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Curative Yoga Asanas For Various Ailments

Yoga’s curative value for various ailments cannot be overlooked. With an established routine of a series of asanas, many of the diseases commonly affecting us can be cured and a healthier lifestyle enjoyed by all of us. Yoga prevents as well as cures several disorders of the body and mind. It establishes poise and harmony of the hormones and metabolism of the body; is stimulates endocrine system and builds up natural immunity of the body. In our bodies lie different forms of energies, when these forces are not utilized and directed properly, they cause a number of disorders. Yoga postures trigger and guide the amassed and sluggish vigor throughout the body; they purify the body and mind by freeing them from all toxic wastes.

Uses of different types of poses

Positions taken up while seated are beneficial for breathing, relaxation and meditation practices. They act as warm up exercise to start the session. The seated positions improve posture and open up the pelvic area.

Standing postures prove advantageous in strengthening your legs; they open up your hips and develop your sense of balance and poise.

Prescribed Asanas for ailments

Diabetes can be controlled and cured by:

  • Back Stretching Posture
  • Half-Spinal Twist Pose

Yoga asanas can help you with obesity by burning body fat; massaging the abdominal muscles by contracting and flexing them and improving blood circulation to those areas. Curative postures for this condition are:

  • Cobra Pose
  • Wind Relieving Posture

Health experts believe that constipation is the mother of all ailments; it is the outcome of unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, mental problems and tensions. Asanas holding curative value for this disorder are:

  • All members Pose
  • Fish Pose
  • Headstand posture

Bad posture while sitting, being overweight and our lifestyle contribute to back ache. To cure this ailment, you can work with:

  • Cobra Pose
  • Wind Relieving Posture
  • Locust Pose

Rheumatism and arthritis resulting from hardening of muscles, joints and tissues, are painful ailments; for their correction, Wind Relieving Posture is recommended. For Hyper-tension and high blood pressure, All Members and Corpse poses have curative value as they help unwind the body and drive worry and stress away. Illnesses of the respiratory tract, like, sinus, asthma, bronchitis and common cold can be healed by taking up Cobra, Bow and Fish asanas. These postures will fix the stoop and rounded shoulders. Digestive disease like hyperacidity results from improper dietary habits and intake of spice-laced food. Raised Feet, Cobra, Lotus and Yoga positions treat this problem suitably. Breathing and meditating exercises too as curative tools have a profound soothing effect on exhausted minds and frayed nerves.

Yoga asanas are a complete system that prevents and heals several ailments, even chronic ones. With its regular practice health is improved holistically. A full set or schedule of a combination of different postures is important to heal the mind, body and the spirit. The curative rewards of yoga make the heart healthy, regulate blood pressure within its normal range, alleviate anxiety, fortify immunity and create balance and harmony within one’s self.

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Nike Dual-Sided Yoga Mat Review

If there’s one brand people associate with sports it has got to be Nike. They make pretty much everything related, and most are pretty good. Take their running line-up for example; the lunar series receives worldwide praise for their design and comfort. Not to mention the clothing range going from high to high, the 2011 collection being especially impressive. When a company with such a track record comes out with a yoga mat, one has to wonder: how good is it? Time to find out.

 

Design

Whatever happens this product is special by DNA. The dual sided mat does exactly what you’d expect it to do, offering two sides. Each side contains a different texture, which theoretically makes a difference depending on the sports you practise. However in real life I found no major reasons to prefer one side to the other, so I will make no future mention of this in the remainder of this review.

The Nike dual sided yoga mat is definitely a skull turner, partly thanks to its incredible slim design of just 3mm thick. What also helps is the texture on both sides, what Nike claims will help improve the grip – a claim I full heartedly believe. The mat also comes with a handy strap construction for easy transportation.

The dimensions are 66″ long and 24″ wide. I found this to be exactly the right size for me, and I’m pretty tall being close to 6 ft 1. Odds are this mat will be the perfect fit.

Overall the design is pretty satisfying. The little Nike logo in the corner will satisfy brand watchers, while the textures give it a distinct look. Although its radical design will definitely find some opposing winds.

 

In use

The Nike dual sided yoga mat promises ultimate grip and practicality, two claims I found to be true in use. This mat definitely offers the grip when you need it. Down dogs, hovers, push-ups and triangle poses are all easy to pull off, something not all mats can claim. The practicality is also a given thanks to the strings that come with it. Yoga instructors will find this mat a practical companion wherever they go.

