There are several medical conditions that can be improved by practicing yoga. It can be used to lessen the negative effects of infertility, lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, cancer, high blood pressure, and joint pain. The beneficial effects of yoga practices are well recognized not only by the yoga community but also by physicians. One of the main elements that lead to many illnesses is stress. Being responsible for a huge number of sicknesses, this item, which we develop in our minds, can be reduced through a good usage of yoga techniques. Here are just some of the problems that are related to an over active stress response: depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some types of diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, several autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, reproductive problems, and an aggravated suppression of the immune system.
The response of the sympathetic nervous system can trigger stress in our metabolism. The reaction to various outside stimuli is also known as the “fight or flight” response – the mind and body, faced with an endangering or disturbing element, prepare for one of the two options. Physically, this is manifested through rapid heart rate increase, together with a high ascent of blood pressure. Breathing gets shallow and the muscles tense in anticipation to the following action. Internally, this response reduces the blood flow to internal organs and processes that are not essential in that particular moment (such as digestion and elimination) are shut down. This state of increased awareness and readiness is beneficial on a short term, preparing our body to react to the outside interventions and stimuli. Both in a “fight” and in a “flight” situation, the body is physically and mentally prepared to act. The problem arises when long-term exposure to similar stress takes place. This “fight or flight” response is only meant to help on short periods of time – the longer it is activated the less resources will the body have to function normally.
There is a natural countermeasure for the “fight or flight” response. It is called the parasympathetic nervous system or the “relaxation response.” It is automatically activated when the elements that caused the stress are gone but it is also possible to increase its effects by breathing deeply and relaxing your muscles. By increasing the length of this process we allow our body to recover faster, enabling it to eliminate the harmful effects of stress in a prompt and efficient manner.
Yoga highlights the idea that by using breathing and relaxation techniques you can reduce the harmful effects of stress factors on your body. A lessened “fight or flight” response can also be achieved by looking at adverse factors as challenges rather than threats. This approach allows your mind to focus on finding a solution, rather than creating an abrupt response. Another concept employed by this technique is that of acting versus reacting, of taking initiative versus responding to outside factors.
The positive effects of yoga during a healing process are irrefutable. However, these techniques should only be used as a form of support and the healing shouldn’t rely solely on them. The best results are achieved by combining yoga with traditional Ayurveda and modern medicine and by addressing the problem both from a mental and physical point of view.
Studies have shown that yoga is the secret to finding more meaning and overall happiness in your life. How? Yoga is not just a series of stagnant poses; and though it can help to lose weight, it’s much more than that. Here are 6 ways how yoga can change your life:
1. Yoga helps you stay focused
In life there are many distractions making you forget your life’s purpose. Many people spend their free time on social media or watching television. Yoga can increase your concentration. This means that your attention will be boosted each day because you are becoming aware of what you are “actively” doing. Additionally, yoga can help you realize your dreams/goals and start working towards making them a reality.
2. Yoga relieves stress
Life has many ups and downs that may cause one to become depressed. When you begin to practice yoga, you will not be overly concerned about problems. This is because yoga quiets the mind. Fewer thoughts are produced at slower rates, helping to clear the excess noise. Having a clear mind helps you make better decisions, feel centered and calm.
3. Yoga improves sleep
According to studies yoga can help you sleep better. This is because the exercises work your muscles thus creating a better sleep, which is great for those who suffer from insomnia. The cool-down sequence that comes at the end of a practice may be the reason for the sound sleep. Better sleep translates to a happier day ahead.
4. Yoga helps posture
If you spend most of your days seated, your health may be vulnerable to deterioration. The fact that most yoga exercises require a straight back is the reason behind the proper posture. Spending long days hunched over a computer or mobile device leads to poor posture. However, if you spend some time practicing yoga, you will not only feel better, you will walk taller with pride.
5. Yoga improves mental and physical strength
Yoga is a great workout that can calories. What does this mean? -A physically healthy body. Physical strength is achieved when the muscles are challenged. In yoga, both the body and the mind must work together simultaneously to bring the desired effect. This not only makes you stronger and more flexible, but you also become more stable and open in your way of thinking which helps you to feel more balanced and at ease.
