Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Three Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Relationship

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

If you’re wondering how you can improve your relationship with your partner, here are some tips to start now. If you already have a loving relationship, these principles can help maintain the magnitude of a loving relationship by allowing growth on many levels. So get your partner & begin today.

1. Principles to Reinforce Your Partnership

The first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are the Yamas. These encompass universal morality and respect for all living things, or Ahimsa (non violence). This means that kindness and friendliness should be exhibited in all situations dealing with living beings. Kindness is contagious, and if you’re able to treat complete strangers with empathy and respect, it will be that much easier to do the same with your partner.

Deceit and lies are two common elements of bad marriages and relationships. They’re detrimental in broken relationships and have the potential to shatter the love. Satya refers to speaking the truth as long as it does not hurt someone. When combined with Ahimsa, honesty trumps deliberate deception. For instance, telling your partner about an extra-marital affair would be extremely hurtful, but carrying on a fake relationship is harmful to all, including the third party individual.

Aparigraha is the Yamas principle that encourages divestment of materialism. Hoarding wealth beyond what you and your family need implies a self-centeredness that is inherently detrimental to relationships. Buy a homeless person a meal if you can afford it or help someone in need. Furthermore, gifts for your partner should be about the thought as opposed to the long-term value. For example, buying flowers or treating your partner to his or her favorite meals create lasting memories without the acquisition of material things.

2. Sexual Vitality

A 2013 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants in long-term relationships were motivated to have an intimate relationship because it was important to their partner. In other words, people will be intimate even when they don’t want to if it makes their significant other happy. Granted, waiting in the beginning of a relationship can help to strengthen emotional bonds and commitment to one another, but a major challenge in long-term relationships is keeping everything interesting and fresh. And that’s where yoga comes into play.

A 2010 study published by the Harvard Medical School found that women experienced more pleasure and arousal after 12 weeks of yoga practice. Psychology Today cited a study from a yoga camp that found men ages 24 to 60 experience similar benefits after several yoga sessions. A yoga date every week can only improve your relationship it seems!

3. Shape Up

A study by yogi Alan Kristal and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that people who did one yoga session per week for four years lost five pounds versus the non-yogis who gained 14 pounds. Kristal credited yoga’s mind-body principles, which helped change the participants’ relationship with food and eating. Yoga also can help you quit smoking and get better sleep at night. Both will promote healthier looking skin, whiter smiles and positive emotions; all of which will help build your confidence in relationships.

Yoga connects you with the truths of the here and now. Likewise the focus of healthy relationships is the present, not the past or future. Incorporating yoga into your regular life ensures beautiful memories with your partner and promotes a future of love and commitment. And all of us can use love as a catalyst for growth on many levels.

Isn’t to day a good day to begin? Let yoga make Love!

~Brian Wilkinscy

5 tips to refresh your commitment to yoga

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Time to move on – not away from yoga
You have trained long and hard, practiced diligently and now you have doubts – about yourself, your teaching and commitment. What is happening?
The answer is: you are practicing yoga. Self-inquirytrends in yoga, reflection and doubting your intentions are the manifestation of a deeper relationship, that can withstand and flourish through inquiry and emotional turmoil.Compare your relationship with yoga with other meaningful relationships that endure through change and even conflict. If they are strong, they will develop and strengthen. Yes, flaws may be revealed and that relationship may change, but the underlying love will endure and prove richer in the long-term.

Where, when and how you discover yoga will determine the start of your journey. This may be a route that takes us into a practice, or even teacher training that requires commitment to a certain style that later in life, may not nourish and support your growth. An acceptance and even ultimately a rejection of a particular school of yoga is neither a reflection on the practice, but merely an acknowledgement that it is time to move on. The body and mind evolves during our journey through life. Yoga may keep us flexible, strong and active in the physical body, but our aims may change, as we recognize and nurture other areas of our practice.

