In Eat Pray Love, Julia Roberts undertook a series of life-transforming steps. One ofthose was a yoga trip to India. Many interesting forms of yoga have emerged in recentyears and they can be part of your next break. A yoga retreat at Taj Mahal, a standuppaddle board yoga course in Australia or a meditation experience with your pets—they all offer a nourishing experience for your body and soul.
印度詩人泰戈爾說: 泰姬陵是“一滴愛的淚珠”。“沙迦罕，你知道，生命和青春，財富和榮耀，都會隨光陰流逝，只有這一顆淚珠，泰姬陵，在歲月長河的流淌裏，光彩奪目，永遠，永遠。”那雪白的大理石圓拱頂，周邊的蒙兀兒花園、水道、噴水池，還有左右兩座清真寺，聯合國教科文組織UNESCO早已將之列為世界文化遺產。這充滿“ 靈氣”的地點，近年吸引了不少旅客到此來一場“ 瑜珈避靜旅遊”，跟著當地大師暫時離開俗世，透過練習瑜伽或者冥想，放慢繁忙的生活節奏，感受泰姬陵奇妙的能量。
Soul Cleansing at Taj Mahal
Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore described Taj Mahal as “a teardrop of love”: “You knew, Emperor of India, Shah-Jahan/ That life, youth, wealth,renown/ All float away down the stream of time./ Only let the one tear drop/glister pure upon the check of time/This Taj Mahal.”
Taj Mahal’s iconic ivory-white marble dome is surrounded by Mughal gardens, streams, fountains and two mosques. In recent years, many tourists visit the UNESCO world heritage site for a yoga retreat. By practicing yoga and meditation with local masters, they let go and slowdown to feel the magical energy of Taj Mahal.
A yoga retreat is both soul-cleansing and self-challenging. Participants get up at 5 am to practice breath regulation and meditation. It then moves on to physical yoga, massage, meditation and chanting. The activities last a whole day. It is a truly unique experience to practise yoga while learning about the love story behind the mausoleum and its architectural structure.
源自五千多年前的印度瑜伽，動作緩慢優雅，講求身心靈平衡，讓人放慢生活的腳步重新體驗身心靈的奧秘。來到完全沒有重工業，沒有煙囪的瑜伽聖地瑞詩凱詩，這個位於喜馬拉雅山脈腳下的印度北部小鎮，號稱為“ 瑜伽起源地”並被譽為“ 世界瑜伽之都”，1967年披頭四樂隊也曾到此地修習。走在山中，呼吸著純淨的空氣，聽著林間的水聲，是一次洗滌身心靈的活動。
Following in the Beatles’ Footsteps
Yoga has a history of over 5,000 years. The moves are slow and elegant, with a focus on the balance between body and soul. Rishikesh is a small town in northern India free of industrialisation. Located at the base of the Himalayan range, it is considered the origin of yoga and dubbed “theyoga capital of the world”. In 1967, the Beatles also practised here. The mountain scenery, sounds of nature and clean air there all provide sanctuary for the soul.
The town is full of yoga pilgrims from around the world. Sanskrit chants fill the air and they arouse a sense of empathy for different forms of lives. Souls are cleansed amid the natural environment of Himalaya and bodies are conditioned on the shore of Ganges as the sun sets. Breaths and pulses become a shared experience among visitors in Rishikesh.
Australia: Follow the Waves
Yoga in other countries can take more creative forms. At Tallebudgera Creek in Palm Beach near Sydney, stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga classes are run every week. Beginners first learn to regulate breath and try to balance on a SUP before they proceed to perform strengthening moves on the board.
The instructor will first anchor the SUP and then guide participants to relax. Each move is then explained and demonstrated. Practising yoga on a SUP requires even more focus and balance, but working out in the tranquil sea somehow feels even more relaxing than on the ground. It is not easy even for experienced yogis to practise on a SUP. Alignments become even more important as they help balancing. Participants would become more aware of the section of core muscles that they are working out. Even if you lose your balance and fall into the water, it is still fun and refreshing. What if the SUP drifts away? Everyone is floating around anyway, so embrace it instead of fighting it. It is after all part of yoga to learn to live with nature.
Loved by Celebrities: SUP Pilates
Apart from SUP yoga, there are also SUP Pilates courses in Palm Beach. Pilates is similar to yoga as they both focus on the breath. It is said Pilates delivers strengthening results quicker because it emphasise score and back workout. It has gained popularity among celebrities and sportspeople, and is now commonly practised in Australia.
As dawn breaks, SUPs with yoga and Pilates practitioners can be seen floating in the middle of the sea. Practising in the refreshing air along the Australian coast feels even healthier. SUP yoga is also popular in the UK,US and Asia. SUP yoga makes participants feel like a dolphin jumping out of the water, doing difficult moves while surfing. Although it is no easy task to do yoga or pilates on SUP, but the sense of accomplishment is totally beyond description when an advanced move is successfully performed.
美國有人找來一頭山羊一起做瑜伽，成為一派“ 山羊瑜伽”引起關注；往後又有人創出喝着啤酒做的“ 啤酒瑜伽”，而真正令熱愛瑜伽者注目的正是“ 寵物瑜伽”。由瑞士人Mahny Djahanguiri創辦的“ 狗狗瑜伽”極受歡迎，她自小在阿爾卑斯山成長，大部份時間都與大自然和動物為伴，她指出在人做瑜伽時抱着狗狗，讓牠成為動作的一部份，狗狗亦會受到人的影響，學習跟隨您的呼吸和配合您的動作，這種瑜伽有助增強雙方的共生關係，與狗狗一同練習可大大提升兩者的健康情況，因過程中釋放了不必要的壓力與情緒，就可達致降血壓、放慢心跳、調和腎上腺、平衡心智、改善腸胃等功效，達成人狗延年益壽的最終目的。
Connecting Human and Pets
There are now goat yoga and beer yoga, both attracting a lot of attention. However, it is pet yoga that catches the eyes of true yoga enthusiasts. Founded by Mahny Djahanguiri,“doga” has become a hit. Growing up in the Alps of Switzerland, Djahanguiri spent a majority of time with nature and animals. She said as a person hugs a dog while doing yoga moves, the dog will also learn to adjust its breath and moves. This enhances the connection between the person and the dog and improves the health of both. In the process, stress and emotions are released. Blood pressure and pulse rate will be lowered,adrenaline level regulated and the digestive system improved. As a result, the lives of both the person and the dog will be prolonged.
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