Archive for May, 2012

Yoga for awareness – Shameem Akthar

Monday, May 21st, 2012

ntensifying one’s practice by deepening the pose works as a powerful raja yoga

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Practice (mind control yoga).

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The question is,how does one intensify one’s awareness merely by holding on to a pose?

Even a simple pose like the tadasana(palm tree pose)can be used to explain that.As you go up

In it with regular practice,you may stay in that pose for about 30 seconds without discomfort.

But to take the same pose to a meditative one,you require increasing the time by a minute over a

Few days.While doing that you will realize after sometime that the body is beginning to respond to

The drag of gravity.The next step is to shift your awareness to those parts of the body which are

Slackening due to the resistance to gravity.This may be the calf muscles,the ankles,the spine and also

the hands.When you switch from each of these body parts and strengthen them to hold on,this is

where a pose becomes meditative. In fact,when done in this fashion,the movement of time is not felt,and the tiredness goes.Tiredness comes from a scattered mind.When the mind has something to

focus on,tiredness will vanish in a pose.This is a very exciting aspect of doing yoga in the meditative

fashion.So,a simple pose can help us deal with two things that constantly crush us during the day-

the sense of fatigue and the rush of time.

   Once this aspect of the pose is dealt with,awareness is shifted to one’s breath.Inevitably,the steadiness of our breath depends on the steadiness of our mind.So,when the mind becomes stable

In a pose like this,often you will find that the breath also complements it by becoming steady.

Focussing the mind on the breath is another way of tonning the mind even in a simple pose.

    Similarly,there are several layers of awareness we can bring into a pose.When this comes into your

Practice,the yoga mat becomes an adventure spot where the philosophy of yoga unravels itself,and

Helps reach concepts into the mind,using the body as its tool.

       Adhoumukha ekapadasana

     (Downward facing one-legged pose):

This involves balance,flexibility and though the final pose as demonstrated may be difficult,you may try the basic one.stand up straight,feet together.Bend the right leg at the knee,placing

Both hands on either side of the right foot.Raise the left leg high behind,as shown,simultaneously

Beginning to straighten the right leg.then move the head as close as you can to the right leg.Hold on for

As long as is comfortable.Release to repeat on the other side.


Benefits:  Boots focus, mental stamina and co-ordination.Removes postural defects.Replicates the

Impact of the headstand,against gravity.legs becomes strong and toned.Makes the spinal column flexible and supple,toning the nerves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



Stillness in yoga – Shameem Akthar

Monday, May 21st, 2012

n advanced yoga, the sign of progress is noticed when you are comfortably still in a pose, breathe evenly, keep the body steady and have the mind focused. This goal appears easy, especially with deceptively simple poses. But even simple poses can be tremendously challenging to the mind, and the body, when the duration is extended. Only serious practitioners will relate to sage Patanjali’s often misunderstood and misinterpreted verse Sthira Sukham Asanam. I believe, from my own struggle with tjis aspect of yoga, that this is what he meant. When this state of physical stillness and focus is reached, then only can that restless fluttering mind be corralled into stillness. This may be why the  Hatha Yoga Pradipika suggest there is no raja yoga (mind yoga) without hatha yoga (physical yoga) and no hatha yoga without raj yoga. In the stillness of your pose, the wordless messages of yoga will seep in.

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 Even if you hold a pose for long, but do it with a struggle, this aspect has been reached. You have to be comfortable in it. Most practitioners still struggling with this aspect will strain at the face, huff-puff loudly, or exhibit some limb shaking. Yet, however disturbing this stage of your progress on the mat may be, if you endure through this, you will reach that state of comfortable stillness in a pose. From here, the mind can be reached, through the body.

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  You enter a zone where time appears to stop. The mind is watchful, but quietened, fully alert but undisturbed. The sense of the now expands as time recedes. Bihar school of yoga founder, Swami Satyananda in his book, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, explains the psychic and spiritual benefits of learning to be still in a pose.

