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50+ free workshops at world’s largest online Yoga Conference in June

The American Academy of Yoga and Meditation (AAYM) inaugurated its international yoga conference June 6 called International Yoga Con USA 2021. Many celebrities from the field of Yoga from all over the world were present for the event. 

The program was inaugurated by the lighting of the inaugural lamp by “Guruji “Dr. HR Nagendra, Vice-Chancellor of SVYASA, the world’s largest Yoga University and Hospital. He praised the vision of the AAYM for its consistent contribution to the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCD) through the integration of modern medicine with Yoga as a preventive and therapeutic entity. The inaugural healing music was performed on flute by Grammy-nominated Nawang Khechong which made the atmosphere divine and soulful. 

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Murleedharan joined as chief guest of the program. He praised the AAYM for doing a commendable job and said, “The world needs yoga and meditation to stay focused, positive and enable strong mind and healthy body.” 

The program was attended by over 100 invited guests, including eminent physicians, senators, researchers, academic giants from all over the world, and 500 participants who were provided free entry on a first-come, first-served basis. 

This inauguration marks the beginning of the conference, which will be celebrated over the month of June. “This conference will be online and host many eminent physicians, scientists, and yoga experts to speak on the use of Yoga in different disease states, including heart disease, cancer, psychiatric afflictions, to name a few,” informed Dr. Indranill Basu Ray, the Chairman of the American Academy for Yoga and Meditation. “Several distinguished yoga teachers will conduct online sessions on basic and advanced yoga techniques. Multiple workshops for meditation are on the anvil also.” 

Speakers at the inauguration included Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Alyssa Worsel, the CEO of the International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT), and others. Yoga teachers and internationally famous experts from over forty nations participated in the program. Visit www.aaymonline.com to see detailed programming. Over 50 programs spread over all the weekends of June are available completely free of cost. 

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Health Latest News

Now you have AcroYoga: Yoga in new avatar

AcroYoga Global (AYG), the only worldwide online community for the practice and teaching of AcroYoga, celebrated the first anniversary of its online teaching platform on May 27, 2021. 

Combining the principles of traditional yoga practice and acrobatics, AcroYoga is a partner practice that involves creating and building physical shapes through collaboration, communication, and physical engagement. Partners counterbalance with, stack onto, and move with each other to achieve postures or string movements together. It is challenging, inviting, captivating, and uplifting.

In its first year, AYG has offered over 700 online acroyoga classes, taught by teachers from over 38 countries, on all continents except Antarctica. Over the last year, AYG has shared the practice of AcroYoga through the values of safety and inclusion, making this physical practice accessible and safe to all who want to participate, while embracing playfulness, curiosity, and creativity. 

AcroYoga Global offers classes for all levels, from first-timers to seasoned practitioners, with a mission to make AYG accessible and beneficial to people of all race, gender, body size, language, class, and more.

AcroYoga Global members and teachers come from 38 different countries. Teachers on the current schedule live in Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Merida (Mexico). Classes are offered in English with support in 8 languages, depending on the instructor. All teachers are certified in their discipline by a number of quality schools.

“The pandemic has greatly altered human connection, especially intimate social interactions such as touch and interaction. Our need to belong to a community, to a support group, to a chosen family has never been repressed on such a global scale,” says AYG Co-Founder Jill Campbell, “In AcroYoga, you touch your partner not only to achieve the postures, but also to nourish trust, complicity, friendship, and compassion, among other human qualities.” 

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Body is your real estate – Yoga of restraint

By Rachana Chopra

Restraint can be of many kinds, but the common underlying philosophy or logic of all types is control of the senses. Why control the senses? Because senses running amuck can be likened to standing defenseless on a ground being trampled by wild horses. You will eventually get run over. 

The Sanskrit term for restraint is pratyahara, derived from two Sanskrit words of prati (away or against) and ahara that is literal for food, and broadly signifies all consumption. Restraint also forms the important fifth limb of the eight-limb Ashtanga yoga; and is defined by Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali as the turning inwards and away from sensory stimuli.

This turning away starts at the level of the senses (indriya pratyahara), encompasses undertaking selective and selfless actions (karma pratyahara), retention of breath (prana pratyahara), and finally paves the way for the mind to turn inwards (mano pratyahara), akin to a tortoise retracting its limbs. Many yogic practices are proposed to attain this multi-tiered restraint, such as concentrating on the space between eyebrows, sitting in a lotus pose while meditating, or prolonging breath retention.

