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How To Start Your First Steps In Yoga

Beginning in yoga can be intimidating. The terminologies alone can confuse you especially when you have just heard them the first time.

Here is a compilation of yoga poses which, beginners like you can start with.
1. The Sun Salutations

This is the core of Yoga itself. This exercise is a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing exercise, Sun Bathing and Prayer. It is the warm-up of a yoga class or personal yoga session and is a mixture of poses. To be exact, there are 12 poses that are performed in a synchronized motion with emphasis on rhythmic breathing. They mildly exercise the arms and legs and are often recommended for obesity, depression and fitness. This is a guaranteed must know for yoga beginners. Many martial artists, Indian and African wrestlers perform tons of rounds of these exercises alone.

2. The Shoulder Stand

This yoga pose is a piece of cake even though it sounds like its so hard to do. It is a very important pose. Its Sanskrit name (Savangasana) actually means the “all members” or “all limbs” pose, meaning it affects all parts of the body. As a beginner, you should understand that some poses (such as this one) do have specific counter poses, so if you’re taking a Yoga for beginner class or learning from a DVD, make sure you are taught these poses to counter-act and balance the effects of the Shoulder-stand pose on the body. These poses are the Bridge and fish poses. Here’s a hint or ratio to adhere to in their combined execution: 6:1:2 , meaning the ‘bridge’ and ‘fish’ poses should be held for a sixth and third of the time you spend in the Shoulder-stand Pose respectively.

3. The Corpse Pose

This is the relaxation pose that is usually executed during and after your session as a means of relaxing the muscles used for your yoga exercise. At the end of a session, it is usually done for about 15 minutes. When done right, one always comes out feeling refreshed after its execution.

These are the 3 main poses you have to learn and put into important consideration in learning yoga as a beginner, but there are other poses that should be included as you go further. These are:

1. The forward Bending exercises: Head to Knee pose, Plough Pose and Wind reliving pose

2. The Back Bending Exercises: The Bow, Inclined Plane and Wheel Poses.

3. The Spinal Twists

4. The Balancing Exercises: The Peacock, Crow, Side Plank and 4-limbed staff Poses

5. The Exercises in Sitting and Standing Positions

6. The Abdominal and Breathing Exercises.

Which Among Yoga Vinyasas Are Right For You

In yoga, you would most likely think first of poses that emphasise self awareness and flexibility.  You can through poses called yoga vinyasas. In these vinyasas, the poses are done in a free-flowing sequence that adds to your overall yoga experience. While your yoga teacher is trained to create vinyasas for you, there are also some existing sequences that you can do on your own once you know what poses they involve.

 

There are two kinds that are specifically popular in the West. These are the Warrior II and Sun Salutation.

 

Warrior II

 

Warrior II emphasizes your breathing. Though it is usually recommended to try this moving between positions on the beat of your breath, you can experiment with different breathing patters to see what is best for you and how each affects you. In fact, this ability to freely experiment is what has made this such a popular vinyasas.

 

The sequence for Warrior II works through four poses. You will use Mountain, Triangle, Warrior II and the standing Yoga Mudra. Moving in that order, you will flow through the sequence in time with your breathing. This particular sequence will have a tendency to release stress and help with your flexibility. Be sure, as with all yoga, to pay careful attention to your breathing patterns while staying focused on yourself.

 

Sun Salutation

 

This is one of the most popular sequence. It is a single flow of 12 different yoga postures. With each, you should inhale to accompany your stretching and exhale as you contract or fold your body in. This particular vinyasas is designed to build your strength and increase your overall flexibility. Like with most vinyasas, you may find variations on this depending on what style of yoga you are using, but there are a few basic poses and a flow that is fairly consistent among the variations.

 

For the Sun Salutation, you go through the flow twice in order to complete one round. Do it one time for the right side of the body and the other time for your left. If you are crunched for time, still try to do at least one. Even that one half of a sequence will help you to feel revitalized.

 

The sun salutation starts with mountain. From there you go with hands up, head to knees, lunge, plank, and stick. Still flowing, you go into upward dog, downward dog, and lunge. Finally, the sequence finishes with head to knees, hands up, and mountain again. As you can see, the Sun Salutation is naturally circular just as many other yoga sequences are.

