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.
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.
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Low Plank) is one of the most challenging yoga poses done in every vinyasa and Sun Salutation often rushed through and done incorrectly. When done correctly, this challenging yoga pose has several benefits, including arm, wrist and abdomen strengthening. When practiced without proper alignment, Chaturanga can lead to shoulder, elbow, wrist and even lower back injuries.
Because Chaturanga Dandasana is a weight-bearing pose, wrist injuries are among the most common. Sometimes in yoga, we tend to use our strongest muscles to achieve difficult poses, instead of using the appropriate muscles. While in Chaturanga, many yoga students flatten their carpal tunnel, the narrow, tunnel-like structure in the wrist where several tendons and the median nerve pass, causing compression on the median nerve. Repetitive practice of this incorrect motion can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Chaturanga is a pose that uses all of the muscles in the body. To keep your body safe from injury, use your core for stabilization and activate your legs for support. While learning proper alignment and building strength,modify this pose by dropping to your knees (This decreases the weight on your back and shoulders, therefore you don’t need as much strength to do the pose as with your legs straight).
Here are some tips for a safe Chaturanga Dandasana:
Hopefully, this information will help you with your Chaturanga and keep you injury free. Remember that you can always modify the pose or skip it altogether.
This 30 minute sequence is for those that are “time-challenged”. Start with a few rounds of Sun Salutation to warm-up the body. A shorter yoga practice is a great place to start as a beginner (or anyone else with time constraints) without feeling too overwhelmed and thus more likely to make the practice of yoga a daily habit. It is much easier to find 15 to 30 minutes of a yoga practice than it is 90 minutes, which is often hard to do. The most important thing to remember is that this is your practice!
Modify poses when needed and always enjoy your time spent on the mat!
Thе art оf meditation іѕ аѕ оld аѕ thе mountains аnd аѕ profound аѕ thе deepest ocean. Evеrу religion аnd еvеrу spiritual practice teaches meditation іn ѕоmе form or the оthеr. It mау bе thrоugh chanting thе scared 'Om' оr praying during the day. Meditation іѕ thе act оf being one wіth уоur body, wіth уоur еvеrу breathing moment.
Meditation іѕ а way оf life, whісh allows уоur mind tо bе free оf scattered thoughts. A free mind guides you on a journey to inner peace аnd ultimate realization оf bliss. Just аѕ оur body requires physical activity tо bе fit, meditation іѕ а mental activity fоr thе mind tо function іn tandem wіth thе body. Meditation іѕ more thаn attaining а physical posture, closing thе eyes аnd breath control. Here is how to begin:
Find а Place
Find а place that іѕ calm and quiet free from distractions. Sit down wіth уоur legs crossed аnd get familiar wіth thе ambiance. Rest уоur hands in уоur lap аnd try tо relax. Get comfortable іn thе position. Uѕе а chair if уоu саn't sit іn thе cross-legged position fоr long. It’s not necessary tо attain а lotus position fоr meditation, іn thе beginning. It’s more important tо focus on thе art аnd its act.
Begin by closing уоur eyes gently аnd take а few slow deep breaths. Inhale from уоur nose аnd exhale from уоur mouth, fоr thе first 10 breaths. Then inhale аnd exhale from уоur nose. Feel thе cool breath on уоur upper lip аnd feel the warm breath leaving уоur body. Never force breathing, аѕ it will keep disturbing уоur natural tempo. Thе initial breathing will ѕееm shallow. As time progresses, уоu will automatically allow more air tо fill уоur lungs, making уоur breaths deeper аnd deeper. Take long slow breaths; when уоu reach thіѕ point continue breathing deeply.
If уоu аrе new to meditation, уоur mind wіll wander. Dоn't bе discouraged; it hарреnѕ tо еvеrуone. Thе point іѕ tо still your mind fоr аt lеаѕt 5 minutes. Bring уоur mind bасk to the breath when it starts to wander. Wіthin а few weeks consistent meditation practice, уоu wіll feel calmer аnd аblе tо focus better. Meditation wіll eventually calm the restless mind.
At thе еnd оf уоur 5 minute meditation session, get mentally ready tо open уоur eyes. Become aware оf уоur body and how you feel. Gently open уоur eyes and stretch. Place your hands in Anjali mudra (prayer hands), giving thanks to yourself for the moments of peace. Well done!!
By adding a few more minutes daily or weekly, yоu should bе аblе tо meditate fоr 30 minutes bу thе еnd оf your first month but, do not force уоurѕеlf to sit for longer as it should come naturally. Remember, peace comes from within.
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.
