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.
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.
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).
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 knowyoga 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, onemaystart 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 orover thinkingrather 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).
ThepopularNetflix 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 willbirthmiracles. 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 meditationorthrough 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 surprisingways.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 thisbeautifulplanet and being in touch with our intuitive abilities will assist us and carry us throughlife’schallenges.
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 Pharmacology, 8(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 Therapy, 73(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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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
Kothainayagi, B. and Gupta,
S., (2018). CONCEPTUAL AND APPLIED STUDY ON ABHYANGA (AYURVEDIC MASSAGE). PARIPEX-INDIAN
JOURNAL OF RESEARCH, 6(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 pediatrics, 47(9),
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 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 betterto forgive and forgetrather than holding grudges and resentment. Forgiveness is not only linked withothers rather, often it is not being able to forgive yourself for a past mistake. Sometimes itis not possible for one to forgive one’s self. One can apply the Patanjali Sutras and the 8 limbs of yoga that is,let goand surrender. You might not believethisbut practicing yoga makes you a master in forgiveness either consciously orunconsciously. At our yoga studio,at Bend it like Buddhawe teach people the gesture of forgiveness through the act of exhalingfor example. We consider that when you let the things go through exhalation, there is aninspiration waiting for you. Thatmomentin the present moment, pulling inrelief and practicing forgivenessthrough 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 ourbrain;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 thusstrengthening the quality and power of lives. The power of forgiveness will let you move through different circumstances of your life morepeacefully.
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 offorgiveness.McCullough, Worthington and Rachal(1997) have stated that people deal with injustice in many differentways;they might not decide to forgive or to change their emotions. Notforgiving or responding in resentment, bitterness or retaliationleads towards affecting the physical, mental, socialas well as physical healthin 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 vanOyen Witvliet. The people were asked to think about someonewho 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 werethen 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 asemotions whilethe 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 timeand daily practice to see and feel the results.
Forgiveness is adecision;it is a dailypracticemuch like yoga and meditation.This practice helps withreleasing emotions thus shifting the mind towards a more pure, positivestate. For some people, forgiveness is emotional not logical asit 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. Allowyouto feel free and experience the full force of emotions.Express the emotions through journaling, counselling or even punching a pillow andscreaming without bothering others. This maybe difficult but once you go through this stage, you will definitely feelmorerelaxed as you will accept the situation by letting go the resistanceand 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. Askingfor wisdom and guidance from your higher selfwill also provide patience and strength of going through the phase. Forgiveness willhelp create more space in the body tobringin more positive experiences and experience life with moreease.
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.
You certainlyhave heard that meditation is good for you but perhaps you have questioned the validity? There are hundreds of scientific studies thatshow meditationhas 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 asyoga decreased the level of depression, high blood pressure and anxiety. A scientific studyhas 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 raregamma 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 studioin Portugalholds sessions for daily meditation during our retreats and programs and plays a significant part in helpingpeople feel relieved after their everyday tensed activities and situations. In our 200-hour teacher training, we meditate at least 2x a day for two weeksduring the Vinyasa and Ashtanga teacher training program and students of our yoga school often feel these wonderful benefitsafter the first meditation class. People do not need to be experts to apply.We warmly welcome beginners and seniorsto 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 discussGamma and the incredible benefits of meditation.Gamma waves are considered as providing a significant role in unlocking the information about brain health includingindividuals 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 againstthe 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 findconcentrating 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 andanytime.
You can also try guided meditations on YouTube.
Here is a meditation for forgiveness I created and just posted on YouTube:
Please remember to sign up for our newsletter for updates on new blog posts, online yoga courses and free meditations:
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 research, 28(4), pp.433-455.
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
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!
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.
Human beings are social animals which benefit greatly from coming together through different shared rituals, traditions and practices. These rituals and traditions connect us together with a kind of social glue. Different types of rituals have been observed throughout history and cultures. The most common among which include meditation and prayers as well as rites of passage such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. In the nineteenth century, these rituals were first debated by the scholars when the inquiry regarding the origins of religion began. One of the most common sources of ritual experiences is in spiritual practices while rituals and traditions have further been observed playing an important part in maintaining and transmitting cultural values.
Rituals, however, can take an extraordinary array of shapes and forms. You must have heard of these rituals performed in religious settings or in solitude involving fixed as well as repeated sequences of actions. Such as when people use mala beads while meditating or chanting a mantra. People have been observed engaged in different rituals for different purposes. The purpose for rituals may include, either with the intention of achieving desired emotional outcomes, to boost confidence level or to reduce anxiety, performing well in a competition or to alleviate their grief are just a few examples.
