11 Benefits Of Yoga That Will Have You Wondering Why You Never Tried It Before


Yoga is an absolutely phenomenal form of physical exercise, mental discipline, and spiritual healing. You know something is awesome when it can do all of those things at once. Anyway, there is a long list of benefits that you can and should take advantage of that all come with the simple thing that is Yoga. You may think that Yoga is only for women, but that is not so, especially seeing as more and more men are taking it up every day. No matter if you are a man or woman, Yoga has many different advantages for the mind and body, all of which you absolutely need to start taking advantage of as soon as possible!

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is originally a Hindu form of exercise, stretching, and mental training. In fact, it is also seen as a spiritual and ascetic discipline as well as a physical one. Yoga is widely practiced around the world and is revered for its mental and physical benefits. It involves a lot of mental focus, breathing control, meditation, and simple poses which are meant to strengthen both your body and mind. There are many different variations of Yoga, with a popular one being hot Yoga, a type which is practiced in a very hot room.

 

Benefit #1: Muscle Strengthening

One big benefit that you get from doing some regular Yoga is the strengthening of your muscles. Yoga involves a lot of positions and movements that force you to hold up your body weight in one way or another, and in some pretty odd looking positions too. The obvious result of this is that your muscles will become stronger over time.

A big part of this involves your back muscles and your core, as many Yoga poses are oriented towards challenging those muscles. This is however also true for virtually every other muscle in your body too. Everything from your forearms and shoulders to your glutes and calves will become stronger thanks to some Yoga classes.

Of course, we all want strong muscles, and that is not only because they look sexy. Strong muscles help to increase our physical performance, they make sports easier, they make us run faster and jump higher, and they help to make a plethora of daily tasks much easier, not to mention that it doesn’t hurt our self-esteem either.

Benefit #2: Cartilage & Joint Protection

Yet another benefit that you can reap from doing Yoga is that it is fantastic for the health of your cartilage and for your joints. This is in part due to your increased flexibility thanks to Yoga, especially when it comes to the health of your joints, but there is even more to it than that. You see, the problem is that as you age, especially if you are not physically active, your joints, or to be exact, the cartilage that helps your joints move smoothly, starts to break down and deteriorate.

This can cause some seriously painful problems such as arthritis in your old age, plus having no cartilage between your joints will be painful either way, not to mention cause a limited range of motion. Yoga is a great way to mitigate the effects of disability and prevent things like arthritis because of the nourishing effect it has on the cartilage in your joints. You see, the cartilage in your joints requires nutrients just like every other part of your body.

The difference is that your cartilage really only gets necessary nutrients when it is in motion, such as during Yoga. Yoga has the effect of squeezing your cartilage, which is very beneficial because your sponge-like cartilage needs to be squeezed to get nutrients.

Benefit #3: Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits that you will be able to reap thanks to some regular Yoga is increasing your flexibility. You may not be all that flexible yet and touching your toes might seem akin to flying under your own power when it comes to your first Yoga class. However, as you go back to your Yoga class day after day, you will notice your muscles, joints, and ligaments getting looser and looser.

Before you know it, you will be bending over backward and wrapping yourself up like a pretzel without any issue at all. Many, if not all of the poses that you do in Yoga will stretch out your body in one way or another, thus making you more flexible as time goes on. Being more flexible is great for many different things including preventing pulled muscles and other injuries, plus it can be pretty useful when it comes to your love life as well.

Being more flexible is also useful in terms of relieving certain aches and pains. For instance, having tight hips can cause knee pain, a tight upper back can cause back pain, and tight hamstrings can lead to severe lower back pain, all problems that can be solved with some simple Yoga.

Benefit #4: Strengthening The Immune System & Regulating The Adrenal System

Yoga can also be very beneficial for your immune system because it helps to drain your lymphatic system. When you do Yoga, you stretch out your muscles and compress them at the same time, plus you move your organs around too.

This has the effect of draining a viscous fluid known as lymph out of the various lymph nodes in your body. This fluid is something that your body will produce on its own, but the new fluid that is created after the old fluid is drained out, is much more effective at disposing of toxic chemicals and waste, killing cancer cells, and fighting off infection in general.

Another reason why Yoga helps you improve the function of your immune system has to do with the levels of cortisol in your body. Regular Yoga can help lower cortisol levels and that is generally a good thing. Yes, increased levels of cortisol can temporarily increase immune function and it can help with memory too, but that is not the case for prolonged periods where cortisol levels are high.

Prolonged periods of high cortisol levels can damage your immune system, decrease your long and short term memory, can cause depression, and even osteoporosis too. Therefore, Yoga can help prevent all of those conditions by regulating your adrenal glands and your overall cortisol levels.

