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Yulia Zenchenko “My Trip to Nepal: the Cradle of Enjoyment in the Himalayas”

Nepal… a mysterious ancient corner of the planet that someone refers to as the top of the world.
This world is full of wonders, superstitions and pleasant surprises. The air is filled with mysteries and spicy aromas that add savour to every minute of your trip.

nepal
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is the place like no other. This is the city that opens up it face gradually, piece by piece. It is immediately after you step off the plane that you become amazed by the mountains around and their colour of lush green.
On your way to hotel you cannot stop thinking about how this city manages to combine the spirit of past centuries with the rapid pace of the business life of today? Yet when you come to the tourist center called Thamel all the fuss steps to the background and it is only shopping that keeps you unrested.
When walking along the narrow streets of Thamel you may find anything. Souvenir shops with colourful trinkets. Nepalese handmade knives, shops with sweets or winter clothes made of wool in every colour of the rainbow. As for the prices – they are very encouraging for tourists. The things are at least twice as cheap as the same sold in India, and of course they are times cheaper than those in our country. As for the hotels – no need to worry about them. Starting from 5-starred Hayat with excitable nightlife and up to hostels at 5 dollars per room – they can fit any taste.
Native people are very nice and amiable. Women amaze with fantastic shape of their eyes, dark eyebrows and rapier glance. All men are like the pick of the bunch: dark-haired and handsome! Their sooty skin emphasizes the strength of their sound bodies.
Kathmandu is the city with history. Its territory provides for architectural and historic monuments of Nepal: former capital cities Patan and Bhaktapur together with a number of big monasteries and temples of different religions. One of the most worshipped deities is Ganesh. The one who removes obstacles, as people refer to him.
As for the religions, there is something unique about them here. In this place you may find peaceful and good-natured Buddhists – and come across archaic rituals of sacrifice performed not a hundred miles away. For instance, in the Dakshin Kali temple where the blood flows like water day and night. Especially on Saturday, the banner day, the day of Kali.
When coming to Bhaktapur you might have a feeling like the time has stopped and you have appeared somewhere in a lost ancient realm. You can wander through these places for hours and watch local people drawing thangkas (a thangka, or a scroll, is a specific religious art of Tibetan Buddhism) or tempering clay for making pottery in the glowing furnace.
The banners with propaganda of blood donation that you can find on ancient streets both surprise you and remind that this is still the world of today that you are in. This issue has appeared topical in Nepal, and there are activists who settle it.
In Bhaktapur you can buy bronze statues at a very good price since this is the very place where they are manufactured and from where they are distributed across the entire Nepal and India.
Local people are very superstitious and they adore all kinds of charms and bells used to protect them and their loved people from evil spirits. That is why almost in every temple – and you can find the temple around every corner – you can hear the bells ringing and smell a pleasant aroma of burning incense.
In Patan, the next capital of Katmandu, you can even meet a local living virgin goddess – Kumari. She is selected as soon as the previous girl reaches her puberty or gets a scratch. She is considered to retain the holiness within until the first drop of her blood comes out.
She resides in Kumari Ghar (or Chowk) – the House of Living Goddess located at the corner of Durbar and Basantapur squares.
Kumari does not often show herself on public, but every interested tourist may come to her courtyard and try his luck by uttering loudly “Oh, kasto gajab!” (“Oh, My Goddess!”). Sometimes after such a passionate appeal she may look out of the window on the second floor.
On holidays she even comes out to the balcony dressed in national costume.
Another -point on the Katmandu must-see list is the Monkey Temple. This is an ancient and very beautiful Buddhist temple with large flocks of monkeys living on its territory. These monkeys love to snatch food directly from tourists’ hands ?. And from this place you can also see a magnificent panorama of the entire city so that the homes of local residents look like toy boxes of different colours.
Various places of Kathmandu bear different atmosphere, states and moods. If you come to Pashupatina at night you shall witness the ceremony of cremation as a part of evening ritual. And your presence there might evoke various thoughts and reflections on eternal things: about life and death, about the difference of the ways that we all have in this manifold world.
The next place that sends shivers down your spine is Boudhanath. This is one of the biggest Buddhist stupas in the world. When walking around it you might have a feeling that you are as if entwined with continuous flow of existence, that you support something definitely grand and inexplicable. You start to feel that all people on earth are of holy kind, it’s just that everyone has this holiness of their own. Everyone has his own experience, and people are learning from their mistakes, all of them – in their own good time.
Having taken an inspiring walk around the stupa, one may sit down and proceed with reflections in one of the restaurants or pastry shops on the roof of the houses nearby. They shall provide one with a fascinating view of this place.
By the way, speaking about the cuisine: national Nepalese food is spicy, so that in rainy season the local spicy soup with mo-mo dumplings shall be the best thing to brace you up.
You can also find Chinese restaurants and fantastic Japanese cuisine.
The world of deserts is represented by European cheesecakes and lemon cakes made “to Nepal style”, yet very tasty.
As the sun sets, the night life of Katmandu begins. The brightest day in terms of “night adventures” shall be Friday – not Saturday, like most countries of the world have – since Sunday here is an official working day.
All the year round you will meet here young people from all over the world who come back in the evening to the hotels of the tourist district of Thamel after the trips taken within the day. Tourists are offered a variety of places where individual musicians and music bands perform. There are clubs where everyone can dance. There are cozy lounge-bars placed on house-roofs and overlooking the starry sky. There you can sit and leisurely enjoy your hookah and a cup of tasty local tea.
There is another kind of entertainment popular in Nepal – extreme sports. Travel agencies shall offer you parachute jumping, elephant riding, safari trips, rafting and many other activities – and at fairly good price. Given the yearning and aspiration, one may get to the top of the world and fly over Mount Everest.
And by the way – don’t forget your camera. Great shots are guaranteed!

