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I know that I have not been posting blogs recently I do not want to write these days and I do exactly what I want and I do not write. If I try to write under these circumstances, I know that I will hurt myself and do something that my heart and my soul do not appreciate and thus, I will be unhappy. So, I go in line with yoga philosophy and I do not write until my mind and soul allow me.

Actually, I do like writing a lot. And, so many things happen in my daily life and classes. However, I do not know why but I want to turn inward and live and experience all these events by myself.

So, how have I started to write again? One of my students asked my why hadn’t I been writing for a long time and told me that she expected to see my new posts. When I was asked this question, I was ashamed. Believe me, I am doing a favor to myself when I am writing but I know that people are reading my posts and expecting the new ones. By not writing, I was not meeting their expectations and I was depriving them of my posts. What a big word it is! “Depriving them of my posts.” It is not such a big deal. I am just writing what is going on in my life and how I feel. That’s all!.

Yes, why have I re-started writing? When one of my students asked why I was not writing, the answer was simple. “Because, I do not want to write these days and I do not want to force myself and do something that I do not really want. When I do something by force, I do not think it will be useful to me. Neither to me nor to others.”

The answer of my student put me back to posting new blogs: “Teacher, you are like the moon. As how the moon reflects the light and the energy it gets from the sun to the earth at night, you should reflect the light and energy you get from your training programs, readings and experiences to us, i.e. to your students. I am not saying that you are not doing so, you are doing so. And always doing so particularly in your classes. However, in your blogs, you talk about some other things that you do not talk in the class when you do not have that much time. Your blogs are more detailed and deeper. Therefore, you should go on writing and should reflect the light and energy just “like the moon.”

This was one of the most inspiring comments I have ever heard. I was moved so much that I could not stop crying. That day, I decided again. I should be “like the moon.” I should read more, I should look into resources more, I should learn more and reflect what I learn to my students “like the moon.” I should be the light and energy. Thank you my dear student. I am so glad that you have walked into my life. I am so glad that I have got to know you. And I am so glad that you are in my life. There are a lot of things that I would learn from you. I bow in front of you with respect. Na’maste.

