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Yoga

Yoga is a mind-body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The various styles of yoga that people use for health purposes typically combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

It can be highly individualized as there are many different types of yoga such as Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Anusara, Vinyasa and Kundalini and each one utilizes a different focus to assist in bringing the mind, body and soul together.

How it Works

It works by assuming different postures specific to that practice and then releasing the posture. Some practices incorporate meditation as a part of the class.

Yoga works subtly on the energetic level to clear out stuck energy while at the same time conditioning the body to bring in fresh energy through certain postures, and training the mind to be in present moment awareness.

Benefits

A regular yoga practice will assist one in sleeping more soundly, feeling more grounded, having less pain and achieving more focus. There are huge, emotional, physical and psychological benefits from engaging in regular yoga practice.

Precautions

Be mindful when trying different types of yoga, and go with what feels best for you since there are so many different styles. Do not push your body any further than it wants to go, as yoga has no connection to force.

Summary

Carl G. Jung, a famous Swiss psychologist, described yoga as “one of the greatest things the human mind has ever created.” The Yoga sutra, when translated, defines yoga defines it as, “Yoga is the cessation of agitation of the consciousness.”

The practice of whatever type of yoga you find beneficial for you will assist greatly in transcending the mind and allowing for more present moment awareness.

References

  • Introduction to Yoga by Annie Besant
  • Yoga for Beginners DVD
  • The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover

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Secrets from a 70-year old Super Model [video]

Hear from Sunny Griffin about fasting, yoga, veganism, and raw food.

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Yoga for Hip Bursitis

In this video by Suzanne Morgan, she demonstrates 5 yoga poses specifically to help people suffering from hip bursitis.


Top-Selling Products

· Yoga Starter Sets

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Yoga Provides Special-Needs Children With Fun and Fitness

At Able Academy in Naples, Florida, students are doing the “surfer” and the “peaceful gorilla” as part of their curriculum.

These students aren’t performing dance moves. They’re doing yoga.

Able Academy, a school for kids with developmental disabilities like autism, offers weekly yoga classes as part of its wellness program, the Naples Daily News reports. To make the sessions more fun and encourage creativity, the instructor often asks the students to rename the poses.

“Just to see how they would light up when they knew a pose – and they were able to bring some ownership to it because they came up with the creative idea for it – is an amazing experience,” instructor Jennifer Modzelesky says.

Yoga enhances the natural development of children with special needs. It also increases strength, improves concentration, reduces hyperactivity and helps improve their social skills.

The school also offers classes to parents and school staff members.

Says one parent about the yoga experience: “We both are now doing something that’s the same, which doesn’t happen often. It’s given us something we can share and talk about.”



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Yoga’s Benefits Outperform those of Aerobic Exercise

We all know that yoga is good for the body, but it might be even better than we thought. A study by the University of Maryland School of Nursing in 2010 shows that yoga might offer more benefits than aerobic exercise.

As published in PubMed.gov, the researchers state, “In the studies reviewed, yoga interventions appeared to be equal or superior to exercise in nearly every outcome measured except those involving physical fitness.”

They go on to state that they found yoga to be better than aerobic exercise when it comes to improving balance, flexibility, strength, daily energy levels and more.

Wow! And you might have thought it was only especially effective at reducing stress.

References

  • Rodale, rodalenews.com/yoga-benefits
  • PubMed.gov, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20105062


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Yoga and Kids: A Perfect Alignment

When I was a kid the only yogi I knew was Yogi Bear.  Clearly, the times they are a-changing.   With yoga rising in popularity—a recent article in the New York Times Magazine estimated up to 20 million people may be doing downward dog up from just 4 million in 2001—it’s not all that surprising that yoga is filtering down to our kids as well.

“Yoga has a lot of physical benefits [for children] like working on gross and fine motor skills through doing the poses,” says Julie Phillips, a yoga teacher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  “It can also help with anxiety especially the breathing work.  Kids talk about stress and feeling nervous about homework or a test so it’s a way to help them master some stress-relieving techniques.”   Not only that but yoga has been shown to help improve sleep, encourage better digestion and provide higher levels of concentration.  For example, Julie likes to foster good listening skills by having kids work together.  Two favorites are a mirror game where children are paired up and must copy what each other is doing and a memory game where everyone stands in a circle and must do all the poses done by the previous classmates.

While yoga is great for all ages, it obviously varies by maturity level.  Mommy-and-me baby and toddler classes tend to focus on spending time together and having fun while tot classes (generally ages 3-5) are more about burning off excess energy.

With her class of 4- and 5-year old students at the playspace NEST, Julie likes to incorporate yoga with more traditional games like freeze tag—when the music stops the kids freeze into a certain pose.  She also talks about the yoga philosophy and even teaches chants in song form to help the kids remember.