6. Yoga increases self-esteem
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. As you begin to practice yoga, you’ll gain more confidence that you’re worthwhile or, as yoga philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice yoga regularly with an intention of self-examination and improvement; not just as an aerobics class, you begin to see a different side of yourself. You’ll have more gratitude, empathy, forgiveness, and begin to see yourself as part of the Universe, not separated from it.
The benefits of yoga in bringing meaning in your life are not limited to the ones listed here. Other benefits include: connecting with your inner voice, improve your breathing, improving your immunity, eating healthier and making meditation better. It goes without saying that yoga is a sure way of finding more meaning in your life. It can undoubtedly improve the quality of your life. So, what are you waiting for? Start your yoga journey and see the awesome benefits that will follow!
Your adrenal glands are located just above each of your kidneys and play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including balancing hormones. When there is a constant high amount of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, these important little glands become very tired. Their job is doubly hard with challenges like endometriosis, hormonal imbalances and other issues that are becoming common, particularly for many women.
If you're experiencing adrenal fatigue, then you probably already have some of the symptoms including difficulty falling asleep, easily frustrated or irritated, lack of concentration and mood swings. You may be having what could be the result of overworked adrenal glands, and a sustained "fight or flight" response in the body. That may sound like a lot very common symptoms, but unfortunately adrenal fatigue is very common, so the symptoms that arise are sometimes seen in our daily lives as just being “normal”. Because the adrenal glands are so important in regulating our stress response and aiding a huge number of bodily functions (including digestion), the body starts to down-regulate our body’s other less necessary tasks and it’s this down-regulation that often causes the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The main culprit of adrenal fatigue is cortisol, an important hormone that’s become the infamous stress hormone. If you’ve got overactive cortisol, then your body tends to work in overdrive and then crash suddenly when you least expect it.
The one thing to note is that adrenal fatigue can sometimes take a while to develop, and therefore prevention is essential. It is also worth noting that it takes several months to restore balance to the system. My personal experience with recovery has been that there are good days and bad days. The best thing I have learned to do is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – through deep breathing, relaxation and yoga! Above are some fantastic, refreshing and restorative yoga poses to replenish the adrenal glands.
Tips to Begin
Props are a great addition to a restorative yoga practice. If you don't have a bolster roll up a blanket. These poses are best enjoyed in a warm room where you will not be disturbed. Relax in these poses for 3-10 minutes per pose, breathing slowly and consciously through any tension or emotions that arise. The aim of the poses is to allow your body to relax, so if you feel uncomfortable at any point then use pillows or blankets as described, or slowly come out of the pose. Listen to your body and enjoy!
*The above article is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Prior to beginning any exercise regimen including yoga, consult with your physician first.
Kapalabhati is a very important asana and it should be part of your daily practice. This pose is also known as the Fire Breathing Pose, due to intake and outlet of air, with force. The exercise purifies your lungs and nasal passage. It is one of the powerful breathing exercises which help the entire body. It is one of a kind of the breathing exercises in Pranayama. Kapalabhati helps to make the motions of diaphragm very easy and controlled. This helps it to discard the muscle cramps present in bronchial tubes. Lot of force is used to do this asana. While exhaling the process is very strong and while inhaling it is done very calmly. It is a very energizing technique to re-boot all your muscles. It is a cleansing technique which emphasizes on cleaning your air passages and blockages in your chest.
Here are the 5 benefits of practicing the breath of fire:
Cleanses the body of toxins
Kapalabhati clears the body from the constant intake of toxins, thus detoxifying it. This technique helps to replace any toxic air with fresh air. The breathing mainly takes place from the abdomen, as opposed to the chest, and this specifically is what helps to remove the toxic air. Kapala means "the skull" and bhati means "brings lightness." Breathing in this way lightens your skull by extracting problems like sinusitis. This is an invigorating and energizing practice as it fills your stuffy skull with fresh air.
The practice also improves bowel movements which rids the body of the many diseases.
Excellent for respiratory problems
It is also one of the best exercises for asthma patients and people suffering from respiratory problems. This stimulating breath can do wonders for every single tissue in your body. The breathing technique will invigorate your spine.
Increase blood circulation
It is also useful for maintaining blood pressure. The abdominal organs also become strengthened from the pressure applied to these organs while breathing and exhaling. It increases the blood circulation due to fresh supply of blood. It is also useful for removing impurities from the blood.
