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

Evaluating Benefits Of Yoga - American Council On Exercise (ACE) First

Today more than 11 million Americans pack fitness studios around the country seeking the mind-body benefits of yoga, including increased flexibility, strength, balance and muscle tone. But is yoga also a good calorie-burning workout? In an exclusive study, the American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's nonprofit fitness advocate, examined the aerobic benefits and calorie expenditure of Hatha yoga, the most beginner-friendly and widespread practice.

Lead researchers Dawn Boehde and John Porcari, Ph.D., FACSM, from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recruited 34 healthy but sedentary women (average age of 33) for the study. Before beginning the study, participants were given the same series of tests evaluating their flexibility, balance, aerobic fitness level and muscular strength and endurance.

The subjects where divided into two groups: a yoga group and a non-yoga control group. The yoga group participated in 55-minute Hatha yoga classes three times a week during the eight-week study period while the non-yoga group was barred from any form of exercise.

The study concluded that while the yoga group showed numerous improvements in strength and endurance as well as improved balance and flexibility, they did not burn a significant amount of calories. In fact, one 50-minute session of Hatha yoga burns just 144 calories, similar to a slow walk.

"Yoga is designed to relax the body and help improve musculoskeletal fitness. If you attempt to incorporate calorie-burning elements in a yoga session you may compromise the essential purpose and beneficial effects of the practice," said Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for ACE. "While the ACE study shows that a Hatha yoga session burns a relatively small amount of calories, yoga is still a valuable addition to any exercise routine offering the essential elements of flexibility, balance and relaxation; factors often neglected in traditional workouts."

Yoga group participants did show the following improvements:

-- Yoga participants' total body flexibility improved by 13 percent, with significant results in shoulder and trunk flexibility

-- Muscular fitness also improved in the yoga group enabling them to do an average of six more push-ups and 14 more curl-ups

-- Yoga participants experienced a 17-second increase in their one-legged stand time

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.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Today's World

 Written centuries BC, Yoga Sutras by Patanjali is known as the greatest scriptural text from the yogic Indian philosophy. The characteristics of these "threads" are intensely brief, mentioning succinctly and often precisely, important points or techniques. Initially these wisdoms were oral, were made clear and construed by remarks from a teacher directing the student.

This meditative obedience of liberation is known as Raja - Royal yoga or the yoga of the eight limbs that are described below:

1. Restraint: nonviolence, not lying, not stealing, not lusting, and nonattachment
2. Observances: cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-study, and surrender to the Supreme God
3. Posture or physical exercises
4. Breath control
5. Sublimation or withdrawal from the senses
6. Attention
7. Concentration
8. Meditation

Yoga can explained as Union, yoga is also an effort to educate the yogi, the one who practices yoga and how to attain union with the Supreme consciousness we call god. Yoga trains us to overcome the thought that our 'self' identity is a false impression and our soul is the real us.

The aim of these sutras is not to show how to do the asanas correctly or the best way to sit for a meditation. It was presumed that the students would have already been taught by their teacher the essentials and the basics of the meditativetechniques and asanas before practicing the principles.

These sutras are organized in four parts (padas).

1. Samadhi Pada I: Contemplation and Meditation
2. Sadhana Pada II: The Steps to Union
3. Vibhuti Pada III: Union Achieved and Its Results
4. Kaivalya Pada IV: Illumination and Freedom

The Yoga Sutra gives a most outstanding cohort for those who would use meditation (dhyana) and other additional yoga practices as a realistic spiritual passage to rouse and self liberate. Yoga Sutras can be utilized like any instructional book, or industry manual ensuring that the genuine educator within is to be woken up through their own practice. Some translators recommend reading a little then practicing it, the read more and practice further and that way the practice can be improved. So to train our beliefs we must experience yoga and the only way to reveal its true nature is to practice it. Our beliefs must match to "truth", not vice versa.

