Yoga is a 3,000-year-old, Hindu discipline of mind and body that became known in Western society with the hippie generation of the sixties and early seventies. Its image as a mystic practice is disappearing as fast as the stressful aspects of the eighties are appearing.
As an effective method of stress management, yoga is spreading into the business world, the helping professions, nursing and old age homes, and is used in the treatment of alcoholics, hyperactive children and youngsters with learning disabilities. Yoga centres are getting stiff competition from adult education classes of community colleges, boards of education and parks and recreation departments.
The meaning of yoga is a union of the body, mind and spirit with the truth. There are many kinds of yoga to study, and there can be endless years of practice for the willing student.
Hatha Yoga is among the most popular forms in the west. It emphasises the practice of postures, which stretch and strengthen the body, help develop a sense of balance and flexibility, as well as body awareness and mental concentration. All forms of yoga incorporate the practice of proper breathing techniques for relaxation, to rest the mind from its constant chatter, to experience an internal calm, and to energise and purify the body.
As stress levels in society reach new heights, Raja Yoga, the yoga of meditation, is growing in popularity in Western society, while others, such as Kriya Yoga, the yoga of cleansing, and Mantra Yoga, the yoga of chanting, not surprisingly, have little appeal for newcomers.
Stretching and toning, though beneficial, aren’t the primary reasons people turn to yoga. Newcomers are hoping that yoga will provide them with a means for handling stress and diffusing tension. The difference between exercise and yoga is that yoga has a meditative quality.
A lot of people are exercising for the psychological benefits and trying many of the Eastern activities, like yoga and tai chi. Yoga seems to have a calming effect on people.
And the techniques work on children as well as adults. When your children are quarrelling, ask them to stop what they’re doing, raise their arms over their heads, lean forward and breathe deeply to help diffuse their anger. It definitely helps them to calm down..
Yoga is a great disposition enhancer and it does it naturally. Any kind of exercise releases hormones that help ease the stress that often leads to the blues or outright depression. Activity keeps your mind far from negative thoughts and allows you to gain insight into dilemmas in your life. People who are depressed or down often lack the stimulus to exercise. It doesn’t take nearly as much effort to do a Yoga routine as it does to work out to a video or drive to the gym. A word of warning; if you experience more than just the occasional bout depression and feel down for more than two weeks at a time, you should seek professional help. They may feel that you need treatment or therapy, and proper exercise.
Very often people who are depressed frequently lack the concentration to stop and try to disconnect themselves from their thoughts. Yoga is meditation in movement so it is easier to move your mind away from depressing thoughts. Yoga’s focus on balance can also help you bring back your mental strength.
Yoga has a clear-cut connection between mind, body, and spirit that no other form of exercise or meditation can attain on its own. Negative thoughts can keep us from experiencing our vital inner nature. Doubt, hopelessness, despair, apathy and either sleeping too much or not enough are all signs of depression. Yoga is designed to bring you closer to your inner self; it then is only natural that it can help with some of the symptoms of depression.
Certain postures can influence your mood and allow depression to end but one special Asana can’t cure depression. The Asanas assist in increasing your lung capacity allowing more oxygen to reach all the affected parts of your body including your mood. Asana postures can help depleted energy levels and sluggishness. You should ask your Yoga instructor to help you and suggest postures that would best assist you to balance your moods.
The practice of yoga calms the nervous system and allows you to comprehend the link between your mind and emotions. They can both be used to help each other. As breathing is an important part of Yoga, it can also help you to limit anxiety, calm your thoughts, and help you concentrate on positive energy rather than negative.
Any style of Yoga can help you exile feelings of depression. It may not be physically demanding but you will feel so much better at the end of your session. Remember, if you have a severe depressive episode; seek advice from with a professional. Consult with your Doctor before starting to practice yoga to be sure there is no conflict with any treatment you may be undergoing. If you want to try a Yoga routine specifically for depression, find a teacher who can create a personal routine for you. Yoga teachers have been extensively trained for this purpose and know which positions that are the most suitable for remedial purposes.
What is chair yoga?
Chair yoga has increasingly become popular among people who can’t really practice the complicated body postures of traditional yoga. These people include those with physical disabilities and senior citizens, who have become interested in doing yoga but want it the milder way. Chair yoga is not a formal type of yoga. It is a gentler form of yoga which is done through sitting in a chair or using a chair as support whilst standing. This gives the option of doing a series of less complicated yoga poses.
