Categories Health

What Does it Mean to “Live Your Yoga”?

Live Your YogaPracticing Yoga on and Off the Mat

If you’ve been studying and practicing yoga, you may have heard another yogi say they were trying to “live their yoga”. But what does “living our yoga” mean? Is it practicing asana (poses) every day? Practicing pranayama (breathing)? Being mindful and present in our daily lives? Yes, “living our yoga” is all of these things, but so much more.

Yogic philosophy tells us that the practice has 8 limbs. These limbs are Yamas (moral restraints), Niyamas (moral observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dyhana (meditation) and Samadhi (Unity Consciousness). In the West, many practitioners of yoga may be completely unaware of this aspect of the practice. Many only know yoga as a physical practice. If it was a physical injury or limitation that brought someone to yoga, these concepts may never have been introduced. Relaxing, reducing stress and stretching may have been the total focus.

Hatha Yoga is a broad, general term for the physical practice, which consists of asanas and pranayama, the third and fourth limbs on the path. So, what about the first and second limbs, the Yamas and Niyamas? Practitioners who learn and apply the other limbs of yoga, in particular the Yamas and Niyamas are people who are “living their yoga”. They are practicing yoga “on and off the mat”.

In Patanjali’s day, around 200 B.C.E., it was expected that a student first practice the disciplines of the Yamas and Niyamas before practicing the other six limbs. Indeed, times were different then. But for us to “practice yoga” we musn’t disconnect from the true meaning behind it. The physical practice is wonderful. It makes us stronger, more vibrant. It makes us feel better. It allows us to open to things we may not otherwise be able to see or understand. Physically, it works on all of the systems within the body. However, we are much more than our physical bodies. Yoga teaches us that too. At the lowest vibrational level, we are our physical bodies, then our energetic, psycho-emotional, wisdom and bliss bodies. Learning about the Yamas and Niyamas, along with the other limbs of yoga allows us to tap into these deeper dimensions that exist within ourselves.

So, lets take a closer look at the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas can be defined as moral restraints, social behavior, or a “code of ethics”. The Yamas consist of Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). The Niyamas can be defined as moral observances or practices, personal disciplines, qualities to nourish or a “code for spiritual living”. The Niyamas consist of Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Swadhaya (self-study) and Ishwara-Pranidhana (devotion to God).

Ahimsa, traditionally translated to non-harming, is the first Yama. Vegetarianism is one lesson of Ahimsa. It teaches a very simple lesson, yet one that is so hard to live by if we are allowing our ego to be our primary responder to situations. Non-harming, non-violence extends to others, nature and ourselves. One may think of non-violence in a physical situation, but again, life is more than this. What about our actions, language, and even our thoughts? The mind is difficult to control. Thoughts of a violent nature, toward ourselves or others, can occur and spin out of control. An important lesson to learn here is to differentiate between truth and “chatter”. Truth tends to be penetrating, direct, and without a lot of words. Whereas chatter, the unconscious fears and patterns (samskaras) tends to be just the opposite. Consider self-defeating thoughts, “I’m not good enough. If only I was more like . . ., I am an awful person.” All of these thoughts are not Truth, but un-reality. As non-truth, they warrant questioning and examining. Luckily yoga practice allows us to develop witness consciousness, which helps us to examine these beliefs and to heal.

Satya, truthfulness, seems easy enough. But what about the “little white lies” we tell to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? This Yama is not always black and white. Georg Feuerstein, yogic scholar and practitioner, gives this advice for honesty: “Apply Ahimsa first and then Satya”. In other words, if honesty has a violent nature attached to it, it may be left unspoken. Satya, like Ahimsa must also be applied to the self. What lies are you telling yourself about yourself? A good place to examine these thoughts is during practice, on the mat. Look at the overall tone of the practice. Does it include all elements, or are some elements being avoided? This subtle dishonesty within ourselves can be a clue to our present emotional state. Every asana has an emotional energy, so questioning can be helpful. For example, “am I not honoring my woman energy and avoiding belly down postures?” or “am I feeling disempowered and avoiding backbends or feeling angry and only wanting to do backbends?” If this line of questioning speaks to you, a good resource is Hatha Yoga, the Hidden Language by Swami Sivananda Radha.

