Natural Health News and Articles

Modern Day Yoga Is Not Just on the Mat

Yoga piqued Claire Diab’s interest when she was a child in the 1970s. Her mother had enrolled in a yoga class in a Bloomingdale’s at the Short Hills Mall near Claire’s hometown of Millburn, New Jersey. The instructor, Tillie Mia, was selling her book, Get In Touch With Yourself Through Yoga, and Claire’s mother purchased it.

Claire immediately became intrigued by the book cover, a picture of Tillie sitting gracefully in a yoga pose with a pleasant look on her face. Claire didn’t read the book initially, yet she always returned to it for another look at the cover. She said the cover was soothing because it reminded her of peace, which wasn’t always the case at her home.

In 1980 as Claire was packing to leave for college, her mother encouraged her to take the book with her. Claire reluctantly agreed, not liking the idea of adding another item to an already full suitcase.

In college, Claire began studying accounting and economics – and she was barely passing her classes. One day, while studying in her dorm room she looked up from her textbook at the yoga book on the shelf. She picked up the book and began reading it for the first time. She couldn’t put it down and read the entire book. Claire left school, moved to California and received a yoga certification. Almost immediately, she began creating her own style, including a chair yoga that she developed while taking care of her mother, who at that point, had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Claire later went back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s degree in Asian studies.

Today, Claire, who learned yoga from mind-body healing pioneers Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon, has made seven yoga DVDs and written three books. She is also an inspirational speaker, a professor of Asian studies and founder of the American Yoga Academy in West Orange, New Jersey.

Claire, who has been practicing yoga for 32 years, has branded a yoga style called M.D. Yoga ® – “Modern Day Yoga for the Modern Day Yogi.” The style represents the melting pot of people and cultures today and teaches people how to live their yoga on and off the mat. Modern Day Yoga is for everyone. “It’s about what’s most comfortable and most nourishing for you,” Claire said.

When many people think of yoga, they think of complicated, often painful poses. Yoga is more than just physical, Claire said. It’s about the union of mind, body and spirit through breathing, meditation, relaxation and movement every day as part of a lifestyle. Movement might be a jog or a walk in the park. Relaxation might be taking a few deep breaths to calm down in a stressful situation.

Claire told the story of a recent trip she made to a client’s house. She anticipated about a 40-minute drive home and ended up getting lost. She had other commitments that day and instead was stuck in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. She felt the tension through her body as she started to get uptight. “That feeling only lasted for about five seconds. Then, I remembered to relax and take deep breaths,” she said.

The Yoga Lifestyle

Yoga is remembering to relax during life’s tense moments. It is being able to relax your jaw, unclench your teeth and keep your shoulders back and down. It means eating whole foods and eating with awareness. Yoga is cooking with colors and cooking and eating with the television turned off. Mealtime is a social gathering where you’re in union with others. Conversation is healthy and positive. When you are eating you should be totally focused on your food and using all of your senses.

Yoga means being completely present in your current task. If you’re on the phone, you’re completely engaged in the conversation with that person. You aren’t getting five other things done at the same time.

“Yoga is every day and every way in everything that you do,” Claire said. “Yoga doesn’t add years to your life. It adds life to your years.”

Today’s lifestyle of sitting at a desk all day, coming home, eating dinner and going to bed creates tension, stiffness and poor posture. Energy doesn’t flow freely when we are stagnant, Claire said.

Yoga and Mothers

Energy also doesn’t flow freely if you don’t nurture yourself. Mothers, for example, nurture their children yet they often forget to nurture themselves. As a mom you can reap tremendous benefits from yoga, even if it’s just once or twice a week and then doing 5-10 minutes of relaxation each day, Claire said.

When you live in union with your body, mind and spirit, you’re more loving and you’re more kind. When mothers learn how to live a life in union, they can teach that lifestyle to their children. “It’s the best choice not only for yourself but for those around you.” Claire offers private yoga sessions where she teaches a yoga lifestyle that includes three 10- to 20-minute routines based on your time. The first is an invigorating routine for the morning, the second a restorative routine for the evening and the third a therapeutic routine that you can do anytime. “You can do a lot in 10 minutes,” she said.

Living a yoga-based lifestyle carries so many benefits because yoga helps manage stress, Claire said. “Stress leads to disease and that’s just a fact.”

Yoga is about nourishing your body, mind and soul and being present in everything you do, she said. “When your body feels good, your mind feels good and when your mind feels good, your body feels good. Then your spirit shines so brightly through your eyes.” Claire Diab is the founder of the American Yoga Academy in West Orange, New Jersey. Visit to read more about Claire.

