Is Yoga the answer? Why are so many people choosing to ignore the warning signs that are causing major concerns towards their health - environmental hazards which are out of our control but very much a part of our lives is becoming a worry to us all. Then we have another health issue - stress, which is destroying people's lives with energies of destruction affecting how they live.
Is Yoga the answer? Stress/anxiety affects people in different ways so it is important - before buying over the counter any pills or remedy powders is to consult a doctor. Depression can cause so much pain and suffering to a patient in the way of taking over - how they think - what they do or how they act. For a person not to be in control of their own actions is a serious situation therefore you need to talk to someone if you feel that you are experiencing anxious moments.
Is Yoga the answer? Stress and anxiety symptoms can be sedated and calmed with the right treatment and medication - but any advice on what should be administered for easing these discomforts should be from a doctor or herbalist if you choose the natural way for help. If your health or that of your family is giving you reason for concern then consider yoga. Is Yoga the answer, Yoga is proving to be a great antidote for stress related ailments. They say do not knock it till you try it and this goes for yoga also. Stress is a troubling mind meddler where in some unfortunate cases - patients have been hospitalized. Depending on the seriousness of the illness - mild yoga techniques can help.
Body awareness is the main issue when joining a yoga class. By knowing the mechanics on body parts like muscles - joints and organs can help you nip in the bud many uncontrollable body function outbursts before they start
Is Yoga the answer in helping combat stress? Stress problems are addressed with a type of yoga that helps control the mind in the form of meditation exercises. Meditation is a common Yoga type exercised by millions worldwide. Even the medical world believes that Yoga is proving to be very beneficial to suffering patients. It is now a common practice by doctors all over the world to refer patients on a regular basis to perform these exercises in the way of a medicinal fix - naturally. Is Yoga the answer - Yes (depending on the patient and the illness?)
*The above article is for informational/educational purposes only and should never replace the advice of your healthcare professional! Talk to your physician prior to beginning any yoga practice if you have any health issues or concerns.
It's a terrible feeling; you’re all tucked in bed, cozy, the room temperature is perfect, the lights are dimmed low, but you can’t seem to fall asleep no matter how hard you try! We’ve all experienced this at one time or another at bedtime. Nothing is more frustrating than that feeling. Many people experience this and end up groggy and lethargic the next morning. Whatever energy you have quickly diminishes throughout the day, and no matter how sleepy you are that night, you still have trouble sleeping. If you want to stay healthy, feel and look your best, consistent quality sleep is a necessity.
Thankfully, getting a good night’s sleep is easier than you think; and it doesn’t involve supplements or doctor visits. It is simply meditation techniques for sleep — an effective, natural solution for anyone who wants a more natural approach to achieve deep, rejuvenating sleep, and awaken feeling refreshed and recharged.
Effective Meditation Techniques for Sleep
The key to a good night’s sleep is relaxation. Meditation prior to bed is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body (those experiencing long term insomnia should consult their doctor if this persists). Below some techniques to try that may make falling asleep easier.
One of the simplest and most effective techniques is meditation music. Sleep comes easily if you listen to soft, soothing music just before bed. While listening to this music, perform simple breathing exercises to bring your breathing to а stable rhythm. This is great for stress relief as well as, making you more calm and relaxed. A suggestion would be to use а CD player with а remote control so that you can turn it off when you’re ready to sleep or plugging your earphones into your mobile phone and relaxing with a meditation app that offers music for sleep.
"BY [MEDITATING] EACH NIGHT, SLUMBER CAN BECOME A REALITY INSTEAD OF A ‘DREAM.’” —ORA NADRICH
This technique involves your imagination. To begin, get into а comfortable position in your bed. Once you’re comfortable, try a slow breathing exercise to relax your mind and body. A relaxed mind, devoid of thoughts, is capable of vivid imagination. Clear your mind and picture yourself in а place which represents peace and quiet to you. Continue to imagine yourself in this place, doing an activity that helps to keep you calm. This technique can also involve another person as a guide too. This person can guide you through your journey to this peaceful place. Keep in mind, the place that you imagine should be your own idea. Choosing to be in а place that someone else is imagining will not help you because what’s peaceful for person may not be for someone else.
