Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts

Desktop Yoga

Yoga and meditation certainly have proven to be effective tools to lessen stress and provide a sense of calm that cannot be achieved through conventional exercise. So what about those stress-filled days at the office when you are unable to concentrate on work because of outside distractions? You can perform yoga right at your desk if you want! Let’s look at "desktop yoga".

Whether you're a high-powered executive or an administrative assistant with your boss’s problems becoming your own, many people in the business world experience an inordinate amount of stress at the office. It would be nice to have a quiet place to practice conventional yoga techniques, but that isn't always possible. Yoga experts have devised a way for you to do a short yoga program right at your desk.

Try these exercises to Des-tress at the office.

1.Sit up tall in your chair, or if possible stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers, turn the palms to the ceiling. Take a deep breathe in and on the exhale extend your side torso and take the tips of the shoulder blades into the body. Take another deep breathe and on the exhale stretch to the right, inhale come up and exhale stretch to the left.

2.On an inhale, lift your shoulders up to your ears and then exhale and let them drop. Repeat 3 times. Contract the shoulder muscle fully when you lift your shoulders up and then on the drop it will release more completely.

3.Stand (or sit at your desk) with your feet planted firmly in the ground. Inhale and raise the arms out to the side, palms down. Exhale and rotate the palms up, rolling the shoulders back. Take an inhale and on the exhale, bend the elbows in toward the waist. Inhale and on the exhale bring the palms to the belly. This exercise helps to open the chest and extend the upper back.

4.Take your hands behind your back and interlock the fingers, stretching the shoulders back, opening the chest. Take several breaths. Make sure that your head stays in the mid-line and that your eye gaze is on the horizon.

5.Stand by the wall, extend your right arm and place the palm on the wall with the fingers up. On an exhale, turn your chest away, taking the shoulder blade into the torso.

6.Stand by your desk and place your palms on the desk top with the fingers pointing toward your body. Gently stretch the lower arm and wrist.

7.Wrap the right arm around the torso and place your right hand on the left shoulder with the elbow at chest height and facing forward. Put your left hand on the right elbow and on an exhale, stretch it toward the left, opening between the shoulder blades. Hold for several breaths and then release. Repeat on the other side

8.Reach the right arm into the air and on an exhale bend the elbow and reach your fingers down the back, between the shoulder blades. Place the left hand on the elbow and on an exhale gently pull the elbow to the left. Relax the ribs and hold for several breaths. Release and repeat on the other side

9.Hug your arms around your chest and then put one elbow underneath the other, the hand facing toward each other and fingers to the ceiling. Exhale and slowly raise the arms so that the elbows come up to the height of the shoulder, keep the shoulders down. Repeat on the other side.

10.Sit on your chair and pull back away from the desk, resting your palms on the desk top and extend your side torso. Lift the ribs up, let the shoulder blades slide towards the desk, and make sure the head is extended from the spine with the chin towards the chest.

11.Sit on your chair, feet planted firmly in the floor, sitting bones pressing into the chair. Extend the side torso, and twist to the right (on an exhale), one hand on back to chair, one hand on the side of the chair. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat the other side.

12.Sit forward on your chair and open the legs a little wider than the hips. Lean forward from the hips and drop your torso down. Let the head and arms hang down toward the floor.

13.Sit upright in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Press your sitting bones down into the chair and extend the side torso. Relax your shoulders. Place your palms on your knees and spread the fingers wide. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale extend your tongue to your chin; focus your eyes to your nose. Inhale and bring the tongue back into the mouth. Exhale and stick the tongue out again and this time focus the eyes up to your forehead. Repeat 3 times.

14.Sit upright on chair, relax your shoulders and extend the side torso up. Relax your facial muscles, the jaw and tongue. Circle the eyes clockwise 8 times and counter-clockwise 8 times. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few slow breaths.

You may want to try a quick relaxation meditation to wrap up this session just as a way to refresh and regroup.

Yoga can be used for more than simple De-stressing. It can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of everyday ailments without the use of medication.

The Practice of Om Yoga Meditation

1) Sit upright, comfortable and relaxed, with your hands on your knees or thighs or resting, one on the other, in your lap.

2) Breathe naturally. Your mouth should be closed so that all breathing is done through the nose. This aids in quieting the mind. Though your mouth is closed, the jaw muscles should be relaxed so the upper and lower teeth are not clenched or touching one another, but parted.

3) Gently turn your eyes upward as though looking at a point far distant. But do not strain or try to force your eyes to turn up to a degree that is uncomfortable. Then gently close them–do not squeeze them tight. This removes visual distractions and reduces your brain-wave activity by about seventy-five percent, thus helping to calm the mind. It also stimulates superconscious awareness as will be explained soon.

4) Be aware of your breath naturally (automatically) flowing in and out as you breathe through your nose. Your breathing should always be easeful and natural, not deliberate or artificial.

5) Now begin mentally intoning (“singing” on a single note) Om once throughout each inhalation and once throughout each exhalation. Fit the intonations to the breath–not the breath to the intonations. If the breath is short, then the intonation should be short. If the breath is long, then the intonation should be long. Make sure the O and the M get approximately “equal time”–Oooommmm, not Oommmmmm or Oooooomm. Don’t torture yourself about this–approximately equal is good enough, and in time your intonations will automatically occur in this right manner. Also, your intonation of Om should begin when your inhalation/exhalation begins and end when it ends. In this way your intonations should be virtually continuous, not with long breaks between them.

That is: OommOommOommOomm, or Oomm-Oomm-Oomm- Oomm, rather than Oomm…Oomm…Oomm…Oomm. Here, too, approximately continuous is sufficient.

6) For the rest of your meditation time keep on intoning Om in this manner–in time with the breath–listening to your inner intonations of Om. This enables you to enter effortlessly into the Witness Consciousness that is your finite spirit within the Infinite Spirit that is God.

7) In time your inner mental intonations of Om may change to a more mellow or softer form, even to an inner whispering, but Om is always fully present and effective. Your intonations may even become silent, like a soundless “mouthing” of Om, yet you will still be intoning Om in your intention. Amazingly Om can become a silent sound, as you can experience for yourself. But of this be sure: Om never ceases. Never. You may find that your intonations of Om move back and forth from more objective to more subtle and back to more objective. Just intone in the manner that is natural at the moment.

8) In the same way you will find that your breath will also become more subtle and refined, and slow down. Sometimes your breath can become so light that it almost seems as though you are not breathing at all. At such times you may perceive that your inhaling and exhaling are more like a magnetic pull in and out instead of actual breath movements. This occurs as the prana that produces the breath switches back and forth in polarity from positive to negative.

9) In Om Yoga we do not deliberately concentrate on any particular point of the body such as the “third eye,” as we want the subtle energies of Om to be free to manifest themselves as is best at the moment. However, as you meditate, you may become aware of one or more areas of your brain or body at different times. This is all right when they come and go spontaneously, but keep centered on your intonations of Om.

10) Thoughts, impressions, memories, inner sensations, and suchlike may also arise during meditation. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner, but keep your attention centered in your intonations of Om in time with your breath. Do not let your attention become centered on or caught up in any inner or outer phenomena. Om can also produce peace, awareness and quiet joy in your mind as well as soothing radiations of energy in the physical and subtle bodies. Be calmly aware of all these things in a detached and objective manner–they are part of the transforming work of Om, and are perfectly all right–but keep your attention centered in your intonations of Om in time with your breath. Even though something feels very right or good when it occurs, it should not be forced or hung on to. The sum and substance of it all is this: It is not the experience we are after, but the effect.

11) If you find yourself getting restless, distracted, “fuzzy,” anxious or tense in any degree, just take a deep breath and let it out fully, feeling that you are releasing and breathing out all tensions, and continue as before.

12) Remember: Om Yoga meditation basically consists of three things: a) sitting with the eyes turned up and then closed; b) being aware of our breath as it moves in and out, and c) mentally intoning Om in time with the breathing and listening to those mental intonations–all in a relaxed and easeful manner, without strain.