A home practice is a great way to go deeper into your yoga practice as well as build your understanding and knowledge of yoga. A home practice can be defined as your own yoga practice outside of a class setting without a teacher leading you. You essentially become your own teacher. Developing your own home yoga practice can be challenging and even scary! It forces you to be comfortable in your own skin! Many people find it difficult not having someone guide you through a yoga practice. This is the beauty of it, to create and develop it yourself and make it your own! So if you think you don’t have the time or don’t know what to do for a home yoga practice, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Listen to your body
During the course of my yoga practices I have learned how to listen to my body. In order to maintain a consistent practice, I needed to start practicing at home. But my first few times were not easy. I would push myself into poses that either I was not ready for or that I “thought” I could do because I saw someone else do it. I never took time to really listen to my body and what it was saying. I know better these days and I’ve learned to be in-tune with what it’s telling me.
2. Clear the clutter
This may seem like a challenge at first, clearing out a spot in your home for your yoga practice. I remember laying down my mat in my apartment where my only space to practice was the perimeter of my yoga mat. After the first Sun Salutation, I was looking around my room searching for things to pick up because I had not cleared out a more suitable space for my yoga practice. I knew I needed an area that needed to be clutter free as not to distract me from my practice. The area you choose doesn’t have to be large, just a spot for you and your yoga that’s clear of clutter and junk.
3. Withdraw the senses
At a yoga studio, you are asked to put away your belongings so you’re not distracted by your personal possessions so you can give yourself your undivided attention. This is not easy at home when you have things to do or people there to distract you. In Yoga, we practice Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses. It took me a while to feel unaffected by my home environment and to remain focused in my practice.
4. Embrace the challenge
Ask yourself, “When am I feeling compelled to step off my mat?” “When do I give up?” The answer is simple…when the practice becomes challenging. As soon as I began practicing yoga I began to feel the challenge that I was searching for. Not just the asanas, but the deeper connection I felt towards my inner self. I realized over time, that I was limiting my potential to grow. I was not allowing the poses to work and exiting early was a metaphor to how I reacted to other challenging situations in my life off the mat.
5. Stay consistent
If you only have time for a few rounds of Sun Salutation it’s better than doing nothing at all! There are mornings when I just want to sleep. I practice daily because I know yoga requires the consistency to keep at it, to make it a habit. I know that yoga makes me feel better, that it jumpstarts my day in a way that drinking coffee never did. Remember that consistency is key, even if you only practice 15 minutes a day!
The rewards of a home practice
While it may take time to develop the discipline for a home practice, it can be very rich and rewarding. You can try new things and have the freedom to explore your own creative movement. If you’re just getting started or experiencing some of these similar challenges, keep going, stay committed. Make yourself and your practice a priority. You will not regret it! Just know that a practice is anything you need that day. A quick break, a deep breath, and a little bit of patience is all you need to get yourself going. Enjoy!
Yoga poses and the practice of yoga can be beneficial to your mind, your muscles, and even internal functions like your digestive system. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that yoga’s popularity is on the rise. Before you begin however, it is a good idea to have the right information to help you succeed and get the most out of your practice. Follow these yoga tips as you begin your physical, mental, and spiritual journey.
1. Buy a Yoga Mat
Shopping for your first yoga mat (or even a new one) may seem overwhelming, however, being new to yoga you want to make sure you have a yoga mat that best works for you. Choosing among the various materials, sizes, and thicknesses can feel like a huge decision. Buying a yoga mat isn't about finding the most expensive or nicest looking one, but instead finding one that can help you practice yoga safely and properly. Use a mat that you are comfortable with and works best for you!
2. Practice Often
Yoga offers many benefits to your mind, body, and spirit, and these benefits may be maximized with regular practice on your own as well as, a few classes with a yoga teacher. As a beginner, it is especially important that to practice so that you may see and feel the benefits early on. With yoga, the frequency with which you work on your poses is as important if not more so than the length of the practice sessions. Try to find a few minutes each day to do a little bit of yoga.
3. Practice Poses Correctly and Modify When Needed
Most anything you read, watch, or listen to about yoga will tell you to practice often, but one of the yoga tips that sometimes get skipped is that you must practice correctly. Don’t just practice only your best poses, but also work on poses you struggle with as well. Such a practice will be more productive and give you the feeling of self-assurance that you seek with yoga. Don’t be afraid to modify certain poses if you need to. Too many yoga injuries often occur when students don’t modify poses when they should.
4. Maximize Your Potential
One of the more important tips for beginners is to let go of your ego. In order to get the most out of your yoga experience, you must forget about such things like impressing your teacher, classmates, or even those pretty pictures you see posted online. One of the central ideas of yoga is self-study. To fully study yourself, you must try not to compare yourself to other yoga students, but instead, you should strive to maximize your own learning and improvement during each practice session.