An open heart divulges Yoga Sutras as the experiential workbook, it is also misunderstood as viewpoint of a religious book that could be used to study and intellect or common mind. The complete universe as well as the true character of mind is the laboratory. Finding the knowledge and the instrument of knowledge is finding the field of knowing and experiencing that is freedom in this very life. Wisdom is trans-rational and trans-conceptual by character; it also is larger than any synthetic notion, technology, or created thought wave. To completely map the gyred spirals of the holographic universe a human intellect and its five senses are inadequate, but yet Patanjali everywhere authenticates that this Holographic Reality can be closely experienced should we let go of our prejudice and predetermined outlooks and false impressions.

According to Patanjali, insight as well as the intellect (buddhi) comes from a native source-less wisdom of the universal infinite mind and that is the ever available clear light inhabiting behind the awareness also called as the param purusha. It is always available but only if we choose to look for it.Patanjali says that when the common linear thinking ends and disbands, the meditation starts to bear its fruitful results; and conclusion of the meditation might as well be Samadhi (complete incorporation). Yoga practice here should be the verb, the performance and the process. An unconditioned natural true self should be the objectless goal. Therefore an ultimate liberty can be attained through the uncultivated samadhi. Only practice can help you succeed in yoga. Just by reading about it in a book and quoting from it or talking about it isn't going to help. Having said that this book still holds a significant value when it is used in combination with yoga practice.

Thus Patanjali reiterates the warning against the uselessness of advancing meditation via the intellect; instead advises that the fruits of yoga are to be experienced such as attaining trans-conceptual wisdom. Thereforeliberation becomes reliant upon throwing away conception structures and belief systems. The initial indications of achievement in the experience ofmeditation are the releasing of such boundaries and immediately realizing them as obstructions.

To understand the sutras in a deeper level one has to practicemeditation , this will permit one to look at the sutras from their own perception and meditative experience. So to accumulate the real and permanent advantage one has to reflect on the sutras in a much deeper occurrence and living wisdom of the impartial heart. The aim is not to learn theYoga Sutras as a conclusion in itself or as an outer entity that can be understood, but to utilize it as a combined effort to the practices, and that merged in an authentically poised manner induces wisdom andliberation which patents in our day by day lives.

Yoga For the Face - An Anti-Aging Technique

Modern folks are consistently on the lookout to either improve their appearance or slow down the effects of aging. Skin condition, genetics, stress, work and many other issues affect how quickly we age.

Our diet is one of the many determining factors that affect the way we age. The healthier we eat, albeit more vegetables and fruits vs. unhealthy consumption of sugar, fat and meat, the slower we age...this is a proven fact. If you can't change your diet completely overnight, changing the way you eat slowly over a period of time will suffice. And of course, exercise can also slow down the aging process because it helps the body detoxify and exercise massages the internal organs, helping keep it well-oiled.

If you're into anti-aging products, services and methods, you must have heard about how beneficial yoga is for us emotionally, physically and psychologically. After a long day of sitting down in front of the computer or stuck in a frustrating traffic gridlock, stretching all those aching muscles with yoga can invigorate the body. But did you know if you want to look years younger, apart from using the right products, by doing facialyoga twice a day.

Facial yoga may make you look a tad odd if you do it in the middle of a crowded bus stop but stretching your facial muscles can tighten muscles on your face and in the process, strengthen sagging skin and also reduce lines and wrinkles. So, if you want to look years younger faster, all you have to do is to head over to the office bathroom twice a day and stretch those facial muscles of yours. Dermatologists and skincare professionals agree that there are too many benefits to doing yoga to ignore.

Step one, tighten ALL the muscles on your face as much as you can, hold it and then release it. Step two, round up your mouth the way you would when blowing out candles, hold it and release. This action makes for firmer lips and reduces lines around the mouth. Step three, open up your eyes and without moving your head, look up, down, left and right very slowly, holding the direction for a couple of seconds before looking elsewhere. This helps reduce the lines around your eyes, especially crow's feet.