Long, gloomy, dry and cold winter is about to end. The north hemisphere is welcoming the spring. March 21 is the day when day and night are equal and when spring officially begins. With the spring on the way, we can see some changes in our bodies as well as our sportive activites and yoga practice. Spring makes us feel more tired, heavier and as if we are carrying hundreds of kilograms of load and we may not know how to cope with this fatigue. Actually, it’s so simple. According to Ayurveda — the Indian science of living — the “kapha dosha” in our bodies increases when spring comes. For this reason, we feel ourselves heavier and tired and we do not even want to move. So, what type of yoga should we prefer in spring?
Before discussing types of yoga during spring, it is better to talk about “doshas” in our bodies. Ayurveda divides types of bodies into three and name them as “dosha” including “vata”, “pitta and “kapha.” Every body consists of three doshas and one of the doshas prevail others and cause some phyical and spiritual changes from season to season. From person to person, one dosha prevails. Moreover, one dosha prevails over the other with seasonal changes. It is so natural that “vata dosha” increases in our bodies in long, cold, gloomy and dry winter. On the contrary, “kapha dosha” increases in our bodies as days get longer, flowers bloom and temperatures rises with spring. Kapha dosha balances elements water and earth in our bodies. Its duty is to stretch our joints, providing mucus to protect our sinuses, lungs and stomach and to regulate the amount and strength of our muscles.
When kapha dosha is in balance, we feel ourselves strong and solid. When it is out of balance, we may be exhausted, depressed and sleepy.
Therefore, it is important to balance the kapha dosha in our bodies when spring comes. Otherwise, we may have to cope with seasonal allergies and severe common cold.
When all these are taken into consideration, flow yoga is something I can recommend to yoga lovers to not only wake their heavy bodies up but also to feel themselves more dynamic. Particularly vinyasa and hatha classes, “surya namaskara” (sun salutations), standing asanas, backbends, inversions, arm balancing poses and twists are sine qua non poses of springtime. “Matsyasana” (fish), “salabhasana” (locust), “navasana” (boat), “dhanurasana” (bow), “simhasana” (lion), “ustrasana” (camel), “setu bandhasana” (bridge), “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel), “sirsasana” (headstand), “sarvangasana” (shoulderstand), “pincha mayurasana” (peacock) and “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand) open the chest, relieve congestion, stretch the throat and drains sinuses.
If you follow a flow like “garudasana” (eagle), “prasaritta padottanasana” (wide-legged forward bend) variations, “sirsasana” (headstand), “bakasana” (crow), “chaturanga dandasana-bakasana” (low plank-crow), “bakasana (crow)-adho mukha vrksasana (handstand)”, “salamba sarvangasana-halasana-karnapidasana-salamba sarvangasana-setu bandhasana” (supported shoulderstand, plow, ear pressure pose, supported shoulderstand, bridge), this will not only balance the kapha dosha in your bodies but also make you feel yourself stronger and more energetic.
In our classes or own yoga practice, we can welcome spring and ease spring fever with just 108 sun salutations. When flowing with “surya namaskara” series, we can focus on breath and add more oxygen and “prana” (life force) to our bodies with the breath, we can wake up and strengthen our bodies and we can clean and detox our minds as well.
Following such flows, you can go on working your core muscles, add some twists to your practice and do pranayama like “kapalabathi” (skull shining), “bhastrika” (breath of fire) or “agni sara” (cleansing breathing exercise) at the beginning or end of the class. You can also use “uddiyana bandha” (abdominal lock) throughout the class and wake your body up during springtime. Twists will also clean and detox our organs and strengthen the metabolism. Core strengthening asanas would activate the “element fire” in our bodies and can help us revive and feel more energetic.
Moreover, liver and gall bladder is overworking during cold winter days since we consume more caffeine, alcohol and sugar and eat more oily and protein-strong food. In order to relieve the liver and gall bladder, we should focus on inner thighs, groins and the outer parts of the legs. If we give priority to yin yoga and work the meridians believed to pass through the inner thighs, groins and outer parts of the legs, wee may relieve the liver and gall bladder, clean them up and revive them. “Swan”, “sleeping swan”, “dragonfly”, “frog”, “shoelace” are some of yin yoga poses for liver and gall bladder. Also we may do some hatha yoga poses such as “garudasana” (eagle), “prasaritta padottanasana” (wide angle pose), and “gomukasana” (cow face pose) for our liver and gall bladder.
As a result, spring is the time of the year when day and night are equalized, then days start to get longer after the equinox and nights start to shorten. Therefore, balance is so important. That is why we give priority to balancing the kapha dosha in our bodies in our yoga practice. We want to overcome fatigue and wake our bodies up and get more energetic in springtime and we focus on vinyasa yoga, i.e. flow yoga styles.
No matter what they say! Whether spring is a season that makes us feel ourselves heavy and tired, I feel happier as nature wakes up, flowers bloom, trees get greener, sun shines, days get longer and birds return to the north hemisphere. And I forget about the fatigue and heaviness as I feel happy. My body, soul and mind enlightens and shines with the sun rising up every day.
Yoga… Whether vinyasa, hatha or yin or any other type of yoga. I always think that what is important is the desire to do yoga irrespective of its style or the season. The type is not important. This is totally your choice and preference as long as you wake your body, soul and mind up, be in harmony with your body, mind and soul with the changing seasons, and just act in line with what they want.

Everything began as one of my students asked me a question a few days ago. “We are holding our hands in a certain position when meditating. Sometimes the thumb touches the index finger but sometimes it touches the middle finger and this changes in certain countries like China, India and Japan. I asked this question to a few people before but I could not get a satisfactory answer. Do you know the reason?” Yes, I know. I learned this topic in detail when I joined yoga teeacher training program. I thought for a few seconds. We are usually using “chin mudra” when meditating. This “mudra” (seal) represents consciousness. What about the others? I cannot remember. “Let me look into this topic and then send you an e-mail.”

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Once I came home after class, I looked at my yoga notes. Mind was something  like this. When you do not use some information for a while, the mind starts to forget them. As you acquire new information, you start forgetting the old ones and when you do not review them, you totally forget them.