Yulia Zenchenko “Give You Head a Good Cleaning!!!”

In my life I’ve spent more than one day inspired by this brilliant and magic motto. Though cleaning is not my strong suit and I delegate its performance to a real expert in the person of my dear aunt Sveta (and I am so thankful to her for doing this), yet this very cleaning comes as a very important element of RECONSIDERING the experience that I’ve had. It is this very day that for me stands for a symbol of transition to something new, something very new.

Убери у себя в голове!

I always start with detecting various junk, old things, trinkets, papers and dusty souvenirs. And I think you all know these “vibrations” and you also feel like some kind of a cheapskate within the process of turning your wardrobes inside out :)
When you start to clean up all these endless shelves, the stories of your life all of a sudden come to live, you see these bright and bitter slides emerging from your memory and you start to see yourself in view of the recent transition (one year ago, two years ago, six months – it always happens in a different way). Suddenly you start to realize how much you have changed in recent years. How significantly you have changed your priorities, taste, emotions, life in general. You recall your “failures” and in course of this large-scale act you once again run these situations through. As if you squeeze juicy drops out of the experience you’ve had. And the main thing here is not to swallow the bait and not to “stick to” this bittersweet or warm-cloaking-engulfing space of your past, both in your head and in reality. The main task is not to start feeling sorry about throwing away the things that no longer suit your new self or your present mood. Here is, for instance, one of the fake excuses that I like: “Maybe it will match something? Or can be completed by some other thing and thus look even better than before!…”
At this moment you give yourself a sharp and loud “Stop!!!”, scold yourself in a mild and sweet way and throw away this item with “extreme atrocity”. Why? Just because in this life there are many other things that are more interesting than mere matching some part of your wardrobe to the person that you used to be in the past. If you have survived this crisis – some take it easily, while others have it as a “terminal” case – and there are at least 5 things of such kind resting in your dustbin – my congratulations, you have come to the new level! I refer to this great stage as the stage of a “LIQUIDATOR”. It is this very stage that enables you to feel the easiness and openness to something new, and it exhilarates much as well. Even physically you all of a sudden start to sense the airiness and heat, sometimes even the hot flush. At this moment you are like steel – you no longer want to look back, you are genuinely ready to change. You are no longer sorry about the lost opportunities and your mistakes, you really open up to something new. The ideas about the experience you’ve had float in your mind at the speed of sound. And they are followed by new ideas, new desires, new targets emerging. Your body has as if lost some weight, it feels like you have turned younger having wiped the slate clean and got rid of unnecessary things. One of science-fiction writers has put it into a brilliant law of a non-existing society: “Every other thing of naught costs you a year of your life”. And have you ever thought about how much effort we go to in order to stuff to the max the wardrobes that are so difficult to clean later? How many years of our work are spent on buying some trinkets that we don’t really need and that don’t bring us much joy? How often it happened that when coming to a supermarket you were buying things that you didn’t need at all – just because of some promotion act…
Does this reasoning make you feel choky? Generally speaking – no wonder here, we all live in the age of consumption, that’s why we consume so much))).
If you are over with your wardrobe, here is another recommendation of mine: look at the colours that you have thrown away, that you are so much fed up with. What do these colours symbolize? Which states of yours? Which events of your life? They all make up your invaluable experience, but first of all they are the MEMORIES – and you have them in your head. The things you are looking at are just junk, rags, duds. You don’t need to be sorry about them, you don’t have to try to foist them off on your relatives to take to some village or dacha; moreover, don’t give them to orphans asylum. This, by the way, is another fake excuse, a trick used to avoid throwing the things away and killing the self of your past, simple making show of changing something within yourself. If you have said farewell to these fake excuses – congrats, you have just successfully completed the third stage of “PARTING” with your past. And here, immediately after you have thrown all the junk on the scrapyard, you feel a totally new beat in your heart, you have totally new ideas in your mind and you treat the space around you in a completely new way. Of course you are still not aware of the way all your actual problems can be settled, but you are very firm in having the feeling of the sweeping changes that you’re gonna have in your ONLY and DEAR life – just like you have just made it with this cleaning!

