Health And Yoga – Dieting Naturally


By Shyam Mehta

It is universally held that you need a “balanced” diet with vitamins, protein and starch in the “right” quantities each day and that you need to eat a moderate amount at regular intervals also each day. This is the route to poor health.

To be fit and strong, your digestive system needs to get used to a variety of conditions. Sometimes you may eat more than you need. Sometimes you should go hungry. You should not eat when you get hungry, but when the thought arises in your mind to eat. All first thoughts are given to you by God. All of us should be moving towards becoming vegetarian. There is so much violence in the world that the least we can do is to help stop the slaughter of other living beings. Non-injury or minimizing injury to living beings is the first principle of yoga [ethics or yama]. There is no greater consideration. After about one year of being vegetarian, your hankering for meat and seafood almost vanishes. You should ideally wake-up one morning and say to yourself “henceforth I will be vegetarian”.

You should not worry about what you eat. Instead, choose readily available vegetarian food, fresh food that is light to digest. When you think of food, eat a little until you are no longer hungry, unless there is no food available. In that case wait until the next convenient opportunity that God gives you to eat.

As you progressing yoga, you become more sensitive. Water these days is heavily polluted in spiritual terms. It is better to have liquid such as milk or yogurt that has been purified by a cow, or fruit juice. Even after subsequent pollution by man, such liquids retain much purity. Drink as and when the thought arises in your mind, unless there is nothing to drink, when wait until a natural event happens [passing a shop, for example].

Once you are on the path of karma yoga, God is looking after you. You do not need to worry about lack of starch or protein or vitamins. If you need starch, you will get a thought to have some starch.


Read more: http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/sutras/diet.aspx

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The Philosophy Of Natural Healing


The factors that create our health are part of our environment. They form an inward moving spiral in which we occupy the center. At the periphery is our environment in nature, which is composed of solar and other forms of energy, air, water, soil, and other living things. Within this is our more immediate environment, including the climatic and geographic region in which we live, our living place, for example, whether city or country, our work and social environment, and our home. It is within this environment that we think and act each day. Our thinking and actions are the product of the above plus daily food, which is the concentrated form of the environment that we internalize several times a day. Our daily thoughts and actions, which can be termed “lifestyle,” determine our choice of food.

Food in turn affects our thoughts and actions. Environment, lifestyle (including our day-to-day thoughts), and food all combine to create our present state of health. If these factors are in balance, or in other words, if our daily life and diet is harmonious with our environment in nature, we experience health. If, on the other hand, they become extreme or one-sided, we lose harmony with our environment and experience sickness. Natural healing is based on the principles of change and balance. Change is the basic law of life. It is the order of the universe. Yet, as manifestations of the universe, we have the ability to cause or initiate change. Everyone has the power to change direction from sickness to health. The first step in healing is to realize that change is possible, and to act upon that realization.

Let us take daily diet as an example. Daily food and drink are the direct source of our physical makeup. Our blood, cells, organs, tissues, and glands are a transformation of the minerals, proteins, lipids, enzymes, water, and other nutrients that we ingest daily. Therefore, any consideration of physical health must of necessity begin with daily food. Many of today’s health problems are caused by the repeated consumption of meat, eggs, cheese, poultry, and other foods of animal origin. These health concerns, including cancer and heart disease, are the result of problems of quantity and quality. In terms of quantity, people eat much more animal food than they did several generations ago, far beyond what is necessary or reasonable. Animal foods are essentially the centerpiece of the modern diet. In terms of quality, modern artificially inseminated, hormone and antibiotic-fed livestock bear little resemblance to their natural ancestors. The appearance of “Mad Cow” disease and the European Community’s refusal to accept hormone-fed American beef underscores just how serious these issues have become.

Modern chicken is especially problematic; all the more so because many people believe it to be a “healthy” alternative to meat. John Robbins, in his classic expose’ of the food industry Diet for a New America, gives a detailed description of how chickens are confined indoors in small cages. They are so weak and susceptible to infection that they require regular doses of antibiotics to keep them alive. They are also fed synthetic growth hormones to speed their development. One result of these practices, according to Robbins, is that as many as 95 percent of the chickens going to market have some form of cancer!