Senior care centres, disabled rehabilitation centres and some hospitals do chair yoga classes. It is also frequently recommended by some health professionals as a helpful tool for physical therapy. Chair yoga also gives benefits like oxygenating the mind and body for greater productivity, and also tones muscles. However, not just anybody can teach chair yoga. One has to be a certified chair yoga instructor, as it involves the essential know-how of dealing with people who have health conditions. It also entails knowledge of the appropriate chair yoga for them.
One such training for chair yoga certification is offered by Lakshmi Voelker. Voelker specialises in certifying individuals with her chair yoga programs called The Sitting Mountain Series. This chair yoga certification program is of particular interest to some healthcare professionals. Occupational therapists, physical therapists, clinical social workers, and registered nurses, count chair Yoga as important.
Who can benefit?
It is advantageous for people working with children, seniors, the wheelchair bound, or anybody with difficulties that prevents them from getting on the floor. Lakshmi the chair yoga certification program works with senior housing facilities, MS, Departments of Education, as well as other like organisations.
Another centre who offers chair yoga certification is the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This five day chair yoga certification program is perfect for many people. Yoga practitioners, yoga teachers, healthcare providers, those who work with people with disabilities, and seniors can all benefit. Participants of the program learn to adapt classical yoga poses to the chair and enables would-be certified chair yoga teachers to teach a one-hour chair yoga class with comprehensive information and confidence to their varied audience.
Chair yoga certification is essential for people who want to teach chair yoga. Complete knowledge and awareness provides better and more effective delivery of the benefits of chair yoga to their students. This knowledge also ensures that qualified chair yoga instructors are recognised and respected for of their expertise.
Breathing is something we all do during our lifetime. We all know we are going to die if we are not breathing. Breathing is a reflex action done by our body to provide the flow of oxygen around the body to the vital organs.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, describes humans breathe between 12 and 20 times per minute, with children breathing faster than adults.
Babies may breathe as much as 40 times per minute. Adults normally breathe about 500-700ml of air at a time. An average 14-year old takes around 30,000 breaths per day.
However, we can control our breathing. We can be more relaxed by breathing in and out so deeply. The more we allow our body to be filled by deep breathing, the less stress we place on our body and mind.
The more we practice our deep and controlled breathing, the more natural it becomes and we can call on it at any time of day to help us through those tired or stressed out moments.
With all the problems we have — either we feel stressed out at work, or at the end of a long hard day and we can’t sleep, or if we just want a few minutes to our self — we will find this simple breathing exercise really beneficial.
Here are some steps to do breathing exercise:
1. You can lie down, sit down or stand up as long as you are comfortable. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of four. Breathe very deep until all your body feels expanded.
2. Hold on that deep breath for four counts, and then exhale slowly through the mouth to a count of eight.
3. Repeat the breathing in and right down so your tummy expands. Hold on to it and then exhaling nine more times.
4. You can breathe deeper once you get used to the above steps by leave one hand on your stomach and place the other lightly across the chest. Breathe right down so your tummy expands
5. When it can’t go any further, breathe in some more and fill the tops of your lungs. Inhalations and exhalation are the same lengths, eight counts each, without holding in between.
6. When you exhale, let the old air out from your chest than from your tummy. So, you are going to be relaxed.
We all have to make decisions. Our decisions determine in most instances the results. If you invite your friends over for a party for example and intend to drink alcohol beverages knowing that tomorrow you have to work. Are you ready to face the consequences?
We can learn to make good decisions by examining the consequences of our choices. If you know that you must work tomorrow, why take a chance on partying the night before when we all know parties can get out of hand. If you can regulate and control the time you spend at the party, then there is no problem. You can make it to work the next day with a fresh mind.
If you go over your limits, you likely will lose REM sleep, which ultimately weakens your awareness. You will find it difficult to stay focused at work.
Decisions also determine our faith in the process of healing the hidden self. We must make the right decisions to assist us with self-healing. The problem is we do not always weigh out the decisions we make. For this reason, we all must take time to think through our decisions before acting on them.
By thinking carefully and attentively through your decisions, you can make sound choices that will push you to heal the hidden self.
You want to make it a practice to think through your decisions. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation. Meditation trains your mind to think carefully. You use reflections while you ruminate through your mind. In addition, you learn to consider all angles of each choice you must make. You also use deliberation tools to contemplate or ponder over each decision you must make.