Yulia Zenchenko “Plain Human Happiness…”

Everyone is looking for it, everybody is talking about it, we all aspire to have it.
This is what the poems are dedicated to and the songs are composed about… And to tell you frankly, this is the one I’ve never seen in my life.

Простое человеческое счастье
People are different. We’ve been all raised up in different families, cultures and traditions, on different continents. Our fortunes are not identical. When we say that we want to have the same thing as the rest of people do – this very “plain human happiness” – we are under a delusion, big delusion. What it is, this human happiness? Everybody has the one of his own. And it is not that plain, simple and ordinary at all!! ;) The nature is very manifold, so why should it create a person who lives according to a certain pattern? Whose desires are clear from the very beginning? Why should it engender many clones? ?
The main gusto lies in that very development and experiencing something new, a new model of relationships, new forms of interaction between partners, experiencing the feelings that are new to you personally, and so on. Every next time we fall in love we are not able to foresee what these feelings will bring us to. How they will change us and rearrange our life. So this is nonsense – to demand or to hope stilly that they will be exactly like the perfect pattern that we have set in our head.
For me happiness comes in those very chances and opportunities for both participants to develop in course of these relationships. It’s like, the relationships are perfect if you can refuse from following the ideal pattern. If they let you be as you are and if the second part wants neither to change you nor to hinder you, to put obstacles to your advance. When you are inspired by the example of your soul-mate. When you are not imposed with the behavioral model of our ancestry (no offence meant to ancestry; as for me, I hold high respect and deep love for mine ?). The relationships that enable you to experience in full the feelings that arose in their course, without pressing or “tuning out”, simply and honestly – as it is.

P.S. And the last thing that I’d like to observe is that everyone has his own happiness, but figuring out what this happiness looks like is the task that you should resolve in order to feel it.

Yulia Zenchenko “Criticism…”

No sweat, we criticize somebody’s actions,
No stress, we act with ease in offering advice…
While other people have fragile affections,
I‘ll put a ban and lock my soul with devious device.

Yet I would better try to treat my own faults
With certain criticism, stop all this loyal flatter!
Then we will manage to resist the threatening storm,
And we‘ll succeed in changing for the better…

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I believe that many readers faced criticism displayed in this or that form, many of them even played the role of a criticizing person.

