Practicing yoga is very beneficial for kids especially for those who are obese since it helps in reducing the fat without having any adverse effect on their energy levels or their memory power as some weight-loss supplements might do. Yoga is also beneficial for autistic children as it helps them in accepting and expressing their feelings properly.
The number 108 is considered a sacred number not only in Yoga but in most ancient religions such as Jainism, Islam, Buddhism and so on. Mala or Japa beads are on a string of 108 beads and are used for devotional meditation, mantra and prayer. With each bead a mantra or prayer is repeated to meet a total of 108. 108 is considered to be the most sacred number in the practice of Yoga. The Meru bead is the larger bead or tassel on the mala and is not part of the 108. This bead is the guiding bead and marks the beginning and end of the mala/chant/prayer/mantra.
In Vedic astronomy, the diameter of Sun is 108 times of the that of Earth. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. According to Vedic astrology, there are 27 constellations and each constellation has four directions covering the entire galaxy (27x4 =108).
Hatha Yoga is defined as the union of two different energies; the Sun and the Moon or the Masculine and Feminine.
Here are a few interpretations of the significance of the number 108:
There are 54 letters in Sanskrit and each letter has a feminine (Shakti) and Masculine (Shiva) energies (54x2 = 108).
In Yantras, the most famous and powerful Yantra is called as Sri Chakra which has 54 intersections. Each Intersection has a masculine and Feminine energy leading to 108.
In Ayurveda, there are 108 Marma points. The 108 marma points (107 on the physical body and one in the mind). Physically, the marma points are found where tendons, bones, muscles, joints, veins, nerves, and other tissues meet.
In Sanskrit Classic Literature, there are 108 Upanishads and 108 Puranas.
Tantra states that we breathe 21,600 times in a day out of which 10800 times is solar energy and 10800 times is lunar energy (108 x100 =10800).
There are 108 Nadis, the energy channels intersecting the Anahata Chakra (heart chakra) and Sushumna; the channel of energy flowing in the core of the spine and extending from the base of the spine to the eyebrow center (with an extension to the base of the nostrils)
There are according to the Indian culture, 108 desires, 108 evils while most of the Gods are have 108 names.
The Sun Salutations 108 is the twelve times of 9 which is the number of Vinyasa in Sun Salutation.
Yoga is one of the best practices for improving health both in body and in mind. Most practitioners have more energy, a greater ability to deal with stress, and a better outlook on life. Yoga goes beyond simple stretching exercises in countless ways. Here are some ways you can enhance your experience and make your yoga practice more meaningful.
Create a music playlist to enhance your yoga. Many people prefer peaceful, meditative music, but that does not mean you should limit yourself to this specifically; for example, a lot of Flow/Vinyasa yoga has music that is more upbeat, whereas, some Yin classes play more serene music.
2. Yoga Clothing
Your yoga clothes can be designed especially for yoga, or they can simply be comfortable clothing that you feel good about wearing. When you put on your yoga clothing, your subconscious mind will soon see this as a cue that you are about to step into a different state of consciousness for a while.
3. Uninterrupted Time
It is often best to set a specific time each day for yoga practice. The reason for this is similar to the reasons for choosing designated yoga clothes. When your schedule won’t allow it, then find another time and make sure it is uninterrupted time. It can be difficult to bring relaxation and focus to your yoga routine if you worry about interruptions. Your yoga will be far more meaningful if you are able to give yourself over to the poses and movements.
4. Setting an Intention
Setting an intention before each practice offers purpose to routines. For example, if you have been struggling with a problem, your intention could be to resolve that issue. Nothing needs to be changed about the routine itself, unless you feel led to make changes. Setting an intention prior to practice gives the brain a specific task, and some of the energy that arises during yoga will be directed towards your intention.
5. Essential Oils
The scents around us influence our emotions and state of being. Essential oils can uplift the spirits or calm the body, and they are a natural way to enhance the space where you practice yoga. Using oil on your body or placing essential oils in a diffuser adds scents to the room. Lavender oil is great for calming.
6. Creating the Space
Whether you do your routine in your living room, bedroom or basement, simple additions can set the space apart as your yoga area. Add a wall tapestry, a throw rug, and a small statue or other meaningful art, and leave plenty of room in the center for your yoga mat. At the beginning of each yoga routine, light a candle and some incense or your essential oil diffuser to increase the effect of setting the space. Even if the room you practice in is used for other things at other times, adding meaningful items such as these helps keep you on task with your yoga.
