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22 August 2019yoga blogs
22 August 2019
22 August 2019
21 August 2019Change your mind, change your perspective. By getting yourself upside down in an inverted yoga pose, you are literally and figuratively changing your perspective on the world and the way you see it. These poses can be humbling and uplifting at the same time, and there are many powerful mental and physical benefits to practicing them. Inversions are often seen as intimidating, advanced poses that only the most experienced yogis can accomplish. But that isn’t the case! There are many inverted poses that a beginner can easily do in their very first session and begin to receive all the benefits inversions have to offer. My kids love to do inversions, especially my middle daughter. At any given time you will see her at our house, at the park, just about anywhere doing handstands or flipping herself over on the couch. She loves being upside down! For the simple reason that it’s fun. Adults aren’t too old to have fun with inversions too! Besides just being a good time, there are many serious mental and physical benefits to inverting every day. Improved blood circulation When you position your head beneath your heart (i.e., go upside down), you are using the force of gravity to reverse the direction of blood flow. This increases blood circulation to the brain. When you bring all that oxygenated blood to the brain all of its functions are improved. Detoxifies the body Inversions stimulate the lymphatic system, which is a chain of tissues and organs in the immune system. This system is responsible for ridding the body of waste and toxins. Improves immunity When the body is rid of toxins, its essential immune functions perform much better. This will help to keep you healthy and virus free even through the winter. Increased energy Increasing oxygenated blood flow to the brain will increase your energy levels. This will leave you feeling rejuvenated, focused and alert. Inversions that stretch the spine into a backbend position, such as wheel, are especially energizing. Builds core strength Hate crunches? Pop into an inverted pose to train and tighten your core just as effectively. Calms the mind While handstands are highly invigorating, more gentle inversions such as legs up on a wall, shoulder stand or even downward-facing dog work to calm the mind and have a cooling effect. Inversion poses you can try, in order of difficulty: Legs up on a wall Puppy Downward Dog Dolphin Forward Fold Wide-legged forward fold Shoulder stand Bridge Plow Wheel Handstand Forearm stand Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll discuss preparing your body and mind to perform challenging inversions, beginning with baby crow and crow. Namaste.
21 August 2019
Taking the tree pose mobile - short fun video featuring a new twist on a tree-pose.
21 August 2019
Even if you’ve never taken a yoga class, I know you’ve stretched before. You might only have stretched when you first wake up in the morning. That first stretch after you wake up (or after sitting for a long time) has physiological benefits. It’s an instinctive thing most people do upon being still for hours.How Stretching Works
Lymphatic fluid accumulates in the muscles at night, or while you are still for a while. The lymphatic system takes away waste products and toxins that are produced in our bodies. When you stretch, the muscles squeeze the lymphatic vessels in your muscle tissue and help rid your body of those waste products. That muscle compression causes the production of endorphins in the pituitary gland in the brain. The release of endorphins causes a relaxation response.It Feels So Good!
This can even happen after you’ve been sitting at your computer for hours and you take a great big breath and a stretch to get the blood pumping again. Maybe you only stretch before or after a workout. Whenever you do it, doesn’t it feel good? There is an actual physiological explanation that explains why stretching feels so good.Why Does a Stretch Feel So Good?
While you stretch, you are focusing on your body and usually your breath. As a result, you get a moment to clear your mind. All that deep breathing and stretching benefits not just your body, but also your mind. To create a stretch or a lengthening of the muscles, you must release the tension in those muscles to allow them to compress and lengthen. The deep breathing required for a safe stretch is another way to stimulate endorphin production. The combination of breath and endorphins help you relax and let go! They automatically stimulate the relaxation response in your body.11 Reasons Stretching Keeps You Healthy:
- Increase range of motion in joints
- Increase flexibility
- Reduce your risks of injuries
- Increase agility in any physical exercise or general movement
- Increase blood flow to muscles groups that are stretching
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce Stress
- Rids body of waste products
- Release tension
- Stimulate relaxation response, endorphin production
- Reduce muscle soreness
That’s okay. It’s not for everyone. I did not like my first yoga class about 30 years ago. I left early (So RUDE!) Either give it another try, and shop around for the right style or teacher for you. But if you don’t want to go that route, you have lots of options. There are massage therapists, Thai massage, chiropractors, physical therapist, and personal trainers who may have some expertise in stretching. Or just make it a habit to stretch after a workout, or any physical activity.Stretching Safely
Stretching is not something you should do before a workout. To benefit from stretching, your muscles must be warm. I always start with movement and breath in all my yoga classes. You just can’t force a cold muscle to lengthen. They just won’t cooperate. And you’ll set yourself up for injury. You can warm up by walking or doing any active movement for 5-10 minutes. Or at the end of your workout, take 5 minutes to stretch muscles that are specific to the activity you just finished.Stretches for After Lower Body Workout/Cardio
For example, if you just finished walking/running on the treadmill or the elliptical the most important muscles to stretch are:
Here some basic yoga stretches to do after your lower body workout and/or your cardio on the cardio machines. Do these stretches after every workout. You’ll find an increase of flexibility and less risk for injuries. Just click on this link and you can print it out or email it to yourself and share it with others.