Benefit #5: Heart Health & Increasing Blood Flow

Now to be clear, most of the things you do in Yoga are not technically considered to be aerobic exercises, which is the kind of exercise needed to increase the health of your heart, but that is not always true because Yoga can actually improve your heart health. You can actually perform Yoga at a fast pace or engage in certain types of Yoga which incorporate aspects of aerobic fitness. In essence, this means that you get your heart pumping at an aerobic level, which means that it is pumping much faster than normal.

Your heart beating much faster than normal is akin to lifting weights for your muscles, or in other words, it makes it stronger and more efficient. Having a healthier heart has many different benefits including the lowering of your resting heart rate, the increased efficiency of your heart, a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, a reduction in heart and arterial disease, and increased endurance too.

One of the biggest benefits that you get from Yoga and aerobic exercise in general is that it will help lower your blood pressure, plus of course, provide you with a longer and healthier life in general.

Moreover, many Yoga exercises and poses also help to increase circulation, and not only because your heart works more efficiently. This is because poses such as those where you twist parts of your body help to wring blood out of your organs, send it back to your lungs and heart for oxygenation, and ultimately help to bring more fresh blood to your organs, something which benefits them in multiple ways.

Certain poses such as handstands can also help blood flow more readily from the legs and pelvis back to your heart, something that can help you if you suffer from swollen ankles, swollen legs, and kidney problems too. Finally, Yoga can also help create more hemoglobin in your blood, which are the things that carry oxygen throughout your body, thus giving your body a better supply of oxygen, something which it needs for many different things including physical activity.

On a side note, the aerobic effects of certain Yoga poses and types of Yoga also help to increase the efficiency at which your lungs absorb and process oxygen, which is also known as VO2, thus allowing your body to use more oxygen. The combination of better circulation, a more efficient heart, more oxygen carrying hemoglobin, and stronger lungs all lead to one main benefit, that being increased muscular endurance and a better ability to perform physical activity for a prolonged period of time.

Benefit #6: Maintaining A Healthy Digestive System

The next benefit that you get from doing Yoga is that it can prevent and control digestion issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, and can help you digest food better even if you do have a healthy digestive system. This is because Yoga involves a lot of twisting poses that cause your bowels and intestines to contract and loosen.

The long term effect of this is that Yoga stimulates your body to pass food and waste through itself more quickly, thus aiding in proper digestion, good nutrient absorption, and regularity in the bathroom. Instead of pounding back glasses full of that disgusting Metamucil, you can always try doing some Yoga instead.

Benefit #7: Bettering Your Posture – Your Back

Another benefit that you can get from doing even minimal Yoga is an improvement in your overall posture. Since Yoga does a lot to make your more flexible and limber, and also helps to strengthen your core and back muscles, the result will be better posture. Having good posture, which means having a straight back with your head directly above it, requires a strong core, back, shoulders, and good neck muscles too. Yoga is something that through various poses will help strengthen all of the necessary muscles needed for good posture.

Having good posture is not only good for looking more confident and taller, but also for your physical health. When you have bad posture, you will most likely be slouched over with your head leaning forward, something that can cause fatigue in your neck and back. When you have good posture with a straight back and your head perfectly above your back, it takes a lot less effort for your muscles to keep you balanced and upright, therefore decreasing muscle fatigue.

Moreover, having good posture is also a great way to relieve daily pains. This is because bad posture often leads to neck, back, and leg pain, all things which some regular Yoga exercises can help get rid of. On a side note, Yoga is also good for your back, especially your spinal disks because they can get damaged and compress nerves. Some simple Yoga moves can go a long way in decompressing your spine and the nerves in it, plus it helps deliver much-needed nutrients to your spinal cord too.

Benefit #8: Increased Cognitive Abilities

Something else that Yoga is shown to help you with is with a long list of cognitive abilities. First of all, Yoga requires a whole lot of focus and concentration, both things which can be improved through training. Without concentration and focus, you can’t really do Yoga. Exercise like Yoga is also known to cause an increase in the production of neurotransmitters in your brain as well as the rate at which those transmitters function.

This has the effect of increasing your long and short term memory, your focus and concentration, your problem solving skills, and your overall cognitive abilities. Yoga is also a type of exercise that concentrates on being in touch with your mind and improving mental skills, something which everybody can definitely benefit from.

Benefit #9: Better Bone Health

The next benefit you need to take advantage of through Yoga are the serious bone building benefits that it brings to the table. Many Yoga positions are known as weight bearing exercises. Weight bearing exercises are any kind of exercises which force a certain part of your body to hold up your own body weight and put a larger than normal amount of strain and pressure on your bones. This has the effect of increasing the strength, size, and density of your bones.