Physical injury, health concerns and natural aging also determine the suitability of any practice and may mean changing or adapting your practice. One of the many comforts in yoga is that there is always something that you can do – either softening your practice until recovery allows you to return to your previous choice, or moving into different areas such as pranayama or meditation.How do you move forward?
• Firstly, it is important to accept and be open to change. Drawing back and observing your intentions may at first contribute to feelings of loss and even anger. To ‘let go’ of a rigid practice can also cause feelings of guilt as you release yourself of the commitment and possibly regular practice that has become part of the pattern of your daily life.

• Remember, you are only recognizing changes in yourself. Recall how well the practice suited you in the past – what you have learnt and how it has supported you. Let go of guilt and be thankful for the experience.• Have a break and encourage the body and mind to rest and find the space for observation, inquiry and introduction to other aspects or styles of yoga. This may even result in a refreshed interest and commitment in your previous practice.

• Talk to your teacher and other students. You will discover that these doubts and feelings are not unusual. Your teacher may suggest other classes or training that will support your growth. If this is ‘farewell’, a respectful parting will prevent any bad feelings.

• Observe other areas of your life and how they may be contributing to your confusion.  It can be tempting to use yoga as a crutch to support other areas of life that are out of control, or even to be disappointed in yoga no longer gives you the feelings of strength, stability and calm that it provided when you first started.

• Do not rush! Any decision should be taken slowly and calmly. Remember how long it took to develop your practice and how it has helped you develop.

It may be time to move on, but that does not mean moving out! And if you decide to take a break – yoga will be there waiting patiently to welcome you back – no questions asked.

By:  Wendy Jacob

Three ways to shift your day through breath

Monday, February 9th, 2015

If you are having a tough day, take a pause and notice your breath. Do you feel yourself breathing? Our breathing reverberates in our body and this vibration is directly related to the vibrations in our mind that come as thoughts. As ancient yogic texts have explained, our thoughts affect our breath. Our breath affects our body function. Our body function/health affects our speech. Our speech affects our actions. And our actions affect our destiny. Therefore, if you want to make a change in your life, invite a positive change to your breathing pattern.

Notice the next time that you are feeling angry or stressed about something. Excited thoughts lead to an excited breath, which can lead to quick, reactive decisions; some that we later regret. Sad thoughts lead to a dull, heavy breathing pattern that can make it hard to take any action to help ourselves. Positive, happy thoughts are connected with effortless deep breathing throughout the body. This leads to positive actions and choices that can make our life better. The pattern of breath and thoughts which vibrate within you will ripple out into the functioning of your organs and determine what words are spoken, what actions are taken, and the energy attracted.

On-The-Go Breathing Tools:  

 1. When you need to quickly re-set – Breathe through the nose to allow the breath to slow down. This also helps you get more air into the lungs, and helps you clean more old air out of the lungs. If you pause and take some really deep breaths, moving the air deep into your body, you will immediately start to feel differently.

2. When you are feeling angry or stressed – Pause and fold forward at the hips, letting your torso hang down towards the floor. If you feel tightness in the lower back and hamstrings, bend your knees a bit so that your hips rotate over the legs. Now, lengthen your inhale and let your exhale last as long. See if you can stay here up to one minute.  Then, slowly roll up to standing. And notice how the world looks.32

3. When you are feeling low in energy or emotion – Stand up, feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, take your arms up to the sky. As you exhale, take the arms out and down by your side. Do this about 10 times, and begin to connect the breath with the movement of the arms. See if you can even go slower with the arms and breath. On the last round, keep the arms up in the air for 10 smooth breaths through the nose. And then gradually lower them down.

Suggestions To Start Your Practice:

  • Take a Yoga Class – Yoga is more than just exercise for the body. Many forms of exercise focus on exhaling, pushing and forcing the heart rate to rise. Yoga balances that with time to inhale lots of good, fresh air into the body. The more fresh air we put into our system, the more efficient our body operates. Digestion, assimilation and elimination improve. When our bodies are working well, it’s easier to have positive thoughts and take positive actions.
  • Practice Pranayama – If you are really interested in improving your breathing, consider taking a Pranayama Class at a yoga studio. Pranayama is the technique of expanding one’s life force (the energy behind the breath) through breathing techniques. Many Pranayma classes inlude a few poses to open the body and end in a meditation.