When you develop the ability to make sound decisions, the healing processes becomes easier.
Because healing of the hidden self is a long, drawn-out process that is problematic in various areas, you want to build a sound mind first to work through the procedures of personal growth.
Now that you have learned the benefits of making good decisions, take some time to practice meditation each day. This technique alone will assist you with developing the characteristics you must establish to heal the hidden self.
Conceptions are the first tool you will need to analyze. Since our conceptions are the starting point of our growth, start here. Develop your conceptions by analyzing your beliefs and way of thinking.
Learn some strategies to help you reform conceptions that lead you astray. Work through your perceptions once you discover and accept your conceptions. This will help you reform your way of thinking.
Most of our badness is learned from teaching. Still, the way we perceive plays a part in the outcome of our personality. It is up to us to reform this personality by depending on self, rather than others. Only our own being can take us to heal the hidden self.
Visit the Internet. Online you will find a wide arrange of products and strategies that can help you with self-healing. Look for the new age solutions, which include the latest Radionics, which will assist you with relaxation and self-development.
Biofeedback is an excellent tool to use and will help you work through self-development as well. Be sure to practice meditation daily, since it will assist you with reforming the mind. Meditation alone has proven to bring great rewards to those who practice the technique often. You may also enjoy the latest Neurofeedback programs.
When you are new to Yoga you are probably going to be uncertain as to what to expect when you first enter a beginner Yoga Class on your first day. Most people are uncertain about what they should even be looking for in a beginner Yoga class, so this article will let you in on the four secrets to finding the right class for you.
Secret Number One: Decide on what you want to achieve before choosing a style.
The number of different reasons for taking up Yoga is usually at least as high as the number of new people in a Yoga class. Broadly people will be looking for one of three things – physical health, mental health or spiritual health. All three are important and all three are realistic goals in a Yoga class. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve through Yoga there will be a class and style that is suitable for you. You can research in a library, online or even by asking various Yogi and this will hep you find the Yoga that will get the best result for you.
It’s worth actually setting some solid goals and many newcomers are surprised at how willing a Yoga instructor is to talk over these goals with them and discuss whether they are realistic or an alternative may be better suited.
Secret Number Two: Join a class-by-class program
These are sometimes referred to as drop in classes, or pay as you go. These are a good way of getting a feel for Yoga. There will be a regular turnover of other students in the classes and the contrasting level will mean the instructor will keep the classes at a relatively mild level and give everyone a taste of many different aspects of Yoga.
The advantage of this method is of course that you are not committed to an expensive series of classes and you can get a taster for Yoga and see what types of Yoga interest you. You will also quickly learn whether the goals you set earlier are realistic for you, or even too low and need expanding upon.
Your next step will be to choose a series of classes in the areas that you found most suitable from the drop in classes. These classes will build on each other from week to week and you may find yourself behind if you miss a week.
Secret Number Three: Ensure that you are being taught by someone who knows what they are doing.
Surprisingly enough considering the relatively low intensity and the many physical benefits, Yoga has begun to regularly show up on the statistics for sports injuries. Two key causes are identified. Firstly students pushing themselves too fast too soon, and secondly instructors with inadequate training or appreciation of the individual level of their students(large classes are sometimes to blame for this).
When you are considering a new class don’t be embarrassed to ask your Yoga instructor what their qualifications and background are. Many ‘instructors have nothing more than a three day training course in ‘gym yoga’ and many people put this in the ‘enough knowledge to be dangerous category’. Traditionally a student would train for many years under a guru before they would be considered fit to pass on even the simplest of Yoga techniques to another novice.
The Yoga Alliance is a United States organisation that features a register of teaches who have completed ‘appropriate’ training. This means having completed courses that meet a certain standard. A nice rule to work by is that less than 200 hours of instruction would mean a part time Yoga education.
Secret Number Four: Be aware of hidden costs.
An unpleasant surprise that can put people right off Yoga is turning up to the first class and finding that there are expenses that they haven’t allowed for. Some studio’s require each student to have their own mat, a special strap or other props. Some classes will work through a book which you are obliged to buy and some classes will have a dress code ranging from specific colours to specific articles of clothing. Being unaware of any of these things and being refused your first class because of them can be very off-putting.