Clearly, modern chicken is not a health food. Now, suppose someone is facing a health crisis caused by over-reliance on animal food. How can he or she change their situation into its opposite, or in other words, change their direction toward health? The first step would be to change from an animal-based to a plant-based diet.

Meat, eggs, cheese, chicken, and other animal products are generally contractive. Plant foods have the opposite quality. However, some plant foods are extremely expansive, while others are moderately so. The comprehensive factor that determines whether plant foods are moderate or extreme is their climate of origin. Foods such as sugar, chocolate, spices, tropical fruits, nightshade vegetables, and coffee come from tropical zones. The heat of the tropics produces lush and expanded growth. Moreover, the greater speed of the earth’s rotation at the equator creates strong expansive force. Foods that come from the tropics are generally extreme.

On the other hand, plant foods that grow in the temperate zones are exposed to colder temperatures that cause them to be relatively contractive. Within the overall spectrum of foods, they are centrally balanced. Whole grains, beans, local vegetables and fruits are from the temperate regions and are generally balanced. When we eat in the middle our food becomes our medicine. (The word “medicine” is from the Latin root, “to walk in the middle.”) Our food enhances, rather than inhibits, healing and regeneration. Daily diet is the central issue in our lifestyle as a whole. It is a reflection of our priorities and way of looking at society, nature, and the universe. Dietary change, combined with an understanding of balance, can serve as the focus for a change in lifestyle. Unhealthy lifestyle patterns and environmental influences can be reviewed and changed into their opposites, so that they can be brought into alignment with natural harmony. Changing diet sets in motion a spiral that affects all aspects of life. The whole direction of your life will change from sickness to health.


Read more:  http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/news/food/spm_philosophy.aspx

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Food For Our Spirituality


A great way to cultivate spirituality is through a rigorous routine. Specifically, the foods we put into our bodies are very connected to how spiritually grounded we are on any given day of the week. 

One way to cultivate your spirituality is by selecting one day out of the week to fast from something. For example, for two years now I’ve been taking Monday’s to observe not eating – experiencing solidarity with those who don’t eat because of material circumstance – for two years this has been a cornerstone to my spiritual development and practice. However, lately I’ve found it difficult to stay with it, so I’m remaining flexible and I’ve slightly changed my routine. Now, I eat one meal every Monday – since many people live off one meal a day – I keep this meal as simple as possible, beans and rice or lentils. That may not be for everyone, so there are always variations that you can try. For example, you may want to select one day a week when you ingest only juices or perhaps only fruits and nuts? Or maybe, that one day a week is the day that you decide you will go without turning on the television, or, for coffee drinkers, that may be the day you do not have any coffee? Some, who are more adventurous, may want to spend that day going to somewhere they’ve never been before, even if that is a place down the road from where you live. Not only will this augment discipline, in the cases with food, it will give your internal organs a necessary space and time to cleanse and release toxins from your body. 

No matter what it is, fasting from something, or, trying something new one day a week, allows one to explore different perspectives and ways to see their lives and hence the world. 

Another practice to experiment with is not eating out more than once a week. Personally, I feel better about myself when I’m not spending money lavishly and for those (such as myself) currently living in the Western world, we must constantly remember that eight or nine US dollars on a meal is what many families around the world have available to them for an entire month of food.

Not snacking between meals is another steadfast way to increase one’s awareness and discipline. No matter what you strive to do, it is important to stick to a practice because that cultivates will power, which will help us grow spiritually (sometimes denying ourselves what we WANT in a particular moment and seeing that it may not be what we NEED, is what allows us to fortify our values/ principles). I also understand that sometimes (for our own sanity) we’ve got to treat ourselves. This means that the lines may occasionally blur at midnight, when we don’t need that apple and peanut butter to stay alive, but we do need that apple and peanut butter to help us smile… and that’s okay (except maybe for the most ardent spiritual seekers)! It’s important to have faith that we will make the right decisions, especially in those moments, and should be kind, gentle, forgiving, and open to accepting the occasional exception to the rule.