When I looked at my notes, I started to remember “hasta mudras” (hand seals). “Chin mudra” happened when the tip of the thumb touched the index finger. The thumb was representing the divine power and the index finger was representing the individual consciousness. With the mudra, you aim to join the individual consciousness and the cosmic consciousness. “Chin mudra” can mean “we are ready to understand.” “Chinmaya mudra” is done by curling the fingers down into the palm but pressing the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb. It shows that the cosmic consciousness is perceived and that “we have seen that the individual consciousness unites with cosmic consciousness.” “Adhi mudra” is done as making a fist with the hands by curling the four fingers around the thumb and it means “we are holding the cosmic power within ourselves.”

Every finger’s position has a meaning in “hasta mudra” practice. In the Indian culture, fingers represent certain organs and energy centers and they are the doors of the organs and energy centers opening to the outside world. The energy of that center or organ could come out from this point or the energy could enter into the body from this point. In certain excavations, archeologists have found evidence that mudras had existed and been used before 4,000 B.C.

Every finger is linked with one of the five universal elements named “tattvas” and is used to symbolize the consciousness that each element represents. “Agni tattva” means the element fire and is linked with the thumb. “Vayu tattva” is the element air and is linked with the index finger, “akasha tattva” is the element aether and linked with the middle finger, “prithivi tattva” is the element earth and linked with the ring finer and “apas tattva” is the element water and linked with the little finger.
Mudras coincide with certain meridians in astrological sense. “Gyan mudra” is done by touching the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger and represents wisdom because the Jupiter is the representative of the index finger. The Jupiter is the planet of expansion, growth and wisdom. This mudra joins the elements air and fire.
In “shuni mudra”, the tip of the thumb is pressed on the tip of the middle finger and it represents patience and self-discipline becuase the Saturn represents the middle finger. This planet is the planet of responsibility. This mudra unites fire and aether.
“Surya/prithivi mudra” is done by touching the tips of the thumb and ring finger. It represents energy and creativity as the Uranus and the Sun are the representatives of the ring finger. “Sura mudra” joins fire and earth.
“Buddhi mudra” is done by pressing the tips of the thumb and the little finger and represents communication and the mind. The planet of communication, Mercury is the representative of the little finger. This mudra joins fire and water.
In addition, “mudras” are used to cure several diseases. The tip of the thumb has the centers of
pituitary and endocrine glands and when the tips of the thumb and the index finger are pressed, i.e. when “gyan mudra” (the seal of knowledge) is done, pituitary and endocrine glands work actively. This seal increases memory power and sharpens the brain, enhances concentration and prevents insomnia, it cures psychological disorders like depression, anger and hysteria, increases mental capabilities, increases the grasping and learning capacities. It also stimulates the “muladhara” (root) chakra and sends the energy to the lower parts of the body.
“Shuni mudra” (the seal of patience and self-discipline) increases patience and responsibility, helps change negative emotions into positive and makes us gain stability and power.
Literally meaning the seal of sun, “surya mudra” sharpens the center in thyroid gland, reduces cholesterol, helps reduce weight, reduces anxiety and corrects indigestion problems.
“Buddhi mudra” helps a clear and effective communication, balances the element water in our bodies, activates salivary gland and moistens dry eyes and skin.
The person who asked me this question was the student who recommended me books about “Shamanizm” and “Amazons.” When we were talking about the position of fingers in “mudras” after the class, we both said that Jesus Christ was also using “mudras”. In many frescos or paintings, the Christ was pressing his right thumb to his right ring finger which represented “surya/prithivi mudra.” This mudra helps gain stability and cure bodily and mental weaknesses. Also, Greek Orthodox priests kept their right hands in “prithivi mudra” when making the sign of the cross during a spoken blessing. In this context, “prithvi mudra” can be perceived as the Sign of Benediction or Blessing.
In some icons, the Christ is depicted with his right hand in “pran mudra”, which meant his little finger and ring finger touching the thumb. This mudra literally means the seal of life and stability. It sharpens eyes and ensures inner peace, stability and confidence.
It is not a good thing to conclude this blog without talking about “anjali mudra”. In this mudra, the palms are joined together in front of the heart and it helps someone turn inward. It resembles the prayer hands in Christianity. It is done for inner peace, harmony and balance and it harmonizes the right and left brain.
When I joined the yoga teacher training program, I realized that the Christ was depicted when making “mudras” in some paintings, frescos and icons however I did not have enough time to make a search in detail. The conversation with that student made me think about this topic more and make a detailed search. That is, “you are never too old to learn.”
What did I think that evening? Every person whom we meet and everything we come across are coming into our lives to teach us new things and to develop us more. And to remind us the things we have forgotten or ignored…

