Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

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…)