13) At the end of your meditation time, keep on intoning Om in time with your breath as you go about your various activities. Since you cannot keep your eyes turned up outside meditation, as much as is possible or practical try to keep a general awareness of the “thousandpetalled lotus” of the brain all the time, feeling that the breath and Om are taking place there. In this way you can keep “near” the Chidakasha state you experience in meditation.

Ethics is a Means to Yoga

1. All aspirants commit mistakes now in jumping to Samadhi and Dhyana all at once as soon as they leave their houses without caring a bit for ethical perfection. The mind remains in the same condition although they have practiced meditation for fifteen years. They have the same jealousy, hatred, idea of superiority, pride, egoism, etc. Meditation and Samadhi come by themselves when one has the ethical perfection.

2. Sadachara or right conduct is the foundation of Yoga. Yoga is rooted in virtue. Ethical discipline is very necessary for success in Yoga. Ethical discipline is the practice of right conduct in life. One should be well established in Sadachara to begin with. Sadachara is the practice of Yama-Niyama. Yama and Niyama are the two moral backbones of Yoga, which the aspirant must practice in his daily life. These correspond roughly to the ten commandments of Jesus or to the noble eight fold path of Lord Buddha. Practice of Yama-Niyama will eradicate all impurities of the mind.

3. Yama is the very foundation of Yoga, without which the superstructure of Yoga cannot be built. Yama is the practice of Ahimsa (abstinence from injury and killing), Satyam (truthfulness), Asteya (abstinence from theft or falsehood), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (abstinence from avariciousness or greed). Patanjali Maharshi mentions the above five chief items for practice in Yama. In every religion you will find this to be the foremost. Great emphasis is given in every chapter of the Gita on the practice of Yama.

4. Niyama is the observance of the five canons, viz., Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya and Isvara Pranidhana. According to Sandilya Rishi, the practice of Saucha, Daya, Arjava, Dhriti and Mitahara is included in Yama. Saucha is external and internal purity. Washing the hands, taking baths, etc., are for external purity. Filling the mind with pure divine thoughts is internal purity.

5. “The mind becomes pure by cultivating habits of friendliness, compassion, complacency and indifference towards happiness, misery, virtue and vice.” Whosoever shows friendliness towards all those who are found in the enjoyments of pleasures, the dirt of envy leaves him. When the mind shows compassion towards those who are suffering from pain and the wish to remove the miseries of others as if they were his own, the dirt of the desire to do evil to others is removed. Whoever shows complacency towards those who are virtuously inclined beings, the dirt of envy is removed from his mind. Whoever shows indifference towards the vicious and taking to the middle path and not taking sides, towards the viciously inclined, the dirt of the impatience is removed from his mind.

6. By this removal of the characteristics of the qualities of disturbing energy (Rajas) and inertia (Tamas), the characteristic of essential purity (Sattva) manifests itself. He becomes possessed of a very high manifestation of essential purity. His mind becomes inclined to the side of the restraint of mental modifications, because this enlightenment is natural to that state. When the mind becomes pure it attains the state of steadiness and becomes one-pointed. If these moral qualities are not cultivated, the means cannot lead to steadiness. Therefore, one should be well established in Sadachara if he wants to attain perfection in yoga. When one is established in it perfectly, then Samadhi or Nishtha will come by itself.

Yoga Can Improve Or Even Cure Diabetes In Some People

Diabetes in assorted forms affects up to 5percent apple citizenry of twelve actor diabetics in Western Europe alone. abounding means that to annual diabetes, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is maybe the foremost accepted abiogenetic disease. NIDDM or array II diabetes is multifactorial, primarily based on ecology factors like obesity, desk lifestyles and comestible imbalances.

Yoga has accustomed alive ends up in abating diabetes. The yoga contest that are assigned for abating diabetes is absolutely altered from hatha yoga exercise as a aftereffect of it involves positions tailored to amusement specific diseases, yet as meditation, alleviation and addition exercises.

One of the trials to cure diabetes was bargain by the Yoga Biomedical Trust, founded in 1982 by biochemist Dr Robin Monro, and an Indian yoga assay foundation that apparent that practicing yoga half-hour circadian for one ages to cut aback claret amoroso in some diabetics.

The yoga patients took bisected in one or 2 ninety minute sessions per anniversary and were aggressive to beam at home. categories actualize yoga contest specific to the analgesic twist, bow and belly respiratory.

At the tip of twelve weeks appreciably decreased claret glucose in an exceedinglyll patients aural the array and were hardly aloft in a administration array who didn't attach to yoga. 3 yoga acceptance managed to cut aback their medication, calm with a actuality who adapted his dieting for twenty years.

It has continued been accepted that exercise is advantageous for diabetics. yoga analysis will facilitate calibration aback accent levels that ability comedy a job in adult-onset diabetes. However, a check is that some patients accept botheration afterward the approved sessions appropriate to break the profit. All patients said they ability ambition to see these acceptance in developing a abiding basis, about we've no cash.

Not about the exercise allotment of all yoga therapy, that is a lot of basic as a aftereffect of there's not abundant assignment up to annual for the changes, about accent abridgement appearance a ton to try to to with that. Accent hormones access amoroso levels aural the blood. association additionally booty amusement in the stabilization of their affection that yoga brings a beyond faculty of able-bodied actuality and feel a lot of on top of things, which can accord to its ability management.

Bhoo Namana Vajrasana

This is one of the variations of Vajrasana. This is to be performed in the direction opposite to that of Supta Vajrasana. Some consider this asana to be one kind of Yoga-Mudra.

Technique: Attain Vajrasana. Slowly and cautiously bend the trunk forward. Take the arms to the back. Hold the right forearm with the left hand and the left forearm with the right hand. Fill the air in the lungs. Slowly exhale and stretch the neck downward so that the nose touches the ground. Gradually,increase the time to the limit of ten seconds.


1. This asana eliminates the weakness of the intestines the stomach. It also removes disorders of the liver and laxity of the pancreas.

2. It increases the elasticity of the spine and also strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and the chest.

3. It cures constipation.

4. It cures diseases such as diabetes,abdominal disorders, cold, gas-trouble, loss of appetite, nocturnal discharge, insomnia, asthma, dysentery and indigestion.

5. It stimulates gastric fire.

The Second Part Of Yoga-Niyama

The complementary part of yoga by Patanjali is also categorically Niyama, commonly interpreted as the rules "of personal behavior. "We consider the natural qualities expressed as personality changes. How can you look back no one is watching? Whatever choices you make when you're the only witness? Yoga Niyamas encourage

1. purity

2. satisfaction

3. discipline

4. Exploration ventilated

5. abandonment to divine

These features have not appeared in prestigious affection moral self-righteousness, but they appear as a sequela of an active person who lives and balanced. HG Wells said: "The halo is a pity moral animus" and yoga would agree. As the ideal driving funny alleged grade changing result of his membership in mind. They focus on Niyama original purity, or such a do not enhance activity if It encourages a spirit of trial-set, but it is of great value if you see your choice in the agreement of support from toxicity. Your anatomical and apperception is complete from the impression that you erase the Environment. Sounds, feelings, places, tastes and smells to drive and advisory activities, which are metabolized in you. Yoga encourages him to take care of the experiments are fed their body, mind and soul.

Satisfaction, or santosha, the additional Niyama is the perfume, at the time of awareness. Back to your fight against time, the next test entire cosmos. The satisfaction, however,acquiescence. The yogis have committed in thought, word and

Act recognizes the evolutionary change that increases wealth of knowledge of all creatures on this planet.Satisfaction constitutes acceptance of the resignation.

Satisfaction is back to you Remain subject to load control, power and approval.

Santosha is the absence of an abuse of power, sensation, and safety. With the convenience of yoga, experience This alleviates the turbulence smart time

interfere with your satisfaction, satisfaction, reflecting state of reality in which the absolute acceptance of situations incidents and issues about you.

The third Niyama, Tapas, commonly translated 'Discipline "or" austerity. " Chatten tapas brand agency. When the focus is on how the fire yogi with honors, is

Torch shines light antithesis and admits the world. Blaze is also to encourage and to digest food, and and toxicity. A fire near serve to metabolize any impurities.