There are many Yoga poses which have you on your legs, or just one leg, and many which have you supporting your weight with your arms. Well, when you do any of those things, the weight you put on your bones causes the cells in your bones known as osteoblasts to generate more bone mass, thus resulting in thicker, denser, and stronger bones.

This is a very useful benefit, especially as you get older because old age can cause bone diseases such as osteoporosis, something which can be prevented or mitigated through bone building exercises such as Yoga. Moreover, having stronger bones also means that you have a lower chance of suffering a fracture or broken bone.

Benefit #10: It Helps Make You Happier

Yoga is also good for your mind, not just for your body. Yoga is good because it helps to provide your mind with more beneficial neurochemicals. Yoga is shown to increase the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and certain endocannabinoids, all of which are shown to make you feel happier, decrease anxiety, and help get rid of the effects of depression too.

These neurochemicals are all very important for your mental wellbeing and for regulating mood. This phenomenon of exercise producing neurochemicals which make you feel happier, elated, and joyful, is also known as the runner’s high.

Also, Yoga is shown to decrease the amount of monoamine oxidase in your brain. This is a substance that breaks down neurotransmitters, something which negatively affects your mood and cognitive abilities. The bottom line is that Yoga can provide for a happier you and that is a big bonus. On a side note, Yoga is also shown to relieve stress and relieve you of negative feelings such as anger and rage.

Benefit #11: Improving Your Balance

Yet another big benefit that you can reap from doing Yoga is an increased ability to balance. Yoga involves a whole lot of odd positions that force you to balance, something that is otherwise known as proprioception. Your balance is actually regulated by things called proprioceptors.

Well, just like with your bones, muscles, memory, and more, the more you do balance training, the better your proprioceptors become at accommodating for positional shifts and imbalances in order to help your body stay upright. Having better balance is a great thing to have, especially if you like sports that require a lot of it, sports such as skating or hockey, or even gymnastics too.

Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that the benefits of Yoga definitely outweigh any preconceived notions that you may have about it. Your strength, balance, flexibility, digestion, mental abilities, happiness, and more will all benefit from this awesome discipline so you should definitely give it a try as soon as you can!

If you have any questions or comments about Yoga, please feel free to shoot us a message and we will get back to you at the first available opportunity.


This blog has been adapted from : https://www.fitandme.com/benefits-of-yoga/

Read more at https://www.fitandme.com/benefits-of-yoga/

 

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Yoga to Navigate Change


“In the waves of change we find our true direction.”

Change isn’t always easy to navigate. It can sometimes leave you feeling jittery in the stomach, tight in the chest and apprehensive about the future. Change can stir old wounds and deep emotions, crippling you from moving forward.

Yet beyond these fear-based emotions and past experiences (samskaras), change is an opportunity to grow.

So how, when you are faced with anxiety and nervousness, can you see that perhaps the jittery feeling in your stomach may just be excitement? How can you use your yoga practice to flow through change, rather than resist it?

6 Yoga Poses to flow through change

1. Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

Change (and by nature – uncertainty) can often feel unsettling, and the place in the body where this is most strongly experienced is the stomach. Twisting poses relieve tension in the stomach and cleanse not only the digestive system but also the emotional body.

Revolved Triangle Pose also relieves tension in the hamstrings. Metaphysically our legs carry us forward in life, so relieving tension in the legs enables us to move through change.

What beliefs are holding you back and preventing you from moving forward?

2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II is also known as the Peaceful Warrior – a balance of inner strength and softness. Transitioning through change requires gentle yielding as well as focus. With the gaze in the direction of your future, you keep the focus on where you are going.

3. Camel (Ustrasana)

Another attribute of navigating change is an open heart. To embark in a new direction, where the outcome is unknown, requires a courageous and trusting heart. Camel Pose (pictured above) relieves tension in the lower back (the place of our fears) and opens the chest and heart.

This pose also helps to relieve anxiety, that is often felt as tightness in the chest and shallow breathing.

As you exhale back into Camel, continue taking deep full breaths and imagine your chest expanding and opening and the breath traveling all the way down to the base of your belly.

Another benefit of Camel Pose is hip opening; hips being the metaphysical storage area of our emotions.

4. Wide Legged Forward Fold (Straddle/Dragonfly)

This pose grounds the Base/Root Chakra (Muladhara), connecting you with stability and firm foundations. Sometimes change can feel like a whirlwind; particularly if the change is fast-moving. Literally bringing the body back down to Earth helps to re-establish your connection and feel grounded.

