Practicing Asana!

Everyone loves practicing ásana (physical positions); they are amazing; they make your body strong, supple and definitely healthier. But why does almost every style of yôga practice ásana in a different way?

I can not tell you much about the others methods, as I don’t practice them, but I can explain ours and why is so effective.

India is, historically, one of the most invaded countries in the world.  Every great emperor in the world passed through there, including the Aryans, later Alexander the Great and most recently the British invasion. You can be sure that every single colonizer somehow changed and influenced the Indian culture and, consequently, Yôga. The most recent, and significant, change that happened in Yôga was the introduction of repetition of the ásanas.

Ásana was traditionally practiced with permanence, but when the British army landed in India the yogins of that time seemed to like the Western idea of working out the body with repetition and this new habit got stronger when Yôga was exported to United States.

So, what do we lose by practicing ásana with repetition? First of all, ásana should not be categorized as “gymnastic”. Ásana has not only the aim to make your body healthier, but, mainly, to achieve body-consciousness and self-knowledge. Body and mind being closely interrelated, the practice of ásana aims at mastery over the body with a view to securing corresponding mastery over the mind. Control of nervous and vital energies produces control of mental functions. The mind-body complex is brought under perfect control, the indwelling Self shines out and the higher self is realized.

I think it is only possible to achieve such delightful results with permanence of ásanas, never with repetitions.

When you stay in the position for a good time it acts deeply on the muscle fuses, the receptors inside the muscle cell that are connected with muscle tone, and with the protection against the risk of strain. The position, combined with focused attention and coordinated breathing, affects the muscle fuses, stimulating them to lower their defensive control over the muscle. The fibres of the muscles decrease their level of contraction and effectively stretch.

Ásana is any firm and confortable position”

Yôga-Sutra of Patañjali

Written by Paulo Pacifici

 

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Mirrors And Their Proper Placement According To Feng Shui

Mirrors are both a necessity as well as a convenience. All of us use mirrors both within the home as well as outside of it.

Mirrors stand as a symbol of reflection – both physical and spiritual. Our thoughts, words and actions are a mirror of our feelings. A mirror is nothing but a metaphor, a reflection into our own selves.

To solve any crisis in life, we need to determine the cause of the problem. Only when we see these problems can be work towards fixing them. Now, given that mirrors are a reflection of our lives, they can help us see problems and fix them. For example, only when we look at our reflection in the mirror can we say whether we’re having a bad hair day or not!

 Mirrors and Feng Shui

Mirrors have been used since ancient times across many different cultures. However, the ancient Chinese laws of Feng Shui give particular importance to mirrors and their placement.

According to Feng Shui, a mirror is a representation of water. Since chi energy can be pooled or collected with water, it can be done so with a mirror as well. This makes mirrors an extremely powerful tool – they double everything including chi energy.

All Feng Shui experts and practitioners know the power of mirrors. Mirrors are often referred to as Feng Shui’s aspirin. They can magnify, energise and alter a space dramatically. If placed properly, mirrors can even cure any space that is awkwardly shaped and lacks chi energy.

Feng shui concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.

But it isn’t a mirror that is inherently auspicious. Rather, the placement of a mirror is what makes it auspicious or inauspicious. Feng Shui states that mirror placement within a home affects health, wealth and happiness. Proper mirror placement can boost and enhance chi energy around a home. This in turn can bring abundance and luck. On the other hand, an improperly placed mirror does just the opposite. Improperly placed mirrors deflect chi energy away from a home and can also cause a lot of harm. What a mirror reflects defines whether it’s placement is auspicious or inauspicious.

As I mentioned earlier – mirrors double up whatever lies in front of them. So, mirrors can attract both positive and negative energy with the same influence and efficiency. Hence, Feng Shui gives a lot of importance to mirror placement.

If you’re a Feng Shui practitioner, you must understand where and how to place mirrors within your home. While many Feng Shui practitioners may tell you to use Pa Kua (bagua) mirrors, this is debatable. Experts state that any mirror works as well as Pa Kua mirrors, so there’s really no point hoarding special mirrors. You can go with rectangular or square shaped mirrors as they can easily be found and they work just as well. Unless advised by an expert, avoid irregularly shaped mirrors.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the specifics of how to place mirrors properly in your home. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the Do’s and Don’ts of mirror placement according to Feng Shui. Make sure to follow them all!

Do’s Of Placing Mirrors

When it comes to proper mirror placement, there are many rules that Feng Shui practitioners abide by. While some of these rules seem strange, many of them are incredibly practical. Here, we’ll take a look at 10 of the Do’s of mirror placement, which also offer practical benefits.

  1. Use whole mirrors

Whole mirrors are large sized mirrors that allow you to see yourself in one piece. It is important to use whole mirrors because they give you a feeling of completeness whenever you look into them. This feeling of completeness allows you to affirm yourself and your goodness.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature

By using mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature, you will enhance the chi energy indoors. There is a lot of healthy chi energy outdoors – in gardens, trees, blue skies and clouds. By reflecting these in your mirror, you will allow this healthy chi energy to flow within your home.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces

Inside a home, the living area is a symbol of prosperity while the dining area is a symbol of wealth. By using mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces, you can magnify the wealth, abundance and prosperity in your life.

  1. Use mirrors to add light and movement

Every home has some dark areas where there is not enough light, for instance a long hallway. By using mirrors in such dark areas, you can circulate light and facilitate movement. In turn, this will also help chi energy circulate throughout your home.

  1. Use mirrors to cover problems

Many rooms with awkward shapes can be remedied with the help of mirrors. For instance, if you have a square pillar in a room, you can mirror all four sides of the pillar. This essentially makes the awkward pillar disappear from view. Mirrors can be used to cover other similar structural defects, such as a cut within your home.

  1. Keep your mirrors clean

Always ensure to keep your mirrors clean. A cloudy mirror will reflect cloudy images. This has a detrimental effect on you as you will associate a cloudy mind whenever you see your reflection.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect wealth

Many Feng Shui practitioners place mirrors to reflect jewellery and cash lockers. This reflects positive chi energy and can help bring more prosperity and wealth into your life.