In this article I would like to give my view of this “fascinating” process – the process of criticizing others. When I say criticism I mean active and emotional rejection of other people’s manifestations, of their behavioral forms or states.

When a person criticizes he subjects the one whom he “dislikes” to a hailstorm of negative emotions that set the one criticizing apart from an opportunity to sum up the situation adequately and thus to profit from experience. We criticize in case a person has some states that deep inside our heart appeal to us, yet we don’t admit it due to arrogance and pridefulness. There is an inner taboo displayed in such a way, and criticism comes as a perfect excuse one can make in order not to learn this specific feature from a certain person or a group of people. There inside we say to ourselves that “I would never do this way”, or something of the kind. The funniest thing here is that as a rule these are Us whom mother-nature shows that one can live in a different way. It gives Us an opportunity to have this experience from another side, so that in a while we shall simply find ourselves in a similar situation – but in an opposite role. After this we shall inevitably become softer and admit the fact that in this life everything happens.

Another unpleasant aspect of criticism is the desire to “wipe out” the person that we criticize. He may remind us about Our own drawbacks that we want to change. We are not always aware of such desire and so all the potential that could be used to the benefit of modifying the self shall be wasted on criticizing this other person.

When we criticize we deprive ourselves of the chance to feel the intimacy, the involvement and co-participation between us and another person. We cut off those pleasant feelings between Us and people that are close to us. For instance, the more we subject to criticism our beloved person the less love remains there within Us.

When criticizing something new we stick to our position and are no longer able to open up, thus
depriving ourselves of all opportunities that the world gives to us. Sometimes we are simply afraid of modifications and we use criticism to uphold our “favourite” habits.

So what shall we do if all of a sudden we come across circumstances that initiate a hailstorm of emotions, the critical included? I think the answer here is rather simple: you should change either the circumstances or your stance on them. This is how one’s active life position displays.

When criticize we reject some particular part of the world that most probably is the one that is essential to us. Sometimes when we watch people, the passersby in the street, we may see how they respond to each other. For instance if there are two ladies meeting, one of them looking fashion, attractive and feminine and the second one being plain and constrained in style, it is more than often that the face of the latter will show a storm of different emotions followed by a disapproving and very critical look. The emotion of “admiration” also happens, though rather rare, yet it is this very emotion that may help go beyond one’s habits and to learn J.

And finally, for me criticism is like a warning light telling that it’s time to change some specific aspects! Like a red flag that determines the sphere of my life that I am not satisfied with, thus setting up the direction of my further development!

Aleksey Savenko “Development Through Destruction”

fotoI’ve been inspired by Aleksey Savenko’s article dedicated to aggression as an element of advance and so I wrote the following lines:

Rage, fury, anger!!
This is it that blows you up,
Changes, makes kick hindrances aside,
Just one spurt – there’s nothing more to hide:
All your guts turned upside down,
He is now the past – that guy,
Diligent and tender, shy,
Fervent follower of restrictions,
Fearful, though sometimes nice
Anger, fury, rage!
Sometimes makes you go, get changed,
Burn all down, go to town,
Leave aside that tired fellow
That you used to be, and makes you start
Tearing your uncertainty apart…
Rage, anger, fury!
It may give you chance to pardon
And to change, not being ardent,
Without slashing, just in one shot,
Your dream about being pitiful, lonely, weak…
And to waken war, proceed to live
Without whining, feeling sorry or expecting,
Not following the crowd without understanding
That you can change the things around.
And now it makes your move and bring about
Your self-initiation. So, when the storm subsides
You generate that something that makes you live your dream
And once again discover that there is a side
Of yours that sees the War in waking life,
That kills the ignorance,
The rudeness and the sinful indolence,
That lures us, changes us and fills us up
With chaos that is as natural as life.

P.S.

