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Yoga Quick Dive #3



Hi! It's beetee here. How has November arrived in your life this year?


Here in Tokyo, it is probably the best season of the year, in addition to spring, summer and winter ๐Ÿ˜‰. The rain has retreated to give space to warming sun, clear blue sky and leaves changing colour. The change of season is powerful in many ways, and this summer-to-autumn-into-winter transition brings on maturing energies, and with that, abundant emotions.


As you might have noticed, Yoga Quick Dive will take a monthly break on the last Thursday of the month, perhaps to allow space for you to reflect on your own. Let's face it, we receive daily an overwhelming number of newsletters in various formats. I want to make sure what you read from me is worth your precious time.


This week's quick dive: the popular Downward Facing Dog, the Yogic Breathing and the best advice given to Warren Buffet.

Yoga Pose of the Week - Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

A student, or maybe two, or ten, asked me: why always downward facing dog? Why is it so ubiquitous? Why do we do it all the time?


I answered, in fact, you don't have to spend so much time on downward dog. We could even have an entire yoga practice without it. But if you think about it, do you remember the first time you stayed in this pose? Your shoulders were burning, your hands wanted to slide forward, you could feel the blood rushing to your head, you struggled with the stretch of the back of your legs. It was not easy! And then over time, without you noticing it, downward dog became your resting place, where you stop to take inventory of how you feel in your body and in your mind. You breathe better in it. That's when you know your body has changed, and so has your mind.


Most important thing to remember? Keep your spine as straight (or more accurately, as neutral) as you could. Visualise the S-curve of your spine being maintained in downward facing dog, as if you were still standing straight. Avoid rounding your spine. This is even more relevant if you tend to spend a lot of time in downward dog in your practice.


How to practice safely? Keep the knees micro-bent and your heels lifted off the floor if your hamstrings are tight. Hide your ears between your arms to avoid a shoulders' hyperflexion. It's not a competition who can keep their head the lowest to the floor in this pose. ๐Ÿ™„ Oh and also, before your first downward facing dog of the day, try to warm up your hamstring stretch and your shoulders' opening, and notice if it makes any difference.

The Yogic Breathing

If you have read my Yoga Quick Dive #2, you know Pranayama, or breathing practice, is part of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. One of the very common breathing practices we use in yoga is the yogic breathing, also known as the 3-part breathing. I wrote about it more in details in my article on Breathing & Stress Management. It is, simply talking, a conscious breathing exercise that involves your full lungs: lower lungs (belly area), middle lungs (chest area) and upper lungs (collar bone area). So it aims to maximise your lungs' capacity. It improves the lymphatic drainage from the basal parts of the lungs, exerts a positive effect on the cardiac functions and coronary supply, and improves blood oxygenation and circulation.


Wanna know a fun fact about breathing? In yoga, we believe that human's life span is not measured by the number of years we live, but the number of breaths we take. For example, let's assume that an average person lives to be 80 years old. This is modern day's statistics. In yoga, we'd say an average person lives to take about, say, 430 million breaths. So the longer time you take for a full cycle of breath, the longer you'll live in years (which is why animals that breathe fast such as dogs won't live more than 15 years, and slow-breathing bowhead whales potentially live to 200+ years). So breathe like a whale! ๐Ÿ‹

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š


Warren Buffet's best advice received

The legendary Warren Buffet has given uncountable advice to many people from business managers to investors, but from whom does he take advice? After all, he's not a know-all saint. If you have been following him and his company Berkshire Hathaway, you know of his adviser, the other legend, Charlie Munger. But there is another person who once give him an advice he, admittedly in the book Getting There, uses the most in both his personal and professional life. Thomas Murphy, the former chairman and CEO of the American Broadcast Company, once told Buffet: 'Warren, you can always tell someone to go to hell... tomorrow.'


In short, think before you react. Someone annoyed you at work today and you feel like kicking their ass? Take a deep breath, sleep on it, and if tomorrow you still feel like doing it , then you can do it. Try not to let your impulsive emotions take control of your decision-making. Resist the constant mindless reactions. I often take this advice, as often as I forget to take it, but it has never betrayed me every time I did. How about you? Does it work for you? Tell me your story!

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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!


Love,

beetee



Yoga Quick Dive is a series of weekly 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.




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