 

Overall, the vinyasas are a part of yoga that may help you see and feel results more quickly and more consistently. Additionally, you can find other yoga sequences that suit your skill level, need, and style of yoga.

 

 

Benefits of Yoga After The Age Of 50

While many yoga classes across the country seem to cater to the youthful enthusiast who wants to sweat his or her way through an hour-and-a-half workout, a growing number of longtime yoga devotees are raising questions about the best way to safely continue a yoga practice into midlife and beyond.

“I suspect that yoga was at times an old person’s sport, and that it has prolonged the life and liveliness of people over the millennia,” said Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain specialist in Manhattan who uses yoga in his rehabilitation practice and has written extensively about yoga as an adjunct to medical treatment.

“Designed appropriately and taken in proper dose,” he said, “it is certainly safe.”

Carrie Owerko, a New York-based teacher of Iyengar yoga who has been a yoga student for decades, agreed. “Yoga can be practiced fully and deeply at any age,” she said, with an added caution that “the practice has to change as the body changes.”

Dr. Fishman noted that aging brings impairments of range, motion, strength and balance that can require modifications, even among veteran yogis, like using the support of a chair or the wall for many poses. In addition, students may begin to feel the effects of arthritis, injuries and other ailments that may require students skip certain poses altogether.

Someone with osteoporosis, for example, may want to avoid headstands and poses requiring extreme spinal flexion or extension, while someone with glaucoma may want to avoid taking the head below the heart in poses like headstand, handstand, shoulder stand and standing forward bends. When in doubt about the safety of practicing with any specific medical condition, Dr. Fishman recommended working with a doctor.

Generally speaking, a warm-up sequence is important for the veteran yogi, Ms. Owerko said. “Our bodies may need more time to warm up properly, especially if we are experiencing stiffness or arthritic changes in the joints or in areas that may be more vulnerable to previous injuries,” she said.

It is also important to include various one-legged standing poses — Tree Pose or Eagle Pose are examples — that challenge one’s ability to balance, even if you need the support of the wall, Ms. Owerko said. Weight-bearing poses, like Plank Pose and Forearm Plank, and standing poses like Warrior pose variations, are also important to help counteract the decline in muscle mass and strength as we age, she said.

To help maintain flexibility, poses like standing or seated forward bends and hip openers, like Bound Angle Pose or Pigeon Pose, are also important, said Roger Cole, a longtime Iyengar yoga teacher and research psychobiologist in San Diego.

Mr. Cole emphasized that a regular yoga practice can help the body maintain a high level of flexibility into midlife and beyond. If a student continues the same practice as much as possible without interruption through the 50s and beyond, he or she will see a gradual decline in certain abilities, but not necessarily a decline in flexibility, he said.

“I think the average person probably does get stiffer as they age,” he said, “but I believe that it’s mainly because they stop doing the things that keep them flexible.”

The passage of more and more baby boomer yogis, teachers as well as students, into and past middle age has sparked interest in creating a new kind of peer yoga community as well.

Desirée Rumbaugh, a longtime yoga teacher who passed the 50-year mark a few years ago, started a class in Del Mar, Calif., aimed at yoga veterans 50 and over. Called Wisdom Warriors, it was intended to offer veteran yogis the chance to keep learning in an environment that is comfortable and encouraging.

“People want to be pushed, but not in the same way they did in their 30s,” she said. “They want a little slower pace.”

Slower pace or not, Ms. Rumbaugh includes a full range of poses in her classes, including backbends and inversions. A recent Wisdom Warriors workshop, presented by Ms. Rumbaugh and Cyndi Lee at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York in April, would have been a vigorous day of yoga for students of any age.

Debra Hodgen, 61, of Vista, Calif., is a student in Ms. Rumbaugh’s class. A former dancer, she said that she began a consistent yoga practice when she was 48. She said she has become “stronger and more fearless” as a result of the class, despite having osteoarthritis, no cartilage in her right knee and joint pain throughout her body.