Being a yin posture, it’s also about letting go physically, which can also help you to let go on deeper levels. Change sometimes requires you to let go of resistance, previously held beliefs, control and emotions that you hold in your body as physical tension. In this pose, all you need to do is surrender, and breathe – long, deep, slow breaths.

5. Reclining Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclining Butterfly is another heart opener of the nurturing kind. It’s easier to open your heart when you feel supported, and a bolster positioned along the spine gives you a feeling of stability and security. From that foundation let your arms rest on the mat beside your body and open your chest.

As with Camel Pose, it has the added benefit of opening the hips. If the hip opening is too strong, place supportive bolsters/blocks under each knee. Taking support in your yoga practice is a reminder to do this in daily life too.

What support do you need to help you through this change?

6. Child Pose (Balasana)

Change can often result in expending emotional energy that can be draining and exhausting. Child Pose is a gentle resting pose that enables you to take your awareness within and restore energy. If your body needs to rest – let it. In Child Pose, you can also ground your Third-eye Chakra (Ajna) to the Earth (or a bolster/block) and connect with your intuition.

Child Pose is also about being still. In the midst of change there is a time for action and a time for being. Whatever comes up in this stillness, let it come and go, passing through you like changing winds.

Nature Connect in times of change

There are many lessons in nature that teach us about change. Seasons change, tides rise and fall, the sun rises and sets, fire destroys landscapes and then they renew.

Many months ago I sat by the Bay and watched the full moon tide lash the embankment…

Seaweed piles up against the cement retaining wall and salt spray slaps, as if the sea is getting rid of all it’s sludge and heaviness. Nature doesn’t care that it’s windy; throwing the stillness of the bay off balance and churning up her sea depths. Nature is all of these things. She simply lulls herself to the meditative rhythm of an ebbing and flowing tide.

Spend some time in nature observing. Notice how nature changes over the course of a day, a week and perhaps seasons. Nature is always changing.

Meditation for change

A simple meditation I like to use in times of change is visualising myself once the change has taken place. I begin with a visualisation of leaving a suitcase behind. In the suitcase are all the things/thoughts I need to leave behind in order to move towards that new destination.

What do you need to shed, to move forward?

Then I visualise myself walking towards this new destination. For me, it’s always along a forest path, beside a gentle flowing stream.

At the end of the path I arrive.

In this “new life”, ask yourself – Where are you? Who is with you? What are you doing? How do you feel?

Imagery is powerful. This meditation helps to keep you focused on the positive outcomes of the change you are moving through.

Take your time

Change is a process of shedding old layers of being, moving into a place of trust, transitioning out of the old and finally arriving at your new destination.

Throughout the process of your change, spend some time alone to check in with how you’re feeling and to give yourself space to simply be.

If you feel resistance, enquire about what you are resisting and why. Is your resistance based on current reality? Or is it based on previous experiences that you are using as a filter for the way you see your current situation?

Approaching change with self-inquiry, an open heart and kindness to yourself, will enable you to flow through change, rather than resist it.

Susan is the founder and Yoga Teacher at Wild Places Yoga – a nature inspired yoga studio in Brisbane’s Bayside. 

By |April 15th, 2015|Nature, Wellness, Yoga|0 Comments

For more, Read: http://www.wildplacesyoga.com.au/yoga-to-navigate-change/


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8 Sattvic Foods to Help Balance Your Body and Mind


He who practices yoga without moderation of diet, incurs various diseases, and obtains no success.” (Gheranda Samhita 5/16)

A branch cannot survive on its own. It must connect to the tree trunk and roots in order to absorb the elements and thrive in nature.

Neither yoga nor Ayurveda are singular practices. They are more like branches on the tree of Vedic wisdom.

In order to maintain balance, there must be a constant exchange between the individual and the universe. The way we eat, breathe, drink, and live must be harmonious. When it is not, we are in a state of dis-ease.

This is the main philosophy of yoga: Mind, body, and spirit are one and cannot be separated. Yogic philosophies recognize food as being responsible for the growth of the body. This is why it is often called Brahman, or God.

Food is sacred.

In addition to yoga and meditation, food plays an important role in balancing the body from within. If you are looking to achieve physical strength, sound mind, good health, and longevity, you’ll want to shift your focus to sattvic foods. These are the purest types of food you can consume, according to Ayurvedic principles.

Sattvic foods can help enhance your practice and promote a calm mind and fit body with a balanced flow of energy between the two. The soul depends on the body and the body depends on food.

The basic principles of the sattvic diet consist of light and easily digestible food. Many are sun foods, meaning they grow above ground, and have a fast effect on the body’s nervous and digestive systems.

Include the following foods in your daily diet to promote holistic wellness and to help bring your mind, body, and soul into alignment.

