer is the fact that you are conscious when you make them.

Consequently, you can only understand prayer on the context of consciousness. This is how it works. When you desire to eat a chocolate bar your mind and reality are interconnected because you want intention to become reality. But what happens when you pray that there will be no earthquake in your area and it happens?

Vedic Rishi’s Explanation

All this can be explained through the three elements that characterise all intentions and thought: the depth of the source of the intention in the mind (Samadhi), the steadiness of the focus (Dharana) and the fluidity of your intention (Dhyana). The amalgamation of the three aspects results in Samyama, a complete mechanism. Whether your intention is successful or not depends on how effectively you use your awareness and not the prayer you send to a god who is likely not listening to you.

Samyama implies bonding the three elements, and your intentions are most potent when there is unity. It implies that you are conscious, following increased awareness, and can influence the world that surrounds you. Samyama implies that your intention is unified and the mind is focused although it is still malleable.

Answered VS. Unanswered Prayers

From the above explanation, it is obvious that when your prayers are not answered, your mind must have been shallow, restless, out of focus and in conflict. You and I often suffer from such conditions of the mind. When your prayers are answered, it implies that you have holistic clarity and this is achieved momentarily. At such moments intentions meets reality in uninhibited conditions.

Samyama may be presented in yoga is a lofty achievement, but we can conclude with certainty that in the context of daily consciousness, the same law is at work. Life itself is the process of realising your intentions.
Appreciating and practicing and this mechanism means that you can use meditation or other strategies to ensure the three aspects are working in tandem. You may not achieve the same outcome with each strategy but you will have a better experience with prayers and connection with God. For example, if you believe and pray with focused mind and the intention from your soul (mind and soul have to be in the same agreement), a prayer will be answered or you can get strength to live another day, because you have hope.

Points To Bare In Mind:

1.The concepts of a hearing God are as personal as is the belief in God itself. What works for you may not work for the other person.

2.Your ideas about God and prayer are not wrong even when they differ with those of other people you know.

3. Almost everybody believes in a Supreme Being that answers prayers. The approach may differ but the feeling that there is a powerful being out there is mutual.

4. When exploring the concept of a hearing God, you cannot escape the question of apparent selective answering of prayers.

5. Your experience with prayer will prove that not all prayers are answered thus leaving you with more questions than answers as to what exactly happens when you pray.

6. One way to think about prayer is to see it as the expression of a desire in which case answered prayers means that the intention has met with reality.

7. However, prayer is a more powerful intention that mundane ones because the former can only be fulfilled through divine help while you can easily meet the latter.

8. In Indian spiritual teachings all intentions are the same (including prayer) because all of them are moderated by consciousness.

9. All intentions have three elements that are summed up in the word Samyama, which implies there is a unity of purpose in your intention.

10. Prayers are answered when Samyama is clear in your prayers and this happens in exceptional moments, whether or not a Supreme Being is involved.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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