Quick Yoga Breaks @Workplaces

1 Minute  Recharge Body, Mind, Breath Too busy to take a break. Just sit back in your  chair, close your  eyes for a minute. Focus  your  attention on your  breath. After a few seconds, the breath will start  slowing down, muscles will begin relaxing, body will feel lighter and  mind  will be more composed. You may extend this timeout else come out of the state by rubbing the palms and placing them on the eyes.
. Neck  Rolls Neck, Shoulder, Head

Stiffness

Seated on a Office Chair, Car  Seat, Yoga Mat, Standing these simple neck rolls can be done anytime to remove the stiffness and  pain caused due to extended seated hours at the desktop. Movement Pattern – Centre to Top and  Bottom <Centre to Right

& Left < Centre to Ears  to Shoulders.

All Movements to be changed slowly with the change in breath (Long Inhale and  Exhale) Repeat 3 times each and  relax.

* People suffering from Cervical and Spondylitis should not bring the neck down.

 Shoulder Rolls Shoulder Stiffness, Pain Upper and  Middle Back Stiffness Seated on a Office Chair, Car  Seat, Yoga Mat, Standing simple Shoulder rolls  can be done anytime to remove the stiffness and  pain caused due to extended seated hours at the desktop. Movement Pattern – Centre to Top and  Bottom All Movements to be changed slowly   with the change in breath (Long Inhale and  Exhale) Repeat 15 times each clockwise and anticlockwise and  relax.
 Backward Bending  Back, Shoulders, Buttocks and  Waist Stiffness Stand  in front of the chair, give hip distance gap between the legs. Place your  hands on both sides of the waist.  Swell up the chest with air and  bend backward as much as comfortable. Keep the eyes open. You may bend your  knees for a deeper stretch. Stay for a few seconds. Come back to original position while exhaling out. Repeat for 3 times. You may counter stretch by bending forward for the same number of times.

* People suffering from Cervical and Spondylitis, long  back pain, slip disc should avoid the forward bend

Abdominal or Diaphragmatic

Breathing

Helps  lower  blood pressure,  and    therefore the risk  of  heart disease Helps lower blood sugar, and   therefore the risk  of diabetes. Increases the secretion of growth hormone and  slows  the aging process.  Improves mental  focus   and   clarity by increasing blood flow to  the  pre-frontal  cortex of your  brain. Improves sleep  quality. Facilitates weight loss  by balancing stress hormones with anabolic hormones. Reduces Stress To perform this exercise while sitting in a chair: Sit comfortably, with your  knees bent and  your shoulders, head and  neck relaxed. Breathe in slowly through your  nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand

Can  be practiced anytime in a seated or a lying  position on empty / light  stomach

Points to Note:

  1. Always do the practise as per your  capacity.
  2. Practice on light stomach
  3. Stop the practice in case of any discomfort. Relax immediately

And the affinity continues…

When I first met Mansi, I was not too sure about her interest for yoga.  

A sudden calling of her inner voice? Not too sure…

Mansi was in her fourth month of pregnancy when she (insisted upon by her husband) decided to give Yoga a ‘fair chance’. She had never really taken to the practice in the past and was more attuned to cardio and strength training in the gyms. Anyway, a small spark of affinity made us decide to start yoga together. I could relate to her in her corporate shoes and maybe she could connect with me because of our similar backgrounds.

Thus began..a journey..a journey of change..that I witnessed end to end :)

Our initial meetings were formal, running as per my sessions structure for her – Asana, Pranayama, Chanting and quick windups, but the affinity started to grow for each other. One day during a session, I asked Mansi, “Would you like to also talk about Yoga and life sometimes? She paused for a while and said, “why not, when I sit on my workstation and make budgets for my marketing campaigns, I have to justify the costs attached to each and every activity to my seniors and also to myself. Similarly, I would like to know why am I doing specific yoga postures and why should i continue to do so.” The affinity grew exponentially in that moment :)

?????????????

