Some fun facts from Yoga world 

Have you ever wondered why so many yoga poses are named after an animal or a bird? Well, it appears that the ancient yogis, who were wandering in nature, living in jungles, and mountains, surviving on nature’s bounty, and doing yoga sadhana, found imitating the animals and birds to be an enlightening experience for both the body and mind. They observed these animals and birds and gave thought to their qualities or peculiarities. Then they brought their postures in their yoga sadhana so that the same qualities may percolate in their personality. 

 Let’s look at some of them along with their qualities or benefits

  • Shwanashwasan for a dog’s stamina
  • Vyaghrasan for a tiger’s bravery 
  • Makarasan for a crocodile’s relaxed state of body and mind 
  • Bhujangasan for a cobra’s agility and strong spine 
  • Garudasan for an eagle’s mind concentration 
  • Matsyasan for a fish’s lightness of body 
  • Baddhakonasan for a butterfly’s strong hips 
  • Urdhwamukha and Adhomukha Shwanasan for a dog’s agile and strong spine 
  • Mandukasan for a frog’s strong thighs, ankles and back 
  • Marjalasan for a cat’s agility 
  • Shalabhasan for a locust’s supple body 
  • Kapotasan for a pigeon’s strong and toned hips 
  • Kurmasan for a turtle’s flat tummy 
  • Bakasan for a crow’s body balance 
  • Mayurasan for a peacock’s balance and strength 
  • Ushtrasan backward bend for a camel’s self-confidence 
  • Mrigasan spinal twist for a deer’s ability to let go of negative feelings 
  • Shashankasan forward bend for a rabbit’s humility 

Anu Buzruk 

Yoga Therapist 

847 544 6708 

[email protected]

Active Meditation Technique 

 In the past, meditation was known to be a process of sitting down quietly at one place, trying to engage oneself in one thought, and eventually trying to be in a thoughtless state of mind. Today, it is a quite common understanding that meditation need not be done sitting at one place at a certain time. Even the process of cooking a meal in a happy state of mind and with complete involvement of the mind can be a process of meditation. 

 The middle path will be probably neither sitting idle and trying to reach a thoughtless mind, nor doing an activity with complete devotion and trying to reach a blissful mind. 

 This middle path is what is active meditation. Here, we do sit or lie down in one place but get involved in the meditation process through certain subtle activities. 

 When one is suffering from a chronic disease, and going through needful medical treatment, it becomes vital that the immune defense is strong, willpower is boosted, and quality of life is not compromised. This is where the active meditation technique plays an important role. Since the person is actively involved in the process of meditation, it becomes easier to keep the mind away from bodily pains. 

  1. As the first step, loud, audible sounds are produced after every deep inhale, and thus resonance is developed. The sounds produced are A U and M. Sound A has the lowest frequency, the sound U has the middle, and sound M has the highest frequency. This loud chanting creates resonance in the body thus helping the body cells relax. The low frequency A chanting helps relax the body below the naval center where body frequency is also low. The middle-frequency U chanting helps relax the body between the throat and the naval center where body frequency is also at the middle level. Lastly, the highest frequency M chanting relaxes the head and neck region where body frequency is also at its highest. 
  2. As the second step, the same three sounds are produced inside the mind and again the same resonance is developed. This mental chanting also leads to the same pattern of resonance waves and helps relax the body cells. 
  3. As the third step, AUM is repeated inside the mind and this mental chanting further relaxes the entire body. 

By the end of these three steps, the development of resonance brings the mind to the present moment and the mind can feel the silence. Now the next steps help increase inner sensitivity as well as inner awareness. 

  1. Breath awareness – breath is observed at the tip of the nose. Then it is observed inside the nostrils. This simple observation and watching of breath lead to a reduction in any imbalance in right and left nostril breathing. The imbalance is further reduced by performing 9 rounds of alternate nostril breathing exercise. 
  2. Awareness and relaxation – Pointed awareness is felt at tip of the nose, then linear awareness is felt through the air path from the nose tip to the throat region, then surface awareness is felt through the inner surface of the airpath. This deeper and deeper awareness of breath increases sensitivity for internal organs. This step is concluded by Bhramari chanting or making a humming bee sound to have three-dimensional awareness as you recognize the resonance throughout the body due to the humming bee sound’s vibrations. 
  3. Recognition of nerve impulses with the help of mudras – 
    1. Chin mudra – At the contact point of fingertips, the pulse is observed. Then heartbeats are observed. Then synchronization between the two is observed. By opening the fingers and touching them again and again, nerve impulses traveling from hand to brain are observed. 
    2. Chinmay mudra – Same process is followed in this mudra and nerve impulses are observed. 
    1. Adi mudra – During the same process, a gush of nerve impulses is observed. 
    1. Namaskar mudra – Again the same process is followed to feel the gush of nerve impulses. 

