The Science and Benefits of Chanting Mantras  

Mantra is also becoming more popular with spiritual practices like meditation and yoga. Considering the benefits of mantra, we chant Sanskrit mantras at our yoga studio. Our school was started as a yoga co-op by our community of yoga teachers. Bend It Like Buddha team is a yoga family that offers Yoga retreats, Ayurveda Massage courses and 200 hour teacher courses to the students at some of the most stunning locations. The word ‘Mantra’ is comprised of two different words ‘mind’ and ‘tra’.  Mantra can be considered as an instrument of the mind and probably a vibration or sound powerful enough to make a person enter into the deepest state of meditation. A mantra can be considered as a seed that results in activating the intensions or Sankalpa. Mantra, in a yoga setting, is sometimes used in silent repetition to keep the mind focused and connected to a particular state. Some of the earliest mantras were composed by Hindus in India, commonly known as Sanskrit Mantras, at least 3000 years ago. 

 

Chanting mantras is one of the ancient spiritual practices of experiencing divine love and light. Chanting is a process of gathering the divine and spiritual energies that help in the transformation of different life issues thus benefiting each and every aspect of life. Physical body issues, mental blockage, energy blockages, emotional imbalances, trauma, spiritual blockages, challenges associated with relationships along with the negative emotions. All of these issues can be healed with Mantras. The ancients believed that chanting works through carrying one’s soul vibration and frequency with light, love, compassion and forgiveness. That is, mantras help to transform the vibration and frequency of your life to  higher vibes and more loving dimension. 

 

Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages with its unique power and beauty reflecting the great importance through its precise pronunciation. Being one of the oldest languages Sanskrit carries a sacred resonance with it.

The Sanskrit vehicles of chanting are the sacred prayers called mantra which were channeled by great yogi masters thousands of years ago. 

 

At our yoga studio, Bend it like Buddha we offer Sanskrit chanting that can help you experience a life-changing journey of wellness and health. Chanting has more benefits than you might expect. Several scientific studies have been conducted to observe the meditative effects on the body. The benefits of chanting have been observed in the form of improved pulmonary function, increased mental alertness, increased environmental awareness and potential relief from depression and stress (Ferreira-Vorkapic et al., 2015). Another study has postulated that chanting mantras can enlighten and purify the heart, mind, body and soul, make oneself and others happier and healthier, spreads compassion, love, forgiveness and most importantly uplift the spiritual standing (Lynch et al., 2018).

 

In other words, chanting mantras can heal emotional, mental, physical and spiritual bodies and in this way transforms all souls to divine mindfulness (Lolla, 2018). Furthermore, mantra is empowered by faith, concentration and intention and thus is considered as a beneficial meditative practice. There;s even more; doctors and nurses have also recommend mantra for medical treatment due to the outstanding research. Psychological benefits of mantra repetition include decreased heart rate, lowered level of tension as well as a decreased rate of blood pressure (Deodhar, 2015). 

 

Chanting vibrations with concentration enable to reduce the adrenaline level and cortisol and reducing the level of stress. Besides this, sound seed vibrations have a significant impact on improving the efficiency of the spinal cord. Meditation not only improves concentration but also strengthens the control on reacting to emotions, at the same time, helps withdetoxification. Chanting these sound seeds along with a constant deep breathing process improves blood circulation by providing more oxygen to the body thus restoring youthfulness both externally and internally. Moreover, the other health benefits include filtering out negativity, getting enough sleep and nurturing throat and thyroid glands (Lolla, 2018). Moreover, chanting mantras helps clear the throat chakra.

 

Farrah in Goa with Yoga Alliance 300 RYT certificate in Vinyasa flow

Kirtan is the repetition of mantras in a rhythmic manner seeking to bridge the spiritual world with the physical world. It is important to note that chanting is more powerful in a group of people like in Kirtan. Chanting unifies the entire group on a spiritual level and in this way, ties each and every person in the group all together to the divine, both as individuals and as a group. The benefits of mantra repetition are multiplied by the number of people practising chanting. Chanting out in the form of a group helps in the purification of the blocks much faster along with the further amplification of health benefits. In this way, the higher frequency vibrations work well in a group. 

At our yoga studio, our Sanskrit chanting along with sound journeys has deeply touched others and helped to restore and transform in surprising yet miraculous ways. So, what are you waiting for? You are warmly welcomed to participate inthe Bend it like Buddha Yoga Journey…

 

References

  • Deodhar, S., 2015. Make in India: Re-chanting the Mantra with a Difference.
  • Ferreira-Vorkapic, C., Feitoza, J.M., Marchioro, M., Simões, J., Kozasa, E. and Telles, S., 2015. Are there benefits from teaching yoga at schools? A systematic review of randomized control trials of yoga-based interventions. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.
  • Lolla, A., 2018. Mantras Help the General Psychological Well-Being of College Students: A Pilot Study. Journal of religion and health, 57(1), pp.110-119.
  • Lynch, J., Prihodova, L., Dunne, P.J., McMahon, G., Carroll, A., Walsh, C. and White, B., 2018. Impact of mantra meditation on health and wellbeing: A systematic review protocol. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 18, pp.30-33.

 

 

How does Yin benefit our Yoga practice?