Good points aside, the product definitely has a fair share of issues. One morning I had built up a hefty sweat and the mat failed to absorb it, creating a sudden halt to the grip. It’s also very thin and sometimes hurts my knees in curtain positions, a big problem for a product that claims to be a yoga mat. Finally, after a month of use, the dual sided yoga mat is already showing early signs of wear and tear. The glue between the two sides is letting go around the edges, potentially fatal.

 

Conclusions

Nike has delivered a product that can best be described as a mixed bag of pleasure and pure disgust. The yoga mat is definitely good-looking, practical and has the perfect dimensions. 3 points most mats already fall short of. Then there’s the flipside; a product that offers almost no cushioning and already shows wear after a few weeks of use. Ultimately the lack of comfort and durability makes this a dodgy purchase for yogis, what a shame.

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Yoga for Brain Injury

For people recovering from traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion or head trauma, yoga offers gentle exercise with therapeutic benefits. Many survivors find themselves unable to pursue former ways of staying in shape. Balance difficulties, loss of motor control, vertigo, and neck injuries limit physical activity, further restricting an already curtailed lifestyle. Fortunately, a yoga practice can adapt itself to any illness or injury, lending itself particularly well to TBI recovery.

Where to start? With yoga’s recent popularity in the West, students can now choose anything from hot yoga to Kundalini to Ashtanga. People with neck or back injuries in addition to head trauma probably want to begin with a teacher trained in Iyengar yoga, which uses props to support proper alignment without strain. Kripalu trained teachers also tend to offer calmer, restorative classes. Any yoga class that emphasizes flow (not too fast, though) will help retrain sequential processing-an advantage for people who suffered damage to their left-brain or rational side. A vinyasa sequence links breath and movement, emphasizing step-by-step progression in a set order. Learning and remembering such movements through repetition becomes a form of cognitive therapy.

Before beginning a yoga practice, survivors should talk with their treatment providers, as well as their intended yoga instructor. Most teachers ask about injuries in the beginning of class, but few people understand the intricacies of TBI on their own. Explain any unusual sensitivities or restrictions you experience and ask the instructor for recommendations within his or her own class, or for suggestions on where to find more compatible classes. Yoga is supposed to support and nurture growth, not exhaust the body and nervous system.

For this reason, survivors might initially want to stay away from Kundalini Yoga or Bikram Yoga, both of which offer intense workouts. Kundalini Yoga aims to awaken dormant energy potential, which sounds like a good thing for TBI survivors. Indeed, it can help tremendously–once neurons have stopped misfiring and “short-circuiting.” Most survivors inaccurately gage their stamina, though, easily over-stimulating themselves. Kundalini Yoga works powerfully on subtle levels, making energy levels more difficult to monitor. Sometimes the rapidly awakened kundalini proves too much for a sensitive TBI survivor. Bikram Yoga takes place in a very hot room, moving rapidly through poses that encourage the sweating of toxins. As with Kundalini, adherents of Bikram rave about its benefits. For a hypersensitive survivor, though, the excessive heat, body odor, and physicality of Bikram make it a less safe option. In the beginning, look instead for class titles like: “Restorative,” “Beginner,” “Iyengar,” “Kripalu” and “Gentle.”

Yoga Journal offers many DVD’s, in case survivors prefer to learn in the comfort of their homes. Start with short sessions to build up mental and physical stamina. Twenty minute DVD’s allow survivors a sense of accomplishment, without the potential fatigue caused by hour or hour and a half long in-person classes. Downward Dog Productions with Sarah Bates also offers accessible yoga DVD workouts designed especially for people with disabilities. At-home yoga workouts take most of the expense out of learning yoga, too, since survivors can invest in one or two DVD’s to practice every day, rather than paying for class each time. On the other hand, a good yoga teacher can personalize routines to support survivors’ own unique health challenges.