Yet all these practices yield little reward unless we control the dissipation of energy occurring in everyday living. This dissipation is a direct fallout of habits unquestioningly adopted in modern existence. The most common amongst which is the mass habit of eating food cooked at restaurants, café, bars and fast food chains. This is one of the outstanding (and most commonly overlooked) dissipation of energy that we allow everyday, year after year, without questioning it. In fact, we don’t even have to plan such outings—they have become second nature. We also expend huge sums of money doing it; yet another channel for energy leakage since we earn it.

“Jaisa aahar vaisa vichar is a deeply ingrained Indian Philosophy, that means that our food intake controls our thoughts. While there is a lot of talk about organic foods and such, we overlook the quintessential requirement of a good diet—purity of what we absorb. Purity of a meal is controlled by purity of ingredients, purity of intent with which it is prepared, and purity with which it is ingested. When we eat outside, all these three indexes of purity get compromised.

When we eat meals cooked by others (often for profit motive), we not only absorb their physical and mental vibrations, we unwittingly imbibe their psychic tendencies. Besides, of course, ingesting the background music, chatter of customers, scent of other foods that we haven’t even “ordered” (quite a contrast to prayerful yogic eating), strong tastes we would normally not prepare for ourselves, and much more. After offering our bellies, our tastebuds, our ears, and our sense of scent and sight—we return home to concentrate on the third eye, and wonder why we can’t sight it!  

That is because the Ajna Chakra or the third eye is that part of the brain that needs working, just like any other muscle. Its perception hinges upon sincere practice of yogic restraint, and withdrawal from excessive stimuli. The collective practice of outside dining, however, is the direct opposite; it hinges upon indulging in excessive stimuli. It is one of the worst things we can possibly do to our body-mind complex; tantamount to a spiritual suicide. No amount of breath control or asanas can help you recall the inner strength and purity that just got spent.

Besides, allowing strangers to feed you is equivalent to allowing trespassing on private property! Your body IS your real estate. Guard it with utmost care. Let meal times be prayerful times, as we accept nutrition into our bodies, and watch it almost instantly transmute into thought quality. Cook your own meals with love, carry your own meals; even carry your beverages. Have a sense of pride in feeding yourself!

Within just a few months of this endeavor, you would start to notice your inner purity grow. Your patience muscle would also begin to develop, as you would often have to persevere till you get home, and not stop at McDonalds for quick gratification. Your self-prepared meal may be simpler (and perhaps not as mouthwatering initially), but you would taste a different flavor in this meal—the taste of restraint. Let your hunger grow for this flavor.

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The author of this holistic wellness blog is a modern mystic, and spiritual travel guide. She guides self-discovery journeys to places of power and pilgrimage in American Southwest and South Asia. Web: www.rachnachopra.com, Email: info@rachnachopra.com

 

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Latest News USA

Alabama House votes to end yoga ban, can’t say namaste though

Montgomery: A decades-old ban on yoga in Alabama public schools could be coming to an end.
The Alabama House of Representatives voted 73-25 to approve a bill that will authorize school systems to decide if they want yoga to be allowed in K-12 schools. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Yoga done in school would be limited to poses and stretches. The bill says the use of chanting, mantras and teaching the greeting “namaste” would be forbidden though.
The Alabama Board of Education voted in 1993 to prohibit yoga, hypnosis and meditation in public school classrooms. The ban was pushed by conservative group.
Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika sponsored the bill. He said he understood some gym teachers had been teaching yoga in class before they realized it was banned, and others wanted to offer it, particularly during virtual learning.
Gray, a former cornerback at North Carolina State University, said he was introduced to yoga through football, and that the exercises can provide mental and physical benefits to students.
“I’ve been in yoga for seven years. I know the benefits of yoga, so it was very dear to my heart, and I think Alabama will be better for it,” Gray said.

Under the bill, the moves and exercises taught to students must have exclusively English names. Gray said students would also have the option to not participate and instead do an alternative activity.

Twenty-five representatives in the 105-member House voted against the bill. Gray said some House members said they, “got a lot emails about it being part of Hinduism.”

“Some people’s minds you can never change. If you have to vote your district, I understand it,” Gray said.