With every mudra, the speed of nerve impulses travelling to brain goes on increasing. Again, the step is concluded by Bhramari chanting or making humming bee sound. Now inner awareness and sensitivity move from the gross to the subtle.

  1. Lastly, a resolve is repeated in mind nine times along with the inhalation and exhalation process. Resolve is nothing but a positive thought made of a minimum number of words. One example can be – I am blissful. 

I would give complete credit of this active meditation technique to our Guru Dr H R Nagendra, the founding trustee of the first yoga university in America – Vivekananda Yoga University I learned the technique during my master’s degree program in Yoga Therapy at this University. 

Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about and practice it along with me to experience the benefits mentioned. 

Anu Buzruk 

Yoga Therapist 

847 544 6708 

[email protected]

Enrichment Journey

In June 2022, I completed a master’s in the science of Yoga, with a specialization in Yoga Therapy, from Vivekananda Yoga University, VaYU in Los Angeles. Today I would like to share more information about this amazing journey.

This is the first yoga university outside of India focused on “graduate yoga education and research”. It is also the first yoga university in the USA. Mine was the first batch of students graduating with a master’s degree.

I thoroughly enjoyed the four-semester-long enrichment that I received from utterly knowledgeable and experienced faculty. The faculty is recruited from the US as well as from India. The program is centered on an evidence-based yoga routine and a modern scientific approach to the traditional ancient Indian practice of yoga. Thus, the faculty includes experts from different fields like modern medicine, naturopathy, ayurveda, ancient yogic scriptures, yoga philosophy, research methods, research in the field of yoga and Biomedical science, clinical yoga therapy, so on and so forth.

The program focuses on yoga therapists being able to help the clients manage different medical conditions, especially non-communicable diseases which are borne out of stress. (A medical doctor may diagnose, prescribe medications, and may refer the patient to the yoga therapist so the patient can manage the medical condition with lesser stress.)

  1. The first semester gives a comprehensive knowledge about the therapeutic basis of yoga as mentioned in ancient yogic texts like Bhagavadgita, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, and in other systems of Indian Medicine like Ayurveda and Naturopathy. Thus, the semester introduces us to the concept of a human entity at physical, pranic, mind, emotional and spiritual levels, and one’s ability to recognize and remove stress, maintain a balance of one’s own nature and be able to manage the impact of stress on the physical body.
  2. The second semester gives comprehensive medical knowledge of different diseases. It introduces respiratory disorders like asthma and respiratory infections, cardiovascular disorders like hypertension and coronary artery disease, endocrine and metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and obesity, excretory system disorders like irritable bladder and stress incontinence, gynecological disorders like PCOS and PMS, gastrointestinal disorders like peptic ulcers, IBS, and ulcerative colitis, Musculo-skeletal disorders like back pain, neck pain and arthritis, neurological disorders like migraine headaches, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression and substance abuse, diseases like cancer and kidney disease.
  3. The third semester focuses on yoga therapy techniques to manage the above diseases. These techniques include yoga asanas or poses to attain balance at the physical level, pranayama or breathing techniques, and certain energization techniques to attain balance at the pranic level. Then it also focuses on certain advanced meditation techniques that help one with managing chronic stress or tension and take care of destructive emotions which are the root cause of non-communicable diseases.
  4. The fourth semester includes working on a specialization area which can be yoga therapy or yoga philosophy or yoga research. I have been working as a certified yoga instructor for more than two decades and always had a therapeutic approach toward yoga in my teaching. Hence, I chose the yoga therapy specialization path. Here, I learned the pathophysiology of different disorders from clinicians in the related area of specialization like cancer, heart diseases, etc. I also analyzed evidence-based research studies done to support the use of yoga therapy in the management of these health conditions. I did an 8-week research study on yoga techniques useful in managing hot flashes and sleep disturbance in the menopause phase of women and submitted as well as presented a thesis. This gave me a glimpse of the Ph.D. program of the University. This semester also focused on yogic techniques to make pregnancy and post-pregnancy a healthy and joyful process. Finally, I learned how to recognize the choices of various yoga techniques for the effective management of each health condition. The program also introduces you to certain yoga modules to be used for specific health conditions. For example, for diabetic patients, there is a specific module or routine.

