Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Similarities and Differences Between Yogalates, Yoga and Pilates

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Classes in yoga and pilates have been extremely popular for the last decade. There are several similarities between yoga and pilates class. Both are effective ways to strengthen the core and increase flexibility. However, in yoga class, the focus is on relaxing and meditating, the strengthening and flexibility being a nice side effect. In pilates class, strengthening the core is the main objective.

Although yoga and pilates have basic fundamental differences, they tend to complement each other, which is why main people enjoy taking a yoga class once or twice a week as well as a pilates class every few days. Given the number of people who enjoy both yoga and pilates class, it was only a matter of time before the two were combined to form the newest fitness craze: yogalates. But what distinguishes yogalates from yoga and pilates? Would it be more effective to take yoga class and pilates class separately?

The aim of yogalates is to create a middle ground between the widely differing philosophies of yoga and pilates. It infuses a spiritual aspect that is the core of yoga class but not present in pilates class. But in the meantime, yogalates concentrates on strengthening the core as in pilates class, while placing a greater emphasis on getting a workout and burning calories. By combining these aspects of yoga and pilates, yogalaties aims to bring together the best features of yoga and pilates while resolving the common problems people find in these disciplines.

Yogalates emulates the flow of the poses and exercises in yoga class. Unlike pilates class, where students are often in constant movement, yogalates utilizes a flow remniscent of yoga class, where a pose is held for some amount of time before moving fluidly to the next pose. However, in yogalates, the student moves from pose to pose at a fast pace closer to that of a pilates class.

Although the combination of yoga and pilates into a single yogalates class can bring about great benefits, there is something to be said for taking these classes separately. The pace of a yogalates class prevents you from receiving the full spiritual benefits that come as a part of yoga class. And by moving the focus from the core to the entire body, a yogalates session doesn’t come close to targeting the core muscles with the intensity of a pilates class. In the end, yogalates is a great class to try out or take on occasion, but it is not an adequate replacement for separate classes in yoga and pilates.

Yoga Your Way to a Stress Free Life

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Yoga can be an appropriate exercise for people of all ages due to the combinations of movement and meditation. Yoga involves flexibility, balance, controlling of your breathing, strength, and physical posture.

There has been a debate on how long yoga has been around. Some say yoga has been around at least 5,000 years, while others say it is closer to 10,000 years. Yoga started gaining notoriety, in the 1960’s, due to the Beatles’ association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Over the past few years, more and more men on the east and west coasts have taken up yoga as a form of exercise and meditation.

There are many new variations of yoga that have sprung up over the years. You can now find fertility yoga, Thai yoga, prenatal yoga, bikrum yoga, power yoga, and fusion yoga that combines yoga with another form of exercising.

By practicing yoga, you will find that there are many benefits associated with it. You will find that you have more flexibility, which golfers and tennis players will find the greatest benefits from practicing yoga. You will also find that you will have a greater endurance for running and bicycling. For those that run or cycle in marathons, practicing yoga can greatly benefit you with this.

Yoga can also help increase your muscle strength and balance, which is a great attribute to consider as we age. For those that have high-stress jobs, yoga is a great way to relieve stress.

You can expect to sit on the floor on a mat for those of you who choose to take yoga classes. The mat is used as a personal area for you to be able to participate in the exercises in the class. Often classes start with gentle breathing exercises, gentle stretches or even short meditations. This will depend on the instructor.

You will be lead through a various group of poses and positions throughout the class. As the class proceeds, the exercises will become more vigorous. There are some poses and positions that can be too difficult for your body to maneuver, and you will not want to force your body into a position because you could injure yourself in the process. If you are unable to use any of the poses or positions in the class, your yoga teacher should help you modify the pose to accommodate you for the pose so you can get the most out of your yoga experience. You will be surprised in the ways that your body can actually move in ways that you did not think it could.

While yoga injuries are rare, there are instances where injuries have occurred during a yoga session. Most injuries are due to repetitive motions rather than more serious injuries. Most of these injuries often occur due to pushing too hard to keep up with the rest of the class. The most common yoga injuries are injuries to hip flexors, wrists, hamstrings, and shoulders. It is suggested that you do not use yoga exercise videos due to the fact that you could do a pose or position wrong, and you will have a higher risk of injury.