  1. Ghee

Ghee, sometimes called clarified butter, is sweet tasting, cold, and heavy. This is one of the most talked about sattvic foods because its importance has been reflected upon in the ancient Vedas. Rice mixed with ghee and soma juice is considered the diet of God. Because there are different Ayurvedic elements in different types of milk, the properties of ghee will depend on its source. The most common, and most often recommended, is ghee from cow’s milk. Milk is unique because it contains the best nutrients a mother can provide. And ghee is considered the essence of milk. Incorporating ghee in Ayurvedic treatment is as easy as making it at home, a process that can be completed in about 30 minutes.

  1. Sprouted Whole Grains

According to sattvic tradition, grains should be a vital part of every meal. Yogis may sometimes fast from grains, but they are included as an important part of a sattvic diet. Whole sprouted grains provide nourishment and are symbolic of health, happiness, and prosperity. Consider adding sprouted rice, spelt, oatmeal, and barley to your meals. There’s a great deal of variety, so you can easily include a grain with every meal. Just be sure to avoid leavened breads.

  1. Fresh Organic Fruit

For the most part, any fresh organic fruit can be included in the sattvic diet, but there are some exceptions. Avocados and tomatoes are considered rajasic and should never be consumed in excess. But you’re safe to eat most fruits, including apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, oranges, peaches, and plums. These are considered especially sattvic. Yogis may also fast from fruits, but otherwise, they are an important part of the sattvic diet. They are considered symbols of generosity and spirituality. Eating fruits and vegetables is believed to increase one’s magnetism.

  1. Honey

Honey is on the short list of sweeteners that is acceptable to use in moderation in a sattvic diet.    Brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, sucanat, and sugar cane juice are also acceptable in moderation. Avoid processed white sugar if at all possible.

  1. Organic Land and Sea Vegetables

You’d be safe eating almost any vegetable on a sattvic diet, but you may run into trouble if you’re in the habit of cooking with garlic and onions. These vegetables, along with hot peppers, mushrooms, and potatoes are not considered sattvic. Stick with mild, organic veggies, such as beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green leafies, sweet potatoes, and squash. Juicing vegetables is a fast and easy way to access their prana (life-giving force).

  1. Nuts, Seeds, and Oils

Soaking nuts and seeds overnight will remove their natural enzyme inhibitors and make them easier for your body to digest. Choose fresh, pure nuts or seeds. If they have been overly roasted or salted, they lose their sattvic properties. Almonds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds are all great choices. Most oils should be consumed raw, but some can be used in cooking. These include ghee, sesame oil, and coconut oil.

  1. Legumes

Legumes are another important part of a sattvic diet, and the smaller the better. Smaller beans, such as mung beans, split peas, and lentils, are easier to digest. You may also enjoy chickpeas, aduki beans, and organic tofu. For a complete protein source, combine legumes with whole grain.

  1. Herbs

Herbs directly support the mind and are often used in conjunction with meditation. Common sattvic herbs include:

Just as yoga and Ayurveda aren’t singular practices, neither is nutrition. These sattvic foods consumed on their own may have nutritional benefits, but do not expect to receive the full benefits of a sattvic diet unless you are taking a more holistic approach. In order to be in harmony with the way we eat, drink, breathe, and live, we must approach wellness from a higher perspective. Together, yoga, meditation, nutrition, and herbal supplements can help ground the body and enlighten the mind.


Read more: http://dailycupofyoga.com/2016/10/24/8-sattvic-foods-to-help-balance-your-body-and-mind/

 

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Yoga for Beginners


11 Minute Yoga Workout for People Just Getting Started With Yoga

So, you’re wanting to start yoga. This is good. Yoga is great for the body, mind, and spirit.

Don’t be frightened, though. You aren’t going to be a pro yogi for a while so don’t allow yourself to get discouraged when you can’t touch your toes or keep your legs completely straight during some poses.

Doing yoga is a long journey, but the benefits will last you a lifetime.

Yoga Workout for Beginners

This workout is designed specifically for beginners. There aren’t any advanced moves in the workout and going from one pose to the next is supposed to be a smooth transition so you can have a flow throughout the duration of the workout.

Be prepared to feel a little burn. Yes, yoga works your muscles much more than you think it does.

If you can’t hold some poses for the entire 30 seconds, take a quick break, then go back into the pose for the rest of the time frame.

Here is the workout:

  • Forward Bend – 30 seconds
  • Garland Pose – 30 seconds
  • Plank – 30 seconds
  • Downward Facing Dog – 30 seconds
  • Warrior I (right on first set, left on second set)- 30 seconds
  • Crescent Lunge (right on first set, left on second set)- 30 seconds
  • Seated Spinal Twist (right on first set, left on second set)- 30 seconds
  • Cat-Cow Pose – 30 seconds
  • Camel Pose – 30 seconds
  • Child’s Pose – 30 seconds
  • Corpse Pose – 30 seconds

Do this routine 2 times to complete the workout.