You may read the article here: http://alexseysavenko.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_13.html

Yulia Zenchenko “On Gratitude”

Rather often I hear my friends and students say that their problems are rooted in family traditions, that they have been inculcated with various rubbish programs, stereotypes and mindsets that prevent them from living their secure life. And the ones to blame are, of course, the family!
But have you ever looked at your relatives through the prism of gratitude, have you seen them in different dressing? Today I went to my family fest that brought together my brothers and sisters with their spouses, aunts and uncles and their children. We haven’t been meeting often recently because of our extremely eventful life and rather complicated geographic routes ?. But even despite all “I can’t” and “I don’t want to” once a year we try to assign at least one evening to get together at a table and there, in a noisy welcome, to talk to each other and feel like many parts of one whole – of one solid, close-knit KIN, no matter how different we are! There are various kinds of families, they have their traditions, rules and odd mindsets. They can be friendly or not friendly. But the fact is that absolutely all of us did or do have their parents!
After a couple of hours of this merrymaking I have taken a totally different look at my dear relatives. There came such a warm feeling when after recollecting various funny and ridiculous moments of childhood I suddenly understood that it were these people who had laid the basis of my personality. Not just affected or had influence yet indeed contributed a part of themselves, and notwithstanding some everyday occurrences they were doing this just because I was their loved one, just because they wanted to.
So that when I start to remember all the hearts and flowers they used to comfort my extremely fanciful young personality, all the mischievousness of mine that they were letting off, the bright and happy days that we had together and those rich emotions that overwhelm me because of them – this all fills my heart with a very sweet and warm feeling of GRATEFULNESS!!!
P.S. …and my Asian souvenirs put next to icons also elicited a warm smile of mine :)

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Yulia Zenchenko “Desire, So Be it the Law…)”

Sometimes it happens that the ease, the brightness and the gusto of life vanish and you find yourself in a severe or, better to say, serious world where something has to be changed and things have to be slogged through not out of your inspiration but because of need. Out of nowhere there comes a sense of oughtness and life turns into a very hard thing. I’m sure that this is a feeling that many of us have had…

You might agree that in this state in is difficult to change something since it seems that nothing depends on you, but is it really so? My close friend and my teacher once told me a very important thing that continues to inspire me: ”Things are not as they seem!” Indeed, when one finds oneself in drab existence of this severe life – what is it that makes him stick to that place, to follow the set schedule day after day, abandoning the new opportunities? I think that first of all this is fear, be the one aware of it or not. The fear to open yourself to something new, the fear to consider your inner voice and confess that “I DO DESIRE!!!” Finally, to take responsibility for your desire and discard all reservations and loopholes! We’ve got accustomed to ignoring the things that empower us, that give us the sense of drive and gusto, the things that stimulate our development and help to change naturally, that make up an integral part of our very self – OUR GENUINE DESIRES! Sometimes you are even afraid of wanting as if there is somebody who can deprive you of the right to live and choose your way or can condemn your actions. Or, to make it simple, you are afraid to start doing and making effort since sometimes it seems like your desire is not that much important and there are some other things that are more significant. But still somewhere very deep in our soul we all know and feel where our life should go and where our gut wants to be. Sometimes we flavour our dream with some additional drama and don’t even notice that what we do is keep using rational excuses to postpone it – like, for instance, the time has not yet come, or we may be afraid of its scales because with all our heart we feel that it will change us radically.

Sometimes we laugh over it and we say that no, this is not what I want, but the ideas wandering in our head keep hinting – think it over once again, so that we finally admit that yes, we are no longer willing to live our old life, that if we live and don’t follow our dreams, caprices, minor vices – we as if let our young years and our whole life go very close to us – by still pass by.

So that sometimes, it order to give a slight push start, all you need is just sit and write down a small list of desires that you have already realized and give an attentive ear to the senses you have inside. Relish the feeling of satisfaction and fullness. Then think over the non-realized desires that you have inside and that will inevitably evoke a feeling of regret in case you try to give them up. And after becoming aware of this contrast – go there, run to have your desires realized! :)

Yulia Zenchenko “Part Two: Skillful is the Man, Even if Unknowingly :)”

I hope my curious reader has run his eye over the previous article and he is in picture of my attitude to a most interesting emotion called soreness (grudge).

In this post I would like to share my observations on how beneficial this “bitter-sweet” feeling may be :) .

