Friday, November 16, 2012

Laughing Yoga Health Benefits

Looking for a healthy pick-me-up? "Laughter Yoga" is a relatively new concept that still emphasizes breathing like traditional yoga, but encourages laughter as exercise for the belly, diaphragm, lungs, and perhaps most importantly, the mind. Laughing Yoga proves true the old maxim - laughter really is the best medicine! As simple and profound as traditional yoga breathing, laughing yoga helps the practitioner feel happy and healthy. Laughing yoga encourages healthy breathing, but its benefits reach far beyond the lungs. Laughing yoga practitioners profess general health improvements such as lower frequencies of respiratory infections like colds and the flu, but they also claim to experience a genuine mood-lifting effect. It's truly incredible how just a bit of laughter can improve your whole day!

Originally launched by a physician in Mumbai, India in 1995, laughing yoga is based upon the scientific principle that the human body cannot differentiate between "fake" laughter and "real" laughter, so no matter how you slice it, the body will reap the same physiological and psychological benefits. Whether "real" or "fake," laughter lowers the levels of stress hormones in the blood stream. Laughing fosters hormone levels that literally "put us in a good mood." Many laughter yoga devotees claim to have used these exercises to overcome depression, or at least to laugh away troubles after a long, stressful day.

A session of laughing yoga requires you to leave your shyness at the door, but if you have trouble doing so, your "laughter leader" will help you shed your inhibitions. Exercise warm ups include lots of clapping, eye-contact with your fellow practitioners, rhythm and movement, and simple chants to promote heavy exhalations from the belly, invoking classic yoga diaphragmatic breathing. Most of all, warm-up exercises are designed to ease the class into a silly mood. Before you know it, you'll find yourself laughing. Sometimes your laughter leader will lead you through "gibberish" exercises, encouraging everyone to babble like babies. Sound silly? Of course it does! That's what makes it so effective at promoting laughter and feelings of child-like playfulness.

As a modern adaptation of an ancient practice, Laughing Yoga not only often incorporates traditional yoga postures, but also method-acting techniques to shift your mindset and stimulate the imagination. Your leader may intersperse bouts of laughter with light physical exercise. Whatever approach or method your laughter leader uses, laughing yoga is designed to invigorate, energize and entertain.

As the laughing subsides, your leader will take you through laughing meditation, then finally relaxation and grounding exercises. As opposed to warming up, laughing meditation takes place seated with eyes closed, and laughter starts deliberately and gradually. This can often be a cathartic experience and may bring up other emotions as well. Once the group has settled, as in most forms of traditional yoga, the leader will guide you through "yogic sleeping" in order to bring your energy levels back down to normal, leaving you feeling both relaxed and re-energized.

Stretches That Help Relieve Back Pain

Exercises are essential for proper body health. That is why they are emphasized for all school going kids and people of all ages. Not only do they help you keep fit, they also improve the way your body responds to certain situations such as attack by diseases. They make your body strong and increase its ability to resist diseases. There are various forms of exercises that are essential for your body. One good example is stretching exercises. The following are some of the stretches that helps relieve back pain.

Connective tissues and muscles shorten over time. This results in less litheness. If you have not used your muscles for a long time, they will become stiff and weaker. In case you suddenly start using those muscles, the chances of being injured will be greatly increased. However, if you regularly stretch them using various exercises, these muscles will lengthen and strengthen. In this case, the risk of injury will be highly reduced.

When doing stretching exercises, it is normal to experience a pulling sensation. This sensation can be uncomfortable. In case you experience a painful sensation, it means you are probably over stretching your muscles. When this happens, you have to reduce the stretch to retain comfort. However, you can stretch further but gradually as you consider your pain threshold.

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make when stretching is to bounce into the exercise. Bouncing is a bad idea as it is an abrupt and sharp movement that can harm and damage to your muscles.

You ought to pay attention to the particular muscle which you are stretching and slowly push your threshold without causing harm to yourself. Be careful not to permanently damage your body tissues. If you are not sure how it is done, ask a gym specialist to guide you.