People in general behavior accessory deprivation. Liv organs used in questions of yoga appear to be naturalized by their biological rhythms accumulate is with the rhythms of nature. They appear very early daily meditation, exercise regularly, eat in a benign balanced manner, and going to bed because it directly Aboriginal personal experience the benefits of adapted their rhythms with them in the wild. Tapas are embracing transformation as awareness alley college.

Self-study, or svadhyana, is the fourth Niyama. Traditionally This is interpreted as reality is committed to literature search airy, but the heart, the self-study inside means attractive. It is an error between knowledge and wisdom. Yoga counsels us not confuse information with the wisdom and self-study aid understand the differences. Tutorials encourages self referral against the article. The volume and

Security spirit from the bottom of inclusion rather things that you are surrounded. When svadhyana is active in your consciousness, joy arises phonetics rather than lowered to external reality results or acquisitions.

The final Niyama, Ishwara-pranidhana is usually translated "Believe" or "surrender to God." Ishwara is personal aspect of infinity. Even taking into account

infinity, animal wants to update the perception of borders. Ishwar is the name used, which is used to make infinitely large area of intelligence. Finally,

Ishwar pranidhana-discipline is to surrender uncertainty. Seeds are sown with a keen sense of return, give the unknown. The past is accepted. True Wind transformation, healing, and the ability of current moment awareness, whatever your organization housed owned by the uncertainty of talent and all embracing.

A keen understanding of our ventilated and contact us Grief set in a hospital coronary New York to say He was out of the emergency three-vessel coronary arterial bypass surgery. Only 42 years old, who had never smoked, he was a vegetarian and he meditated regularly. We were extremely concerned about the actual shape

I was doing and feeling, but forced assured that was the establishment of health and assured that the total would alright.

He explained that some heat wave early in his visit Long Island and had worked at Conney Island to ride on the roller coaster. Numb loved roller coaster as the procedure for admission of the turbulence, he knew of the safe. A related that because of his poor relations mind, our knowledge has been able to indulge in the unknown red boat was puzzled by his feelings blocked. It relied on the recognition of twists life was taken would be acceptable, whatever the outcome.

That is pranidhana Ishwar-surrender to the divine. The Yamas and Niyama is the close dialogue a yogi. These are not qualities they can play in a mess or handle. Spontaneously appear as natural expression of an additional possibility of spreading it. You can see its airy progress milestones. Let the bell in your consciousness, alienation management self-critical and critical of you sometimes Cancel express the quantity exported principles Jubilee. To awaken anticipating changes and spontaneous activity in your Patanjali is encouraged to bring your attention added aesthetic aspects of his body, his breath, his meaning, and mind. These are the branches attached yoga.

The First Part Of Yoga-Yama

Yama is best frequently translated as the “rules of social behavior.” They are the accepted guidelines for engaging with others. The Yamas are commonly declared as

1. practicing nonviolence
2. speaking truthfully
3. appliance adapted animal control
4. actuality honest
5. actuality generous

All airy and religious traditions animate people to alive ethical lives. Yoga agrees but concedes that living a activity in absolute accord with your ambiance is difficult from the akin of morality—through a prescribed set of shoulds and should-nots. Patanjali describes the yamas as the spontaneously evolutionary behavior of an enlightened being.

If you admit that your individuality is intimately woven into the bolt of life—that you are a fiber in the web of life—you lose the adeptness to act in agency that are harmful to yourself or others. You attach to the rules of amusing conduct because you are behaving from the level of ad-lib appropriate action. This accompaniment of behaving in accordance with accustomed law is alleged Kriya Shakti.

Although the Sanskrit words kriya and afterlife both mean “action,” kriya is activity that does not accomplish reaction, as opposed to karma, which automatically generates proportionate consequences. There are no claimed consequences when you are acting from the akin of Kriya Shakti because you do not accomplish any resistance. People sometimes call this accompaniment as actuality “in the flow” or “in the zone.”

Acting from this akin of your soul, you are incapable of actuality agitated because your accomplished actuality is accustomed in peace. This is the aspect of the aboriginal Yama, accepted in Sanskrit as ahimsa. Your thoughts are nonviolent, your words are nonviolent, and your accomplishments are nonviolent.

Violence cannot appear because your affection and apperception are filled with adulation and benevolence for the animal condition. Mahatma Gandhi championed the assumption of nonviolence in the adeptness movement of India from Britain. He said, “If you accurate your adulation in such a manner that it impresses itself indelibly aloft your socalled enemy, he charge acknowledgment that adulation . . . and that requires far greater adventuresomeness than carrying of blows.”

The additional Yama is truthfulness, or satya. Truthfulness derives from a accompaniment of actuality in which you are able to distinguish your observations from your interpretations. You accept the apple as it is, acquainted that absoluteness is a selective act of absorption and interpretation. Acquainted that truth is altered for altered people, you accomplish to life supporting choices that are accumbent with an expanded view of self. Patanjali declared accuracy as the candor of thought, word, and action. You allege the candied accuracy and are inherently honest because artlessness is an expression of your charge to a airy life. The short-term benefits of distorting the accuracy are outweighed by the discomfort that arises from betraying your integrity. Ultimately you admit truth, love, and God to be different expressions of the aforementioned akin reality.

Brahmacharya, the third Yama, is generally translated as “celibacy.” We accept this is a bound appearance of this yama. The chat is acquired from achara, acceptation “pathway,” and brahman, acceptation “unity consciousness.” In Vedic society, bodies commonly chose one of two paths to enlightenment—the aisle of the aborigine and the path of a renunciate. For those allotment the aisle of a monk or a nun, the aisle to accord alertness naturally includes alienation animal activity. For the all-inclusive majority of people allotment the aborigine path, brahmacharya means amusement in the advantageous announcement of sexual energy. One estimation of the chat charya is “grazing,” suggesting that brahmacharya connotes partaking of the angelic as you are affianced in your circadian life.

The capital artistic adeptness of the creation is sexual, and you are a admiring appearance of that energy. Seeing the absolute conception as an announcement of the all-powerful impulse to generate, you bless the artistic forces. Brahmacharya means adjustment with the artistic activity of the cosmos. Ultimately, as your body makes adulation with the cosmos, your charge to accurate your female may be supplanted by a added broadcast announcement of love.

The fourth Yama, asteya, or honesty, agency relinquishing the abstraction that things alfresco yourself will provide you aegis and happiness. Asteya is actuality accustomed in a accompaniment of nongrasping. Lack of bluntness about always derives from abhorrence of loss—loss of money, love, position, power. The adeptness to alive an honest activity is based aloft a deep affiliation to spirit. When close adequateness predominates, you lose the charge to manipulate, obscure, or deceive. Bluntness is the built-in accompaniment of a being active a life of integrity. According to yoga, life-supporting, evolutionary behaviors are the accustomed aftereffect of expanded awareness. The fifth Yama, generosity, or aparigraha, derives from the about-face in centralized advertence from predominantly ego-based to predominantly spirit-based. A yogi who knows that his capital attributes is nonlocal spontaneously expresses generosity in every thought, word, and action.

Constricted acquaintance reinforces limitations. Expanded awareness generates affluence consciousness. This Yama implies the absence of aversion. Accustomed in aparigraha, your adapter to the accession of material backing loses its authority on you. It doesn’t mean you don’t get pleasure the world; you are artlessly not imprisoned by it. The conveyance of yoga, which cultivates expanded awareness, awakens generosity because nature is generous.

Special Asanas for Spine (Backache etc.)