Forward Bend

The forward bend is a great way to get started.

Bend forward keeping your back as straight as possible. Reach your arms down as far as they can go.

Make sure to take nice, deep breaths so you can get even deeper into the stretch. The deeper you can get, the better. This will make transitioning to the next pose much easier.

Garland Pose

You are now going to come up slowly, bring your hands together into a prayer position, and squat down as low as you can.

Hold this position for 30 seconds.

You’ll be feeling this pose in your legs (hamstrings and quads). Not only will you be opening your hips, you’ll be strenghtening your legs signifiantly.

Plank

From the garland pose, come back up to a standing position, bend forward until your hands are on the ground. Then you will need to walk your hands forward until your back is completely straight and you are holding yourself up with just your feet and arms.

You will be in a position as if you were about to start doing push-ups.

You’ll be significantly increasing strength all over your body, but more specifically, your core. Having a strong core can lay the foundation for many other yoga poses you will be trying in the future.

Downward Facing Dog

To get into the downward facing dog, all you need to do is start walking your hands back, try to get your heels to the ground while keeping your legs as straight as possible.

Now, if you don’t have flexible hamstrings or calves, it might be a tough challenge to get your heels to the ground.

Do the best you can. The flexibility will start to come in no time.

Warrior I

Getting into Warrior I shouldn’t be too difficult.

From downward facing dog, bring one foot forward, so you are almost in a lunge position. Bring your upper body up and hold your hands out (one forward, one backward).

To sink deeper into the pose, all you need to do is bend your front knee. Make sure you try to keep your back leg as straight as possible. It’s also important that your front knee doesn’t go past your toes.

Crescent Lunge

This is very similar to the Warrior I pose.

The main difference between the crescent lunge and Warrior I pose is the positioning of the back foot.

Instead of your back foot being turned sideways, you will bring your foot forward and come up on the ball on that foot. This should be an easy transition from the Warrior I pose.

You will be able to get a deeper stretch of your hips during this pose.

Seated Spinal Twist

There is no easy transition from the crescent lunge to a seated spinal twist, so the best thing you can do is come back to a standing postion, sit down with you legs straight out in front of you. From there, bring one knee close to your chest, put it over the other leg, put your opposite arm on the outside of that leg and twist as far as you can go.

Twists are great for realigning your body.

Cat-Cow Pose

Come up on your hands and knees.

To get into the cat position, round your back. When you’re ready to transition into the cow position, you bend your back the opposite way.

This is a position where you are constantly moving, so you won’t have to worry about holding a position for too long. You should change from cat to cow after each breath you take.

Camel Pose

Bring yourself up, but keep your knees on the ground.

You will then start to bend backwards and try to grab your heels.

If you have a back problem, this is a pose that you may want to skip because you could be putting a lot of strain on it.

Ease into this pose so that you don’t hurt yourself because it can be really easy to tweak something if you try to force too much in this pose.

Child’s Pose

A classic pose for any yoga workout, you will be giving yourself a break. You are going to give all of the muscles you just worked a significant rest that they truly deserve.

Try to sink your butt as close to your heels as you can to get the most benefits from the child’s pose.

Corpse Pose

The corpse pose is one of the best ways to close out any yoga routine.

This is the perfect pose for when you are trying to find your zen and get into the best state of mind possible.

If you weren’t already relaxed, this pose will put you in a relaxed state. Something you may need after really pushing yourself through the other poses.


Read more: https://thrivestrive.com/yoga-for-beginners/

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International Day of Yoga celebrations in South Africa


Yoga today is practiced and cherished in every part of the world and is truly a global heritage embedded with universal values of peace and harmony.

The United Nations, with the support of  177 countries has declared 21 June as International Yoga Day. This  initiative  was started by the Government of India and has received maximum support from Africa [46 countries] among the five continents.

In pursuance to the UN resolution, the Indian High Commission in South Africa and its Consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in collaboration with yoga schools and other stakeholders will be celebrating the 1st UN International Day of Yoga on 21 June in several cities in South Africa.  This UN declared International Day of Yoga is being celebrated worldwide in all capitals and cities and the day would see millions coming together to celebrate this gift of humankind.

All events being organised in South Africa are free and open to all. Leading South African personalities and institutions including Premier of KZN, Mac Maharaj [Struggle hero] Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Ela Gandhi [grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi], Jonty Rhodes [cricketer] among others have endorsed this event with a call to all to come forward in support of healthy living and wellness. Endorsement and support from other leading personalities are expected several of whom will also be participating in the events.