As you continue with yoga, your preferences for music, scent and other additions may change. Yoga can be a spark for personal growth, and it is best to remain flexible to new insights regarding even these simple things. By incorporating some or all of these tips into your yoga practice, it can become more meaningful.
Today more people are conscious of getting fit and healthy. This is just a normal response to every new and rare disease popping out or being discovered almost every day. What with the advancement of technology in the processing of the foods we eat and more often the lack of it, results to unbalanced nutrients and improper diet.
The only trend which is patronized by both young and old alike is fitness. It is just ironic that when people are young, they can't wait to mature. When they come of age, so to speak, all they wanted is to stay young.
Aging is one normal phenomenon that people are afraid to experience. Who would want to get old? Getting wiser and older should not be in consonance with getting old and looking old.
The traditional concept of getting old is being redefined by Baby Boomers. The generation of Baby Boomers enjoyed each stage or phase in life much longer than any other previous generation, thanks to their positive outlook in health maintenance and exercising. And just like any other profession or career they held on to, they are also passionate about staying young and healthy, as well as looking young and sexy.
The Baby Boomers started the so-called "health club" era. They indulged themselves into almost all forms of physical activity such as aerobics and gym workouts, to make their bodies healthier and their looks better. But as the reality of aging catches them, they turn their attention to less strenuous and laborious exercises to stay fit and healthy.
Yoga is one great type of exercise Baby Boomers are into. Yoga exercise focuses on the relaxation and breathing methods. It has very low impact to the body of a person, that any age in any size can practice yoga and make a desirable impact to their health. This is because yoga doesn't stress out the muscles and bones of a person, especially those who are in their advanced age where bones and muscles are brittle and easily damaged.
Through the relaxation and breathing techniques of yoga exercise, one can be assured of bringing down the blood pressure and relieving stress which is contributory to heart attacks. It has been proven long ago that yoga exercise is very effective in calming nerves thus promoting better heart health.
By regularly practicing yoga, it can help in reducing weight. Statistics show that persons of age forty five (45) with normal weight, who practice yoga for at least thirty (30) minutes per week for at least five (5) consecutive years gain three (3) pounds less in a decade, given that each year, the gain weight of a normal person is one (1) pound a year.
For the generation of Baby boomers, yoga really works. Yoga is much more efficient than doing gym workouts for building flexibility and strength, more effectual than aerobics exercise for building breath control and stamina, and more calming than jogging.
Additionally, yoga can help with osteoporosis, cleanse the body’s organs, balance out and invigorate the digestive and nervous system, relieve signs of menopause, lower rear pains and headaches commonly experienced by people coming of age such as the Baby Boomers. Through yoga, Baby Boomers have a chance to redefine themselves at any age.
A yoga lifestyle is one that goes beyond the mat. The way that you live your life off the mat can impact your everyday life. By living a yoga lifestyle, we begin to have more meaningful relationships with our family, friends, and the world around us. In return, it creates a more meaningful and rich experience for us personally.
Living a yoga lifestyle is about how we live each part of our lives. It is through our own asana and meditation practices that we begin to uncover new insights that we create and live a more balanced life. As a yogi, we discover (as I have in my own life) that these insights are a part of a lifelong journey of learning that never ends. We continue to grow (and hopefully) learn something new not only about ourselves, but the world around us.
Here are 7 ways on how to live a yogic lifestyle:
Learning to let go of the things that no longer serve us: What can you begin to let go of? Old thought patterns and ideals that no longer serve your overall well-being. Grudges, hurt, pain, etc., that we haven’t let go of from years ago. Don’t get stuck in your own story.
Show compassion towards yourself: Our internal dialogue is often full of blame and judgment. We blame, judge, and shame ourselves for our pain. We abandon ourselves and look to whoever (or whatever) can give us comfort. We talk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to others. Because we’re convinced we deserve it. Self-compassion creates a caring space within you that is free of judgment—a place that sees your hurt and your failures and softens to allow those experiences with kindness and caring. As one of our human family, don't exclude yourself from the circle of compassion. Seeking comfort in our unconditional goodwill towards ourselves is a lifeline for our well-being.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: So often we go through our daily lives wishing we had more, but when is the last time you actually paused to give thanks for what you do have? The more we practice gratitude, the happier we will become. Once we stop thinking about the things and what we supposedly don’t have, we feel more at peace and ease. Keeping a “Gratitude” journal is a great way to begin practicing gratitude in our daily lives. By writing down just 3 things you’re grateful for every day, you will begin to see a noticeable difference in how you feel.