Asteya, traditionally translated to non-stealing, is more than that. It can also mean non-jealousy, acknowledging what is truly ours and being content with it. In this respect, it goes hand-in-hand with Santosha, contentment. In not practicing Asteya, we may begin to think “we’re not good enough”. “I need more of . . ., if I only had . . ., I would feel wonderful.” Thinking these thoughts “steals” time from ourselves and others. Going back to Truth connects us to our essence and allows us to live in the present. Remembering, “I am okay-just great, in fact-as I am” is practicing Asteya.

Moderation or Brahmacharya is the next Yama. It can also be thought of as responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the Truth. Honoring the life energy you’ve been given and directing it toward the highest good is practicing Brahmacharya. To address issues with this Yama, ask yourself, “how do I run away from my true Self, my divine nature?” Anytime you find a lack, you are depleting your energy and contributing to dis-ease within.

Aparigraha means non-greed, non-attachment or non-possessiveness. In simple terms, “following the beat the your own drummer” can be seen as practicing Aparigraha. Follow what you know is right and don’t worry about what anyone else has, does or says. Consider your needs versus your wants. Take only what is necessary. Don’t take advantage of situations. Getting stuck in the “Not Knowing Enough Syndrome” is an example of NOT practicing Aparigraha. “If I take one more workshop, read one more book, I will be ready.” There is always something to learn. Don’t get stuck in this syndrome. You are good enough exactly as you are right now.

Moving on to the Niyamas, the first is Saucha and relates to cleanliness or purity of the body, mind and spirit. Keeping yourself healthy by eating right, thinking positive thoughts and practicing asana and pranayama are all practices that support cultivating Saucha. If we can focus our primary intention on spiritual transformation by keeping our lives simple and uncluttered, we are practicing Saucha.

Contentment, Santosha, is the practice of realizing that all we need is who we already are. This corresponds with the very basic notion in our physical yoga practice that says, “be here now”. Be present in this moment. Show up for life right now. In practicing Santosha we accept what is, what happens, what we have (or don’t have) and how we feel about what God has given us. Surrendering in a forward bend with tight hamstrings, and being grateful that we can bend as far as we can, is a practice in Santosha!

Tapas refers to our discipline. More literally translated into “heat”, Tapas is the activity of heating the body through our regular physical practice. It is paying attention to our diet, our breathing. Practicing Tapas, we have a willingness to bring into the open and throw into the fire of examination all of our core beliefs. This involves sitting in the fire of the emotions associated with those beliefs.

Swadhyaya is the study of the self. It incorporates all of the other Yamas and Niyamas and their ability to allow ourselves to understand, integrate and transform all aspects of our being. Swadhyaya seeks the Truth. In performing this Niyama, it is important to look within and to seek other resources which help us get to the truth. Reading books, seeking out a teacher-or teachers, who help us to gain perspective and obtain the Truth about ourselves.

Ishwara-Pranidhana is surrender of the limited “self” in search of a greater “Self” leading to Union, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. It is the knowledge that we can only understand our human condition through spiritual means. This Niyama does not dictate who or what we believe, but suggests that through the cultivation of faith and the act of surrendering, the limiting box of the ego drops away and the grace of the Universe replaces it.

It is not enough to know the Yamas and Niyamas. Anyone can read about them and mentally understand, but only by practicing, questioning, can we truly understand our nature and move beyond the limited self, dominated by the ego, to the higher Self that is our true nature. The yoga mat can be the place to ask the questions and let the answers emerge in their own space and time. Pay attention while practicing asana. Where is there holding? Where is there fear? How do I want to move? What am I avoiding? What thoughts keep showing up? Go back to the breath. Go back to the silence within. Eventually, through asana practice on the mat, and meditation, the answers will emerge. Don’t force, don’t strive, just allow, and be present each day to the silence within. This is living your yoga.