Want stretches for Upper Body? The muscles you’ll need to stretch are:
- Upper back
- Lower Back
21 August 2019Alaska, Siberia, the Canary Islands, and the Amazon rainforest are all up in flames. Here's what that means for you.
21 August 2019by Lucinda Staniland
In a restless world, sleep has become something of an elusive creature. Increasingly few of us get enough deep, restful sleep and as a society, we’re starting to see the consequences in our declining physical and mental health.
My personal experience of sleep has changed dramatically in recent years. After a lifetime of watching TV, using computers and being exposed to artificial lighting in the evening time, I started to become conscious of how profoundly this affected my sleep.
I began to embrace a more relaxed, low-tech evening rhythm. I started using candles and amber lightbulbs to light my home, and engaging with books and gentle yoga practices instead of Facebook, Youtube, and the latest TV series.
The result? Better sleep. MUCH better sleep! Deeper, longer, more refreshing and so nourishing.
So when I heard that Mark Stephens, a reformed insomniac and renowned yoga teacher, and author, was writing a book about sleep and yoga, I was intrigued to read his take on our modern epidemic of sleep issues, and how we can address it with lifestyle changes and yoga practices. Specifically, I was keen to hear more from Mark, about his favorite rituals and the nitty-gritty of how different asana, breathing exercises, and meditations can impact sleep.Q&A with Mark Stephens, author of Yoga for Better Sleep You note that and one out of every two adults across all developed countries are sleep deprived. What are the consequences of sleep deprivation for our health and wellbeing?
Sleep deprivation has far-reaching consequences for one’s health and well-being, including for all-cause mortality, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and fear, depression, learning and memory, emotions and mood, motor skills, immune system function and more.What is “sleep hygiene”? And why is it important?
Sleep hygiene consists of basic lifestyle choices that can enhance the quality and quantity of sleep. It starts with creating healthy daily rhythms, including the opportunity to sleep for 7-8 hours per night and having consistent times for going to bed and getting up. Eating dinner no later than 2-3 hours before bedtime, minimizing bright light exposure within two hours of going to bed, minimizing alcohol intake within one hour of going to bed, engaging in calming activities such as reading or conversing within the last two hours of going to bed, creating a cool, dark, comfortable sleep paradise, and maintaining regular exercise during the day all contribute to our sleep hygiene.In your book, you discuss routines like bedtime, napping and morning rituals. Can you talk about one of your own favorite rituals and how it impacts your sleep?
One of my favorite evening rituals is to write a brief set of reflections on the day that’s about to pass and the one soon to come. After this I usually read or share in lighthearted conversation. In the morning I tend to wake with the sunrise, as do my two cats with hungry bellies. I feed my cats and get on my yoga mat for my regular morning practice of meditation and pranayama (saving my asana practice for mid-afternoon)Can you talk about the relationship between cognitive science, somatics, and yoga in treating sleep issues?
Cognitive science is providing increasingly detailed and nuanced explanations of how specific mechanisms and processes in the brain cause sleep as well as what occurs in the brain during sleep or with sleep deprivation. It is also increasingly confirming many of the assertions made in somatic theory regarding embodied thoughts and emotions. Yoga provides a technology for cultivating greater awareness of the wholeness of our bodymind, which can help us in releasing unnecessary tension in our tissues, including tension that has cognitive roots.You explore how postural yoga sequences, meditation tools, and breathing exercises can all help with better sleep – what are your favorite practices to recommend to people struggling with sleep?
If struggling with sleep but not hyperaroused, depressed, and experiencing breathing disorders, I like the Basic Sleep Sequence in Chapter 4 of Yoga for Better Sleep. It’s a simple, accessible postural practice accompanied with breathing and meditation exercises designed to induce sleepiness.What tips do you have for folks coping with disturbed sleep due to chronic pain?
A common tendency is to address the related sleep issues rather than the underlying pain. I recommend first trying to identify the cause of the chronic pain and then addressing that cause with informed postural yoga practices that address specific areas of pain with specific asanas that target that area. Mindful meditation can sometimes help with chronic pain by allowing us to be a little more at ease even with the pain.About MarkMark Stephens
Bestselling author Mark Stephens is a reformed insomniac who once believed that sleeping five to six hours per night was a blessing of the gods. Now he is a healthy eight-hour-per-night sleeper! Stephens is also a master teacher trainer and the author of titles including Teaching Yoga, Yoga Sequencing, Yoga Adjustments, and Yoga Therapy. He has practiced yoga for more than 25 years, taught for more than 20 years, and for the past 17 years has taught workshops for teachers and students focused on working with
common student injuries, ailments and special conditions. He regularly teaches on these and related topics at conferences across North America and Europe and served on the Yoga Alliance Standards Committee from 2012 to 2014. His writing has appeared in Yoga Journal, Yoga International and Elephant Journal, among other outlets. He lives, practices yoga and writes in Santa Cruz, California. For more information visit: http://www.markstephensyoga.com.