After three months of regular meetings, I started feeling that someone who quickly winded up the grounding moments of her session, was spending more time in introspection towards the session’s tail. Mansi’s requests to increase the frequency of breathing with control movements, variations of meditation and more chanting sessions  were increasing by the day and at the same time. Our tri weekly meetings turned to five sometimes even to six during Mansi’s 8th month . Losing the sense of time while discussing a particular shloka was becoming a habit but none of us were complaining.  The affinity was getting deeper, I guess :).

Mansi was slowly climbing the numbers in my priority sessions list and I feel, so were I in her calendar. I must admit, I did experiment quite a few mindfulness techniques on her which I was yet to introduce in my other regular classes. You give more when you receive more. Isn’t it? The affinity effect again!

We were together on the last day of her pre -delivery time.  Mansi’ s husband joined us for a long chanting session. It was his first experience of sitting for one pointedness for couple of hours. I was not too sure about Mansi too as her weight seemed to be a deterrent. But to my sheer joy, both sat comfortably through the two hours of chanting for Mansi’s healthy and safe delivery. Infact Himanshu (Mansi’s husband) asked, “Can we do this again if she does not get into the labour tomorrow”. However, things happened as anticipated the next day. A cute little bundle of joy Baby Kiara was born after 36 hours of wait. And the affinity continued to spread.

IMG-20170505-WA0012 (1)

It’s been a month since Kiara is giving sleepless nights to Mansi but the new mother shared a tip with me, “Whenever kiara stresses me out, I take to chanting and deep breathing.” Now, this stress is worth it. Isn’t it? Watch Mansi’s journey of change in a short video here 

I have designed Mommy Mia with V – A prenatal yoga program from my heart. Give Yoga a ‘fair chance’ to guide you through the beautiful journey towards becoming a mother.  

Stay joyful

Varuna 

 

Thank You!

As I finished the Yoga class this morning and thanked the participants; I  promptly asked them- “Well, what is the meaning of the phrase Thank you”?

For a Second, I met total silence followed by light responses – “thank you means thank you”, “I thank you” :) Ofcourse some responses came but my question was not fully answered.

First, for the record – thanks is derived from the word -THINK. Thank you simply means I will always remember what you did for me. Although our wisdom talk ended quickly I was intrigued to know more about this phrase and did a bit of my searching to find some interesting facts around using this phrase.

Listing the top 5 easy to recall facts below:

  • Scientists studying sychology found that only a one -time thoughtful act of gratitude can produce an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% decrease in depressive symptoms. Also, the effects of this act start fading away in a span of 3 months or more. The finding suggests to repeat the act as often as possible for self  motivation
  • A mere acknowledgement of how much you care for what your staff does at work or your partner does in your life can instill a strong sense of self worth and confidence. It ‘boosts’ relationships – personal as well as professional
  •  Introducing a culture of gratitude to children aged between 8 – 11 years can bring an increase in their positive thinking, appreciation and positive emotions
  • This phrase is packed with endurance abilities. Expressing gratitude for small and big events / things on daily basis continously prepares a person to embrace setbacks in life
  • A thankful attitude towards every blessing in life promotes better sleep and leaves a positive effect on the brain including neuro transmitters and hormones that are key to social bonding

Thank You – is a small phrase / gesture / expression but possesses immense power to turn around not only our moods or attitude..but our personalities too!

Did You Thank Someone / Yourself Today

Thank You!

Varuna Khullar

 

The Glory of Our Goals…

“Today, I accomplished a goal”

What is it?

This morning I introduced an expecting mother to the laughter therapy in the yoga class post which she shared that the last time she laughed out loud (for no reason) was when she was in the 7th Grade and over the years, she had just lost the habit of laughing. A hearty Laughter was replaced by a suppressed smile for expressing all positive emotions. But now, not only will she laugh again but also not stop her son from laughing out loud, which off late, she has been curbing more frequently..