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Has it ever happened to you that you become aware of having some desire which realization needs some effort to be made? This desire can be directed at people around you, your acquaintances, someone of your kin, your partners or soul-mates. In case you have become sure of you desire yet lack the skills necessary for its implementation you may get your brain freeze about how it can be done. Some inner tension will occur, actually mobilizing your advance, your mastering new behavioral forms, new traits or skills. If you are total in taking responsibility for implementation of your desire – no problem here, all you will have is your wish to try and to make the way towards the dream of yours.  But in case your approach to life is not that active you may take the simplest option – start waiting that someone will help you to realize your plans. The paradox here is that in your rational mind you understand that people owe you nothing, and so you probably don’t even outline your request for help. But if you wait and nothing happens you will inevitably feel disappointed or sore. The reasoning to accompany this may come as something like “Yes, I wasn’t asking for help, but we are close friends, fellows, beloved ones, relatives…” But the underlying meaning that inevitably comes between the lines is: you all owe me [your help]!  There is another nuance: sometimes soreness is a means of suppressing a desire directed at a certain person. For instance you feel sexually drawn to some boy or girl but you have not mastered the skills of flirt and seduction, you simply don’t know how to deal with people of opposite sex in the way your interaction is satisfactory to both parties. And in order not to start learning you use a trick of finding some of his/her flaw or a trifle to quarrel over – and you bear a grudge. Period, pause and applause… Now you are allowed not to realize the desire – you have found the excuse and you don’t need to learn new forms; you say – it’s not me who is a problem, the problem is with that other person J.

Rather often a grudge subjects to demonization the person it is born against; in this situation you cut yourself off him so that in no way it can promote implementation of your desire and learning the traits and attitudes the person bears. In this case the soreness can be eliminated through COMPREHENSION of some fears associated with realization of your desire, and through SINCERITY – first of all, in respect of oneself.

There is another option of revealing your soreness, even a more interesting one, when you use it to validate your life stand, to confirm to yourself that you live properly. Rather often it is this very means of “protecting oneself from modifications” applied in case you are subject to some general belief, principle or super-conscious mindset that requires confirmation.

Examples (rude and banal): “all men are assholes”, “no one can be trusted”, “all women make use of men”… One may proceed with this list for long (I consider E. Berne’s “Games People Play” to be a very inspiring book in this sphere). If a person has such mindset in his head, he himself will do his best to confirm it. And every time upon reaffirming his stance in addition to a grudge against a certain person there will occur another very important feeling that allows one to do nothing with such grudge: the sensation of one’s RIGHTNESS and some rejoicing that will be by no means accompanied by an inner thought: “This is exactly what I said!! I was right!!..”

The circle has been closed, you have consolidated your role and have remained “what you are”…

Yet every time we deal with someone else’s traits that we don’t like we have a chance to expand our world or become active in changing it ;)

Yulia Zenchenko “Part One: Skillful is the Man, Even if Unknowingly :)”

