Hi there! It's beetee. In my corner here in Tokyo there's life waking up after the winter hibernation. Branches of plum started to burgeon shy pinky blossoms, tiny sprouts push the soil from their wings. I woke up yesterday, stepped out on the balcony and felt a sweep of warm, fresh air through my hair. Hello Spring.
This week's quick dive: Warrior 3, Moderation of the senses (Brahmacharya) and DNA as the future of data storage.
Yoga Pose of The Week: Virabhadrasana Warrior 3
This is the last warrior pose, I promise! Warrior 3 or also known as Airplane by my kids yogis.
If you have heard before that yoga is good for your balance, this is it. As we do this pose in class, I always remind my yogis: balance has to do with two things: your mental focus and your core engagement. Sometimes, whatever you do, your head keeps wandering and wondering, hmmm, what am I going to have to lunch today? What's happening this weekend? I gotta put that on my to-do list. When your mind is preoccupied with millions of things, it can easily come out onto your body and make it equally fluctuate. Hence, focusing the mind in what you do especially when it comes to balancing on one leg is essential to achieve the task.
As for core engagement, this activates the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony, therefore making the balance natural. This is not only to achieve your beautiful Warrior 3 posture, but can also be applied to your daily life activities, to keeping you from falling. Poses and activities that require core strength such as Warrior 3 is the reason why Core Yoga classes are such a good complement to other types of yoga, making your yoga flow much smoother and feels much easier. If you don't know it yet, I'm pretty well known for leading tough and yet achievable Core Power Yoga classes!
One of the key things I would pay attention to in Warrior 3 is the standing knee. Keep a micro bend in that knee, especially if you have weak knees. This will transfer your weight from the knee joint to the muscles of the legs, in particular the quadriceps, and prevent the knee joint from having to bear weight in an extreme range (knee extension) position.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga - Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya - the moderation of the senses - is one of the key practices yoga offers for managing sensory cravings. How often do we stay on our devices late into the night? Wake up in the middle of the night by violent scenes from the Netflix shows we are watching? Feeling jittery from that second cup of coffee this morning?
When our senses connect with the pleasures of the world, they offer us plenty off stimulations and delights, but they can also throw us off balance and squander our energy. Maintaining equanimity while living in the world of the senses is a pivotal task for yoga practitioners - it helps us restore harmony to the body and the mind.
I personally find that the interpretation of brahmacharya from its Sanskrit and ancient context is the largest among all the yamas and the niyamas in the eight limbs of yoga. Directly translated, brahmacharya means 'behaviour which leads to Brahman'. Brahman is thought of as ‘the creator’ in Hinduism and yogic terms, so what we’re basically talking about here is behaviour which leads us towards ‘the divine’ or ‘higher power’. Traditionally, brahmacharya was meant to encourage those involved in the practice of yoga to conserve their sexual energy, in favour of using that energy to further progress along the yogic path. But in a larger sense, practically speaking, brahmacharya turns the mind inward, balances the senses, and leads to freedom from dependencies and cravings.
How do we practice brahmacharya? As I often say, awareness is the starting point of all healing processes. The first step in brahmacharya’s strategy for managing desires is to cultivate awareness of your sensory cravings and the manner in which you express them. And then we'll see how we can control them by resting them or performing breathing techniques to quiet the nervous system.
How do you control your addictions or sensory cravings? I'd love to hear.
Read more on the Yama of the Eight Limbs of Yoga:
Anything above the Earth and below the Sun is Life. Hopefully something useful to you, or at least something that will bring a smile to your face. 😊
Could DNA be the future of data storage?
Speaking about moderation, one of the things we nowadays do without any consideration for moderation is - let me know if you agree with me - snapping photos. Long gone are the days we took so much care, attention and prudence to take one photo with a 35mm film camera, and for whatever occasion it was, that one photo you just took was it, no more trials, everybody let's change your facial expression or posture for a new photo. (I only just heard about this, I wasn't born when 35mm film was still around 😜) These days, you find one hundreds and fifty thousand copies of the exact same photo on your phone, and each copy has 15 'blurred versions' created automatically by your smartphone without your knowledge. Where are we going to store all these data? How often does your phone stop taking pictures because - again? - your storage is full? Me, every month.
So techies have come up with a(nother) solution to the exponential growth of IoT data: using your DNA to store information beyond your hair or eye colours. To store data in DNA, the original digital data is encoded, then written (synthesized using chemical/biological processes) and stored. A single gram of DNA has been found to be capable of storing 215 PB (220,000 TB) of data. In a real-world scenario, DNA could be used to store the whole of YouTube (which is thought to host roughly 400,000 TB of new video each year) in a small refrigerator, as opposed to acres and acres of data centers. If preserved correctly, DNA can also last thousands of years. In addition, DNA can always be read without reliance on a single technology that could fade away as the industry innovates.
Sounds like sci-fi? Sure does. But it's real and it has been done for 10 years! DNA is the new USB. If you are - like me - curious how to extract DNA at home with alcohol, soap and salt, follow this link 😂
If you are in Tokyo on April 2nd, 2022, join me and Nami Yoga Studio's awesome yoga teachers at our fundraising event to support Ukraine. Yoga outdoor in the park under cherry blossoms, with a great cause! More information here.
Thanks for reading! But don't leave just yet!
Ask me TWO questions or leave me TWO comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
Until then, take a deep breath and keep your worries away!
Yoga Quick Dive is a series of bimonthly newsletters that should take no more than 5 minutes of your reading time. Let's deep dive quickly into 3 topics: Body, Mind and Life.