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Warm Up: Extract from Real Yoga; A Pure and Simple Journey

by Vimla Lalvani(more info)

listed in yoga, originally published in issue 232 - August 2016


I was very privileged to meet as a child the greatest masters of wisdom. As my family was and still is the honorary consulates of India in Hawaii, I was introduced to Swami Mukhtanada, Swami, Chinmayadam, and a host of wisdom keepers that shared their knowledge with me. The Vedanta became a magical kingdom for me as my thirst of spiritual and philosophical knowledge grew. Along with my passion for dance and movement, I longed to go to India to study Classical Indian dance under Master Kaliyanasudaram.

When I finished my studies, I travelled to Bombay to study Bharat Natyam. It was there that I experienced my first Yoga Class. Something inside me went click and I realized I found what I was looking for. The Connection made me feel whole. My mind, body, and spirit came together as one and I knew I could never turn back.

This was it! This is what I was looking for even without knowing it.

Yoga became my passion and my life’s purpose. I gave up everything else and was determined to find the greatest Living Master to train me.

Unbelievably, he was on my doorstep.

As I don’t believe in coincidences I knew that this was to become my life’s path.

My Master, BKS Iyengar, was a huge challenge for me. In those days there was no such thing as paying for tuition. The Master had to offer you his tutelage and there was nothing you could do to persuade or convince him. I tried so hard. I went every day to his classroom and was turned down, thrown out, and on many occasions shouted at to leave to never return.

I cried and pleaded and it was always no. However, I never gave up. One day, I decided to disguise myself as an Indian with kurta pyjamas and braided hair. I look back at the incident and recall how silly I behaved as I am Indian and how would he not recognize that I was the same girl from Hawaii in an Indian outfit.

I think he was amused as he did not comment on my existence or me as the class began.

I was in a perfect shoulder stand when Iyengar pulled me up from the floor and swung me around like a cat. I told you to get out he retorted. I was terrified and froze in fear. He placed me done gently and I nearly broke out in tears. The other students pleaded with him. Let her stay. She is so young and she is good! That was it. He let me stay and he trained me with precise discipline which his method is known for. The first time I saw him in the distance, without knowing that it was the Master himself, Iyengar exuded such powerful energy force that would bowl you over. His charisma was so dynamic and there was a shine around his face.

Even though he was strict and fearsome, I will be ever grateful to him for his personal training and wisdom. I know now that he wanted to challenge me. To make sure he was not wasting time on someone who would not make it his or her life’s path. When I completed my training, after one year, he said now you go home and teach. I said Masterji, who will listen to me. I am so young (20 years old) He replied. Don’t worry child, the whole world will listen. And here I still am and yes, the world did listen.

Vimla Real Yoga

After the writing of my many books and producing my DVDs. Iyengar was on a trip to London and asked the head of the Iyengar School in London to go out and purchase every single Yoga product that I have produced. She called me to say that Iyengar had asked to see, read, and watch every single book, video, and DVD that I had ever produced. I always acknowledged him on every product but this was the real test: His approval.

I was shaking throughout the afternoon not knowing the outcome.

She eventually called and said Congratulations. Masterji has asked me to thank you for all the good work you have done to bring Yoga to the World. Please tell her that what she has done I could not do as she has brought Yoga to the masses with her modern vision.

I collapsed in tears. What a relief. Was it pride? Was it approval I was seeking? I felt like that young girl again.

But this was different. This was from thankfulness to God to give me such an opportunity in life. To give me purpose in life from which I have never wavered.

Thank you my dear Masterji for believing in me and giving me your knowledge and wisdom to teach Yoga to the World.

Every human being has a divine spark. My job is to ignite this deep glow with divine Light.


It is always essential to warm up the body slowly and gently before beginning the yoga course of your choice. This series of movements combined with breathing in the correct manner will help to loosen the spine and gently prepare your body for the other exercises that follow. Before you begin, focus attention on yourself and breathe deeply from your diaphragm for ten seconds. ‘Center’ - that is, focus on balancing your physical and mental state - by assuming a good posture. You need to stand evenly with your weight balanced between your toes and heels.  As you do the exercises you will feel the energy flow freely from one movement to the next.

