Facial Yoga for a Smiling You


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A smiling face lightens the mood and puts everyone at ease. A popular study reveals that a baby smiles 400 times a day while an adult smiles barely 8 times. It’s a no-brainer that stress is one of the primary reasons for adults to lose their natural self and also their smile. Stress can seep into our lives due to different reasons and, unknowingly, reflect on our face. This stress causes the face to reflect premature ageing, dullness, and a constantly tired look. Taking up yoga is perhaps one of the best ways of overcoming this stress and brightening up the face again.

Sukshma Yoga means subtle or light yoga. This is a powerful yoga method that releases the muscles that have been tight due to lack of exercise and accumulation of stress. Facial yoga rejuvenates your face within minutes and brightens it up. It also relaxes the muscles and nerve connections. So, let’s get ready to do some simple and effective yoga techniques:

Around the Round Eye!

Close your fists while holding the thumb upright. Now close your eyes and gently start moving your right thumb on right eye and left thumb on the left eye. Move the thumb with gentle pressure on the eye to make circles around it. Do this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes.

How does it work? It helps you to get rid of dark circles and releases the muscles around your eyes.

Surprise Me!

Widen your eyes trying to expose as much of the white in your eye as you can. Then squeeze your eyes tight. Open it wide and squeeze it again. Keep doing this rapidly till your eyes seem to start watering. Now close your eyes and relax. Do this exercise for 3 to 4 minutes.

How does it work? By doing this expression, you’re exercising the muscles around your eyes and your forehead. This exercise improves the eyesight and may even help get rid of spectacles over a period of time.

Get Cheeky!

Breathe in from your mouth and puff both your cheeks for a couple of seconds. Now release the breath through your mouth and repeat for 8-10 times.

How does it work? This pose strengthens your cheek muscles and prevents them from becoming thinner and looking hollow. If you look at people who play the saxophone, they always have firm cheeks. When you use a muscle in a specific way, it changes the facial appearance. So, do this exercise for toned and plump cheeks.

Kiss Me!

Smile widely and stretch it further more. Now press your lips tightly together and kiss! Repeat this exercise for 20-25 times.

How does it work? This exercise relaxes the muscles around the lips and cheeks and also brightens up the face. Pink cheeks and an unshakable smile are the results of this beautiful and simple yoga. While smiling, remember – Fake it till you make it!

Chin Me!

Hold your chin such that thumbs of both the hands are below the chin. Start pressing the chin from the lower side and move upwards only with the help of the thumbs. Do this for 2-3 minutes.

How does it work? This technique helps you to get rid of constipation and improvises digestion. It also helps you to get rid of upset stomach.

Pull your Ears!

Hold your ears lobes and pull them downwards for about 30 seconds. For the next 30 seconds, pull the ear lobes outwards. While still holding the ear lobes, rotate them clockwise and anti-clockwise for almost 30 seconds each.

How does it work? This exercise brings awareness and also releases tension from the facial muscles.

Pull it Out!

Hold your eyebrows with your fingers such that you can pull the eyebrows from center towards the end of the eyebrows. Do this for 3-4 minutes.

How does it work? This exercise relaxes you as it massages and keeps stress from accumulating near the eyebrows.

These simple exercises can be done anywhere and at anytime. Regularly practicing these exercises will help you feel fresh throughout the day. Whether you are heading for an interview or have a big presentation, spend a couple of minutes to refresh your face with these exercises. Your face will radiate confidence and a sense of calmness, and will thus have a good impression on others. Practicing these exercises right before meditation will also help you go deeper into meditation.

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find a Art of Living Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you

Via:Official

Published By: AOL Team Buxar

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Parents, Just Beat It!


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Why & How You Can Change the Concept of Exam Fear

Since parents too go through exam-time anxieties, they too need to de-stress. Yoga and breathing exercises, and going for walks with your child will help. Believe that your child is unique, and be unconditionally supportive. It’s important to have faith in both your child and in your own parenting skills.

Sensitize the child to the importance of knowledge and learning in life. And most certainly, exam time can bring out the best of one’s abilities not just in the child but also in the parents.

