Yoga in my life

Yoga for Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

Yoga in my life

“In the body and mind, lies the power to self-heal….”

I come from a family of athletes and was brought up with the philosophy that nothing is more important than your own physical & emotional well-being. As a child, I had a very active lifestyle and some of my favorite activities included swimming and football. Yoga and I go way back when I was 14 and my mom’s friend introduced me to it. Physical or mental discipline did not come naturally to me at that time and hence yoga didn’t instantly fit in, especially with my outdoor activities and energy levels. I was not very regular with yoga until a few years later.

Fast forward to student life in Switzerland, everything was awesome, new people, beautiful culture, and food, until one day I experienced very sharp lower back pain due to a 5 year old injury, which not only caused movement restrictions but also caused immense pain even for the simplest of tasks, such as sitting or leaning forward. Initially it was just a back pain, until not so soon after, it started radiating down my legs. Not only was I facing physical imbalance, but it also reflected on my emotional state of mind. Pain medications were prescribed which would only block the pain and help relieve temporary inflammation, but as soon as I stopped having them, the pain would return back with full intensity. Then I recalled my family’s words, “your body has the strength to rewire itself, just support it as it supports you”.

Yoga Increased my Metabolism

That brings us to a few weeks back when I started with basic yoga stretches for mobility, and then I realized not only did the pain go away, but I also got better at swimming, my breathing gained a rhythm better than before even while swimming and I was in charge of my fitness. Along with all that, my digestion was better than ever before, my metabolism increased and I could even see the change in my skin for the better.

My Wellness Experience with ASHAexperience

“Wellness” is a wholesome term that cannot be simply described by exercising alone. In order to be physically and emotionally balanced, not only do we require physical activity, but we also need the right nutrition that helps us balance the activity and promotes healing. This is where “the ayurvedic way of life” became an integral part of my life and I would like to thank Dr. Chitra V. Menon (Ayurvedic doctor) and Bijoya Mohanty (Co-founder) of ASHAexperience, for helping me take my healing experience even further. With the help of Dr. Chitra, I was able to identify my body type, identify the imbalances, and how simply by certain modifications, they can be corrected.

Ayurveda is more than 5000 years old ancient healing science, which works on the root cause of imbalance in our bodies, promoting a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Recently, during my first ayurvedic consultation, I got to know about my body type for the first time and how simply altering certain eating habits combined with yoga and pranayama, can create a huge positive impact in my life. Ayurveda says no food is bad food, but according to one’s body type, certain foods are better suited than others. This promotes a better functioning environment for our bodies, which in the long run, also promotes great emotional well-being.

Ayurvedic Diet Advantage

An ayurvedic diet is also known to be extremely gut-friendly. Personally, I’ve experienced when my gut is happy, my day goes happy. Some of the benefits of good gut health include clear skin, anti-aging, no indigestion which in turn leads to a satisfied mind and a healthy neurological function, also eliminating the possibilities of hormonal imbalances and stress, anxiety, depression. The benefits are a chain reaction to promoting a great sustainable environment for our wholesome wellness.

ASHA platform has a very experienced panel of doctors, yoga therapists, and nutritionists, who work together to design a customized plan for you and help you identify and rectify the imbalances in your body, for a sustainable lifestyle.

We believe in collaborative relationship-based care where our Ayurvedic Doctors, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Ayurvedic Supplement Brands, Ayurvedic Nutritionists & Chefs, Yoga, and Meditation Trainers are in sync. Contact the team who passionately works together to hold your hand in this healing journey.

Pamela’s 3 favourite Yoga Asanas for a healthy life

Pamela’s 3 favourite Yoga Asanas for a healthy life

When I started my own yoga practice in 2011 I was not at a good place in my life. But it was the perfect time to begin practicing yoga, and that is what I always remember when I look back to my first yoga class. In short, I can say that yoga has saved my life, literally.
Yoga is a way of living, it is a tool that offers us guidance to live our lives on this planet to the best of our abilities in harmony with our surroundings, with awareness, and heart. And if I have to put it in simple words, I can say yoga has helped me to become a better person.
Today I would like to tell you about three of my favorite asanas. You can practice on a daily basis and that supports your health on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. The reason I chose these postures is because they can be practiced by everyone, whether you are young or old, stiff or flexible, and even if you have physical health problems you can practice a variation of each of these three poses.