If you don’t like what’s going on in your life, before you decide to take a radical action, start simple. Expand your breathing to bring more positive energy into your system. This will ripple from your mind to your breath and out into your life.

Written by ~ Jeanne Heilman

Three ways yoga can improve your relationship.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

If you’re wondering how you can improve your relationship with your partner, here are some tips to start now. If you already have a loving relationship, these principles can help maintain the magnitude of a loving relationship by allowing growth on many levels. So get your partner & begin today.

1. Principles to Reinforce Your Partnership

The first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are the Yamas. These encompass universal morality and respect for all living things, or Ahimsa (non violence). This means that kindness and friendliness should be exhibited in all situations dealing with living beings. Kindness is contagious, and if you’re able to treat complete strangers with empathy and respect, it will be that much easier to do the same with your partner.

Deceit and lies are two common elements of bad marriages and relationships. They’re detrimental in broken relationships and have the potential to shatter the love. Satya refers to speaking the truth as long as it does not hurt someone. When combined with Ahimsa, honesty trumps deliberate deception. For instance, telling your partner about an extra-marital affair would be extremely hurtful, but carrying on a fake relationship is harmful to all, including the third party individual.

Aparigraha is the Yamas principle that encourages divestment of materialism. Hoarding wealth beyond what you and your family need implies a self-centeredness that is inherently detrimental to relationships. Buy a homeless person a meal if you can afford it or help someone in need. Furthermore, gifts for your partner should be about the thought as opposed to the long-term value. For example, buying flowers or treating your partner to his or her favorite meals create lasting memories without the acquisition of material things.

2. Sexual Vitality

A 2013 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants in long-term relationships were motivated to have an intimate relationship because it was important to their partner. In other words, people will be intimate even when they don’t want to if it makes their significant other happy. Granted, waiting in the beginning of a relationship can help to strengthen emotional bonds and commitment to one another, but a major challenge in long-term relationships is keeping everything interesting and fresh. And that’s where yoga comes into play.

A 2010 study published by the Harvard Medical School found that women experienced more pleasure and arousal after 12 weeks of yoga practice. Psychology Today cited a study from a yoga camp that found men ages 24 to 60 experience similar benefits after several yoga sessions. A yoga date every week can only improve your relationship it seems!

3. Shape Up

A study by yogi Alan Kristal and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that people who did one yoga session per week for four years lost five pounds versus the non-yogis who gained 14 pounds. Kristal credited yoga’s mind-body principles, which helped change the participants’ relationship with food and eating. Yoga also can help you quit smoking and get better sleep at night. Both will promote healthier looking skin, whiter smiles and positive emotions; all of which will help build your confidence in relationships.

Yoga connects you with the truths of the here and now. Likewise the focus of healthy relationships is the present, not the past or future. Incorporating yoga into your regular life ensures beautiful memories with your partner and promotes a future of love and commitment. And all of us can use love as a catalyst for growth on many levels.

Isn’t to day a good day to begin? Let yoga make Love!

-Brian Wilkins

cy

10 Ways to Live Life in a Calm Manner

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

1. Celebrate often.

Life is too short not to celebrate every chance we are given. Making the effort to attend class, attempting a challenging asana, or just shaking your hips in downward dog, are all reasons and opportunities to celebrate life and being one with your body.

2. Laugh at embarrassment.

We have all farted in a work meeting, or walked around with toilet paper on our shoe at a bar, or even fallen while walking up the stairs in the subway.  In the same vein, falling out of a balancing pose, bumping another practitioner, or hitting the floor with a thud coming out of handstand is all part of the practice.  It’s life, we’re human, and it’s okay.

3. Be trustworthy. Do not lie.

It is almost never okay to lie…even white lies should be used sparingly. The truth always comes out. Your word is you (your integrity) and once you lose it (your morality), sometimes there is no getting it back.