Yin is a style of yoga that we absolutely love at Bend it like Buddha school to help balance out an active Ashtanga or Vinyasa practice. To some of the more active and dynamic yoga styles today, Yin Yoga can be considered as a complementary yoga practice. Yin Yoga is an art more than an exact science which was introduced by Master Paulie Zink who is the sole protégé of Chinese martial arts. Paulie, himself, was taught Taoist arts comprising of flexible training, physical conditioning and energy cultivation along with some of the distinct Kung-fu styles by his master Cho Chat Ling (Yin Yoga – Founder Paulie Zink, 2019). Yin Yoga, in other words, is a unique style of Taoist yoga introduced by Master Zink that has originated from the philosophy, spiritual traditions and ancient Taoist health practices in China. The art of Yin Yoga has been drawn upon the Chinese doctrine of elements- water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Yin and Yang used as Chinese principles harmonised with the rhythm and the flow of nature (Eliot, 2018). 

 

The martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink started teaching Yin Yoga to the western world in the late 1970s. This unique form of Yoga was taught in Europe and across North America. Now our very own yoga studio Bend it like Buddha in Praia da Rocha beach, Portimao-Portugal offers Yin class styles. As well as the other training courses such as 200-hour teacher training along with the other such yoga instructor programs and teacher certifications.

Yin Yoga is a meditative approach having more passive posture mainly on the floor. The majority of these postures are held between 3-5 minutes on each side. In one class perhaps only 7-10 poses will be practiced. Several advantages have been observed associated with Yin Yoga such as energy regulation in the body and lowering the level of stress. Besides this, Yin Yoga will give students a calming and balancing sense in the body and mind, increase mobility, help with migraines and stress, better lubrication and protection of joints together with offering more flexibility in the joints as well as connective tissues (Chang, Liao and Wang, 2013). 

 

Another highly discussed benefit of Yin Yoga is the release of fascia throughout the body. During Farrah Furtado’s Breath to Breath sessions space is held to release the fascia through movement, sound and breath work. Several types of research have been conducted determining the benefits of fascia release. The fascia network is more like a network that scaffolds throughout the entire body (Eliot, 2018). The network of the connective tissues weaves through our entire body encasing the muscles, joints, vessels and bones. It has been said that all of our past memory and history is locked as a memory in fascia and thus, many times our past anger, confusions, sadness, anxiety lie here. Yoga and stretching is considered as an effective way of releasing stress, anxiety and other such negative things affecting the body. The emotions want to be liberated from the body otherwise being stuck there may create body pain. Yin Yoga is an effective way of releasing fascia and relaxing the body and mind (Ajimsha et al., 2015).

 

The idea of fascia holding past memories is a controversial topic in clinical exploration and western medicine. Tozzi (2014) has postulated this release of memory as accompanied by some sort of sensory experience. Another research conducted by Cubick et al. (2011), has highlighted that a manual therapeutic technique called Myofascial  release fiscal restrictions (MFR)  showing improvement in fatigue, pain, cervical and thus the entire quality of life. In another studyconducted by Ajimsha et al. (2015), it has been stated that release ( such as in breath work or yoga stretching) is the best way to work with fascia and is beneficial for both our mind, health and well-being. 

 

Practicing myofascial release means working with fascia to rehydrate the connective tissues, the muscles and ligaments. Moreover, Yin Yoga postures is an effective manner of releasing blockages and difficult memories. A kind of obstruction is created when the fascia is damaged. In our Yin Yoga classes, intensive breath work and stretching fascia with binaural healing music and sacred sounds such as the Tibetan bowls we will share some light on a new way on how to target the fascia, release blocks and emotions. During Yin in our sacred space at Bend it like Buddha studio, Praia da Rocha, Portimao Algarve our instructors will share these myofascia release techniques to help you feel better, heal yourself through your own miraculous body and start your healing process to renewed health. 

 

References

 

  • Ajimsha, M.S., Al-Mudahka, N.R. and Al-Madzhar, J.A., 2015. Effectiveness of myofascial release: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 19(1), pp.102-112.
  • Chang, J.H., Liao, Y.S. and Wang, T.Y., 2013. A Progressive Staged Digital Yoga Game to Stimulate the Interest of Elders. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 3(3), p.209.
  • Cubick, E.E., Quezada, V.Y., Schumer, A.D. and Davis, C.M., 2011. Sustained release myofascial release as treatment for a patient with complications of rheumatoid arthritis and collagenous colitis: a case report. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 4(3), p.1.
  • Eliot, T., 2018. A Journey Into Yin Yoga. Human Kinetics.
  • Tozzi, P., 2014. Does fascia hold memories?.

Kundalini Yoga Nidra

Have you ever seen the world with an expansive vision? The enlightenment of understanding can come from feeling whole and complete and at the same time sensing how others are interpreting the world around them. This expansive vision can come through from a Kundalini awakening.

Kundalini awakening is a process of experiencing specific energy that is associated with the resolution of all of the issues, conditioning patterns, emotional trauma, pain ect… Over the last few years, there are more transcendental experiences which yoga students have been experiencing.

Here is a Yoga Nidra meditation I recorded which you can practice at night before you fall asleep or during the day to help you feel energized. It is up to you and your intention of what you would like to receive from this meditative practice.

Kundalini Yoga Nidra

Most important be totally aware in the present moment, let go and follow the guided instructions. Enjoy!