Besides sculpting lean, strong muscles and naturally realigning the spine, yoga offers TBI survivors a chance to reconnect with their bodies in a positive way. Robin Cohn, a TBI survivor and Vice President of the New York State Brain Injury Association, recognized the transformative effects of yoga in her own recovery: “I began with a beginner’s gentle yoga class, where I slowly started to get atrophied muscles moving once again. The more I went, the better I began to feel.” Inspired, she began co-teaching yoga classes designed especially for other survivors. “These students are so thrilled to have the opportunity to be practicing yoga and reaping the wonderful benefits of asana and pranayam (breathing). … The happiness, tranquility and peace that yoga brings to them is so rewarding! Their smiles just say so much about how happy they are to be practicing.”

Yoga brings awareness from 5000+ years of connecting human body, mind and spirit. It began as a means of calming the endocrine system and relaxing the body so that practitioners could sit longer in meditation. These calming, strengthening and relaxing effects make it an ideal practice for TBI survivors whose systems run on constant overload. Slowing down and bringing oneself to center can help anyone deal with stress. For TBI survivors, though, yoga offers a glimpse of not just “normal” functioning; yoga also brings the chance for optimal health and well-being. Many practitioners experience peace and self-acceptance for the first time in their lives, including pre-injury. Yoga becomes part of a greater awakening (facilitated by TBI)-helping survivors to find and appreciate the hidden blessings of their journey.

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Is Bikram Yoga Safe For Knees After Surgery?

Knee surgery for a torn meniscus or entire knee replacement sometimes becomes imperative; its rehabilitation takes about seven to eight weeks; by that time any inflammation, redness or pain will be taken care of; as soon as you are able to put your weight on your affected leg without pain, you are ready for Bikram (hot) yoga. It is better to go slow in the beginning- right after the surgery- if there is any indication of redness, swelling or soreness, remember to ice it. Also avoid stretching or bending the leg too far. In Bikram yoga an hour and a half of performance of very challenging poses, in a room kept at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity level at forty percent, produces profuse perspiration to relieve the body of all toxic wastes. It also increases the strength and elasticity in knees after surgery; and prevents injuries in future

Rewards of Bikram Yoga after Surgery

  • Strengthens inner and outer quadriceps
  • Strong inner, outer, upper and lower muscles support the weak knee
  • Increased blood flow and nutrients for the affected knee

Knee Protection while Performing Yoga

After knee surgery, one might want to return to one’s lifestyle quickly, it is important to do so with extreme caution. Adopting wrong poses or pushing beyond limits can further endanger your knees. To practice Bikram yoga as you are recuperating, keep the following in mind.

  • Keep your feet well placed and aligned. Push down through all four corners of your feet for most of the asanas. If your feet are not in the right position, your knees will be affected adversely.
  • Your knees should be in line with your ankles, not moving out over them. This is important especially for lunges and knee bends. The knee must be directing towards the middle toe. In standing extended-leg forward fold, remember to pull up on the arches of the feet.
  • Some postures in Bikram yoga require locking the knees, refrain from that after surgery; you may pull in the knee-caps to take up a pose. If you need to hyperextend your knees for a certain pose, do so by keeping the knees slightly bent in most standing and forward folding positions.
  • If your hips are not opened up or extended fully, your knees will have to bear extra pressure during most of the standing postures. You must open your hips early in a class to avoid putting this strain on your knees.

Bikram yoga practitioners who have gone through knee surgery must take extra care to perform certain poses. Hero’s pose if not performed rightly can pull at the knee-ligaments, while done properly, proves beneficial in healing the knees. In Triangle pose there is a risk of locking or hyper-extending your knees. In Seated-Forward Fold, bend your knees a little to avoid any further damage to your knee. To practice Child’s pose, put a blanket between your buttocks and calves to reduce strain on your affected knee. As this branch of yoga puts a great emphasis on patience, you must remember to be patient and allow enough time for your body to heal fully before you put it through a demanding regimen.

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Where Should You Shop for Yoga Clothes for Women Seniors?

Barbara and a few of her friends wanted to do something fun that would keep them active during their senior years, so they decided to join a yoga class for fun. After they signed up for their class at the senior citizen near their neighborhood, they went out for lunch together and began discussing what they would where to class. All of the women agreed that typical yoga clothes for women were a bit too form-fitting for mature women like themselves to wear comfortably, so they decided to head out that afternoon to shop around for the right outfits.