  1. Use mirrors near entryways

Placing mirrors near entryways can bring about a great positive effect in your life. Mirrors near the entrance of a home activate the water element and allow better flow of chi energy into your home. You’ll also see a positive glimpse of yourself whenever you leave home.

  1. Use mirrors to broaden space

If any area of your home is narrow, then you can use mirrors to visually broaden the space. While this certainly improves aesthetics, it also facilitates easier flow of chi energy around your home.

  1. Make sure that your mirrors are at the right height

If you have many people living in your home, you need to ensure that your mirrors are at the right height for everyone. Everybody living with you should be able to see a good reflection of themselves in the mirror. This will help positive chi energy touch everyone’s lives.

Don’ts Of Placing Mirrors

Like I mentioned earlier, there are many, many Feng Shui rules regarding proper placement of mirrors. However, I will focus on the rules that are universal and apply to most spaces. Here are 10 such practical rules regarding the Don’ts of mirror placement.

  1. Don’t place mirrors opposite doors

Never place a mirror right opposite your doors. This will cause any positive chi energy to bounce back right out of your door. You’ll miss out on many opportunities in life if you do so.

  1. Don’t place mirrors where they reflect negative views

Your mirrors should never reflect any negative views or messy areas. Avoid placing mirrors opposite to toilets, stoves, flames, clutter, drains or poison arrows (sharp corners). If you see an ugly sight in a mirror, negative energy will only be magnified, so make sure to avoid this.

  1. Don’t place mirrors in your bedroom

Never place mirrors in your bedroom. Mirrors can cause an over-stimulating effect when placed in a bedroom. This in turn creates insomnia. Also, if there is a problem in a relationship, mirrors will magnify the problems. It is best to leave mirrors out of the bedroom altogether.

  1. Don’t use cracked or broken mirrors

Cracked or broken mirrors are a big no-no. They distort the image of every object and they harbour a lot of negative energy. Get rid of all your broken mirrors and replace them with clean, new ones.

  1. Don’t use antique mirrors

Antique mirrors often get distorted with time. When you look at yourself in an antique mirror, you will get a distorted perception of premature aging. It is best to avoid antique mirrors and even mirrors that have antiqued surfaces or frames around them.

  1. Don’t hang a mirror too high or too low

Your mirrors should be placed at an ideal height for all members of your family. Never place a mirror such that the head of a person is cut off in the reflection. Mirrors should always reflect the entire head and shoulders of an individual – regardless of how tall or short they are.

  1. Don’t place mirrors facing one another

Placing mirrors right opposite each other can create a funhouse effect. However, this should never be done within a home as it traps the flow of chi energy. Chi energy will be stuck between the mirrors and will never flow to other parts of your home. Avoid infinite reflections as they create a strange vortex that can cause distress and displeasure.

  1. Don’t place mirrors at the end of staircases

Placing mirrors at the end of staircases means that they’ll either cut the feet or the head in a reflection. You must avoid this completely. Unless your mirror can reflect a person’s entire body, never place it at the end of a staircase.

  1. Don’t place mirrors at the end of hallways

While placing mirrors in hallways helps the flow of chi energy, mirrors must never be placed at the end of a hallway. If you do so, your mirror will attract negative energy. This negative energy won’t leave your home easily, so make sure not to place mirrors in such areas.

  1. Don’t place mirrors near study tables

If you have a study table, make sure not to place a mirror next to it. Mirrors can cause a loss of concentration during study and this problem only gets magnified with time. Mirrors should be placed only where they reflect positive energy, not near a study table.

I’m sure you agree that mirrors are a very powerful tool. Not only do they help us see reflections of physical objects, but they are also a symbol of spiritual reflection.

As a Feng Shui practitioner, I always ensure that my mirrors facilitate the flow of positive chi energy in my home. While there may be thousands of do’s and don’ts regarding mirror placement in Feng Shui, I tend to follow the most practical rules. By doing so, I’ve found a lot of peace and prosperity in my life.

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If you’re focused on more happiness, better self-esteem, better health and prosperity, then you should also adopt these Feng Shui rules on mirror placement. Believe me – these rules have stood the test of time and they will turn your fortunes drama

With love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

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Visualisation Meditation and Why It Is Essential For You!

Visualisation meditation is a form of meditation that involves communicating with either spiritual guides, your higher self / subconscious mind or Supreme Being. The other form of meditation is object-focused but this one is a form of visual meditation that is subjective. Practitioners preach that meditation visualisation is a powerful tool for transforming one’s inner being and conduct.

Visualisation meditation is subjective but at the same time it involves a high level of action from the person who wants to benefit from it. The reason some people have never realised the benefits of visualisation meditation is because they often confuse it with daydreaming. To the observer, a practitioner of this technique may appear to be daydreaming but in actual sense the latter is involved in an engaging and powerful self-transformation exercise.

The Power of Visualisation Meditation

As noted earlier, visualisation meditation is regarded highly because of its powerful ability to transform lives. The following are some of the ways in which practitioners have benefited from using this technique:

  • Relief from pain. People who have experienced chronic pain have reported to feel significantly better after this particular practice.
  • Acceleration of healing: Individuals who are recuperating after undergoing treatment attest to the speeding up of the healing process after engaging in visualisation meditation.
  • Dealing effectively with anxiety and stress: After practicing visualisation meditation repeatedly, practitioners report significantly decreased levels of tension and the increased ability to focus the mind on other productive activities.
  • Generally, people are using this technique as a substitute to or to complement contemporary medicine.
  • Did you also know that if people practiced this technique, they would reduce their visits to the doctor by 90% because the majority of illnesses we suffer from can in fact be cured through visualisation meditation?
  • Last but not least, if you have a problem concentrating on a task, lesson or routine this technique can drastically help you to reverse the trend.