The asanas which are going to be described here are mainly beneficial to cure diseases related to the backache,cervical,spondylitis,slip,disc,sciatica and all the other such spine related ailments. By grace of god we have helped thousands of patients to cure their slip disc and other such spinal cord ailments,with the help of these asanas. With the aim of benefiting the mankind with the scientific and harmless asanas recommended by the sage,these asanas are being prescribed here after practical experience. All these asanas are also specially beneficial for asthma patients,because the lungs are filled by inHaling air while performing all these asanas. This contraction-expansion of the lungs circulates air and the toxins are exhaled. The dead cells of the lungs get reactivated. In this way these asanas keep the lungs healthy and help getting rid of breathing problems. The glands located in the stomach region also become healthy with these asanas. Kidney problems are eliminated. In this manner these asanas will cure a number of diseases and make a person healthy and an already healthy person will not fall sick due to the diseases,with the practice of these asanas.

Precautions: The asanas which exert a lot of pressure on the stomach,should not be practiced by patients suffering from ulcer, T.B of the intestine,hernia,liver and spleen enlargement.

Special Asanas for Spine (Backache etc.):
  • Chakrasana
  • Setubandh-asana
  • Markatasana
  • Kati-uttanasana
  • Makarasana
  • Bhujangasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Purna Dhanurasana
  • Salabhasana
  • Viparita Naukasana(Nabhi-asana)
  • Ustrasana
  • Ardhchandrasana
  • Trikonasana
  • Surya-Namaskara

How Do You Learn Which Yoga Information is Helpful When Pregnant?

By Carla Y. Faulkner

I'm used to working out, which means this aspect of my life didn't change once I became pregnant. It helps me physically and emotionally, almost keeping me more stable. This is why I accepted an invitation to attend a yoga class, even though my baby was growing inside of me.

However, I wasn't so naïve that I would walk in not knowing a single thing. I went online and looked for yoga information for pregnant mothers. It was interesting to read the various tidbits

What yoga information is helpful if you're pregnant?

- It will be easier if you're used to attending yoga class.
- It's necessary to check with your medical doctor prior to starting.
- Inverted positions shouldn't be done.
- Never continue if you have any pain or discomfort.
- It keeps the body strong and toned.
- Your labor is often easier.
- Mothers say there's less back pain during the third trimester.
- Bikram yoga shouldn't be done.

Yoga is going to benefit you before, during, and after pregnancy. Obviously, it's a lot easier to do if you're been doing the various yoga poses for quite some time. However, this doesn't mean it can't be done if you're not used to exercising. Take it slow, and check with your medical doctor before starting the class.

It's necessary to stay away from inverted positions and Bikram yoga during the nine months of pregnancy. You don't want to harm the baby in any way. It's also suggested to not lay on your back after the first trimester, as this stops blood flow to the uterus. It's important to keep exercising, but do it in moderation and be wise on what movements you choose to do. If there's any sort of pain, then make sure and stop.

During the second and third trimesters, use a chair or the wall to provide extra stability during standing positions. This will help during moments of unbalance that most people experience, partly because of the changes in the center of gravity on a woman.

It's helpful to read yoga information about how the exercise benefits pregnant women. It helps with toning and strengthening, which will help with labor and many say there's less back pain during the last part of pregnancy. If strengthening the mother's core muscles protects many from a hard labor, then it's worth learning the different yoga poses. If you're able, it's not going to hurt anything.

What Are the Advantages of Hand Yoga?

By Anya Luelle

We all know that health and wellness are the keys to a happier and longer life. Modern phase of living can be very stressful, draining out our system every now and then. We need to gain back that strength and energy in order to continue living healthily and productively. Thus, there are many health programs being formulated to cater to these needs. One of the most prevalent health practices is yoga. It has gained popularity not only in Asia but including in the Western part of the world too. Its benefits and advantages have been noted over the past years and still continue to evolve even in teens and oldies for a better feeling of well-being and to establish a good self-esteem and level of confidence.

Most of us are familiar with Yoga alone and to find something like hand yoga is very much interesting. We might be thinking of how does it differ from the traditional yoga practice or how can you be benefited from it.
Yoga classes and instructors have been including this hand gestures technique which is believed to mainly focus on the brain functions giving you a sound mind. Decision making is very crucial nowadays as it can totally affect our future. What and where we will be in the next few years depend on what decisions we make today. By having a well-improved mind we can be certain of getting the right decision in every situation that we face.

What is good about hand yoga is that it concentrates on both parts of the brain; the right and the left hemispheres. Aside from the problem-solving part of the brain-that is, the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere, artistic side, is also being enhanced. Studies show that a normal individual cannot have both improved hemispheres simultaneously. It is either you are good at one and not on the other. However, with the incorporation of hand techniques in your yoga routine you are indeed opening yourself to a state of mind which is dually active.

Yoga has been there for almost hundreds of years with proven effects. For more details on this new hand movement technique and its detailed benefits you can search online or you can ask your yoga instructor about it. If you are one of those who are tired of being physical in the attempt of getting the right balance of your body and spirit you can try this yoga meditation for a more relaxed and very fulfilling health and wellness condition.

What You Need To Consider Before Purchasing Yoga Pilates Equipment

By: Gina G. Stewart

A lot of people in the country today practice yoga with pilates. Actually, yoga and pilates have something in common thus they are easy to perform together. Note that both yoga and pilates are both concerned about proper breathing and posture improvement thus these two types of exercises uses more or the same types of equipments.

Since these two types of exercises have many similarities, a number of exercise gurus came up with what they call yoga pilates equipment which can be used by people who are into yoga and pilates. These yoga pilates equipment can now be found in many yoga and pilates studios and homes all over the country.

Most yoga pilates equipments are really good and can be used safely even at home. However, you should not just buy any yoga pilates equipment on impulse. Always remember that yoga pilates equipment cost money. Yes, some types of yoga pilates equipment are not really very expensive but still, they cost money. To avoid wasting your hard earned money on something that you may really be able to use often, here are some things that you need to consider before you buy yoga pilates equipment.

Evaluate Your Needs

As a general rule, you should only buy the things that you need. Before you spend money on some yoga pilates equipment, you need to evaluate your needs first. Take a look at the pilates exercise equipment that you have at home and determine what other equipments you need.

If some of your existing exercise equipments can take the place of a certain new yoga pilates equipment, then you do not need to buy that kind of equipment. Just use whatever exercise equipment that you have at home. This way, you get to save money and reduce the clutter at home.

Check Your Budget

Although some types of yoga pilates equipments are cheap, some of these equipments actually cost a lot of money. Before you splurge on some expensive equipment, take a look at your budget. Make sure that you can afford to make that purchase. Do not just charge anything to your credit card if you do not want to end up with a huge credit card bill at the end of the month.

Always remember that when credit card bills pile up, you can really get into some serious financial troubles. If something is not right for your budget, stay away from it. There is really no point of exposing yourself to possible financial disasters if you can help it.

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Yoga Nidra Instructions Information

By: Odesi Desko

The definition of Yoga Nidra is "deep sleep" that can be reached while one is awake. It is a state beyond dreaming. In other words a person knows what is going on, but has removed themselves mentally and became so relaxed that they are completely open-minded and receptive to freedom from the usual stresses of everyday living.

Used in conjunction with meditation it allows one to achieve enlightenment from that which is held in the deepest recesses of the mind. In this state all the thoughts and impressions one has recede to leave one in a state of complete calm.

There's nothing more powerful about the body than the mind. Its ability to regulate each and every one of our bodily functions, as well as store knowledge and allow us to think creatively and react make it extremely important. Considering this, it's understandable why the conscious mind takes part in yoga nidra as well. You are completely cognizant of your surroundings as you are in this state, but distractions are otherwise cut out completely. As you enter this state, you don't dream. You can start to feel lasting inner peace and relaxation as you use this in conjunction with meditation.

Even though it may look like hypnosis and regular meditation, this particular practice has quite a few differences to it. For instance, meditation starts with you completely awake, and forces you to concentrate on one individual thing as you drift between two states of consciousness. Reverie, on the other hand, is focused solely on relaxation and visualization. Yoga Nidra, despite its physical similarity, leaves you constantly aware of your surroundings, but puts you into a deep sleep state where you don't dream.

The conscious mind is generally overwhelmed by challenges and tasks that that must be completed throughout the day when an individual is awake. An individual can empty his conscious mind and instead fill it with soothing images that allow restfulness and a sense of peace by employing this practice, along with another technique such as yoga or meditation.