Tones the abdominal area
The abdominal area is toned with the help of this breathing technique. It helps clear the entire nervous system which proves to be very useful in making the body fit.
Helps with decision making
A sense of calmness is also achieved due to the lightness of the skull. Kapalabhati helps one to think better and make decisions quickly while also keeping the mind alert. This is a wonderful breathing technique to help the mind and soul, as it helps to awaken the spiritual power which heals many problems facing many of us today.
Caution: It is important to exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult with your doctor and an experienced yoga instructor who can best illustrate this breathing technique.
Yoga can be an effective part of a healthy lifestyle, offering many benefits for both the body and the mind. Yoga is also an amazingly way to help your body naturally detox and eliminate excess toxins while improving digestion and the efficiency of your body systems.
It can be a challenge to practice yoga at a studio regularly especially with work schedules, travel time to a studio, available class times, and costs of the class; one’s practice can become sporadic or cease altogether. If you’re struggling to fit yoga into your fitness routine, consider starting your own at-home practice. So whether you’ve taken hundreds of classes in a studio or you’d need a demonstration to be able to do Chaturanga, you can absolutely benefit from an at-home practice.
Here are 5 reasons to practice yoga at home:
1. Be present, NOW
The point of yoga is to relax, clear your head, and free your mind from all the busyness going on and put aside all the things that are consuming your thoughts. The thing about going to a studio, is that this has to happen at a specific time dictated by someone else. Practicing at home, that you can clear your head and mind when you decide you need it most.
2. No Excuses
It’s snowing, it’s too far to drive, the teacher I like is not teaching that day/time, and none of the classes work with my schedule. When you have to go somewhere for a class at a time that someone else chooses, it’s easy to come up with a lot of excuses of why you can’t practice. Practicing yoga at home, there’s no excuses; you and your mat are already in the same room in the right place at the right time.
3. Practice at a time convenient for YOU
As much as I love yoga, sometimes I just don’t have the time to commit to a 90 minute class. Let’s be honest, by the time you get ready, get to the studio a little early to sign in, practice, socialize a bit and drive back home, it’s 2 hours later. At home, you can practice for an hour on your own schedule and if you don’t have much time, you practice for 20 or 30 minutes. The great thing about an at-home practice is you can do it at whatever time is best for you!
4. You can wear what you want
Have you skipped yoga class because you didn’t have the latest lululemon yoga leggings or you just haven’t had the time to find your favorite leggings in that laundry pile? The good news is, that when you practice at home, you can wear whatever you want. You can wear your comfy sweat pants you’re your favorite t-shirt or even your pajamas! After all, the only person who will see you is you. 😊
5. You become the teacher
Practicing yoga at home you can go at your own pace, holding or repeating poses to meet your body’s specific needs on any given day. You can modify (or skip) poses that suit you that day. Practicing yoga at home offers more privacy and no studio distractions. Plus, if you are new to yoga, or not as advanced as other students in a yoga class, there’s no need to worry about not being able to keep up with the yoga teacher or person on the mat next to you.
If you’re interested in starting to practice yoga more (or for the first time) on your own don’t take yourself too seriously! A yoga practice is just that- a practice- not an aim at perfection.
If gift buying, holiday parties and baking holiday treats have you feeling stressed out, sluggish or just plain drained rest assured you are not alone. Here are 5 yoga tips and poses to help relieve some of your holiday stress:
Breathe: This is the simplest and most effective way we can do to calm the nervous system is to breathe deeply with awareness. Sit tall or lie on your back. Close your eyes. Fill your belly with breath on your inhale and release all the air from your lungs on the exhale. Continue for 5-10 minutes resting your awareness solely on your breath and feeling the tension fall a way.
Practice gratitude: We have so many blessings in our lives, whether it’s the food on our plate, the roof over our head or sharing a laugh with a loved one, become aware of the abundance in your life by simply being aware.
Remain dedicated to your yoga practice: It is in times of stress that our yoga practice holds the most importance. By dedicating time to yourself through your practice, you will begin to feel more calm and relaxed. Even a 20-minute home practice will help connect the body and mind, improving concentration and relieving stress.