“I may have trouble just sitting in simple cross-legged pose, but I did full Monkey Pose recently,” she said.

The most important way a seasoned student will be able to continue to practice safely, many teachers say, is to listen to signals their body sends them in class, and know when to back off.

“In my experience, older students often bring a mature wisdom to the practice,” said Ms. Owerko, who turned 51 this week and has for many years attended an advanced yoga retreated for women over 40. “They have lived long enough to have a sense of humor about themselves. And they are often more compassionate toward themselves and other students.”

CRedit – New York Times – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/yoga-after-50/

What is Yoga Nidra?

This relaxation/meditation technique originated in India, but, like most modern yoga, has been modified and Westernized to suit the needs of contemporary students. Though yoga nidra is translated as “yogic sleep,” this method is not really about getting in a good snooze. Guided by a teacher’s voice, you identify sensations throughout your body and focus on your breath, while (ideally) remaining in a state of relaxed awareness so that you may release deeply held tensions, some of which you may not even be aware.

It is intended to induce full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. We live in a chronically exhausted, overstimulated world, Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing our physiological, neurological, and subconscious needs.

During a typical class, teachers use a variety of techniques—including guided imagery and body scanning—to aid relaxation.

Unlike a quick Savasana at the end of asana practice, Yoga Nidra allows enough time for practitioners to physiologically and psychologically sink into it—at least 20 to 45 minutes, says Jennifer Morrice.

The ancient yoga text the Mandukya Upanishads refers to four different stages of Yoga Nidra. The practitioner begins by quieting the overactive conscious mind, then moves into a meditative state, gradually finding a state of “ultimate harmony,” in which the brain waves slow down and a subtle euphoria emerges. Though most practitioners don’t slip easily into the more advanced stages, they still tend to emerge feeling rejuvenated. Yoga Nidra uniquely unwinds the nervous system, which is the foundation of the body’s well-being.

Want to experience it for yourself? Join us for one of our Yoga Nidra events. To see when our next event is see our Event Schedule.

 

Yoga’s role in total fitness

To exercise your inner self, take the time to step off the treadmill and concentrate on the here and now, says Michelle Bridges.

Try this for a moment: for the next five minutes, concentrate on your breathing, and nothing else. Take long, deep breaths, relax your body and don’t let your mind wander. The only thing that there is in the world is you and your breathing.

In this calm state, you are stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your blood pressure and slows the pace of your breath.

And why is this good? Because when your blood is no longer being frantically pumped to your muscles, it can properly flow to your organs – your immune, reproductive and digestive systems – and in doing so carry all the nutrients required for their good health.

And that is the difference between dancing and practising yoga. On the face of it, they both involve at some level the performance of similar movements, stretches and bends. But a dance routine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system – the nervous system that increases the heart rate and accelerates the breathing. A dancer’s attention is focused on everything that is happening around them, while a yogi’s attention is focused on everything within them.

Regular dance classes will stretch and tone, as will regular yoga classes.

But yoga has additional mental benefits, because it teaches its practitioners to focus purely on the present, on the now. Think back to the breathing exercise I asked you to do earlier. If you did it correctly, there was no room in your mind to be worrying about work tomorrow or forgetting to put the garbage bins out.

Yoga uniquely connects its practitioners’ minds and bodies. It also has the additional benefit of not just stretching and toning, but stretching and toning while deep breathing and being in a calm, meditative state.

Concentrating on your breathing, and only your breathing, means that you are focusing on the most fundamental task your body performs, and one it performs every moment of the day. This connects your mind and your body without the clutter of physical and mental distractions.

Importantly, it does it in the present. There’s no fretting about the past or anxiety about the future, only a state of calmness in the “now”.

Thanks to the frenetic pace of modern life, this “existing in the moment” is a way of being that often proves elusive. How often have you felt your concentration wander to other things when in conversation with friends or while reading a book?