Thank you to my brother Loose Lion ( Aka Jerome Truman) for the awesome binaural beats and sound medicine 🙂 xx

Meditation recorded by ~
L. Farrah Furtado

Kundalini and Spiritual Awakening

Every year the Watkin’s magazine publishes the names of the top 100 spiritual teachers on the planet. Bend it like Budhha yoga in Portimao, Portugal wanted to see what some of these teachers have to say about Kundalini and spiritual awakening.Our students also enjoy learning more about this topic  in our Philosophy classes during the 200 hour teacher training courses so we thought to have a look at what the top spiritual leaders have to say.

Have you ever seen the world with an expansive vision? The enlightenment of understanding can come from feeling whole and complete and at the same time sensing how others are interpreting the world around them. This expansive vision can come through from a Kundalini awakening. Kundalini is a term that is used to refer to our vital force, prana or energy we all hold within us. This universally acknowledged and deeply ingrained potent source of energy is also recognised with a number of different labels such as Holy Spirit, Shakti and based on a contextual belief system. The identification or name is not important here because this potent, vibrational force which is the catalyst for this bliss does not have words to describe it. As soon as you try to name it. The experience is gone…poof!

The aim of Kundalini is to awaken the potent, serpentine energy within oneself and thus, those who decide to pursue this practice of connecting to this powerful energy are said to be rewarded with higher conscious awareness and thus, spiritual enlightenment (Taylor, 2015).

Kundalini awakening is a process of experiencing specific energy that is associated with the resolution of all of the issues, conditioning patterns, emotional trauma, pain ect… Over the last few years, there are more transcendental experiences which yoga students have been experiencing. For example, one moment you are meditating peacefully and the next you feel out of body and one with all living things and in ecstasy. This is normal and is a part of the yoga journey and a level of awakening. Feeling happy to be alive is our birthright! These students have had their Kundalini awakening from different perspectives or practices and have gone to live healthy and productive lives.

The concept of Kundalini activation comes to the consciousness that has been dormant and coiled at the base of the spine since birth and that is the source of life force. Yoga science has suggested that Kundalini may arise as a result of spiritual practices or may be in response to life events. One can find the acknowledgement of this spiritual experience in many yogic and tantric traditions (Field, 2016).

More and more people are coming forward and are sharing their very personal experiences with this other worldy dimension to the world. There are countless people, spiritual leaders, activists, authors and scientists that have played an important role in changing the world and thus are known as the most spiritually influential living people (de Castro, 2015). These people are assisting with the evolution of human beings to reach a higher state of consciousness. That is, they are assisting us to transcend from the dense material, fear-based survival mode into a joyful, peaceful and love-based higher frequency dimension.

According to Andrew Weil, “What part of ourselves needs to evaporate in order to concentrate on our essence? What do we have to let go?” Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk has been inspiring through his words of spiritual wisdom for decades. One of his famous quotes “Nothing is permanent” make us believe that the problems in life are temporary and one can easily go through them by not being overly-sensitive or over-reactive. At our 200 hour Ashtanga and Vinyasa teacher training we teach a variety of meditation and pranayama practices daily to help cultivate peace starting from within.

The Watkin’s top 100 spiritual leaders and other such personalities are contributing their part in assuring that awakening to a higher dimensional vision of ourselves and the world we live in continues to grow.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” (Desmond Tutu)

According to David Lynch, “The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you”. On the other hand, Alejandro Jodorowsky has highlighted that

“Awakening is not a thing. It is not a goal, not a concept. It is not something to be attained. It is metamorphosis”.

Since yoga is originally taught as a route of enlightenment, those who are interested in enlightenment are now seeking out Kundalini -style yoga as their yoga practice of choice. For the discovery of your own Kundalini energy, focus on your breath, sit up straight and reject negativity by focusing on some of the more positive aspects of life (Taylor, 2015). Be sure to move your body through exercise, walk along in nature, watch the sunset, activate your interest and enjoy every day.

Kundalini awakening, itself, is not dangerous but forcing oneself may harm yourself. The krya practices, techniques and methods are not to play foolishly with. This is very powerful stuff!

Please remember to have good body awareness and be aware of how you are feeling. Your body and emotions are your compass with these practices.

A person experiencing Kundalini awakening may experience physical (headache, increased heart rate etc.) and mental (fear, anxiety, irrational thoughts etc.) kinds of symptoms (Jindani and Khalsa, 2015).

According to Caroline Myss, “What drains your spirit drains your body. What fuels your spirit fuels your body.” Hamza Yusuf, on the other hand, has quoted that “Reality of things is hidden in the realm of the unseen”. Kundalini yoga awakening, when done with proper preparation, can play a significant part in activating your Shakti and balancing your body, mind and soul.

References

  • de Castro, J.M., 2015. Meditation has stronger relationships with mindfulness, kundalini, and mystical experiences than yoga or prayer. Consciousness and cognition, 35, pp.115-127.
  • Field, T., 2016. Yoga research review. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 24, pp.145-161.
  • Jindani, F.A. and Khalsa, G.F.S., 2015. A yoga intervention program for patients suffering from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder: A qualitative descriptive study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(7), pp.401-408.
  • Taylor, S., 2015. ENERGY AND AWAKENING: A PSYCHO-SEXUAL INTERPRETATION OF KUNDALINI AWAKENING. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 47(2).

How to Develop your Intuitive Abilities

Have you lost touch with your true nature, like most people today?

