Archive for April, 2010

Deep Relaxation Yoga

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

yoga schoolBy Rene Hayes

How many of your students come to classes just to relax?  You would be surprise what a seasonal survey might reveal. It might be worth your while to know what they want if you want them to continue to attend classes at your Yoga school.

Yoga for States of Deep Relaxation

When the mind and body are able to enter a deep state of relaxation, extraordinary things can happen. Muscle tension is eased, pain begins to subside, stress melts away and the mind clears itself of cluttering thoughts. As a Yoga instructor, your goal is to help your students enter this blissful state so that they may leave your class feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Of course, reaching such deep levels of relaxation is not always easy, and each student will have a unique experience in this department. Some of your Yoga students may be able to reach these states naturally. Others will need a great deal of patience and guidance from you as their teacher. By focusing on asanas that promote relaxation, practicing meditation and incorporating Yoga Nidra into the routine, stressed out students will find it much easier to obtain the deep state of relaxation they are longing for.

Shavasana

Shavasana is often considered the most important part of an asana practice and for good reason. During this time, the body has the opportunity to regenerate itself and begin to feel the full therapeutic effects of the asanas practiced. The heart rate slows, muscle tension is released, anxiety is reduced, and energy levels begin to soar. Its simplistic nature is part of the reason why it is such an effective pose for relaxation. A balanced asana routine will always end with Shavasana, and this part of the process should not be rushed. It is not uncommon for practitioners to remain in Shavasana for 30 minutes or more.

Restorative Poses

In addition to Shavasana, there are a variety of other poses that are designed to relax and restore the body. Incorporating Balasana, Supta Baddha Konasana and Viparita Karani into the routine can really help students let go of any tension or stress they may be experiencing.

Yoga Nidra

Described as a deep yet conscious sleep, Yoga Nidra offers a state of relaxation that is unlike meditation and the physical Yoga training practice. It is said to help ease anxiety, reduce the occurrence of panic attacks and improve a variety of other health conditions. During nidra practice, the body remains completely relaxed, and each part is relaxed individually. The mind, however, is alert and conscious. The goal of this exercise is to reach this dream-like state without putting forth much effort, a Yoga teacher will typically provide verbal instructions to guide students through the experience.

© Copyright 2010 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Taking Yoga to Fight Stress and Blast Fat Away

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

By Shone Wetson

Modern yoga classes are varied in types. There are hot yoga classes, as well as naked, general, and even therapy type classes. There is truly a practice for all types of people, whether you want to improve your body or you are just starting out.

The many benefits of taking a class include stress relief, weight loss, increased flexibility, and becoming in tune with your mind, body, and soul. There are multiple positions and angles to take when doing yoga, so it is truly designed for all types of people.

How much do classes cost?

In the United States classes can become costly. They range from $20 a month to well over $300 a month. It truly depends on where you go and what type of classes you take. City and state also play a role in the cost. Your teacher’s expertise can make prices more costly as well. If the classes are included in your gym membership they can be much cheaper! You basically need to look around to find the best prices.

How soon do I see results from taking Yoga classes?

You can see results in as little as one week. You may feel more energized, your muscles will feel tighter, and you will see improved sleeping patterns. After a few more weeks you will notice even more muscle development and less overall body fat. Depending on your size when starting you may see dramatic results faster or slight changes to start with.

Where can I take classes?

Most gyms or fitness clubs have classes. You can also go to a specialty studio instead, if that is what you prefer. There are numerous places to take classes and something for everyone. If you prefer to learn in your own home, there are many TV shows with demonstrations as well as fitness DVDs. It is recommended to learn before doing it on your own, so you can avoid injuries.

What type of Yoga is right for me?

It depends on what your overall goals are. If you want to slim down, a general yoga class provides you with all that you need. If you are pregnant or recovering from surgery, “gentle yoga” is best for you. These classes are relaxing and slow paced, so that those with injury or limitations can still get the benefits they need.

If you are ready to step it up a notch, Hot yoga, or Bikram, are excellent choices. They involve high temperature studios, so they are only recommended for those that already have a good fitness level. These classes allow more frequent water breaks. Please do not take a challenging yoga class if you are not strong enough to go through the entire session safely.

Overall this fitness practice is excellent for the whole body, inside and out. It is worth it to try it at least once if you haven’t already!

To discover more free information on yoga and how it can help you.

Hatha Yoga

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

By Disele Long

Hatha yoga is the most common and basic yoga practiced in the Western world. Originating in India over two thousand years ago, yoga serves to clear the mind, instill a sense of peace, awaken self awareness and help the physical body maintain strength and flexibility. The “ha” translates to sun and the “tha” translates to moon. This represents the duality of our minds and body and how all of our opposites can work together. Both the dualities of meditation and exercise are explored and enhanced through Hatha yoga.