 He says, “Holding a pose has subtle powerful effects on the pranic and mental bodies. Apart from gently massaging internal organs, glands, muscles and relaxing the nerves throughout the body, it brings tranquility to the mind, preparing the practitioners for higher practices such as meditation. Some of them induce the state of pratyahara (sense withdrawal, involution of the mind).”


(Dancing shiva pose, variation):

Stand with feet about two ft apart flare feet slightly out. Inhale, going up on your simultaneously raising hands overhead, drawing palms together as shown. Exhale, lower the hips lightly, ensuring torso remains straight and does not tilt forward. Continue normal breathing. Initially hold for a few seconds, progressively increasing duration to a half a minute or more.

Benefits: Builds mental stamina and focus. Boosts physical stamina. Is centering. Is therapeutic in problems related to the uro-genital system. Boosts mood. Tones legs and hands.

Heal breast cancer – Sanjiv Ranjan

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Woman’s breasts are a symbol of her feminie self, her motherhood.
Even when faced with the possibility of death, she seeks to preserve this aspect of her womanhood.
That is why so many women resist a radical mastectomy (complete removal of the breast and surrounding tissue) unless absolutely mandatory, and frequently opts for breast conservation surgery,
Even though the risk of relapse is hypothetically higher.
By now, we all know that cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Every human body produces abnormal cells, but not everyone suffers from cancer, even though the incidence is steadily rising. This is because in most people the immune system is alert to the presence of such cells and there is something known as an internal surveillance system, which tracks and destroys abnormal cells.
When this internal surveillance breaks down, or becomes dysfunctional, such cells are allowed to persist and multiply, and this is how a tumour is born. The tumour then begins to draw blood vessels into it. As the blood supply to the tumour increases, it begins to grow. This crab-like formation, with the tumour forming the central body, and blood vessels radiating into it, is what inspired Hippocrates to name this disease cancer. But we are still not closer to answering the essential question- is cancer a disease, or is it a symptom of a deeper tragedy or pathology within?

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Possibility of relapse
The defining characteristics of a symptom is that if treatment is aimed at the annihilation of the symptom alone ,then it is bound to surface somewhere else .And this is precisely what happens in cancer .All of us who have seen a cancer patient, or have ourselves sufferd from the disease, have lived with the possibility of a relapse. So much so, that even in remission, the sense of having had cancer never leaves one. Therefore, it would not be unscientific to conclude that cancer is the outward manifestation of a deeper malaise inside the mind, a pathology whose roots are buried deep inside our being. So what causes the breakdown of the body’s internal surveillance system in the highly intelligent environment that is the human body-mind?

Body as subconscious mind
We use the term body-mind because they are part of the whole person, inextricably linked in day-to-day life. Just as we cannot separate a flower and its fragrance, and the moonlight from the moon, the body is an outward radiation of the human mind. Every person is a holistic continuum of his or her mind into their body.

Just as we cannot separate a flower and its fragrance, and the moonlight from the moon, the body is an outward radiation of the human mind. Every person is a holistic continuum of his or her mind into their body.

In this words of the reputed neuroscientist, Dr Candace Pert, who discovered the opiate receptors in the brain, ‘’your body is your subconscious mind.” This brings us to the central premise of mind-body medicine, which explores what is it that takes place in the mind that creates a particular condition? Having worked with the breast cancer patient intensively, and drawing from the research of other pioneers in this field, one identifies certain traits that define the cancer-prone personality.