In a few months, if you are consistent in stretching exercises many times a week, you will be more limber. If you want faster results, then increase the duration and frequency of your exercises. Do not forget that you are not supposed to overdo it since injuries could occur and lead you to being crippled for a while.

Stretches also improve posture and range of motion. Since back pain will be reduced or completely done away with, you will not have to sit or stand in a particular way to prevent the effects of the painful ordeal. You will also be free to move anyhow without painful feelings. Your ability to relax is also improved.

Perhaps one of the most important things stretches do is improve your blood circulation. This is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Most body activities rely on proper blood circulation to be effective. It also allows time for mental activities such as visualization. It also decreases soreness during and after exercises.

To learn more about stretches that helps relieve back pain, visit the internet for more details. Learn how to keep fit and be flexible. These exercises help you feel light. They actually make you more capable of walking long distances without tiring easily. Do this every day for a few minutes and you will not regret.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yoga Apparel and Clothes - Getting Acquainted With The Best Yoga Tops

Yoga is considered to be one of the healthiest and most relieving exercises in the present day times. Yoga has been there for centuries, without any reduction in its importance. There has only been constant evolution and betterment in order to make it fit for the present situations. Nowadays, since yoga classes are becoming quite popular, you need to pay special emphasis on the yoga apparel and clothes as well. This is quite important because proper tops help the teachers in keeping a check on the muscle and bone movements of the students. Any kind of alignment errors can be corrected there and then.

A good number of yoga experts suggest the students to wear formfitting tops and bottoms. There may be some obese students might look forward to hide beneath loose fitting clothes. Therefore, it becomes quite important to know about ideal tops for various types of yoga. Every yoga type is different from each other and therefore, you might need to fit yourself in ideal tops in order to avail proper benefits.

1. Power Yoga Tops 
Various forms of strenuous yoga like Ashtanga and other power yoga asanas need more support. This condition might especially apply to the women having large assets. Therefore, you need to wear something that can provide more comfort and that too, without drawing much attention towards the assets, like in the case of sports bra styled tops. Women can go for various yoga tops that are especially designed for power yoga. They are capable of providing a modest look to the upper portion.

2. Moderate Yoga Tops 
Hatha, Iyenger and other forms of moderate yoga asanas might call for the need of tops that are capable of providing medium level support and sheer comfort. There are certain yoga tops that are ideal for such kind of classes but can appear to be too revealing to some students. Therefore, choosing proper formfitting tops for moderate exercises would be an ideal option.

3. Hot Yoga Tops 
Hot yoga like Bikram and other similar forms are generally practiced in closed rooms, with temperatures rising above 104 degrees and the humidity level of over 40%. Cotton yoga tops will become heavy and uncomfortable within no time. Therefore, small and thin tops, made from sports materials, will be ideal for such kind of yoga sessions.

So, these are some of the best tops that can be given a thought while choosing best yoga apparel and clothes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Is Yoga? Why Are Yoga Postures Good For Health?

Origin of Yoga

Yoga was created in India at least 3000 years ago, and is a discipline that uses breathing regulation, meditation and precise exercises. There are variety of things about yoga that make it particular interesting, predominantly because it helps to promote physical and mental well-being. The intent of the philosophy and techniques is to obtain a heightened consciousness, and ultimately, to attain spiritual enlightenment.

Initially, there are some simple fundamentals about yoga that are a crucial part of its techniques. These originate from the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the most important religious texts setting out ways to accomplish freedom from one's worldly anxieties and dreams.

There are many different kinds of yoga, and one of the most preferred forms in the Western hemisphere is hatha yoga, which focuses on conditioning, toning and relaxation. Most yoga positions focus on proper placement of the body in a variety of postures. One of the great points about yoga is its advantage to overall body health and well-being.

Daily practice enhances strength, flexibility, and blood circulation. It helps bring about relaxation and will increase the range of movement, which helps to reduce the possibility of muscle strain. Many people today use it as a principal source of physical exercise, and others use it complementarity - such as with jogging, to help strengthen a host of different muscles groups.

