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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some Inspirational Yoga Quotes to remind you why you do yoga

"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”  - B.K.S. Iyengar.
"Basketball is an endurance sport, and you have to learn to control your breath; that's the essence of yoga, too. So, I consciously began using yoga techniques in my practice and playing. I think yoga helped reduce the number and severity of injuries I suffered. As preventative medicine, it's unequaled." - Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame." -B.K.S. Iyengar.
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." – Unknown.
“It’s reversing the aging process. I can do things with my body now that I wouldn’t even have thought of doing when I was an athlete, a teenager. So that keeps me going. – Sting.
"Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents’ our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted -- in body, mind, and heart -- and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow -- or we begin to flow more in our lives."  - Cybele Tomlinson.
"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny." – Upanishads.

Pilates or Yoga - What is right for you?

Pilates or Yoga: Which one is right for you?
Depending on your fitness goals, you may choose to practice yoga or Pilates exclusively, or include them both in your workout regimen. While there are certainly differences between yoga and Pilates, they complement each other well and are both low impact workouts. Simply put, the difference between yoga and Pilates is that between East and West. Both systems build strength and flexibility; the difference between them is not so much physical as it is philosophical.
What is yoga?
The aim of yoga is to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. Yoga views the mind and the body as one. Given the right tools, one can find harmony and heal themselves.
While some people think of yoga simply as physical exercise, it is actually a complete, holistic system for overall health and well-being. Having been practiced for thousands of years, yoga includes everything from physical postures (asanas), to meditation, breathing (pranayama), and relaxation techniques. The most advanced forms of meditation and self-realization are also a part of yoga.

Why practice yoga?
When it comes to achieving both physical and mental well-being, yoga exercises are by far the most effective and time-tested practices known to mankind. Yoga asanas effectively strengthen and tone the body, increase flexibility, improve balance, and relieve stress. However, the most significant benefits of yoga asanas come from their profound effects on the internal systems of the body.

By bending, stretching, twisting, and flexing in the various postures, you bathe your internal organs with oxygenated blood. You also are massaging the organs leading to better function. Yoga asanas soothe and tone the nerves and regulate the endocrine system, which is responsible for the production of hormones—one of the keys to both physical and mental health. They also improve digestion and elimination, strengthen the respiratory system, and tone the reproductive organs.  Yoga is a wonderful complimentary system to all other forms of exercise and sports training. It helps the body to work more efficiently through flexibility and keeps the body healthy. It has become a staple in the training of pro sports teams including Hockey, Basketball, Football and Soccer.

When you spend an hour in a yoga class, you stress seems to melt away and you emerge wonderfully relaxed and refreshed.
What is Pilates?

Derived from ancient yoga asanas, the Pilates exercise system was developed by Joseph Pilates over 80 years ago. Like yoga, Pilates is a mind/body exercise utilizing synchronized breathing coordinated with movement. Practiced for decades by dancers for strengthening and rehabilitation, Pilates has become very popular in recent years. Although Pilates works the entire body, the primary focus is on the core muscles (think torso - abs, back, hips, glutes and stabilizing muscles).
Why practice Pilates?
Pilates workouts promote strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints. Pilates is very beneficial for strengthening muscles without shortening them or bulking up. Joseph Pilates believed that a strong “power house” (core) was the energetic center of the body. If your power house is strong your body will be strong. Pilates improves balance and overall strength, stabilizes and lengthens the spine, improves posture, and can help prevent injuries and aid in injury rehabilitation.
People recognize seasoned Pilates practitioners by their perfect posture coupled with a lean long look and amazing abs!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mudras - Gestures

Do you ever wonder why you are asked to hold your hands or fingers in a certain way during yoga postures or in meditation?  The reason is you are performing a mudra.  The translation of the Sanskrit word mudra is ‘gesture’.  Mudras are a combination of subtle physical movements which can alter your mood, attitude and perception and can lead to a deepened awareness and heightened concentration.  A mudra can involve the whole body in a combination of posture, pranayama (breathing), bandha (locking actions), and visualization, or it can be a simple hand position as shown to the left in baivara mudra.  The reason why mudras are effective is they manipulate prana (energy) in the body. Our body is made up of energy, and performing a mudra helps to redirect the energy within rather than have it leak out of the body.
A brain research paper published in the National Academy of Sciences in November 2009, demonstrated that hand gestures stimulate the same regions of the brain as language.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Matyasana – Fish Pose

The fish pose is wonderful asana that affects our health positively in so many ways. This pose stretches the intestines and helps with all abdominal ailments. It is a wonderful posture for your lungs. It helps to improve asthma, and relieve chest ailments such as bronchitis. It regulates the function of the thyroid gland and stimulates the thymus boosting the immune response.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who’s Practicing Yoga?

           Now in her fifties, Madonna is one of the fittest celebrity females out there. Aside from her physically demanding shows, she practices yoga daily.  "I've been practicing yoga for a while now, and it's an incredibly powerful and positive force in my life,"
           The LA Lakers- This high flying basketball club practices yoga as a team a few times a week, claiming that the practice has helped to increase balance and coordination and helps them to prevent injuries during games. 

           Other sports teams that are using yoga to train include The Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Chicago Cubs

           Sex in the City stars, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis do yoga

           Oprah is such an ardent believer that she has her staff doing yoga once a week! She's devoted an entire segment on her show to yoga with celebrity teacher Rodney Yee and has the benefits of yoga listed on her website, along with testimonials from stars and ordinary people.

           It’s reverses the age process- Sting

           Yoga really purifies your organs and your blood. The real lesson yoga brings you is learning to be present- Christy Turlington

           Angelina Jolie buffed up for Tomb Raider with yoga!

Bow Pose

Bow Pose – Dhanurasana

The Bow pose is a very important pose in Hatha Yoga.  The entire alimentary canal (pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine) is reconditioned by this posture.  This asana aids in digestion, fights constipation, and removes gastrointestinal disorders.  The flexion of the spine revitalizes all the spinal nerves by increasing circulation, and strengthens and realigns the spine. Bow pose is also beneficial for diabetes, incontinence, and menstrual disorders, while improving the functioning of the liver, kidneys and spleen. 

Halasana – Plough Pose

Halasana – Plough Pose

We know yoga is great for flexibility and building and toning muscles, but most don’t realize the amazing benefits of yoga for the rest of the body.
The plough pose is a perfect example of a posture that not only improves the flexibility of the spine, and strengthens the abdominal muscles but also affects most of the internal systems of the body. It is a wonderful pose to massage all the internal organs, activating digestion, relieving constipation, indigestion or heart burn, revitalizing the spleen and the adrenal glands, promoting the production of insulin, and improving liver and kidney function.  The plough pose also tones the spinal nerves which improve our nervous system function calming our bodies and minds. It stimulates the thymus gland which boosts immune function. It also regulates the Thyroid balancing the body’s metabolic rate.  Think about that next time you have your legs over your head wondering what you are doing. Now you know!