No matter how you chose to develop your spirituality and discipline, two of the things I have been meditating on extensively over the past years, is one: consistently remembering how thankful I must be to have food to eat. And two: checking consumerism and excessive use of resources that keeps others in the world oppressed and exploited. It’s important to find out where what we’re buying is coming from; and then, finding alternatives to that which is damaging to the environment and the lives of other people. Maintain your composure, and transform the self without being motivated by guilt. Transform your being patiently, and for many, you will find it necessary to isolate the self in order to explore it more freely and intimately. Isolation means spending time alone. This is always an essential part of spiritual growth. Stay balanced. Focus on how your life is part of something greater, and allow tremendous spiritual experiences to flow. I encourage exploration of self and trying something new whenever possible to my students.

The universe is filled with possibilities for endless growth, seize them and transform!


Courtesy: http://www.healthandyoga.com A popular website that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification.

Discover health and beauty…. Naturally!!

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Yin Yoga: A Yoga Practice Every Athlete Should Adopt


Sore muscles, injuries, over-extension of the body…if you’re an athlete then you’re no stranger to these. From running track to weight lifting, chances are you’ve experienced some type of injury or strain throughout your life. Injuries may be inevitable at one point or another, but what if I told you there is a practice even the most trained of athletes could adopt to prolong and minimize injury?

Enter Yin Yoga. A gentle, yet challenging, yoga practice that allows you to drop into your own body, listen, and be present with anything and everything that comes up, both physically and mentally. Yin is a seated, grounding practice, within which poses are held for 3-5 minutes in order to bring mobility to the joints and ligaments. By practicing this style of yoga, athletes are able to work deeper into the muscles to transform the way the body moves.

In most classes you see in Western yoga, students are working with their yang muscles, or power muscles, which can be similar to an athlete’s normal routine. When practicing yin yoga, students are asked to relax into postures, taking on a more passive approach to working through deep connective tissue and fascia in the body. Fascia, oh, juicy fascia, connects every part of our body together and by caring for your fascia, you are maximizing athletic performance and muscle flexibility.

Yin Yoga offers athletes a chance to find stillness in the mind and body. Given that poses are being held much longer than a yang-style yoga class, a student will notice everything under the sun come up in their mind and body. From sensation in the hips to thoughts about past experiences, yin allows these physical and mental emotions to rise and be released through the power of passive movement. When intimately working with the body by breaking through connective tissue, students will find themselves breaking through old emotional patterns and coming out of class stronger. Not only in the body, but in the mind as well.

Yin can be practiced at home or in a formal class setting, although it is recommended to start in a class where a teacher can hold space for your body and all that arises. If practicing at home, use these five postures to start transforming your body and athletic performance:

1)  Reclining Twist

Also known as Supine Twist, this posture is incredibly restorative for the back muscles, spine, and abdominal muscles. It’s important to note that both shoulders should be firmly against the ground so you are twisting from your mid-spine rather than your lower back.

 2) Square

Square, or fire log, is a juicy seated pose targeted at deeply opening and stretching your outer hips. With shins stacked upon each other, you can deepen the stretch by folding forward. If you are unable to stack the shins, a yoga block is helpful for easing your way into this hip opener.

  3) Saddle

Saddle pose is an excellent stretch for getting into the hip space as well as the quadriceps. By deepening into the furthest expression of this pose, you are opening your sacrum-lumbar arch which is beneficial for athletes and those that do a lot of standing or walking.

4) Toe Squat

Toe squat can be an intense stretch for those that are on their feet often, but the results are outstanding. When practicing toe squat, you are opening your feet, strengthening the muscles, and stretching all six lines of the lower body meridians.