5. Find Yourself
During practice, remember what is important. The depths of your poses are not nearly as important as how deep you delve into yourself. In yoga, you learn about your inner attention. Be sure to use that attention when practicing and when with your instructor to get the most out of your poses even if you cannot get deeply into them physically.
6. Find the Right Teacher
No number of yoga tips can compete with having the right teacher. When selecting a yoga teacher, make sure you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Your instructor should be knowledgeable and compassionate as well as have respect for you as a person. You want a yoga teacher who encourages you out of your comfort zone, without being overly pushy that could cause unnecessary injuries.
As a beginner in yoga, there are undoubtedly times that you feel a bit lost. That is okay. Hopefully, though, with these tips you will have an idea of what you need to do to feel more successful in your yoga experience. Yoga is not a religion, but in some ways it does become a way of life, and by following these tip you can start your journey toward that way of life on the right foot.
"This and only this can be the new year's resolution: I resolve never to make any resolutions because all resolutions are restrictions for the future. All resolutions are imprisonments. You decide today for tomorrow? You have destroyed tomorrow.
Allow the tomorrow to have its own being. Let it come in its own way! Let it bring its own gifts.
"Resolution means you will allow only this and you will not allow that. Resolution means you would like the sun to rise in the west and not in the east. If it rises in the east, you will not open your windows; you will keep your windows open to the west.
What is resolution? Resolution is struggle. Resolution is ego. Resolution is saying, "I cannot live spontaneously." And if you cannot live spontaneously, you don't live at all -- you only pretend.
So let only one resolution be there: I will never make any resolutions. Drop all resolutions! Let life be a natural spontaneity. The only golden rule is that there are no golden rules." ~ Osho
This is so typical in our over-stimulated and over-worked lives:
Sensory overload and chronic stress have been known to weaken the immune system, disrupt sleep and cloud our judgment. We become anxious, jittery, irritable and accident prone. And we wonder why we are miserable. We lead lives that are far too complicated and we wonder why we don’t even have time and space to think; and don't’ forget that all the anxiety, stress and the emotions that stem from that diminish our abilities to deal with life on a daily basis, causing more chaos, and more feelings of being overwhelmed.
Here are 14 ways to restore calm, focus, and clarity:
1. Calming the mind is necessary for calming down, regaining focus and clarity.
2. Breathe deeply to regulate the heartbeat and the blood flow.
3. Stop and look up from our computer screen. Look out the window and gaze at the treetops and the sky.
4. Drink some water slowly (don’t gulp it down) and close our eyes.
5. Turn down the blinds, turn off the lights, close the office door and enjoy some dark quiet.
6. Breathe and breathe deeply.
7. Electronic gadgets often set the pace of our lives. It is time to turn off the TV, hibernate the computer and put the cell phone on silent mode. It is time to sit still and NOT think.
8. Meditation works for many to calm the mind and create an inner peace needed to deal with busy lives. One can meditate for 10 minutes and restore balance to the mind that brings clarity and focus. Once again, the breathing and stillness that is part of meditation is essential to restoring clarity and alleviating stress. Guided imagery CDs can be a lifesaver and can be used during a lunch break to detach from the world and find solace in a beautiful place that is stress free, again, diverting the mind’s attention to a better place, which sorts chaos.
9. If we feel that we need to walk to clear our mind, then we should walk around the block and leave “it all behind.”
10. If we feel that scrubbing the kitchen floor is a metaphor for clearing out the emotional debris in our lives, then go ahead scrub the kitchen floor, we must.
11. Sleep! Sleep is essential to provide the proper rest for the mind and the body. Are you getting enough? 8 hours nightly is recommended by experts.
12. Vigorous physical exercise (like climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator) often de-clutters the mind.
13. When attempting to find solutions or make decisions or choose between conflicting ideas, we have to learn to label feelings and thoughts, list down priorities and sort through thoughts as one would sort out a sock drawer: we dump all the socks on the bed and arrange the socks in piles (whites and darks or sports socks and dress socks). Then attempt to find the pairs and bring them together. Those socks without pairs, we put in a garbage bag – we can use them to wax the car or make sock puppets for the kids. Much of the things we need to do can be mentally sorted out in this way. Looking at our thoughts and emotions as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle enable us to control the way we think and feel.
14. We may not be able to control the volume of the boss’s yelling from across the room, but we can certainly control the way we feel and think about the boss without yelling back at him, throwing the phone book at him and losing our job.
Those that think they may not have the time to take the action steps described above, think again because not taking action will only lead to burnout and affect your productivity in all parts of your life, including, work and personal. You are worth it, take the time to make yourself whole, and bring clarity and focus back to your mind.
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