Regular yoga practice can increase your strength and flexibility. Each time you begin, your blood begins to flow better and becomes more oxygenated. This allows you to stretch and go deeper into each pose every time you try it.

Types of Asanas (Poses)

There are several types of yoga poses that incorporate the hatha style of yoga. They can be done easily with practice and patience as hatha yoga is more for beginners. The types of poses, or asanas, are:

• Seated

• Twists

• Inversion

• Balancing

• Core strengthening

• Back bending

• Forward bending

• Side bending

• Hip opening

• Prone yoga poses

• Supine yoga poses

• Standing yoga poses

Specific Poses

The specific poses of hatha yoga serve to physically improve the body and its functioning. They will also help enhance the spirit and soul. The Cat Stretch pose helps to loosen the back and relax the shoulders. The sitting pose is vital to developing patience and self awareness. This meditative pose can bring peace and calm to the mind. The Cow pose stretches the hips and legs, improves circulation and helps clear the mind. Triangle pose is primarily done to improve posture and increase lung functioning. The Tree pose is an easy and effective way to improve balance and poise. Most hatha yoga sessions end in Corpse pose. This is done by lying on your back with arms and legs spread comfortably apart. Your palms face up toward the sky.

Physical Tips

When doing some of the poses that make up basic hatha yoga, you should never feel pain. You must breathe deeply and naturally as you do the asana. As you breathe and move, the poses will come more naturally. You should never strain, but gently increase your ability to complete and hold each pose. If a pose feels difficult or painful, stop immediately and try it as you feel more secure and focused. If you already have any severe back or neck injuries or issues, you should check with a doctor before you try to do any yoga poses or techniques.

Mental Tips

In order to get the most out of a hatha yoga session, you must be in a proper state of mind. You need to be in a calm, quiet and peaceful place. Actually, all types of yoga cannot be done fully or effectively in a stressful or loud place. It is time to quietly get in touch with every aspect of your body and mind. You must also let go of any stresses, as they will interrupt your breathing and keep your mind from quieting. While many people turn to yoga to find mental peace and clarity, you must go into it in the right state of mind. You have to be open to the benefits of this meditative practice in order to fully experience it.

Please click here for relate topic: Ashtanga Yoga.

How to Theme a Yoga Class

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

By Leah Nagy

The difference between a mediocre yoga class and a completely transformational one starts with the instructor’s intention. By focusing on only the physical practice of the asanas, a true yoga practice is incomplete. A meditative theme that runs throughout a class is helpful in creating a sense of well-being for the body, mind, and spirit.  There are all different types of themes that yoga instructors use. Some are for the type of students in the class, i.e. gentle yoga. Others are structured around a specific body part or type of pose, like backbends. Preparing the class for one difficult pose by opening those specific areas of the body first is the way of Anusara Yoga. The meditative theme is helpful in the connection between the teacher and student and ties the class together.

Where do you get ideas for a meditative class? Coming up with ideas for themes is quite simple. Just take a look around; take a look at your life. By sharing the lessons you learn with your students, they will follow you wherever you teach.  First start the class with an opening “grounding” session. This allows students to tap into the present moment and to begin to notice their breath. Then discuss your theme and how it pertains to class. Throughout the class refer back to your theme, reminding the class of your intention. At the end of class, whether it is before sivasana or after, close the theme by making it come full circle.

Here is an example of a meditative yoga theme:

Sit comfortably with a tall spine. Bring your eyes to close; hands resting on your knees. Start to check into now by noticing your breath. The other day I noticed my tree in front of my house was covered in white blossoms, where yesterday there was only buds. Pear trees covered with white clouds of flowers lined the streets everywhere I went that day. How amazing that all at once, that specific day, every pear tree in the area bloomed. They did not resist the change or rush it, but welcomed it when it was time. Can we trust that the universe is in control and that what we need will be provided in its own time?

Then, throughout class, I would remind the students to stay in the present moment, to not rush through one pose to get to the next; not to resist the change their bodies are ready to receive. Closing the theme before sivasana I might tell them to enjoy the beauty of their newly blossomed flowers for the next few minutes, without anticipating the next transformation.

Namaste.

Leah Nagy, RYT, is a dedicated yogini who incorporates meditation throughout her yoga classes. She teaches yoga at a number of places throughout Cleveland. Yoga has become her way of life.