Yogis (yoga practiceor) believe that breathing is the connection between mind and body. Pranayama are precise physical exercises in which the person breathes deeply, mentally focusing on the breath as it goes into and exits the nasal passages. This puts the individual at ease and allows their muscles to warm up progressively. This focus on breathing allows deep muscle relaxation, lets out tension, and brings about a calm state.

Yoga can be specially beneficial to elderly people and those with handicaps who are recovering from a sickness. However, any individual can profit from the slow-moving, gentle physical exercises and the beneficial effect they have on hormone balance, relieving depression, and improving strength and overall flexibility. One of the most effective things about yoga is that it is readily available to people of all age ranges and physical fitness levels.

One of the crucial disparities between yoga training and a typical training exercise is a focus on process. While many exercise courses really encourage you to push and strain every muscle in your entire body, to eliminate the 'negative' things in your body, the positive thing about yoga is that it has an altogether unique method. It concentrates on establishing understanding of the human body as it is, acknowledging and working within its limitations.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yoga and Your Most Valuable Commodity

How are you managing your most valuable commodity?

It has been a wild ride these last few weeks - 7 cities in 8 weeks. Then all the added things like a sister who has stage 5 cancer, a 93 year old father who has decided he wants to take back managing his finances, throw in wasp nests of many styles including the real thing, a web guy can't call him a master good heart but missed changing my e-mail link with PayPal and that means no sales they all go out into the abyss. Ahhhh. Thank God for the breath. I so know I am not the only one with a few challenges these days. What to do?

Time to know that we all are a mixture of dark and light. It's all about where you put your time and energy to build, define, refine. What helps us do that is the deal and it needs to be fast these days. It's can't take 2.5 hours anymore. It needs to change our energetic states on the spot.

Actually there is the full-length version. What you do first thing in the AM and how you arise set your mindset and your connections. What do you do during the day to rejuvenate yourself and bring back to neutral, non-reactive? I have some tricks to share.

After 40 years of teaching yoga and meditation, doing healing work, running businesses and building communities I have a few tricks to share. Are you open to utilizing them?

1. I keep my yoga mat next to my desk so I just take mini breaks during the day. 
2. I exercise every day. A 30 minute swim or roller blade plus some yoga every day. 
3. I pay attention and eat when hungry. Some days very little and others graze all day. 
4. What I eat is as important as when and how. What do you need to be eating? 
5. Alkaline is all it's pumped up to be. It keeps you young and alive. What is alkaline? Google it. 
6. Sometimes a moving meditation will balance your brain, and connect head with heart.

Hunched over your desk, not breathing is not a way of life, it is a way of death. Are you dying? What are you doing to live? My father asked me "What are you doing to have fun?" I told him the things I was doing and that I love most of what I get to do and who I get to do it with. This is the life I want for each of you.

I will not tell you that if you do this you will never get tired but I will tell you that you will have more energy because you are source-connected. It is the key to co-creation.

Connect first thing in the morning and keep bringing yourself back to that connected state. Try this for reconnection.

Three Part Forward Bend - The Brain Fountain of Youth

Stand with legs wide open. The stiffer you feel, the wider you should spread the legs.

Bend over and place the fingertips on the floor right under the shoulders. Bend the knees if necessary. When inhaling, lift trunk and head parallel to the floor. Exhale in three-parts, lowering head and trunk towards the floor in three equal parts.

1-2 minutes


This pumping motion activates the spinal fluid up and down the spine and through the brain. Allows your legs and spine to stretch. The enhanced breath helps release overwhelming feelings.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Is Yoga? Classes, Studios And Styles For Beginners

What is yoga and how do you get started with it? How do you choose from so many styles, studios, classes and levels out there now. If you are new to yoga and wanting to learn the basic of the poses then consider taking a class for beginners. There are many styles to choose from depending if you want a vigorous, moderate, gentle, meditative or therapeutic style and if you want how to yoga poses.

If yoga for weight loss is your goal, then the vigorous styles such as vinyasa, power, flow hot, or Bikram are your best choices. These will be very physically demanding and the instructor often just call out the names of poses without explaining how to get into them properly.