Some practical advice:

  1. Chalk out a plan of action and a timetable: Let the timetable include a routine that will cover the exam syllabus comfortably giving enough time for revision and all other activities. This will bring clarity, focus and a sense of direction that will increase the self-confidence in children and bring out the best in them. It works best when timetables are prepared with full participation and involvement from the child. It’s important to keep the timetable realistic and based entirely on the child’s abilities.
  2. A supportive family environment: Since the pressure from school, peer group, and the society at large, is unavoidable, the understanding and support from the family becomes even more crucial for the child. Parental expectations tend to put enormous pressure on children on top of the pressures that comes from society. A supportive family ambience is created when parents do not measure the success of their children by their academic achievements.
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    1. Exercise: Alternate periods of studying with extra-curricular activities like running, jogging, a favorite sport, a gym workout. Practice Pranayama (simple breathing exercises), yoga, especially the Sun Salutation, and meditation.
    2. Fun time: Travel over the weekend, spend time with friends or pets, indulge in creative activities like drawing, painting or some preferred performing arts, which will activate the right brain, relax, and balance the mind.
    3. Healthy Diet: Reinforce these with a balanced diet, healthy juices and vegetarian food. It is important for parents to explain to children the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, which includes the importance of drinking sufficient water, keeping away from junk food, sweets and chocolates, and the effect that different foods have on the body and mind. Study is best when the stomach is light, and there is complete wakefulness and alertness.
    4. To improve exam-readiness, teach children important learning skills like reading the text, writing down important points, giving written answers to questions, and then re-reading the text. This will strengthen their knowledge and help them be flexible when face with exam questions. It’s a good idea to get them used to voice-notes.

Is your child stressed?

Some telltale signs:

  • Inability to grasp even when reading the same thing a couple of times
  • Hungrier or sleepier than usual
  • Not hungry or sleepy as usual
  • Irritation without cause
  • Absent-minded, misplacing things
  • Employ a parenting style that combines warmth, realistic demands, and democracy.
  • Avoid needless comparisons and allow the child to have the space to know himself and develop his own identity.
  • Parents will have to control the urge to nag and just simply set an example by following the rules they set for their children

Did you know?

Research establishes a correlation between hormones and stress response. Results have revealed that the production of cortisol is the primary hormone responsible for the stress response. Elevated cortisol levels lead to memory loss, increased alertness feelings of anxiety. Essential learning skills like reasoning and analytical abilities are impaired, as does the ability for self-control.

Written by Shreya Chugh, a youth empowerment facilitator from The Art of Living.

Via Official Site

Published By:AOL Team Buxar

AOL Holistic Approach


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How We Work

The Art of Living transforms societies by instilling a vision, making role models, promoting a sense of community and giving people a voice.

The Art of Living—Projects Management Unit (PMU) is a special technical wing within The Art of Living that implements holistic solutions for social, economic and environmental issues. Our goal is to enable transformation by acting as intermediary between various resource providers and communities.These connections combined with our empowerment, accountability and sustainability models, enable a lasting impact towards our shared goals.

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Empowerment Model

Our Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) transform ‘vulnerable’ young men and women into leaders in their communities. They become proactive ‘advocates’ for change and ‘owners’ of their challenges. We work with these empowered leaders toward complete development of their communities.

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Accountability Model

We provide project accounts and activity reports at periodic intervals throughout the project. At our closing stage, we provide a final financial accountability report that identifies where and how the funds were used. During this stage, we also provide a post impact analysis report, which evaluates the impact of our guidance in the established project area to determine its effectiveness. This allows us to identify improvements needed to strengthen future projects.

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Sustainability Model

Our empowered community leaders continue to be torchbearers for their community long after project timelines are over making our impact sustainable.

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Via:AOL

Yoga Keeps You Going, Even at 50


Recently turned 50, Srinivas Uppaluri is a perfect example of ‘age no bar’ when it comes to doing what he is passionate about. Then be it his work, a game of golf, daily yoga practice, or regular fitness routine – Srinivas makes sure that he puts in his 100% to all this. One look at Srinivas makes you think that perhaps life begins at 50.