Step four, open up your mouth and stick your tongue out as far as it will go! You'll feel the muscles around your mouth stretching, hold it while it works! Step five, purse your mouth and lips up very strongly. Hold this for a few seconds. This exercise helps strengthen the chin, cheeks and neck. Finally, open up your eyes as huge as you can open them, look ahead of you. You can feel your eyebrow disappearing into your hairline...yes, you're doing it right.

By doing the above on a regular basis on top of using the right products to make you feel and look absolutely smashing can push the hands of the clock back by as far as eight years. Don't believe me....try it and see it for yourself.

Mudras Yoga For Your Hands And Fingers

Mudras are my new found love. They are now part of my daily life and the mudra I have chosen for this month promises to offer me calm, inner core strength and improved focus (yeah, no more distractions for me) plus a healthier flow of energy throughout my entire body giving me more vitality. My clever hands, thumbs andfingers have quickly got my mind into shape and the body has eagerly followed.

The ancient Indian wisdom of Mudras are definitely my new well being energy tool.

Mudras are simple and I love simple. They are gentle and gracious in their actions and can literally be done while you are standing, sitting or in meditation. All you need is five minutes.

The ancient Indian texts explain how they can support the healing of many illnesses along with balancing all your chakras and bringing harmony back into your body, mind and soul. Used as a remedy for disease they are generally practiced for 30 - 45 minutes.

What are mudras?:

Mudras are healing hand postures and are a powerful aspect of yoga. There are Indian texts which explain how mudras are an ancient science that have been used for thousands of years to restore health. Mudras are literally health in your hand. Our thumbs,fingers and the palms of our hands are constantly emitting electromagnetic currents of energy and by creating certain postures with your hands,fingers and thumbs you opening up energy channels to encourage flow and healing.

The most familiar mudra’s:

If you practice yoga or meditation you will definitely be familiar with the Gyan Mudra. This is when the thumb and index finger connect whilst the other three fingers are left open and spread. The benefit of holding this mudra while in meditation is that it increases the flow of energy to your astral self. On a physical level it improves concentration, focus and memory. This mudra I have used for many years to support my meditations

Another mudra which I have used often in certain yoga postures is to hold the hands in prayer pose over the heart chakra. For me personally this is a very nurturing and calming hand posture and tends to bring the energy of peace into my body.

My chosen mudra for this month is the Prana Mudra:

I have chosen just one mudra this month to practice and absorb myself into. The prana mudra or life mudra seemed the obvious choice for me as I can get easily distracted and felt I needed more internal stability.

When doing this pose I sit on my meditation cushion in a peaceful environment (the kids are at school) calm my breathing, focus on my breath and place my subtle awareness on the energy currents being created with this pose. I'll observe the sensations, the blocks and the lightness flowing to different parts of my body. I'll do my best to just let thoughts float by and stay calm and centred. My intention is to repeat this pose twice a day for five minutes at a time. I’ll keep you posted with my progress and share my experiences before I move onto another mudra next month . All mudras will be filed under healing mudras.

The benefits of the prana mudra:

This particular mudra is said to benefit and increase the life force energy within you. Strengthen immunity, muscles, eyes and remove nervousness.

Nervousness or anxiousness can be an indication of weakness and reveals itself by being easily distracted due to lack of internal stability. This mudra strengthens the base chakra which will in turn strengthen and calm your inner core. The finger positions stimulates the nourishing energy in the pelvic flow and gently increases vitality and assists in reducing fatigue.

Keen to learn more about mudra’s:

My research, reading and study of mudra’s is in full swing. I’ll be featuring once a month a specific healing mudra that I am personally working with.

In the meantime I’ve ordered a book, DVD and a card set from amazon which I must say looks absolutely fabulous by Sabrina Mesko. She was taught sacred mudra techniques by a Master of White tantricyoga ; Yogi Bhajan who then gave her the responsibility to share it with the western world. She is also an executive member of the worldyoga council in India so I figured her books and DVD was a great place to start.

I’ve also enquired about her practitioner training program which looks like being held in 2008 in America. Now that is something I would definitely be keen to put on my schedule for 2008.