This technique requires а fair amount of concentration. To begin, get in а relaxed position, this can be your bed or even a comfortable reclining chair. Close your eyes, and slowly begin to sense each part of your body (this is called full body scan). Start at the top of your head all the way down to your feet. While doing this, begin to feel the blood coursing through your veins. Feel the circulation. Now, slowly begin to feel your pulse in every part of your body. As you feel your pulse, recognize the warm sensation that is flowing throughout your entire body. As you recognize this you will feel а tingling sensation in every part that your mind is picturing. Once your entire body has been scanned, open your eyes. You should feel much more relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Muscle Contraction and Relaxation
This is yet another simple and effective technique for sleep. Begin with your toes, squeeze them for about ten seconds and then release. Feel the sensation. Repeat this technique, moving upwards in your body, alternatively squeezing and relaxing the muscles. This method helps to increase and improve blood circulation helping you to unwind from the day and thus aiding in sleep.
These were just some meditation techniques to help you relax and drift off to sleep. By trying one of these tonight you will see how refreshed you will feel tomorrow morning.
While Padmasana (Lotus Pose) may seem simple, it is considered an intermediate to advanced pose and may not be comfortable for beginners. Lotus Pose is sitting cross-legged with the spine vertically straight, making it ideal for meditation and concentration.
Padmasana in Sanskrit, comes from the words padma (meaning lotus) and sana (meaning seat or throne). The lotus, a sacred aquatic plant, is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols and one of Buddhism’s most recognized motifs. Traditional Hindu texts says that Padmasana destroys all disease and awakens kundalini (a dormant energy residing at the base of the spine that can be awakened through meditation and yoga).
Getting into Lotus Pose
Avoid practicing this pose if you have recent or chronic injury to the knees, ankles, or hips. Lotus Pose requires a great deal of flexibility and self-awareness to be performed correctly. If you do not yet have the flexibility to practice this pose, practice Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana) or Easy Pose (Sukhasana) until you become more flexible.
Remember to always practice yoga within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, talk with your doctor prior to any yoga practice.
Finding balance in yoga can be challenging. Even though you’ve created a space on your mat to be present, there can still be a lot of distractions that make balancing on one foot with the opposite leg extended pretty difficult! If Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) has you feeling a bit un-balanced (pun intended),then these five tips will help you find your balance.
Find Your Drishti
If you've taken a yoga class or practiced with yoga videos at home then I’m sure you’ve heard the yoga teacher say to find your drishti, or focus, in practice. When you concentrate on an object or a gazing point in front of you, you minimize distractions or negative thoughts that might come up in a balancing posture.
Clear your mind and shift your focus on the breath. With so many other things to concentrate on in a balancing pose, it’s easy to lose your breath. This only makes it harder! Use your breath as a way to focus, and a way to find your fullest expression.
Focus on Alignment
Maintaining proper alignment is integral in balancing postures. Stacking your joints, relaxing your shoulders down your back and keeping your core engaged will not only ensure you keep a solid foundation and focus, but it will also help you strengthen your muscle memory.
Have a Solid Foundation
Establishing a solid foundation is one of the most important steps in finding balance. When you stand on one foot, the standing leg is basically doing the work of two feet. Keeping this is mind, set up for balancing poses by rooting down your energy first. Make sure your “roots” (your footing) is on solid and stable ground. You can’t grow your tree without roots!
It’s Okay to Fall
Even those who have been practicing yoga for many years fall. Falling is a sign of exploration! Accepting that you might fall will automatically relax your mind, the most powerful element in balancing postures. When you inevitably wobble, get back up and try again. Acceptance and perseverance are both part of a growing yoga practice.
Yoga can sometimes be challenging. We all face challenges in our yoga practice. Challenges on the yoga mat aren’t usually as hard as the everyday challenges we face in life. What do you do when you tell yourself you can’t do something? How does it make you feel and what do you do about it?
So, what if you can’t touch your toes, stand on your head or bind your hands together in an asana? Or perhaps the challenge is getting on your mat consistently?
It doesn’t matter if you can do fancy yoga poses. What matters is how you learn to embrace what seems impossible. Can you work at something again and again that you tell yourself you can’t do? If you can manifest this attitude on your yoga mat, you can bring this new skill into your life. Imagine how much more you can achieve! You will find that the willingness to step into the space of what you thought was impossible, gradually, yet consistently, gives life more meaning and possibilities. Yoga has taught me patience and perseverance and sometimes I feel unstoppable.
How can you meet the difficulties on your yoga mat? Here are some tips:
As challenging as some yoga postures may seem, the key is perseverance. Listen to your body and safely explore your limitations, don't get overwhelmed, figure out where the challenges lie, don't take yourself too seriously and don't let resistance overpower you. Accept yoga as a lifestyle that needs to be learned and practiced with gratitude and patience.