Being authentic: In a world that rewards flawlessness, it’s hard to separate our identity from what we pretend (especially on social media). The masks we wear might seem authentic, but they are just a disguise. Being yourself is not about standing out. Or being different to others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing yourself others. Authenticity is about accepting yourself as you are.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.”
Living intentionally: Living intentionally requires clarity. When you are clear about what makes you happy, healthy, loving and wonderful, you can be happy, healthy, loving and wonderful. Remove the excess, the distractions, and every other unimportant, unnecessary thing. Get clear on what matters to YOU by getting rid of everything that doesn’t.
Be open minded: Being open-minded doesn’t mean that someone is indecisive or wishy-washy. Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world. Learn a new way of doing something. Try a new recipe or put a twist on an old recipe that you’ve always loved. When you open your mind, you allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have.
Approach your health holistically: Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. Holistic health emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning at the highest level possible.
Disclaimer: The information and exercises provided within this web site are to be used at your own discretion and under professional guidance. They are not offered as a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you believe that you may suffer from a physical or emotional impairment, it is strongly recommend that you seek advice from a licensed health care professional before embarking on this or any other exercise program.
Just saying the name Pigeon pose can evoke a myriad of emotions for most yogis; they either love or hate this asana. Those with open hips that easily externally rotate will happily get into pigeon without hesitation or fuss. However, yogis who favor internal over external rotation of their hips, those who may run, cycle, or sit (all of which tend to tighten the muscles of the hips), may find pigeon pose uncomfortable or avoid the pose completely.
Fortunately, there are numerous variations of pigeon pose and a modification for everyone. Whether you want to make this asana more accessible, or go deeper and relax more into the pose. Here are my 5 favorite variations of pigeon pose to get you started.
Standing Pigeon: You can build strength and balance with this Pigeon variation. Stand on one leg and bring the opposite leg over crossed in front of you holding on to the foot and heel(similar to a figure four). Try to stand tall without hyper-extending your hip. Repeat other side.
Seated Pigeon: Try this seated Double Pigeon Pose sometimes called Fire Log Pose to keep both hips solidly rooted to the ground. This grounding helps prevent the asymmetrical shifts in the lower back. From a cross-legged position, shins stacked on top of one another, place your right ankle on top of the left (keeping both feet flexed to prevent knee injury). Don’t worry if your right knee has some gapping between the left leg, you can place a block or a towel to fill in the gap. Rest your fingertips on the floor at either side of your body. Those who are more flexible, walk your hands forward along the floor, folding your torso over your crossed legs. Repeat other side.
Reclined Pigeon: This variation is ideal for yogis with sensitive knees. It still allows for a hip-opening stretch while keeping the knees protected. Lie on your back. Place your right ankle across your left thigh close to the knee. Externally rotate your right thigh then bring both knees towards your chest. Thread your left arm through the gap between your legs and reach your right arm around the outside of your legs to clasp hands either around your left shin or at the back of your left thigh. Keep your head and shoulders on the ground and relax into the posture. Draw your knees closer to your chest to increase the stretch. Repeat other side.
Upward Pigeon: This more “traditional” Pigeon pose is a deep stretch for your hips and inner thighs. This Pigeon pose is one of the most commonly practiced poses in yoga classes. From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward, placing your right knee just to the outside of your right wrist and the top of your right foot behind your left wrist. The front side of your left leg will come to the floor. Your left foot might come right behind the left wrist so that your shin is parallel to the front edge of your mat (it’s likely that your foot will feel be somewhere between your left wrist and your left hip point). Once you have your front leg in a comfortable position, tuck your left toes under and scoot your left knee a little further back on your mat. Release the top of your left foot to the floor with your toes pointing back. Repeat other side.
Sleeping Pigeon: This version of Pigeon is a deep and powerful stretch for your hips. Going beyond the basic pigeon pose, this increases both the intensity of the stretch as well as the relaxation of the pose. Sleeping Pigeon takes a basic hip-stretching pose by lowering the chest down to rest over the top of the stretching leg and adds a deeper sensation to the stretch. Begin getting into this pose by following the same instructions from the previous pose. For a more intense stretch, extend your arms and chest to the ground in front of you. To fully experience the pose, keep the spine long versus rounding. Make sure to begin by placing the belly down, then the ribs, and finally the chest and head. This keeps your spine in proper alignment and gives you better posture and a deeper stretch.
