Fwd: The Yoga News - August, 2008
- namas te
am passing on this wonderful Karma Yoga by Yogacharya Micheal deslippe
hats off to him for a nice job well done indeed
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From: Yogacharya <info@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 02:41:05 UT
Subject: The Yoga News - August, 2008
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August 03, 2008
The Yoga News
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Camp Moomba Yogathon
Vancouver yogis gather to raise money for children affected by HIV.
At 5:30 pm on Saturday, July 12th, nearly 1,400 yoga enthusiasts gathered at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver Canada for the 6th annual Camp Moomba Yogathon. Though the attendance was well short of the 2,000 projected, this year the Yogathon raised $116,000 in support of Camp Moomba, a specialized summer camp program for kids age six to seventeen who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
At first glance, the Indian yogi might have found the sight of a sea of trendily clad urbanites lined up on rubber yoga mats, performing 108 minutes of sun salutations in unison to be a tad peculiar. Why? Because the sun salutation, or surya namaskar as it is known in Sanskrit, is a yogic practice derived from the early morning ablutions of the Hindu Brahman, and is traditionally practiced in the face of the rising morning sun.
We do things differently here in the Western yoga world though. As is often the case, 'yoga happenings' here are usually accompanied by familiar indulgences: food, pop music and commercial enterprise. The Vancouver Yogathon was no exception. Participants did some shopping in the 'Blissfest Marketplace and Food Fair', a showcase of local consumer products, services and delicacies, caught a glimpse of the latest trends in an 'eco-fashion show', and grooved to special live musical performances.
The occasion was certainly festive, but in some respects one cannot help but wonder if the entire point of yoga is somehow being missed with events such as this. Merely substituting mainstream materialism with a more environmentally friendly form of consumerism, in the end, really is not reflective of the yogic attitude toward life, nor is it sending the right message to people of what yoga is really all about.
Nonetheless, it was all done in the name of a good cause. One hundred and twelve children attended Camp Moomba last year, and the money raised in this year's event will go a long way towards helping to bring some love, hope and support into the lives of many more children faced with a difficult challenge in life. That is, in the end, the selfless spirit of yoga, and truly a good thing.
About the Author: Yogacharya is the director of
International Yogalayam, www.discover-yoga-online.com
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Yoga Ad Impresses at Cannes
'Street Stretch' adds a refreshing twist to the hustle and bustle of daily Indian life.
With a little extension of the imagination, Street Stretch merges complex yoga poses with the scenery of everyday life. This 60-second video, which took home a bronze metal at the 2008 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, was produced by JWT India along with Still Waters Films to promote the 15th annual International Yoga Festival in Pondicherry, India.
The idea itself came about in the head offices of JWT in Mumbai. "Imagine you step out of your home, and everyone you see is in a yogic pose", said Senthil Kumar, India Vice President of JWT.
One hundred and eight yogis were hired for the production, including a team of 12 children and youth from Yoganjali Natyalayam, a centre of Yoga, Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music in Pondicherry.
Shot in one day throughout the avenues and back-alleyways of historic Pondicherry, familiar street characters are seen striking weird poses as they go about their usual daily routines. A traffic cop gives directions with his feet; children hang from trees like bats; a man reads the newspaper with his feet crossed behind his ears; a flower girl holds a bouquet with her foot tucked up beneath her chin; pedestrians walk on their hands; and lifeguards crawl like crabs on all fours along the sand.
Dr, Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani of Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, who consulted on the project says, "I liked their concept of even the ordinary people doing yoga in everyday situations. [It's] something like our concept of 24-hours a day yoga." Indeed, behind the visually enticing compilation and stirring soundtrack lies the message that yoga is not merely a class that we go to a few times a week, but a way of life that must be lived in each and every moment.
With the help of this promo, broadcast on local and regional television, the Pondicherry Yoga Festival, which normally draws about 60,000 people, had an attendance of nearly 300,000 this year.
Stretch Street was also nominated at the Clio Awards 2008 in the category of Best Original Music Score and won a silver award at the Goa Festival, 2008.
Click here to view the 60-minute video 'Street Stretch' now…
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The birth of Lord Krishna
Sri Krishna Janmashtami (or Jayanti) celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna is considered the ultimate personification of love, friendship, trustworthiness and selfless service. Sri Krishna Janmashtami, therefore, signifies not simply a celebration of the birth of a great and Divine Teacher of mankind, but the recognition of that inherent Divine Power in all of us, which enables us to proceed in all of our worldly activities with a sense of higher spiritual purpose.
Krishna Janmashtami is considered one of the greatest Hindu community festivals. It falls on the eighth day of the dark half of the month of Bhadrapada; this year on August 24th/25th, and is marked by grand celebrations at Krishna temples across India. The festival itself is preceded by a day-long fast that is broken at midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born.
Born in 3,228 BC, Sri Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu representation of Almighty God, and is considered to be the Lord's most glorious incarnation. Hindu tales are rich with the exploits of his life, a life that is a stirring saga of one of the greatest champions of Dharma (duty, selflessness and righteous action).