4. Choose the people in your life.  

The people you choose to keep in your life are a reflection of you. We will become more like them and they will become more like us. Choose carefully. Therefore, if negative people are in your life, you are part of that negativity that definitely affects you thus if you choose positive, loving people, you are just that, loving and positive.

5. Yoga and dancing are the cheapest forms of therapy you will find.

Putting on a great song (country for me) and dancing like a fool or rolling out my mat for a few sun salutations without fail makes me feel better.  You can do either anywhere you are and in a “crap” economy, these are great ways to save money on therapy and Xanax.

6. Check in.

I like to ask myself from time to time, “Emily, if you died tomorrow, would you be happy with your life?” Most often, I say, “Yes, I have had a great life and although I may not have done everything on my bucket list, I had a good run of it.”  If I do not answer in the affirmative, then I make a change. Do not avoid what you do not like in your life, check in, notice it, accept it, change it.

7. Take care of your bod.

This has been one of the biggest changes in my life as a result of yoga. We are only given one body and no amount of re-lifting, plumping, whitening, or tanning is going to do for your bod what you can do all by yourself. Take care of your body now and it will take care of you later.

8. You are one of a kind. Own it.

I continue to struggle with this one but never the less it is something I strive towards and deem crucial in living a gingerly life. Society loves things that are “one of a kind.” The idea that if there are only a few or only one of something it is better, valuable, and a luxury. But we forget that we are ALL one of a kind! We are life’s greatest luxury! Know this and own it.

9. Listen to your heart and intuition.

As I grow, I am learning just how powerful intuition is and how loudly your heart speaks to you if you listen. Your head can play tricks on you but your heart is usually spot on.

10. It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

Appreciate every day and challenge yourself to be happy.

~ by Emily Schall

Bright future

7 ways to rest or relax

Friday, November 21st, 2014

It is a complicated world – gone are the days when it was enough to lie down on your mat, shut your eyes and drift off into a blissful relaxation after your yoga practice!

Living and working in a fast paced, technological world means that there is little distinction between day and night. Many people find it difficult to sleep and are looking at ways to restore their energy and alertness. Computer screens, shift work, 24 hour access to entertainment, long commutes are just a few of the challenges to sleep.

Lack of sleep is dangerous to health, leading to accidents and taking its toll on mind and body. Sleep science is a growing field of research increasing knowledge of the problems relating to insomnia and discovering more about the secrets of our nocturnal life.

Relaxation

It is important to recognize and differentiate between sleep and rest. In yoga, teachers traditionally end a practice with relaxation – usually around 15 minutes after a class lasting less than an hour and a half. This allows the body to realign, warm muscles to cool and the mind to calm.

This may be led by a guided relaxation where the teacher provides a soothing commentary – perhaps instructing physical areas of the body to release or using calming words to create a conducive environment to relaxation. Or, the teacher may decide to remain silent and just provide closing instructions at the end of the session.

Sleep

Sleep can be divided into four stages and two distinct states – rapid eye movement (REM) and non REM (deep sleep). The REM state is when the eyes can be seen to move under the eyelids and dreaming occurs. During deep sleep the body slows down, the muscles relax, breathing and heartbeat become slower and blood pressure decreases.

The four stages can, for an adult, be divided into 90-minute cycles. This starts with some light sleep which is roughly half of all sleeping time, then deep sleep, accounting for about 20 per cent, and finally the lighter REM sleep when dreams occur which is about 20 per cent.

It takes around 15 minutes to awake from a deep sleep and become fully alert.

Napping

Napping is a useful skill to develop and can be used anywhere to build up resources when tired. A nap lasts around 15 minutes and leaves you feeling refreshed – any longer and there is a risk of falling into the early stages of sleep and feeling groggy when aroused.

All that is required is a supported position – either seated of lying still – in a quiet uninterrupted space.