The best part of the program, in my opinion, is the source of these yoga modules. These modules are the creation of SVYASA, Bangalore, India, the very first yoga university in the world This university has had its own research facility for over 30 years. With the best technology available, evidence-based research is carried out to understand the biology of yoga at multiple levels – physical levels to more subtle levels of the existence of humans. These modules have helped bring yoga into the limelight for its therapeutic values.

If anyone wants to learn authentic, original yogic science and the integrated approach of yoga therapy in conjunction with modern medical science, I will highly recommend Vivekananda Yoga University, VaYU. It is a cohort-based online program but at the end of the first and third semesters, students are expected to attend a weeklong hands-on training program at the University’s Los Angeles campus. This could not happen in my case due to Covid-19 and it was replaced by live video sessions. I am enjoying the process of putting this knowledge and wisdom to practical use while continuing to guide my students on their path of wellness and while working on clients being referred to me by medical doctors.

Anu Buzruk

847 544 6708

[email protected]

Yoga and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in middle age

Communicable/transmissible diseases (e.g., cholera, chickenpox, measles, and malaria) were major problems in the previous centuries. Now, they are pretty much under control (exception being COVID19) with the help of antibiotics, antiseptics, vaccines, etc.

In the present century, we are facing a large number of non-communicable diseases. These are the diseases that are not governed by outside, they are not contagious, but they are due to internal imbalance and malfunctioning of body organs.

Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, back pain, neck pain, diabetes, obesity, and depression are some of the examples of NCDs.

They can be a result of a combination of factors –

  • Genetic factor – aging population.
  • Environmental factor – ventilation.
  • Physiological factors – lack of healthy diet, physical activity, sleep, and exercise.
  • Behavioral factors – smoking, drug addiction, and harmful use of alcohol.

Let us focus today on the ‘emotion’ component that may lead to the last two factors – physiological and behavioral factors. Negative emotions may lead to stress, anxiety, and tension. These may contribute towards weight gain, addiction, obesity, high glucose levels, high insulin levels, and so on. Yogic way of life can help one take care of these negative emotions.

Yoga philosophy believes in human being made of five sheaths (कोष) or layers of existence –

  1. Physical body (अन्नमय कोष)
  2. Vital body where life energy flows through invisible channels or nadis (प्राणमय कोष)
  3. Mind body (मनोमय कोष)
  4. Intellect body (विज्ञानमय कोष)
  5. Bliss body (आनंदमय कोष)

Harmony in the first three sheaths can be easily disturbed since ego, consciousness predominates in these sheaths. Excessively strong feelings of like or dislike, sorrow or happiness, hatred or love, distort the personality, tense the muscles, deplete energy level, create chronic fatigue, and obstruct the flow of positive energy to the last two sheaths. This disharmony can further block the free movement of bliss, and one may lose inner peace.

To regain inner peace, one may further aggravate the problem by eating the wrong foods, living in unhealthy surroundings, letting negative thoughts enter the mind. The ultimate outcome of this can be physical ailments, diseases, or NCDs.

Following are some of the ways in which one can take care of these negative emotions through daily practice of below yoga poses-

  1. Ushtrasana – With shoulders pushed back, chest expanded and an upward gaze, poses like this may help with enhancement in self-confidence.
    (picture credits Ronan and Millan)
  2. Pada Hastasana – With blood circulation towards head region, poses like this may help with brain relaxation.
    (picture credit Elina K)
  3. Vakrasana – With poses like Vakrasana that involve gazing backward from the top of the shoulder, it may help with enhancing the ability to let go and move on, ability to let go of any past regrets, pains, and sorrows.
    (picture credit Dipti Karmarkar)
  4. Mandukasana – With legs folded at knees and forehead resting on the floor, poses like this may help enhance the ability to be humble, thankful, and respectful.
    (picture credit Bindiya Jinadev)
  5. Makarasana – As the weight of the head is thrown on crossed arms, with peculiar pressure around pineal and thyroid glands, this pose may help improve their secretion and thus calm down the mind.
    (picture credit Sangeeta Gupte)
  6. Supta dandasana – With legs resting on the wall and blood flowing from the toe region to the hip region, there may be an improvement in heart rate variability leading to slowing down of the mind.
    (picture credit Vijay Gupte)
  7. Jalandhar bandh – With chin pressed on the throat and peculiar pressure around pituitary and pineal glands, this bandh may help culture the emotions, heal the spirit, and reduce the tendency to get anxious and angry.
    (picture credit Bindiya Jinadev)
  8. Bhramari pranayama – With the resonance of humming sound reaching the nerves and cells, breathing may slow down, the flow of prana in the head region may regulate and it may help with brain relaxation.
    (picture credit Archana Joshi Paranjape)
  9. Cyclic meditation – Through cycles of stimulation and relaxation, this process may train the mind into relaxing after any needful stimulation in day-to-day life. You can read more about this technique in my blog.