You can combine yoga with Pilates so that you can strengthen your whole body and reduce the risks of injury even further.

Yoga Class Etiquette

* You will not want to be late. By coming in late you will disturb the others because Yoga classes are done in a quiet serene setting.

*Do not leave early. By leaving early, you will miss the last pose of the class, the savasana. The savasana pose is the resting pose of yoga. By missing this pose you would be cheating yourself of the whole yoga experience.

* Go barefoot. Taking off your shoes during yoga classes keeps you from slipping around on the floor and your body becomes allowed to get the feedback from the ground.

* Dress comfortably. You will want to wear loose-fitting clothing so that you are comfortable while doing the poses in class.

* Consult your teacher. You should let your teacher know of any limitations of movement, injuries or any preexisting problems.

The Glossary of Yoga

* Asana is a pose used during a yoga exercise.

* Hatha Yoga is form of yoga that is gentle and slow-paced. Hatha Yoga may appear on class schedules as Yoga I, Restorative Yoga or Lite Yoga.

* Vinyasa yoga is defined as “synchronized-breathing movement.” Vinyasa yoga is a more vigorous style of yoga. Vinyasa yoga could be named Power Yoga or Challenge Yoga on class schedules.

* Ashtanga is a type of Vinyasa yoga that uses a succession of poses during yoga classes.

* Bikram yoga is a branded name of yoga that is done in a heated room that has a temperature of 95 to 100 degrees. The idea behind Bikram yoga is to promote sweating profusely to rid the body of toxins. Bikram yoga will be available at Genesis Health clubs in 2007 and Yoga Central offers Bikram Yoga Classes that uses the heat from the movements of the body rather than heat from a room.

* Thai Yoga Therapy is a one-on-one session that combines stretches with yoga positions that are applied to your body.

* Prenatal Yoga uses poses that are adapted for pregnant women.

* Fertility Yoga is based on a theory that yoga impacts the stress levels and general health of women. By using this theory, Fertility Yoga can help women become pregnant. * Namaste roughly means “The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.” The word Namaste is a Hindu salutation that is very similar to the Hawaiian salutation Aloha.

Yoga Tips for People with Disabilities

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Yoga is a very popular form of exercise. It has truly grown in the public conciseness in recent years, although assumed to not be a true workout, yoga can definitely tone and strengthen the body. It may also be assumed that yoga can only be done by able bodied people. This assumption would also be false. I have cerebral palsy, use a wheelchair, and have practiced yoga for 8 years.

There are plenty of yoga poses that can be done in a seated position especially with the help of a yoga teacher or physical therapist. If you have never done yoga before it may take some time to get used to the movements. If you have a disability there are some general things you can do to make your yoga practice be more accurate,effective,and still remain comfortable. As you read however, keep in mind I am not a yoga instructor or any kind of medical professional.

Allow yourself plenty of time

Be sure to allow yourself enough time to achieve a pose and move from one pose to another. If you are using a yoga video be sure to watch it at least twice prior to beginning your workout. If you are getting your poses from a yoga book or other printed media read or study the sequence a few times before starting. Do this especially when you are new to yoga or are adding a new yoga exercise to your routine As you practice more frequently poses will become simpler to achieve and it will be easier to move from one position to another. Simply keep in mind that due to the combination of being new to yoga and having a disability, your yoga exercise routine may take longer than an able-bodied person’s or longer than any video plays. The amount of time it takes to complete your yoga series might change as you practice and become familiar with it and add new poses.

Know what you can do, and do it.

Be sure to be cautious in your movements and warm-up your muscles before starting your yoga sessions. If you have any type of condition that cause your muscles to spasm warming them up with slow and easy poses will allow you to progress more safely. Since injured muscles can not only be painful but can hinder daily routines that are already long and difficult for those of us with disabilities, avoiding them is vital. Only do poses that you know you can do or consult a yoga instructor for advice on how to safely modify them.

Use your equipment

If you have medical equipment that you use daily, you may be able to use it to achieve a particular stretch. It is best however to not apply your entire body weight to any device. Make sure all brakes are applied and that the equipment can handle your weight or usual angles! The first few times you do any exercise program you may want to have someone assist you.