By the time kids hit later grade-school age they are often ready for more serious yoga that looks similar to what adults practice.  While she enjoys teaching all ages, with her background as a school social worker, Julie found her greatest feelings of accomplishment came when she taught a yoga class at a school in an impoverished neighborhood that also encouraged discussion.  “Kids through movement found comfort and trust with the group to talk about difficult subjects,” she says.  “Things came out about abuse at home and violence they had witnessed.  It was very therapeutic physically and emotionally.”   Regardless the age, anyone can enjoy yoga—just ask Julie’s 2-year old daughter Chloe.  After only a few mommy-and-me classes she now gets her mat out, sits with her legs crossed and chants “ohm!”

Kristen Stewart is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.

 



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Yoga for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Reviewed by Dr Jeffrey Lederman, DO

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare inflammatory condition that causes stiffness and pain in the spine and sacroiliac joints in the pelvis. Often characterized by a “bent forward” posture, Ankylosing Spondylitis usually occurs in males between the ages of 20 and 40.

Symptoms include worsening lower back pain in the absence of trauma, stiffness and a decreased ability to bend forward. Often, the pain initially comes and goes and then it worsens as the disease progresses. In later stages of the condition, the individual may notice very limited movement in the lower spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis can ultimately cause the spinal bones to fuse together, which can create a hunched posture and joint damage. The disease also can cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the eyes.

Because a top symptom of this condition is stiffness, it is important for an individual to stay active to maintain flexibility. Lack of movement, due to pain, stiffness or both, often causes the symptoms to worsen. An individual with Ankylosing Spondylitis should avoid high-impact activities, which may increase pain and inflammation.

Yoga provides a means for gentle movement that not only opens up stiff muscles and stalls further tissue degeneration but that helps create an overall condition of ease throughout the body. That sense of ease can lead to decreased pain and increased relaxation.

Yoga helps increase flexibility and range of motion in the spine, which can ease stiffness and pain in the back and improve physical strength and posture. Yoga is especially beneficial if the individual starts the practice during the early stages of the disease.

Yoga teaches the individual to pay attention to posture and alignment, not only when doing poses but throughout the day. This focus on being tall and straight may help prevent the spine from moving into a stiff, hunched position.

Another benefit of yoga for those with Ankylosing Spondylitis is that the practice can improve sleep quality. A regular yoga practice can help an individual sleep more soundly because the individual feels more grounded and has less pain. Those with Ankylosing Spondylitis often have trouble sleeping due to the discomfort of the condition.

Also, yoga’s meditative style can help ease emotional tension and stress, which often accompany the physical pain and reduced mobility of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Melissa Gutierrez a yoga instructor and co-founder of SmartiesBodies adds, “An individual suffering from A.S. could benefit from the meditative aspect of yoga that helps one become more aware of the connection between mind and body. Instead of focusing on specific postures, one could focus on creating a movement practice based on fluid motion both internal (i.e. movement of the breath in the lungs and sensing other organ participation) and external (i.e. how do the bones feel and move?). Using this keen awareness is critical for maintaining healthy spinal function by distinguishing pelvic, sacral and lumbar participation. Doing so will help keep the A.S. sufferer safe in any asana and, more importantly, any challenge in daily life that may be compounded by the illness.”

Select poses from the Yoga Journal that may help alleviate symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis include: (Check with a medical profession before starting a program.)

  • Salabhasana (Locust Pose), which strengthens the muscles of the lower back and reduces lower back pain tendencies
  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose), which helps improve posture
  • Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), which helps open the shoulders and upper chest
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), which stretches the back, arms and shoulders

Yoga’s gentle poses can lead to increased range of motion, better posture, less pain and a healthier overall well-being for those with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

References

Written by Jessica Braun. She is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE and can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com


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A Better Yoga Chair Pose Twist

Chair pose is a popular yoga pose. In this video, Mel of SmarterBodies shows you how it is traditionally done with a twist. Then she shows how to do the twist and not put undue stress on your neck, shoulders and knees. The result is greater emphasis on the core muscles with a fuller and safer twist.

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Yoga Poses for People with Fibromyalgia

Chaz, a certified yoga instructor and creator of YOGAmazing, has created a series of yoga poses for people suffering from fibromyalgia.  The 20-minute video will take you through a sequence of gentle poses.

Comments on the video’s YouTube page include statements like, “Wow. Excellent workout. I have fibro and this really helped with my aches and pains, even after the first time I did it.

Chronic muscle pain and tightness are typical symptoms of fibromyalgia. Yoga can increase flexibility and endurance, and help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYpKxvPC0Go”]

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Jennifer Aniston Uses Yoga to Find Balance

Alternative medicine is something that can change our daily routine, calm us, heal headaches and numerous other common ailments and concerns. That could be why stars like Jennifer Aniston and are jumping on the band wagon to utilize Yoga as a powerful health practice.