You may perform each pose for 30-60 seconds.

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. The yogic scriptures as well as years of evidence-based research done at Institutions like Svyasa, Bangalore give us a huge resource base to help ourselves with our emotional wellbeing and thus ability to manage non-communicable diseases.

To learn these techniques and take control of your health, contact me at [email protected] or 847 544 6708 or visit my website

I look forward to enriching your life through Yoga practice.

Anupama Buzruk

Certified Yoga Instructor

Currently pursuing

Master of Science – Yoga Therapy

How to stay calm, during and after, stressful moments – part 2

Very happy to share the second blog of my series ‘How to stay calm, during and after, stressful moments’. In this blog, I would be sharing a technique developed by my yoga guru Dr. H. R. Nagendra, Chairman of Vivekananda Yoga University located in LA, California, USA, who is also the Chancellor of Svyasa, yoga research Institute located in Bengaluru, India. Through evidence-based research, he has proved that this 30-minute routine, called CYCLIC MEDITATION, enhances positive health to a great extent. Whereas six hours of good sleep reduces metabolic rate by 9%, this routine reduces metabolic rate by 32%. These detailed steps would help you practice this routine as per your convenience or with me in my online class.

This is a safe technique that can be performed by anyone irrespective of energy level, preconditions of health, age, etc. Slow movements and complete awareness of mind are the key factors in this exercise set. This technique is divided in 6 parts for easy understanding.

Part 1:

  1. Lie down on the yoga mat on your back, inhaling deeply, stretch your leg muscles.
  2. Maintain the stretch, exhaling deeply, pull your abdominal muscles.
  3. Maintain the pull, again inhaling deeply, stretch your arm muscles, expand your chest muscles, squeeze your facial muscles.
  4. Then with a sudden exhale, let go the entire body down to the yoga mat.
  5. Now with a gentle inhale, chant the aaa sound and enjoy vibrations of the sound.
  6. Feel the surface awareness of your entire body on the mat. With this instant relaxation process of just two deep breathing rounds, you have helped release any muscle holds, contractions, spasms. You have brought yourself in your yoga room not just at body level but even at mind level.

Part 2:

  1. Slowly getting up from the mat, perform one simple yoga pose namely Ardhakatichakrasana or Half wheel pose. The key is in going into the pose very slowly and mindfully by paying attention to the changes happening in the nerve impulses, blood circulation pattern and heaviness of the muscles while lifting the arm up and then bending the torse sideways.
  2. Feel the pointed awareness around your heels and toes. Feel the linear awareness around outer sides of your feet. While maintaining the side bend, pay attention to the folds on one side of torso and stretch on opposite side of the torso.
  3. Now gently come out of the pose again paying attention to the changes happening around the shoulder, arm, torso. Balance the body by performing the same pose with the other arm. You have stimulated your sympathetic nervous system.

Part 3:

  1. Now again lie down on mat on your back.
  2. Simply pay attention to the abdominal movements during the natural breathing rounds. Slowly start pushing the abdominal wall out during every inhale and simply observe the slow sinking of abdominal wall as you exhale.
  3. After a few breathing rounds, again gently inhale and chant aaa sound and enjoy the resonance of the sound. With this quick relaxation process of a few deep breathing rounds, you have stimulated your parasympathetic nervous system and given relaxation to cells, muscles, and mind.