Woman doing meditation near the ocean beach. Yoga silhouette.

Getting Down to Business:

  • Begin by looking for a quiet place and time, preferably a quiet room or at night before you sleep. However, don’t limit yourself – ensure you have enough time and will not be interrupted during the session.
  • Like all meditation, visualisation meditation begins with the practitioner adopting a comfortable meditation posture.
  • The next course of action is to shut your eyes. This helps you to concentrate your mind on the task at hand.
  • Now breathe deeply from you diaphragm and relax your muscles gradually.

  • Visualise yourself in a place where you are surrounded by a glowing white light.
  • Imagine that that light is filled with peace and happiness.
  • Concentrate on imbibing the light every time you breathe.
  • Allow that feeling to infiltrate into your body, reaching each of your cells, organs, atoms and every other part of your being.
  • Now visualise yourself getting rid of negative energy. Think of all negativity as a black smoke. Release the thick stuff from your body as you breathe out.
  • After getting rid of negativity, focus on the positive. Think about that thing or state you desire and how you will feel when you eventually achieve it. With that image in mind, inhale deeply, as if allowing the dream to become a reality.

  • Remember to create as clear an image as possible, complete with all the senses.
  • Once the process is over, go through the normal procedures of concluding a meditation session.
  • Don’t forget that visualisation meditation should be repeated regularly until it becomes a normal practice. The desired image must be called into the mind as often as possible in order to make it some kind of an obsession you must achieve.

Which kind of scenario is conducive for Visualisation Meditation to endure expected results?

  1. To begin with, your visualisation should involve smaller moments and not vague gigantic amounts. In other words, you cannot dream the world in one setting. You know what you want. Break it down into smaller goals and objectives. Remember the dream will be realized piece by piece, not all in one go.
  2. You also need to have a clear plan. Like your dream, your plan must be broken down into achievable parts. You might want to create daily, weekly or monthly tasks that contribute to the overall goal. You also need to be realistic when making your plans.
  3. Now put your plan into action. Be faithful to the plan you have made. You are your own supervisor. Have a To-Do list for each day.
  4. It will not be easy. You must have self-belief. There may be many times you will feel like giving up. You need to have self-confidence. Nothing will be achieved without your efforts. You will find obstacles throughout your journey. Let the expected outcome work as an incentive for you.
  5. It is the sum of small efforts that will culminate in the dream. Always see the bigger picture in the smaller effort.

Is there a Recommended Frequency?

Visualisation meditation is not about the time you spend doing it but the level of concentration and result. At the onset, it is advisable to spend between a quarter of an hour and half an hour in the exercise. This is especially when you are new to the technique.

As you become more experienced, you may want to concentrate for longer periods of time. In other words, the duration of time spent by different people depends on experience.

How many times should you do it in a day, week, month etc.? Again this is a decision to be made by the individual. Some do it twice a day while others visualise only once every week. It is only you who knows how desperately you need to make your dream come true. However, you should be careful not to overdo the exercise to the extent of it become mundane and ineffective.

Despite this, if you make it a routine and it works for you, then go ahead and practice it. For example, there are people who engage in it before going to bed or after waking up. Your bed will often provide enough comfort to visualise and meditate. This is especially effective for people who find it difficult to sleep.

Why people fail to gain from Visualisation Meditation

Visualisation meditation has been criticised by people who do not understand the rationale behind it. In recent decades, the debate on the law of attraction has attracted widespread acceptance and rejection / skepticism in equal measure. This is especially true when it comes to attracting the things, people and circumstances that one wants in his or her life.

The reason I am talking about the law of attraction is because it teaches a form of visualisation meditation that many use for material gain at the expense of their spiritual, emotional and mental development. Visual meditation acknowledges (like the law of attraction) that everything begins as an idea before it matures into reality. Everything your senses can perceive was once an idea in the mind of another person.

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However, many beginners of visualisation meditation stumble when the ideas they hold in their mind do not come to achievement. What they forget is that even the best idea must be backed up by a parallel action of the technique in order to produce the desired results. As one anonymous individual said, building castles in the sky is commendable but the dreamer must go ahead and lay the foundation if the dream are to become a reality.

In essence, you must go beyond visualising what you want and create an action plan for achieving your desires. There must be some form of physical effort towards achieving the dream. Unless you act towards your goal you will be like the person who dreams he or she had won the lottery and wakes up to search for the money in the bed, only to realise it was merely a dream!

Nature has rules and laws that do not change to suit our needs. It is us who need to change to be in tandem with nature. In the case of visualisation meditation, nature demands that we align our attitudes and actions with the desired outcome. A seed that is planted but not watered will die. An idea that is visualised during meditation but is not planned for eventually becomes a distant dream or a fantasy.

Some people also fail to realise the fruits of visualisation meditation because they fail to back up the dream and action with belief. You must believe that you will achieve your dream. There are many who have an idea, create a plan for achieving the dream but fall along the way because they do not have self-belief. You need confidence and self-assurance that you are equal to the task and that the universe will help you to achieve your desires.

Another barrier to visualisation meditation is over-indulging in the exercise without the backing of common sense. Creating a mental image of what you desire is the first and very important step towards your target. However, creating mental images for the sake of it or simply because you want to escape your current position ASAP is detrimental to your efforts.

Think about it this way. If you visualise yourself getting out of poverty or some form of misfortune tomorrow yet you don’t have the means to back you up, you will be disappointed. It is important to remember that visualisation meditation is not magic. There can be no miracles if you don’t expend any efforts towards making your idea a reality. Wishful thinking is not synonymous with visualisation meditation!

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I hope you do not think that I want you not to be ambitious. No. Ambition is crucial for personal success. However, your dreams must be in tandem with the universe and its workings. There are laws of cause and effect; laws of planting and harvesting, and laws for rewarding effort and not mere fantasising. To emphasise: that is how nature works and it cannot change to suit your whims.