It’s time to enjoy the freedom of being fully present and aware of what’s happening around us.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/yogas-role-in-total-fitness-20110502-1e4jm.html#ixzz2QDTLmgUa

Yoga, Tai Chi, and the State of Zen

Nowadays, people are so conscious about their health and body figure. Many health professionals claim that they now enjoy a stress and anxiety-free lifestyle because of their Tai Chi and Yoga lessons.

Studies show that these kinds of exercise do have beneficial effects on the mind and body. These religious-philosophical movements gave emphasis to the state of Zen.

According to Buddhism, the term “zen” refers to the attainment of a stage of “awakening.” This belief was introduced in China by a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma in A.D. 520. According to studies, people who cling to the teachings of Zen endeavor to achieve “satori” which is also called “nirvana”.

“Satori” in general can only be reached through a meditation called “zazen” which, in turn, leads to a state of mushin or “no mind”. Mushin is the ability to see things more clearly mentally.

It means that one’s judgment will not be blurred with negative thoughts. Although this belief originated from the south, many Western students and practitioners of Yoga and Tai-Chi are satisfied with the health and vitality it brings.

Yoga Benefits

Practicing yoga increases flexibility because stretching exercises the different tendons, ligaments, and joints of the body. Studies also say that yoga is probably the only form of activity that massages all the internal organs and glands in the body.

These may include the prostate, which according to medical specialists hardly receives stimulation. This massage or stimulation may keep certain individuals from diseases and other forms of illness.

Yoga ensures the best supply of blood to the body. This helps detoxify the body of toxins and, in the process, delays aging and renewed energy. Muscles are also toned because of repeated stimulation through yoga.

Tai Chi Benefits

Medical researchers and Tai Chi practitioners claim that immediate benefits occur from day one of practice. These may include a more relaxed and clearer mind.

Clinical studies in the US show that improved balance and peace of mind took place after only eight weeks of training. These benefits were immediately evident after performing very simple set of movements taken from different Tai Chi styles.

Other benefits of this “soft” martial arts include improved internal organ functions, improved breathing, and better sleep. Additional reports show that people who practice Tai Chi enjoyed improved strength and reduced stress, aside from gaining the ability to better deal with anxiety attacks.

However, people with a history of heart disease, back injuries, and those who have undergone recent surgery should consult a physician before starting a Yoga or Tai Chi routine.

In general, Tai Chi and Yoga are very effective routines to bring back health and a sense of peace of mind to a devoted practioner.

Done properly, these ancient arts of exercise and meditation can help provide anxiety relief and alleviate other forms of stress.

 

Yoga For Children

Just like adults kids need something relaxing to turn into and that could be: Yoga.

Yoga for kids helps then develop better body awareness, it also delivers to them a total self-control, flexibility and coordination.

All of these they could carry not just on their class but this exercises can help them with their daily routines.

Yoga for kids has shown to help children who are hyper active to tone down and to brighten up those attention deficit ones. Children today crave movement and sensory motor stimuli that can help then balance out their inner souls flow.

Yoga for kids helps them channel out this impulses in a positive way.

The main Yoga for kids poses that seem to work perfectly with kids are the warrior pose and the tree pose. These two yoga for kids poses helps in-still in them calmness, confidence and balance.

The trick to get them to do Yoga for kids is to go beyond just doing the proper poses, you should have to get them think about what the real posture means.

Let them think that they are really what the poses are symbolizing, let them be the postures – strong and confident like a warrior.

Yoga for kids with partners is also a good way to build up trust with you children. It develops their team skills and fosters a closer bonding.

Some kids when it comes to relaxation have a big trouble closing their eyes and having them focus on their exercises. One thing that encourages a child to relax is visualization. Let them think of something that they really like and let them imagine being like these things.

You may also have them focus out on belly breathing first and have them listen to soothing and relaxing music.

Then ask them to imagine their favourite spot in the house or let them think that they are in outer space floating, or let them visualize that they are at the beach, playing their favourite sport or doing the best activity that they like.

Every day at the end of each relaxation exercises, encourage the children to share their own experiences. Ask them to tell to the group what it was like to be in their visualized surroundings. Ask them also to share what place have they imagined they were in.