  5)  Melting Heart

After a long day of weight training or working out, this posture will stretch and relieve tightness in the shoulders while strengthening the spine. This mild backbend also works to bring more flexibility to the upper and mid-back.

Work these yin movements into your daily routine and enjoy the boost to your body and mind.


Read more: http://dailycupofyoga.com/2017/04/25/yin-yoga-a-yoga-practice-every-athlete-should-adopt/

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10 WAYS YOGA WILL HELP YOU STAY YOUNG FOREVER


It’s time to stop searching for anti-aging pills and time to move into downward facing dog!

This is not to say you will completely stop aging, it’s the natural process of life for your body to have changes as growth takes place. Most people are looking for ways to stop aging and to look rejuvenated; either by pills, creams or massages. While this may have a short-term effect on your goals, there is a way to have youth restored again, but this time it can be forever, and that’s with… Yoga.

Yoga is known to be originated from the East and it has been spreading rapidly throughout the West. The knowledge and practice of yoga keeps expanding day by day, more students are becoming yoga instructors, practitioners seeking qualified teachers, the wisdom of books, and cravings to simply know the history of yoga.

“But how can this keep me young forever?” you might be wondering, and the only way this will happen is knowing that yoga isn’t something you can take internally, or felt only on the skin .. it’s a lifestyle, a way of life that will only bring you the connection and union to your true self, and that is ageless and limitless.

If you can breath, you can do yoga.

It’s never too late to get back on your mat, or if it’s your first time, to buy a mat!

There’s a common misconception that yoga is only for people who are flexible or those who only eat plants and live in full peace, that may not always be the case. Yoga accepts you just as you are, you come with what you have and from there, you can move into asanas (yoga poses) that will help you from the inside-out.

Just with asanas, you can improve your body with healthier joints, muscle strength, bone health, posture, good blood flow and much, much more.

With meditation, you can improve metabolism, mental sharpness, better brain function, and learn to appreciate the present moment creating less anxiety. more gratitude and ultimately a happier life.

While these are both physical and mental benefits, the magic of yoga is that it works with both inner and outer beauty. Your choice of having a continuous practice creates an overall glow that radiates out of you, giving you that youthful long-term effect.

10 WAYS TO STAY YOUNG WITH YOGA

1. CONCENTRATION

The practice of yoga, is the practice of the present moment. By being aware of what’s going on in this moment and not being distracted by your thoughts, yoga can help you with making more clear decisions, not forgetting what you did two days ago, or what food you just ate because of how present you were when those activities took place. There’s a better chance to recall information and also improves problem-solving.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

2. FEELING AT EASE.

Yoga has the ability to help you reduce stress, anxiety, anger and move you into a more peaceful state of mind. By practicing meditation, asanas, and learning over-time to control your thoughts, you can have an effect of a healthier mentality. Resulting in you to feeling more at ease instead of stressed.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

3. BEING CONTENT WITH YOURSELF

Feeling physically stronger is just one of the benefits of a yoga practice, as it tones your muscles and it also gives them oxygen. If you’re struggling with physical appearance, having a continuous yoga practice will help your body become more toned, since you’re moving and working all of your body through asanas. A great posture can also grow from your practice, helping your body be more aligned and a great way for you to feel confident, where your self-esteem can grow.

 

4. INNER BEAUTY

The yogic philosophy says to not harm others, to be truthful, practice non-stealing, to have self-restraint and non-attachment. By learning and practicing these, yoga can guide you into having healthier relationships and a more compassionate heart for the world. There’s nothing richer than a pure beauty coming from within, that will only radiate and glow out of you.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

5. FEELING YOUNG AT HEART

With the practice of certain asanas, yoga can help you improve blood circulation throughout your body, and also bringing fresh oxygen to your cells. There are some inversions, like headstand and shoulder stand that will bring healthy oxygenated blood back to your heart by being upside down. You reduce your risk of heart-attacks or other heart problems by practicing yoga, all leading to a happy and healthy heart. A healthy blood circulation also helps with cell growth and healthy skin, looking and feeling younger within each practice.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

