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Chair Yoga Case Study – No More Chronic Neck Pain

Chair Yoga Case Study – No More Chronic Neck Pain

By Mark Franklin

After teaching chair yoga for several years Liz Franklin can testify that it appropriate for almost anyone, even if they are feeling the effects of aging or have physical limitations. It is not for hard-bodied 20-somethings that can twist themselves into poses that look impossible – the only prerequisite is that you can sit in a chair, including a wheelchair.

What better way to illustrate how chair yoga has benefited those unable to attend a traditional yoga class than to tell it in their own words?

Hi! I’m Sherri Evert. I’m a 63-year old retired business partner. I began practicing chair yoga in March. I have been practicing yoga for many years. I have issues with my back and found most other classes to be strictly a physical exercise. If I couldn’t achieve the “perfect pose” I felt as thought I wasn’t doing it right.

I noticed the classes when I was seeing an acupuncturist for arthritis in my neck. I had been in constant pain for some time and was willing to try almost anything to get relief. While acupuncture offered relief, it was only temporary. When I was leaving the acupuncture office one day I noticed a group of smiling women leaving their yoga class. I thought I would feel comfortable with this group as they were close to my age. I wanted to see if my own body could fix the neck pain with help from yoga.

Within 2 months of practicing chair yoga my neck pain was gone. I also had problems with low back pain and had tried numerous options to cure this as well. The relaxation portion of the classes and videos released the pain. I am much more aware of my posture now. In class Liz helps us visualize our bodies in the posture and makes us aware of the benefits. I now use the yoga poses I have learned in class along with the videos as a personal “tool box” for taking care of my body. I have definitely gained strength in my arms and legs as well.

I truly appreciate the way Liz works so hard to help us achieve a mind/body/spirit connection in her classes. The meditative experience of her classes carries through my day. I try to attend two of her classes each week and use her videos when I can’t be in class in person. I feel as though the class is meditation in motion and I also have enjoyed the sense of community that is part of her class experience. She works to help us be present in the moment. She also lets us know what the benefits of each pose are which helps us understand why we are doing the poses.

If you are thinking about joining a class or purchasing (some) videos be assured that the hour you put in that you didn’t think you had time for will give back multiple benefits including higher energy levels, a calm mind and a peaceful spirit. You will be glad you did this for yourself and the benefits will spill over into your whole circle of family and friends.”

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The Purpose of Yoga – Solutions for Releasing Anxiety

Yoga is a 5,000 year catalog of health solutions and an evolving science of life. Therefore, here are some “age old” Yogic solutions for releasing anxiety. To make them work, you must realize that you have to make a habit of releasing a little anxiety, within acceptable limits, all day long.

Physical practice of Yoga postures (Asanas) will release muscular tension. Make a habit of physically practicing as you sit, stand, or lie down. You do not have to put on a “Yoga show” to sit straight, stand straight, tilt, twist, or bend.

As humans, we are in motion most of the time, but you can move or stand still with purpose and mindfulness. Once you establish Yoga into your life “off the Yoga mat,” you will be surprised how often you and people around you are regularly sitting, or standing, in poor posture, during the course of an average day.

Observation is very important. As you wake up, observe the muscle groups and joints, which have contracted, as you slept. These contractions can cause daily muscle tension, spasms, pains, and aches. Is the tension in your face, back, neck, shoulders, legs, arms, or hips?

Get to know how your body responds to mild warm-ups and develop routines to compensate for physical tension. The connection between mental and physical tension is symbiotic. If you resolve a physical form of tension, you will resolve mental tension, as well.

In Hatha Yoga, there are more than 1500 postures to choose from. Many of us have seen charts, or books, with 500 to 600 Asanas to choose from. If you become creative, you will soon discover many more while sitting in a chair.

You can practice Yoga while you are at your desk, in your bed, on your couch, on a bus, or when you walk. When you add the breathing component, (Pranayama), to your daily life, you have many more combinations of techniques.

Here’s another approach to dealing with anxiety. However, you must use it in the right time and place. Do not be silent! Let it out vocally. Some people laugh, pray, sing, cry, or shout, but each method works at the right time. So, be tactful, if you decide to make noise.

If you hold it all in, you will burst – in the figurative and literal sense. Therefore, you have to release it in some way. Some people roll up the windows in their cars and scream at the top of their lungs. In truth, whatever works is a good thing.