Categories Health

Ilchi Lee Day! Be Careful Yoga Postures Look Simple but Can Cause Harm

Ilchi Lee Day! Be Careful Yoga Postures Look Simple but Can Cause Harm

The basic requirement in Yoga postures defines peace and as such the environment for conducive meditation that must be carefully chosen for maximum safety and concentration. Choice of area must consider cleanliness, space and should pose no risk to practitioner. Individual strong will and perseverance is the power needed to accomplish easy pose practice.

While these conditions may seem a difficult thing to put in place, the outcome for perseverance is always worth the input. Therefore you can never consider the investment on yoga postures as being too expensive. Jeff always willing to share his experiences and help others by sharing his knowledge. To see detail info about power brain visit brain injury page.

The practice exercises or postures (Asana – which literary means a seat) improves health, increase resistance in addition to developing mental awareness. Yoga Postures requires a personal kit to allow careful study of each pose and for slow execution alongside body and mind control. Being a personal kit, you are able to experience a more unique and very personal orientation.

Asana sessions require seeking out good teachers and harder push for meditation than in poses making the practice lead to health and illumination. Some common postures are classified as Seated & Twists Standing, Core Backbends, Arm Balances, Forward Bends, Inversions and Restorative. Other that are commonly referred to include The Corpse, The Bridge, Half Shoulder stand, Head to Knee, Downward Facing Dog, The Cobra, Warrior II, the Triangle, Forward Bend or Extension, Mountain, Dog and Cat, Sit/Easy Positions from the natural references of corresponding object or animals. Some of these require a specialist of Yoga postures otherwise it can also be destructive when done without proper guidance.

The asanas or yoga postures were originally stable postures designed and desired for prolonged meditation. Apart from the usual stretching, they open energy channels, purify and strengthen it, helps to control and focus the mind. Included within the eight limbs of classical Yoga stating that asana should be steady and comfortable, equally firm yet relaxed.

A practitioner needs to be kind to self while in practice, from slow beginnings, listen to own body and responding accordingly no pushing as it may hurt. Clearly stick to instruction, practice will improve steadily which has a great feel. Unguided yoga postures can hurt the spine easily. Inflammation due to over stretching for a prolonged period leads to problems including anxiety, physiological imbalances and unbalanced brain system response.

While holding a yoga posture, breathe slowly and deeply. Achieve your edge in the posture, holding easily where it satisfies or works not until pains, strains or fatigue is felt.

For beginners, reading guides and essential information or must knows are available to help pick up the drill step by step and consistently. Whenever possible get instruction, use books and videos as supplements to class instruction.

Categories Health

Top 5 Essential Yoga Props

Top 5 Essential Yoga Props

Purchasing the right yoga props can make all the difference in your work out. There are many props you can purchase that can help, but there are certain props that are essential.

Here is a list of the top 5 yoga props available:

Zen Pillow– This pillow comes in many different colors and is very versatile. It has a zipper that allows you to adjust the softness to suit your personal preferences. It costs $42.95 and is well worth the price. Use it for seated Yoga exercises and meditation to make the experience more rewarding.

Sand Bags– Sand bags provide extra weight for yoga exercises that help with posture and for stretching exercises. The bags cost $20.95 each for a ten-pound bag and $24.95 for unfilled bags, which allows you to customize the weight to suit your own needs.

Rectangular Bolster– These bolsters give support for yoga poses for spinal stretching, restorative posture and breathing exercises. It is essential for anyone who practices yoga, but is especially important for prenatal yoga. It costs $21.27, which is a very reasonable price.

Balance Ball– These balls come in various sizes and make all the difference when you practice yoga exercises. These balls help increase the benefits of abdominal, back and buttocks yoga exercises. The price depends on the size ball that you purchase. They range from $15 to $20, which is a great price for an item that will make a huge difference in your workout.

Yoga Blocks– Yoga blocks help give you support and aid in posture while doing your exercises. They allow you to perform yoga exercises properly without the risk of injury. The blocks come in various colors so that you can show your own unique style. They can be purchased for about $10. This is a great price for a yoga prop that you will use often.

Purchasing these products will give you the best possible workout. You will be less prone to injury when using the right props during your yoga routine. Getting the correct support and positioning can be difficult. These tools help you with these issues. Yoga is an exercise routine that allows you to improve posture, deal with back pain and aid with relaxation. Practicing yoga will become a way of life for you. It will be more rewarding when you have the proper equipment to help you in your quest for a more sound mind and body.