How to Develop your Intuitive Abilities

Everyone’s reason for practicing yoga is unique, the real challenge is mustering up the courage, carving out time to practice and if you cross the hurdles to reap the rewards of yoga, you will find it as amazing and beneficial as it is.  You have made the decision, joined yoga for beginners or online yoga classes, it is difficult to imagine what will happen until you actually practice mindfully and regularly. There are many benefits to practicing yoga but did you know yoga develops intuitive abilities? 

Intuition is the ability to have insight and wisdom received by an individual outside of their own intelligence, without the use of reason, logic or scientific evidence. Do you know who Patanjali was? He was considered the Einstein of Psychology and human behaviour in India because he was able to channel such ground-breaking guidelines in the 8-fold path of Ashtanga yoga. He was able to do this successfully without science. Now modern science states what Patanjali channelled intuitively thousands of years ago. That is, yoga along with meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) has a multitude of benefits for the health and harmony of the mind, body and soul (Paniccia et al., 2018). Patanjali utilized his intuition and founded the great knowledge which we have today on this incredible practice of yoga. In yoga, intuition is considered to be developed over time through spiritual disciplines and meditation or pranayama. Your intuition are unexplained feelings you have that something is true even when you have no evidence or proof for it. Have you ever had an intuition that something was wrong and later proved to be correct? That was your gut knowing or intuition speaking to you. This special occurrence of knowledge may arrive instantly and not through the process of analysis and perceptions of the facts. Often times it happens to us when we are doing something routine such as walking to work or taking a shower. Also practicing yoga, meditation and pranayama over time results in a gradual development of intuition. This is a practice which encourages individuality and helps bring answers to important life questions. It also provides a road map leading a person to explore their inner self- their true nature and unique life path off and on the yoga mat (Sadhu, 2018). 

 

There are many other tools that help in developing intuition. Yet meditation, pranayama and yoga are some of the best ways which helps in letting go of attachments and to discover the inner self.  But how does one even begin to find this inner voice? Usually the intuitive voice is subtle, gentle and not obvious. Finding stillness within is essential in being able to listen to your intuition (Bagya et al., 2018). The key understanding of our true nature or inner self comes with learning how to widen the gap between thought to thought or still the senseless mind chatter or what Buddhists at Fo Guan Shan monastery, Taiwan call the “monkey mind”. Remember this proverb, “silence isn’t empty. It is full of answers”. One needs to develop the ability to distinguish between the noises and the voices, the voice of fear and the subtle voice of inner wisdom. 

Whenever you want to understand something or to make a decision, ask for guidance from inner higher self and then experiment. The resistance, tension, built-up emotions, trauma or stress… the physical practice of yoga will burn out the stress-energy from the body accumulated through years of samskaras, which means the mental impressions, recollections or psychological imprints in Sanskrit. Different yoga vinyasas or poses on the mat for example, despite the skill level, will help in your cultivation of intuitive skills (Schiffmann, 2013).

 

A yoga practice re-develops the intuition ability to consider what is healthy in each moment. In today’s busy, technological world we have completely lost touch with this intuitive ability. As a person learns to turn inwards both mentally and emotionally, they start the process of cultivating the intuition, instinct and intelligence. Following one’s own path requires courage, saying no to the things that don’t serve you and confronting your own demons. Yoga helps to practice opening the chest and heart, core engagement, self-grounding, calm and slow breathing and thus, emulating a courageous yet conscious warrior on the battlefield of life.

The voice of intuition is basically our inner hidden voice, calm, collected and sure. Intuition provides confidence and courage to make such decisions which serves us, regardless of the inside and outside voices. Yoga is designed in such a way so as to prepare the body for meditation and meditation in movement is yoga. Yoga represents union and as a person progresses through yoga, one may start experiencing prolonged periods of union within and thus stronger intuition (Paniccia et al., 2018). Yoga helps a person to tune into his emotions and to develop perception. Intuition is not a result of using the logical mind or over thinking rather it is a feeling of knowing that which we don’t know. During the yoga practice, we become intuitive when our body becomes physically aligned, naturally, with our breath movements. We feel different sensations, shaky and sweaty. We begin to think if these feelings are triggered by our thoughts. In the end, we come to know that these feelings are from our inner heart space (Sadhu, 2018).

The popular Netflix movie “Innsaei” has highlighted the global journey of soul searching. This movie has shown the power of intuition by uncovering the art of connecting within today’s world of distraction, stress and disconnection. The expert in indigenous consciousness and neuroscience in the movie shows a belief that human beings use only a small fraction of their capacity that is resulting in devastating consequences. Humans must need to learn something new, discover their inner self that which will birth miracles. The intuition binds us together and without this we, as human beings lose our sense of purpose. 

 

But how to regain intuition? Invite silence into your day, start with a short meditation or through yoga or watching the sunrise. Allow the voices in your mind to float away, do not engage with them and invite your inner voice to guide you. Connect yourself with the breath of divinity. Check within yourself, what are you thinking?  How are you feeling? Feel your presence and it will make you dilute the stress and offer you the best solutions and inner wisdom of always knowing what to do next.

Intuition, meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices not only help in overcoming fear, but they also encourage self-love and love for others. At first, learning to listen to your intuition may seem strange or challenging. Listening to your intuition, however, will allow you to see and believe how our life journey and nature is being carried out in surprising ways. How truly miraculous and incredible it is to be alive! Essentially, we are spiritual beings living a human experience through this dense, material container of the physical body…we are light warriors and destined to do great things on this beautiful planet and being in touch with our intuitive abilities will assist us and carry us through life’s challenges.  