Concentration

Concentration can be seen as an entry point to a meditative state. Patanjali describes concentration as ‘fixing the consciousness on one point or region’ and meditation as “the steady, continuous flow of concentration”. Concentration (or centrring) is often used at the beginning of a class to encourage students to settle and connect with the start of the practice. Tools may include awareness of breath or sound or just sitting or lying silently for around 10-15 minutes.

Meditation

There are many ways to meditate, but all have the same purpose – to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of ourselves, experiences and wider connections in the universe.

Meditation trains the mind to focus on what is real, staying in the present and encouraging a clearer perspective on life and relationships.

Contemplation or meditation (dhyana) involves holding on to an idea in the mind without the mind wandering. This takes practice and time and may involve concentrating on a physical object such as a stone, apple, egg or picture, or meditating on an abstract idea or concept such as love or duty.

Yoga Nidra

In Yoga Nidra, the mind is encouraged to drift and stay in its hypnogogic state which is the transition from wakefulness to sleep or from sleep to wakefulness. During this time, the mind is receptive to sounds and visual images. During Yoga Nidra the mind may also connect with unexplored creativity, intuitions and unexplored creativity.

Guided Yoga Nidra uses tools such as guided visualization including rotation of consciousness and awareness of sensations. It is usually delivered at a speed that encourages the mind to move between images and concepts.

Yoga Nidra can be a profound experience and care should be taken

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga uses props – bolsters, blankets, straps and eye pillows – to place the body in supportive positions for complete physical release. By staying supported in these positions for a longer period (up to half an hour or more depending on the pose) the body and mind are encouraged to relax and readjust.

Restorative yoga can be used as therapy or to provide a deeper relaxation experience.

There are a number of new studios worldwide providing excellent facilities with classes, workshops and training suitable for anyone who wants to learn, or expand their skills.

– Wendy Jacob32

Including Yoga in Your Work Day.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Yoga is an ancient traditional art form of exercise believed to have originated in the Rig Veda. Yoga emphasizes on inner peace and the self-origin of an individual for eternal truth. This form of art is considered great in the form of flexibility and keeping the body and mind free form chaos within. Having a cure for all kinds of ailments and focusing more on the individuals overall health. Incorporating yoga in your day to day activities helps the individual in Reducing stress, control over blood pressure, increased learning and power memory, manages chronic pain.

The best part of yoga is that it can be performed anywhere as the entire focus is on using the individuals energy and efforts which is not depended on any instrument of exercise unlike in gyms. Rather than performing yoga only on specific timings like a morning or evening class, yoga can be performed in small portions throughout the day keeping you energetic and focused all the time.

Few ways of doing yoga throughout the day in small portions

Deep Yogic Breathing 

Taking deep breaths at any given point of time when you are shopping at a grocery store, driving, walking to your workplace, watching TV, attending on conferences etc. Deep breathing calms the heart rate and nervous system and also has an influences the people around you and keeps them calm. Deep breathing forces more oxygen to the brain making you more alert, eloquent when dealing with clients, customers.

Meditation 

Mediation is the key factor in yoga that brings internal peace and bliss. A 5 minute meditation at your work place, college, school, and home can calm your body, mind and make your day more effective. Meditation can be performed in various ways, a simple technique that you can practice is CONCENTRATING ON YOUR BREATH. Close your eyes. Inhale, exhale a one count cycle for each breath, notice the air movement in your body, the belly, nostrils entering and leaving the body. Focus on one point and the see the increased concentration.

Desk Stretching 
A sitting posture e.g. Gomukhasana- cow face pose, stretches the upper body. Seated twist -right, left side stretch with legs shoulder length widened stretching at each side while you inhale and exhale .Shoulder stretch, hip stretch, back bend helps in eliminating physical and mental fatigue. All stretches at one seated place can help you a lot in relaxation.

Yoga at the Lunch Break 

Find an open and quiet place at a park or at your office terrace and perform few yoga asana like Tadasana ( Mountain pose ), Urdhva hastasana (raised arm pose), Uttanasana (standing -forward bend), plank pose, staff pose, Paschimottanasana ( seated forward bend.) These few postures that would energize your body, makes you feel more lighter, eradicating the toxins and increasing concentration.