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When winter comes, I feel depressed. Even though I am a person who have been doing and living in yoga for years, I cannot get accustomed to the duality of life. Actually, I have accepted duality in many areas, however when it comes to winter andd summer, summer is much more important for me. In fact, the sentence saying “there is winter if there is summer” is not one that I feel like saying.

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Winter… Cold, dark, dry and harsh… All these are characteristics of “vata dosha”, one of the three body types in ayurveda (Indian science of life). Vata dosha resembles adjectives like airy, light and creative. The main feature of this body type is instability and inconstancy. Vata dosha controls the central nervous system. When this dosha is out of balance, it can lead to nervous problems, including anxiety and depression.
With the cold, dry and harsh weather during winter, the vata dosha in our bodies rise irrespective of what our ayurvedic body types are. When the vata in our bodies rise, the best thing to do is to do grounding yoga asanas. Therefore, we should give priority to grounding in our yoga practice during winter and we should keep our awareness in our roots and grounds.
Why do we have to ground when vata increases in our bodies? Vata is associated with not only cold, dark, dry and harsh but also light and airy. Therefore, when vata increases in our bodies, it is so normal to fell ourselves lighter, more airy and as if we are flying.
To this end, we should reduce, balance or regulate the vata dosha in our bodies. If we give priority to inversions that increase vata during our yoga practice and mainly do sirsasana (headstand), adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) and pincha mayurasana (peacock pose), we raise the vata iin our bodies. Thus, our mind will be tired, we feel impatient, and we feel like we are flying. We cannot focus, we cannot stay at one place and we will lose attention.

If we have such complaints, we should focus on grounding more than ever during winter in order to ensure physical, emotional and spiritual balance because most probably, the vata dosha in our bodies has increased. The standing yoga poses, particularly tadasana (mountain pose), virabhadrasana I and II (warrior poses), trikonasana (triangle) and vrksasana (tree pose) are all poses that ground us and help us regulate the vata dosha. These standing poses do not only make us stronger but also help us stand firm and balanced on our feet.
In fact, we do not only ground in standing poses. If our aim is to ground ourselves, we can feel our roots in every pose. You must be wondering how we can do that? For instance, let’s practice “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend). If we bring our awareness to our sits bones in this pose and aim to get rooted and ground towards the earth through these bones, we can also make ourselves be rooted and grounded in a sitting yoga pose.
Similarly, we can also get grounded and rooted in backbends. For example, we can get into bhujangasana (cobra) or salabhasana (locust) poses, and we can ground ourselves onto the earth from our abdomen while we raise only our chest from the ground.
Twists also help us regulate the vata dosha in our bodies. However, our breath should freely move when we are in a twist. If not, the vata dosha in our bodies can increase.
So, we can regulate and balance the vata dosha in our bodies by trying to ground ourselves more on the ground and earth during this cold, dry and harsh winter. Let’s try to ground ourselves more and more on earth in standing yoga poses but at the same time let’s try to feel the energy rising from our soles. Let’s try to flow our energy to the ground, and feel the energy coming from the earth and ground in every yoga pose.
Grounding… One of the main principles of life. Everybody and everything wants to have roots and belong somewhere. Winter is a good opportunity to get grounded and be rooted and to improve our sense of belonging. If there is duality in life, we should continue being grounded until the moment we need to take our feet off the ground, i.e. till summer. Don’t forget that the days when we will need to take our feet off the floor are also ahead of us…