Bikram Hot Yoga

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

By Disele Long

There are many types of yoga practices that you can venture into or try. Most are relatively simple to begin and enjoy the benefits of. However, there are also styles of yoga that may be too challenging, and potentially harmful for beginners to try. Bikram hot yoga is one of those styles.

Founding of Bikram Hot Yoga

Bikram Choudhury was an Olympic champion. In the 1960’s, he won the gold medal for weight lifting. He adapted traditional yoga techniques and incorporated the naturally hot and humid environment of India. He designed Bikram yoga as a form of yoga which increases muscular strength, endurance and weight loss.

Choudhury has gone to great lengths to keep his form of yoga intact and guarded from misinterpretation. To even teach this form of yoga, you must be licensed by Choudhury after attending his Yoga College of India in California. While there may be similar sounding yoga classes throughout the country, in order to legally be considered a real Bikram hot yoga class, these criteria must be met.

How is it Different from Traditional Yoga Practices?

Bikram hot yoga is done in a room heated to 105 degrees. The humidity levels in the room are typically from 40% to 60%. It is the only kind of yoga which utilizes heat as part of the components of the sessions. The heat is essential to making this more of a workout technique rather than a relaxation time. An extreme amount of perspiration is expelled, cleansing the body of toxins. It is important to be properly hydrated before beginning to avoid any dehydration issues. The heat gets the cardiovascular system pumping for an ultimate workout and allows the body to stretch further and hold poses longer, which increase endurance and strength.

The session involves a total of 26 postures, or asanas. These are done in a specific order and repeated again. The poses are each held for roughly 10 to 60 seconds. The session lasts for 90 minutes. The first twelve poses are standing poses. The others are all done lying on the floor and sitting.

The Poses of Bikram Hot Yoga

1. Standing deep breathing pose

2. Half moon pose and hands to feet

3. Awkward pose

4. Eagle pose

5. Standing head to knee pose

6. Standing bow pulling pose

7. Balancing stick pose

8. Standing separate leg stretching pose

9. Triangle pose

10. Standing separate leg head to knee pose

11. Tree pose

12. Toe stand pose

13. Dead body pose

14. Wind removing pose

15. Sit up

16. Cobra pose

17. Locust pose

18. Full locust pose

19. Bow pose

20. Fixed firm pose

21. Half tortoise pose

22. Camel pose

23. Rabbit pose

24. Head to knee pose

25. Spine twisting pose

26. Blowing in Firm pose

Aside from the obvious benefits of Bikram yoga, there are other benefits to doing Bikram hot yoga that may not be seen right away. Choudhury and others who are devoted followers of this type of yoga claim symptoms of various ailments can be alleviated by doing this type of yoga at least ten times a month, if not daily. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disorders may be helped by doing Bikram yoga. Because of the intense cleansing of toxins and opening of pores, some have found their skin is healthier, brighter and free from issues such as eczema.

While some may feel this hard-core version of yoga loses some of the spirituality and calming effects yoga is meant to enhance, others feel it is the best way to combine the benefits of traditional yoga with a cardio workout.

Please click here for more information about Bikram yoga dangers.

Pranayama For Beginners

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

teaching pranayama

By Anshu Kumari

A gentle and easy introduction to the art of Pranayama with two of the most basic exercise.

Pranayama is the fourth limb of Astanga yoga, and is also called as the “Heart of Yoga.” Pranayama teaches us to how to use our lungs to the optimum capacity; as a result of which, the cells in our body are able to get sufficient quantity of oxygen. Though there are about 20 pranayamas; some of the pranayamas which are easy, and can easily be practiced by beginners are as follows Sunhat pranayama, Pranava pranayama, Kapalabhati, Anuloma Viloma pranayama, Bhramari pranayama and Sheetkari pranayama.

Sukha pranayama: This is the easiest of all the pranayamas. This is also called as deep abdominal breathing. Sukha pranayama is a great stress buster and a powerful mental tonic. It’s a great pranayama for relieving stress, fear, worry, anxiety and depression.

Technique: Sit down comfortably in a cross-legged posture, with your back straight, and chin parallel to the ground. Gently close your eyes now. All you need to do here is to concentrate on your breath and the movement your abdomen; breathe-in to the count of 5 and breathe-out to the count of 5. Keep your one hand over your abdomen so that you can feel the expansion and contraction as you inhale and exhale. As you breathe-in, your abdomen slowly expands and as you breathe out your abdomen contracts. Do this pranayama for about 3 to 5 minutes; after doing a couple of rounds of this pranayama, you shall feel quite peaceful and elated.