We will not have the same reactions to anxiety. Some people will laugh, while others cry during identical circumstances. Look at how some people react to losing a job. Some people have a party, while another person may contemplate suicide.

In a typical Yoga class, you may learn Mantra and Japa. These are powerful methods and are very beneficial in combination with Pranayama.

Lastly, anxiety is energy, which is not always negative, but can be deflected or circulated, throughout your being. Yogic solutions work, but they must be practiced daily. You do not want to collect and store negative feelings, so carefully release them back into the universe.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Ashtanga Yoga – Benefits and Training

Ashtana Yoga (Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga) is a style of Yoga that is promoted as the modern form of Yoga. K.Pattabhi Jois founded and popularized this style. He had begun to learn Yoga from the age of 12 in the year 1927. By 1948, Pattabhi Jois established an institute that taught Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The name for this new style of yoga was coined after the eight limbs of Yoga that are mentioned in Yoga Sutras of Patajali.

Ashtanga yoga emphasizes on flexibility, relaxation and breathing. It is aimed solely at improving the health of the person practicing this style of Yoga. Viniyasa popularly known as Ashtanga involves several breathing techniques and it requires the person to have full control over their breathing. It needs lot of dedication and practice to become a professional in this field.

Steps and Tips of Ashtanga

The fact is that we have been practicing Yoga right from our childhood, either knowingly or unknowingly. However, it is not done systematically and therefore we do not get the effects that are related to it. By performing yoga under the guidance of an expert will ensure that you get better results. Let us have a look at a few steps and tips related to Viniyasa.

  • You start by doing the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). This is a complete cycle of stretching of the body wherein every nerve of the body is stretched and becomes active. Surya Namaskar includes moderate to extreme levels of stretching of the body.
  • It is important to inhale properly at the right time while stretching for maximum effect.
  • Once you have understood the way to practice Surya Namaskar you can try other asanas such as Tadasana or Mountain Pose. This also involves stretching of the body and therefore counting the breath is important.
  • Tadasana requires you to stand straight with both feet together. You have to hold your arms in a prayer position and slowly lift your toes. Simultaneously, lift the hands up in the air and stretch to the maximum. Hold this position for some seconds while counting your breath.
  • Next asana is the Uttan Tadasana, which is the second stage of Tadasana. Lie on your back and keep your toes together. Take a deep breath, hold it and raise your hands up above the head. Now slowly lift your legs upwards as much as possible.
  • Avoid pushing to the maximum immediately. Slowly increase the level of stretching to avoid any injury. Exhale and slowly bring the hands down. Repeat this at least 10 times for better results.

Ashtanga Yoga can be fun to practice, but it is a challenge as well. As there are many benefits to Ashtanga Yoga, doing it regularly is a good option. However, it is important to practice any type of Yoga under expert supervision until you have mastered it. Athletes use Yoga to strengthen the muscles of the body and to improve the overall flexibility and stamina of the body. Yoga focuses on controlling the breath and this has been proven to help athletes in their overall conditioning

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Yoga – 3 Types of Poses to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Yoga asanas are a great benefit in controlling high blood pressure. By practicing these asanas, you will not only lower your numbers but also reduce the effects of hypertension on the other organs in the body. Here are three types of asanas that work to reduce your blood pressure.

Forward Bends

Forward Bends will have the most substantial effect. These particular exercises have a calming effect on the brain by normalizing the blood circulation to your brain. This in turn helps reduce the stress from the sense orans.

With the brain, the sympathetic nervous system and the sense organs more relaxed, your cardiac output and pulse rate also slow down, stabilizing and thus lowering your blood pressure.

There are two asanas in particular, Uttanasana and Adhomukha Svanasana, which have beneficial effects on your nervous system. These positions are done with your head resting on props, allowing the blood to circulate more freely into the aortic arch and thereby lowering your pressure.

Sitting Asanas

Baddhakonasana and Virasana are two poses that will help alleviate the hard breathing associated with hypertension. With the tension eliminated from your ribs and the intercostal muscles, you will be breathing easier and your blood pressure will normalize.

Supine and Inversions

Supine poses such as Supta Baddhakonasana relax the abdominal region specifically and help calm the nerves in the entire body. The calming effect of relaxing the nerves helps reduce your hypertensive tendency.