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Mallakhamb: Promoting a rare Indian sport in America

By SATimes Team
In his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dwelt on Indian sports becoming popular in many western countries. He mentioned America where an ancient Indian form — Mallakhamb — was drawing in a steady stream of players, thanks to the efforts of a couple based in New Jersey. “When Chinmay Patankar and Pradnya Patankar started to teach Mallakhamb from their home (in New Jersey), even they did not have an idea how successful they would be. Today, there are Mallakhamb training centers at many places in the US as the youth there are learning Mallakhamb in large numbers,” the PM said.
Mallakhamb is one of the few games that is played against gravity. It functions on a synergy of mind and body, employing every muscle in a way that enables a person to develop speed, stamina and better health. The name derives from the pole (khamba) used by wrestlers (called malla) in the subcontinent to practise their skills
Patankars, founders of the Mallakhamb Federation of USA, trace the origin of this ancient Indian sport to the 12th century. Mallakhamb was revived late in the 19th century by Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, physical instructor to Bajirao Peshwa II.
Chinmay and his partner Pradnya, originally from Pune, are experts of the form and have several competitions under their belt. Chinmay shot into public imagination in Pune in 1996 when he performed the gravity-defying moves of Mallakhamb on a moving truck during a Ganesh Puja immersion.
Pradnya has authored ‘Mallakhamb Book of Knowledge’. The multi-level curriculum at the Mallakhamb Federation of USA (MFU) is derived from her book.

(Photos courtesy Mallakhamb Federation of USA)

Chinmay is an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. He moved to the US in 2009. In 2013, Chinmay, Pradnya and a few others got together and invested in bringing Mallakhamb to the US from India. Training was held in the backyard of the Patankar family’s home in New Jersey. The size of classes kept growing and growing. The nonprofit Mallakhamb Federation USA was soon formed and is the first such body outside India promoting the sport.  They have trained 700+ American youth in the sport, have 7 centers across the USA, with more on the anvil, and 12 certified coaches who work on a voluntary basis. Expansion of Mallakhamb centers is solely dependent on the nominal fees collected through teaching. Chinmay looks at accelerated expansion if supporters donate actively to MFU.
Chinmay has performed at the United Nations, and kept Mallakhamb in the spotlight through initiatives such as leading demonstrations at landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Center of Performing Arts, and the Times Square. The Patankars have also started Recreational Games Day in New Jersey to teach children indigenous Indian sports such as Kabaddi, Kho and Kalaripayattu along with Mallakhamb. In May 2014, Chinmay was on the popular FOX channel talent show – Showtime at the Apollo with Steve Harvey–bringing him to national limelight.
Mallakhamb Federation has received multiple acknowledgements from New Jersey State Government, New York State Government, and Prime Minister of India and many social and cultural agencies and institutes.
Last month in the pandemic, the MFU conducted Sewa Diwali to collect food donations for local pantries that are struggling to feed the needy during these trying times. They collected over 600 pounds of non-perishable food items through donations from MFU students and their families and supporters and donated to local food pantries at St Pauls’ Church and Hands of Hope, both in Edison, NJ.

(Photos courtesy Mallakhamb Federation of USA)
Mallakhamb can be practiced to stay healthy and fit or as a competitive sport. Irrespective of the path a participant chooses, they have to train in Strength, Stretching and stamina building routines like warm-ups, basic and advanced yoga postures, leg exercises, pull exercises, push exercises and core exercises. In the competitive form, the objective is for the participant to demonstrate at least 20 skills in a 2-minute timeframe.
The participants wrap their body around a rigid wooden pole or around a flexible rope. Both these variations offer different benefits but help improve maneuvering capability. Gravity defying yoga postures, many of which requires the body to be upside down, improve blood circulation. The ability of an athlete to balance oneself on the pole (gymnastics), various aerial yoga postures and the kicks and intercept routines (martial arts) all help an athlete in building core strength, agility, flexibility and stamina and helps them prepare for other competitive games.
More information at mallakhambinusa.org
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Chandra Namaskar vs Surya Namaskar

Before we get into the details of the Moon Salutation, let’s compare it to its more famous sister practice – the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara.

The difference between Chandra Namaskar and Surya Namaskar is similar to the difference between yin and yang, feminine and masculine. The Moon Salutation is relaxing whereas the Sun Salutation is energizing.

