Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category
Written By Jasmine
I first experienced hatha yoga about 31 years ago. I took a course at my local college and continued practicing well into my first pregnancy. I am not athletic at all (alright, I am a bowler!) and I loved it. I know I reaped many benefits from it for the time I did it. Then, after baby came along, life happened, another baby then a car accident in 1986 messed me up royally for a good 15 years and left me feeling certain degrees of fragility after that.
I came back to yoga over a year ago. I know now that had I realized at the time of my physical damage due to the accident, yoga would have shaved years off my suffering not to mention helped me in so many other ways I have experienced in my advancing middle age. No bother though, because I am appreciating the benefits today!
I entered into it carefully with respect to my weakened back and neck. I poured over many video’s to find routines that would not send me back to short of traction. I really should have sought out another class but stubbornness for personal reasons ruled that one out. My physical problems over the years have allowed me a heightened consciousness of any activity that might threaten my condition. (I would highly recommend anyone else does just that, to learn the poses under the watchful eye of a trained yoga practitioner! If done wrong, you can really hurt yourself.) I entered yoga practice carefully and with conscious respect to what my body was telling me with each pose I tried. In the beginning I added another pose one at a time so I could feel how I felt the next morning.
I am now structurally stronger, feeling more graceful and toned as well as finding myself more enabled to drop these pesky pounds. I have added Pilates for a more intense workout. I have more energy and my insomnia problems are all but gone. I am more aware of my body as I move through my days in that my posture awareness in standing, sitting and moving about has become a conscious effort to maintain in my shoulders, stomach tightness and lower back.
I incorporate meditation into my workouts and the result is a calmness afterwards that I carry with me all the time and can call up at any time, when stress creeps in, by simply breathing deep and slow with a clearing of the mind that refreshes. Or, if time and place allows, by doing one or two poses to take me back to calmness. Five minutes can work wonders on the mind, body and soul.
My first choice of videos was “Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains”. This program uses yoga to address and correct chronic injuries and illness. It is gentle yoga designed for all fitness levels helping to increase the range of motion to one’s spine and joints while promoting flexibility and fluid body movement. It was a wonderful place for me to start.
My second choice of videos was “Just My Size: Yoga with Megan Garcia”. She is a plus-size model with a “real” body and presents an easy-to-follow, viewer friendly approach no matter what body size they carry. It’s also a great starting point for beginning yoga practitioners. I started out slow and carefully. I felt positive results almost immediately. She also has a book called “MegaYoga by Megan Garcia” that I found helpful for more in depth instruction.
The third video I recommend is a dvd called “Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies”. Don’t let the “dummies” part put you off! It’s great for beginners and I found the instructor pleasant and real. Also there are extra instructions helpful for first timers.
I used other sources but these three were the most helpful in starting out. After weeks of regular practice and feeling a need to add a more intense workout, I added “Crunch: Super SlimDown” which is a combination of Pilates and yoga. Rather than doing individual poses of yoga, this offers a flow of poses for a more intense workout. I find for myself, when I am finished, it’s the perfect time to go into meditation.
The most important thing to know about yoga is it is not about knocking yourself out as much as going into each pose with body awareness and grace. Yoga combines body, mind and spirit. Slow even breathing, in and out thru the nose, at all times during the workout. If you feel pain at all at any time then you either stop or back off of intensity of that pose. I suggested yoga to a friend once who was very athletic. She tried it on her own and reported back to me that she was very sore the next day. She thought she had done a good workout. The problem was she had approached it as she had any other activity she had done in the past as in “no pain no gain”. When I explained to her about clearing the mind when doing the poses and becoming aware of what each and every muscle is doing and how it feels as well as how far to go she realized that her approach to yoga was wrong. Remember, yoga is as much a spiritual effort as a physical one; they intertwine when done with intent in the moment. The goal is not to do and look just like the yoga instructor. It is to learn the pose correctly and work at your own level and pace.