Have Fun: This may seem difficult, but have fun! Play games with your kids, play in the snow, sing Christmas songs out loud, or watch any funny Christmas movie or cartoon. Finding playfulness in our daily activities helps us to not take ourselves too seriously. It’s hard to feel anxious, sad or angry when you are laughing, so even if it feels a bit fake at first, crack a smile and see what happens.
Cultivate compassion, forgiveness and peace: Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. The key to cultivating happiness is forgiveness; forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self. Holding onto a grudge hurts you in the end. Forgiveness is a choice and it requires a lot of compassion that ultimately leads to peace and we can all use peace in our lives no matter what time of the year.
The kids are out of school for the holidays, the cold weather has got you in a “funk”, your job is stressful and you have no time for yourself. If anyone told you that you could reach a state of physical and emotional bliss with yoga, you may not believe them; but believe it or not, you can beat the blues with yoga!
Yoga is a great mood enhancer that requires no drugs or medications. Like all forms of exercise, yoga releases hormones that help ease feelings of stress that often lead to the blahs, blues, or outright depression. Being active keeps your mind away from negative thoughts, and allows you to gain a greater and clearer perspective on the problems you are facing. People, who are depressed, or simply feeling "down", often lack the motivation to exercise. That's why yoga can be such a great option. It takes far less effort to complete yoga routine as it takes to out to a video or drive to the gym.
When you're feeling down, it may be difficult to think positively. People who are depressed often lack the concentration to detach themselves from their thoughts. Yoga is a "moving meditation", so it is easier to take your mind away from negative thoughts. Our essential inner nature can be blocked by negative thoughts. Apathy, despair, doubt, hopelessness and sleeping too much or too little are all signs of depression that must be addressed. Yoga is designed to bring you closer to your inner truth, naturally helping with some of the symptoms of depression. With a focus on balance, yoga can help to restore mental stability.
There is a definite connection between mind, body and spirit that indicates people can beat the blues with yoga. No other form of exercise alone can achieve these same benefits. Certain yoga postures can influence your mood and help to relieve depression. Yoga postures can help increase low energy levels and relieve lethargy. They are also helpful in opening lung capacity to allow more oxygen to reach all parts of your body, and even your mood. Ask your yoga instructor to help you learn the postures that will balance your moods.
It's also possible to beat the blues with yoga because of the calming effects yoga has on the nervous system. Proper breathing techniques are important elements to practicing yoga, as these can help curb your anxiety and quiet your thoughts, allowing you to concentrate on positive rather than negative energies. As you learn more about yoga, you'll come to understand the connection between your mind and your emotions, and you'll find that they can help each other. Even performing the most basic yoga routines can help lift your spirits. While not physically demanding like other forms of exercise, yoga will make you feel much better at the end of a session. Try it and you'll find that you can beat the blues with yoga!
Caution: If you think you may be suffering with severe depression, seek professional advice. Yoga is a drug-free alternative that can be safely practiced in conjunction with any medication or therapy your doctor orders. Some yoga routines are specifically designed to alleviate depression and taught by instructors who have been extensively trained to understand the most therapeutic positions.
It’s that time of year again when the weather begins to change and the temperatures get much colder. As most people spend more time indoors, the susceptibility of catching a cold rises. You have to drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest and take the regular cold remedies, but practicing yoga during your cold or flu can also help get over your cold faster. Get on your yoga mat, but remember to take things slowly and rest when you feel like you need to rest. Remember that yoga poses for cold and flu should be easy and relaxing poses.
Here are a few yoga poses for cold sufferers:
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): Brings energy to the head and respiratory area; helps clear the sinuses.
Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandhasana): Opens up the chest and increases circulation to the upper torso.
Legs up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Brings energy to the groin and opens the chest area to facilitate breathing.
Supported Bound Angle Pose (Salamba Baddha Konasana): Opens the chest, abdomen, and groins; relaxes the nervous system.
Reclining Twist (Modified Jathara Parivartanasana): Releases physical and stress-based tension.
Widespread Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana): Quiets the internal organs; relaxes the mind.
Corpse Pose (Shavasana, Savasana): Most helpful with a towel roll placed from the lower spine to head to open up your breathing.
*The most important thing in practicing yoga while you’re sick is to wait until you are past the worst stages (or first few days) and regaining some of your energy. Always consult with your physician prior to beginning any yoga practice.