The Sun Salutation is about heat, light, and activity whereas the Moon Salutation is cooling, receptive, and meditative. Suryanamaskar is practiced in the morning when the sun rises and Chandra Namaskara in the evening when the moon is visible.

During the Sun Salutation practice, you must move from one pose to another quickly, while in the Moon Salutation, the poses are done slowly. Surya Namaskar is older than the Chandra Namaskar. The Moon Salutation came into practice in the late 20th century. Chandra Namaskar is performed fewer times than Suryanamaskar.

The 12 steps of the Surya Namaskara refer to the 12 zodiac signs whereas the 14 poses of the Chandra Namaskara (starting with Pranamasana) represent the 14 lunar phases.

Now, let’s learn how to practice the Moon Salutation.

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Etching Avenues into the Brain

By Bhaswati Bhattacharya,

The intelligent brain is created through etching patterns between stimulus and behavior, honed with practice again and again until the brain connects a stimulus with an action without our conscious recalculation. Known as classical conditioning by Pavlov, this sequence was known as the dhatu in ancient times. Among its myriad of meanings, the dhatu is a solid connection between a stimulus of energy of light or sound with the physical brain, and resulting in a movement or action.

 

Humans have 5 different avenues to express those dhatus. The first is the muscles of the throat that result in speech or song known as vak. The second is through actions of the feet and hands that speak through mudras. The third is through movement of the eyes that speak through expression and a subtle energy and heat. The fourth is the breath which allows us to fuel not only oxygen into our body but a lifeforce that propels and amplifies other actions. The fifth is coordinated movement of our trunk and limbs.

 

Ancient scholars quietly described 5,000 dhatus. These are demonstrated by the experts of martial arts, especially the expert practitioners of the primordial art of kalaripayattu, practiced by traditional families of Kerala today. These dhatus are also expressed in a complete yoga practice, using the  integrated form of mudra, mantra, drsti, pranayama and asana in each pose that is implemented during each session. Classical dance forms of India, described in the Natya Shastra also teach the hasti-mudras, the special meanings of glances and directions of the eyes, lip movements and facial expressions, body and foot movements and breath.

 

The 5000 dhatus align our bioelectrical beings with Nature of physics and chemistry in the Universe through light, sound, and electricity, all of which point toward electrons and atomic particles.

 

Among its myriad of meanings, the dhatu is a solid connection between a stimulus of energy of light or sound with the physical brain, and resulting in a movement or action. Ancient scholars quietly described 5,000 dhatus. These are demonstrated by the practitioners of martial arts such as kalarippayattu of Kerala, and expressed in a complete yoga practice, using the integrated form of mudra, mantra, drsti, pranayama and asana in each pose. (Photo courtesy: rishikulyogshala.org)

These are not accidental combinations, as is thought in the ignorant interpretations of cognitive neuroscientists today, who are still waddling through the meanings of smells, tastes and emotional connections in the brain.  These combinations were prescribed in advanced texts that understood the effects of sound and light as energy.

 

Several modern sciences point toward these dhatus, without revealing their full formulas. Cymatics shows us the wave forms that occur on water or small particles with the systematic production of resonant sound. Light scattering phenomena also show us the power of rhythmic light. Focused light produces laser technology, just as focused sound produces ultrasound technology. The use of electric pulses has produced our EKGs, EEGs and EMGs for diagnosis. The diagnostic use of x-ray light has produced the entire radiology industry, and the therapeutic use of x-ray light has produced the radiation technology industry. It is not unknown to modern science that light and sound are powerful and affect the human body.

 

Of the 5000 dhatus, 2000 are occupied by the relation of sound produced to make words in Sanskrit. These words come from dhatu forms, sometimes translated as roots. The sound representation in the language of Sanskrit comes from our nabhi (navel) through the sound produced in our heart, to our throat’s vocal cord muscles and up into that flat thick muscle known as the tongue, then out of our mouths. These dhatus are programmed in a language that stems from subtle energies that correlate with the subtle vibrational energy of the actions and all material phenomena around that action.