Don’t go too loose.

You need not buy yoga clothes, but just make sure they aren’t too constricting and are made of fibers that will draw moisture away from the body. Excess moisture on the skin can lead to rashes and infection, especially for those who can’t move easily. On the opposite side of the same coin you may not want clothing that is too loose. It can get snagged easily on a wheelchair or walker and threaten the stability of a pose.

Although it may take more time to complete a yoga workout, they have many benefits. Yoga can be done by anyone, even those with a disability. It will take time, preparation, and thought but is well worth it. It is always a best to discuss any exercise program with your doctor before starting.

Yoga Improves Premature Ejaculation

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Premature ejaculation (also known as rapid ejaculation) occurs in 20 to 30 percent of men. SSRI antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac) are commonly prescribed to help delay ejaculation. Now research reports that yoga practice can improve premature ejaculation in men more effectively than SSRI drug treatment.

The Study

The study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, compared the effects of yoga practice and fluoxetine (Prozac) SSRI drug treatment in men with premature ejaculation. Researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, administered either fluoxetine (Prozac) or yoga to 68 men with premature ejaculation attending an outpatient psychiatric program. Three men dropped out of the yoga group due to scheduling problems. The researchers evaluated the participants’ premature ejaculation with subjective and objective assessment tools including psychological tests, questionnaires and study diaries.

The Results

The researchers found that yoga was a more effective treatment than SSRI drug Prozac. Findings revealed that 100 percent of the men in the yoga group reported improvement in premature ejaculation and sexual satisfaction, compared to 82 percent of the drug group.

“Yoga appears to be a feasible, safe, effective and acceptable nonpharmacological option for premature ejaculation,” the study authors conclude. “More studies involving larger patients could be carried out to establish its utility in this condition.”

The Main Point

This study is significant because it suggests that yoga can help improve premature ejaculation and enhance men’s sexual satisfaction. One way yoga practice may help improve premature ejaculation is by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response.

The sympathetic nervous system activates the ejaculatory reflex, while the parasympathetic controls ejaculatory response. Since yoga turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, this may help men have more ejaculatory control during intercourse.

Yoga practice may also help promote sexual function by increasing circulation through the pelvis, improving the health of the reproductive organs and strengthening the sexual system.

Sources
Dhikav V et al. Yoga in premature ejaculation: a comparative trial with fluoxetine. J Sex Med 2007 Nov;4(6):1726-32..
Gavalas, Elaine. The Yoga Minibook for Longevity. Simon & Schuster Fireside. elainegavalas.com .
Gavalas, Elaine. The Yoga Minibook for Stress Relief. Simon & Schuster Fireside. elainegavalas.com .

Yoga for Children

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Almost everyone invariably harbors negative emotions like anger, bitterness, anxiety, jealousy, low self esteem, fear, and the list goes on. Children are no exception to it. These negative traits drain you emotionally, leading to fatigue, self-pity, and lack of concentration or poor memory power. How are you going to work it out for your kids? What are the methods and sources you will let your children to follow to get rid of negative emotions they fight each day? It’s high time you give a serious thought before it takes a toll on your children’s psyche.

Children are incomparable and have their own likes and dislikes. They are very distinctive in nature and behavior. You need to observe and figure out what are their interests and mode of relaxation. In today’s competitive scenario, children do get stressed out to a great extent. Kids learn fast and become habituated to what you teach. They are bound to mold fast. There is absolutely no doubt in the fact that they are quick learners.

Yoga is the best relaxation technique to overcome the hurdles in children’s lifestyle. It contributes to immeasurable health benefits. Kids and adolescents with their pent up emotions and imbalanced energy levels benefit greatly.

Yoga aids to achieve emotional balance, stability, physical well being, keeps the mind sharp, helps in better concentration and stay focused. Believe it or not, it also increases the memory power. By attending the course, you will also get rid of religious hatred or biased feeling. You practice it as oneness and the sense of unity will be built. Children tend to socialize with each other irrespective of the gender, social, economic or religious background.

