Yeo International

Spirituality

Being a basic yoga practitioner since 2013 when I attended a trial session at True Yoga, my interest in yoga has been ever growing since then.

The interest in yoga was partially cultivated by my discoid lupus condition which encourages me to have minimal sun exposure.

As a result, I gave up many outdoor sports that I used to play with my siblings like badminton and basketball.

I am always intrigued by how simple movements and proper breathing can have a dramatic impact on my overall well-being.

Having said that, I stopped yoga for close a year after I had a stroke in Jan 2016.

I picked up yoga again in 2017 after I felt that my body has recovered from the life-threatening incident.

Until recently, I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine who was sharing with me about Isha yoga.

I visited their website and decided to attend one of their free sessions which was held at Punggol CC in Singapore in celebration of International Day of Yoga.

It seems to be a yearly affair from what I gather. The turnout was quite big. About 30 plus people of all ages.

The session started at 7.30 pm and concluded at about 9.20 pm.

The Isha Upa Yoga covers a series of simple movements which can be conducted at any place and any time of the day.

There are 7 practices which can be done at any time of the day.

Upa Yoga Sequence

Follow these guidelines to set optimal conditions for your practice and derive the most benefits from it:

1. Dedicate at least 1 hour for this practice.

2. Please ensure that cell phones are either in silent mode or switched off.

3. Avoid getting up, eating, drinking, or going to the rest room in-between.

4. Advisable not to sit for the program with a full stomach or immediately after a meal. Somewhat hungry, light stomach, or empty stomach is optimal.

5. Please sit with your spine comfortably erect, hands uncrossed and palms open.

The practices are very safe and simple and can be done by anyone.

Note:

People with chronic diseases, pain, cardiovascular problems, consult a doctor before doing these practices and exercise precaution.

Make sure to do everything slowly and gently and according to the instructions.

If you are uncomfortable doing any particular practice, you can skip that one and do the next practice you are comfortable attempting.

If you are feeling any pain or discomfort, stop and consult a doctor.

The practices we will be learning here can be done by anyone aged 7 years and above.

If you wear glasses, while doing the yoga practices, please remove them and keep them aside.

1 Yoga For Health

Directional Movement of Arms

3 Cycles in 4 Directions – 4 minutes

Purpose

To lubricate your joints and prepare your body for action.

Instructions

Stand with your feet comfortably apart and parallel to each other.

Eyes closed.

As you inhale, bring your hands just in front of your shoulders. This is the starting position.

The 1st direction is sideways.

As you exhale, extend your arms sideways and the wrist should rotate with outward movement.

Once your arms are fully extended, as you inhale, bring them inward.

Now your wrists should rotate with inward movement.

The 2nd direction is forward.

The 3rd direction is upward.

The last direction is downward. 

Note:

This is not only about rotating the wrists but your hands should also open and close with the rotation.

All the muscles are tense like you are pushing something, like a screwdriver.

Create maximum tension you can in your arms without creating tension in the rest of the body.

Do it slowly.

Fingers should be spread apart during the rotational movement of the wrists.

2 Yoga For Success

Neck Practices

3 Cycles of 5 Practices – 5 minutes

Purpose

Increases alertness and reduces lethargy in your body. Improves neuronal regeneration which results in better memory and mental sharpness. 

Instructions

Stand with your feet comfortably apart and parallel to each other.

Keep your arms and shoulders loose and relaxed.

Make sure your neck is loose like a rope. No stiffness of any sort.

Eyes closed when comfortable.

As you exhale, slowly and gently lower your chin to your chest.

This is the starting position.

Now, as you inhale, gently bring your head up and take it back.

As you exhale, bring your head down to your chest.

This is one cycle. Do it 3 times.

As you inhale, slowly and gently, turn your head to the right, to the extreme point that you can turn.

As you exhale, bring it back to the centre.

Now, as you inhale, slowly and gently turn your head to the left, to the extreme point that you can turn.

As you exhale, bring it back to the centre.

This is one cycle. Do it 3 times.

As you exhale, slowly and gently, bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, to the extreme point you can go.

As you inhale, bring it up.

As you exhale, slowly and gently, bring your left ear to your left shoulder, to the extreme point you can go.

As you inhale, bring it up.

This is one cycle. Do it 3 times.

As you exhale, lower your chin to your chest.

This is the starting position.

As you inhale, slowly and gently rotate your head to the right shoulder.

As you inhale, your head goes back.

As you exhale, it comes down again.

Switch and rotate in the opposite direction.

As you inhale, your head goes back.

As you exhale, your head comes down.

This is one cycle. Do it 3 times.

Rotate your shoulders forward.

As you inhale, go up.

As you exhale, come down.

Do this 3 times.

Now, rotate your shoulders backward.

As you inhale, go up.

As you exhale, come down.

Do this 3 times.

3 Yoga For Wellbeing

Yoga Namaskar

1-3 Cycles (you can slowly work towards 21 cycles) – 2-6 minutes

Purpose

Strengthens your spinal muscles to prevent the pinching of your nerves due to spinal collapse as we age.  

Instructions

Stand with your feet comfortably apart and parallel to each other.

Keep your arms and shoulders loose and relaxed.

Eyes opened.

Focus on a point in front of you.

Once your focus is steady, hold Namaskar by bringing your palms together in front of your chest.

This is the starting position.