When beginning yoga and looking for a good dvd, look for one that has modifications in it. They will show the instructor and also one or two others doing the same poses only modified for different levels of ability. (I have found some good ones thru my county library system.) I have found it good practice to view the whole dvd before doing them. A quiet place to practice with a good yoga mat is important. Check your stray thoughts outside the room and focus on listening to your body as you begin to work on the poses. Enjoy the feeling of awareness as individual muscles respond to them and blood flows thru your whole body.
After sitting at my keyboard and typing this, I am feeling a bit tight in my shoulders and neck. I think I will go do some yoga now! I hope you will consider this brilliant activity and wish you well on your journey.
(Written by Jasmine – webmistress The Majickal Garden )
Surya namaskara (sun salutations) practice is being with nature. It balances the sun energy and the prana in the body. Regular practice teaches us to tune to our own capabilities and limitations. Dedicated to Swami Sivananda. Santhosh K. runs yoga courses on Varkala Beach, Kerala in India.
Video Rating: 4 / 5
By Rosanna Gordon
Who says you need to leave your bedroom to practice yoga? Some days you just really don’t want to. You prefer to stay in, rest up and take things slow.
And that’s OK! It’s lovely not to feel the pressure of having to go anywhere, to skip the noise and kerfuffle of the great wide world and take some indulgent, yet perfectly acceptable ‘you time.’ Today, you can keep your PJ’s on and soak up the warmth and cosiness of your bed with a few simple poses. Sound good?
Make sure to clear the space, smooth out your duvet and just have a couple of low pillows for your head. Pop a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door if you can, and enjoy.
Begin by lying back. Head can be gently propped up on a pillow. Interlock your fingers over the right knee and hug in towards the chest. Extend the left leg along the bed. On every exhale, draw the knee in a little closer, keeping both sit bones in connection with the bed and breathing into the openness in the hip. Hold for a few deep breaths, before releasing and changing to the other side.
2. Lying Spinal Twist
Bring both knees in towards the chest. Inner thighs and big toe joints touching. Take your arms out to shoulder height, palms faced up. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale release the knees to the right, looking over towards your left hand. Keep the back of the shoulders on the bed, and breathe into the space across the chest. Hold for a few deep breaths, enjoying the twist in the spine and gentle stretch at the side of the neck. Inhale, knees back to centre, exhale over to the left. Repeat twice more to either side, moving with your breath.
3. Neck Stretch
Place both feet beneath your knees, at hip width apart. Have the arms long by your sides. Inhale, looking up towards the ceiling, and as you exhale turn your head placing the right cheek on your pillow. Hold here for a couple of breaths, allowing the neck muscles to release, shoulders down away from the ears. Inhale, bring the head back to centre, exhale in the other direction. Repeat once more to either side.
4. Legs up the wall
Turn your body, sideways to the wall. Then carefully swing your body round, so your feet are resting on the wall, parallel to your knees, which are above the hips. Place your head on a pillow, and have the arms long by your sides. Begin to walk your feet up the wall as straight and as comfortably as possible. Take a few deep breaths here, breathing into the space at your heart and feeling the weight being taken off your feet. You can take the arms out to shoulder height or to the bed behind to really open up the upper body and shoulders. To come out, bring the knees in towards the chest and roll onto your side.
Lie back, head supported by your pillow. Bring your shoulders down away from the ears and tuck the chin in towards the chest. Straighten up through the body, lengthening your tailbone towards the heals. Take your arms and legs a little distance apart and relax the hands and feet. Close the eyes if comfortable, and begin to notice how you’re feeling. On every exhale, allow your body to sink a little deeper into your bed, feeling the warmth and comfort of your trusted space. Allow softness to spread across the face, and for you to fully embrace the peace and quiet.
Practise this sequence a couple of times each week, or whenever you feel like an indoors or bed day. Notice how you feel afterwards in body and mind.
About Rosanna Gordon
Rosanna Gordon, a qualified British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Teacher and Freelance Writer helps people to get out of depression through yoga. She runs Group and One-to-One Yoga classes in Cambridge, UK. For info and class details, visit rosannagordon.com.
This is a 30 minute traditional Indian yoga video by Paul Tassopulos for Eightfold Online Yoga Studio featuring music by Craig Pruess.