References

 

  • Bagya, D.A., Ganesan, T., Maheshkumar, K., Venkateswaran, S.T. and Padmavathi, R., 2018. Perception of stress among yoga trained individuals. National Journal of Physiology, Pharmacy and Pharmacology8(1), pp.47-50.

  • Paniccia, M., Knafo, R., Thomas, S., Taha, T., Ladha, A., Thompson, L. and Reed, N., 2018. Mindfulness-Based Yoga for Youth With Persistent Concussion: A Pilot Study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy73(1), pp.73012050040p1-73012050040p11.

  • Sadhu, M., 2018. In Days of Great Peace: The Highest Yoga as Lived. Routledge.

  • Schiffmann, E., 2013. Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness. Simon and Schuster.

 

How to Travel the World by Teaching Yoga

            The nomadic yogi lifestyle is gaining momentum. Working as a yoga instructor and travelling abroad for the same cause has never been so appealing. We have lots of examples of some yoga teachers who have managed to find ways of following their heart and pursuing their passions while travelling and working abroad as a yoga teacher. Many of them have shared their experiences as well and have inspired others that pursuing your dreams while travelling the world is possible.

If you have similar goals of teaching yoga while travelling need not to worry. This lifestyle is about surrendering to the universe, going with the flow and with a bit of research and planning it is very possible. We will tell you some of the easiest ways regarding how to start teaching yoga abroad. Going abroad for teaching yoga is an incredible experience and thus, is among the most enriching life experiences you will ever have. Before getting it all started, all you need to do is to find good yoga instructor jobs abroad through work away sites for instance and arrange something before arrival. You will find a number of opportunities in different countries, as the market for teaching yoga has started becoming more in demand especially in Bali, India and Portugal. These sites are where I started my search when I wanted to work in Portugal as a yoga teacher abroad and eventually opened my own school, Bend it like Buddha. You can find a number of jobs through different websites such as:

http://www.yogatrade.com

https://www.workaway.info/

https://www.helpx.net/

 Once you decide the country you would like to travel in as a yoga teacher, search for different options where you can apply for your teaching job or work away position. The growing popularity of yoga has grabbed the attention of different hostels, glamp and camp sites, hotels and 5 star famous resorts. These hotels have started offering daily yoga classes to their guests and usually they have higher margins of salary.  While working there, you will have an awesome opportunity of exchange available to you. If you agreed for exchange, you will be provided with a nice room to stay and good food to eat.

 In the area that you have decided to travel to, if there is a yoga retreat or 200 hour or 300 hour teacher training happening, make the most of the available opportunity and reach out to them and let them know that you will be in the area and can help teach classes for their TTC. These positions often pay well. Networking with the leaders may help you discover some future opportunities while assisting them and will help you learn more about the industry. If you have planned to stay at a hostel while travelling, let the owners of the hostel know that you are a yoga instructor and ask them to encourage arranging yoga classes for their guests.

Besides this, you will have several other options too. You can offer classes on a donation basis in a community space such as a recreation centre, music festival or vegetarian restaurant or cafe. Either you can help out from the work exchange option or you can arrange donation classes for a local charity either on the beach or a nearby park.

Erica Hartnick is among one of these yoga travellers who combined her dream of travelling all around the world. She has travelled to different countries and has connected with the people through donation-based classes and work exchange as well (Hartnick, 2013). Nikki Scott is another such yoga teacher who has completed 200-hour yoga teacher training in Goa, India and has discovered some amazing opportunities in Thailand. Bali is also among one of the best places in the world to enjoy a yoga retreat, one of the most popular places to teach and learn the art of yoga (Scott, 2017).

Travel and yoga make a perfect combination especially for the wonderful yogis that love exploring this magical vast world. A number of female yoga teachers are travelling the world and are self-sufficient by teaching yoga or/and the other body-energy work such as Reiki, Ayurveda and Thai Yoga massage and other healing modalities.We also teach these healing arts in our yoga teacher trainings in India, Bali and Portugal.

Among these yoga instructors include Caitlin Turner, Honza and Claudine Lafond and Kino MacGregor who travelled to India to pursue her dream. Another internationally known yoga girl is Rachel Brathen who also travelled far and wide to teach yoga (Sugerman, 2019). All of these female yogi-nomads are my mentors and inspiration and you too can also pursue your dreams and the nomad-yogi lifestyle.

 Social media will also be a great source of meeting others working on a similar path and industries that are looking for yoga teachers. Follow what you love! Follow your heart! Please share with us what your nomad dreams are and what you are up to in this wide wide world.

References

Hartnick, E. (2013). 10 Tips for Teaching Yoga Abroad – Yoga Trade. [online] Yoga Trade. Available at: https://yogatrade.com/10-tips-teaching-yoga-abroad/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Rova, A. (2017). Lessons Learned From My Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/girlskill/lessons-learned-from-my-yoga-teacher-training-in-bali-35ad87a474c1 [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Scott, N. (2017). Search Job and Volunteer Opportunities For Yoga Teachers & Yogis Across The World.. [online] South East Asia Backpacker. Available at: https://southeastasiabackpacker.com/search-jobs-travel-yoga-teacher/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

Sugerman, L. (2019). 8 Yoga Teachers Who Travel Around the World. [online] DOYOUYOGA.COM. Available at: https://www.doyouyoga.com/8-yoga-teachers-who-travel-around-the-world-38352/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019].