Who gets cancer?
According to Dr W Douglass Bordie, MD, Who has dealt with thousands of cancer patients over the past 28 years, there are certain personalities traits present in the cancer-susceptible individual.
These traits are as follows;
1. Being highly conscientious, caring, dutiful, responsible, hardworking, and usually of above average intelligence.
2. Exhibits a strong tendency toward carrying other’s people’s burdens and toward taking on extra obligations, and is often “worrying for others.”
3. Having a deep-seated need to make others happy. Being a “people pleaser” with a great need for approval.
4. Often lacking closeness with one or both parents, which sometimes, later in life, result in lack of closeness with spouse or others who would normally be closed.
5. Harbours long-suppressed emotions, such as anger, resentment and/or hostility. The cancer-susceptible individual typically internalizes such emotions and has great difficulty expressing them.
6. Reacts adversely to stress, and often becomes unable to cope adequately with such stress. Usually experiences an especially damaging event about two years before the onset of detectable cancer. The patient is not able to cope with this traumatic event or series of events ,which comes as a “last straw” on the top of years of suppressed reactions to stress.
7. Is unable to resolve deep-seated emotions al problems and conflicts, usually beginning in childhood, and is often unaware of their presence.

Role of conditioning
Stress causes suppression of the immune system, and does so more overwhelmingly in the cancer-susceptible individual than in others. Thus personal tragedies and excessive levels of stress appear to combine with the underlying personality traits described above to bring on immune deficiency which allows cancer to thrive.
Women who have breast cancer often experience a deep rejection of their sacred femininie self. In addition to this they have never really known how to give vent to the overwhelming emotions that have surged within their body-mind, as a reaction to stress.
The human nervous system is the product of millions of years of evolution. It is programmed on the basis of the flight-fight response.
Anger gives you the energy to stand up and fight. Fear equips you to run. But unfortunately many times we do not act. We simply freeze. The massive biochemical outpouring of neuro-transmitters remains unused. We get stuck in our own internal cesspool.
The immune system begins to break down. The internal surveillance system gets confused. One cannot treat the body without treating the mind.

Beliefs can beat cancer
We have to open hearts and minds to the fact that it is people whom we are treating, and not the tumour. The tumour is only a guiding light to a deeper tragedy that has taken place within. One that has given rise to an unconscious death wish. One part of the personality has died. It needs to be restored. Awareness needs to be created.
Most of us assume that healing is something done to us, that if we have medical problem our responsibility is simply to get to a degree, but it is not the whole truth. There is a power that lies within. We have the ability to influence the course of the disease. We were born with it. We only y need to be retold, educated afresh.
Every person participates in their recovery through their emotions, attitudes and beliefs. It has a direct impact on how long they survive, or how well they recover.

First step toward recovery
One of the first things that need to change is the belief system. Beliefs have a very powerful effect on the human genome. According to the research of Dr Bruce Lipton, an internationally renowned molecular biologist, pioneer of the new science of belief movement, our perception influences the read-out of our genes. Our thoughts can switch on or switch off our cancer genes. During the course of a life-threatening illness, profound shift in perception can send the disease remission.
A recent research of more than a 100 fourth-stage cancer patients who went into remission revealed, that all of them, 100 per cent of them, went into deeper exploration of their inner world, either on their own or with the help of professionals trained to facilitate the journey.
They decided not to buy into the popular notion that cancer is the end of the road that is life. They became open to the lesser known truth that cancer may or may not be fatal. It all depends on a choice that is made. To view it as a wake-up call. To put back into life, what is missed? To live from an expanded vision of the self, to live with honor and dignity.

Deal with emotions
The next milestone in the healing journey is learning how to deal with emotions. Learn not to judge, hold emotions, nor allow anyone to judge you. Let go of paradigms like”men do not cry” and “women do not say no, or get angry.”
You are biologically programmed to experience powerfully emotions. Emotions are energy in motion; they are your defense mechanism. They equip you to deal with this grand and often unpredictable adventure that is life. They help you to cope with discomfort and subsequently heal.
The moment we begin to accept and own up to our wounded selves we begin to heal. Inside us, reside our fragmented selves who need our love, care and attention. Our entire life is stored in our body.
There is hope. Healing is simple and easy, because the inherent nature of life is to heal. We just need to remove the obstacles and blocks from the path of recovery
Remember, every breath, every heart beat, is life waiting to renew itself.


Mind-body medicine is the fourth weapon in the
Fight against cancer, alongside surgery, chemotherapy and