The instructors also don't offer modifications if you have past injuries, surgeries of physical conditions that will limit your practice or range of motion such as arthritis or a herniated disc. Hot yoga such as Bikram is not for the faint of heart and will add another level of difficulty to a demanding practice. Because of the challenging nature of these styles of yoga, they are not ideal choices if you are unfamiliar with yoga unless you are an athlete and in prime physical condition already. Most injuries come from these kinds of styles of yoga due to their aggressive nature and lack of modifications.

The more moderate styles such as hatha yoga can range from challenging to accessible depending on your athletic ability and range of flexibility. Hatha yoga is usually the standard taught at most yoga studios in the US. You will find many of the classical poses here such as warrior, down-dog, cobra, plank and chair pose. There is not a lot of variation in these classes and if you are looking for a challenging practice without it being overwhelming then it might be an appropriate choice for some beginners. There is not a lot of modifications in these classes so if you have injuries or limiting physical conditions such as knee or wrist problems then it is not an ideal choice.

If you have injuries or limitations but still want a challenging practice then an Iyengar class is ideal. Iyengar teachers have the most rigorous standards for their teacher training in terms of their knowledge of biomechanics and anatomy. They have superior knowledge with working with students with a range of conditions such back pain or tendinitis. If you are new to yoga, make sure to go to a level one class.

If you want a gentle, more meditative style or are suffering from anxiety, insomnia, cancer or depression, restorative yoga is an ideal choice. This will not be a workout the way some of the other styles of yoga are but you will be passive in many of the poses with a lot of props such as bolsters and blocks which will help the body to release deeply embedded patterns of tension and tightness. You won't have to worry about injuries since it is not physically demanding like the other styles of yoga.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yoga Poses And Massage Therapy

In massage therapy school, one of the things we are taught is how to give our clients the appropriate home care. Stretches to be done after the treatment that will help decrease the tension in painful or tight muscles. We spent two years learning stretches for almost every large muscle group in the body and most of these stretches I have given to my clients at one point in time or another. Until I was introduced to yoga. Not only do most yoga poses provide an excellent stretch but also can increase relaxation and a sense of wellbeing as well. After nine years of practising massage therapy, I only give out yoga poses as home care. Here are some of the yoga pose I personally find most effective.

Child's Pose

This pose is perfect for relaxation as well as stretching out the hips and back. Sitting on your knees, fold your body forward until your forehead touches the ground. The arms can be stretched out in front of you or by your sides, whatever is most comfortable for you. Take deep breaths and try to clear you mind of all the worries of the day. Feel the hips and back opening as you breathe.

Cat Pose

The back is one of the hardest areas to stretch and the cat pose is what I give to clients that are experiencing back pain. This pose can help with flexibility of the spine, all of the little muscles in between each vertebrae and stretches the abs well. Kneeling on all fours with hands and knees shoulder/ hip width apart bring your head and bum up and arch your back.

Cow Pose

The cow pose is the opposite of cat pose and can both be used as a combination stretch. You are in the same position as the cat pose, on all fours but instead of bringing the head and bum up, you will be curling them under. This also helps with flexibility of the spine and is a great stretch for the muscles of the back.

Half Moon Pose

Half moon pose is a wonderful pose for opening up the ribs and stretching the sides of the body. Stand with your feet close together with your arms shoulder width apart towards the sky. Bend first to one side, holding the pose for 30 seconds or more, move back to centre and then bend to the other side. Try and make sure your hips stay centred as much as possible.

Cobbler's Pose

This stretch is particularly good for athletes with groin injuries, because the focus is on the muscles that line the inner thighs. Sit on the ground almost as if you are in a crossed leg position but with the soles of your feet touching. Hold onto your heels with your hands as you slowly lower yourself in a forward bend. This stretch can be quite intense so only go as far as you feel comfortable without pain.

If you are having problems visualizing these yoga poses, please click on the link. To get the best results from any stretch that you do, try to heat the muscles before hand. Either with a hot shower, a soak in the tub or a heating pad. A muscle that is heated is more pliable and will stretch better. Also try to stretch several times a day and for 30 seconds or longer if you can. If there is pain, stop the stretch immediately. Never push yourself to the point of possible injury. If you are interested in more yoga stretches, check out your local yoga studio, and sign up for classes!