While typical clothes for yoga were generally agreed to be too form-fitting, the women knew that they didn’t necessarily need to look only at yoga-specific attire. Even when they decided that shopping for general athletic apparel would be suitable, they still didn’t know which stores would carry the best athletic gear for seniors. So where should you shop for yoga clothes for women who are seniors? Here are some good ideas:

• Department stores often carry a great selection of women’s yoga clothes as well as general athletic apparel.

• Sporting goods stores as well as athletic specialty shops offer a wide selection of merchandise that may be suitable for a yoga class.

• Discount stores that sell clothing along with general merchandise are a great source for affordable athletic gear, from clothing to mats and other gear that you may need.

• Online retailers, from name-brand websites to others that may not be as well known, offer a wide range of merchandise that may be suitable for senior women to wear to a yoga class. You can do a quick search for athletic apparel to look through a wide return of results.

Yoga clothes for women are not easy for women of any age to find, and it is even more difficult for seniors to find the right clothes to wear simply because of the form-fitting nature of such apparel. However, when you take into account the fact that you can wear a wide variety of athletic apparel and don’t have to stay confined to yoga-specific apparel, you will have a wider selection of options to choose from. If you can’t find the right clothes in your local stores, you can find a wider selection of options to choose from online, which can help make your search easier and faster.

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Using Yoga to Reduce Excessive Sweating

Although sweating is a normal human function, excessive sweating occurs when the body is over-compensating for a certain problem. For this reason, it can be helpful to find ways of rebalancing your body’s systems. There is one form of exercise which aims to do just that. Yoga. Yoga is an ancient discipline which combines breathing and movement. The aim of yoga is to harmonise your body and correct any imbalances. So it’s possible that the regular practice of yoga could address the underlying cause of your symptoms – even if you don’t know what the cause is.

Although most yoga is a slow and gentle practice, is it still a valid form of exercise and as such, brings about the positive benefits that come from any physical activity. These include a more efficient metabolism, improved overall fitness and the release of endorphins. All of these effects combine to make you feel good – physically, mentally and emotionally. These benefits will continue even after the session and help your body perform better, heal itself and boost your self-esteem. Like all exercise, yoga is also an effective stress-buster. But when it comes to hyperhidrosis, yoga has an additional advantage. Regular yoga practice is great at inducing inner calm and emotional stability. So, if your excessive sweating is related to stress or anxiety, yoga could help immensely in reducing those occasions when you feel stressed. It will also help to reduce the severity of your anxiety when unavoidable stressful situations arise.

Although yoga can be a powerful exercise, it isn’t normally associated with the frantic and sweaty workout of more aerobic exercises like step, circuits or spinning. For this reason, yoga classes may appeal more to those who want to avoid public situations where they are likely to perspire heavily. However, there are forms of yoga that are more vigorous and fast-paced. Ashtanga is one of these (and Madonna’s exercise of choice). There is also a type of yoga called Bikram yoga (or Hot Yoga) which is performed in heated rooms – precisely to encourage your body to sweat more. But this could actually be a good thing for sufferers of excessive sweating. Firstly, everyone will be soaked through, so you needn’t feel self-conscious. And secondly, sweating is one way the body tries to expel toxins. So, if you ‘work up a sweat’ during your exercise regime, you will be speeding up this elimination. Then your body is under less pressure to ‘sweat out’ the toxins the rest of the time.

Yoga is far more than a series of random positions. The stretching, twisting, holding and breathing all have specific effects of different parts of your body. You can affect not just your muscles but your organs and immune system, too. So yoga is particularly effective at stimulating the digestive system. This is useful for sufferers of hyperhidrosis that is linked to weight issues, food intolerance or poor diet. Also, there are certain positions that help your body flush out toxins. This is helpful if your excessive sweating is a symptom of toxin-overload. In short, yoga will improve your overall fitness, detoxify your system, boost your well being and stabilise your anxiety. Since it addresses many of the health issues that lead to excessive sweating, yoga can be an effective route to not only reducing the symptoms, but also treating the cause.

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Raj Bhang Yoga – Negative Cancellation Factors In the Horoscope

What is Raj bhang yoga?

The yoga that cancels the beneficial effects of raj yoga and some other positive yoga is known as Raj bhang yoga. Some raj yogas present in the horoscope are not experiential and fruitful, because of some negative and cancellation factors hidden in the birth chart.