By Jessica Braun

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


Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that involves widespread muscle pain that appears to be a result of the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, which is the thin tissue that holds the muscles together. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. One way to holistically manage fibromyalgia is with yoga.

Yoga is one of the oldest known health practices in the world. It teaches mind and body unity through physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, regulate the heart rate and even slow the aging process.

A main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic muscle pain and tightness. Yoga increases muscle endurance and flexibility through simple poses and focused breathing that gently stretch the muscles and create a condition of ease throughout the body.

While yoga may involve little movement, the mind is connected to every pose, which provides discipline, awareness and a relaxed openness, all of which help regulate functions like the heartbeat and the breath. Physical tensions in the body, such as the pain and tightness of fibromyalgia, then ease into a state of relaxation.

Fibromyalgia also can cause fatigue and trouble sleeping. As yoga’s gentle stretching and focused breathing help soothe the pain of tight muscles and create a sense of calm throughout the body, it becomes easier to sleep more soundly. This solid night’s sleep leads to more energy and less fatigue.

People who have fibromyalgia might experience feelings of anxiousness or depression and decreased energy. Yoga helps create a heightened sense of peace and awareness, which may help reduce stress and tension, both physically and emotionally. Yoga breathing practices help get rid of any choppiness in the breath and promote a smoothly flowing breath. The smooth breath results in the smooth flow of thoughts, which calm the restlessness of the mind and create clarity, improved focus and more energy.

Tension or migraine headaches are another symptom of fibromyalgia. Yoga helps ease headache pain because yoga promotes vascular and muscle relaxation. Simple yoga breathing practices such as slow, deep breathing for as little as five minutes can trigger a relaxation response in the muscles throughout the body.

Janet McKenzie, Naturopathic Doctor of Summit Natural Health Centre adds, “Yoga is a fantastic treatment for those with fibromyalgia because it addresses all the areas fibromyalgia impacts: body, mind and spirit.  Because yoga can easily be adapted to a person’s limitations, it is particularly well-suited for those whose pain or fatigue prevents them from engaging in more strenuous activities, while still allowing progress to more physically demanding routines over time.  If you could only use one natural treatment for your fibromyalgia, this would be the one to choose.”

A regular yoga practice can help people with fibromyalgia gain muscle flexibility, feel less pain and tightness, achieve greater focus, gain energy, sleep more soundly and more. The emotional, physical and psychological benefits of engaging in a regular yoga practice are worth exploring for fibromyalgia relief and beyond.



Reviewed by Janet McKenzie, ND

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

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Bad Yoga: Spread Your Toes for Better Balance

…Step to the front of your mat and try to find equal weight in the feet and ankle joints. Now pick up your toes and spread them wide. Keep your toes spread wide as you slowly bring them back down to the floor. Try to keep the toes open, and spread the flesh underneath the feet so as to expand how much of your mat they usually cover. This action will help you to be rooted to the earth and give you a better sense of balance…

The above action is commonplace in a yoga class and sounds nice. But following these cues will not help you achieve a better sense of balance in performing asanas. The suggestion of spreading your toes and bottoms of your feet may make you feel as if you are creating a more stable base of support, lending a certain sense of security.

Read the full article here

Written by SmarterBodies



How Yoga Transforms Your Body

This infographic was found on the Huffington Post on how yoga transforms one’s body.

yoga infographic



The Health Benefits of Yoga

Found this health benefits of Yoga Infographic produced by

Health Benefits of Yoga


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga in Sanskrit means breath synchronized movement. Each yoga pose taken will have one breath cycle of inspiration combined with expiration before flowing into the next posture. It’s considered a form of strength training yoga, and a class usually is about 60-90 minutes in duration.

How it Works

It works through the combination of breath with flow of physical movement to create internal heat in the body which will assist in the elimination of toxins through the skin as well as strengthen muscles. Depending upon the class there may be a meditation incorporated into the practice.


This type of yoga is beneficial in helping one to gain flexibility as well as increase physical endurance, while the breathing techniques will help to center and calm the mind.


As this form of yoga is very faced paced and combined with a lot of movement, you may want to consider an alternative yoga practice to achieve your health goals if you have any physical injuries or limitations. This type of yoga is considered a strength training form of yoga, and can be intensive.


This type of yoga is a fast paced flowing movement practice which will greatly increase physical endurance and strength. A regular practice will help you to become stronger and more centered. Check with your doctor first if you have any physical limitations or pain prior to starting this practice.