Jennifer Aniston, a glowing example of holistic health, has turned to the practice of Yoga to provide balance and comfort in her life. Particularly with Yoga, it was a moment after her first session with a friend that she felt great balance and focus, along with a feeling she hadn’t felt before. That feeling was described as knowing she was right where she needed be at just the right time – presence.

From that moment forward, she practiced and mastered the art of yoga as a disciple of the ancient art. Her instructor and person credited with introducing Aniston to Yoga is Mandy Ingber. As a well-known Instructor of Yogalosophy, Ingber encouraged Anistion to embrace a way of life when she needed to be centered and find balance. Ingber states that Jennifer is extremely good at balancing poses and can outlast her any day on balance poses, citing Tree pose as Aniston’s favorite.

The practice of Yoga has given Aniston amazing presence and her body is proof of that. At 41 years old, the star looks better than ever.

Reference:

  • hellogiggles.com/my-yoga-my-self
  • MindBodyGreen, LLC. 2013
    mindbodygreen.com/0-535/Q-A-with-Mandy-Ingber-Jennifer-Anistons-Yoga-Instructor-on-Yogalosophy.html

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/77494817@N08/6949342612/

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A Teenager’s Struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Maya Schlesinger began her battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 14 years old, having noticed twinges of knee pain in the fall of 2012. After a visit to a pediatric rheumatologist who discovered high inflammatory markers, Maya embarked on a months’ long roller coaster ride of uncovering potential (and frightening) diagnoses and hours of physical therapy that did nothing to ease her mounting pain. Three months after her initial appointment with a pediatric rheumatologist, Maya was officially diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Following a conventional treatment plan, she was given a cortisone shot and put on a regiment of prescription NSAID’s.

Despite her diagnosis and medication, Maya’s pain continued to worsen. The ache in her knees spread to the rest of her body seemingly overnight. “I couldn’t hold a pencil in class to do work, or open doors without feeling like my wrist was going to give out, or sit up to study for exams for more than half an hour without my back making me feel like an old woman,” Maya recalls. Her rheumatologist offered anti-TNF’s to combat the pain, but Maya was hesitant to take additional medication. She continued her regiment of NSAID’s, despite the extreme fatigue they caused, and battled through the pain.

It wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that Maya’s mother, finding mounting evidence online of the effectiveness of an anti-inflammatory diet in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis, decided to take Maya to see a nutritionist. Under the nutritionist’s care, Maya began a gluten and dairy free diet. Within 6 weeks of her dietary overhaul, Maya stopped taking the NSAID’s and experienced a significant reduction in her pain symptoms. After three months of following an anti-inflammatory diet, Maya “cut out major inflammatory foods and commonly genetically modified foods such as gluten, dairy, nightshade vegetables, eggs, corn, and soy. Overtime we learned my four major sensitivities were gluten, dairy, eggs, and yeast.”

Maya’s anti-inflammatory diet, coupled with a regular exercise routine of yoga and weight lifting, keeps the majority of her RA symptoms at bay without the use of any prescription medication.

Now 16, Maya enjoys a typical teenager’s life in spite of her early diagnosis. Maya’s journey to better health has inspired her to share how a gluten, egg, dairy, yeast, and GMO-free diet has transformed her life with RA. She has created and manages a Facebook page dedicated to better GMO labeling across her home state of New Jersey, the United States, and the world.

In her words, “Under the direction of a certified (and wonderful) nutritionist and a few integrative and alternative medicine doctors, I’ve found myself feeling better than ever.”

Written by Kristin Accorsi

 



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Exercise for Fibromyalgia

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to manage Fibromyalgia. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve serotonin levels, soothe muscles, and increase strength.

Careful attention, however, should be paid when creating an exercise routine if you’re suffering from FMS. Strenuous activity and high intensity exercise can actually be counterproductive and create more pain and inflammation. But, beginning slowly, finding your own personal limits and working with a fitness professional can dramatically reduce FMS symptoms and is highly recommended.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZD2c_yooY”]

Meditative-based exercises like Yoga and Tai-chi have proven quite effective in reducing FMS associated pain.

Yoga is an excellent way to increase muscle endurance, flexibility and deliver much needed oxygen to sore muscles. Gentle yoga and restorative practices also offer myofacial release and relieve FMS pain.

The gentle Chinese energy practice of Tai-chi is another great way to remove blockages and unwanted toxins in muscles and blood. Studies show that patients who practiced just 12 weeks of tai-chi slept better, felt better, had less pain, more energy, and better physical and mental health.
Lastly, Muscle Resistance Training can be beneficial to FMS patients. Using low weight and low repetitions, begin exploring your limits by exercising to the initial point of mild fatigue and then stop. Be sure to consult your physician and a fitness professional for an optimal and safe exercise routine.

In addition to these meditative-based exercises, working with a holistically trained professional may help you regain muscle mobility and flexibility. This includes seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor or a specialist in osteopathic manipulation.

For more information on Exercise and Fibromyalgia, visit Natural Holistic Therapies for Fibromyalgia.