Incorporate the benefits of yoga to your children at a very tender age. Encourage them to join the classes and learn the postures. It will help them to be more flexible and healthy. Certain postures of yoga aid in detoxifying the body. It promotes to be at peace with you. Your sense of tolerance will increase. Above all you will be free from stress and negative emotions.

It will be encouraging for kids if they are certified through their practitioners at end of the course. It will make them feel happy and confident for the postures they are acquainted with.

The experience in breathing should be known. Simple breathing exercise and postures help children to a great extent. It helps them to focus on different facets of life. Yoga helps in reuniting the body and soul. It helps the children to discover themselves, how to stay focused on a matter, improves memory power, changes they attitude for good, improves positive energy and eradicates stress.

Postures in yoga act like magical tools to interest children. It is the confluence of simple traditional breathing techniques, simple yoga postures, meditation, realistic management strategies and practical wisdom that tunes up the body. It will energize and leave the mind cleansed, free and focused. Once your kids are up with these relaxation techniques, you can always create a room at home for them to practice peacefully.

Yoga and It’s Benefits

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

I had always been physically active and in 1998 I decided I needed a change from the usual exercise routine. I had wanted to try yoga for awhile but had the preconceived notions that other people had. It’s too sedentary. You can’t feel the burn. It’s not the same as running or jogging. It doesn’t give you the same perks as regular exercise does. I was dead wrong.

From the immediate onset, I noticed a change in all areas. Physically, mentally and even spiritually. It puts you in touch with yourself and it has incredible benefits that your body needs. It improves your posture and helps to realign your body to it’s natural state. It exercises your joints. Yoga cleanses and tones your muscles to help them move better. It helps to remove toxins and stimulates better blood circulation. It provides a deep massage to all your organs thereby making daily fuctions such as digestion better. Yoga helps to calm the mind and eliminates anxiety. If that’s not a reason to try yoga, I don’t what is. The type of yoga that I currently practice is power yoga which is also known as astanga vinyasa yoga.

Astanga means eight limbs and vinyasa means breath connected movement. Astanga refers to the eight limbs as abstinence, observance, postures, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and contemplation. Astanga focuses on energy seals which help to attain a deeper sense of breathing when doing your movements. By breathing correctly with each movement, you will be able to cleanse your mind and body. You want to control your breath so that you can calm your mind to prepare so you can flow through each pose as effortlessly as possible. There are muscular seals in the body are known as bandhas. Astanga vinyasa yoga focuses on three. Uddiyana is in the abdomen while jalandhara is in the throat and mula is in the pelvic area. When all areas are working together, they stimulate flow throughout your entire body. Uddiyana helps to clear any sluggishness in your intestines by massaging them. Jalandhara helps you to learn to control your breathing while lowering your heart rate and steadying your blood pressure. The mula harmonizes your nervous and hormonal system. I’d like to get into specific postures but I’ll save that for a future article should this peak anyone’s interest. I hope after reading this, you’d consider bringing yoga into your life. It can change your life for the better like it’s done with me.

What to Pack for a Yoga Vacation

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Yoga resorts and retreats have become popular destinations for those planning a wellness vacation. If you are new to wellness vacations or yoga retreats you may not know what to pack. Here is a guide to some essential items to pack for your wellness vacation at a yoga resort.

Plenty of Yoga Pants, Tanks and Tees Are Essential for a Yoga Retreat

It is a given that you will need to bring your yoga clothes with you on your yoga vacation. What many novice yoga vacationers may not realize is that you will need plenty of back up clothes. While many yoga resorts offer laundry services some do not and those that do are typically expensive. It is much wiser to bring three or four yoga outfits for yoga retreats that are five to seven days in length. You can hand wash your yoga clothes in your room, but with many yoga retreats offering two yoga classes a day you may not have much time for your yoga clothes to dry between classes.

Yoga Mats and Yoga Equipment Are Most Likely Provided by the Yoga Resort

Most yoga resorts will provide yoga mats, blocks and straps, but if you are attached to your particular yoga mat then you may want to bring your own. Another item that I highly recommend that you bring on your yoga vacation is a skid less yoga towel like the ones made by Yogitoes. Yoga towels make it much easier to hold positions like yoga favorite “Downward Facing Dog”.