Many of the people you will hear disparaging visualisation meditation are those who were looking for quick fixes and instant riches, contrary to rationality and common sense. They came with high hopes. They wanted a miracle. They were not willing or prepared for the mandatory effort and self-belief. When the natural and rational outcome of their meager efforts came to fruition (here I mean when they failed) disappointment and disillusionment set it and they started blaming the technique and not themselves.

Concluding Thoughts…

The process we have discussed here is just an example. Come up with one that fits your need. Make sure the atmosphere and experience you visualise is one that brings you into the right state of mind to expel negative energy and imbibe positive energy. Make sure you do this as often as you feel you are functioning optimally.

Finally, an idea / dream, coupled with the right plan and a determination to succeed are the main ingredients for effective visualisation meditation.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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Have You Met Rumi!

Rumi was a poet of Persian origin who lived in the 13th Century. His birth can be traced to modern Afghanistan in a city called Balkh. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on September 30, 1207. He would later migrate to a little town called Konya; in the country we call Turkey today. Don’t be shocked, therefore, if you come across Iranians, Turks and Afghans, who claim Rumi was one of their own.

According to Frank Lewis, a scholar who has written the biography of Rumi, the name Rumi actually means Rome, a reference to the areas under Roman rule that were later conquered by Turks, and where Muslims like Rumi settled. Rumi’s other name, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, cements his connection with his city of birth in Afghanistan.

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It is this multiple identity that makes this jurist, poet, theologian and Islamic scholar a popular figure not only in Asia but also across the world. No singular religion or culture can claim to own Rumi exclusively. His works are revered among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. You will hear recitations of his poetry in mosques, cathedrals, Zen monasteries and synagogues alike.


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He is arguably the greatest composer of mystical poetry to have graced the earth. The world is more than 7o,000 poetry verses richer thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and profound philosophical knowledge of this great man. It is no wonder that his teachings have been translated into the major languages of the world.

While many in the West have come to know Rumi in the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in Asia and the Middle East have always held Rumi in high regard. His poetry covers a range of topics – some mystical – some philosophical. In his works, you will come across passion, desire, love and spirituality. Like many of the philosophers whose knowledge was revered in the past, Rumi’s counsel was timeless and is still relevant today.

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It is important to note that Rumi was born in a wealthy and noble family, and though his life had the usual drama all of us ago, it was not until he met wandering holy man than life changed drastically. One wonders why the philosophy and mysticism bug had not bitten the young man before, considering his father was a mystic, jurist and theologian.

Enter Shams, the potent spiritual wanderer who was way below the social class of Rumi, and who belonged to the upper class, and the Rumi’s life took a dramatic turn. Although the two would come together as teacher and student when Rumi was around 37 years of age, Shams had noticed the younger man at 21 years of age and decided to wait until a later date to covert him into spirituality.

The bond between the wandering teacher, otherwise known as the Bird, and Rumi took time to heal. The fact that Shams was a lonely antisocial figure and below the nobility associated with Rumi, was so much of a hindrance that the older man had to leave town following death threats from the upper class.

To solve the class problem, Rumi married the daughter of his teacher thus setting off their long friendship. It is no wonder then that the first epic written by Rumi was titled, “The Collective Poems of Shams of Tabriz.” It is evident that Rumi ascribed his knowledge and philosophy to his master and teacher –Shams. His search for love and the truth under the tutelage of Shams transformed Rumi into a thinker and philosopher.

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The death of Shams at the hand of the youngest son of Rumi resulted in profound grief for the latter. This, coupled with their two years of interaction, led to two collections of epics: Massnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.

The following quotes illustrate just how deep Rumi’s philosophy of life was and how he conceptualized human existence and the experience of living:


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Rumi celebrated love:

The garden of love is green without limit
and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without spring,
without autumn, it is always fresh.

On love and the possibility of a disagreement between lovers, he said:

“Every day my heart falls deeper in the pain of your sorrow.
Your cruel heart is weary of me already.
You have left me alone, yet your sorrow remains.
Truly your sorrow is more faithful than you are.”

Rumi also understood what most of us have had to experience when being left by a lover and said:

You left and I cried tears of blood.
My sorrow grows.
It’s not just that You left.
But when You left my eyes went with You.
Now, how will I cry?

But he also understood the need for one to endure the pain of being rejected:

Love is best when mixed with anguish.
In our town,
we won’t call you a Lover
if you escape the pain.

Rumi also had something to say about drunkenness, the inherent dangers and the need to say ‘no’:

“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don’t put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”

The importance of more silence and less speech was also a great concern of this philosopher:

Listen!
Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell,
for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.
When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.

Rumi’s philosophy was also based on the Supreme Being:

I have seen the king with a face of Glory,
He who is the eye and the sun of heaven,
He who is the companion and healer of all beings,
He who is the soul and the universe that births souls.

On the need to seek happiness from the source and not reflectors of love, Rumi had this to say:

Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the source which shines forever.

Finally, do you know the value of your soul? Rumi has this challenge for you:

You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru!

XXX
 

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Keys To Lasting Happiness In Life!

According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two categories of happiness. The first type of happiness is the one that is a result of things turning out the way we want them to be. For example, we can say we are happy because of our friends, family or even children. We are happy because of certain resources that are affecting us, resources that can be taken any time e.g. they aren’t permanent by nature – You could lose your job or wife, so reasons for this type of happiness can be lost any time.

The second category of happiness isn’t as a result of something we achieve or something we do but  it’s a state of being. It doesn’t depend on the outer circumstances or our moods. As a result of this state our inner self tends to become calm and exuberant. Pure joy, in this case, is a result of a connection in our deepest state of unbound awareness.

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Listed below are keys that will ensure lasting happiness in your life.

  1. Listen to your body’s behaviour and needs…

What are you comfortable doing and what are you not comfortable doing? When you are undertaking a task, ask yourself, “Do I like doing this?” If your body displays signs of distress and agony or anguish don’t proceed with the work. However, if you feel comfortable and eager to do the chore, please continue. Know what you love doing and what you detest doing then follow what your body says.