Factors responsible for Raj bhang yoga

  • Debilitated planets in the chart.
  • Defeated planets (defeated in planetary war)
  • Planets posited in inimical houses.
  • Retrograde planets
  • Combust planets
  • Planets associated with the Nodes.
  • Weak planets
  • 6th/8th/12th house/lord
  • Raja Bhang Yogas

Combinations for Raj bhang yoga

Ascendant:

  • Lord of ascendant posited in 12th, and Moon and Mars combined in 10th the native will deprived of all worldly pleasures and leads a lonely life in foreign land.
  • Equal number of Malefic posted in ascendant and 7thnot aspected by Jupiter Is also Raja Yoga Bhang.
  • Lord of ascendant placed in 2nd/5th from Moon, Sun is posited in 10th and a malefic placed in 8th, and indicates live hood through low level work.
  • If Aquarius is the ascendant and Jupiter combined with Rahu.
  • Three planets in the chart are in debilitation with no planet in exaltation causes Raj bhang yoga.
  • Rahu placed in ascendant and Venus, Mercury and Moon posited in quadrant causes miseries and poverty.
  • Ascendant is not vargottam and not aspected by any planet.
  • Sun, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter placed in ascendant indicate Raj bhang yoga.

Sun:

  • Sun is in Aries sign but in Libra navamsa indicates poverty in life.
  • Sun is deeply debilitated in Libra sign indicates troubled life.
  • Sun is in its own navamsa, Moon is aspected by malefic without any benefic influence, even the native born in a royal family has to face severe poverty and hardship in his life.

Moon:

  • Moon in ascendant or in the 7th not aspected by Jupiter is Raja bhang yoga.
  • Moon is in 10th, Jupiter placed in 7th and any malefic planet present in 9th, the native will be cause of disgrace for his ancestors.
  • No planet aspecting Moon and ascendant causes miseries in life.
  • Moon and Mars placed in Aries sign, aspected by Sun and no benefic planet aspect them makes the person Bhikshu [homeless monk, eating by begging for alms].

Specific Raj bhang yogas:

Kendrum yoga: when no planet other than the sun is posited in 2nd/12th from the Moon results in Kendrum yoga which gives utter poverty, struggle and mental tension to the native.

Sakata yoga: If Jupiter is placed 6th/8th from the Moon and Jupiter is not in quadrant or all the planets placed in ascendant and 7th house caused Sakata yoga, which causes paucity of money and peace in native’s life.

Mahapatak yoga:If Jupiter combined with a malefic aspect Moon combined with Rahu, the person will be dishonest, unreliable and sinful

Others:

  • Lord of 9th is posited in 12th, lord of 12th placed in 2nd and a malefic sitting in 3rd causes Raj bhang yoga.
  • Venus deeply debilitated in Virgo and Jupiter deeply debilitated in Capricorn indicates strain in life.
  • Debilitated Jupiter posited in ascendant indicates great downfall in life.

BY

GEETA JHA [SPIRITUAL HEALER]

INDIA

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Is Hot Yoga Good For Kids and Teens?

Is heated yoga cool for kids?

Seems that this hot secret is finally out: kids can benefit from hot yoga as much as adults. And even more so.

As such, many hot yoga studios are seeing an uptick in the attendance of youngsters, particularly tweens.

On the physical level, yoga has been shown to enhance physical flexibility, coordination and strength, all of which makes children less injury-prone on the playing field. And kids of all ages play a lot of sports in school and after school, including college level sports.

On an emotional level, children who practice yoga often show increased self-esteem. They are better able to focus on tasks and manage stress in school including tests, homework, and a social life which can become quite stressful as they enter the tween years.

My own two children started yoga with me when they were 14 and 17 (my daughter actually attended yoga with me when she was 5 years old; but she started practicing on her own at 14). Both are athletes – my daughter Carly plays league softball and football and is an avid cross-country biker and hiker. My son Zach is a black belt in karate and recently started Capoeira.

My kids credit hot yoga with years of injury-free athletics.

I credit it with maintaining my sanity through their teenage years.

What is hot yoga?

Traditional Hot 26 yoga is done in 105 degrees with 40% humidity, a 26 pose sequence for 90 minutes.

The teacher is charged with keeping everyone both safe and challenged to their max, so rest assured: your kids will be well cared for in the heat.

Benefits for Young Athletes

Kids can play rough.

