Interview to

It was with great joy that last week I answered some questions made by Júlia Pinheiro for publication on her website. Here is what the article link

“It’s never too late. João started doing exercise (Ashtanga Yoga) at 50. And here he is!

The fado singer Cuca Roseta presents today a book on yoga (Ashtanga Yoga), authored by Vera Simões. And I went to peek a few pages, motivated by some studies that occasionally stands in front of my eyes.

When I read results like these, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (about the positive impact of yoga practice on self-esteem, fatigue and pain, women with breast cancer and radiotherapy), I confess that I leave aside the idea (or the prejudice) that to be a yogi one must have an acrobat spirit.

And there I continued to leaf through the book until I came across these two (good) students, whom I share with you, in Julia – De Bem e Vida.

João Vitorino, 60 years old, Ashtanga Yoga practitioner

It’s never too late. João started doing exercise (Asthanga Yoga) at 50. And here he is!

João Vitorino, 60 years old, Computer Analyst

“My regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga began in 2007, at age of my 50. Until I was 45, I had never played any sport, and decided to join a gym to reverse the course of my sedentary life and lose some weight, which I considered excessive at the time. This dedicated and disciplined practice has shaped me over the last 10 years. I feel that I have more focus and control today in my daily activities, I am less fundamentalist, more tolerant, more confident and more relaxed. It is never too late to start something in our life, and to enjoy and enjoy the benefits of this practice. And considering my personal experience, I am convinced that I have found a tool that, with the necessary modifications, will accompany me for the rest of my life. “

Rosário Carneiro, 59 years old, Ashtanga Yoga practitioner

Rosário Carneiro, 59 years old, Visual Artist

“The great inspiration for my regular practice is the benefits it brings. Ashtanga Yoga makes me feel very good on several levels, namely the physical, the mental and the emotional. The practice conveys to me simultaneously a great calm and also, which may seem contradictory but is also a great energy. For me, it’s the best way to start the day. I usually leave the shala with a smile on my lips. And, if is not a day to practice, and if i wake up with a darker disposition, I make some postures and right there i feel better . The regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga was, little by little, conveying to me a greater peace of mind and a greater balance, which had positive repercussions in several aspects of my life. “

5 Questions to  the Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Vera Simões

  1. Ashtanga Yoga is considered strong from the physical point of view. But will it be within reach of grandparents … like me?
    This practice of Yoga actually has a strong physical component, but its learning is gradual because the teaching respects the particularities, capacities and needs of each of the students. That’s why anyone can do it, and the grandparents are very welcome!

2. In 2007, you decided to go study Yoga for India, the cradle of Yoga. Tell us a little about your experience. What impressed you the most in India?

In 2007 I finally made my first trip to Mysore in South India to study at the renowned Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI). It was a remarkable and special trip because I had the opportunity to still know and practice with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, and to meet the one who would become my direct teacher, Sharath Jois (his grandson). What struck me most in India was the classes inside this school, where I found Ashtanga Yoga practitioners from the four corners of the world, people of various ages, men and women, with different life histories and professions, people from China, Japan, the USA, Brazil, Chile, Sweden, Finland, and many other countries. Everyone practiced focusing on the breaths synchronized with the movements and postures, recreating an intense, focus, human warmth environment where the body has the opportunity to live a perfect process of physical cleansing, but I felt that everyone was there looking for something more than the physical.

3. Is it true that India is full of scents, songs and wonderful places to do yoga?

Yes, it is true, India is a land of intensity. There are constantly smells of flowers, incense, food, observance and recurrent listening to people living a spirituality translated into many rituals and practices in temples, and there are incredible places to practice Yoga. But it is necessary to gather information about who are the teachers are, with whom they have learned and for how many years have they practiced.  Before you enroll in classes, workshops, retreats and Yoga courses in India, here in Portugal, or in another part of the world, it is necessary to know who is on the teaching side. Because unfortunately the world of Yoga has become a market, an industry of millions, where anyone can teach, take a one-month course in North India or even here in Portugal, sometimes people who have never practiced Yoga in life and that at the end of this time receive a certificate saying they are teachers.

4. Vinyasa is a great challenge. Can you explain us better? That is, even on a daily basis, those who do not coordinate their movements with the breath, can happen to become more tired, is correct?

Vinyasa means the synchronization of the breath with the movements and postures, and is one of the main characteristics of the Ashtanga Yoga. It is important to be aware of how we breathe while performing all those movements and postures, in order to create energy and not the opposite, physical exhaustion. And it is also very important, to know how to breathe in our daily lives, to breathe through the nose and to use one of the main muscles of the breath, the diaphragm. If we breathe properly we are already helping our body and our mind to be stable. Take the test, the next time you feel nervous, anxious, stressed, notice how you are breathing, through your mouth? Quick, shallow, using only the area of ​​your chest? And on the contrary, when you are on the beach, walking barefoot, feeling serene, alive, present, take note of how you are breathing, you will begin to make important connections for understanding about the influence of how we breathe and how we feel. our body and our mind.

5. A good posture for Menopause, does it exist?
Menopause is associated with many hormonal changes, both physical and mental, that influence the woman’s daily life and can become a more complicated stage of life. One of the positions I would teach would be BADDHA KONASANA (a posture that is part of the First Series of Ashtanga Yoga).

Try only to breathe through your nose.
Fill and empty your lungs without stopping. When you finish your inspiration, continue to exhalation, maintaining a continuous and fluid breathing.

Baddha Konasa (butterfly posture)

Sit on the floor and bring your feet together near your pelvic area, directing the soles to each other, and knees to the sides. Put each of your hands to grab your feet, as if you were opening a book, helping the soles roll even further into the ceiling, increasing the opening motion of your hips, and bringing your knees down and to the sides. Keep the spine straight, place your buttocks flat on the floor and pull the tailbone down. Release your shoulders, and keep your head and face forward. Stay here for a minute, if necessary start for less time, between 10 to 20 breaths, and release, relax tension and physical, mental and emotional discomfort. If you feel discomfort in your knees, move your feet farther away from the pelvic area, or you can place a block or large hardcover book under the knee that feels the reaction, and you’ll be more comfortable. Do not get stay in the posture if you feel pain in your knees.

The next phase of the exercise is to flex your torso forward.

That is, keep your buttocks on the floor and your hands grasping each of the feet helping to turn the soles to the ceiling. Then bring your torso forward, intending to place your chin on the floor, right in front of your feet. When you start this movement, be sure to keep your shoulders back, ensuring space between them and your ears, breathing continuously, and focusing your gaze at a point in front of your feet, to help guide your chin until then. Breathe calmly, feel what you are doing, learn to use exhalation and release any tension and discomfort. Use the consciousness in your body to identify where you should stop, and stay in comfort. This second exercise will also help those who spend many hours standing, is a great posture to stay and relax the legs and send free blood circulation and energy throughout this area of ​​the body.

To undo the posture, simply remove your chin from the floor, raise your the trunk, slowly join each of your knees, put your soles on the floor, embrace your legs and stay here for some time, feeling present in your body, your breath and watching how you feel.





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