obida

In this post I would like to share with you my observations concerning the issue of soreness and resentment.
Soreness must be a feeling that is well known to the reader. Here are some fundamental points that I have become aware of on my own back:
1. When I feel bad and I have this taste of bitterness – this is because of the option I’ve taken. There’s no one else it depends upon! It is me who, based upon some reasoning, has decided that it is nothing else but this very feeling that I should have. And I am the one who takes personal responsibility for all respective consequences.
2. The one grudging often profits from this. It allows him to decline all responsibility for the things that happen and it helps him to evade doing next steps.
3. While you are sore you can do no other things since you have a greatest excuse – “YOU ARE NERVOUS”, and so you sit and figure it out why, you sort out relationships yet in global sense you still evade doing some certain action or implementing some actual desires.
4. A grudge comes as a perfect warrant that you can use to address the offender – either shouting or in low voice – declaring that “You owe me!” The change of voice tone is obviously used in order for everyone to notice that something has happened to you.
5. Any grudge always bears an element of aggression, thus when we say that we love someone and at the same time bear a grudge against him – WE DO LIE! There is a number of other excuses like “I did this for you, while you…”, “Because of you I did… and you are..!”, or we may speak in a roundabout way: “I felt very nervous about you, and you…”, “I wanted to help you, and you are heartless…” I think you can proceed with the list on your own ? I consider the afore-given examples to be manipulations that a person may be aware or unaware of, but still they are.
6. There are some particularly artful manipulations that even a manipulating person can hardly identify. For instance you have noticed that you have held your breath a bit and your mood has somehow darkened, you’ve got hung up in waiting for a person to do something, you expect him to act in some certain way – and he does not… as a result you feel hurt, close up and suppress this emotional experience. These suppressed emotions shall reveal later on in some minor things and insignificant situations when an opportunity turns up and you are “breaking bad” acting as an aggressor.
7. Another significant factor that you should consider is that there is always some deeper and pleasant feeling that hides behind the soreness, the feeling so hard to admit that it is easier to simply cut oneself off someone.
8. And probably the most important issue is that having become aware of the motives that make up the ground of this most interesting emotion (soreness, aka offence, aka grudge) one can do something with it. What is this something – well, this is your exclusive choice, and this is the very charm of the FREEDOM OF CHOICE that we all have
P.S. I would like this post to inspire you to reconsider the role of this feeling in your life in case you have it. The idea is to be continued… ?

Elena Akhrameeva “Warm-up in Yoga: a Fancy or a Must”

A warm-up is a preparatory part of any training process that involves specific exercises to be done immediately before the basic part of the training complex. The main goal of the warm-up is to achieve the optimum level of the central nervous system’ excitability and to mobilize physiological functions of one’s body prior to the upcoming physical activity.

5minut

The need of dynamic warm-up in scope of the yogic complex structure is sometimes questioned. We consider the warm-up to be its essential part that has its own specific features.

Many asanas involve rather complicated joint rotation necessary for coming up into pose, and thus the warm-up shall necessarily include the muscle and joint (articular) exercises.

 First, the active joint movements normalize the level of the synovial fluid that fills up the joint cavities: the initial lack of its amount stimulates its formation and release into the joint cavity by synovial membrane, while its excess (which may occur in case of inflammatory process) leads to its absorption back to lymphatic or bloodstream. Additionally, its stickiness and electrolytic composition shall be changed. This facilitates significantly one’s further work in asanas, prevents eventual pain and thus resulted inability to perform many poses.

Second, in addition to its own joints the articular apparatus also includes tendons of muscles that pass through the joint or are attached to its capsule. Thus, the joint “coordinates” the action of the muscles group which tendons are involved in formation of the joint. The group is determined as a functional one and it unites muscles that perform the given motor act (the group includes the main muscle, the synergists, antagonists and supporting muscles).

In case the warm-up involves all major joints it shall cause coordination of relationships and movements of various functional groups of muscles and body parts. This is one of the main tasks “fulfilled” by asanas. And that is why the joint exercises can be considered an integral part of the main complex that advances a more thorough work with intermuscular relationships in asanas.

Third, joint surfaces and joint ligaments come as an extensive receptor field that includes more than 4 types of receptors located in the joint capsule buried in joint ligaments and tendons of muscles that pass through the joint or are attached to its capsule.

Let us consider the main types of joint receptors. One of them – the Golgi tendon organ – is sensitive to changes in the joint angle, the other one – the Ruffini corpuscles – is susceptible to the rate of change. At that, the Ruffini corpuscles are also sensitive to activity of muscles that change the tension of the joint capsule. The Vater-Pacini corpuscles are sensitive to changes in the joint capsule tension resulted by its pulling and movements. The difference between Vater-Pacini corpuscles and Golgi and Ruffini receptors is that those first provide a quick response that lasts while the joint capsule tension is changed and ends up no later than in 1 second. Those latter are the “slow” receptors and the period of their adaptation makes up from 0.5 to 1 minute. So hence comes the need to perform warm-up of one joint for at least 1 to 2 minutes.