  1. Pay the most attention to the present…

Live and enjoy the present and always keep in mind it’s the only time you have. Accept what comes your way, maximize whatever it is and learn from it. Keep attention to what is on the table at the moment. The infinite laws of nature should be left the way they are, and life should be enjoyed to the fullest the way it is. The present is the way it is. The current moment is as it is because the world and universe are at is.

Ignore what others have to say about you. People may say all sorts of things because of how you look, the way you dress but you should ignore all the negative comments. Discover the infinite possibilities that you have on your hands. Look at life positively.

  1. Eat healthy…

Avoid alcohol and other fermented foods. Expose your body to safe and clean environments, nourishing foods, and happy and comforting experiences. Consider your life to be a life support system. It is like a transport system that will take you to where you desire to be. For you to arrive safely at a particular place, you need a road worthy vehicle. The same way, you should keep your body healthy. Avoid contaminating your body with toxins such as cigarettes, or liquor. Desist from alcoholic drinks. The human body is made up of cells that contribute to the state of comfort and well-being. Therefore, keep every single cell in your body in its purest form.

Healthy smoothie - banana-vanilla, pomegranate and orange, spinach and herbs

  1. According to psychology, the natural state of us humans is a state of love. Fear, hate and distress counter the state of love…

You should, therefore, build a “wall” that will shield all the hate and negative statements from your family and friends. Take part in undertakings that will have a positive impact in your life such as team building exercises. Take any fears you have and come up with ways of countering them with compassion and love. Instead of fearing exams, why don’t you study hard and work hard for them so that you won’t have to fear the outcome of the results. Once you read and revise, you will be happy when you receive your results. You can face threats because your inner self is invulnerable and impenetrable to fear.

  1. Create time for meditation and relaxation of the mind…

Meditation can be explained as the gateway to high levels of self-awareness, linking the mind to our inner power and eventually to self-worth. Look for space and release your feelings, breathe in the clean air, and discover your inner happiness and peace. You could start short e.g. with a ten-minute meditation either by listening to calming music or just relaxing over something that works for you. You could eventually lengthen the time you meditate by staying for longer periods every week.

How about you start each meditation session with a short prayer. Don’t ask for stuff, instead, connect your higher self and your source of light. Make it a habit, a daily practice. Pay a lot of attention to your inner life and shun external interpretations that aren’t good for you such as animosity and deception.

handsome couple practicing meditation exercises on the beach at sunset

  1. Find a place in your heart to forgive…

Avoid reacting to opposition or anger with hatred, because through that, you will stressing yourself. You will make things worse because you will end up filling up your heart with disgust, and you will end up being furious. How about, you relinquish your anger as, through that, you will be cooperating with the universe flow of peace and tranquility.

  1. Show me who are your acquaintances and I will describe your character…

Such are wise words that we should always remember so as to remain happy. Your world “out there”, replicates your reality “in here”. Persons who you react with abhorrence and revulsion project your inner world. Be nice to those close to you. Whatever you love and care about most is what you wish for yourself. If you love someone and care about them, it means you would want the same for yourself. The key objective here is self-knowledge.

What Will Affect A Peaceful Mind?

  1. Special attachment is dangerous…

What we all call love is nothing but special attachment to someone or something. Such kind of attachment isn’t recommended.

If there is love, I will be at your service. Whatever you need, I will provide.

If there is attachment, I will look at you and ask myself, “What kind of service do you provide?”

One partner states: I deserve this because I married you.

The other half says: I deserve this because I married you.

This form of special treatment often passes off as love, because both the husband and the wife think that life is all about rights and not duties.

Affection + Egotism = Attachment | Attachment – Egotism = Affection.

Understand the statements written above. I don’t dispute love and its existence. I am just a firm believer that attachment isn’t something that should be approved.

Attachment is all about how many times you will see your partner and, therefore, there is no space for anything to blossom between the two of you. With love, you are open with each other, and there is a chance for discovery of new things between you two. Just like when flowers bloom during the spring season, your relationship will blossom, and you will be happy when there is love.

Intimate scene of couple in love

  1. Control your desires…

Uncontrolled feelings and desires cause mayhem. We are humans, and as humans, we can’t live without desires, needs and wants. However, the tricky part is, can we control our feelings? What happens once we let our emotions rage?

Feelings can be uncomfortable at times. Controlling what you feel doesn’t necessarily mean repressing or ignoring them all together. It means keeping them in check, the same way that thermostat keeps the room temperatures in your house in check. Doing so will help you become emotionally stable as well as bettering your health.

The best way of keeping your emotions in check is to focus more on your physical senses. For instance, is your heart beat rate faster? How are muscles behaving? Are they tense or tightened? Is your breathing shallow or rapid?

Acknowledge your emotions instead of suppressing them. Once you know they are there e.g. sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat, you will be able to relax and heed what your body is communicating.

If you have heightened muscles, you could try PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). PMR will enable you to identify any muscular tension in your body

Look for a quiet and relaxing environment and calm down. Relax for about 10-20 minutes.

Ensure you are always comfortable. Wear clothes that you like. Try to wear loose fitting clothes. Cleansing and deep breaths will help calm your mind and muscles.

Curl your toes as tight as you can for 5-10 seconds. Relax your muscles for around 20 seconds, and then move to the other foot. Do the same for all the other muscles in your body including those on your stomach, buttocks, lips, eyes, forehead, upper arms, hands, hips, thighs, feet and the forehead.

If you are always working, or if you are always busy, focus on the facial muscles. Engaging in such activities will help you relieve any stress you may have.

You could use visualization methods to relax. Picture yourself in a safe place. That place should be soothing and relaxing. That calm place could be quietest park you know, your bedroom, the spa, your worship place, or the beach. Create as much detail as you can. What do you smell, hear, feel, or touch?

You could imagine yourself as that pebble that’s thrown in the ocean. The pebble will drift away as the waves rise. Picture your problems to be that pebble. Imagine all that negativity, hate and animosity are drifting away just like a pebble. Comforting, isn’t it?