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Whenever we start something new we have a certain feeling of trepidation and uncertainty of the unknown and in most cases it is completely unfounded and we get on with things very quickly and easily. Sometimes it isn’t and a simple little thing can cause us to have an entirely negative first impression and perhaps even never want to try that activity or pastime again.
Yoga has so many health benefits, on both a physical and spiritual level, that it would be a tragedy for anyone to miss out on them because they made a silly avoidable mistake on their first day. With that in mind this article addresses the 3 most common mistakes of new Yogi, and how to make sure they don’t happen to you.
Mistake One: Not knowing what you want from Yoga.
The reality is that there are numerous different styles and forms of Yoga and each has it’s different attractions. Ask yourself what it was about Yoga in general that attracted you and then you can investigate a style that caters more specifically to that. You may like to set goals, be they physical, mental or spiritual.
If you do then it’s a good idea to discuss them with the instructor of your class before you begin. Yoga instructors are usually very approachable and happy to talk about their passion. They will be able to talk to you about your goals for the class and let you know if you are being realistic, aiming too high or too low. Make sure you goal includes a time frame so it becomes something that is measurable.
Mistake Two: Jumping in Feet First.
Having decided that they will give this Yoga thing a try many people take a running leap and jump in to a 12 month stage by stage class. These classes are usually an upfront payment arrangement and progress from one level to the next as the weeks progress. They are a fantastic way of learning Yoga and becoming very good at it, but it’s quite possibly you will choose a class that is not ideal for you.
The best way around this is to join a Yoga beginner class, also known as a drop in class. If you do these classes for a few weeks you will notice a high turnover of students as new people join and old people move on. These classes are designed to give you a very broad feel for the different types of Yoga. The level of the students in the class usually varies greatly so you can expect the instructor to keep the classes quite tame. The other key benefit of doing this is that the classes are pay as you go so there is no big financial outlay for you while you decide the type and style of yoga that best suits you. You are also not obliged to attend every class. With the longer courses you can fall behind quickly if you miss a week or two in a row. With the pay as you go classes you will find that while each class is different the level stays quite low to cater for the newer people joining in.
Mistake Three: Choosing the wrong teacher.
Traditionally a Yogi had to be an apprentice to a skilled Guru for many years before he could teach even the simplest of Yoga technique. Nowadays a 3-day course over a long weekend is considered enough by some people. There is a big difference in what you will achieve depending on the skills and abilities of the person teaching you. Yoga is starting to make a regular appearance on the sports injury list and a large reason for this is instructors who have been taught just enough to be dangerous. A qualified teacher won’t necessarily be fantastic and an unqualified teacher won’t necessarily be terrible – but the odds are certainly cast in that direction, so it’s a good idea to check your instructors background and qualifications before you begin studying with them.
Anusara Yoga is an inspiring and heart-oriented yoga, at the same time as being grounded on the Universal Principles of Alignment for the outer and inner body. It is an exceptional, therapeutic way of Hatha Yoga wherein the artistic expression of the heart mysteriously blends with biomechanicsí scientific principles. Anusara Yoga was established and formed by John Friend.
The name Anusara is taken from a verse in Kularnava Tantra, which means ìflowing with grace in following your heart going with the flow. The verse reads in Sanskrit as Ishakti-symbolized-anusarena sishyoíanugraham-arhatii which means, through walking into the stream of the divine graceís descent into one’s heart, a sincere seeker is made worthy and enclosed in the grace that nurtures and sustains their every action.
Anusara yoga was founded in 1997, and is currently among the most well-known and rapidly growing yoga styles all around the globe, with more than one-thousand-two-hundred affiliated teachers, as well as a hundred thousand students worldwide. Anusara yoga classes can now be found all through the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, and increasingly growing in a lot of other areas of the world.
Anusara yoga has also been drawing media attention internationally including a cover story in the Yoga Journal on 2004, U.S. is national news, as well as magazines and newspapers all through the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. Its remarkable popularity is mostly owed to its uplifting philosophy, symbolised by a celebration of the heart looking for the good in every person and everything.
Accordingly, students with all stages of ability and experience of yoga are honoured for the unique differences, talents, and limitations that they have. This life-affirming dream places the foundation for yoga system where joy and harmony of tightly united community revel. Anusara yoga is not only deemed as an elegant system of the principles of alignment and non-dual philosophy but is also a superb group of highly trained yoga teachers and high-spirited students. The community feels its tightness of family connection, yet the laxity of a happy group of bohemian artists.
