Camel Pose (Ustrasana) is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body. It’s the deepest backbend and is frequently incorporated into vinyasa practices with several different modifications. Camel Pose, and backbends like it, can be physically challenging and beneficial. Ustrasana is a great, deep backbend that is accessible for most students because it requires less strength and more spinal flexibility.
Known as a “heart opening” yoga pose, Ustrasana stimulates and balances both the fourth and fifth chakras, located at the heart and throat centers. For many yoga practitioners, the heart and throat centers are often closed off and protected; some examples of this would be slouching and poor posture. For this reason, practicing Ustrasana can sometimes stir up emotions more than other poses. It is important to keep a calm awareness of your feelings when practicing this pose; fear of your emotions can create stiffness in the body and may lead to injury.
*Caution: Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing high or low blood pressure, insomnia, or a migraine. Also avoid this pose if you have any neck injuries. Never to force your body into the pose. Practice a modified version until you have increased flexibility and strength you need to safely go deeper. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. Always talk with your doctor before starting any yoga regimen.
It has been said that people who practice meditation are more peaceful, grounded and calm than those who do not practice meditation. The secret to thіѕ mау lie in the higher concentration levels achieved by the people who perform meditation. Meditation provides а path to our inner self. Meditation helps in balancing the mind; it controls breathing, and changes our оvеrаll outlook towards life. Meditation involves focusing of the mind to gain an elevated state of consciousness. Meditation has existed in ѕоmе form, for more than 5000 years, in all cultures and religions around the world. People all оvеr the world are becoming fit conscious, but what еvеrуbоdу ѕееmѕ to forget іѕ that the secret of happiness and well-being lies in the mind. The following meditation techniques given below are а way to cleanse the mind from anxiety, fears and tension.
Meditation to Help You Relax
Bеfоrе starting with the techniques, the following tips саn improve and enhance уоur experience of meditation:
The term 'vipassana' refers to seeing things аѕ thеу асtuаllу are. Thіѕ meditation іѕ а self-observation technique. It opens the window of our mind to make it aware of the feelings, sensations, thoughts, smells, sounds and images experienced. To practice thіѕ technique, sit in а quiet place with eyes closed. One has to mеrеlу experience еvеrуthіng that іѕ going through hіѕ or her mind. Do not react or get blinded by memories. Thіѕ will help to achieve self-transformation through self-observation. It helps to focus on the deep interconnection bеtwееn the mind and the body. It helps to delve into the roots of the mind, to make it free from mental anguish, frustration and pain. Vipassana meditation helps to cleanse the mind so it can attain a clearer and calmer state.
Yoga nidra meditation іѕ а simple, but quite effective. It іѕ а stunning method whісh involves reaching deeper levels of awareness аѕ we sleep. Yoga nidra meditation іѕ performed by lying down on the floor in а sleeping position. Keep the legs араrt with the arms away from the body. The entire body ѕhоuld be in а relaxed state. After thіѕ, close your eyes and concentrate on еvеrу part of the body. The key іѕ to feel the sensations in the body, аѕ you shift consciousness from one part of the body to the оthеr. Experience the vibrations, the warmth and the sensations, in еvеrу part. Start from right toe fingers to the head. You саn аlѕо say positive things in уоur mind, аѕ уоu are concentrating on all the parts one by one. Thіѕ technique will slowly help уоu to fall asleep, making уоu free from stress and fears of life.
There are seven high energy points or chakras in our body. Thеу are located at the top of the head, on the forehead, in the throat, in the center of the chest, аbоvе the navel, at the sacral bone and at the base of the spine. Each of thеѕе chakras are representative of various powers of consciousness. The chakra meditation involves focusing the mind on each of thеѕе chakras for 3 - 4 minutes. Each of the chakras іѕ said to govern different aspects of our body. Thіѕ technique involves relaxation and enlightening of each of thіѕ chakra, ѕо аѕ to benefit еvеrу aspect of our life.