Young woman enjoying coffee while lying in the bath with foam and candles

Visualization often seems weird in the beginning, but once you practice it, you will find it normal and comforting.

  1. What do you operate on? If they are likes or dislikes, be ready for consequences… 

We are all unique in different ways. What I desire, might not be what you desire. For instance, a person might find pleasure in smoking, but another guy might not stand it. Some guy may look forward to selling his condo; another, on the other hand, can’t wait to buy it. Such happens everywhere.

What might be happy for someone may end up being sad and sorrowful for another. Therefore, it’s not a being or thing but how you relate and share with it. It’s not the external world that wrecks your peace but rather how you relate to it.

When you are operating on the mind level, it’s all about what you like and dislike and that is dangerous. For example, if you go to a certain country, and you find whatever food you like isn’t part of the menu, so what next? You will end up furious. And that will dent on the level of happiness you intend to achieve.

You should, therefore, operate on the intellect level instead of likes and dislikes as that will help you choose the correct path.

Double exposure portrait of a woman combined with photograph of nature

  1. The mind has a tendency of wandering…

Sometimes the mind rambles when you are talking to someone. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate 100%, even if you really want to. Lots of things are always running through our minds. The haunting past, anxieties about the future often affects our concentration.

Such worries tire us and tire our minds. Take time off and relax.

Avoid working on the weekends. Relax your mind, take a walk at the beach or spend your Saturday at the park. Children are most of the time happy. You have ever asked yourself why? Because they never worry about the past or future. Their minds are always relaxed and therefore, they are always joyful and happy.

Once You Change, You Will Be Able To Change The World!     

Be the change that you want to see on the planet. Do things that you would want to see happen on the earth. If you decide to change your thoughts, your actions, the world around you will change.

View your environment with new lenses. I know everyone would like to see a clean and airy environment free from all filth and waste from non-biodegradable goods. I know you love it when the air is clean. Since you like it that way, then why would you want to engage in practices that will be detrimental to the environment such as unclean energy sources e.g. coal energy. Isn’t that going against what you would want the world to be? If you want a clean earth, green, use clean energy sources such as solar power. Avoid littering the environment. The main problem of changing the world without changing yourself is that you will still be you even after you change the environment that you dwell in. With all your negativity, hatred and flaws, you will stain the world with your sabotaging tendencies.

With you being in such kind of situation, you will not achieve whatever you intended because your mind is full of all that negativity.

Avoid spending so much time on other people’s mistakes e.g. “I wish he didn’t walk like that”, “I wish he didn’t drink that beer” Sometimes we end up forcing our closest friends or family members to change. The truth of the matter is, it’s a little bit challenging to change a person for who he or she is.

Instead, be an example, a beacon of hope. If you wish your spouse to be more positive, allow your positivism to permeate your relationship.    

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sun outdoors in the park                                                                    

 With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

 

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The Secrets to Sleeping Like a Baby

Insomnia – that monster that befriends you just when you need sleep most – has reached alarming levels. There is an epidemic of sleeplessness. None of us is immune from this condition. It is important for us to find out what causes insomnia and how to overcome it if we really want to sleep like the babies we once were.

When sleep avoids you…

When was the last time you had a restful night and enjoyed it for two to three consecutive days? With all the cares of this life, you go to bed expecting that you will doze off as soon as you slip under the blanket. Unfortunately, many are the times you will roll and roll on your bed hoping and wishing that sleeps will come your way but in vain.

Melatonin and the science of sleep

Let us first understand the science behind insomnia. There is a neurochemical that is secreted in your brain that controls your sleep patterns. Melatonin, once released into your blood, makes you drowsy, relaxed and sends you to dreamland. This chemical is there in your system during the day but in low quantities. As the evening wears, on melatonin increases until about 2 am, when it peaks.

Interfering with melatonin flow

In essence, sleeplessness is a result of interfering with the natural flow of melatonin in the body. The solution lies in exercising mindfulness. You should know when the body is telling you to sleep. You must stop interfering with the natural cycle of melatonin in the blood. By now you know that taking caffeine drinks is one way of ensuring you don’t sleep when you expect to.

More importantly, you need to time your sleep to coincide with the melatonin wave. One way of doing this is to come to terms with your day shortly before you go to sleep. While sitting on your bed, shut your eyes and reflect on the issues that you have not resolved, then simply allow them to go. Now breathe deeply and lie down.

You can also lie on your back, concentrate on your breathing and relax your body and mental faculties as you breathe in deeply. Try as much as possible to be at ease in this position and sleep will encroach gradually into your territory. When this happens, turn to your favourite side and enjoy restful sleep.

Watching television before going to sleep

The blue light rays that come from your television, laptop and desktop computers, smartphones and other electronic screens, interferes with the secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland. Consequently, if you use such gadgets and immediately go to sleep you are likely to take some time before sleep catches up with you.

For this reason, the best time to go to sleep if you have been using these gadgets is after one hour. Ensure you finish working with these devices early enough such that you have time for other activities that will take at least one hour. How about arranging your clothes or washing dishes before you sleep?

Sleeping in a cluttered bedroom

Your bedroom should be a sacred place. The moment you allow this important room to be disorganized and cluttered you send away sleep. Avoid distracting your sleep by all means. For example, watching TV or working on the computer in the bedroom will expose you to blue light and we have already analysed the consequences of such action.

Have as few extras items in the bedroom as possible. Let every item in the bedroom be related to sleep. Ensure your beddings are clean and well-spread. Let the mattress be flat and comfortable. The pillow should also prop you up based on your body and should be comfortable enough.

Lack of exercise and relaxation

Your body needs to be relaxed before you go to sleep. You can achieve this by engaging in yoga. Begin with meditation to bring your body, mind and soul into harmony. Sit comfortably on your bed and prop you body up with a pillow or other comfortable material. Cross your legs, close your eyes and begin to stretch your body using any of the less-involving yoga exercises.