6. STRENGTH

Your muscles will be challenged as you move in ways you probably have never moved before, or when you hold a posture long after your mind has told you to give up. Throughout your practice, your muscles will get stronger as you use them and you’re also using your own weight to move through asanas. This can be a challenge at first but throughout time can result with more strength and ease.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

7. FLEXIBILITY

It is no secret that yoga can guide you to more flexibility, but there are also many benefits of flexibility, including better posture and a happy spine, decrease of joint pain, less chances of future injuries, and overall moving with more ease. This can all help you feel young and healthy.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

8. INHALE, EXHALE AND REPEAT

When was the last time you focused and observed your own breath? Yoga allows you to properly know how to breath, with certain breathing practices, for example ‘nadi shodhana’, where you block your right nostril with your thumb, inhale through your left nostril and block that nostril with your pinky and ring finger while unblocking the right nostril exhaling it out and over again. This practice allows you to see if you have any nostrils blocked and starts to give you awareness of where your body is in that moment. You learn to properly breathe again. Another example is by doing certain asanas that open your heart and chest. This allows you to have fuller breaths, filling your diaphragm with pure, fresh air. You can benefit from internal cleanings using these practices.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

9. BETTER SLEEP

After coming back home from the daily commitments you have, the mind says “I’m done” but the body says “I’m ready”, and it’s ready for a nice yoga practice. Gentle asanas before bed can help the body release any tension or stress it held throughout the day. This can affect your nervous system, allowing your body to relax before going to sleep, which will give you a good beauty sleep.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

10. GRATITUDE

By experimenting with your body and seeing where it can take you through asanas, you can begin to see that your body is much stronger than you thought it would be. A sense of gratitude can come from this. Gratitude for your breathing, practice, the food you eat, and maybe even to those around you.

 

10 ways to stay young

 

These are all ways yoga can help you stay youthful, with physical, mental and spiritual youth, but remember that yoga is a life practice and that it is also for everyone.

“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” – Jason Crandell


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inka means literally “The Child of Sun”. This radiant world traveler from Finland is in her thirties has explored in 55 countries and lived in USA, Latvia, and China. For the past decade, Inka has been working in the Global Mining Industry as Marketing Manager, promoting a sustainable technology solution for the world’s metal producers and process industries. While working in China, she truly discovered Yoga and completed her Yoga Teachers Training. Inka is on her amazing adventure through Americas for 3 months which of one-month volunteering in Blue Osa. Her Mantra is: “The Universe is my Home – my yoga mat my temple. We have one life – so live it well. Choose to be happy”. Follow her adventures and take a peak into her photographic memory in Instagram ituononen, #VirtaavaValonVoima.

 

Read more: http://www.blueosa.com/10-ways-yoga-will-help-you-stay-young-forever/ 

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How to set an intention in yoga


border, Emma Newlyn, Setting intentions

12 sep 2017 by Emma Newlyn

Why is it helpful in our yoga practice to set an intention and how do we make it meaningful?

What is an intention?

A little bit like making a miniature New Year’s resolution; an intention is something many of us might make before a yoga practice. An intention is usually something recognised as the practice of bringing awareness to a quality or virtue you’d like to cultivate for yourself.

The word ‘intention’ can have different definitions within different contexts: it’s often described as a “thing intended; an aim or plan”, but interestingly within the field of medicine, it also refers to “the healing process of a wound”.

The word is derived from the Latin intendere or intentio, which means both “stretching” and “purpose”. In essence then; if we are to live up to an intention we’ve set, we’re stretching ourselves beyond the place we’re currently at – possibly towards a different state of mind, a new action or a new way of feeling, or even a new life path.

If you’re usually someone who takes things easy and likes to rest, then setting an intention to get stronger might require you to stretch beyond the boundaries you’ve currently set for yourself. As a contrast; if you’ve always been quite hard on yourself and pushed yourself to the point of exhaustion and pain, then being kinder and more gentle to yourself is going to stretch you beyond the current boundaries you’ve set for yourself. The ability to find the mid-point between the two is called balance.