Categories Health

Prenatal Yoga Classes in Denver, Colorado

Prenatal Yoga Classes in Denver, Colorado

Many individuals enjoy doing yoga as part of their workout routines. Prenatal yoga has many benefits for expectant mothers; yoga helps expectant mothers improve flexibility, balance, and circulation while toning muscles. Additionally, prenatal yoga can help reduce swelling and inflammation around your joints and reduce the amount of back pain you experience during pregnancy. If you are an expectant mother living in the Denver, Colorado area, check out these prenatal yoga classes.

Samadhi Center for Yoga: The Samadhi Center for Yoga in Denver, Colorado offers prenatal yoga classes for expectant mothers. The class is designed to teach you skills on how to feel more comfortable throughout your pregnancy. In addition, you will learn skills on how you can be more aware and comfortable during labor and the birthing process. Women of all yoga levels may take this class.

Prenatal yoga classes at the Samadhi Center for Yoga take place on Saturdays from 12:45-2:15pm. You may pay for individual yoga classes or buy packages. For instance, you can drop-in for a yoga class for $17 or buy an unlimited monthly pass for $140. You can learn more about the Samadhi Center for Yoga, their teachers, rates, and class schedule by visiting their website.

Belly Bliss: Belly Bliss is another place in Denver that offers prenatal yoga classes. Belly Yoga will improve your flexibility, stamina, body awareness and breath while helping to prepare you for the birthing process. The class will also help you relax more readily and decrease fatigue.

Belly Bliss offers Belly Yoga several times throughout the week in order to meet the needs of many expectant mothers’ schedules. You may pay for individual classes or for package deals at Belly Bliss. For example, individual classes cost $16, a 5-class package costs $75, and an unlimited monthly package costs $175. Belly Bliss also offers other services for pregnant women, such as nutrition consultations, psychotherapy, pilates classes, doula services, personal training sessions, chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture. To learn more about Belly Bliss, located at 300 Josephine Street, visit the facility’s website or call them at 303-399-1191.

Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga: The Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga is another place in Denver where you may take prenatal yoga classes. The poses in this class are modified for women in all stages of pregnancy. Additionally, according to the school’s website, students learn from each other as well as the teacher. All teachers have gone through pregnancy themselves and can offer valuable information. Women may join the prenatal yoga class at any time and do not need to have any previous yoga experience to participate.

Prenatal yoga classes take place at the Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga on Mondays from 5:45-6:45pm. Individual classes cost $13 per session. Packages are also available for purchase. You may learn more about the Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga, located at 2162 S. Colorado Blvd., by visiting their website or calling them at 303-758-4814.

Sweet Beginnings: Sweet Beginnings also offers yoga classes for expectant mothers. The classes focus on meditation techniques, posture, and breathing to help women through pregnancy, labor and delivery. The classes also increase flexibility, focus, and strength. In addition, the yoga poses in these classes are gentle enough for women in all stages of pregnancy. You do not need to be experienced in yoga to participate in the classes.

Prenatal yoga is taught on Mondays from 6:15-7:30pm. Each drop-in class costs $13. Alternatively, you can purchase 5 classes for $60 or 10 classes for $110. Sweet Beginnings also offers several other pregnancy and parenting classes. You may learn more about Sweet Beginnings by visiting the facility’s website.

If you are an expectant mother living in the Denver, Colorado area, check out these prenatal classes to help you stay fit and prepare yourself for labor and childbirth during your pregnancy.