Thеѕе were just а few basic and helpful techniques whісh уоu саn try. In thіѕ era of stress and insecurity, we ѕhоuld make meditation а way of life. Inѕtеаd of finding happiness outside, we ѕhоuld find it in our inner self, through meditation.
Yoga is ideal for women who are thinking about getting pregnant or having trouble conceiving. Yoga has been shown to greatly help promote general relaxation and reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Research also suggests that yoga may significantly help to promote conception on a physiological level. The three main health benefits of yoga: reducing stress, improving circulation and increasing flexibility (especially in the pelvic and hip area)—all fertility boosters; are key for conceiving, not to mention having a comfortable pregnancy and healthy delivery.
Yoga for fertility focuses on the centers of the body or “chakras” associated with fertility and reproduction. In particular it uses specially designed yoga poses that open the pelvis and stimulate the second chakra located just below the naval. This vital center has long been associated with fertility and creativity. More than just improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, yoga for fertility helps relax the body and restore physical and emotional balance.
The above yoga poses for fertility can be practiced at home. If you would like to find a Yoga for Fertility class in your community visit www.yogaforfertilityresources.com
*The above article is meant for informational reading only and should NOT be replaced by advice from your physician. As always, seek the advice from your healthcare professional before beginning any yoga practice.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. These are a system of seven energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioral characteristics and stages of spiritual growth. Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you to align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. Understanding how to fine tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body and spirit.
There are seven chakras, each associated with a different part of the body along the spine from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is associated with a particular body location, a color, a central emotional/behavioral issue, as well as many other personal aspects including identity, goals, rights, etc.
The seven chakras are:
Muladhara - base of the spine
Svadhisthana - abdomen, genitals, lower back/hip
Manipura - solar plexus
Anahata - heart area
Visshudha – throat
Ajna – brow
Sahasrara - top of head, cerebral cortex
Through the movements and postures of yoga, you can learn to focus your concentration and energy to and from the various chakras in your body. This can allow you to compensate for areas that may be out of sync with the rest of your body or not active at all. By balancing the energy among all seven of the chakras, balance can be achieved. This spiritual energy is known as Kundalini energy. In its dormant state, it can be visualized as a coiled up snake resting at the base of your spine, the Muladhara chakra. Since the chakras act as valves or pumps regulating the flow of energy through your system, controlled and purposeful movements such as yoga can be extremely beneficial in realigning your chakras in a way that can cause great benefits to you in your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Above are 7 yoga poses to help balance your chakras.
The art of chakra healing has been used for centuries to balance important energy centers in our body called chakras. We can use a number of different tools such as stones or meditation during chakra balancing. The end result will be a physically healthier body and a happier, more peaceful you.
According to practitioners of chakra healing, we all have seven primary chakras that correspond with vital areas of our bodies and emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives. The seven chakras form a line from the base of your spine to the top of your head. Chakras have their own color, vibrational frequency, and symbol. For example, the first chakra is found at the base of the spine and is known as the root chakra. This chakra governs the spinal column, kidneys, legs, feet, rectum, and immune system. So, when this chakra is out of balance, it may lead to lower back pain, varicose veins, leg cramps, rectal conditions, depression, as well as immune related disorders. A lack of balance in the root chakra may be caused by feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, or family concerns.
Other chakras include the sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow, and crown chakras. Each energy center must be vibrating at the proper frequency independent of one another in order for the entire body to vibrate in harmony. Therefore, each chakra is equally important to optimal functioning of the body according to the chakra healing tradition.
Many powerful tools can affect the vibration of the chakra, and that’s where chakra balancing comes into play. Chakra stones, the human voice, music, chants, mantras and chakra meditation bring the frequency of the chakras back into proper vibrational alignment. For example, the root chakra is greatly affected by the hematite, onyx, ruby or garnet gemstones. During chakra healing a practitioner may use one or all of these chakra stones to cleanse your root chakra and bring it into harmony.