Wow! Such a feeling of achievement.. I made someone laugh this morning and even left her with an afterthought.

On the surface, this may not even look like the best of the reasons to feel a goal was accomplished. To the amusement of many, does that even categorize as a goal?

Goal – sometimes also called Milestone / Achievement / Life Graph (maybe has many more names) has now become such a high leveled aspiration that more often, we set such high standards of this goal achievement that the little and beautiful daily victories just go unnoticed. Rather, we don’t even consider them as good enough to even classify under the category -‘Goals’.

Isn’t our life a mix box of daily and long term goals and doesn’t both deserve to be equally celebrated?

Just the other day, a friend who works as a Skill Development Facilitator shared that 5 out of 100 of her trained staff called to inform that they were selected for an overseas construction site job opportunity. The ecstatic look of her face reminded me of the joy that we experience when we suddenly discover a chocolate box hidden by a loved one on our bed during  Bhaidooj or Diwali. Here, both may seem small but possess a great depth of emotional satisfaction.

Yes, we are progressing like never before, trying to grab opportunities galore knocking our door every day, promising us more success but in return also demanding larger goal settings and attainment, more achievements in less time, stopping to rest is not an option infact taking a pause pushes us many blocks behind  in this rat race. The higher the bar for ourselves and for our children, the more we sacrifice our moments of togetherness with the family; greater is the  sense of achievement.

Who has the time to sit in the park and enjoy the breeze of fresh air? Isn’t it too easily available?.

Image result for goals

 We quantify every goal only in a big number.

How many millions raised as funding? A 100 Crore Plus Movie Club makes a movie – a legend.  How many co-curricular activities is our child pursuing? Are we ensuring air – conditioned classrooms for our kids? Do we have the latest I-phone to keep up with our peers or have we taken a trip down to Europe to even start a discussion with our bosses over drinks. These are just few of the many goals that we are busy getting to while we are missing out on those daily bouts of victories that happen in our own backyards.

Celebration month is round the corner. Clichéd!

Why can’t we light up our house with Diyas when we just finished reading our favourite book?  How about a celebration with friends to acknowledge the satisfaction of sowing a seed  months ago that has now bloomed into a small tree shade in the house garden? How will it feel to tweet about helping the maid in opening a bank account – which by the way could be as important goal of her life as our own goal to get from the Manager’s title to the Senior VP’s?

Are these all not goals – waiting in the wings to get acknowledged?

Thought Share by

Varuna Khullar

Let Us Laugh A Little More! Celebrating the Spirit of World Laughter Day…

Celebrating the spirit of World Laughter Day!

A medical doctor and the founder of worldwide Laughter Yoga movement, Dr. Madan Kataria conceptualized  the World Laughter Day on every first Sunday of the month May in 1998. Since then thousands of people across 105 countries in over 17,000 laughter clubs laugh together on this day for world peace and health.

So what’s in a Laugh anyway?

Over the past two decades, extensive research all over the world has shown that laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the body. Most noteworthy is laughter’s ability to unwind the negative effects of stress: the catalyst for many of our health problems.  More than 70 per cent of illnesses – such as high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, frequent cough and cold, peptic ulcers, insomnia, allergies, asthma, menstrual difficulties, tension headaches, stomach upsets and even cancer are in some way related to stress.

It has become a challenge for people to combat daily stressors and maintain good health. They resort to several therapies and expensive medication, but somehow fail to spot the simplest of them all – Laughter which is the easiest and the safest way to alleviate stress and prevent sickness. It has been scientifically established that laughter has a profound impact on the body and mind. Not only does it help to prevent the onset of sickness by way of strengthening the immune system, it also has a healing effect. It has the power to unwind stress, uplift joy and strengthen the mind … all in an instant.

While, the number of Laughter Clubs are increasing around the world, the business world is not behind in realizing the connection between Unconditional Laughter and the Workplace Efficacy. Scientific researches shows that laughter can help resolve major workplace issues. With new researches on laughter, the business world is beginning to consider laughter seriously as a tool to improve workplace performances.