You Will Need More than Yoga Clothes on Your Yoga Vacation

While many yoga resorts provide you with slippers and a terry cloth robe, there will be times when you want to wear something other than your yoga clothes or towel. The type of clothing you will need will depend upon the location of the yoga resort, time of year you are travelling and the level of formality. Those who are vacationing at a yoga resort located in a warm climate or at the beach, may want to bring a swimsuit, sandals and some comfortable sundresses. If your wellness retreat includes hiking in addition to yoga you will need hiking clothes and boots.

Additional Items You May Need for Your Yoga Vacation

If you have long or medium length hair you will want to make sure to pack plenty of hair bands in your makeup bag in order to pull your hair back during yoga classes. You may also wish to include some sweatbands if your yoga vacation includes bikram or “hot” yoga classes.

Using Yoga for Stress Management

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Our lives are busier than ever before. From work to home life, stress can creep in without any warning signs at all. Yoga has been used for a long time to relieve stress among the many other healthy benefits of practicing these types of exercises. Yoga is a proven method for stress management.

How you can use yoga for stress management:

You can practice it anywhere- You may not be able to use all yoga techniques everywhere, but there are certain ones that you can. Practicing techniques that help with posture, for instance can easily be done while sitting at your desk. Focusing techniques can be done any place in the world.

Breathing technique- Breathing is a big part of yoga. You learn how to breath properly to attain a particular goal. Taking a deep breath and holding it for a moment has been known to relieve stress from people. You will often hear the words “take a deep breath” when someone is getting frustrated. That is because this can help a possibly volatile situation from erupting.

Back pain- Stress related issues cause physical issues as well. Back pain and headaches are one of the most common side effects of stress. We shouldn’t leave out discussions about neck pain either. Yoga relieves all of these stress related physical pains. Yoga teaches us how to relax. Relaxing is the only way to get rid of the stressful feelings. While practicing yoga, you will find that your stressful issues will melt away from your body and the pain that it causes will follow.

Meditation- Meditation is the practice of cleansing the mind of outside issues. It is a way to clear the mind, thus it will clear the stress related cobwebs out of your head. Yoga incorporates a great deal of meditation into its exercises. It encourages you to think of good things and to leave the bad (stress related) things behind. This is the best possible stress management tool available.

Focus- Practicing yoga requires a great deal of focus. While doing yoga exercises, your mind will not have time to think of the stress that is going on in your life. You will be concentrating too intently on what you are doing at the moment to worry about anything else. Stress is left at the door when you begin your yoga routine.

Shaping up your body- Yoga gets your body in good shape along with your mind. When your body is in better shape, everything feels better. People are far less stressed when the body is in tune with the mind. It brings a peace to you like no other exercise regiment can. Doing regular exercise programs do relieve stress. But the stress of the body only, it doesn’t cleanse the mind of the stressful situations that occur in everyday life.

Refresh- Yoga refreshes the mind and soul. When you feel refreshed, you are less likely to let stress take over. There is nothing like feeling refreshed to leave stress far behind and start a new day.

Using yoga as a stress management tool is one of the best decisions you could make. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life. Your mind will be in tune with your body. That, in turn, will make your life as a whole, less stressful. This leads to better relationships both at work and at home. It also gives you a better outlook on every situation.

Top 10 Benefits of Spin Yoga

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Spin yoga is a popular craze that fuses both spin class with yoga. This new craze is supposed to help incorporate the physical fitness aspects of spin class with the calming and relaxing benefits of yoga class. The programs are generally an hour in length but will vary depending on the program and help give the participants a full body and mind workout, which should leave them relaxed and fit at the same time. This article is going to look at 10 benefits of doing spin yoga.

1. Faster Calorie Burn

The reason spinning has become so popular is because participants burn so many calories in a short amount of time; many programs boast around 500 calories in 30 minutes. Not only does the spin yoga help calm and relax the mind but it helps you burn fat.

2. Instructors

We are all more motivated when we have an instructor telling us what to do in a calming yet determined tone. Spinning and yoga combinations are great because you get the benefit of exercise with the positive reinforcement of a group activity.