Rituals and ceremonies can be extremely effective and have a multitude of benefits according to scientific studies. Some of the most prominent benefits have been observed in the form of the healthy emotional well-being of humans because rituals have the ability to make these practices sacred and connect people together.
Whenever a student first visits our studio at Bend it like Buddha Yoga, Praia da Rocha in Portimao, Portugal for the Vinyasa and Ashtanga 200 hour yoga teacher training they too will go through rituals and a ceremony with powerful sound healing and dance-movement for example. It does not matter if you are a complete beginner or a senior just starting out with basic exercises and stretching all are warmly welcome into our yoga space. There are many other Yoga rituals, for example chanting the mantra OM with a group of yogis at the end of a yoga class and sometimes with the added benefit of sound healing with a Tibetan singing bowl during Shavasana. Even attending a yoga class is a ritual in itself as it provides a sense of routine for staying committed and balanced in our lives.
The anthropologists have further revealed that rituals have the necessary impact on the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of people. In answer to the question if rituals and ceremonies actually work, it has been revealed through scientific research that rituals have resulted in enhancing the confidence and emotional stability in people in their abilities( Norton, Gino 2013) Furthermore, experimental research by Norton, Gino proves multiple benefits from practicing rituals. Not only do they have the power to alleviate grief, but they also serve to enhance the experience of consuming food—even something as mundane as a carrot. This is also describing the practice of mindfulness. Essentially, to be able to be mindful and to be in the present moment is an important prerequisite for leading a joyful, peaceful and stress free lifestyle.
A purification ceremony is a term that is associated with some spiritual rituals which means to be free of uncleanliness, negativity and toxins. Science has proved that water is essential for and thus can be used to cleanse our subtle energetic body. For this reason, water has also been used ceremoniously during our yoga teacher training in Ubud and it has nothing to do with believing any dogma or religion for students to receive the most of its purifying benefits.
In Bali, Bend it like Buddha school has planned a very special ocean salutation for our students’ initiation ceremony to the 200 hour teacher program. Water is considered one of the key forces of life. In a similar manner, the Hindu God of water that is also recognised as The Water Temple in Bali is considered sacred for bringing love, healing, good fortune and health (Martin, 2018). A purification water ceremony, in this regard, would be held at our yoga venue in Bali where the ceremony will be started in the main pool to bath and meditate after making the offering at the temple. It is required to set a Sankalpa a personal resolve, this intent could be something a person would like to let go of for example. After which a person can either lie down in Shavasana or sit in meditation. The Balinese priest will prepare a little of the holy water in a vase with flowers and incense while chanting powerful mantras in Sanskrit. Our students will be invited to receive this sacred water cleansing as this blessed water is sprinkled over their head.
The scientific studies have further proved positive effects of singing bowl sound meditation on a person and thus the concept of sound healing is used as an alternative medicine as sound waves and vibrations can help the body heal during yoga rituals and ceremonies. Tibetan singing bowls are not only widely used for spiritual practices but also they are used for medicinal purposes such as in the healing process. These unique, beneficial and beautiful tones are creating the perfect state of mind for deep meditation, inspiration and creative thinking.
Blissful Breath, Breath of Bliss or the Mother Wave breath is applied to all of our Breath to Breath ceremonies which we have already shared in the Algarve-Portugal, Taiwan, Bali and at Portugal Spirit hosted by one of the largest Yoga festivals in the world. Here is a Portugal Spirit Festival Review of our Breath to Breath ceremony.
This breath work practice we add to our rituals and ceremonies is very different than Pranayama. The powerful breath work we practice is combined with movement, Kundalini kryas, Reiki, dance and mantra which infuses the group with incredible sensations, stokes the fire of aliveness and creates a safe space for emotional release. Often we hear students describe their emotions after our Breath to Breath ceremony as life changing and unconditional love from within. This Breath to Breath journey is guided by a compassionate and experienced teacher, binaural beats sound healing, empowering mantras and positive affirmations that take students towards a deeper spiritual experience. The scientific evidence of Breath Work like this has been presented in form of producing a response in the body which stimulates the brain in a very unique and beneficial manner. A study, in this regard, has been completed by an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University for studying and measuring the effect of breathing techniques on people. The study has revealed a decrease in anxiety and decrease in depressive effect after specialized breathing (Alderman, 2016).