Start from where you are

In order to make an intention meaningful and effective, it’s important to realise where we’re each starting from. Whether wounds are physical or emotional, temporary or deep, many of the intentions we set are related to healing in some way, and moving energy from one place to another. Think back to a time you’ve made a resolution, an intention, or even created an affirmation to repeat to yourself daily – were they linked to healing or resolving something?

Before a yoga class, you might choose to set an intention to practice with the Yama Ahimsa or ‘kindness’ and ‘non-harming’ to yourself, or Satya, meaning ‘truthfulness’, both of which are derived from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and have echoed their importance throughout thousands of years. Intentions are different from ‘goals’. With a goal, we actively work towards something; however an intention is intended to flow through our every word, thought and deed. If your intention is to be kind, notice how this effects your thoughts, your words and your actions, and if your intention is courage, be courageous.

With a goal, we actively work towards something; however an intention is intended to flow through our every word, thought and deed.

Taking intentions off the mat

Emma NewlynBy setting an intention, we actively choose to empower ourselves to make a change. Even looking objectively at ourselves and asking ‘how am I?’ to begin with can be a transformational step, bringing attention to the present moment. When an intention is set, it’s also a way of carrying a yoga practice off the mat and out into the world, where that intention can translate to other aspects of life.

By building more awareness through a steady and mindful practice, we may realise that an intention can be set at any moment of the day, not just in a yoga class. When you wake up in the morning, perhaps set an intention for the day, something that transcends all layers of being, and will work in all situations: gratitude, patience, compassion, courage, honesty, kindness, forgiveness, letting go, inner strength, cheerfulness, abundance or effort are all intentions that are often made, and can bring valuable focus to the day.

Perhaps one of the most important, yet difficult, things to practice regarding intentions, is detaching from the outcome – doing your best and letting go of the rest. We may not have control over others’ actions, or the world around us, but we can choose how we act and react to it. Once an intention is set, allow it to trickle through your day and throughout who you are, and notice the little changes that start to happen….

Practise in class

Finding your true motivations and looking them right in the face is sometimes the best way to reconnect with our practice and our life. Work to find your true intentions and place them where you can reach them in this 30 minute class, Level 1 / 2 Continuous Flow class with Anat Geiger:

Shoot the intention arrow

 

EkhartYoga members have unlimited access to over 2,500 classes, plus guided programmes and playlists of classes made by other members. Try us out for 1 for your first month and kick start your home yoga practice.


Read more: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/how-to-set-an-intention-in-yoga

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Stretch Your Horizons- Navel Point Yoga


The ancient yogic scriptures claim that all yoga begins at the navel point. The navel is not just a point; it is a center of energy transformation in the body. The navel is the junction of 72,000 nerves in the body, so practicing stretch pose is a tune-up for your entire nervous system. Doing stretch pose first thing in the morning is highly recommended, as it adjusts your navel point and supports deep meditation. It also strengthens the reproductive system, the seat of your creativity and productivity.

Lying on your back with your legs straight and heels touching, lift your head and heels about six inches off the ground. Focus your attention on your toes. The arms are held straight at your sides, palms facing the thighs, but not touching. Hold this position and begin breath of fire, by powerfully exhaling through your nose while pumping the navel. The inhale will come naturally as you concentrate on the navel pump. Start with 1 minute and work up to 3 minutes. Stretch pose—a powerful way to start your day!

For demonstrations and more exercises click the link below.


Read more: http://www.yogamint.com/mints-1/stretch-your-horizons 

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Yoga and injuries – 4 steps to find the positives


Lisa Peterson from EkhartYoga in Supported Bridge pose

26 sep 2017 by Kat Bayly

Let’s face it, being injured is no fun – but can we use it to enhance, rather than limit our yoga practice?