Sources:

Expectant Mother’s Guide: Prenatal Yoga: A Gift You Can Give to Yourself:

http://www.expectantmothersguide.com/library/philadelphia/yoga.htm

Samadhi Center for Yoga: Class Descriptions:

http://www.samadhiyoga.net/yoga-denver-descriptions.htm

Samadhi Center for Yoga: Class Schedule:

https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/home.asp

Samadhi Center for Yoga: Rates and Packages:

http://www.samadhiyoga.net/yoga-denver-rates.htm

Belly Bliss: Pregnancy:

http://www.bellybliss.org/pregnancy-phases1.htm

Belly Bliss: Pricing:

http://bellybliss.org/class-pricing.htm

Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga: Prenatal Yoga:

http://www.csyoga.com/

Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga: Classes:

http://www.csyoga.com/

Colorado School of Iyengar Yoga: Location:

http://www.csyoga.com/

Sweet Beginnings: Childbirth and Pregnancy Classes:

http://www.oursweetbeginnings.com/childbirth.html

Categories Health

Helping Children Under 10 Learn Yoga

Helping Children Under 10 Learn Yoga

Many parents in the United States are interested in having their children learn yoga due the many health benefits that come with this exercise. Many children are overweight and do not get enough exercise, leading to many health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stress along with many others. Yoga can help your child to become much more flexible, fit and agile and will help them to relax and meditate and can also help to develop their thought processes and interpersonal skills. Since kids are much more susceptible to movement and suggestion, they may take to yoga even more quickly than adults, and may also be more able to accomplish certain yoga movements due to their flexibility.

Young children should always be taken to a very well qualified yoga instructor since many times they do not know their own limitations and may injure themselves, especially if they are being coached by a novice instructor. If possible you should try to get them into a specially designed children’s yoga class, especially if they are below age 10. Younger children tend to have very short attention spans and a qualified children’s yoga instructor will have the patience and the goodwill to deal with children and to properly instruct them to properly complete the exercises and also motivate them properly.

You should try not to force your child to do yoga, even though you are aware of the health benefits. Children may rebel if forced to do the task and they will just end up wasting your money and time so it would be best to choose another activity to engage your child in, especially if they have absolutely no interest in yoga. If you child is interested or only mildly interested, you should try to teach and explain to them the meaning of yoga and all the associated health benefits. You can also encourage your child to do yoga by promising to do something that the child enjoys or purchase something that the child wants upon the completion of each yoga class or course.

You should try to make yourself available for the first yoga class that the child goes to and watch their interaction with the instructor as well as the other children in the class very carefully. If the interaction between the instructor and your child is very poor, or if the instructor shouts and says disparaging things to the members of the class, you should remove them from the class. You could alternately speak to the instructor about being less harsh to your child. You should also note the interaction of your child with the other children in the class, if they are not getting along well with your child, you should try to speak to the instructor of your child to find out the problem. If this continues then you should try to send your child to another class or instructor. These instructions will help your young child to have an enjoyable yoga experience and help them to build a healthy and safe habit for the future.

Categories Health

Yoga! Get a Smart Body with a Clear Mind

Yoga! Get a Smart Body with a Clear Mind

Yoga is the magic solution for a smart body with lucid mind. One can start yoga at the most tender age of four or five. Simple warm-up exercises along with small breathing work out can strip away the mind blocks. Yoga can be astonishing, if practiced regularly as it can relaxes the mind, clears tension and energizes our inner body.

Awareness of yoga is at a high level in today’s world. Once yoga becomes part of your regime, the results will be incredible. People who enjoy best of their health are more likely to practice yoga since ages. Yoga can heal many long term as well as short term ailments like migraine, stress, back-aches, arthritis and the list goes on. One can attain concentration and enlightenment through spiritual path. Yoga is a great source to focus on one’s mind and have a positive approach towards life. So the sooner you start practicing in your life, the better.

Many user friendly guides and manuals have come up to teach yoga. Those who are short of time can always pick up these easy and simple books on yoga. Parents play a major role in teaching yoga for their kids. As kids always observe their parents, they love to participate naturally without being forced to do so. Yoga helps children to have a flexible body, high level of concentration, good muscle tone, healthy hair and a creative mind. You can send kids to yoga classes and introduce them to a friendly environment and discover a whole new peaceful world. Yoga classes provide an opportunity for children to exercise and have fun. Encourage your child to practice the same at home. Regular indulgence in yoga enhances and sharpens the brain.