An inversion is any asana in which the head is below the heart; and while Headstand, Handstand, Forearm Stand and Shoulder Stand may come to mind, there are gentler variations that may be more accessible for beginners: Downward Dog, Standing Forward Folds, Legs Up the Wall and Happy Baby are great asanas to start with prior to trying some of the aforementioned poses. The popularity of yoga аll оvеr thе world іѕ due tо thе numerous health benefits associated wіth іt.
Yoga helps іn improving both thе physical and mental strength, as well as enhancing flexibility; thus maintaining оvеrаll health. Secondly, yoga іѕ one оf thе best аnd thе most effective stress reducing techniques. Along wіth meditation, yoga іѕ аlѕо used tо improve concentration. In the case оf yoga inversion, thе head іѕ аt thе base, аnd half thе lower body оr thе entire lower body іѕ аbоvе thе head. Thіѕ way, thе heart іѕ аbоvе thе head. Yoga inversions can sometimes seem to be difficult tо perform whеn compared tо other yoga postures.
Health Benefits оf Inversions іn Yoga
Wіth yoga inversions оr inverted yoga, thе principle of gravity and body's relationship tо іt іѕ changed. Thіѕ helps іn treatment оf several diseases аnd disorders. Thе following аrе ѕоmе оf thе uses оr health benefits оf inverted yoga.
Inversions іn yoga helps іn improving blood circulation. Whеn thе body іѕ upside down, thе heart pumps blood vigorously whісh leads tо increase оf oxygen supply tо thе brain. Thеrеfore, thеrе іѕ а proper blood circulation tо all parts оf thе body. Thіѕ helps іn treatment аnd prevention оf diseases caused due tо poor blood circulation like varicose veins, еtс. Along wіth blood circulation, thе flow оf internal fluids іѕ stimulated due tо thе upside down position. Thіѕ helps іn cleansing аnd detoxifying thе body. Yoga inversions help іn clearing lactic acid built uр іn thе body. Due tо thе inverted position, thе lactic acid gets flushed оut, whісh helps іn treating muscles cramps аnd pain.
Aѕ mentioned аbоvе, inverted yoga may be difficult tо perform. Hоwеvеr, just like strength training, inverted poses help іn toning muscles оf arms, legs and abdomen. Inversion yoga benefits аlѕо include treatment аnd prevention оf bасk pain. Pinched nerves аnd compressed discs аrе ѕоmе оf thе most common causes оf bасk pain іn people. Thеѕе discs саn bе separated by the practice of inverted yoga poses. Thеrе іѕ also аn increased flow оf blood іn thе brain due tо inverted positions. Thіѕ brings аbоut а calming effect аnd саn help іn reducing stress.
Althоugh thеrе аrе а large number оf benefits to inverted yoga, іt іѕ recommended thаt уоu consult your doctor bеfоrе trying them. Thеѕе postures аrе difficult аnd ѕhоuld bе avoided bу people having high blood pressure оr оthеr chronic disorder, аnd bу women during thеіr monthly periods. Hоwеvеr, іf followed properly аnd under thе guidance оf a doctor and an experienced yoga teacher, inverted yoga can rеаllу prove tо bе very beneficial. Take care! 😊
“You would think it goes without saying, but too many of us simply don’t maintain good posture, which is critical for a healthy spine,” says Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, an orthopedic and spinal surgeon and author of Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine. Your spine has curves to maintain alignment and assist in stability and mobility of your spine. Through structural problems and poor posture, these curves can become excessive. Excessive curvature of the spine can lead to discomfort, like back pain and headaches. Over time, either through bad habits like slumping over a computer all day, staring down at your cell phone, or aging, you lose flexibility in your spine. You can slow down the progress and even reverse the effects of inflexibility by practicing yoga poses that loosen your spine from neck to tailbone.
So how can one achieve this mind/body balance to help maintain a healthy spine? While good posture remains one of the best for good spine health, certain yoga poses not only strengthen the muscles that support the spine, but they also relieve stress which can release some pressure or strain from the spine. In addition, breathing and meditation exercises help release stress and tension that add to spinal problems.
Practicing the above yoga poses can help to strengthen the spine. Remember, your spine has your back 😊.
* Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician prior to beginning any yoga regimen. Always practice yoga poses at your level of comfort.
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