Yoga teaches us that if we do not take care of ourselves, we begin to feel dis-ease within the body. But what if this dis-ease could be a positive force, helping us to become more mindful? Kat explores this issue from a personal perspective…

Step 1 – Admit you have a health concern

A little while ago I finally went to the doctors with lower back pain. For some time I had not wanted to admit to myself that there was anything wrong. I have a dedicated yoga practice, I am young and reasonably fit and I teach yoga. It felt like it was a defeat to admit I wasn’t 100%.

I eventually swallowed my pride and went to the surgery. The doctor was pleasant and told me to keep moving and keep practising yoga. He was positive about Eastern approaches to solving problems like back pain, which I found refreshing. He arranged a physiotherapy appointment.

Since starting physiotherapy, I’ve also developed a sore knee. I haven’t done anything in particular to have caused this as far as I’m aware. It seems to have started hurting of its own accord.

Step 2 – Go through the emotions

With both my lower back and knee hurting most days, my yoga practice has developed into something different than it was a year ago. I originally saw these injuries as problems. I was annoyed that I was now “limited” in my practice. I found practising in the morning too challenging for my lower back and with the addition of my knee pain, it became even more difficult. I also noticed that I could no longer do shoulderstand painlessly until late evening. I found these things irritating. I felt like they were holding me back.

Then I took a long look at what I was doing to my body. I was straining to try and do the things I had been able to do before. I didn’t want to admit ‘defeat’ again. I didn’t want to feel like I was failing. I knew this isn’t what yoga is about; it’s about being gentle, more accepting, and kind to yourself. I realised I had to change my approach.

Step 3 – Change the way you think about your health concerns

I started to view these ‘problems’ as lessons. I saw them as a chance to re-evaluate my yoga practice. One thing I struggle with in my practice is motivation… and one major effect of having an injury was to encourage me to change the ways I do things.

So, I brought my yoga practice back to the mornings as I find this the best time for me if I want a settled mind. However, rather than jumping straight into the postures, I make more of an effort to practise Pranayama (something I had been neglecting because I wanted to be moving and “didn’t have the time” to fit that in too). I now practise meditation before anything else. These seated positions help to open my knee slowly before the asanas. My asana practice then begins with some gentle exercises from the physiotherapist for my back, again giving my body time to adjust to the movements.

The issue with my knee has encouraged me to adjust many yoga postures. During forward bends, I no longer work towards getting my chest to my thighs. Instead, I focus on how it feels behind my knees. What are my hamstrings are telling me? Are they suggesting to keep my knees slightly bent? What’s my lower back saying during the forward bend? Is it happier with knees bent and upper back slightly more rounded?

My injuries have allowed me to see where I may have been putting undue strain on my body. They have helped me to completely lose the idea of looking a certain way when in a posture. I am no longer practising for the final posture but for somewhere I feel comfortable. I am much more in tune with my body.

My injuries have allowed me to see where I may have been putting undue strain on my body. They have helped me to completely lose the idea of looking a certain way when in a posture.

Ultimately, these injuries have taught me to move more mindfully, to appreciate and notice how my body feels when I move and to slow down, both on and off the mat.

Step 4 – Be kind to yourself

Sometimes, when you’ve been practising consistently for a number of years you may find you’re ‘aiming’ for the most challenging postures and stop practising the gentler ones which are kinder to your body. When or if we find ourselves with injuries from yoga or elsewhere, it can be a good opportunity to revist those ‘beginners’ postures. It can encourage us to reconnect to how it feels to find our body for the first time. Remember your first yoga class – your body may have been resistant but with regular practice, it probably didn’t stay that way.

I have learnt that by taking a step back in my practice and listening to my body, I can help soothe those aches and pains. And the more time I give myself to heal, the more I am actually practising the real message behind yoga.

Practise in class

EkhartYoga members – put this into practise on the mat in Marlene Smit’s class: Practise self love – 60 mins / All levels / Yin / Kundalini-inspired:

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