Connection between Unconditional Laughter and the Workplace Efficacy

Please Read the full article on Sheroes.In

Have you tried Journaling for Releasing Emotional Stress?

More often than not, we have to deal with emotional stresses or negative moods due to work, family, kids, health, competition, society and sometimes, due to our friends too. Stress does not knock on our doors before coming however tackling it the right way lies only in our hands. It stays in our lives entirely at our discretion.

How do we release our stresses? That is no big guessing work

The easy way out is venting on our partner / spouse, kids, helpers (which most of us actually end up doing), irksome attitude at home, at workplace, losing focus of actions and sometimes completely withdrawing ourselves to our private shells…It is completely fine to rest under our shells before getting back on track but how about sharing these stresses with our inner self?  Making a physical or mental journal of these stresses.

Very recently, Researchers examined injured athletes–people who tend to experience high levels of anxiety and negative mood–and had them write about their experiences in a journal for 20 minutes per day, 3 days in a row. They wrote about their negative emotions surrounding their injuries and rehabilitation experiences. 4 weeks later, researchers measured their levels of psychological stress and mood disturbance, as well as measures of immune functioning, and found significantly improved outcomes in those who had participated in the journaling intervention. This research, in other words, shows that writing about your negative feelings can actually have an effect not only on your mood and your feelings of stress, but on your health as well!

As a candid confession; I also resort to my dairy during stress moments and it works wonders for me. I start by writing down what happened (like an unpleasant event in life, clash of opinion etc.) and while I am still penning down the gush of emotions on the paper, half way through, I start feeling light..the heaviness of the event seems to fade away the more I come towards the end of note and I feel much more in control of the situation.  Infact, mind becomes clearer and begins thinking of how to tackle the situation in the best possible way.

Journaling is a process of  uninterrupted self – listening lasting for 10-20 mins or more but surely leaves us as a calmer, composed and balanced individual. Have you tried Journaling  for coping up during emotionally demanding times? Has it benefited you too? Please feel free to share here your Journaling experiences for overcoming stress…

Not done yet —  think about journaling your stress!!

I am a Yoga Enthusiast :)

 

Surya Namaskar – A complete body mind workout

Untitled

Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation  is a complete body mind workout from head to toe and is extremely beneficial for all body types. Just a few rounds of this series early morning can charge up and put the body into action for rest of the day. If done regularly over a period of time, Surya Namaskar builds endurance in the body and the correct repetition of steps improves concentration in the mind.

Beginners should start with 6 continuous slow movements and gradually increase the counts but never go beyond your individual capacity. Ideal sequence count is 12 with synchronized breathing movement. Ideally, inhalation happens in the backward bending poses and exhalation occurs while coming forward.

On an easy day, try variations of the #SuryaNamaskar posture by breaking the steps and repeating at your unique pace. Repetitions of Mountain Pose directly going into cobra pose without touching the body on the floor can do wonders to build up the strength of upper arms and cut out the extra flab. Other benefits also include strong lower back, slender neck and complete body balance. Another variation can be tried with sequencing #Hastottasana and #Padahastasana for 15-20 slow repetitions. While the backward bending will strengthen the spine, the forward bend works on the abdomen and calf muscles. Asana repetition during the course of Surya Namaskar brings variety into the practise and enables improvement of these specific asanas which otherwise, we may not practise daily.

On a quick busy day, just doing 6-8 rounds of Surya Namaskar is enough to take care of your daily body and mind workout needs. Persons suffering from Cervical or Spondylitis should avoid looking downward or putting pressure or on their neck in downward facing poses and instead look in a straight angle while getting into these poses.

Untitled
12 steps to Surya Namaskar

**This form of yoga should be practised by regular yoga practitioners. Beginners should do it under the guidance of an instructor.

Yoga is not just a physical activity!