 

Ayurveda Massage

What is it and the Benefits?

Ayurveda Massage course at Bend it like Buddha Yoga-Portugal

A variety of research studies have highlighted that Ayurveda massage helps in locating and removing the ailments related to muscles, joints and ligaments. It has further been proved through scientific studies that the massage further contributes to the improvement in blood circulation and initiation of detoxification. The stimulation is often very strong, however, the effects of the massage at the very end are not only relaxing but rejuvenating. With this powerful bodywork taking place, the practice of deep yogic breathing further provides the necessary integration and amplifies the benefits. Besides this, the passive yoga stretching during the massage contributes to increasing the mobility of joints together with the flexibility of the ligaments serving as an excellent tool for rehabilitation. (Sinha, Lohith and Ashvini, 2017).  

Look who wants a massage too;-) from our 200 hour course in Goa.

Ayurveda massage is an effective and unique form of yoga based bodywork originating in India. Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. The Ayurveda massage is considered as a combination of deep tissue massage and that is assisted by the yoga stretches and energy work. At our studio, Bend it like Buddha we incorporate the Ayurveda massage, energy work and breath work into all of our 200 hour yoga teacher trainings. This helps activate and cleanse the nadis which are energy channels and the mind and body become more balanced.  Our body is a storehouse of tensions and issues that are sometimes originating from unresolved emotional trauma. Ayurveda massage also helps in the relieving fatigue and awakening of the entire body and then each of the areas of the body are cleansed and refreshed through massage combined with the power of breath and stretches.

As the Ayurvedic medicine tradition consider the interaction and balance of mind, body and spirit from the internal power of the individual, in a similar manner, Ayurveda massage serves to relieve the pain as a preventive medicine through an increase in the circulation, stimulation and strengthening of the lymphatic system. Symptomatic relieve of stress and generation of positive emotions are also among the other benefits of Ayurveda massage. Ayurvedic massage practitioners may also suggest a variety of lifestyle changes based on the particular imbalances in a person and Dosha type. The Ayurveda massage further helps the individual to stay healthy, improving the nervous system and strengthening the immune response thus increasing the longevity together with facilitating long-term weight loss. Healthier skin together with better vision and eye health have also been proved to be the scientific benefits of Ayurveda massage (Kothainayagi and Gupta, 2018).

Stress and other toxins are accumulated in our body on regular basis and a good massage has the ability to remove these toxins. Ayurveda massage is recharging the body, making the mind soothed and relaxed. The overall sensation, in this way, is improved with the internal organs stimulated and efficiency of them is improved. Lubrication of joints, releasing muscles and calmed nerves, as a result of the massage further contributes to the mental alertness and brings an increase in the overall physical stamina of a person (Kulkarni et al., 2010).

Learning 45+ massage techniques at our yoga studio in Praia da Rocha beach, Portimao Portugal

There are certain similarities between Ayurvedic massage and Ayurvedic yoga massage, however, Ayurvedic yoga massage provides additional benefits. Our yoga school is committed to delivering the highest standard of Ayurvedic yoga massage training to our students, both beginners, people with injuries and seniors are warmy welcomed to join any of our Ayurveda massage courses in Portugal, Bali or India. All our courses are suitable for beginner students.

The release of chronic stress and tension is tangible and during the Ayurveda massage the natural energy flow is restored into the body making it feel light, calm and aligned. There are practitioners that may schedule a regular Ayurveda massage treatment as a form of physical maintenance of your body thus helping you maintain good physical and mental health in a stressful world.

Ayurveda massage relaxes the body both physically and mentally while the overall result can be observed in the form of a deeper and refreshing sleep pattern, with the aging effects reduced and the emergence of a rejuvenated appearance and inner well-being.

References

Kothainayagi, B. and Gupta, S., (2018). CONCEPTUAL AND APPLIED STUDY ON ABHYANGA (AYURVEDIC MASSAGE). PARIPEX-INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH6(7).

Kulkarni, A., Kaushik, J.S., Gupta, P., Sharma, H. and Agrawal, R.K., (2010). Massage and touch therapy in neonates: the current evidence. Indian pediatrics47(9), pp.771-776.

Sinha, K.K., Lohith, B.A. and Ashvini, M.K., (2017). Abhyanga: Different contemporary massage technique and its importance in Ayurveda. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences (ISSN 2456-3110)2(3), pp.245-251.

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is associated with letting things go. Not necessarily removing or forgetting about a past hurt but for an ideal life and good health it is generally better to forgive and forgetrather than holding grudges and resentment. Forgiveness is not only linked with others rather, often it is not being able to forgive yourself for a past mistake. Sometimes it is not possible for one to forgive one’s self. One can apply the Patanjali Sutras and the 8 limbs of yoga that is, let go and surrender.  You might not believe this but practicing yoga makes you a master in forgiveness either consciously or unconsciously. At our yoga studio, at Bend it like Buddha we teach people the gesture of forgiveness through the act of exhaling for example. We consider that when you let the things go through exhalation, there is an inspiration waiting for you. That moment in the present moment, pulling in relief and practicing forgiveness through the breath.


A question here can be raised; how can you forgive someone who has hurt you? Consider not confusing forgiveness with acceptance. Different scientific studies have been conducted that have proved that forgiveness is an act that is linked with our brain; however, it is also important to act with all your heart. Yoga helps you to establish ourselves making a contact with the peace and harmony thus strengthening the quality and power of lives. The power of forgiveness will let you move through different circumstances of your life more peacefully. 