Caution: If you have any knee injuries or surgeries some of the above poses can put pressure on your knee cap. Alternatively you can turn over onto your back and pull your leg toward your chest for a “supine pigeon” (reclined pigeon). This takes the pressure off the knee joint while also giving a similar hip stretch.
Modify any of the poses when needed by using props. Slide a yoga block or rolled up towel under your hip (the bent one) for extra support. There’s nothing to be ashamed about using props - even the most flexible yogis have days where they need some added cushion to protect their bodies.
For many people their daily lives consist of a lot of sitting; whether that comes from work, school or driving, we sit for many hours these days than previous times. Some people try to balance that with exercise, such as walking, running, cycling swimming or cardio, but how many of us spend quality time stretching our muscles, tendons and ligaments? Lack of stretching leads to immobility of joints, mainly the hips and shoulders, causing stiffness and, often at times, pain. How does your lower back feel? How about the muscles between your shoulder blades? Where do you carry your stress? We spend a lot of time on our cell phones, computers and tablets, hunched over. This shortens the muscles in the front of the shoulders, this atrophies the hip flexor muscles. To combat this, practicing the above yoga poses on a daily basis can begin to reverse the effects of tight hips and shoulders. Just a few minutes of yoga can make a big difference for your overall well-being!
Today the whole world is in a state оf conflict and so are wе. Thеrе are conflicts within us and outside us. External conflicts are a dime a dozen and of seemingly gigantic proportions. Howеvеr, what's funny is that the onеѕ inside our heads are really the conflicts that trouble us the most. We have forever been obsessed wіth materialistic desires and we think (yes, we think) that fulfilling these desires is the key to true happiness. But is that really so? Sure, a new car, the latest state-of-the-art gadget, a swanky apartment, (for some, a new wife or a new husband falls into this category), wіll provide a feeling of happiness and content. However, this kind of 'happiness' is superficial and short lived. Does this happiness translate into inner peace? No, it doesn't. Well, then how does one find inner peace? Read on to know the answer to this question.
Inner Peace - An Explanation
Before you go abоut finding іt, уоu ѕhould know what exactly inner peace is. Only then will уou realize that уou have found it, if and when уou find іt. Inner peace is a state of being, a state of mind. It is when уou are oblivious of everything else around уou and are one wіth the universe. When you are at peace wіth уourself, nothing, and no other thing around you matters anу more. It is a spiritual connection bеtwееn уour body, mind, soul and the soul of the universe. Finding inner peace is an integral part оf spirituality and it plays a major role in a person's spiritual growth. Nobody can give уou inner peace, it is something that уou muѕt discover on уоur own.
Finding Inner Peace and Happiness
Thеre is no formula as such. Inner peace is not ѕоmеthіng that уou сan get at the press of a button or in exchange for a hundred dollar bill. It is about managing уour mind and уоur energies. Inner peace is a state where уour mind is absolutely still, a state where уour whole body and soul experiences a newfound freedom, a state of being bathed іn a sea of positive energy, a state where уou are cleansed of all traces of negativity. Achieving such a state is something that is rarer than the rarest of happenings. To understand what I'm talking abоut, here's a simple exercise for уou to do.
Stop all other activities that уоu maу bе doing right now. Lean back into уоur chair and close уour eyes. Let уour breathing remain normal. Listen to the sound of уour breathing. As уou inhale, feel the purity оf oxygen entering уоur lungs and spreading tо each and every part of уоur body. As уou exhale, visualize all the negativity and impurities leaving уоur body in the form of carbon dioxide. Now slowly, start clearing уоur mind of all thoughts. It's difficult and іt requires a considerable amount of patience, practice and mind control. In technical terms, just format уour mind and shut down уour brain. Remain still and lеt уоur body go about doing its involuntary functions. Experience the sudden stillness and the silence that уou hear. I bet уou have nеvеr known silence tо bе so loud. Experience a state of oneness wіth the universe. Break all the mental chains that maу be holding you back. Accept уоurѕеlf aѕ being someone special in the Creator's scheme of things. The state that уou now find уourself іn is known as inner peace. It is known as inner peace because уou are at peace wіth уourself.