Easy and interesting postures in yoga attract children and make them practice with perfection if trained at an early age. Yoga is practiced to strengthen their mental and physical equilibrium. Stretch exercise followed by yoga help kids to remain toned and serene. It helps in building strength, flexibility and strike a balance in different facets of life. Yoga is a very good stress buster and a wonderful relaxation technique. It helps children to concentrate on different fields of study, improves the quality of sleep and keeps the stress at bay.

The more the exercise is interactive, the better children get indulged in it. It helps in enhancing self awareness, creativity, socialization, improved quality of sleep, better concentration and relaxation of body and mind. Fun filled warm-ups, simple breathing techniques, easy postures and stretch dances encourage improved concentration of studies and other skills at ease.

Today’s world is highly competitive. Be it studies or extra curricular activities, children are facing stiff competition which ultimately leads to stress and other imbalances. To overcome this, yoga helps and empowers them to face cut-throat competition and fights against stress effortlessly. Experts say that regular indulgence in yoga improves mental psyche. So better late than ever should be the maxim. Get yourself and your children into the magnificent world of yoga to get a smart body and serene mind.

Categories Health

Mom and Baby Yoga Strengthens the Body and Spirit

Mom and Baby Yoga Strengthens the Body and Spirit

Mom and Baby Yoga Strengthens the Body and SpiritPre-natal yoga is increasingly popular among pregnant women because of how it safely exercises and energizes the mind, body, and spirit. Among yoga’s many benefits are physical strength building, relaxation, stress reduction, and a feeling of deep connection to the baby. However, after giving birth, many women do not continue with yoga because they do not know how to continue their yoga practice in their post-partum shape or have ready access to Mommy and Me yoga class.

Jyothi Larson’s book Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby: The Yoga Workout for New Moms (Bantam Books, 2002) offers several routines appropriate for different stages and details the many benefits to both mother and child in continuing yoga. Larson describes baby yoga as a method that takes advantage of babies’ love of being touched and a “reassuring way to connect them to the world.” By continuing – or even beginning – a yoga routine, new mothers build confidence, connection and a strong and healthy body for both themselves and their babies. Also, exercise is instrumental in working through issues of depression, and yoga is particularly effective for mothers with postpartum depression because of the strong mind-body connection.

Yoga benefits beginners and experts alike, based on the intensity of the pose. Like any exercise routine, the intensity and difficulty of a yoga practice grows with time. For newly post-partum mothers, it is especially important to listen to your body, to begin postures slowly, and get medical clearance to begin exercising again.

Mom and Baby yoga can take any form necessary – whether it is an hour of practice or 10 minutes fit into a busy schedule. A particularly effective way is to begin a routine at the same time so your baby will learn to expect it as part of the day.

A few basic yoga moves are simple to introduce.

Deep belly breathing begins with a straight posture. Deep breathing strengthens abdominal muscles, helps you calm down and focus inward, and can be done anywhere. Sit cross legged (Tailor sitting) on the floor with your baby either in your arms or on a blanket in front of you. Inhale through your nose, visualize your belly expanding, and exhale through your mouth.

Shoulder rolls relieve tension and build upper back strength. Bring shoulders back and up as you inhale, exhale as you bring shoulders forward and down. Repeat three times and change directions. These can be done anywhere, while your baby watches you.

Pelvic tilts strengthen the abdomen and lower back. Lie on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis upward off the ground as you inhale, slowly bring the pelvis down to the floor and contract your abdominal muscles as you exhale. Your baby can either be on the floor beside you or resting on your belly and thighs (hold onto him with one hand while you move up and down).

Half Spinal Twist works a range of muscles and increases flexibility. In a seated position, stretch legs out and hold baby out in front of you. Keep your left leg straight and cross right foot over left knee as you lift up baby. Slowly twist to the left until the baby rests on the ground beside your hips and you are looking back. Hold for three breaths. To release the pose, turn your head and bring baby back to center, then uncross your leg. Repeat with the other side. Posture is important in this pose so keep both buttocks on the floor and sit tall. Baby should have good head and neck control before using her in the pose; before then you can place her beside you.