Courtesy of Flora Cox. Ms. Cox is a part time medical student, who shares her view regarding health issues on many blogs. She is conducting a research on Ehic card (European health insurance card). yg

 

Eat almonds!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Delicious and healthy.

Delicious and healthy.

Almonds are delicious, crunchy morsels, and this alone is reason enough to grab a handful. But almonds are so much more than a tasty snack – they are packed with healthy compounds and a great addition to any diet.  Here’s why:

Almonds are a healthier choice than the ubiquitous peanut, which has held tight to its spot as the favorite nut (peanut butter, peanut snacks, peanut brittle, the list goes on). However, peanuts are acid forming, whereas almonds are alkaline. Some cancer specialists claim that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer has an acid pH. Almonds are also less toxic and less allergenic than peanuts, which are actually legumes, rather than nuts, and therefore can be more challenging to digest.

There are so many wonderful health benefits to eating almonds. They are good sources of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which help in bone growth. They can help prevent cholesterol build up in the veins, which reduces risk of heart disease. They are full of vitamin E, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and soft. Compared with other tree nuts, almonds have more protein ounce for ounce, as well as higher fiber (12% of the daily recommended amount) and calcium.

Practically speaking, almonds are a very handy snack. They are perfectly portable and great for grazing through the day. They also give that sought-after satisfied, full feeling. This is because almonds contain oleic acid, a healthy fat, which helps trigger the small intestine to produce oleoylethanolamide, a component that has been shown to curb hunger pangs.

Almonds are very versatile when it comes to including them in your diet. They can be eaten as sweets or savories, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almond butter (ideally, raw organic) is a delicious add-in to a morning smoothie or stirred into an oat, amaranth or millet porridge. Almonds can be flaked or chopped and sprinkled over muesli. One delectable savory dish that incorporates almonds is the Moroccan pastilla, which is a spiced vegetable and ground almond parcel, wrapped in filo pastry.

Almonds can be used in a variety of dessert recipes, still offering all the health benefits of this nut, wrapped in a decadent package. For baked goods, almond flour or ground almond can be used as a flour replacement for gluten free and paleo recipes. Many health food enthusiasts make their own variations of bliss balls, which are dried fruits and nuts, seeds, and oats, all blended together and rolled into balls. Bliss balls are perfect natural energy snacks and satisfy a sweet tooth. They are delightful with a cup of herbal tea after yoga class. Here is one recipe to try using almonds:

In a blender or food processor, mix pitted dried dates, ground almonds, a couple of teaspoons of raw cacao powder, and a handful of whole nuts of your choice (e.g. walnuts, brazil nuts or cashew nuts). Mix thoroughly, adjusting the consistency by either adding more dry or moist ingredients, or even a drop or two of water if needed). Roll the mixture into truffle sized balls and pop them in the fridge for easy access snacks and treats.

All in all, almonds help support the body’s internal systems, make the skin glow, and are a healthy, handy and filling snack. Almonds can be incorporated into every aspect of a natural diet. So if you’re in a peanut rut, switch up your habit for almonds and enjoy a delicious new spin on healthy eating.  (courtesy of Gemma Ford)

Chopa Adds 30 New Titles of Meditation Books, CDs and DVDs!

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Chopa is known for being the leader in Zen home décor and Zen-inspired living, with an unparalleled selection of Shoji room dividers, Japanese furniture, garden fountains, kimonos and meditation gongs, among many other Japanese and Zen items in our online store.  One would expect a purveyor of “all things Zen” to sell quite a few books, DVDs and CDs on meditation and yoga, but up until recently Chopa has had a very small selection of these.

Now, thanks to our recent inventory expansion, Chopa is proud to offer a whole new line of books, CDs and DVDs that will teach you how to properly meditate.  Several other yoga meditation books are available on this new section of the site.    Now, in addition to finding great gift ideas and terrific new home furnishings, you can count on Chopa for Buddhist meditation CDs, or a book on how to meditate for beginners. (more…)