 

For example, the dhatu root √vac means to speak in Sanskrit. Pronouncing it correctly with the exact sound frequency aligns a connection between the electricity in the sound waves and the bioelectricity in the person. It then aligns our energies in our bodies and releases the power that occurs when our mind, body, senses and soul are aligned. The power of yoga lies in this understanding, which modern physics and biochemistry is just beginning to learn. They will take some years for scientists to communicate with each other and synthesize its practical use.

 

In the meantime, Ayurveda whispers that you can chant mantra, use mudra, drsti, pranayama and asana in each pose to tune your body into its greater healing power.

thesatime | The Southasian times

Bhaswati Bhattacharya,

The South Asian Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2022 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. She belongs to an unbroken lineage of Vedic scientists from the 13th century who use mantra, mind and mathematics with medicine to align concepts that scientists can understand. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House. www.drbhaswati.com 

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Do yoga and eat chyawanprash: Indian Health Ministry suggests for post-Covid care

By The SATimes News Service

In its set of protocols for post-recovery care, the Indian Ministry of Health is taking a holistic approach–by advising Covid-19 patients to practice yoga and meditation, and eat chyawanprash.

Taking care of your health post recovery from covid-19 is very crucial. Proper care is important for those whose immune system has been compromised thanks to SARS-CoV-2. As time goes by, these protocols of Covid-care–including once that detail out post-recovery guidelines–have changed. In fact, now they include regular practice of yoga and consumption of chyawanprash.  

According to the health ministry, patients must continue Covid-appropriate behavior by using masks, practicing hand and respiratory hygiene, and engaging in physical distancing. The ministry is also suggesting yoga, pranayama, meditation, and intake of chyawanprash for follow up care and well-being of all post-Covid recovered patients.

At an individual level, the protocol suggested drinking an adequate amount of warm water, taking immunity-promoting AYUSH medicine prescribed by a qualified practitioner of AYUSH, and doing regular household work if health permits. For that matter, it also suggests resuming professional work in a graded manner.

The Union Ministry of Health also suggests consuming chyawanprash in the morning with lukewarm water or milk. With AYUSH remedies at forefront, it also suggests use of mulethi powder, Ayush KwathSamshamani vati, and ashwagandha powder in a bid to boost the immune system’s functioning.  

The protocol also calls for self-health monitoring at the home of temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

“If there is a persistent dry cough or sore throat, do saline gargles and take steam inhalation. You can also add herbs or spices for gargling or steam inhalation. If you are thinking of taking medication for cough, then it should be taken on the advice of a medical doctor or qualified practitioner of Ayush (sic),” the advisory stated. 

The health ministry is also suggesting measures at a community level
The ministry said recovered individuals should share their positive experiences with friends and relatives using social media, community leaders, opinion leaders, and religious leaders for creating awareness, dispelling myths and stigma.

They are also advising recovered patients to participate in group sessions of yoga and meditation, while taking all due precautions like physical distancing.

“Take the support of community-based self-help groups, civil society organizations, and qualified professionals for the recovery and rehabilitation process. Seek psycho-social support from peers, community health workers, counsellor. If required seek mental health support service,” it said. (PTI)

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IAAC presents a vibrant medley of classical dance, music and Yoga

New York: The Indo-American Arts Council in association with the Isha Foundation will present a unique, virtual performance on Friday, June 26th at 8:30 pm EDT. The event will showcase a mélange of classical Indian dance, music and essential yogic tools to help ride through these challenging times, joyfully.
The highlights of the program will include: An exuberant classical dance performance by the students of Isha Samskriti – Envisioned by Sadhguru, Isha Samskriti is an education system at the Isha Yoga Center in India dedicated to a child’s overall development. It achieves this by incorporating a unique blend of Yogic practices, Indian classical arts such as Bharatanatyam, Classical Music, and traditional martial arts Kalaripayattu; Soulful musical performance by Isha’s homegrown band ‘Sounds of Isha’ 
– Sounds of Isha is the foundation’s home grown, anomalous group of ‘musicians’ – their melodies are a fusion of music from different parts of the world, traversing effortlessly and seamlessly across boundaries and cultures; and receive simple yogic tools for health & wellbeing during these challenging times – An opportunity to adopt simple effective practices offered by Sadhguru that can support our wellbeing during this pandemic. It strengthens our immunity and helps establish an inner balance.
T
he event can be joined at https://www.bigmarker.com/isha-foundation/A-Vibrant-Medley-of-Classical-Dance-Music-Yoga

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