There has been an ongoing debate regarding which of the rituals have been effective and which have not been, some of the yoga class rituals are surprisingly effective with incredible benefits overall.
These are just a few examples of the rituals and ceremonies we share combining mantra, sound binaural beats healing, water purification ceremonies and powerful breath work healing. We offer these classes at all of our 200 hour teacher trainings in Goa, Mysore, Bali and Portugal.
A question that students often ask is if sound healing is based on sound science or it is just a bunch of noise. Sound has been observed impacting the physical, mental, emotional as well as the spiritual state of a person. It has further been stated that certain sound frequencies that can be considered as healing have the ability to influence our brainwaves. Psychological abnormalities are increasing today such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder…and the amount of medicines prescribed to relieve the symptoms have been criticized. For this reason,people are moving towards alternative ways of healing such as yoga, meditation, breath work, pranayama and sound healing.
You probably have been familiar with the effect of music and you might agree with me that even in the most tense situations great music has made you feel relaxed. But how is this possible? Many students in our yoga teacher trainings are interested in determining the science behind binaural beats and sound healing in general. Deeply rooted ancient cultures and civilizations, when researched, have been observed considering sound like a tool that can be used for promoting the physical as well as emotional health. The ancient Egyptians believed vowels as sacred and for this reason, have used vowel sound chants in healing. Tibetans, on the other hand, have considered the singing bowls as a sacred symbol for rituals.
Auditory beats in the brain have been extensively studied by many researchers and it has been revealed that our different states of consciousness have a direct relationship with the chemical, electrical and as well as the architectural environment of our brain (Patel and Iversen, 2014).This architecture of our brain structure, as well as its connectivity, is altered by our thought processes and our daily habits together with the neurochemical and electrical oscillations of our mind. Understanding the fundamentals of sound in healing requires developing an understanding of the brainwaves. Generating from electrical pulses, these brainwaves have been divided into five different bandwidths with the slowest wave occurring during the state of sleep and then faster waves in the state of daydreaming.
Our brain has the ability to absorb new information quickly, control our mood and our sleep patterns together with the healing responses. There are certain specific frequenciesof sound that can be used for the generation of neurotransmitters. The different patterns of brainwaves are linked with the production of neurochemicals that are associated with stress release and relaxation. With concerns regarding the benefits, it is often recommended to listen to a binaural beat for generating alpha waves between 8 and 14 hertz because this is scientifically proven to produce more serotonin, the “feel good” chemical release of the body. On the other hand, music has also been observed in producing a relaxed alpha state relieving a person from emotional suffering and stress. Listening to music is shown to create peak emotions, which increases the amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain and helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Interestingly, research also shows that playing or creating music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression.
Sound healing is trending up the same way as yoga considering it a viable medium mainly to address stress which is so prevalent in today’s society. I am always amazed yet saddened to learn the main reason students come to our yoga school is to heal themselves of something such as anxiety or high blood pressure or some other health issue. Yoga is also a meditation system that is associated with cleansing and expanding consciousness and increasing energy.While binaural beats have now been significantly used during yoga sessions synchronizing the hemispheres of the brain through specific frequencies. The spiritual journey of yoga through these binaural beats is now significantly used to change the vibrations within our brain shifting us towards a more positive state of mind. In our yoga school, Bend it like Buddha we the yoga instructors and teachers have heavily brought their experience in yoga, therapy and neuroscience to their teachings and healing processes into their sessions which often involve binaural beats sound healing. Yoga instructors, today, have specialized in working with the subconscious mind in connection with the body and the emotions. In this way, sound has been observed playing a great role in guiding especially the one suffering from psychological distress towards a transformational as well as sustainable wellness of body, mind and soul. Binaural beats with guided meditation has become a great team for listening to the binaural beats music as a lot of binaural beats music has been designed to entrain the brain in a similar way as that of meditation.
Now recall your yoga experience, have you ever felt your muscles relaxed with a particular sound vibration. The sound of your yoga instructor playing the Tibetan singing bowl during Shavasana perhaps? I love doing this for our students. This is just a tiny one example how sound medicine can heal the body along with practicing yoga or meditation.
Blog post by
L. Farrah Furtado ( E-RYT 500)
Ashtanga, Meditation, Pranayama and Vinyasa instructor
Usui Reiki 3rd degree master
Patel, A.D. and Iversen, J.R., 2014. The evolutionary neuroscience of musical beat perception: The Action Simulation for Auditory Prediction (ASAP) hypothesis. Frontiers in systems neuroscience, 8, p.57.