Part 4:

  1. Slowly getting up from the mat, perform Shashankasana or Rabbit pose. Follow the same method as mentioned in point 2 above. You have given deep forward bend to the spine, but your legs were bent at the knees, so your lower back is safe.
  2. Feel the surface awareness as your forehead rests on the mat, your abdomen and chest rest on the thigh. Pay attention to the blood flowing towards head.
  3. After a gentle inhale, chant humming bee sound. enjoy the resonance of sound in your head region.
  4. Feel the heart beats and have a 3D awareness throughout your body. After a few breaths, slowly raise the torso up and come out of the pose.

Part 5:

  1. Now balance the body by going into gentle backward bend of Ardha-ushtrasana or Half camel pose following same method as point 2 above. Feel the expansion of chest, activation of throat region, stretching of abdominal wall, relaxed neck muscles as the head hangs freely down.
  2. Take a gentle inhale, chant aaa sound and enjoy the vibrations. After a few breaths, come out of the backward bend of spine. Feel the nerve impulses, feel the heart beats. During the process, you have stimulated your sympathetic nervous system again.

Part 6:

  1. One last time lie down on mat on your back. Spend some ten minutes in this position. Imagine, you are exhaling through one body part each time and relaxing it. After mentally travelling through all parts from toes to head, just pay attention to rhythmic movement of your chest and abdomen along with the breath.
  2. Now imagine, with every exhale, along with the carbon dioxide, you are throwing out any anger, pain, sorrow, fatigue, ego, fear, hatred, jealousy, lethargy. Imagine, with each inhale, along with the air intake, you are taking in the joy, serenity, peace, happiness, forgiveness, contentment. Take a gentle inhale, chant aaa sound and enjoy the vibrations. With this deep relaxation process, you are giving further deep relaxation to all your muscles, cells, organs, glands, and nerves.

During the 30-minute routine, you have enhanced the sense of perception of your sensory organs, expanded your awareness throughout the body. As you repeat this exercise few times a week, the training will come handy while handing stressors. While the sympathetic nervous system is taking care of the stressors, the muscles will remain in deep relaxation, breath will not go haphazard, heart beats will not lose their rhythm, mind will remain calm.

Thank you for reading! Special thanks to Deepali Kale for yoga poses.

Join me to practice this technique, on March 28, at 9 am CST. I look forward to seeing you. The nominal fee for this session is $10 and 50% of it will be donated to Svyasa yoga research institute.

As always, my goal is to enrich everyone’s life with yoga.

Anu Buzruk

How to stay calm, during and after stressful moments!

In our day-to-day life, we all face many situations where quick action is required at our mind, body, and brain level. For example, milk is about to spill while boiling in the pan, baby about to pee while without diaper, online session about to end while still few important points to be conveyed in the meeting, and so on.

Taking care of these stressors, needs activation of Sympathetic Nervous System, release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, increase in blood pressure, and heart rate. This entire stimulation helps one deal with the stressors and bring situation under control. But, once the situation is under control, and if one does not slow down, stress may affect the person at mind level and psychosomatic diseases like hypertension, asthma, and diabetes may start surfacing.

How do we slow down our systems, so the stressors do not lead to these diseases? How do we train the mind to go into relaxation mode after these stimulating situations? The answer is Yoga!

There are many yoga practices which alternate between activation of Sympathetic Nervous System and Parasympathetic Nervous System and lead to slowing down our emotions.

Asanas like Mandukasana or Frog Pose (Figure 1) stimulate the digestive system with constant pressure on abdomen and at the same time let the blood flow towards head region and relax the brain.

Picture Credit – Bindiya Jinadev

Relaxation postures like Makarasana or Crocodile Pose (Figure 3) activate the thyroid glands and at the same time relax the mind by improving the secretion of pineal and pituitary glands.

Pranayama or breathing exercises like Bhramari or Humming Bee breath create vibrations in the head region causing reduction in the heart rate.

Bandhas like Jalandhar bandh or Chin Lock (Figure 2) activate the pineal and pituitary glands and calm down the mind.

Meditation techniques like Aum meditation and Chakra meditation slow down the breathing rate and slow down the mind. 

These practices train us into being more mindful about the breathing pattern, enhance the awareness and thus the body learns to go into relaxation mode after the needful stimulation phase is over.

The highest benefit is achieved through the cyclic meditation where one goes through cycle of stimulation and relaxation in a 30-minute process of activating sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system alternatively. 

Stay tuned to know more about this technique in my next blog.

Until then keep practicing Yoga on a daily basis!

Anu Buzruk

Therapeutic Yoga Teacher