Downward Dog is a stretch for your back and hamstrings. Lie the baby on the ground in front of you. Begin on your hands and knees with spread fingers. Curl your toes under, exhale and push your hips toward the sky into an inverted V. Gently push your heels toward the floor and look back toward your knees. To come out of the position, you can go into a plank position or back to your hands and knees. At any time you can look down and smile at your baby.

Child’s Pose is a pose of relaxation and contemplation. With your baby lying in front of you, get on your hands and knees and move back so your buttocks are resting on your heels, your forehead is on the ground, and the baby is between your hands. Breathe in this position as long as you’d like, then as you come up you can tickle the baby or blow raspberries on his belly.

These poses can be done in the above series or independently, along with a host of other poses depending on your time and experience level.

Yoga helps mothers physically and mentally keep up with the demands of children. Additionally, babies who grow up around yoga will imitate poses, which helps them develop greater body awareness, self-control, flexibility and coordination. As he or she gets older, you can modify your routine to further include him or her. Integrating your child into your yoga routine is yet another way to support mother-child bonding, and babies will pick up on and benefit from the calmness promoted by your practice.

Categories Health

Tank Tops and Yoga Mats

Tank Tops and Yoga Mats

Article About What You Need to Begin Yoga

In every person’s life, there is always a desire to improve upon something. For me, it is my weight and my flexibility. I have always struggled with my weight since early adulthood and forget flexibility. I could not even touch my toes one year ago. Why, you ask, because I had gained quite a bit of weight and did not know what to do about it. As confusing as it sounds, there are times where a person, like me does not know where to begin.

Let’s say you have a plan. Perchance you have decided to begin a do-it-yourself yoga program. The hardest part in doing yoga without a teacher ( I would know, I’m self-taught) is that you are without someone to help you. First of all before you do any stretching equipment is key. Here’s a small list of the things that you will need for beginning your exercising. I have also provided a picture from my personal belongings to let you know what they look like.

  1. A yoga mat is one of the most important things you will ever need. Some people use rugs or squares of carpet, but a mat always works best and helps keep you from sliding on the ground. You can get these at you local Target store, and that is were I got mine from.
  2. A cork block with help you with poses that are not so easy. The block provide you with a few extra inches on harder poses, especially if your flexibility has not come yet. And if you ever try inversion poses, a cork block helps you with the measurement of where you put your hands.
  3. A tank top is a very important article of clothing, especially if you are in an actual yoga class. Long sleeves can often get in the way, plus not to mention the sweat factor. Nothing is more embarrasing than to lift your arms and to show off sweat stains.
  4. A good pair of stretch pants are important too. I usually get mine from Target as well. I am very fond of the brand called Champion. They are cool and breezy, plus they usually come with a drawstring, so if you lose weight your drawers will ever come down. A drawstring is key, especially when you start to shape up and firm up. I unfortunately still need some work on the shaping and firming.
  5. A good yoga bag is probably the most important items as well. Even though you do not need a bag to stretch with, you will need a holder for all of your supplies, especially if you are taking classes or if you travel to a gym to stretch. A yoga bag is normally big enough to carry one mat, one tank top, one pair of pants, a book on yoga, and a cork block. Having your accessories all in one place is much easier than trying to transport them in paper or plastic bags.

Hopefully the list and the picture I have provided will help you know a bit more about what you need to begin your lifelong journed into yoga. Namaste!

Categories Beauty

A Recipe for Beauty: Homemade Beauty Products

A Recipe for Beauty: Homemade Beauty Products

Women have used cosmetics almost since the dawn of time. Before sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and injectable beauty treatments, women turned to their own backyards (so to speak) for their beauty needs. Those products discovered to be good for the skin back in those days are still just as good for us today, and even more easily found, thanks to grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and even health food stores.

Body Treatments

Make your own exfoliating scrub using brown sugar and oil. Mix equal parts of brown sugar with olive oil (almond will also work), and scrub into your skin prior to entering the shower. Rinse off well, but do not soap up. The oil will deeply penetrate your skin with the heat of the shower; soap would simply strip it away. If you would like to add an essential oil for extra fragrance, consult an expert to determine which are safe to use on your skin – lavender is probably the best choice, but tea tree oil is also good for those with body acne problems

For a cellulite treatment similar to those you’ll find in a bottle, use a coffee scrub. ΒΌ cup used coffee grounds mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil smoothed into your thighs and derriere leave your skin smooth and clear. The caffeine temporarily tightens and tones your skin. This may also be used on your face, but if your skin is oily, you may prefer to use diluted tea tree oil instead of olive oil.