Malasana (Garland pose)

The first asana I recommend you to practice on a daily basis is malasana, a seated squat. Malasana is easiest to come into from standing (tadasana). I truly enjoy this asana as it opens up the hips while challenging the strength of the calf muscles, hamstring and glutes. Due to the fact that malasana is a hip-opener, it promotes digestion while opening and massaging the area of the pelvic floor. At the same time, we work on a downward energy (apāna vayu), so we also work on our stability in order to get a sense of grounding. I personally love to practice this asana around the days of my period, because I feel it supports the downward movement of my flow. As you might know, both the elimination of stools as that of the blood we lose during menstruation need to have a proper rhythm, quantity and flow for it to be healthy if we look at the Ayurvedic perspective on health. So, if you find you have problems on getting a bowel movement, you will find that sitting on the toilet seat with your legs in malasana will support you greatly since it helps opening up the anal sphincter.

If you have difficulties on keeping your balance in this asana, for instance if you can’t touch the floor with your heels, then just roll up the back of your mat to create some height, or lean against the wall for some extra support.

Viparita Karani (Broken or Half Candle pose)

One of the first asanas I learnt was Viparita Karani, and it has benefitted me so much! The best way to get into this pose is to lay down in the fetus position, so on your left or right side with your legs curled up and your glutes against the wall. Then you slowly turn on your back while bringing the soles of the feet against the wall. Then straighten your legs and touch the wall with your heels while letting the legs fall out. Personally, I like to keep a bit of distance between my bum and the wall for extra support in the lower back, especially since I suffer from scoliosis (curved spinal column). Straighten your arms with your palms facing up and keep them not too far from your hips or legs. I always recommend you try to loosen up all your muscles (yes, even your jaws and eyebrows!) and imagine you being soaked in by the earth. Viparita is a great way to end your asana practice as an alternative to savasana (corpse pose).
The benefits of this pose are endless, but its most important benefit is the rejuvenating effect that it has. Viparita Karani balances out hormones, gives the heart a good rest, and it reverts the blood flow into the legs, as to which it is highly beneficial to those suffering from varicose veins. By increasing the blood flow towards the face which finds itself in a relaxed state, it is said that it can reduce wrinkles. In case you suffer from high blood pressure, neck pain or thyroid problems, I recommend you consult with your doctor and a qualified Yoga teacher first before starting to practice this pose.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Vishes Pose)

As someone with a curved spine, I have to say this asana is one that I really enjoy since it always gives me the feeling of massaging my spine and surrounding areas. At the same time, I find it challenging not to become indulged by it, as I dread backbends (which probably means I need to practice them more, as my teacher would say ;)).

It is important for your glutes to be in contact with the floor at all times in this pose, because when you lose form, you lose the benefits as well. I like to practice ardha matsyendrasana with one leg folded, but if it is easier for you, you can keep the supported leg straight while holding the knee of your other leg (which is bent), twisting and looking over your shoulder. The hand behind the back firmly presses into the ground, while you keep space between the shoulder and the ear (avoid lifting the shoulder). Remember to keep a long and steady breath and try to find that sweet spot between relaxation, effort and steadiness.

What I like so much about ardha matsyendrasana is that it massages the organs of the digestive tract, supporting purification of the intestines, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. For those of you who are familiar with the doshas according to Ayurveda, it is good to know that although twists are beneficial to all mind-body types, this is an excellent asana for people who suffer from imbalances related to Pitta aggravation.

I hope today’s post has been of help to you. If you would like to learn more about a yogasana practice according to your needs at this moment of your life, feel free to get in touch. We are all unique in the most beautiful ways, and this also means we might need specific support in different areas of our lives.

We believe in collaborative relationship-based care where our Ayurvedic Doctors, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Ayurvedic Supplement Brands, Ayurvedic Nutritionists & Chefs, Yoga, and Meditation Trainers are in sync. Contact the team who passionately works together to hold your hand in this healing journey.