If you're looking for a way to make your regular life less stressful, you can find plenty of techniques like Casada Massage Chair YANCO to relieve your anxiety and apprehension about your day.

If you use yoga nidra and meditation together, you can keep you conscious thoughts repressed, so that you can start to dip into your subconscious existence. With your distractions out of the way, it's much easier to start to relax yourself and relieve your problems that cause you to seek treatment like this out. You're not troubled with the worldly concerns you have, and you get to dip past the events in dreams that often terrify you. You get to have one on one time with your soul, reaching the furthest depths of your consciousness.

Allowing the mind an opportunity to renew itself and the body a chance to calm down, utilizing Yoga Nidra alongside these other practices aids an individual in confronting the challenges of our contemporary environment. As good as three hours of restful sleep, one hour of Yoga Nidra is equally beneficial. Although the human body requires eight full hours of relaxing sleep to renew itself, this form of yoga is certainly valuable for those that seek mind exploration to the fullest, but this practice may not be employed continuously.

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Yoga And Elevated Brain GABA Levels

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain's primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. The findings, which appear in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, suggest that the practice of yoga be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels.

The World Health Organization reports that mental illness makes up to fifteen percent of disease in the world. Depression and anxiety disorders both contribute to this burden and are associated with low GABA levels. Currently, these disorders have been successfully treated with pharmaceutical agents designed to increase GABA levels.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour. The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session. The acquisition of the GABA levels was done using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique developed by J. Eric Jensen, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate physicist at McLean Hospital.

According to the researchers, yoga has shown promise in improving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and epilepsy. "Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga," said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.

"This study contributes to the understanding of how the GABA system is affected by both pharmacologic and behavioral interventions and will help to guide the development of new treatments for low GABA states," said co-author Domenic Ciraulo, MD, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at BUSM.

"The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage," added senior author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

Source: Boston University

Try Yoga To Soothe The Stress In Your Mind And The Tension In Your Body!

Times are hard and they just seem to be getting harder! Everyday, we hear more dire news about the economy, sinking stock prices and mounting job losses. Everyone is worried that they will be the next victim. This stress can have damaging effects on your emotional and physical well being.

Stress and worry can lead to more severe anxiety problems, even panic attacks! It is important to keep your mind and body balanced and one great way to do that is to learn yoga.

- Yoga is practiced by more than 6 million Americans and this number is only on the rise. As more and more people are discovering the amazing health and stress reduction effects of this ancient art, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among both men and women. Yoga is not just exercise and it's not just relaxation, it is a combination of both and it can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, flexibility or weight.

- Yoga does incorporate some gymnastics into its movements. There are twists and contortions that will increase your flexibility and help you trim your weight and improve your appearance. To the untrained observer, it might seem like you have to be a contortionist to practice yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, yoga is all about accepting the limitations of your body in the moment and working towards expanding those limitations to their fullest extent.

- Yoga also includes some meditative practices, a great way to lessen anxiety and prevent panic attacks. Meditation is not just for hippies, it is a way to let go some of the accumulated stresses that build up in our lives and simply be at peace in the moment.

An important aspect of meditation and of the more physical components of yoga is the emphasis on the breath. It is so important to breathe properly and too many of us forget how to breath from our abdomen, Without this deep breathing, we are denying our body, valuable oxygen it needs to deal with the stress we encounter in our lives.

There are many different types of yoga and many different ways to engage in the practice. As a beginner, I suggest you go to a yoga studio. Studio teachers will be more likely to help you get into the position (something you might need) and help you integrate the emotional part of the yoga experience with the physical.

Yoga classes at gyms, tend to be more physical in nature and give short shrift to the meditative component. Do not underestimate the power of meditation or the way it can release muscle tension and provide you with some inner peace. However, once you've learned the basics of yoga, attending gym based classes or indulging on your own, will accomplish the same purpose.

If neither of these options are available to you, there are a number of videos and books available that can guide you through the yoga practice although nothing replaces just a few classes for the visual and educational perspective they offer. The key to lower levels of anxiety and even panic attack prevention lay in finding ways to achieve some inner peace and some physical relief.

Stressed at work? Try yoga

A bit of daily yoga and meditation, combined with six weekly group sessions, can lower stress and improve sleep quality for sedentary office-goers, says a pilot study.

Because chronic stress is associated with chronic disease, I am focussing on how to reduce stress before it has a chance to contribute to disease, said Maryanna Klatt, professor at Ohio State University (OSU), who led the study.

The study offered participants a modified version of what is known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a programme established in 1979 to help patients assist themselves in their own healing.
Mindfulness refers in part to one’s heightened awareness of the factors that cause stress.

While the traditional MBSR programme practice takes up an hour per day for eight weeks supplemented by lengthy weekly sessions and a full-day retreat, the modified version was developed by OSU for office workers.

Participants attended one-hour weekly group meetings during lunch and practised 20 minutes of meditation and yoga daily at their desks.

After six weeks, participants reported greater awareness of stress factors, felt less stressed by events, and fell asleep more easily than did a control group that did not experience the intervention.

The pilot study was based on 48 office workers, who exercised less than 30 minutes on most days of the week. Forty two people completed the study.

The results were published in a recent issue of Health Education & Behavior.

Yoga for Computer Users

The Diamond Posture (Vajrasana)

Kneel on a thick carpet or blanket with your knees close together. Sit back on your heels and stretch up from your hips, balancing your head well so that a line drawn  through ear, shoulder, elbow and hip would be straight. You should sit up in this posture for greatest benefits.

The Locust (Salabhasana)

Most yoga students are familiar with this posture. Lie flat, face down, chin on floor. Make your hands into fists and push them either under your thighs to help the lift, or place them alongside your body. Exhale and lift legs from your hips, tightening your  buttocks and stretching your legs up and back. Hold position for as long as possible, exhale, return to starting posture and repeat.

The Dog Stretch (Adho mukha svanasana)

Lie face down, legs stretched back, buttocks tightened and knees pulled back. Place hands just below shoulders, exhale and lift head, then chest, shoulders and torso,  pushing down from your pelvis and straightening your arms. From the back of your head to your tailbone, your body should be curved back. Push shoulders back and down. Push head back more. Stay like this as long as possible with normal breathing. Come down very slowly, and relax.

The Twist (Bhardwajasana)
Kneel on the floor and sit back, bringing both feet to the right of your hips. Straighten your right arm, bring it across your body and turn to the left. Place your hand, palm down under your left knee. Exhale, turn your body more to the left and  clasp your right elbow with your left hand, from the back. Turn your head and gaze over your right shoulder. Fold position for a few breaths and then twist and look back over your left shoulder. Shoulders should be at right angles to the body. Come back to starting position and repeat on other side.  You should do this posture once every hour if you have lower back pain.

Releases Lower Back Pain

Twenty percent of all those who undergo surgery for lower back pain will get no relief. The remaining 80 percent will have problems ranging from mild to severe. All will have trouble with spinal flexion.

Yoga does not offer cures. It simply promises that if you faithfully practice these asanas every day, there will be no pain and you will build up a strong and supple spine, restructuring posture and body image. Once you have back problems you must remain conscious all through the day of how you stand, sit and lie down. Here are a few guidelines:

Always sleep on a firm (not necessarily hard) bed, with a flat pillow under your head and a thicker one under your knees. This will help the spine to reposition and adjust itself.

Do not wear high heels as this promotes lumbar lordosis and throws the spine out of balance.

Do not go in for break-dancing, strenuous aerobics, jogging, running or anything where you need to bounce or jiggle. Guarded activity is the key here.

For lower back pain, sitting is the most painful. Sit on a firm seat, not squashy cushions, and sit on your buttock bones. Do not loll back on the tailbone or lower spine. Wedge a rolled towel or small cushion behind your back to keep you upright. Sit as often as possible in The Diamond Posture (Figure 1) in order to benefit the sciatic nerve and to cure a convex or a lateral curvature of the spine.