As you inhale, bring your hands up above your head.

As you exhale, bring your hands downward so that the heel of your palms come behind your neck.

As you inhale, bring your hands straight up.

As you exhale, bring your hands down in front of your chest.

This is step 1.

You do the same thing twice more. (Step 2 and 3)

*As you exhale, make a sound from the pit of the throat.

Note:

The whole time, your fingers should be together, pointing straight up even when you bring your hands behind your neck.

As you bring your hands up, it is a full inhalation.

As you lower it down, it is a full exhalation with the sound.

After you do this 3 times, you squat straight down.

Step 4

As you inhale, bring your hands up.

As you exhale, bring it down behind the neck.

As you inhale, bring it up.

As you exhale, bring it down in front of your chest.

Then as you inhale, push your hands straight out in front of you. Fingers pointing forward.

As you exhale, making the sound, bring it back to the chest.

Do this 3 times. (Step 5 and 6)

Step 7

As you inhale, push your hands straight out.

Bring your knees to the ground.

Lean forward, place your forehead on the ground, stretch your arms above your head.

Rest your palms on the ground.

Place your hands together so that the thumbs and pointing fingers are touching – forming a triangle.

Your elbows to be slightly bent. This is Balasana.

Stay here until your breath stabilizes or for a minimum of 2 minutes.

Then gently stand up and come back to the starting position.

This is 1 cycle of Yoga Namaskar.

It is recommended for you to do 3 cycles of Yoga Namaskar to maximize the health benefits from this practice. 

4 Yoga For Peace

Nadi Shuddhi

4 minutes

Purpose

Brings balance to your thought which helps to bring balance to your activity, emotion and the results in your life along with your impact on other people’s lives.

Instructions

Sit in a cross-legged posture with your spine comfortably erect.

Eyes closed.

Left hand should be loosely placed in the middle of your lap with your palm facing upwards.

Use only your right hand.

Use your thumb and ring finger.

Fold your middle and index fingers.

The ring and little finger are held straight and side by side touching.

Now, block your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril.

After the inhalation is complete, exhale through the same.

In a similar fashion, using the ring finger, block your left nostril and inhale through the right nostril.

Then exhale through the same.

Again, block the right nostril and open the left.

Inhale and exhale.

Continue like this and be focused on your breath.

Note:

Remember to breathe fully in and fully out as slowly and as gently as it is possible for you.

You should make any sound when you exhale or inhale.

For this to happen, you just need to remember one basic point:

You will always switch after every exhalation. That means whichever nostril that you inhale through, the same nostril you exhale through.

Always keep your head upright.

Do Nadi Shuddhi for a minimum of 4 minutes.  

5 Yoga For Joy

Nada Yoga – Yoga of Sound or Reverberation

5 minutes

Purpose

Helps to build your general constitution and lays the foundation for a joyful existence.

Instructions

Sit in a close leg posture and keep your spine comfortably erect.

Close your eyes.

Place your palms facing upward on your tights.

1st sound

Open your mouth wide enough and utter the sound “ahh”.

Completely exhaling into the sound.

Do this 7 times.

2nd sound

Then shape your lips in the form of a circle and utter the sound “wu”.

Completely exhaling into the sound.

Do this 7 times.

3rd sound

By closing your mouth, utter the sound “um”.

Do this 7 times.

Note:

As you do this, notice where the reverberations are happening, in which region of your body.

The sound “ah” generates reverberations around your navel.

The sound “wu” at the point where the rib cage meets.

The sound “um” will send it around the pit of your throat.

6 Yoga For Inner Exploration

Shambhavi Mudra

3-6 minutes

Purpose

It’s a process for one to be receptive to grace which is the lubricant for your mind and body to make your life smoother.

Instructions

Sit comfortably in a cross leg posture.

Keep your spine comfortably erect.

Hold yoga mutra by making the thumb and index finger come together at the very tips, forming a circle between them.

Let the other 3 fingers be straight.

All the 4 fingers should be together without any gap between them.

Holding the mutra, facing upwards upon your thighs.

Arms and shoulders should be loose and relaxed.

Close your eyes and sit with a slightly upturned face.

When you sit with your face slightly upturned, there is a natural focus between your eyebrows. Maintain this natural focus, do not concentrate.

Just maintain this natural focus and sit with your face slightly upturned.

Close your eyes. 

7 Yoga For Love

Namaskar Process

3-5 minutes

Purpose

To create a blessed union in our lives and understand that everything that happens has 2 sides.

Instructions

Putting 2 hands together in alignment with each other at the level of your heart will bring you to a certain harmony between polarities within. 

That in turn brings a sense of being united with whoever or whatever the Namaskar is aimed at.

In placing your hands together, the dualities of your likes and dislikes, your cravings and notions are leveled down and there is a certain oneness to the experience of who you are.

For a few minutes every day, put your hands together in Namaskar and look upon someone or something that means much to you.

Look at that someone or something with the highest level of emotion that you can generate in an attitude of loving attention.

Hold Namaskar for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Your life will be on a transformational mode.

Final Thoughts

Being an avid yoga practitioner, I find this form of yoga very doable for beginners who do not have experience in yoga.

I find it very important to focus on your breathing and use it to guide your movement to get the most benefit out of this practice.

Be patient with yourself and do it at your own pace.

Most importantly, tune in to your body and listen to it at all times.  

Published 14 July 2018