“Yoga helped me discover skills and capabilities I never knew I had. You almost become a channel for the most surprising things that flow through you.” These are the words of Srinivas Uppaluri, management consultant and executive coach, who attributes his achievement in every aspect of life to his regular yoga practice. He doesn’t let anything come in the way of his routine, not even his hectic work and travel schedule. Srinivas tries to do at least five sessions of yoga per week, which includes 12 sets of Sun Salutation, Padma Sadhana, a few yoga stretches and power exercises, meditation and Sudarshan Kriya. He adds to this routine a regular game of golf, walking and a bit of cycling and swimming, saying that yoga helps complement his fitness activity. He is also extremely particular about his diet. In a brief chit-chat, Srinivas shares more about the importance of yoga in his life.

Q1. Some practitioners believe that yoga means asanas (body postures) while others speak about practising yoga off the mat. What, according to you, is yoga?

Srinivas – I would not put any clear definition to it but for me, yoga is being aware and all these practices are directed towards that. Yoga asanas help you become more aware of your body, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation help you become aware of your thoughts and your breath. All these help me be a witness to my own emotions, to my capabilities and experiences. If you look at phase I and phase II of my life, phase I has been more of physical training and yoga to be strong and fit at the body level. In phase II, all these practices are now helping me more towards watching life as an outsider and therefore, I’m able to handle emotions and situations better. Phase II has been yoga for internal journey.

Q2. As a consultant and executive coach, how does yoga help you contribute better to your work?

Srinivas – As I said, yoga keeps me increasingly aware in every aspect of life. I’m able to stay focused and centered, thanks to my yoga practices, and I think I’m better able to contribute to every situation without getting emotionally involved in it. I’m letting it happen yet I’m giving it my 100% – it’s a combination of both.

Q3. What about maintatining work-life balance?

Srinivas – For me, work and personal life are not separate because I’m working on something that I’m passionate about, on issues and problems I’m passionate about. My reading (which is also a hobby) forms a part of my work. I like collecting a lot of books. I also teach occasionally and write on those subjects. Whatever I’m doing, I give my 100% to it. Even when I’m traveling for work, I find a golf game on the weekend. I try not to miss the game. I think this balance naturally comes more by making sadhana (yoga and spiritual practices) the center of your life. Earlier, my work used to be the main center and sadhana used to be done whenever convenient. Now, sadhana has become the center of my life and everything else revolves around it. So I think the balance automatically flows.

Q4. You are a frequent flyer and are constantly traveling around for work. Usually, frequent flyers share common complaints such as jet lag, digestive ailments, back ache, and fatigue. What has been your experience? Has yoga helped you cope with constant travel?

Srinivas – One good thing about yoga is that you can even do it in a small hotel room! Other activities such as taking a walk or jog depend on the weather outside, the availability of a gym, etc., but yoga can be done anywhere if you are carrying a mat. In fact, even hotels these days would give you a mat if you ask for it. That’s why I recommend a lot of people to do yoga. While traveling, even if I have 20 minutes or half an hour, a few rounds of Sun Salutation or Padma Sadhana are still good. You stretch yourself out. If I have to catch a flight at 7:30 a.m., I wake up at 4 a.m., do a few yoga stretches, do Sudarshan Kriya, take a shower and then only I leave for the airport. Yoga is always part of my travel and this helps. When I come back home in the evening after work, I do a few rounds of Sun Salutation, so you can balance it the way you want. You don’t always need to do all the yoga practices at a stretch if you don’t have the time. But you should somehow still find time for it.

Q5. Today the corporate sector is opening up to techniques and workshops for improving productivity, team work and stress relief. Companies are turning to yoga and meditation for the same. What are your views on this trend?

Srinivas – I think it’s a good move as long as they are guided well on this path. I feel there is a lot of misunderstanding about yoga practices. People are doing them looking for quick benefits. It’s a wonderful initiative by companies but I think expectations have to be moderated. You need to understand that yoga is for the long term; it’s not like I can do meditation for two days and I will immeditately get something out of it. Yoga is best done with some guidance and more as a ‘let go’ rather than ‘what am I going to get out of it’. Most of the companies today are into short-term benefits but still it’s a good start.

Q6. We hear you have a passion for golfing. Could you tell us something about it? Has yoga also helped improve your game in any way?