From the moment of his birth in the dungeons of the tyrannical ruler Kamsa, his life is replete with mortal dangers, which he successfully triumphs over. He is said to have killed many demons, tamed the serpent Kaliya and even lifted a mountain to protect the people of Vrindavan from torrential rains.
Himself a king, Krishna played many roles in his life. He was a musician, a cow-herd, master of the arts, a benevolent ruler, righteous statesman and a teacher of the highest principles. He was the unchallenged hero of his times both in terms of his bodily prowess and intellectual brilliance. Nowhere in any scriptures has there been recorded a life more full, more intense, more sublime and grander than that of Lord Krishna.
Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita
At the epicentre of the great Indian epic, Mahabharata, we find Lord Krishna, charioteer to Arjuna the leader of the Pandava army at the commencement of the battle at Kurukshetra. Despondent and dejected at having to do battle against his former friends, family and loved ones, Arjuna is counselled by his friend Krishna who proceeds to instruct him on duty and right action.
The 700 slokas, or stanzas of this penultimate moment in the greatest of Indian epics is known as the Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna gives instruction on karma yoga (selfless action), bhakti yoga (devotion), jnana yoga (knowledge/wisdom) and on the proper yogic attitude to take towards every human crisis. The Bhagavad Gita remains today the widest read piece of literature of all time.
Yoga: it's in your genes
A recent scientific study has revealed the influence of relaxation techniques, such as those used in yoga, on the body's response to stress at the genetic level.
The research team from the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine found that the 'relaxation response', a bodily state characterized by decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress, can influence the expression of genes that are known to be related to stress.
The study compared gene-expression patterns in nineteen long-term 'mind/body' practitioners (which included vipassana, mantra, transcendental meditation, breath focus, Kripalu or Kundalini Yoga, and repetitive prayer), along with nineteen healthy controls and twenty individuals who underwent eight weeks of training in guided relaxation techniques.
It was observed that over 2,200 genes activated differently in the long-term practitioners compared to the controlled group. Perhaps even more surprisingly, 1,561 genes were also activated differently in the short-term practitioners relative to the controls.
It was observed that some of these gene changes seemed to cluster in genes linked to blood formation as well as genes linked to stress, oxidative metabolism, and primary metabolism, which the researchers suggest are "kind of a reversal of the genetic and cellular stress responses." In their abstract, the authors suggest that "this study provides the first compelling evidence that the relaxation response elicits specific gene expression changes in short-term and long-term practitioners."
For decades now, clinical studies have been revealing the positive health effects of relaxation producing activities such as yoga, mediation, Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Dr. Herbert Benson of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine explains that the team is continuing to explore ways that "changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented."
Jeffery A. Dusek, Hasan H. Otu, Ann L. Wohlhueter, Manoj Bhasin, Luiz F. Zerbini, Marie G. Joseph, Herbert Benson, and Towia A. Libermann. 2008. Genomic Counter-Stress Changes Induced by the Relaxation Response. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002576
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Hi-tech: a Wii bit of Bollywood yoga
The merging of technology and tradition is nothing new. For more than a decade now, yogis have been expounding their teachings through television, the internet and audio and video technology, which has led to an unprecedented explosion of yoga into mainstream consciousness.
The latest offspring of this unlikely union comes with the announcement of the creation of Wii Yoga from games publisher JoWood.
This yoga-fit game utilizes the balance board originally developed for Nintendo's extremely successful Wii Fit. The balance board senses weight, positioning, pressure, and direction. Wii Yoga will apparently feature an adaptable weekly schedule of exercises and allow you to follow the instructions of the inevitable virtual yoga guru. Aside from that, few details are as yet available.
Wii Yoga is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2009.
No-one has yet thought to make yoga available on your cellphone, but former Bollywood actress and famed Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty is among the first to try and catch the potential.
In conjunction with leading Indian mobile operators like Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance, BPL, Idea and Tata, the videos of Shilpa demonstrating various yoga practices are made available for download directly to subscribers. Users can also download wallpapers and screensavers of Shipla in her yoga poses.
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India: a hub of health and wellness
According to a recent article in the Telegraph of Calcutta, the Indian government has ambitious plans to position India as the global destination for health and wellness. It will do this by encouraging the creation of institutes to develop skills in yoga and traditional systems of medicine such as ayurveda.
According to the article, the first institute of this kind will be established in the Himalayan region of Sikkim in Northern India.
With this initiative, the government of India is signalling not only the need to further propagate its traditional systems of health and wellbeing, but also its keen interest in capitalizing on the commercial value of the industry as a whole.
With examples such as traditional Chinese medicine demonstrating significant global capital potential, which in a recent report approached nearly 26 billion dollars last year, it is certainly a good time to begin to lay a solid foundation for the promotion of India's own natural traditions.
A senior official within the Tourism Ministry points out that "AYUSH (the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) has concentrated only on very theoretical knowledge so far. In these new institutes", says the Ministry official, "we will focus on developing core competency."
While the Tourism Ministry has already been promoting destinations in India that specialise in rejuvenation, this is the first time that it is planning to get involved in manpower training. With the steady growth of spas and healing centers in the private sector, and the growing international interest in India as a wellness destination, the Ministry's initiative could add needed support to the development of India as a world leader in the health and wellness industry.
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