The practice of yoga has been around for years benefiting both mental and physical health. These benefits help to improve balance, increase flexibility and strength, reduce cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Yoga can even trigger and boost energy thanks to deep breathing (pranayama), energizing both the body and mind. Yoga can be a great way to clear the mind and calm your stress. So, skip the morning cup of coffee and practice these seven yoga poses for more energy! It’s a quick and natural way to charge up your morning without coffee, energy drinks, or cold showers.
Tree Pose (Vriksasana) strengthens your spine and improves neuromuscular coordination. The pose elevates your mental faculties and builds strength in your shoulders. It stretches your chest, inner thighs and improves your sense of balance.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana) stretches your torso, hips and lower back. It increases your mind’s determination and stimulates your heart. The pose relieves joint and back pains. It tones your legs and strengthens your calves. Utkatasana increases the power and flexibility of your thighs.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) opens your chest and the front of your torso. It strengthens your back and shoulders. The pose alleviates pain in the lower back and makes your spine more flexible. It strengthens your thighs and arms. Ustrasana tones your neck and cures constipation.
Bridge Pose gives strength to your legs, arms, buttocks and lower back. It stimulates the thyroid gland. The pose helps with asthma and stretches your core. It reduces depression and makes you feel energetic and full of life.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) strengthens and stretches the joints and muscles of your legs. It reduces blood pressure and increases the intake of oxygen into your body. The pose treats urinary disorders and reduces stiffness in the hip, back and shoulder regions.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) stimulates the digestive system and tones the organs of your lower abdomen. It regulates metabolism and gives your lungs a good stretch. This pose improves blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body. It elevates your mind and decreases stiffness in the lower back.
Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a wonderful grounding, nurturing pose perfect to counter busy-ness and over-stimulation of the mind; allowing you to rest, slow down and breathe. It also helps to soothe a stiff lower back.
I live in a small apartment, so I sleep, work, live, and practice yoga in the same room. I don’t have the luxury of separate rooms/spaces to practice; there’s just enough space for my yoga mat on the floor. However, the act of moving a chair out of the way, lighting a candle, and rolling out my mat has become a little ritual that creates the mental space for me to practice yoga. Creating a proper yoga space in your home is essential for practicing yoga. Having the space will also encourage you to practice yoga more often, which can help reduce your stress and improve your health.
When Stuck with Small Spaces, Make the Space Multi-Functional
Designing a yoga space with 6 feet in all directions may seem impossible to the apartment dweller stuck with small rooms, but you can design the area by making the space multi-functional. The best way to do this is to fill the area you set aside with easy-to-move furniture and storage items, like a storage unit on wheels or easy-to-lift chairs and a coffee table. When you want to practice yoga, wheel or carry the furnishings into the hallway or wherever else you have space (like the kitchen or a closet). Comfortable apartment living means making the most of all of your space and you can set aside adequate clear space for yoga by making sure the area has other functions when you’re not using it for yoga.
Make Sure the Area is Quiet
When choosing your yoga space, you should try to pick the quietest area in your home where you can make the room. Because yoga so heavily relies on your ability to relax and free your mind of distractions, you don’t want to be inundated with traffic noises, noisy neighbors and barking dogs. You can also play relaxing music to drown out the other noises and help you set the mood.
Set the Mood with Lighting
Although not always avoidable, practicing yoga under the harsh glare of the light-bulb can make your practice less relaxing. Practicing yoga with natural sunlight can lift your spirits, if natural sunlight is not available to you, using dimmed light bulbs or battery-operated candles can give you enough light to see what you’re doing but also help relax you by keeping the room slightly darker with less glare. Remember that a proper yoga space allows for adequate movement, is quiet and relaxing and, as an apartment dweller, is easy to use for another function when you’re not practicing. Even in the smallest of spaces, you can make a space for yoga when you use these principles to create the space.
Having a home practice means that I can practice yoga regularly, and tailor it to the amount of time I have and what I need that day. I try to go to my Mysore-style yoga at least twice a week to make sure I’m maintaining good form and have a sense of yoga community.
Savasana is from the Sanskrit word "shava," which means "corpse." To do this pose, lie on your back, close your eyes, and spread your arms and legs apart. Keep your eyes closed. Your palms should face upwards. Savasana brings closure to your yoga practice, promotes deep relaxation, and helps your body and mind assimilate the previous yoga poses so you can reap their many benefits.