The researchers have explained forgiveness being associated with both internal and external elements. These internal and external elements are the behavioural and emotional elements and have further emphasised that forgiveness often involve both public and private aspects of forgiveness. There, however, are only a few types of research that have studied the public and private aspects of forgiveness. McCullough, Worthington and Rachal (1997) have stated that people deal with injustice in many different ways; they might not decide to forgive or to change their emotions. Not forgiving or responding in resentment, bitterness or retaliation leads towards affecting the physical, mental, social as well as physical health in a negative manner. The researches, in this regard, have suggested that forgiveness can benefit the health in more positive ways.

Another study was conducted by a psychologist, Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet. The people were asked to think about someone who has either mistreated or hurt them in any way after which their blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension is monitored. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure has been observed while the research participants recall these unpleasant incidents. These participants were then asked to imagine forgiving their offenders and while practicing forgiveness, their stress level is observed to be decreased (Witvliet et al., 2001). 

There are some people who have considered forgiveness as emotions while the others as behaviour. Forgiveness does not require exposing oneself to the same situation again and again and most often the people also see a link between forgiveness and forgetting. Usually, when yoga is taught, an intention to let go is put into the process. It is definitely not an easy process to let something go. While practicing yoga asana, meditation and pranayama are most commonly preferred, however, it does require a reasonable time and daily practice to see and feel the results. 

Forgiveness is a decision; it is a daily practice much like yoga and meditation. This practice helps with releasing emotions thus shifting the mind towards a more pure, positive state. For some people, forgiveness is emotional not logical as it does not always make sense and not an orderly process.

How to Forgive?

The first stage is simply becoming aware of the need to forgive. Allow you to feel free and experience the full force of emotions. Express the emotions through journaling, counselling or even punching a pillow and screaming without bothering others. This may be difficult but once you go through this stage, you will definitely feel more relaxed as you will accept the situation by letting go the resistance and difficult emotions. Acceptance is the first step to improvement and when you accept how you feel about a situation and how it has impacted your life, you will find yourself releasing the grudge. On this path of forgiveness, meditation will be your invaluable aid. The stages of forgiveness, as stated above, will guide you while practicing forgiveness during meditation, pranayama and yoga. Asking for wisdom and guidance from your higher self will also provide patience and strength of going through the phase. Forgiveness will help create more space in the body to bring in more positive experiences and experience life with more ease.

References

  • McCullough, M.E., Worthington, E.L., Jr., and Rachal, K.C. (1997). Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 321-336.

  • Witvliet, C.V.O., Ludwig, T. E., and Vander Laan, K. L. (2001). Granting forgiveness of harboring grudges: Implications for emotion, physiology, and health. Psychological Science,12, 117-123.

The Benefits of seated Meditation

You certainly have heard that meditation is good for you but perhaps you have questioned the validity? There are hundreds of scientific studies that show meditation has a plethora of benefits some of the recent studies are quite incredible such that it can alter deep-seated traits in our brain patterns and character.

Neuroscientists have tested if these effects of meditation are just momentary and they have brought something very surprising for us! There are some scientific studies that have proved that mindfulness practices such as yoga decreased the level of depression, high blood pressure and anxiety. A scientific study has been conducted in Belgium involving around 400 students. Through the study, it was concluded that the students that have participated in the mindfulness program reported a reduction in the level of stress, depression and anxiety (Filip et al.,2013). Another incredible study conducted in the University of California has further indicated that the meditation is not only effective in treating patients with emotion regulation and social anxiety disorder but at the same time, it further decreases dysfunctional beliefs and ruminative thinking (Ramel et al., 2004).

Gamma brainwaves play an important role in day to day functioning of the brain and thus meditation.

We were very excited to explore this and very soon we will share this discovery regarding Gamma waves in our upcoming documentary which L. Farrah Furtado produced and Scott Weatherall directed in Mysore, India.

Gamma rays not only assist with improving and maintaining memory, they further function in such a manner that they help a person stop feeling stressed and depressed. Our brain is made up of millions of cells and the brain waves with the highest frequency are called the gamma waves and hence are critical to understanding the functioning of the human brain during different emotional states. Moreover, it has been observed associated with a feeling of greater well-being and improved cognition. The researchers have indicated the meditative students-group displayed high-levels of gamma brain wave activity concluding that meditation has some astonishing effects on altering an individual’s mood, cognition and functioning of the brain. It has been demonstrated that yogis have also elevated gamma oscillations for meditation practice. A rare gamma pattern in yogis has been observed as the standard feature of their everyday brain wave activity. In yogis the gamma oscillations are far more prominent of their brain activity make up. Ordinarily gamma waves from, say, a creative insight, last no longer than a fifth of a second—not the full minute seen in the yogis. Yogis are people who practice regular yoga, meditation, breathwork and pranayama.

Our Bend it like Buddha yoga studio in Portugal holds sessions for daily meditation during our retreats and programs and plays a significant part in helping people feel relieved after their everyday tensed activities and situations. In our 200-hour teacher training, we meditate at least 2x a day for two weeks during the Vinyasa and Ashtanga teacher training program and students of our yoga school often feel these wonderful benefits after the first meditation class. People do not need to be experts to apply. We warmly welcome beginners and seniors to come learn how to stretch themind and body with us! Soon we will be offering online meditation training for beginners-stay tuned

Those who have studied the benefits of Gamma waves claim that meditation practices enable better processing of information and have further supported the healthy functioning of memory.