Video Rating: 4 / 5
Healing Juvenile Offenders, Young Mothers Through Yoga
Dianna Banzhaf teaches yoga and spiritual healing in juvenile detention and women and children’s shelters. By Cory Shaffer Dianna Banzhaf, who teaches yoga classes to juvenile defenders, knows they think yoga is “this ritzy, suburban mom thing,” she …
Read more on Patch.com
Article by Aman Roy
Yoga is a five thousand year old art that has been at the heart of the human civilization. The benefits of yoga has been tremendous in making a person’s life healthy and blissful. Yoga and meditation, as a spiritual discipline, makes a person conscious about his inner-self and gifts him a healthy mind and body. Yoga is a wonderful way of healing oneself from within. There are some of the major branches of Yoga such as Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Ashthanga Yoga which have created different methods in achieving the objective of emancipating the lives of the individuals who practice it. Spirit Voyage is an online music company that offers various meditation music CDs and Yoga DVDs that assist a person to practice various yoga forms. There are yoga books and audio instruction CDs which provides an in-depth knowledge on the various aspects and forms of yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient technology that is designed to expand our awareness. Kundalini is the energy of our soul. Kundalini is the energy of consciousness and the awareness of the higher self. Kundalini is the energy of the cosmos that lies dormant within each individual. With the practice of Kundalini Yoga, one can become aware of the creative capacities and the radiant caliber. With Kundalini Yoga, we can relate the finite identities to our infinite identities.
Now, as we increase our awareness, we become more aware of our limits and the ways to which expand them by becoming more daring in our choices. After regular practice of Kundalini Yoga, we become creative and full of energy. The basic fact about Kundalini is that in every human being lies the power to be outrageously creative and Kundalini aims to tap this potential that lies dormant within them. Kundalini helps us realize who we really are and what is our purpose here. It helps us in warding off all those bad feelings, habits and emotions which restricts us from becoming true human beings in every sense. With Kundalini yoga, we can expand our awareness and as we expand our awareness we are able to go beyond our perceived conscious limits. We are empowered to make more daring choice and attain the energy to create bountiful and exciting lives.
Spirit Voyage offers an extensive collection of Kundalini Yoga Cds and DVDs. Yoga DVD such as Morning Yoga Stretch/evening Yoga relaxation and Weight loss by Kundalini Yoga, both by world renowned Nirvair Singh Khalsa will surely be a helpful id for the practioner. Spirit Voyage Kundalini Music category contains Gurmukhi chant, mantras and Kirtan that are ideal for Kundalini yoga and meditation.
A practice session in Kundalini Yoga typically comprises of 3 steps : Before beginning, tuning in and concluding a set. The exercises in the steps are beautifully crafted to suit a person. The session begins with the breathing exercise where one needs to be with the sensations of the body. Then, one needs to calm down and relax so as to achieve a meditative state. After that, begins the tuning-in procedure. The Adi Mantra is chanted while sitting in a comfortable position and with a straight spine. “Ong Na Mo” is chanted while keeping the hands in the prayer mudra and the hands at 60 degres from the chest and the base of the thumb pressing the sternum. And the concluding part is the various Yoga postures and exercises which help in bringing us back to the reality. After the exercises are done, it is recommended to sit in a normal pose and say a prayer of thanks. It is done by singing this song : “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, guide your way on”. Then chant three long Sat Nam’s.
We also offer various Yoga music CDs and many other meditation music CDs which will surely make your yoga experience, worth it. Meditation music CDs such as Gong the nucleus of sound by Yogi Bhajan and Sweet surrender by Prema Hara – Kamaniya and Keshavacharya Das will enlighten you. At Spirit Voyage, we also specialize in various Yoga clothes. The Yoga clothes enable a person to practice the different poses with all ease. These Yoga clothes are made of natural fabric and feature stylish cuts. Yoga accessories such as yoga rugs and Yoga Mats are also available with Spirit Voyage. Yoga mats from Spirit Voyage not only provide resilience but also prevent the positive energies generated within the body to get neutralized by reaching the floor.
Yoga is a process to unraveling the mystery of life. Finding the right path is always beautiful, especially when the path leads to self-enlightenment and invoke a feeling of eternal bliss.