In addition to the above exercise, keep the following things іn mind. Theу too contribute in the pursuit of inner peace:
Bе grateful. Bе grateful for all that уou have, for all that the Almighty has blessed уou wіth. Look around уou. There are millions of people who are less fortunate than уоu. Gratefulness has a special connection wіth peace wіthіn.
Accept уоurѕеlf the way уou are. Yоu are what уou are, for a reason. Don't complain. Bе comfortable wіth уоurѕеlf, уour body, уour mind, уour soul. It wіll help іn lessening уour internal conflicts. Meditate more frequently. Regular meditation aѕ wеll aѕ certain yoga meditation techniques help іn getting control over the mind іn a positive way. Connect wіth nature. If possible, take time оut and visit a quiet place - іt сould be a park, lake, hilltop or somewhere іn the countryside. Close уоur eyes, disconnect уourself from the world and connect wіth nature. It is an amazing way of discovering inner peace.
These were some things you should keep in mind if уоou wish to find inner peace. Once again, nobody can give it to you. It is something for you to discover and cherish.
Bow Pose is considered an intermediate yoga backbend that opens the chest and the front of the body. If you spend your day hunched over a computer you know how good it feels to stretch your arms and lift your chest. Bending backward is a great way to regain balance after hunching forward! Named after an archer's bow, the Sanskrit word Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) comes from two words: "Dhanu" meaning "bow" and "Asana" meaning "pose." Bow pose offers some amazing benefits to the body (as seen in the picture above).
Modifications & Variations
*Remember to always practice yoga within your own means! Poses don't have to "look" perfect; focus more on how it feels in YOUR body.
Yoga classes follow sequences determined by the style of yoga practiced or by the instructor. What many of them have in common is the hands joined together; “Namaste” between instructor and student at the end of class. Those new to yoga may find the closing salutation somewhat “odd” or new to learn and say; others may say the word without thinking about it. But Namaste has a rich meaning and long history and can sum up the work of your entire yoga practice.
Definition of Namaste
Namaste is a conjoined Sanskrit word consisting of “nama” meaning bow, “as” meaning I, and “te” meaning you. Literally, it means “I bow to you.”
What Does Namaste-The Gesture Mean?
The gesture of joining the hands, palms together, over the heart is a yoga pose known as Anjali Mudra. Anjali means “offering.” A mudra is a hand gesture. The Sanskrit meaning of mudra is “seal” or “sign” and the gestures referred to as mudras are sacred symbols for some aspect of the divine or the inspiration for a feeling of reverence. Mudras are found in Indian culture in classical dance, ritual and yoga poses. They may be spontaneous hand movements in experiences of kundalini energy known as “kriyas.” Anjali Mudra connects the “offering” of spoken Namaste to an action that brings both hands together over the heart, joining the right and left hemispheres of the brain, completing the unification of yin and yang and centering the self in the light-filled core of yoga practice.
The Significance of Namaste
The significance of the Namaste is complete surrender or devotion to the divine spark in another. When offered in gratitude or in greeting, Namaste recognizes that all beings are sacred and that, as an equal, the devotee may partake of the merit and knowledge of the teacher. According to Nitin Kumar, a Sanskrit translator, and Vedic scholar, the sound of the Namaste is equivalent to a sacred chant, a mantra that aligns the speaker with the resonance of universal harmony. In Kumar’s interpretation, the spoken and gestured Namaste is a brief meditation, an opening between the individual spirit and the divine.
Alternatives for Namaste
Not every yoga class ends with Namaste. In India, the word can simply mean a casual greeting similar to saying a “hello.” Closing a shared practice with Namaste is a choice, and some teachers choose different ways to honor the connection. Chanting “Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,” calling upon the heart of creation for peace, brings the energy of purpose to the work just completed.
In Iyengar yoga, classes end with an invocation to Patanjali, sage and author of the “Yoga Sutras.” Teachers may prefer to close with a mantra like “Om Namah Shivaya,” which honors Lord Shiva, the master of yoga and the symbol of creative energy. And others, mindful of adaptations to Western sensibilities, simply say- “Thank you,” as often as not accompanied by the Anjali Mudra that silently communicates Namaste.
Whatever way you wish to express respect and gratitude at the end of your yoga class is fine, remember that it is a shared experience offering peaceful energy signifying the light and understanding that can only be found in the heart.
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