Anuloma Viloma pranayama: This is also called as the alternate Norstril Breathing. Anuloma Viloma is beneficial in the treatment of various diseases including heart problems, high blood pressure, and blockages in the arteries, insomnia, panic disorders, and depression.

Technique: Sit in a cross-legged posture with your back straight and chin parallel to the ground; gently close your eyes now. Make an Apana mudra with your right hand (join the tip of the middle finger, ring finger, and the thumb together; the other two fingers should be pointed outwards). Now close your right nostril with the help of your thumb, and exhale out all your breath from the left nostril; your abdomen should sink all the way in. This is the starting position of this pranayama. Inhale from the left nostril to the count of 4; your abdomen expands outwards. Next, close your left nostril with the help of the ring finger and middle finger, and exhale through the right nostril to the count of 8; your abdomen contracts as you exhale. Now inhale from the right nostril to the count 4 (your abdomen expands); close your right nostril with the thumb, and exhale through the left nostril to the count of 8 (your abdomen contracts). This completes your one round of Anuloma Viloma pranayama. Do at least 15 to 20 rounds of Anuloma Viloma pranayama.

Related Posts:

Teaching Yoga: Pranayama for Heart Health

Yoga Pranayama Exercises to Enhance Immunity

 

Ashtanga Yoga and the Eight Limbed Path

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

200 hour teacher training yoga courseBy Faye Martins

To some people Ashtanga is the physical origin of vinyasa flow, but to others it is the physical limb of Raja Yoga. There is truth to both sides of the story, but I will briefly try to answer the question: “What is Ashtanga?”  

Ashtanga Yoga, the ancient style on which Power Yoga is based, stresses synchronization of the breath with a series of progressive postures in order to build internal heat and cleanse the body. Introduced by Sri K. Patytabhi Jois to contemporary society, Ashtanga’s lineage dates back to a manuscript known as “Yoga Korunta,” meaning “book about Yoga.”

The Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

The literal meaning of “Ashtanga” is “eight-limbed Yoga,” as described in Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras.” The eight branches embrace the following disciplines:

1. Yama (morality)

2. Niyama (self-reflection and purification)

3. Asana (physical exercise, or poses)

4. Pranayama (controlled breathing)

5. Pratyahara (control of the senses)

6. Dharana (concentration or focus)

7. Dhyana (meditation)

8. Samadhi (union with the divine)

The first four of these limbs are considered to be external cleansing processes while the latter four are internal.

The Six Sequences of Ashtanga

Authentic Ashtanga consists of six series, each of which is always performed in the same order. Each set grows increasingly more difficult. As a result, some instructors change the flow to make the system more practical for 21st century students who are unable to commit to intense daily practices.

The Two Subgroups of Ashtanga

• Primary Ashtanga

The first two series of postures make up the primary practice. The first sequence involves mostly forward bends while the second concentrates on backbends, with the addition of inversions and arm balances.

• Advanced Ashtanga

Each of the remaining four series grows increasingly more difficult. Like other Yogic disciplines, Ashtanga has changed with the times, making specific names and sequences harder to define. 

The Purpose of Ashtanga

Ashtanga Yoga raises the body’s core temperature through the precise execution of specific postures in predetermined sequences. A vigorous practice best suited to fit individuals, Ashtanga requires steady, consistent practice for visible results. Some teachers recommend four to seven hours per week.

Those who pursue the Ashtanga path can expect to cleanse their bodies, tone their muscles, enjoy better circulation, process emotional baggage, and sharpen their mental faculties. Their commitment may be compensated by longer lives.

© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Anatomy to Yoga

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

By Lea Anne

Anatomy is rarely discussed in detailed during a physical yoga class. Typically, someone would go to a class, work-out and then ask the teacher some questions on some asana (pose), their own limitation or injuries.

How to learn about anatomy

There are many ways to learn about anatomy of the human body. One of the common way is to buy books. If you are practicing yoga, a book that relates yoga and anatomy will be more relevant than to purchase a book solely on the human anatomy that is more appropriate for a person who has knowledge in medical backgrounds.

A recommended book would be Yoga Anatomy book by Leslie Kaminoff. The book is filled with information on the human anatomy and its chapters are arranged based on yoga postures. This book will be good as a start for teachers or a beginner who wants to learn more about anatomy in yoga.

Find a day and pay attention to what your yoga teacher is saying during class. You might have realized that some scientific names are mentioned. Alot of people just let it pass them by as long they manage to get the pose the teacher is asking for. By taking mental note of one or two, you can learn further by asking your teacher about what they have just mentioned in class. It is a subtle opportunity for you to be lead into the further knowledge and understanding of the asana you’ve just did in class.