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Step 1. Clasp your fingers together and raise your hands up to your chin. At the same time raise your
elbows until they are even with your shoulders. Keep your head and chin raised


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Step 2. Inhale and breathe deeply, bringing your elbows down toward each other.
Make sure you don’t drop your chin. Exhale and return to Step 1.


Vimla Real Yoga

Step 3. Drop your head back, raise your elbows and clasp your hands under your chin.


Vimla Real Yoga

Step 4. Inhale and breathe deeply, bringing the elbows together. Exhale and return to Step 3.


Vimla Real Yoga

Step 5. Bring your clasped hands down, inhale and then raise your arms above your head and exhale.


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Step 6. Keep your chin up and shoulders down as you stretch your spine fully by reaching your arms
as high as possible. Slowly inhale and exhale.


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Step 7. Put your arms down by your sides, then inhale and stretch your left arm over to the right,
keeping the hips square. Exhale and stretch downward, extending the right hand toward the floor.
Continue inhaling and exhaling and stretch in both directions for 5 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.


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Step 8. Put your arms behind your back and hold firmly onto your elbows with your opposite hand.
Slowly inhale and exhale.


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Step 9. Inhale, push your hips forward and drop your head back, transferring your weight toward your heels.
Keep your toes on the ground.


Vimla Real Yoga

Step 10. Exhale and lean forward so that your back is flat. Keep your spine straight and your chin forward.


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Step 11. Still exhaling and pointing with your chin, lean over to a 45° angle,
keeping the spine straight as you bend forward.


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Step 12. Bend your knees to relax them and drop your head down toward your knees, letting your arms drop to the floor. Relax your spine, and continue to breathe steadily for 5 seconds.

Step 13. Inhale deeply and extend your arms out in front with your palms together and thumbs crossed. Keep your elbows straight and your arms close to your head. Inhale and exhale for 5 seconds.


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Step 14. Return to a standing position, lift your arms high over your head and clasp your palms together.


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Step 15. Inhale and as you exhale stretch all the way over to the right side. Keep your head evenly balanced between your arms and your feet together on the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, breathing normally.
Inhale and return to Step 14. Repeat on the other side.


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Step 16. Inhale and push your hips forward, taking the weight onto your heels. Keep your feet together,
opening out your chest. Exhale. Lean backward as far as you can go. Breathe normally.
Do not drop your head back, and keep your arms close to your head.


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Step 17. Return to the Step 14 position and keep your arms above your head. Now bend your knees,
while breathing steadily.


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Step 18. With knees bent, lean over to relax your body, dropping your arms down.
Try to put your forehead on your knees. Uncurl and relax.


Acknowledgement Citation

The above chapter Warm Up is extracted from Real Yoga; A Pure and Simple Journey

by Vimla Lalvani

Published by Clink Street Publishing. Paperback. 2016. £14.99 / $20.51. ISBN: 1911110144.

Further Information

Available from Amazon*Version*=1&*entries*=0


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About Vimla Lalvani

Vimla Lalvani was born in Hawaii in 1948, to the first Indian family to become American citizens. Her great love for the outdoors led her to train in modern dance before travelling to India to study Classical Indian Dance. It was in India that she stumbled over Yoga. Determined to find the best master, she met with BKS Iyengar and became his personal student. His rigorous and dynamic style of Hatha Yoga challenged her and changed the course of her life. He put her on her path and she has dedicated her life to teaching Yoga She is known to be a pioneer introducing Yoga to the world and making it popular to the masses by making it accessible for all ages, male and female.
Through her books, DVD's, television appearances around the globe, her passion has never waned. Her career spans over 40 years and she believes that everyone, no matter their age, should practice Yoga to reap the benefits. Not only does Yoga restore balance and harmony to one's life, it brings a strength of mind and clarity to tackle life's challenges to bring tranquillity and inner peace. Her many books, audiobooks and DVDs are widely available from good bookshops and from Amazon.


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