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Among the recommended yoga exercises to induce sleep include seated twist, corpse pose cross-legged bend, forward bend, knees-to-chest pose, reclining twist, reclining big-toe hold and half happy baby. Regardless of the posture, make sure your mind is relaxed and that you feel every part of it. Remember to practice mindfulness as this will promote body immunity and regulate your blood pressure too.

Other reason for insomnia

Lack of sleep can also be caused by chronic pain, allergies, anxiety, depression, some types of medicine and neurological diseases. Ensure you seek medical or psychological help as the case may be because some of these issues are beyond your ability.

To sum up, you need to deal with the causes of insomnia in your life because you really deserve to sleep like a baby as this is an important step towards making yourself productive the following day. Sleep is vital; pursue it at all costs!

 

family sleeping on the bed with question mark concept

 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga Practice At Home

So, it’s coming to the end of the year, Christmas season is upon us. I know that I have been slacking with the Grace Guru lifestyle recently as work and social schedules are very hectic! During this season I start to brainstorm goals for my new year’s resolutions. If you’ve been thinking the same and trying yoga is one of your goals, this short and simple guide is just for you! We will talk you through the basics so you’ll be calmly yogi-ing your way into 2016!

A key benefit of starting yoga at home is that you are not committed to a specific time or place, you have no nerves about being in a room with strangers, or having anxiety about not being able to reach into a certain pose. The only promise you need to make is to a yoga mat!

However, you will require one form of commitment, a pledge to yourself. Yoga beginners will need an open mind and a lot of patience, mix this with determination and you will feel your body progress and see results in no time at all!

Step 1 – Breathing

Lay down flat on your back (on your yoga mat), feet shoulder width apart and hands relaxed to your side. Attempt to engage your diaphragm and take a long deep breath, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeating this 10-15 times will reduce your heart rate and take you to a much calmer place. You can also play calming background music, to help create a peaceful atmosphere and block out any surrounding noises.

If something has been irritating you during the day, think of this as you breath in and out, feel the tension release through your shoulders and down your limbs.

Top Tip: Remember to maintain a smooth breathing pattern throughout your yoga routine to help your body stretch and strengthen.

Step 2 – Stretch

Mountain Pose – stand tall with your feet together; let your arms rest to the side with fingers together. Feel your spin stretch from the bottom of your spine all the way to the top of you neck.

easy begginer yoga pose

Child’s Pose – this pose is perfect for resting! Start wit your knees and feet on the floor, with your feet touching. With your knees apart rest your belly and chest between your legs. Stretch your arms out in front of you and place your head on the floor.

Beautiful sporty fit yogi girl practices yoga asana balasana

Step 3 – Progress

5 Yoga Poses To Strive Towards!

  1. Tree Pose – stand with arms at your side, shift your weight onto your left leg and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. With hips facing forward, when you have found your balance, bring your hands in front of you into prayer position.iStock_000012256061_Small
  2. Warrior – step your feet about legs distance apart and turn your right leg out to about 90 degrees. Take your arms out to the side and bend your right knee so it is above your ankle.virabhadrasana warrior pose #4
  3. Downward-Facing Dog – from the mountain pose hinge forward from your waist to place your flat palms on the ground. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart with your arms and back in a straight line. This may feel a little challenging at first, but remember to breath and relax deeper into the pose when you feel more comfortable.Business woman in conference room
  4. Cobra – lie facing down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your legs extended, tuck hips downwards as your squeeze your glutes, push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest.Yoga upward facing dog pose
  5. Bridge – lie on the floor with your knees bent and directly over your heels, place your arms at the side with your palms down, press your feet into the floor as you lift your hips. Bring your chest toward your chin and clasp your hands under your lower back. bridge

Step 4 – Cool Down and Relax

When you have finished a yoga-routine it is really important to lay down and completely relax your mind and body. The corpse pose is perfect for ultimate relaxation!

Relax your body, with your arms and legs by your side in a natural position that feels comfortable. Feel each muscle in your body start to relax, shut your eyes and breath deeply. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes to restore balance ensuring you will be re-energised after your first yoga session!

Beautiful sporty fit yogi girl relaxes in yoga asana Savasana

Which poses do you love to practice?

PicMonkey Collage

Namaste!

 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Aura, Awareness and Attitude – What Does Your Aura Say About You?

Have you ever been drawn to someone and not entirely known why? But they make you feel at ease, you feel an instant level of trust?

It is easy to forget that our bodies radiate immense energy. We are not just a mass of flesh and blood. We are masses of energy. To be more precise, you are a field of energy.

The atmosphere of energy that surrounds us is called an aura. People can actually detect our aura’s and relate to us based on that consciousness.

So what is an aura? Think about some of the people in your life who make you feel especially comfortable when you are around them. These special characters in your life tend to pull people towards them, while inspiring confidence. They are like magnets and rarely have enemies. We call it charisma but in this sense it is their auras that are connecting with us.

group of smiling friends taking funny selfie with smart phone

It can even happen with a total stranger! You meet someone, perhaps when you are travelling, and suddenly you feel like you have known them for years! I met a guy called Sam on a trip to South East Asia years ago, his presence made me feel safe, at ease, comfortable. Sam had a powerful and positive aura surrounding him, I can still sense his warmth even when I recall my first meeting with them!

Have you ever experienced this type of interaction? Please comment below – I would love to hear!

The opposite of this extraordinary aura also exists though. You may have met some people who feel as if they have negative energy surrounding them. They have accumulated so much evil and negativity that we prefer not to spend too long in their company. Negative vibrations can make us feel uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be around a person who is always negative and who seems to attract bad luck.

But aura is not just about you,

Every object, living or non-living has an aura.

This is etheric energy that revolves around an object. People and objects are miniature manifestations of universal energy which radiates from an object or a body to the point that it affects our surroundings. Every living thing emits energy nearby and that energy determines the reaction of people to that specific living organism.