Srinivas – Now that’s a difficult one (laughs). I grew up playing sport so any kind of sport is a very nice experience. The best thing about golf is to be outdoors, it’s a lot of dedication and many hours of hard work. I’m not a professional but I still like to play well. It’s quite fascinating; every time you are looking forward to going back to the game again and again, although you might have had a bad round previously. It requires some technique to be good at it, some amount of fitness, especially around your shoulders, waist, and hamstrings, and so a lot of my yoga practice goes to strengthen these areas. The game also involves a lot of yoga principles such as being in the present moment, believing in yourself, being sincere and focused, and relates to every aspect of my life. The moment I have self-doubt, it reflects in the game, the moment I’m hesitant, it reflects in the game, the moment I’m completely centered, I get amazed by the brilliant shot that has been created. So it represents everything about what yoga and meditation is. Golfing started off as leisure at first, it still is, but I think I have put in a lot of hard work into it.

Published By:-AOL Team Buxar

Breathe Your Way to a Calm Mind with Yoga


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The mind never gets a day off. It’s either busy with ‘who-said-what’ or mulling on the past or the future. With yoga and meditation, train your mind to stay calm, happy and relaxed.

Imagine going on a long drive to the countryside with a rundown car. Far from enjoying the scenery, you will be caught up with the car trouble. We don’t often realize but the same happens when the mind is too occupied with past events or future anxieties. We fail to enjoy the beauty in simple things – being with nature, enjoying a sunset. Is there nothing that can ‘quiet’ the mind and allow us to enjoy the moment? Yoga could provide the answer.

How does the mind work? What does yoga do?

But first, is there really a need to quiet the mind’s chatter? Do you find your mind wandering off on a trip of thoughts about the past or future? Even with your eyes open and glued to a computer screen, your mind could be elsewhere. The result: low productivity and efficiency; unachieved deadline.

Such mind-chatter affects not just our work but also our day-to-day life, making us restless and uncomfortable. While there is no way the mind can be ‘turned off’ for some time, the holistic yoga package comprising yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama),Sudarshan Kriya and meditation helps the mind come back to the present, and restores clarity and alertness.

“Unfortunately, Yoga is considered as just the physical exercises. It is just a beginning, physical exercise is just one part of it. But, then comes the breath and the mind. Tapping the inner source of energy is important. Yoga is never complete without meditation. Sudarshan Kriya takes you to the deepest meditation where body, mind and breath comes in the rhythm connecting to the source of life deep within.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Relax with yoga postures

It’s a good idea to start with some stretches and yoga postures that help make the body stable and light. Practicing yoga can sometimes seem challenging to beginners. At the onset, the body is stiff, unsteady and lacks flexibility. Moreover, we become aware of uneasiness in certain parts of the body while stretching in yoga poses. Art of Living Yoga teachers say that it is just the body’s way of demanding attention. In such situations, take your attention to that part of the body and take some deep ujjayi breaths.

Calm the mind with breathing exercises

If you repeat the same activity described above – this time after doing a few rounds of breathing exercises(pranayama), such as Kapalbhaati, Bhastrika, or Nadi Shodhan pranayama – you will be surprised to see the difference! Did you notice that lesser number of thoughts cross your mind when your eyes are closed; maybe even disappear, meaning the mind is devoid of all mundane thoughts. You can find that you are more focused and clear and can execute work faster than before.

Glide into meditation

Now the body is stable, the mind clear of thoughts – the stage is set to slip into meditationeffortlessly. By this, we mean that just like we can’t force ourselves to sleep until it happens on its own, even meditation cannot be forced or done with effort. It just happens and you simply glide through it. And it’s not just the experience during meditation that matters but how you feel after. The mind becomes quieter and unperturbed, and you find yourself much more in control of things.

All these practices combined together can help switch the mind from a state of turbulence to the bliss of tranquility. The mind doesn’t shut off but it does stop chattering, letting you be 100 percent in the moment and enjoying it completely.

Yoga in Summer


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5 yoga tips to cool off this summer

Cool off this summer with yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. Stay focused, healthy and happy with some simple practices.

Summer time means different things for different people. A time to holiday, hit the beach, and relax.