In Durban the lead event is being held on the North Beach where 2,500 people are expected to participate. In Pretoria, the lead event will be held in Laudium and in Cape Town in Gatesville. In Johannesburg, along with the main celebration at The Summer Place, a yogathon is being organized at WITS University.

The Art of Living Foundation SA, Iyengar School of Yoga SA, ISHA Foundation SA, Gayatri Parivar, Incredible India, Zee TV, Zee World, Himalaya drugs, Dabur, Tech Mahindra, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India and host of other partners are collaborating in the celebration in Gauteng, to which all yoga schools are being invited.

In today’s fast paced life, Yoga is helping people to stay healthy and fit and to balance mind and body, thought and action. It embodies a holistic approach to health and well-being and to live a life in harmony with nature and the world around us. Our modern world is truly a global space. It is propelled, more than ever before, by universal ideas, and Yoga very much belongs to this realm of universalism. Indeed, Yoga as a sustainable modern day life option has received popular global embrace and is helping people to nourish their lives not just in terms of physicality or health but as spiritual experience as well.

Yoga has a strong philosophical underpinning. It allows a person to understand one’s physical attributes and self within, which our outwardly oriented senses do not give an opportunity for. Yoga is about unity of body and mind so that there is total balance in one’s thought and action. Patanjali, the ancient Indian sage, who is considered the guru of Yoga, propounded unity of our imagination and existence as central to Yoga. Yoga may have been born from the womb of Indian philosophy and lives of ancient sages but its modern moorings are truly universal. Such an understanding is primal to a Rainbow Nation like South Africa or to a multicultural society like India which brings people from diverse backgrounds into their colourful fold.

The list of places celebrating this event:

PRETORIA 264, 13th Avenue, Laudium Contact: 3746354, sphss108@telkomsa.net

JOHANNESBURG

  • Summer Place, 69 Melville Road, Hyde Park, Johannesburg. The event starts at 8.30am until 12.30pm . Contact : eventscgi@gmail.com; 0714733208
  • WITS University, Library Lawns, Opposite Great Hall
  • Lenasia: Alpha Primary School, Lenasia, (Contact : Mr. Mohan Hira: 0835011275)
  • [19 June : At Milpark School, Parktown – Closed event]
  • [23 June : At SBSM School, Lenasia – Closed event]

POLOKWANE 26 Agra Stret, Nirvana, Contact : Mrs. Anupama Shrivastav – 0825998224

MAFIKENG Mandir in Quickly street, Mafikeng, Contact : Mr. Rajubhai: 0829027074

NELSPRUIT Venue TBC, Contact : Sharita Patel, 0823305756

DURBAN: Durban Amphitheatre, North Beach, Opposite Elangeni Hotel, Contact: 031-3350333, sivanandaworldpeace@gmail.com. 

CHATSWORTH: Aryan Benevolent Home, T N Bhoola Hall, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com 

PHOENIX: Stanmore Regional Hall, Unit 17, 213 Grove End Drive, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com. 

PIETERMARTIZBURG: Raisethrope Secondary School, Chota Motala Road, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com 

STANGER Sabha Hall, Blane Street, Stanger, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com 

TONGAT:  Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple Cultural Centre, 7 Maharaj Street, Gandhi Hill, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com. 

EAST LONDON: venue to be finalised, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com.

BLOEMFONTEIN: venue to be finalised, Contact: 0313350333, icc2@cgidbn.com.

CAPE TOWN

  • Samaj Centre, Gatesville
  • Ananda Kutir Ashrama, 24, Sprigg Road, Rondebosch East

Bring a yoga mat or a towel and join us in celebrating International Yoga Day.


Adapted from : https://namritha25.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/21-june-international-yoga-day/ 

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Why We Need to Slow Down and Live in Slow Motion


I went to a yoga class with mom the other day called “Yoga Therapy.” It was a sweet experience of many basic movements, but what I appreciated even more was the very very slow pace of the practice.

In our fast moving culture, even much of yoga has jumped onto the bandwagon of high speed. Slowing down in my body was so soothing, it built ample heat, and it brought so much increased awareness to various parts of my physical structure.

Many people find a slower practice much more rigorous on both their body and mind as their ability to remain attentive and present is challenged. But what a powerful challenge it can be.

Why We All Need to Slow Down

Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness, was inspired to challenge the cult of speed after he found himself about to buy a collection of one-minute bedtime stories for his kids.

Our rushed culture is obsessed with productivity, which leads to overwork, ramped consumerism, and an often false perception of true gratification.