Yoga is not just 60 / 120 minutes of making physical postures, indulging in power yoga  and then weighing on the scale to attain that magical number or accomplishing an asana that twists the body like an elastic band. Yoga is a ‘Way of Life’ as described by Saint Patanjali in his Yog sutra.  

During my rendeavouz with people in different age groups, a simple question ‘What is the meaning of Yoga’ ?generates similar replies, “It is Asana”, “Yoga is done to keep the body fit”. “It is mental and physical well being”. Well, all this does happen by embracing an aspect of Yoga i.e. physical workout, meditation, chanting etc. but that is just one aspect of Yoga!

As Patanjali writes in his Sutra, there are 8 limbs of Yoga or 8 disciplines of Yoga which constitute the higher purpose of Yoga: 

  1. Yama: ‘ Moral & Social Conduct’. Our moral conduct, sincerity, attitude towards family, friends and strangers.

    What is the extended benefit of that 2 hour yoga session which makes us sweat, connects us to our breath but can’t give us endurance to accept simple challenges of daily life such as keeping calm in the traffic jams, or a check out queue in a Supermarket , off the yoga mat?                                                                  crossing

  2.  Niyama: ‘ Discipline’ Our commitment to SELF! . I heard someone at a Yoga Conference stressing on Making Yoga as a part of our daily system like how we brush our teeth every morning. Doesn’t it come so natural to us, the minute we open our eyes to a new day. A dedicated 60 minutes regime might not be possible but of course, sneaking a 10 – 15 minute Yoga timeout from here n there is not that difficult. It could be as simple as 5- 10 minutes of deep breathing or just tuning into self.
  3. Asana: Need I say anything here!     There are 100 asana which have been mentioned by Patanjali as conducive to be practised by  human beings however 84 asana out of the 100 are followed in different forms of yogic practise.     

                                                                                                asana

4. Pranayama: ‘Breath Control’. Just the other day, I was reading about one of the most common reasons for us to fall sick. It is due to lack of proper supply of oxygen to our brain which propels more than half of the diseases in our systems. Ok, we don’t have the time and interest to join a Yoga class but deep breathing is no rocket science. It is just simple, mindful slow down of inhalation and exhalation. This is an interesting video on the simple, classic and evergreen Deep Breathing mantra for a healthy life.

5. Pratyahara: In plain words, ‘Sense Withdrawal’. Now, that’s something which doesn’t come easily :).. Our wardrobes are overflowing with clothes, shoes but still we have nothing to wear for a party! and now it so easy, with a click of a button, one can possess from a sewing thread to a luxury car. Just contemplating – What is the limit of ‘limit’?                                                                                                                                                             withdrawl6. Dharana: ‘Resolution / Promise’. Here, I am reminded of Salman Khan’s dialogue – “Ek baar maine commitment kardi to kardi”  The famous promising and breaking of the new year resolutions! “Commitment karke to dekho!”

7. Dhyana : ‘Concentration / Meditation’ . More than half of the world is scared of shutting off all gadgets and just sitting there!. Actually, we are often too busy in adjusting our mind and body to getting into a Meditative State’. For the records, ‘Meditation happens to us’. Just a simple act of giving 100% to whatever we do, is meditation too!

8. Samadhi: ‘Union of body, mind & soul’.  Seems like a long road to go! It takes time but if we start making small positive differences to our lives by the way of above purposes of yoga, the journey will be easy and enjoyable. Have you felt joyfulness for no reason at all?

Came across a beautiful rap by two Yoginis, rapping the 8 limbs of yoga in  simple, soulful words. Worth a look!

I am a Yoga Enthusiast :)

Stay Joyful!

Varuna

Yoga with V

 

 

Becoming a Yogini on this Women’s Day:)

Women's Day

A YOGINI is Healthier…

According to a study by North central University published in the International Journal of Yoga – Women who do yoga are healthier than the ones who don’t.