Chakra meditation may also be used to open up your chakra centers and improve the flow of positive psychic energy in your body. During meditation you simply concentrate on each of the chakras starting with the first one and working your way up to your crown chakra. By imagining the flow of energy from chakra to chakra, you are helping to remove blockages in each energy center that might be causing pain and disease.
Because the chakras govern every organ and system in your body, chakra healing has far reaching health implications. Chakra balancing can lead to improved heart, lung, and brain, immune and digestive function and may also help with depression, anxiety, and other emotional imbalances. Many believe that the chakras have the power to transform your life both physically and spiritually. It is only when our chakras are in sync that we can truly access higher levels of consciousness.
If the powerful art of chakra healing sounds intriguing to you, visit an experienced chakra healer. A good healer will ask you plenty of questions about your health in order to pinpoint which of your chakras are the most blocked or unbalanced. From there he or she may employ any number of tools to help lead your energy centers into harmonious vibration.
If you are wondering what the connection is between yoga and sex you are not alone. Many people automatically think that there can’t be a connection there. But, it is important to know that yoga can help you have better sex. In fact, many people including fitness instructors, and medical professionals recommend yoga for improved intimacy.
What is important to remember is that being fit in general is likely to give you more self-confidence. When your self-confidence levels are high, your satisfaction in the bedroom will automatically increase. It will still actually increase even if the sex doesn’t change at all! How amazing is that? Practicing yoga and exercising in general can also provide a better awareness of your body. This is important to having a good sex life. You may notice things about your body when you practice yoga, or just stretch. You can begin to better understand your body, its flexibility, and your limits. This alone can help to improve your sex life.
The art of yoga relies on body awareness, body movement, and breathing. Many experts say that these three components are important to having healthy intimacy levels. In fact, did you know that by practicing yoga, your sex life will improve even if it wasn’t your goal or the main purpose for you taking up yoga?
As previously stated, when you have better body awareness, you are more likely to enjoy sex. Body awareness is one of the many foundations that yoga is built on. Being aware of your body can help to give you a better image of yourself, which can, in turn, increase your sex drive and ignite passion.
As for the breathing in yoga, it is so much more than just taking a breath while sitting on the couch at home. The breathing that yoga calls for actually helps to make your spine and your pelvis stronger. What does this mean for intimacy? It can result in better action and movement. You may find yourself being able to have sex longer. Your ability to try new sex positions also improves.
If your significant other isn’t currently practicing yoga, encourage them to try it! Practicing yoga together can also be quite rewarding.
Try these five poses to add a little zing to your sex life:
1. Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana): Improves libido by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region.
2. Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana): Reverses blood flow, decreases anxiety and stress, relaxes mind and body.
3. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): Helps to lessen PMS and menopause symptoms and promotes healthy functioning of the reproductive organs.
4. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana): As you move through cat/cow, the kegel muscles strengthen as they work to control the tailbone. Strong, healthy kegel muscles produce better, more controlled orgasms.
5. Cobra (Bhujangasana): A, It’s a heart opener. The pose opens the heart chakra, opening it to the possibilities of love. B, it’s an energizing pose, which is good for those who are often too tired for sex.
*This article was previously published by me for Gaia.com
The Sanskrit salutation “Om namah shivaya” ( pronounced as Aum Num-ha Shi-why), can be translated as: "I bow to Shiva." Shiva is the supreme reality, the inner Self. It is the name given to consciousness that dwells in all. Shiva is the name of your true identity- your self. Each of us has unlimited possibilities stretched out ahead of us, regardless of who we are, where we live, what we do or how old we are. It’s interesting to take a moment to bow to the possibilities. Inevitably something specific leaps to mind. Perhaps a physical goal, some mental hurdle or maybe even a spiritual seeking comes into focus.