As you know children have the most active imagination, they imagine all sorts of things. And at this point of imagination it makes them feel calm. So when doing yoga for kids let them think that they are walking on a green pasture.

Yoga for kids should be taught more often and in different places. It is important to teach children the meaning of union of mind, body and spirit.

There is such a wealth of knowledge we can offer our children with the practice of Yoga.

Your Connection With The Mind, Body, And Spirit

Yoga’s purpose is unifying the body, mind, and spirit. A series of postures, breathing exercises, and meditation achieve this connection.

With the integration of the body, mind and spirit, you can attain a physical and mental balance in your life as well as abundant inner peace.

The practice of yoga begins in the mind. It doesn’t matter about your physical strength, flexibility, weight, or experience. Yoga is a practice that you are encouraged to work at your own pace, never requiring anything more than you have to give at that particular moment.

Yoga is completely for you. Practice can be as intense or as simple as you need it to be.

It is a gift to you!

When your mind is able to concentrate fully on your yoga practice the unification of body, mind, and spirit takes place. This is the beneficial intention of practicing yoga. There are many situations where you may be struggling with problems and are continuously thinking about them.

The problems keep you awake even at night. Your sleep deprived, stressed, and miserable. There aren’t any immediate solutions and most of your time is spent worrying. Your mind is so preoccupied and full of difficulties.

You are no longer living in the present moment and find that your happiness is suffering. Along with many other psychological medical conditions depression may be setting in. Does this sound familiar?

Do you question yourself about being depressed? You may find yourself taking those quizzes in the doctor’s office and notice you answered “yes” to most of them.

Yoga is a great tool for an overactive mind and alleviating depression. Yoga when practiced properly quiets the mind and develops peace and tranquillity for the mind and body. You should try making yoga practice a daily routine in your life.

Dealing with life’s difficulties and an unsettled mind will seem less stressful. You will be better prepared to deal with these problems through greater mental control and patience.

If you looking for something to help you better deal with stress while improving your physical body through toning, strengthening and conditioning you cannot go wrong beginning a yoga program.

A yoga program can help you find solutions to problems you may have never considered. Deep concentration and breathing during yoga develops amazing listening skills, patience and relaxation allowing your mind to empty. You will find yourself in a quieter place.

Common Types of Yoga – What Is The Difference

What is the difference between common yoga and the not so common yoga, nothing only one is practiced on a wider scale than the other.  It is up to each individual and their preferences to what form of exercise they choose to practise. Some common types of yoga are performed by people for health reasons.

If starting out to practice yoga for the first time then be sure to find out what is best suited to your requirements. Important factors that have to be addressed before any exercise is executed are your fitness levels.

Some of the most common types of yoga are Iyenga. This yoga is solely based on alignment and accurate movements. When working out the Iyengar way props are used such as straps and blocks for beginners who are not as flexible as the experts in this field. By using these yoga props it helps the beginner to relax and give comfort therefore encouraging beneficial results.

Commonly known as power yoga is the Ashtanga.  The reason for this alias is because of the powerful movements that are involved in  this type of yoga.

The moves exercised include push ups and lunges which helps deal with strength and stamina. What type of person practices this form of yoga? People involved with Ashtanga are looking for challenging moves.

You will find athletes – gymnasts and cyclists all from the fitness world have turned to this type of yoga to add more balance to their concentration to help them in their quest when going for gold.

Bikram Yoga: known as hot yoga, is where routines are carried out in a very warm room. This is an excellent way for increasing flexibility, heat can stretch body tissue.

Health matters like cardio vascular disease makes this type of common yoga off limits for a patient. The reasons for this is because of the vigorous routines practiced in heat thus causing strain on the body.

Raja Yoga  implements liberation through meditation. Concentration is the key factor in this exercise.

Bhakti commonly acknowledged as devotional yoga is where all participants focus on self-surrender.

The Mantra yoga, also known as the yoga of potent – targets liberation through mental or verbal repetition of noises and sounds.

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Meet our Teachers

Corona Brady
Hatha Yoga

Corona's yoga journey began in her early 20's when she introduced herself to yoga for nothing more than curiosity and has been hooked ever since.

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