This study just reinforces my own personal opinion and experience of regularly practising different aspects of Yoga since last 7 years.

The Yoga Study Participants

Researchers examined data from 211 female yoga practitioners, between 45 and 80-years-old. The Yoginis completed an online survey to assess the effects of practising yoga asana has on body mass index and the amount of medication taken. The researchers compared the results of the yoga group to a control group of 183 women between 45 and 77 with “no prior history of yoga practice.”

The Study Results

  1. Expert Yoginis had a lower body mass index and took less medication as compared to Beginner Yoginis. Infact, beginner yoginis had lower body mass index than people who never practice yoga. There were no signs of obesity in women who were regular Hatha Yoga Practitioners for the last 26 years or more
  2. Yoginis take less Medication than people who never practice Yoga. Researchers found 54% of yoga practitioners take prescription and pain medication, while 77% of people who don’t do yoga take these drugs. Additionally, people who don’t practice yoga are more likely to take “medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, blood thinning, diabetes or pre diabetes, hot flashes, inflammation or arthritis, depression, anxiety, and pain” than both yoga beginners and experts.

This Women’s Day, lets take a step towards holding an Asana, Sharing a Laugh and Enjoying the Bliss of Yoga -Inside and Out.

Happy Women’s Day! 

 

 

 

 

Raahigiri makes way for Nilegiri in Gurgaon

31st Jan 2016: I believe in the fact that it only takes one person to bring a change and this belief was reinforced recently when Tarun Lakhwani from Omaxe The Nile RWA in Gurgaon contacted me for conducting a #laughteryoga session for the society residents on a Sunday morning. I was not very sure about his chosen day but what he shared next left me pleasantly surprised. A few fitness enthusiasts including Tarun himself from the Nile community have taken a step towards binding and bonding the society residents over some #health #happiness and #healing through an initiative titled, ‘Nilegiri’.  Ofcourse, #Raahgiri immediately flashes in the mind but for sure, ‘Nilegiri’ has its own uniqueness. Tarun shared that specially going for #Raahgiri was not everyone’s cup of tea and the RWA wanted to do something about bringing the Nile community together for a common purpose and what better than the purpose of health. Since then the journey to keeping fit as a community continues for the Nile residents. 

 

Nile 1 Nile 3

Nilegiri started about 6 weeks back in the society’s beautifully maneuvered park on foggy, wintery mornings. Zumba, Yoga, Dance, Aerobics – You think of it and Tarun and his gang have successfully got the residents to do all of that. This last Sunday when I reached at 9 am not sure of how many people I may see, I was caught by surprise with a pretty number of around 75 residents. We beat the morning chill with Paul’s #Zumba Session. I enjoyed every second of the session swirling and dancing to some groovy Pop, Bollywood and Arabic numbers. The energy in the air multiplied with kids, adults and even senior citizens joyfully trying to match to the steps of Paul’s Zumba moves. 60 minutes fleeted in a jiffy with some great cardio work out. We all paused for a breather and I was cheerfully greeted by enthusiastic participants, this time few more in number (who were standing in their balconies curious to join the laughter session). And what followed next – 75 minutes of laughter, group exercises, a game of mindfulness and some singing and dancing. The entire park echoed with laughter and became even more vibrant with childlike playfulness of the participants. I could see everyone dropping their age, titles, health limitations only to work-out in togetherness for one purpose – Joy from within and without. The simulated laughter yoga exercises gradually stimulated laughter for the participants and gave them an opportunity to enjoy the yogic workout in a fun way. A rapid fire quiz saw some winners who happily walked away with their gifts and rejuvenated moods. My session ended with the happy dance which once again brought the young, old and the not so old to shake a leg or two in togetherness. 

Tarun and his team are all set to reverse the dropping health meters of the Nile residents due to lifestyle pressures and are an example of #change for themselves and for many others around them. #yogawithv thanks Tarun & the Omaxe The Nile community for putting up such a healthful and happy show with her. 

Stay Joyful!