Hi there! It's beetee. No small talk, let's jump straight into:
This week's quick dive: Trikonasana, Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) and Restoring Our Sensory Connection to Food.
Yoga Pose of The Week: Trikonasana Triangle Pose
I love triangle pose! We teachers usually incorporate this pose into a hip-opening sequence of poses along Warrior 2 and Reversed Warrior. For me, it's almost like a rest pose! It's a reward after all that warrior work.
Why? Triangle pose stretches and lengthens not only your hamstrings and inner thighs, but also your hips, spine and shoulders. It's all-in-one!
That said, it's not an easy pose! If you are not so flexible, you might struggle to straighten the knees, or reach your bottom hand toward the front ankle. But no worries. Don't be shy to use support, such as a micro bend in the front knee or a block/book under your bottom hand. We are all unique, and there is always a version of each pose that is best suited to each of us, today. On the other hand, if you want to spend a little bit more energy in this pose, lift your arms parallel to each other alongside your ears and you'll find your core blissfully activated.
One thing to pay attention to: reaching your bottom hand as low as possible is not the goal of this pose. There's no goal to any pose really, there are only variations that can achieve certain effects. But in this pose, instead of reaching your hand low, try to lift and maintain your spine straight and avoid bending your back. Your spine is very important and is a lot more fragile than other bones and joints, so pay extra attention to it.
While we're discussing triangle, here's a little joke to lighten up your day:
Why did the square fall in love with the triangle?
Because she had acute angle.
Breathing Time: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
In the yogic traditions and teachings there is this concept called "Prana". It's quite similar to the concept of "Chi" (or "Qi") in Chinese medicine. Prana is the life force or vital force. The term is used in Hindu and yogic philosophy to refer to all the manifest energy in the universe, present in both living beings and inanimate objects.
In the human energy body, prana is said to flow through energy channels known as nadis.
Now, Nadi Shodhana is an important pranayama (breathing) practiced by alternating inhalation and exhalation between the right and left nostrils to influence the energy channels, restore equilibrium, bring balance and harmony to the body’s physical and mental systems. Use your right thumb to press gently against the right nostril (therefore closing it) as you inhale through the left nostril. Then use your right ring finger to press against the left nostril as you exhale through the right. On the second round, inhale through the right and exhale through the left, and so on.
Yogic traditions believe that there are always two opposite forces working in harmony. Such as, the Sun & the Moon. Hold & cold. Rising & falling. Expanding & shrinking. Man & woman. Left & right. Balancing these opposite forces is essential to our harmonious existence.
Contraindications: Don't practice Nadi Shodhana if you are having a severe cold/flu, heart disease, high blood pressure or are not a later stage of pregnancy. Call me if you need some more clarifications :)
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. 😊
Restoring Our Sensory Connection to Food
Did you know (or remember) that roughly 80% of our body condition is a result of what we eat and only 20% is from our exercise? Yet are we eating the right way? How to gain better control over what we (want to/should) eat?
I stumbled across this article on the Guardian the other day about our relationship with food, which explains a lot about our eating habits. Before the so-called industrialisation of our diet, we used to use our hands to determine whether fruits are ripe, our sense of smell to tell whether the milk has turned into yogurt. Nowadays, if we want ripe fruits and vegetables, we buy them cut, chopped and displayed in a plastic box. We rely on supermarket's labels and expiry dates. We even shop perishable food online. With busy lifestyles, we increasingly consume convenient but ultra-processed foods that mask all flavours. We eat lunch in front of computer screens and dinner watching TV. (Even Kim Kardashian got hired by Beyond Meat as Chief Taste Consultant without having to even bite into any of their vegan meat.) Eating in the modern world has become sense-blind. Yet senses are our window to the outer world. For thousands of years, our hunter-gatherers ancestors used their senses as much as possible as critical survival skills, and their caveman's diet created the strongest and most resilient bodies.
So if you, like I, recognise that this is an issue we need to fix, how to do it? How to reconnect with our foods? There are a few very simple solutions, starting always with awareness of the situation so that we purposely increase our use of the senses - touch, smell, look, listen, taste - in choosing the food we eat. Visit the farmer's market more often instead of (online) hypermarkets. Stop buying fruits that are wrapped in a single plastic sheet. Cook home more. And educate our children from an early age. Learn from TastEd, an organisation founded based on the Sapere method used in France, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands, to make children interact with food in a classroom setting and make it a positive, long-lasting habit.
I have recently join Livekick Studios with 2 yoga classes a week. You can do it live with me online, or you can access the videos on-demand. Hope to see you there!
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.