3. You Don’t Get Bored

Exercising can get boring and I am sure I am not the first one to tell you that, however a spinning class mixed with a yoga class takes much of the boring out of the exercise since you don’t know what will happen next. The instructor cues are excellent for keeping your attention.

4. The Yoga Helps You Warm Up

Spin yoga starts with yoga stretches and exercises that help warm the muscles up for the spinning class shortly after; the pre exercise warm up helps get the mind focused for the workout and also the body.

5. Relaxing Workout

The yoga helps the participants gain balance and provides great relaxing exercises that have many benefits; but not only do you get the benefits from yoga but you also get the calorie burn from spin class. The whole point of the workout is relaxation while getting a full workout.

6. Beats Traditional Bikes and/or Running

The spin yoga classes are great for a few reasons; they take the boredom out of the workout and give you relaxation, which is often not achieved by biking or running. After I use a bike machine or run I often feel very tired and my mind starts to race, it does relieve stress, but it also is very hard. Spin yoga makes it so you can leave feeling satisfied and less stressed, and who doesn’t want to burn a bunch of calories in a short amount of time?

7. Group

Working out with a group and instructor makes it much harder to fall behind on the workout; though spinning is not competitive it does motivate you to do your best when you are in a group setting than an individual one.

8. Stress

Let’s face it there are many stressors in our life on a daily basis and we cannot deal with them every day in a short amount of time. Spin yoga allows participants to feel good about their minds and bodies upon completing the workout in about an hour.

9. Great for Beginners’

Are you one of those people who goes to the gym and has no idea how to get a full body workout, and you end up leaving more stressed out than you came in? Spin yoga is great if you want to get a full body workout and don’t know where to begin; this just like many other group activities are great exercises for people looking for a full body workout that are not gym rats.

10. Balance

With our daily activities we do not always have time to find balance with both mind and body; however the spin yoga workout does both in a very short amount of time.

Sources:

http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com, Spinning 101, Liz Neporent and Nancy Chiocchi

Tools for Yoga Sequence Building

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Yoga Sequencing

The practice of westernized yoga generally focuses on learning and performing the various physical postures or poses. Yoga sequencing is merely the method used in moving from one pose (asana) to another to achieve the objective of the session. In practice, after opening with a warm-up, you alternate between easier poses and more difficult poses and then finish the sequence with a relaxation pose. Yoga pose sequencing then is a means of varying the intensity from beginning to end of the session by selection of poses of varying difficulty.

Yoga Pose Sequences

There are many different ideas about how to sequence a yoga workout but no one knows your body as well as you or what your body needs and thus no one is in a better position to determine yoga sequence building for you than you. This important principle is explained very well by Esther Ekhart, a yoga teacher with 15 years of experience, in her short video presentation, Create Your Own Yoga Sequence. A variety of helpful resources exist to help you with yoga sequence building.

Yoga Pose Sequence Resources

Especially useful for the beginner is the step-by-step Yoga Posture Index found at Santosha.com. The index contains a comprehensive list of poses by Sanskrit names and English translations. Beside each pose there is a difficulty rating provided for easy reference. Each pose is provided in link format. Clicking a link takes you to a page with complete information on the pose including detailed instructions, tips and illustrations.

Learning and mastering each asana is only the beginning of a yoga pose sequence. Next you must determine how to put together a selection of poses to produce an effective workout tailored to your particular needs. Yoga Journal.com offers a unique, interactive yoga sequence builder that will help you plan effective yoga sequencing. This resource features beginning, intermediate and advanced poses. It even allows you to save and share the yoga pose sequences you build.

Esther Ekhart also maintains a website, www.yogatic.com, an on-line resource with free yoga video and illustrated yoga poses that everyone from beginner to advanced should find helpful.

References:

1. Ekhart, Esther. “Create Your Own Yoga Sequence”. Kurt Nimmo.com. December 30, 2009 .
2. “Step by Step Yoga Poses”. Santosha.com. December 30, 2009 .
3. “Yoga Sequence Builder”. Yoga Journal.com. December 30, 2009 .
4. Ekhart, Esther. Yogatic.com. December 30, 2009 .