When the pain is acute and you can neither sit nor stand in comfort, rest in bed, take whatever anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications your physician prescribes, and wait until the pain is milder before starting on these postures.

All these asanas have healing and curative properties. They will act as a form of mild traction, gently stretching the spinal muscles in safe extension postures. Strength will be gradually built up in the paraspinal muscles and buttocks, abdominal organs will be toned and strengthened, and pressure points all along the spine will be stimulated. Practice each asana to the point where mild pain is felt.

Supported Side Stretches

Many computer users around the world face the problem of back pain. Having your back against the wall usually means you're in trouble. But for certain yoga positions, having your back firmly against a wall will aid health.

In Hatha Yoga, the practitioner forms what Swami Gitananda calls body geometry--triangles, straight lines, circles and parallel lines. When you do a posture, always stretch your body to its utmost limit and then hold it there for a slow count of 10, gradually building up the time, until each posture can be maintained for 30 seconds. Holding a posture is essential to yoga because it gives the body a chance to settle into the stretch and loosen up. Then each time you stretch it will be just that little bit farther.

Many of the sideways, or lateral, stretches in Hatha Yoga require that the body face forward, with hips level and back and spine tilting neither forward nor back. Beginners tend to lean forward to increase the stretch. But leaning forward is wrong and will actually detract from benefits and possibly cause harm. To perform these stretches properly, make sure to keep your spine firmly against a wall. The wall acts as a prop. Even those who have practiced yoga may find that they cannot bend as far as they thought they could when they do the postures properly. The extra time spent in forming careful postures will pay off: Your body will gain excellent flexibility and strength.

Relax And Refocus With Yoga

The essence of optimal health is a healthy mind in a health body. Yoga, which has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, is a way to achieve both.

The November issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers an overview of yoga and its health benefits.

Rooted in ancient India, today's yoga is broadly understood as a system of relaxation, postures and breathing. Over the centuries, different forms of yoga have evolved. Some focus more on spirituality, others on mediation and mastering the conscious mind. Some are more physically challenging than others.

A number of research studies have been conducted on the potential health benefits of yoga. Some commonly acknowledged benefits include:

Relaxation and stress relief. Yoga's quiet precise movements focus your mind less on your busy day and more on movement as you breathe deeply and progress through a series of poses.

Increased flexibility and balance. As you learn and practice new poses, you'll find that each time you can reach a little farther.

Although evidence isn't definitive, studies have also shown that yoga may help manage certain chronic health conditions, such as:

Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders
Cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol
Chronic pain

If you'd like to try yoga, look for classes in your area. You also can learn from books and videos, but an instructor can help you adjust poses to your needs. Ask about the instructor's training and experience in working with your particular needs or health concerns.

At the end of the yoga class, you should feel invigorated yet calm. If that's not the case, talk to the instructor for suggestions. Otherwise, anotheryoga class may be better suited to your needs.

Which Style of Yoga Is Best for You?

If you're a beginner at yoga, the many different styles of yoga can seem overwhelming. How do you choose? How do you know which type of yoga is right for you?

With any style of yoga, you can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. And all yoga styles release tension in your body, quiet your mind, and create a feeling of lightness and ease. But to get the most benefit, stay safe, and find the greatest pleasure, you need to choose a yoga style that suits your current fitness level. To make that choice, you also need to consider your temperament and your goals for practicing yoga.

For example, if you're an athlete already doing lots of strength training, your best choice is likely to be a yoga style that focuses on flexibility. That way, you can balance your fitness routine. If you're older, have an injury, or live with a chronic medical condition such as arthritis, you may want to try a class in Iyengar yoga or gentle Viniyoga. When you do, you'll get plenty of individual attention that focuses on your unique condition and needs. If you're relatively healthy, love to sweat, and want to lose weight, a Bikram class may be just the right fit for you.

Before you actually make your choice, try a few of the most common styles of yoga. See which one suits you best. Then try a few different teachers within that style of yoga. Teachers all have their own unique focus, emphasis, and personality. You're more likely to keep going to class with a teacher you connect with and feel comfortable with.

Goals for Your Yoga Style

The word yoga can be translated as "union," "yoke," or "balance." By doing yoga, you're creating a union between mind and body. You're also balancing strength and flexibility.

To decide on the yoga style that's right for you, ask yourself three simple questions. The answers will help you clarify your goals in beginning yoga.

1. Are you doing yoga for fitness and to get in shape as well as to explore the mind-body connection? Then choose a more vigorous yoga style like Power Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga. All three styles combine an athletic series of poses into a vigorous, total-body workout.

2. Are you starting yoga with an injury or a chronic medical condition? Or are you older and out of shape? Then start with a slower, more alignment-oriented class like Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or Viniyoga. All three focus on finding the safest, most precise alignment for each student in every pose.

3. Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal? Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try Kundalini yoga.ReadMore...

Yoga for Menopause

Yoga stretches can benefit both the body and the mind, bringing energy and balance. This is particularly helpful to women who are currently in menopause or in menopause transition because their hormonal levels and body chemistry may be fluctuating rapidly. This can leave women feeling out of balance and truly victims of their changing bodies. Yoga exercises level out this physiological instability by relaxing and gently stretching every muscle in the body, promoting better blood circulation and oxygenation to all cells and tissues. This helps optimize the function of the endocrine glands and the organs of the female reproductive tract. Yoga exercises also improve the health and well-being of the digestive tract, nervous system, and all other organ systems.
The yoga exercises included in this chapter address many specific menopause related symptoms and issues, such as bone strength, cardiovascular and breast health, of concern to all women past midlife. You may want to begin by trying all the stretches, then practicing on a regular basis those exercises that bring you the most symptom relief and general health benefits. If you prefer, begin with the exercises that offer relief for the specific symptoms of greatest concern.

General Techniques for Yoga

When doing yoga exercises, it is important that you focus and concentrate on the positions. First, let your mind visualize how the exercise is to look, and then follow with the correct body placement in the pose. The exercises are done through slow, controlled stretching movements. This slowness allows you to have greater control over your body movements. You minimize the possibility of injury and maximize the benefit to the particular area of the body where your attention is being focused. Pay close attention to the initial instructions. Look at the placement of the body in the photographs. This is very important, for if the pose is practiced properly, you are much more likely to have relief from your symptoms.

In summary, as you begin these exercises:

• Visualize the pose in your mind, then follow with proper placement of the body.
• Move slowly through the pose. This will help promote flexibility of the muscles and prevent injury.
• Follow the breathing instructions provided in the exercise. Most important, do not hold your breath. Allow your breath to flow in and out easily and effortlessly.

Practicing yoga stretches regularly in a slow, unhurried fashion will gradually loosen your muscles, ligaments and joints. You may be surprised at how supple you can become over time. If you experience any pain or discomfort, you have probably overreached your current ability and should immediately reduce the amount of the stretching until you can proceed without discomfort. Be careful, as muscular injuries take time to heal. If you do strain a muscle, immediately apply ice to the injured area for ten minutes. Use the ice pack two to three times a day for several days. If the pain persists, see your doctor. If you wish more background and information on yoga, refer to the books listed in the bibliography at the end of this book.

Stretch 1: The Locust

This exercise energizes the entire female reproductive tract, thyroid, liver, intestines and kidneys. It is helpful for premenopausal women with dysfunctional bleeding, as well as women with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, because it improves circulation and oxygenation to the pelvic region, thereby promoting healthier ovarian function. This exercise also strengthens the lower back, abdomen, buttocks, and legs, and prevents lower back pain and cramps.

• Lie face down on the floor. Make fists with both your hands and place them under your hips. This prevents compression of the lumbar spine while doing the exercise.
 • Straighten your body and raise your right leg with an upward thrust as high as you can, keeping your hips on your fists. Hold for 5 to 20 seconds if possible.
 • Lower the leg and slowly return to your original position. Repeat on the left side. Remember to keep your hips resting on your fists. Repeat 10 times.

• Repeat 10 times with both legs together.