In our upcoming documentary to be released spring 2019; several experts and scientists discuss Gamma and the incredible benefits of meditation. Gamma waves are considered as providing a significant role in unlocking the information about brain health including individuals suffering from head traumas.

Richie and Antoine while studying the gamma brain state have discussed that, considering the electrifying data in EEG frequency, deficiency in gamma waves could host a number of issues (Goleman et al., 2018). A decrease in the number of gamma waves is an indication that the individual is increasingly prone to depression, impulse, stress or lack of focus.

Fascinatingly meditation practices help to regulate mood and anxiety disorders and considered to be effective enough to treat anxiety and depression much like antidepressant drug therapy. A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has indicated the practice of open monitoring meditation explaining that the meditators are more likely to attend a moment to moment – stream of stimuli and meditation, in this way, has helped in reducing their stress level and anxiety. Seated meditation increased grey concentration in the brain, especially in those areas that involve learning and memory, regulations of emotions, sense of self and having a perspective.

In a nutshell, meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement. Long-term meditation, on the other hand, enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain, improves focus, attention and ability to work in stressful conditions.

At the Bend it like Buddha Yoga school we recommend beginners to start with seated meditation 5 minutes daily and working up to longer lengths (60minutes).

You can sit on a bolster or have your back against the wall, set your device-timer. Close your eyes, hands interlaced below your belly and focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Some students find it useful to bring focus to a mantra, color or symbol if they find concentrating on only the breath is too challenging. Avoid the temptation in engaging with daydreams or random thoughts.

Meditation is a wonderful mini holiday that you can do whenever you feel tired, for a “pick me up” or about to do an anxious activity or meditate anywhere and anytime.

You can also try guided meditations on YouTube.

Here is a meditation for forgiveness I created and just posted on YouTube:

Enjoy!

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References

Filip, R., James, G., Gucht, K., J. Williams, G.,(2013). School-Based Prevention and Reduction of Depression in Adolescents: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness Group Program. Mindfulness.

Goleman, D., Davidson, R., Goleman, A., Davidson, A. and Staff, L. (2018). How Meditation Changes Your Brain — and Your Life. [online] Lion’s Roar. Available at: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-your-life/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2018].

Ramel, W., Goldin, P.R., Carmona, P.E. and McQuaid, J.R., 2004. The effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive processes and affect in patients with past depression. Cognitive therapy and research28(4), pp.433-455.

Meditation for Forgiveness

Tis’ the season to be jolly…and for gatherings with family and friends. For some, the holiday season can be very difficult and a painful time to go through. I created this #NEW Metta Kindness Meditation to help you let go of negativity or to listen to this whenever you feel a twinge of a grudge or anger towards someone who has hurt you.

 

Forgiveness…your health depends on it! I created this #meditation to create space for you to let go of grudges and to release anger. I created this meditation for people to be able to consciously and deliberately release emotions of resentment or vengeance. The positive effect of this meditation is also enhanced with an original binaural beats-sound healing piece in the background produced by @jerometruman

mother and daughter on grass

Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com

To learn more about the Scientific Benefits of Sound please check out my blog & sign up for updates: https://benditlikebuddhayoga.com/blog/

Not forgiving or holding a grudge causes your body to release an over loaded amount of cortisol, a hormone that can cause havoc to the body and later may manifest in hard to treat illnesses such as high blood pressure.

Science says that forgiveness brings plenty of health benefits including improved relationships, reduction in pain, decreased anxiety and stress, it lowers blood pressure, lowers your risk of depression and provides you with a stronger immunity and better heart health.

Letting go of negative emotions can even have a remarkable impact on the body immediately! A 2015 meta-analysis synthesising various high quality experiments on loving-kindness meditation, found a medium-sized improvement to daily positive emotion.The length of time meditating on Metta did not affect the magnitude of positive impact of the practice!

Metta_Forgivenessmeditation_youtube

Mettā meditation, or loving-kindness meditation, is the practice and the cultivation of Mettā, or in other words benevolence, kindness, and compassion. The practice consists of repetitions of mantras such as “may you be happy” or “may you be free from suffering”, for example directed at a person with whom you have a challenge with and others.

Prior to the advent of the Buddha, according to Martin Wiltshire, there existed the traditions of Brahma-loka and meditation with the four virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. The early Buddhist texts assert that pre-Buddha ancient Indian sages who taught these virtues were earlier incarnations of the Buddha. Post-Buddha, these same virtues are found in the Hindu texts such as verse 1.33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, wherein the word Maitri is synonymous with Metta.

Loving-kindness (maitri), along with compassion and equanimity, are found in the early Upanishads of Hinduism, while loving-kindness (metta) is found in early Sutras of Jainism along with compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. The ancient Indian Paccekabuddhas mentioned in the early Buddhist Suttas, those who lived before the Buddha, mention all “four immeasurables” and Brahmavihara, and they are claimed in the Sutras to be previous incarnations of the Buddha.

This meditation will help cultivate benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the ill-behaved.

grayscale photo of man and woman smiling

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

MEDITATION LINK: #new #meditation

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Thank you for your interest, listening and reading!

LOKAH SAMA STAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU!

May all beings everywhere be happy and free!