However you view summer, one thing is constant: it’s hot. Really, really warm and muggy. And isn’t each year seemingly getting warmer?

5 Yoga Tips to Cool Off This Summer

From a yoga practitioner’s point of view, it’s part of change. One season flows into another – each one brings its set of changes. A yogi will simply look at the changes and act: do some best practices to ensure the body and mind stay fit.

Here are five yoga tips. You could choose a favorite yoga tip and practice it regularly or even do all.

#1: The secret is in your breath

The next time you’re waiting for a bus or have a few minutes before you rush out for the day, try the Sheetali pranayama.

  1. Stick your tongue out and curl the sides of the tongue upward towards the center of the tongue.
  2. Breathe in through the mouth, hold the breath and slowly exhale through the nose.

Repeat five to 10 times.
You’ll find your body temperature cooling down.

#2: Drink up

The more you hydrate yourself, the better. With 70 percent of water in your body, you’d better ensure there’s lot of liquid out there. Besides drinking gallons of fluids, you could include the Sheetkari pranayama in your routine. Here’s how:

  1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
  2. Exhale completely through the left nostril and then breathe in through the left nostril.
  3. Close the left nostril with your little ring finger and exhale through the right.

Repeat five to 10 times.
Lots of people find that Sheetkari helps to quench thirst. So if you’re stranded without water somewhere, you know what to do. And even if you have all the fluids, do the sheetkari. It also helps to cool the body.
Friendly caution: Sheetkari is not a substitute for water or fluids. Drink up, for sure.

#3: Calm the nerves

When the temperature is hot outside, it’s likely that we lose our tempers, get impatient and tired. That’s where Chandrabhedi steps in. This breathing technique has a cooling effect on the nervous system and on the nadis (subtle channels of energy).

  1. With mouth open, clench your teeth and press the tongue against the teeth. Breathe in.
  2. Close your mouth and breathe out normally through the nostrils.

Repeat five to 10 times: inhaling from the left and exhaling from the right.
After the pranayama, lie down in Shavasan (Corpse pose). It’ll relax and refresh you.

#4: Slow down on yoga poses

Yoga poses practiced gently and meditatively balance the mind and body and are beneficial at any time of the year. Shavasana and meditation are especially good in summer.

Any physical activity increases body temperature. That is why it’s best to avoid excessive or strenuous asanas when it is extremely hot. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to practiceyoga postures during summer.
‘Pitta’ type people should avoid fast paced yoga poses. If the temperature is very high avoid brisk breathing techniques like Kapal Bhati and Agnisara.

#5: Swear by Shavasana

After a long day, do you want to unwind in the evening? Lie down in Shavasana near a wall – with your feet touching the wall. Raise your legs and rest your feet on the wall. After holding the posture for a minute or two, bring the legs down and rest in Shavasana. You’ll find this yoga pose refreshing and restorative. How does this work? Since the heart is pumping out more blood, when the temperature is high, this yoga pose helps the heart by returning more blood back to the heart. (Here we use gravity to bring the blood back to the heart.)

Caution: Those with high blood pressure and back problems should avoid this yoga posture. An easier alternative to this yoga pose is to pile up some pillows and rest your feet on them.

These are some of the practices which have been loved by our readers. We’d love to hear about how you use yoga to cool during the summer.

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Here are other yoga asanas that you can practice in summer:

Dhruvasana, Ardhkatichakrasana, Konasana, Marjariasana, Butterfly,
Vajrasan, Sinhasana, Shashankasana, Chakrasana, Uttanpadasana,
Yoga Nidra, Shavasana

Eat, drink and be happy

  • Reduce intake of spicy food, tea, coffee and sugar.
  • Avoid fatty food because it puts extra burden on the digestive system and heart.
  • Consume larger quantities of fruits, vegetables and yoghurt. Though, not together.
  • Minimize consumption of non-vegetarian food.
  • Increase your intake of lime water with a pinch of salt.Remember: A squeeze of lime can be cooling, but too much of it can aggravate pitta.

Based on inputs by an Art of Living Yoga teachers: Kishan Verma, Dinesh Kashikar and Kaushani Desai, Ayurvedic Cooking teacher

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Published By:-AOL TEAM BUXAR