Stretch 2: The Pump

This exercise improves blood circulation through the pelvis, thereby promoting healthier ovarian function. It helps relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and controls excessive bleeding in premenopausal women. The exercise helps calm anxiety and also strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.

• Lie down and press the small of your back into the floor. This permits you to use your abdominal muscles without straining your lower back.
• Raise your right leg slowly while breathing in. Keep your back flat on the floor and let the rest of your body remain relaxed. Move your leg very slowly; imagine your leg being pulled up smoothly by a spring. Do not move your leg in a jerky manner. Hold for a few breaths. Lower your leg and breathe out.
• Repeat the same exercise on your left side. Then alternate legs, repeating the exercise 5 to 10 times.

Stretch 3: Wide Angle Pose

This exercise opens the entire pelvic region and energizes the female reproductive tract, improving ovarian function as well as normalizing excessive or irregular menstrual flow; diminution of menopausal symptoms may also occur. It is helpful for varicose veins and improves circulation in the legs.

• Lie on your back with your legs against the wall and extended out in a V or an arc, and your arms extended to the side.
• Hips should be as close to the wall as possible, buttocks on the floor. Legs should be spread apart as far as they can and still remain comfortable. Breathing easily, hold for 1 minute, allowing the inner thighs to relax.

• Bring legs together and hold for 1 minute.

Stretch 4: Spinal Flex

This exercise energizes and rejuvenates the female reproductive tract and tones the abdominal organs (pancreas, liver and adrenals). It emphasizes freer pelvic movement with controlled breathing.

• Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor close to your buttocks.
• Exhale and press the lower back into the floor, raising the buttocks slightly.
• Arch your back slightly.
• Inhale and lift your lower back off the floor. This stretches the region from the sternum to the pelvis.
• Repeat this exercise 10 times. Always lift your navel up on the in breath. Always elongate your spine and press the lower back down on the outbreath.

Stretch 5: Pelvic Arch

This is an excellent exercise for stretching the abdominal and pelvic muscles. Menopause related vaginal and bladder symptoms are reduced by promoting better circulation and relaxation in the pelvic region. It is also helpful in reducing pelvic congestion.

• Lie on your back with your knees bent. Spread your feet apart, flat on the floor.

• Place your hands around your ankles, holding them firmly.
• As you inhale, arch your pelvis up and hold for a few seconds. As you exhale, relax and lower your pelvis several times.

• Repeat this exercise several times.

Stretch 6: The Bow

This exercise helps relieve menopause-related fatigue and lack of vitality, elevating your mood and improving stamina. The exercise also stretches the entire spine and helps relieve lower back pain and cramps. It stretches the abdominal muscles and strengthens the back, hips and thighs. It also stimulates the digestive organs and endocrine glands.

• Lie face down on the floor, arms at your sides.

• Slowly bend your legs at the knees and bring your feet up toward your buttocks.

• Reach back with your arms and carefully take hold of first one foot and then the other. Flex your feet to make grasping them easier.
• Inhale and raise your trunk from the floor as far as possible and lift your head. Bring your knees as close together as possible.
• Squeeze the buttocks while raising them off the floor. Imagine your body looking like a gently curved bow. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

• Slowly release the posture. Allow your chin to touch the floor and finally release your feet and return them slowly to the floor. Return to your original position. Repeat 5 times.

Stretch 7: Child's Pose

Excellent for calming anxiety and stress due to emotional causes, this exercise will also relieve menopause related anxiety and irritability. The exercise gently stretches the lower back and is one of the most effective exercises for relieving menstrual cramps and low back pain.

• Sit on your heels. Bring your forehead to the floor, stretching the spine as far over your head as possible.

• Close your eyes.

• Hold for as long as comfortable.

Stretch 8: The Sponge

This exercise relieves anxiety and stress due to emotional causes or menopause related anxiety and tension. It relieves menstrual cramps and low back pain as well as reducing eye tension and swelling in the face.

• Lie on your back with a rolled towel placed under your knees. Your arms should be at your sides, palms up.
• Close your eyes and relax your whole body. Inhale slowly, breathing from the diaphragm. As you inhale, visualize the energy in the air around you being dawn in through your entire body. Imagine your body is porous and open like a sponge, drawing in this energy and revitalizing every cell of your body.

• Exhale slowly and deeply, allowing all tension to drain from your body.

Stretch 9: Dollar Pose

This pose reduces anxiety and nervous tension and will help eliminate tension headaches and insomnia. It improves flexibility of the spine, reducing stiffness and back pain.

• Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet together. Place your hands on the sides of both ankles to keep your legs together.
• As you inhale, raise your legs up over your head. Make sure that the posture is comfortable by adjusting the angle of your legs. To do this, bend your knees to apply pressure between the shoulder blades.
• Hold this posture for one minute, breathing slowly and deeply.

• Return to the original position, lying flat on your back with your eyes closed. Relax in this position for several minutes.

Stretch 10: Tree

If your goal is to strengthen bone mass by increasing weight bearing on the legs, hips and spine, this exercise will help you accomplish increasing bone mass. It also improves balance and posture.

• Standing erect, focus your eyes on a stationary point. Place one foot against the opposite thigh, so that one leg is bearing your weight.

• Slowly raise your arms over your head. Hold for a count of 5.

Reverse sides.
Repeat 3 times.
Note: You may place one hand on the wall for support if needed.

Stretch 11: Chest Expander

This exercise increases circulation to the upper half of the body, energizing and stimulating the body. It also loosens and stretches tense muscles in the upper body, especially the shoulder and back, and expands the lungs.

• Stand easily. Arms should be at your sides; feet are hip distance apart.
• Extend your arms forward until your palms touch.
• Bring your arms slowly and gracefully back until you can clasp them behind your back.
• Exhale, then straighten your clasped hands and arms as far as you can without discomfort. Remember to stand upright; body should not bend forward. Breathe deeply into chest.
• Inhale deeply and bend backward from the waist. Keep your hands clasped and your arms held high.
• Drop your head backward a few inches and look upward as you relax your shoulders and the back of your neck.
• Hold this position for a few seconds.
• As you hold your breath, bend forward at the waist, bringing your clasped hands and arms up over your back.
• Relax your neck muscles and keep your knees straight.
• Hold for a few seconds.
• Exhale as you return to the upright position. Unclasp your hands and allow your arms to rest easily at your sides.
• Repeat entire sequence 3 times.

Choosing the Right Yoga Technique

From among the many specific yoga poses in this chapter, you can choose the best exercises to provide relief for your personal menopausal symptoms by using the accompanying chart. Try all the poses that pertain to your specific symptoms to see which ones bring you the most relief and practice those poses on a regular basis along with your exercise program. The combination of yoga stretches plus a good aerobic and strength-building program should help relieve and delay menopause-related symptoms and improve your general state of health.
Susan M. Lark M.D.

Sex and Yoga

Everybody's interested in sex. Whether it's to get pregnant, who's doing it and with whom, or how often is normal? We wonder what we should wear, or how much hair to remove to get more of it, or even how to market it? It's in our face in some way, often subliminally, and frequently in a distorted way every day. Men and women obviously have differing sexual needs, (not necessarily sex drives guys!), and this often leads to conflict. Conflict is the antithesis of yoga, yet within conflict there is always opportunity for unity. This is where yoga comes into play.

Sex and yoga is about harmony, about bringing balance into the equation so both sexes feel healthy, nourished and appreciated, free from all the usual repercussions or associated pressures. In my opinion the essence of sex is as a pathway to spiritual transformation and lasting physical well being. Basically yoga makes you feel good. It gets the blood pumping. It gets the hormones flushing through the body. It gives your skin a healthy youthful glow. It generates heat and stimulation from the inside out. It gives you energy, and that's sexy.

Sex and yoga are more intimately connected than we think. Sex feels good. Good sex with someone we love opens our hearts, makes us smile and relieves tension. Sex is about relationship, connection, intimacy, love and creative expression. At their best sex and yoga are about union, truth and love. To reveal those things in your life, your yoga practice, and your sex life takes a genuine commitment to creating a deeper sense of intimacy and overall wellbeing. In my journey as a yoga teacher I encourage all those things and created a yoga system as a way of putting it into a concise practice.