True hot yoga enhances flexibility, coordination and strength, all of which makes children less injury-prone on the playing field. That’s one reason more and more high school coaches – football, baseball, soccer and hockey – are recommending hot yoga to their young athletes.

In addition, children who practice often report increased self-esteem and are better able to handle stress including tests, homework, and a busy after school schedule.

And what teenager wouldn’t benefit from a large dose of self-direction?

Yoga-kids also tend to better manage emotional challenges with patience, tolerance, and, let’s say the L word: love.

At what age can children do hot yoga?

In my opinion as a yoga teacher, age 10 is about the earliest a young student can fully manage the stamina and balance, as well as heat acclimatization needed to full enjoy the 90 minute hot class.

Make sure they drink plenty of water – half their body weight in ounces – so they go into class already well-hydrated.

Should parents bring their children to yoga? A heated debate…

I love seeing parents and their children doing hot yoga together and bonding over a sweaty class.

Even when tweens or teens have little in common with their parents, they can still enjoy this challenge together. Being warriors together in yoga class can offer a respite from battling each another.

One caution for the parent: stop being a parent while you’re in class with your kids! Don’t correct them, scold them, don’t even place your mat where you can see them – otherwise the temptation to parent them will be too great.

Let the yoga teacher handle everything in the class; enjoy your practice and let your kid enjoy hers.

Yoga teaches balance, body control, it even teaches focus and concentration. These yoga-inspired traits are something every youngster can carry well into adulthood and turn into lifelong habits for happiness and success.

And a reminder of the value of patience, self love and a time when your body was a lot more flexible, are great for the child in all of us adults, too.

By Rhonda Uretzky, E-RYT

Lambertville NJ, November 22, 2011

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The Truth About Yoga For Children With Asthma With Specific Exercises to Help Relieve Symptoms

Yoga has tremendous benefits for children with asthma. This article will itemize some of those benefits as well as provide specific exercises which children with asthma can perform to reap these benefits.

Yoga Teaches Proper Breathing Technique

Often asthmatics mouth breath or focus primarily on the inhalation. Both of these tendencies cause problems. Yogic breathing, pranayama, trains individuals in how to properly use their diaphragm, rib cage, chest, throat and nasal cavity to transport oxygen effectively to the body while allowing the carbon dioxide to be completely released. Asthmatics often need to focus on the exhale, allowing the lungs to fully empty, before inhaling. Breathing exercises also strengthen the lungs, increase lung capacity and pulmonary efficiency.

Yoga Combats Stress

Yoga is well known for its anti-stress benefits. Yogic relaxation techniques help to synchronize the mind and body. Tension is released and daily stressors relieved as the body lets go and individuals access their internal experience. Asthmatics are able to understand the emotional and physical triggers which can cause an asthma attack and thereby avoid them. Self-awareness is greatly enhanced and a feeling of confidence and trusting in your own personal wisdom grows. This is extremely empowering for children with asthma as they personally are in control of their mind, emotions and body.

Yoga Provides Physical Fitness

Many children with asthma curtail or refrain from physical activities for fear it will result in an asthma attack. Yoga however allows for a full body workout without asthma induced repercussions. Children can maintain a healthy body and mind, as well as benefit from all the social interactions which come from group physical fitness activities. In addition, yoga is movement education, where the body and breath work together, which is highly beneficial for asthmatics.

Exercises for Asthma Relief in Children

Three types of yoga poses are especially helpful when working with children with asthma.

  1. Chest openers increase lung space and improve posture. Back bending poses such as Cobra pose, Fish pose, Camel pose, and Pyramid pose are all effective chest openers.
  2. Poses which coordinate movement with the breath are especially beneficial. Standing in Mountain pose and raising the arms overhead on the inhale, lowering them back to the sides on the exhale, repeated 10 times, helps children become conscious of their breath, its rhythms, and how to breath properly.
  3. Twists such as simple seated twist or Marichiyasana III promote spinal length and flexibility. They help to tone the side body and massage the internal organs while teaching proper posture and how to move with the breath.

Breathing exercises for children with asthma are essential. Three pranayama exercises which will prove helpful for asthmatics are included here.