As a yoga community, it is well systemized and organised. However, it still gives a strong emphasis on individuality and creative freedom. Everyone bonds Anusara yoga is understood alliance to its spiritual principles of Anusara philosophy, like celebrating beauty in every diversity, honouring Divine creative liberty in every being, and truthfulness.
Another style of primordial religious practice from India, ashtanga yoga was taught by a certain Pattabhi Jois who was a former student of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya; a teacher was known to have lived more than a hundred years old. The sequences of this yoga classification are primarily based on the book entitled Makaranda. This old spiritual approach is a vigorous exercise initially intended for the teenage boys. However, things have changed and is now performed by individuals of all ages.
The term ashtanga yoga actually means eight limbs namely yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
Yama has five parts such as aparigraha (non- covetousness), Brahmacharya (celibacy), asteya (not robbing), Satya (honesty) and ahimsa (non- violence).
Asana is a posture that focuses on breaking free from the tensions.
Pratyahara provides internal strength by getting rid of different manner of interruptions that will lead to the development of will- power.
Dharana begins with concentration which is integrated with meditation finishing off in samadhi.
Samadhi has four impediments namely abhinivesha (fondness of the world), Asmita (egoism), avidya (ignorance) and raga- dvesha (all likes and dislikes).
Dhyana proposes that real attachment, gluttony, slothfulness and subtle yearnings are considered as obstacles.
Pranayama is an examination of the outgoing inclinations of the human brain.
Niyama has five canons such as ishvarapranidhana (self- surrender), svadhyaya (devotion), tapas (austerity), santosha (contentment) and saucha (purity).
Defined as the wise combination of things, vinyasa sets apart ashtanga yoga from the rest of the primordial religious practices. This method is done whereby the student budges in and out of the routine through suryanamaaskara, a group of movements that are well- defined. The very purpose of this is to generate high temperature in the body for purification to occur which can be realised through sweating and circulation. Aside from that, flexibility is also improved that reduces the threat of injuries.
Origins of ashtanga yoga are said to have come from the old account of Korunta authored by Vamana Rishi. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was able to obtain a copy which was given to him by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari at the mountain of Kailash. Later on, Pattabhi Jois was able to have one in his hands. Until this time, this yoga classification has remained to be very faithful with the principles introduced by Krishnamacharya. Aside from Jois, he was also able to educate other great instructors in the 20th century such as Indra Devi and B.K.S. Iyengar.
While on the way to spot a friend of mine at the local YMCA, he asked why I didn’t just join the gym and I explained to him that I practice Yoga and occasional callisthenics at home for my exercises and really didnít feel the need for a gym membership. His response was predictable: Yoga isn’t just stretching
I smirked at the familiarity of the question and proceeded to explain to him the theme of this article. As I told him and for those who may not know otherwise: No, Yoga is way more than just stretching or getting into supposedly awkward looking poses and positions.
It is a combination of stretching, breathing exercises, meditation and perhaps the most overlooked limb, adherence to a proper diet.
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word, means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man with God or the universe in one breath. Furthermore, it aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and spirit are equally involved in its practice.
Yoga is indeed the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. Besides being a systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays ageing, rejuvenates and improves oneís appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life.
With its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are somewhat similar to the callisthenics exercise known as burpees the inversion poses, forward and backwards bending poses, balancing exercises for the arms and building focus, the average practitioner will attest to the fact that for attaining fitness, Yoga can stand its own.
Think Yoga can’t help with building strength? Think again. Heck, I challenge the most adept body-builder to hold the simple yet powerful peacock-pose for 90 seconds straight. Bet you they who crash half-way in its execution-if they make it that far.
Yoga also offers unique breathing exercises which are lovely for patients with respiratory disorders and even singers and public speakers, moreover, with its unique relaxation pose, oft times practised during, and after its execution, Yoga offers a systematic means of profoundly relaxing the entire body perhaps the way no other exercise can. (Keep in mind of course that several of the poses give a deep body massage, not unlike the ones received in salons just thought I should throw that in.)
With countless books, and DVD videos and classes being offered for all ages, levels of fitness and experience (some of them being actually free for the first couple of lessons to try Yoga out), I suggest you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do.
One thing I promise you is this; you will walk out of your class and nod in agreement that indeed: yoga is way more than just stretching. It is exercise.