As Yogis, we try to step back from the chatter, the planning and the desire that comes up when we contemplate those possibilities. There is an art to acknowledging potential without becoming overwhelmed by it or chasing after it. The key is to stay present. We explore this on the mat by placing ourselves in different physical postures or using varied this in the safe environment of the Yoga space, we may find this skill naturally extending into the other areas of our lives so that we can experience the fullness of our potential while staying grounded in the present.
Yoga offers you the opportunity to explore your potential in whatever aspect you choose; physically, emotionally, spiritually or any combination. Within Yoga there are a number of different styles and each one appeals to different people for different reasons. Yoga teaches us to be more present. As the Shiva force begins to manifest within us, it creates a certain pressure inside our minds and nervous systems for us to purify, to change, and to transcend. As we allow its currents to move, they will facilitate a deeper healing that dissolves our problems not merely suppressing them. Yoga helps us return to that path of previous great Yogis and sages whose blessings can guide us along the way, step by step.
You may have heard of the term chakras if you practice yoga on a regular basis. Chakras are based on ancient Hindu texts and refer to energy centers that run from the top of the head to the base of the spine. The first chakra, called the root chakra, can be found at the bottom of the spine and anal area. It is related to feelings of being grounded and secure financially, physically and mentally. Blockages in this chakra may occur if you consistently feel stressed about money or health issues. You can help to unblock the first chakra by engaging in these yoga poses at home.
A forward fold, or standing uttanasana, is a yoga pose intended to stretch the hamstrings in the backs of the legs. This exercise can help to unblock the first chakra by increasing flexibility of the legs to help ground you. Tight muscles indicate to the body that you are always in flight mode and ready to run away. This infers a sense of insecurity and instability which can lead to nervousness, anxiety and fear. Ground yourself by doing a standing forward bend a few times a day: Stand tall with feet about hip-width apart and arms overhead. Keeping the back straight, extend the arms in front of you as you bend from the waist to lower hands to the floor. Keep the abdominal muscles actively engaged throughout the bend to help support the lower back. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds before slowly returning to standing position.
The head-to-knee pose, also referred to as Janu Sirsasana in yogic terms, helps ground the body to unblock the root chakra. According to "Yoga Journal," this pose can instill calmness and the ability to slow down and root oneself in one place. This can be particularly helpful if you are constantly rushing, unable to make a decision or recently endured a physical move that you are unsettled about. Do this pose at home by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Sit on a small cushion if you feel any low back pain or have excessive tightness in the hips. Inhale as you bend the left knee to bring the left foot in towards your perineum to touch the right inner thigh. Keeping your back straight, raise your arms overhead and slowly reach towards your right lower leg to try and reach your right ankle. Don't worry if you are unable to reach your foot; rather, stretch as far as you comfortably can. Hold this stretch for approximately 20 to 30 seconds before rising and repeat on the opposite leg.
Child's pose is a grounding pose that can bring a sense of peace and calmness to your body and mind. Execute this exercise whenever you feel restless, stressed, tired or at the end of a long day. Begin by kneeling on the floor with your legs tucked underneath your body so that you are sitting on your heels. The big toes of your feet should be touching. Spread your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart while keeping your feet in the same position under your buttocks. Bend your forehead to the ground as you extend your arms in front of your body. Alternatively, you can rest your arms behind you at your sides. Inhale and exhale deeply in this pose for five to 10 breaths or as long as you need to feel relaxed.
Savasana, also known as corpse pose, is a restorative posture typically done at the beginning and end of a yoga session to center the mind and body. You can do this exercise at home regularly to unblock the first chakra and help bring a sense of security and peace to your life. Simply lie on a mat on the floor with palms facing up, legs about a couple feet apart and fingers and toes relaxed. Close your eyes as you progressively tense and then relax all the muscles in your body starting from the feet up to your head. As you contract your muscles, picture squeezing all the negative energy and thoughts inside of you. When you relax, envision letting all of that negative energy out into the universe. Stay relaxed in savasana pose for five to 10 minutes to completely relax and shut out outside problems.
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