Another way to learn about anatomy is by attending workshops and specialized classes. There are many workshops that are very niche and specialized. Some yoga centers offer specialized classes to pay more attention to students who wants to learn more deeply on a certain subject on yoga that are not taught much in general classes.

Benefits of learning about anatomy

The benefit of learning about anatomy can help you to understand common health problems and basic physiology. With basic knowledge, you can further identify your own health problems and work on a solution.

This does not mean that you can become a doctor overnight and cure all your health problems but, at the very least, understand the risk of certain habits and body movements that can cause harm to your health.

Besides the physcial body, knowledge in human anatomy can help you identify psychosomatic disorders, which are physical health problems that are caused by mental factors.

Due to the reason of the intertwined connection between the physical and non-physical aspects of our being, we can use yoga (physical movement of asana) to help us heal our non-physical disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression.

No longer is yoga all about getting into pretzels positions or obtaining of supernatural powers, but as a therapy where it helps us to restore balance back to our being.

 

What is Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Friday, April 16th, 2010

By Macy Robbins

Yoga is a complete package of spiritual and physical postures. It was originated in India, way back in 3300 BC. Anthropologists have uncovered statues portraying figures in yoga style postures.

Yoga is referred to as a form of exercise that presents a wide range of benefits to those who practice it by improving flexibility, stamina, providing strength and cleansing mind and the body.

Yoga also helps in increasing circulation of blood and reducing stress and fatigue levels thus providing relaxation, bringing together mind, body, and spirit.

There are numerous yoga postures and depending on your age, flexibility and stamina you can choose from them. One of such yoga form is Vinyasa Flow Yoga.

What is it all about?

Vinyasa simply means Breath Synchronized Movement. It is a broad level term that covers a wide variety of yoga classes. While practicing this yoga the instructor instructs you to change from 1 posture to another on an inhale or an exhale, thus it is sometimes also called Vinyasa Flow Yoga or just ‘Flow’ for the reason of the soft technique of doing the different yoga postures.

An example of simple Vinyasa is a ‘Cat-Cow Stretch’. In this posture, your spine is arched on an inhale and is rounded on an exhale. Example for a complex Vinyasa is ‘A Sun Salutation’. In this posture each movement in the series is done on an inhale or an exhale.

Seeing the variety of health benefits of practicing yoga, more and more people are switching on to it.

From celebrities to the common man everyone wants to do yoga to remain healthy and to stay away from common illnesses like arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems. Vinyasa flow yoga is all about strength in its diversity, so just try it out to feel the difference within you.

To discover more free information on yoga and how it can help you, visit my website Vinyasa Yoga DVD

Power Yoga – Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body and Soul

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

By Laura R Jones

Power yoga is becoming extremely popular these days and it is the modern version of the traditional yoga postures. Yoga can help you to achieve physical fitness as well as mental wellness. People who want to loose weight can also try out the power yoga techniques in order to burn out the extra calories. Since ancient times, yoga has played a significant role in achieving better mind, body and soul.

Forty-five minutes of yoga everyday can keep you away from weight problems and other health problems like stress, constipation, mental imbalance and cancer. If you practice yoga on a daily basis then it can also help in improving your immune system.

Power Yoga

People who want to achieve a shapely body and reduce extra pounds from their body must try out the excellent exercises. This form of exercising is also known as Dynamic yoga as it includes strenuous and fast pace exercises which helps you to burn a large amount of calories. The exercises mainly focuses on elasticity and strength of the body.

Heavy work out exercises can also be followed during the sessions. I am sure people who love exercising will really find power yoga to be very advantageous for them. If you want you can join power yoga classes or you can also buy DVDs and VCDs that contain the various exercises.

If you want to practice power yoga then there are some essential things that you must surely keep in mind. Some tips are mentioned below for your benefit.

1. Yoga should always be practiced early in the morning. Choose a clean place where you can get lot of fresh air. You can select your garden, open ground or your terrace for executing the various different exercises.

2. If you want to achieve some great results then it is beneficial for you to do carry out the exercises every day for at least one hour.

3. You should never exert yourself while you are exercising. Just calm yourself and try out the postures in the correct manner. If your posture and position are not correct then the exercises will not work for you.

4. You must always wear comfortable and sweat absorbent clothes. Taking the help of a professional yoga instructor can greatly help you to carry out all the difficult poses.

5. Concentration is very essential while doing power yoga that is why you must avoid playing loud music.

Well these are some essential things that you must surely keep in mind while practicing power yoga. I am sure if you practice yoga on a daily basis it would surely rejuvenate your mind body and soul.

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