  1. Observing the Breath: Lie is Corpse pose. Close your eyes and place on hand on your chest, the other on your abdomen. Pay attention to the breath. Feel it, listen to it. Is it rough, smooth, fast, slow, even or un-even. Do not control the breath, simply observe.
  2. Lengthening the Exhale: As you breathe focus on softening the inhale (do not gulp in the air) and extending the exhale. Count while you do this so that the exhale becomes twice as long as the inhale. Be sure to use the diaphragm to expand and contract he belly and lower lung instead of using the chest and upper lung. Continue for five minutes.
  3. Breathing with Pursed Lips: This exercise focuses on the exhale. Inhale softly through the nose. Exhale through pursed lips, blowing the breath in out in a steady stream. Do not push too far. Pause, and then repeat. Keep the inhale soft, allowing the lungs to fill gently from the bottom. Maintain a slow steady exhale, using the diaphragm to expel the air gradually. Smaller children may benefit from a straw in a glass of milk or juice to visually see the effects of this exercise.
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Yoga and Gratitude

Gratitude is something we often forget about on a day to day basis. Sure, we try to maintain it, appreciating that we have things that we want, like good jobs, and grateful that we don’t have things that we don’t want, like bird flu. But, no matter how hard we try to have it, in every day life it’s easy to lose; gratitude often falls through the cracks like the ease of car keys becoming lost in the cushions of a couch.

Gratitude is a virtue or law that manifests gratefulness, appreciation, and thankfulness. It is thought of as the first law of attraction, the springboard from which a pathway towards moment to moment self awareness gains momentum. It is what allows us, as human beings, to grow.

When it comes to yoga, some may assume that gratitude means tipping your instructor at the end of class. However, gratitude and yoga actually go hand in hand, with each affecting the other. This actually makes a lot of sense, considering both gratitude and yoga are strong advocates of self awareness and mindfulness – they on are the same team, coaching each of us on how to ease into the flow of life, rather than bumping up against life and losing sight of what we are thankful for.

Yoga promotes a person’s emotional and physical well being. And, as studies have shown, so does gratitude. It’s as if both are vitamins for the soul. Yoga and gratitude both improve a person’s ability to handle stress (which directly impacts physical health) and improve the way a person interacts with others. Both also rid the body of negative emotions, replacing them with positive ones. When this happens, good health generates itself.

Many people likely find gratitude in exercise at the end of a workout, grateful that their arduous routine is over and they feel refreshed. But, yoga isn’t merely about working out, and it’s not just about exercise.

Yoga and gratitude are on the same wave length, as if cast from the shell of positive thinking. Gratitude, because it’s a way of looking at things, and yoga, because it teaches people to embrace the present moment, are naturally able to enhance each other. Gratitude is a way of deeply appreciating the full spectrum of life – the good and the bad, the joy and the suffering. Yoga provides a mindful practice to invite one to respond to the full spectrum of life from the highest place with in oneself. Gratitude teaches people to gain peace of mind. So does yoga. Because both gratitude and yoga feed off of each other, practicing the two together will enhance the benefits of each one. Yoga is a practice that opens the gateway into the wellspring of gratitude that resides within you.

But gratitude isn’t limited to yoga, of course. Being grateful in all aspects of life is essential to a person’s well being. Appreciating your family, your friends, your job, and anything else conducive to happiness facilitates your physical and emotional health.

But, just like other things that are important to health – exercising, eating right, getting adequate sleep – the concept of gratitude can be one that is hard to make adhere. Like mentioned before, gratitude can be easy to lose in the couch cushions of life. But, there are a few tricks of the trade aimed at helping gratitude flourish.

Setting aside a few moments a day, perhaps five or ten minutes, to just reflect on what it is you appreciate today can be helpful. Another thing that can be helpful is getting a small notebook and writing down three or five small things that you are grateful for, like the sunshine, the time to reflect, clean clothes, and a warm cup of tea. Writing is a great tool for self reflection, writing down thoughts of what are you thankful for helps you cultivate gratitude. So much of our health and overall well being is determined by the way we think, programming our brains will program our lives.

Many of us still remember, as children, roaming the halls of our elementary school and walking underneath a sign that read, “Attitude is Everything.” Rolling our eyes at it in childhood angst, we probably didn’t buy this concept. But, as adults, we’ve come to realize that it turns out to be true. Remember, “For Everything, Give Thanks.”

TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being, empowering each person one breath at a time to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.