With the hunger not satiated, the cycle continues and the faster it gets, the less people are able to step back and evaluate whether this model of living is even working or meeting any of their deep seated needs.

The obsession with speed creates lower quality products which can threaten our safety (think car recalls), superficial connections that only skim the surface and less time to connect with family, friends, and partners.

As a culture, we get 90 minutes less sleep per night than those living a century ago and our entanglement with activity has reduced the pocket of time for people to simply be.

What happened to gazing out the window of a car or train or staring at the night sky to remember how we fit into the grand scheme of things?

Slow, Mindful Movement vs. Fast, Mindless Motion

Fast is not inherently “bad” as there are examples of conscious rapid movement which makes sense and has intelligence and consciousness behind it. The problem occurs when mindless fast takes the reins and we find ourselves overly busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, overly analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, and valuing quantity-over-quality.

When we turn down the speed we can become more spacious, carefree, receptive, composed, intuitive, relaxed, unhurried, deep, patient, reflective, and value quality-over-quantity.

As a result of these states, we can increase immune functionality, have healthier digestion, feel less guilt, live with a more honed and toned nervous system, increase our time spent in “feel good” states, have more moments of gratitude and appreciation, and boost the level of intimacy present in the day-to-day.

We can choose when to turn up the pace in a conscious way instead of letting speed overrun our lives

How you do anything is how you do everything. So especially if you have a regular yoga practice, explore slowing it down and observe what shifts.

Also, look into the slow food or slow money movement, go for a slow motion walking meditation, and next time you make love with your beloved — yes its hard to believe but people are now replying to texts or checking Facebook even during this activity — carve out a large chunk of time, slow it down, and savor more!

Take back the reins! It’s time, before this high speed world takes your life for an unwanted ride.


Read more: https://www.doyouyoga.com/why-we-need-to-slow-down-and-live-in-slow-motion-77050/

 

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80% of Top Business Leaders Meditate


80% of top business leaders meditate, at least according to entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss who has interviewed over 200 world-class performers for his weekly podcast The Tim Ferriss Show.  Ferriss said that the number one common thread these top performers had in comparison to most other people is that more than 80% of them were using some form of daily meditation practice to get better results in business.

Ferriss himself practices Transcendental Meditation and said, “I find that meditation is very very helpful for avoiding anxiety and it’s the reset button for the rest of the day… it’s basically a warm bath for your brain.”

Ferriss admits that he was initially a little reluctant to learn to meditate himself saying,

“Rick Rubin and Chase Jarvis convinced me to bite the bullet on the cost when I was going through a particularly hard period in my life. I’m glad they did.  The social pressure of having a teacher for 4 consecutive days was exactly the incentive I needed to meditate consistently enough to establish the habit,”

Meditation has become popular on Wall Street in recent years with thousands of Wall Street professionals taking up the practice.  Most prominent among those is Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio who has been meditating for 40 years and 8 years ago introduced the practice to his 700 employees.

Dalio credits Transcendental Meditation for his billion dollar success, saying, “Meditation more than any other factor has been the reason for whatever success I’ve had… It’s the ability to be centered and to approach things in a calm, centered way without all those fears, just analyzing what’s true.”

Meditation has gone coast to coast in America, with Silicon Valley adopting the practice as a means to increase creativity, reduce stress and improve health.  Recently Google invited Meditation teacher Bob Roth to speak at their Google Zeitgeist event where Roth spoke about the numerous scientifically documented benefits of meditating.

“I’m data driven. I don’t want to have to believe in anything on face value… You don’t have to believe in anything, you can be 100% skeptical. It’ll give your body deep rest, it’ll wake up your brain.”

Sounds like something we can all use.

———————–

Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Gregory Lyons. Gregory is a teacher of Transcendental Meditation in Brighton, UK. To find out more about TM in Brighton visit Transcendental Meditation Brighton.


Read more at : http://dailycupofyoga.com/2017/04/03/80-of-top-business-leaders-meditate/

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Yoga is to Running as Yin is to Yang


Many of us who love both running and yoga know how important it is to balance both activities in our lives.  Not a simple thing to do since running and yoga require time and dedication to become proficient at either.  Even those who practice a fairly vigorous form of yoga have likely learned from experience that it’s a long climb back aerobically after those periods of time when they take a break from running.

I’m not sure you can ever have too much yoga, but too much running without enough yoga (or a good stretching routine) can create a lot of issues for those of us with the genetic predisposition of a two-by-four.  Instead of popping advil like candy after your next long run, why not take 20 minutes to balance out your running muscles with the following yoga sequence crafted by Callah at my yoga life:


Read more: http://dailycupofyoga.com/2010/07/11/yoga-is-to-running-as-yin-is-to-yang/

 

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