21 August 2019Science!
21 August 2019Using the specific sound current of the words of the the 25th Pauri (verse) of Japji will bring your body-mind system in tune with the vibration of prosperity. Yogi Bhajan shared that reciting these words given to the world by the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, will fulfill all your needs. Prosperity, virtue, estate, and wealth are yours without asking.
When we think of the word prosperity often what comes to mind is wealth, in the sense of money and or luxuries one may possess. But actually what the word prosperity refers to from a spiritual perspective is that you have the meditative and neutral awareness and presence to see, recognize and embrace the opportunities that are continuously being given to you by the Divine.
His Blessings are so abundant that there can be no written account of them.vaḏā dātā til na tamā-i.
The Great Giver does not hold back anything.
In the 25ht Pauri Guru Nanak explains that the Great Giver does not hold back anything. But we often do not recognize these opportunities because we have a prefixed idea of how things should be, what they should look like and meanwhile opportunities that could change or life are flying by, while we complain about our lives not being as we would like it to be and then wonder why we are not feeling fulfilled.
"Prosperity is a state produced immediately by the mind. When the sun comes out of the clouds, everything is lit. When the mind comes out of duality, prosperity is there."
-- Yogi Bhajan
This Pauri invites us to live in a state of gratitude, openness and a realisation of how we blessed we are. When things happen to us that at the very moment are not ‘nice’, in the sense that they hurt, or something we so longed for doesn’t work out, we may have no idea what the larger plan behind it is. Maybe losing your job is the biggest blessings because now you have to rethink about how you will gain your money, and maybe something so much better will come your way, you don’t know.Open heart
Instead of lamenting, worrying or complaining, trust in the working of the Divine, put yourself into its hand and use your practice to stay open and receptive for all the gifts that come your way. Work out your fears and insecurities in your practice. Commit yourself so your heart can be open and grateful, and you can live in the realisation of how blessed you are.Wealth
A burning sensation of gratitude and a fulfilling sense of blessing is your wealth, not how much money you have in your bank account or how high of a status you have obtained in the world. Ultimately nothing belongs to you, you are not the Doer, the Divine is, but you are fully allowed to make use of all the unlimited resources available to us. Blessings and grace are continuously being showered upon us, it is up to us to raise our awareness in order to recognise it and have the courage to feel it!
To allow the subtle sound current to do its work it is recommended to chant this Pauri (verse) 11 times a day. Make it your practice to realize that everything is the Divine, nothing exists outside of it:
25th Pauri of Japi / Bahota karam
bahotā karam likhi-ā nā jā-i.
His Blessings are so abundant that there can be no written account of them.
vaḏā dātā til na tamā-i.
The Great Giver does not hold back anything.
kaytay mangah(i) jodh apār.
There are so many great, heroic warriors begging at the Door of the Infinite Lord.
kayti-ā gaṉat nahī vīchār.
So many contemplate and dwell upon Him, that they cannot be counted.
kaytay khap tuṯah(i) vaykār.
So many waste away to death engaged in corruption.
kaytay lai lai mukar pāh(i).
So many take and take again, and then deny receiving.
kaytay mūrakh khāhī khāh(i).
So many foolish consumers keep on consuming.
kayti-ā dūkh bhūkh sad mār.
So many endure distress, deprivation and constant abuse.
ayh(i) bhi dāt tayrī dātār.
Even these are Your Gifts, O Great Giver!
band khalāsī bhāṉai ho-i.
Liberation from bondage comes only by Your Will.
hor ākh na sakai ko-i.
No one else has any say in this.
jay ko khā-ik ākhaṉ pā-i.
If some fool should presume to say that he does,
oh(u) jāṉai jaytī-ā muh(i) khā-i.
he shall learn, and feel the effects of his folly.
āpay jāṉai āpay day-i.
He Himself knows, He Himself gives.
ākhah(i) si bhi kay-ī kay-i.
Few, very few are those who acknowledge this.
jis no bakhasay siphat sālāh.
One who is blessed to sing the Praises of the Lord,
nānak pātisāhī pātisāh(u).
O Nānak, is the king of kings.
11 day Sadhana for Abundance & Prosperity
Open yourself from within for Abundance & Prosperity by becoming aware of what is blocking you to experience abundance in your life. For 11 days you will receive inspiring and uplifting guidance while you practice the beautiful Kriya ‘Open up for Opportunities’ to help you attract what serves your higher good and the highest good of all.
21 August 2019Vacation Week Schedule: Aug 26 – 29
I will be down in North Carolina visiting with my mom for her 90th,
kindly take note of the following…
Monday, Aug 26
Wednesday, Aug 28
Thursday, Aug 29
Friday, Aug 30
9a Yoga Flow