For non-living objects, even with the absence of emotions, there is chemistry that determines the aura of the object. It all depends on the composition of the object. If you know how electromagnetism works, then you know the source of the aura of such objects. That is why you experience certain feelings and emotions towards some inanimate things and places. I am sure there are some spots, probably a cliff or lake, where you feel comfortable and nostalgic. You can discuss aura in relation to everything you know of. Whether you are thinking about gold, silver, diamond, stones, buildings, oceans and so on, aura is always present and has a great role to play.

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From the forgoing, it is obvious that your aura is very important. It can open or close doors for you. Your aura can determine how people react to you. You cannot live alone. Success in life depends very much on how strong and effective the relationships you have are. It is for this reason that you must realise the importance of being aware of your aura.

Aura is an indication of character. This is evidenced by the brightness, colour and range of the aura. What your aura reveals is who you really are. You can lie to everyone else but not to yourself. As they say, a good tree cannot bear bad fruits and vice versa. You cannot wake up with a positive aura while deep inside you feel evil and have malicious intentions towards others. Nature is more powerful than you. It is infallible.

You also must understand that aura cannot be hidden.

This is energy that radiates from you unconsciously.

You have no way of telling your aura to remain hidden. People will either love or hate you based on the character you exhibit, which is a manifestation of the aura you emit. If people are attracted to you and want to be with you, there is no way you can change that. If you are obnoxious and detestable, only a change of aura can save you. You either have positive aura or negative energy, which is emanating from within and revolving around you. 

An individual’s aura is powerful. So powerful that experts have discovered its presence three days after one is declared dead! How crazy is that?! Experiments are revealing that human beings continue to exhibit their auras for some hours after death. This shows the potency of aura and cements the need to cultivate positive aura at all times. Imagine a situation where people even fear to come near your body or grave because of the kind of reputation you had when you were alive!

The need for aura consciousness cannot be over-emphasised. You need to be in touch with your inner self to cultivate positive aura. Mindfulness and meditation are effective tools in bringing your soul, mind and body into conformity with the kind of aura you desire to project. By being conscious of your thoughts and focusing on issues that enlighten and inspire you, you can acquire a positive aura. Being aware of you aura is a result of deliberate effort to transform your thoughts. You need to align your thoughts with the universe and ensure you impact the lives of others with genuine kindness and generosity.

Are you in touch with your aura?

Young woman in white clothes standing in field on sunset

Banish fear from your life and embrace positive energy!

 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

 

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Benefits Of Sirsasana!

Yoga has been around for many years and is credited with many benefits. For example, it is said to have healing qualities in addition to enhancing physical fitness. It is important to understand some yoga poses since they carry specific gains for you. One of the most significant of these postures is Sirsasana.

What Exactly Is Sirsasana?

Widely considered as the best asana, Sirsasana is essentially the headstand. In plain words, it means balancing your body on your head with your feet pointing upwards. Some people think that doing this is acting like a child; after all, children are the only people capable of engaging in dangerous physical play like attempting to support the body’s weight with the head.

What these people do not know is that the headstand is among the most beneficial poses that one can practice in yoga. However, there is a rider. This is the kind of posture or activity that carries with it the tag ‘don’t try this at home.’ Seriously speaking, only engage in the Sirsasana if you have an expert taking you through the motions. If you have back or neck problems please wait until you are fully healed for you to practice Sirsasana. You would rather lose the benefits for the time being than worsen your health problems.

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What Are The Benefits Of Sirsasana?

Sirsasana can help you to increase the flow of blood in your body by allowing the blood into the lower limbs to reach the heart faster and get purified. People who sit for long will tell you that by the time they rise up they feel heavy in the feet and legs. The truth is that a lot of blood will have flowed to the lower limbs with little blood moving up. Through Sirsasana it becomes possible to allow stagnant blood to flow back to the heart more efficiently.

Another important benefit of Sirsasana, and which is related to the first, is allowing blood to reach the head region more effectively. Studies show that this movement is important in helping in toning the pituitary gland. All other endocrine glands are controlled by the pituitary, which also helps the reproductive glands to function more effectively. You also must understand that having blood flow to your scalp and follicles will greatly improve the quality of your hair.

Your organs are subject to gravitational pressure and Sirsasana will give you relief for negative effects of this strain. This is in relation to hydrocele and piles which can make you very uncomfortable. It is important to know that for your entire life, your organs have faced downwards because of gravitational pressure. The best way to give them a relief is to let them face the other way for some time.

Sirsasana will also help you to relax particularly when you are stressed. Stress is a common phenomenon in human life but it affects each person differently depending on issues and circumstances they have to deal with. The headstand helps you to become less worrisome and to overcome fear and anxiety. As you breathe in and out in this posture, you will begin to deal with the issues that make you anxious.

Sirsasana will also help you with focus issues. Your brain needs adequate blood to help it function optimally. When you give the brain its food, it becomes better in its work in addition to helping it to focus. In this situation, you are likely to feel more confident, active and attentive. That is what many people are trying to achieve through many not-so-effective methods. With this yoga pose, you have a shortcut to concentration.

If you want to make your arms and shoulders stronger, then Sirsasana is one of the best strategies for doing this. As you stand on your head, you will be building the stamina and muscles in the head and shoulders. To make sure your muscles get the required exercise, you can push your body down and up as you get off the pose. There are not many exercises that can give you this type of workout.

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If you are having problems with your metabolism and digestion, it is time you tried Sirsasana. One of the reasons you are not feeling well in your abdomen is because some of the food you have been eating is stuck somewhere in your system. This yoga pose will help to remove such food and this will in turn help blood to flow into the organs that support digestion. Nutrients are also likely to be absorbed faster and more efficiently when you engage in Sirsasana. 

There are many other benefits of Sirsasana. For example, you can relieve your migraines and headaches through this pose. If you are suffering from asthma, try this posture and you will find relief. Sirsasana also rejuvenates your body. The only way to find out is to begin Sirsasana lessons today.

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With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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