For a skin-softening, stress-relieving luxurious bath, add a quart of milk (powdered milk works fine, just rehydrate first) along with 2 tablespoons of honey to your bath water. If a milk bath kept Cleopatra lovely, it can do the same for you.

Facial Treatments

Steaming your face to open pores and remove impurities may well be the simplest and least expensive of them all. Simply fill a large bowl with hot water, add a few drops of essential oil, then place your face over the bowl (not IN the bowl), and tent a towel over your head to keep the steam in. After about 5 minutes, splash cool water onto your face to tighten pores and bring brightness to your skin.

This gentle facial scrub is perfect for acne-prone skin – the honey moisturizes, but also contains antimicrobial properties that fight against acne-causing bacteria! Put two tablespoons of oatmeal in the blender and blend until coarse. Add a teaspoon of honey and one tablespoon of milk and mix into a thick paste. Apply to your skin, smooth in small circles using only middle and ring fingers. You may then rinse it off or leave it on for 15 minutes as a mask.

Use plain, unsweetened yogurt directly on your skin for a moisturizing AHA mask. Mix with honey and/or banana for extra hydrating and anti-microbial benefits.

For pimples, try applying a paste made of a crushed aspirin tablet (salicylic acid) and distilled water and leaving on overnight. A dab of tea tree oil also works well, as does paste toothpaste. For a natural toner, try witch hazel either alone, or mixed with tea tree oil (for oily skin), cucumber (for dry skin), or chamomile tea (for sensitive skin). As with any DIY product, keep refrigerated, and only make small amounts that you can use up within about a week’s time, since there are no artificial preservatives.

Natural hydrators can be made or bought. Cocoa butter is a thick, rich moisturizer that can be applied all over your body and face, including your lips. Olive and coconut oil can also be applied body-wide, face and lips. Hydrating from the inside out is also a good idea, drinking plenty of water and other liquids throughout the day.

Categories Health

What is an Unhealthy Weight?

What is an Unhealthy Weight?The overweight condition in the United States and much of the world is talked about and written about everywhere we turn. We read charts to compare our height and where our weight should be. What if we’re only five pounds over the recommended weight? Should we seek to aggressively reduce that amount? We will discuss what factors constitute unhealthy weight and what we can do about it.

Indications of unhealthy weight

There are several factors that can help you determine if you are at an unhealthy weight. First of all, what is your fitness level? Fitness is defined as good physical condition. That basically means your body is functioning free of any disease or conditions leading to disease. So you can know that you are within a healthy weight for you by your fitness level.

Another factor to consider is your diet and eating habits. If you eat a healthy, balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and fats in healthy portions, then you can be relatively sure you are at a healthy weight.

If you have taken tests for cholesterol, blood sugar levels, hypertension, and others and your readings show a slight elevation of these levels, you may want to reduce your weight to bring these levels to normal. Even though there are people within normal weight ranges with higher readings than normal, if you are even slightly overweight it would pay to reduce.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, you need to reduce any unhealthy weight immediately. You will experience the benefits of reducing your weight even if only by 5 – 10%.

Set Goals

There are things you can do to make it easier to reduce unhealthy weight.

Make it your number one priority to lose weight to reduce health problems. Excess weight shortens life and in the meantime reduces the quality of life.

Increase your fitness level with physical activity. If you don’t want to go to a fancy gym or hire a personal trainer, you can increase your physical activity by simply walking every day.

Make lifestyle changes rather than go on a diet. The first three letters in the word “diet” are d-i-e. If you’ve tried dieting, you can agree with how it disrupts your life and make you feel like you’re dying. That’s why diets don’t work because nothing can last that makes you feel this way. Gradually making lifestyle changes invite you to cooperate with them in getting you to better health.

Love and accept yourself as you are now. You will feel you are worth the time and effort to reduce your unhealthy weight.