Usually Savasana is performed with the legs turned out. Sometimes though, after a long practice or for those who have lower back problems, it may feel good to do this pose with the legs bent and knees touching (as seen in the smaller picture above). You may also wish to use a yoga strap. Take a strap and make a small loop. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and slip the loop over your big toes. Lie back and turn your thighs inward, sliding your heels apart. The loop will help maintain the inward turn of the legs.
·If you have any back injuries or discomfort: Do this pose with your knees bent and your feet on the floor (as seen in the picture), hip-distance apart; or support the bent knees on a bolster or pillow.
·Pregnancy: Raise your head and chest on a bolster.
Yoga can be a spiritual as well as a physical practice and therefore is beneficial at any time of the day. However, there times that are better for our own practice depending upon schedule, body and personality type. A morning person may need the stimulating effects of certain asanas to start the day, while someone who is slow to wake may be warmed up and ready to practice by sunset.
Early morning before sunrise is considered a spiritually charged time of the day in the Vedic tradition and is therefore ideal for yoga. Morning yoga will ease you into gentle movements shortly after you awaken in the morning. Sun Salutations are great for waking up the body, and after lots of movement and balancing, you can ease into some gentle inversions and heart openers. If your hips and spine are feeling open at this point – dive into the heart openers, like camel, bridge and wheel. These postures will leave you feeling awake and rejuvenated – maybe even more than your morning cup of coffee! Also, indulge in an extra-long headstand or shoulder stand to send fresh oxygen into your head. This will also allow you to feel ready to face your day.
Yoga before bed can be relaxing and contribute to a restful sleep. The perfect evening yoga practice should soothe and relax you after a long day. If you’re practicing later in the evening however (within a few hours of going to bed), you’ll want to resist moving into big heart openers and energizing inversions. You may want to practice soothing surrender postures like half pigeon and seated forward fold. Twists are also incredibly relaxing in the evening as well. Focus on breathing in positions such as Child’s pose, which stretches the back muscles and aids digestion. Just be aware how you feel and what you need.
There is no time of day that is “perfect” for everyone when it comes to yoga practice. The best rule to follow is the one of no distraction. Choose to practice at a time when you are least likely to be interrupted, whether it be early morning or late at night. The most benefits are yielded when fully conscious of each movement.
Consistency is also key in yoga practice perhaps even more than when you choose to practice. The more you do the same poses regularly, the more you will notice how your practice is producing change within your body and your life. The time of day we practice yoga should determine what postures we practice, and being aware of which postures are energizing and which ones are soothing.
Pay attention to which postures affect your energy levels at which time of day, and this will empower you to practice exactly when your body needs it. Remember – you are your best teacher!
Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service. Bhakti yoga deals with devotion to God and achieving the union with Him. This style of yoga teaches the relation between the devotee and the divine. It does not involve any technical or complicated procedures. There is no need of any intellectual capacity to master this yoga. It has appealed to the common man because it gives him a feeling security and develops a kind of reliance and dependence on the object of his devotion.
The path of bhakti-yoga is developed through a variety of activities. These include mantra meditation, or the chanting of the names of God. The chanting is done either individually on beads (japa) or in a community by chanting mantras accompanied by music (kirtan). The study of sacred texts such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with like-minded spiritual postulants, eating blessed vegetarian food, and living in a way that upholds the principles of truthfulness, mercy, austerity, and cleanliness, are all core practices for a follower of bhakti.
Bhakti yoga assumes that there is a higher power that has created the universe and is all-powerful. This power has the capacity to confer grace and mercy thus protecting the believer from all the harms and evils. The devotee or bhakta is expected to make themselves fit for receiving this divine grace. For this, one should practice devotion and virtue. The goal should be to unite with this divine power and rest eternally in happiness and peace. The devotee surrenders all motives and acts to the Divine Power. They renounce all responsibilities towards the good or bad consequences of all their actions and ascribes it to the will of the Supreme.
Devotion and faith play a vital role in this branch of yoga. The devotee or bhakta should be highly religious, should adopt a friendly stance towards all the other living beings including animals, read religious texts, concentrate on the symbol of the Divine, think and wish well for others etc. The beauty of this yoga lies in its simplicity. This has made it one of the most appealing of all the yoga types. Following this yoga develops the peace of mind in an individual. A peaceful individual will always think happy and prosperous thoughts and will thus lead a happy life.
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