I use a unique system of corrective Japanese yoga postures, wholefood medicine and breath work, which has the potential to heal and enliven, stimulate and support both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When this happens, optimal function of our hormonal, lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems is restored. This makes us feel more vital, connected and present. We begin to engage more fully with life on all levels - mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually.

To keep it simple: each section of our spine is governed by a particular meridian, and our very foundation, the sacrum, our base chakra into Mother Earth, dictates how secure, confident and trusting we feel within ourselves. Our sexual essence, that is, our base chakra or kundalini energy, is the connection between our Spirit and Universal Consciousness, or Love.

The flow of sexual hormones is governed primarily by our kidney energy and is intricately connected to our emotional health and how fluidly we move through life, and whether we speak our truth from our hearts and souls without fear. A strong aligned spine is the foundation channel for this universal energy so we can move through life, embrace challenges and grow into the full expression of ourselves.

Sex and yoga are therefore intricately entwined!

Our sexual and emotional confidence is governed by the quality of our Base chakra (perineum), Solar plexus chakra (navel) and Heart chakra. Yoga works to connect the potential in these chakras and energize the entire chakra system from the pelvic floor to our biggest sex organ, the brain. My female students have noticed marked improvement in their energy levels, regulation of, and reduced discomfort throughout their menstrual cycles, healthier hair and skin and a general sense of heightened vitality, libido and sexual responsiveness - all good things!

For women, the sequence will help correct gynaecological disorders, enhance fertility, counter osteoporosis, reduce varicose veins, rebuild pelvic floor integrity after childbirth (imperative on so many levels!), balance hormonal function and generally improve emotional and sexual confidence. My male students are honoured and nourished equally so they can start to access both their male and female energies (yin and yang) in an appropriate way to experience balance, intuition and emotional expression, rather than traditional repression.

They comment that they have become more empathetic with their partners and other men. They unravel learnt behaviours and stereotypes that stop them from feeling and being true to themselves, without losing their sense of masculinity. You can still be a bloke and sensitive. For men, the important issues of prostate health, virility/fertility, hair loss, libido, body confidence and stamina are addressed to help counter the effects of aging, modern day stresses and work and relationship pressures often placed upon them.

This ripples out into the greater community as energy of understanding, compassion, tolerance, self responsibility and positive response rather than reaction, and ultimately, respect for the opposite sex. These introductory postures take just 20 - 30 minutes a day and if possible should be done at least 3 times a week.

1: Gall Bladder Dips
Interlace hands behind head, R foot against L knee. Exhale and drop elbow to rear foot to open up opposite waist, draw elbows wide. Inhale to centre, repeat briskly x 8. Releases tight sides and brings softness to the shoulders & hips. Also releases the lines that govern the metabolism so we can maintain healthy weight and body image, plus tones the waist/hip line where we often store unresolved issues.

2: Spleen Bridge - Setu Bandha
Exhale and lift hips high, pressing through inside edge of feet. Inhale and lower one vertebra at a time to the mat. Repeat smoothly x 8, drawing knees in slightly to feel inner thigh line. Rest on back after and breathe - feel Spleen blood quality/pulsing up legs into belly. Upper body will soften and thoughts will relax as well as hormone flow improves. When we feel warm and nurtured from within this expresses as compassion and sensitivity towards ourselves and others. Spleen energy helps us make supportive choices & develops personal integrity so we don't repeat negative/destructive patterns in relation to ourselves or others.

3: Kidney/Spleen Lift
Lie on belly with L foot pressed into R inner knee, squeeze elbows into ribs. Exhale and lift hands and straight leg, pressing foot to knee and feeling the kidney area. Inhale and lower, repeat lifting x 6, then hold up and inhale. Exhale and squeeze around to L, lift chest and straight leg to draw awareness into weak points in lower back and increase blood flow and motivation into the kidneys. Inhale to centre, exhale and squeeze round to R. Swing L to R briskly x 10 then rest on belly with head to one side and breathe deeply.Stimulates endorphins and increases sexual vigor, builds libido and stamina.

4: Bow - Dhanurasana
Lie on belly and bend knees to hold ankles, forehead to mat. Exhale and lift into Bow, press belly into mat and resist feet with hands to open shoulders. Inhale and lower, rest briefly then repeat and hold up for 3-6 breaths. Relax and feel the lungs, heart and belly energies connecting. Excellent for reproductive organs, circulation and developing emotional sensitivity.

5: Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Come onto all fours in Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), hands shoulder width, feet hip width, bend knees if need too. Hold for 5 - 8 breaths, releasing the jaw and neck, lengthening the spine up to the tailbone and rolling the shoulders away from the ears. Downward Dog stretches the spine and nervous system channels to bring mental clarity, nourish the spine and nerves and counterpose to Dhanurasana. Downward Dog builds mental endurance, leg and arm strength and nourishes the endocrine system, strengthens the heart and builds overall health and organ function.

6: Triangle Pose - Trikonasana
Take legs one leg length apart, R foot heel dissects L arch, L toes turned in 30 degrees. Arms out to sides at shoulder height, spine long and legs engaged. Exhale and lean over R leg extending and lifting R arm to open R ribcage. Keep back foot grounded and belly drawn to spine. Lower R hand to shin and L fingers to ceiling in line with shoulder, look to floor or up along L fingertips. Hold and breathe 5 - 8 breaths, focusing on lengthening the spine, rotating the chest, extending the energy from the heart out into the fingertips and anchoring down into the legs. Come up to standing on an inhalation and switch feet to do the other side. Lay down on your back after for a few breaths to absorb the cleansing effect of the pose.

Trikonasana strengthens the legs, tones the abdominal organs, particularly the Liver, flushes the hormones and lymphatics and creates a sense of expansion, acceptance and patience. Clear Liver energy helps connect us with our inner wisdom and ability to see opportunities and make appropriate choices that support our direction and purpose in life.

7: Crocodile - Chaturanga
Lie on your belly, hands beside chest, toes tucked under and knees lifted off the mat so legs are elevated and parallel to the floor. Exhale and contract entire body to lift off the mat and squeeze from the belly out into the limbs. Keep elbows close to ribs, chest in line with elbows and elbows over the wrists. Hold up for 3 breaths then rest with head to one side.

Crocodile governs the lungs and helps develop breath capacity, mental stamina and a sense of empowerment. Strong lungs give us a sense of trust and positivity as we draw in nourishment and breathe out stagnancy. Healthy lungs fuel the blood with oxygen and regulate the nervous system which in turn makes us feel good and radiate vibrant, attractive energy.

8: Hara Bicycle
Lie on your back with legs long and hands interlaced behind the head. Exhale and draw R knee to chest, L elbow up and across to meet it. Feel the belly engage. Inhale to centre, exhale and swap sides. Briskly cycle to build your belly strength and tone your abdominal organs and harness inner strength. Hara bicycle connects the kidney and lung energies to circulate oxygen, adrenalin and promote production of fresh hormones. Hara (or belly centre) strength and integrity is essential to maintain optimal digestion and hormone balance. When we are disconnected from or congested in our bellies, we lose awareness of what is appropriate and inappropriate, on all levels.

9: Seated Butterfly - Baddhakonasana
Sit with soles together, knees wide and hands interlaced around edges of toes. Use hands against feet as traction to lift the chest and lengthen the spine. Close the eyes and focus on your breath at the end of your practice now, observing the shifts in your body and mind and getting a sense of the energies moving within. Baddhakonasana is an excellent hip opener that helps circulate fresh blood around the pelvis to nourish the reproductive organs. Sit quietly for 5 - 10 minutes, breathing in and out through the nose to calm the adrenals, drawing the breath down into the belly and sit bones so you feel grounded, nourished and calm. As always with any posture always move within a sharp-pain-free range of movement. If you feel uncomfortable with a posture just bring it back a little. Do remember though, you need to be fit for good sex so keep your practice going and enjoy Sex and Yoga.