 Fourth, the performance of muscle and joint exercises intensifies blood and lymph circulation, makes local temperature rise and intensifies metabolism thus improving elasticity of ligaments, tendons and fascia of muscles attached to the joint. It makes it possible to “stretch” the tendons (thus explaining the recommendation to perform articular gymnastics with proper tension, with some effort) and consequently to “open up” the muscle for further work in asana. It is the density and springiness of connective tissue elements of muscle tissue that by making a kind of skeleton sometimes prevent one from stretching the necessary muscle and its intensive work-through.

The warm-up implies proper preparation of the muscle tissue. It is known that the muscles in rest receive about 15% of the blood minute output (BMO). In scope of dynamic muscular work these figures increase and may reach 88% of the BMO, first of all due to opening of the “reserve” muscle tissue capillaries. The volumetric blood flow shall thus increase from the rate of 4 ml / min per 100 g of muscle tissue to 100-150 ml / min, i.e. 20 to 25 times (O. Wade, IM Bishop, 1962; J. Schemer, 1973, Dubrovsky B. I., 1982, etc.). The blood flow shall increase when the load initially occurs and until the 3rd minute it shall reach its stable level depending upon the intensity of the load and initial medical condition of the organism.

The intensified blood flow causes the muscle tissue temperature rise from 34.8 C to 38.5 C. In its turn the temperature rise reduces the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen and promotes its (oxygen’s) release of chemical bonds. And in consideration of the fact that the blood flow shall increase by 20 times, the aerobic metabolism in the muscles can increase 100-fold due to oxygen utilization increase from 20-25% to 80%.

The rise of temperature is a process that some stages of glycolysis and glycogenolysis – i.e. the oxidation processes that provide the working muscles with energy – are sentient to. Consequently the rise of temperature shall be increasing the rate of oxidative processes and muscles supply with energy.

In this way we see that preparative dynamic load facilitates the maximum efficient blood supply to muscles which promotes proper involvement and work of muscle tissue in the asanas without switching to anaerobic energy supply. This prevents the formation of lactic acid and the emergence of “delayed onset muscle soreness”.

The impact of dynamic warm-up on the cardiorespiratory system comes down to rise of external respiration’, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac minute output and blood pressure coefficients and to further stabilization of these parameters at the new level.

For the most balanced and complete engagement of one’s body into the yoga-class work the involvement of more than 2/3 of the body muscles is preferable. Therefore the warm-up should include general exercises for the even workout of the major muscle groups. If one needs to prepare some peculiar zones more carefully, the general exercises can be added by some specific ones.

Hence we can estimate the duration of the proper warm-up: thorough workout of large joints and major muscle groups, enhancement and stabilization of cardiorespiratory parameters shall take at least 15 – 20 minutes. In scope of this the duration of dynamic load shall depend upon the body fitness: the more training practice the person has, the less time it requires for complete engagement into the basic mode.

All above-mentioned processes also affect the state of one’s nervous system by helping to achieve the optimal level of its excitability.

For a healthy person the criterion of properly and correctly performed warm-up shall be the feeling of warmth and heat in one’s body and the appearance of sweat. This indicates the transition of metabolism to the next level; the sweating helps in setting the necessary level of temperature control and better performance of excretory functions. These listed effects are correlated with the signs of the etheric body stimulation that are described in sutras on yoga.

In order to preserve the achieved state the interval between the warm-up and the following main complex should not exceed 10 – 15 minutes.

So here are the basic rules for the warm-up:

  1. The warm-up should involve at least 2/3 of the total muscle mass and it should last at least 10-15 minutes.
  2. The warm-up should include the general and the specific parts (if the workout of some particular area is required).
  3. The articular exercises with workout of all major joints should make up the mandatory part of the warm-up.
  4. The joints workout should be performed with additional tension.
  5. The workout of one joint should last at least 1 minute.
  6. The feeling of warmth and heat in one’s body and the appearance of sweat shall come as the criterion of properly and correctly performed warm-up. The same effect can be observed after performance of articular exercises only (A.G. Safronov «Yoga: Physiology, Psychosomatics, Bioenergetics»).
  7. The transition period from the warm-up to the main complex should not exceed 10 – 15 minutes.

Elena Akhrameeva
Yoga Instructor
Yoga-therapeutist

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