Inversions asanas such as Viparita Karanti and Halasana work to revitalize the nerves controlling your lungs and diaphragm. Svanasana and Pranayama help control the automatic nervous system by cooling the senses and the mind, allowing high blood pressure to stabilize and gradually lower.

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Yoga Teacher Certification Completed – 5 Tips on How To Get Started Without Experience

So now the time has come, you’ve been practicing Yoga for a while now and you feel ready to take on the responsibility of leading regular yoga instruction and help those who would like to regularly practice and take their efforts to the next level, plus increase their knowledge about many of the more detailed aspects of yoga and practice.

Obviously, during yoga teacher certification you progressively become more confident, you also pick up a little more about the philosophy of yoga and the science of the human anatomy and alignment issues that would not normally be covered during basic Yoga class.

Below I share 5 valuable tips to help you better prospects as a Yoga instructor.

1. You’ve got to get experience somewhere, so why not go and talk to some of the gyms in your local area that cater for Yoga classes, and not forgetting the workout studios and of course there is the YMCA/YWCA. Alternatively, you can find a community college and hold classes on your own. You can try out some churches, and there will be individuals who would require training in private class that would be held at time more suited to them and could either take place in their own home or possibly your own. (That’s if you wanted to.)

2. Network with other local Yoga instructors and ask them how they got started, I’m sure they could provide valuable points that can lead you a useful direction.

3. You can expand on your experience by become an assistant trainer at your local gym, so for a time being you can assist and gain very valuable experience by just watching and DOING. I can’t emphasize the last part enough. Its down to the 80/20 principle you’ll learn 80% of your experience by gathering the training work that makes up the 20%.

4. If work as independent Yoga instructor is your goal then consider that you will have to put in long hours, sometimes including nights and weekends, are common, and employment is expected to be much faster than the average, and as Yoga is consider as health care your prospect are good, though do expect increase in competition as it is expected, but don’t let this put you off, the best way forward is to be organized and disciplined and provide the very best service you can.

5. Consider the training environment as your schedules could have a work time setting generally about 40 to 50 hours per week-with nights and weekends off. You may spend part of your time in other locations such as community colleges, YMCA, or clients home or you own studio. So you may be out of outreach to other would be clients so its a good idea to keep your schedule varied.

In Summary

Assisting of others with your skills and knowledge as yoga instructor can be a very rewarding experience, in the difference it makes to your students will make for amazing changes and not just for your students but for yourself too. Though certification is not essential to train – yet training is essential in able to help your students find their path. In return your students will give you respect and courtesy because of your respect for them…Yoga is guidance for a more positive path in life, and following these 5 tips can lead to a more prosperous one too.

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How Yoga Improves Morale in The Workplace

The workday can be very stressful. From working long hours to having to deal with personal issues, a lot of stress can be accumulated even by the time you are at work for just a few hours.

From the company’s perspective, having employees whom are stressed and unhappy are not going to be as productive at work. When the employees are not productive at work the company does not get what needs to be done, and will ultimately not make as much profit as possible. From the employees perspective being stressed will cause a strain on your mental health throughout the entire day. Your boss will be able to recognize that you are not in a good mood; which could lead to an issue between you and your boss.

One of the ways to combat stress in your life is through yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to relax, regain composure, and to alleviate the pain from any previous experiences in your day. The great part about yoga is that there are many different levels from beginner to advanced. The beginner yoga is the focus for improving morale and reducing stress during the workday. A basic yoga session does not have to take long at all. In just 20-30 minutes you can perform all the yoga poses, stretches, and meditation necessary to be more relaxed and stress free for the rest of your workday.

The start of a basic yoga session would begin with some stretching and breathing. You would sit on your yoga mat, feet straight out in front of you and reach slowly for your toes. Breathing is the key component in this. Even if you are in-flexible, you want to breathe into the stretch. Inhale very slowly counting one, two, three, four, and exhale slowly counting one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. You want to perform this stretch and breathing for about 45 seconds. Your breath is what relaxes you, it keeps you calm and makes sure you are going at a slow relaxed pace. You want to focus on that breath pattern during every exercise.

The next part of the yoga session is basic poses. An excellent opener is the child’s pose. In this pose you want to sit on your knees on the mat, then extend your arms out in front of you as far as they will go. Put your palms flat on the ground, make sure that your knees remain on the mat and your back is straight. This pose stretches out the back, a place where a lot of stress and anxiety is stored. This pose should be done for about 2-3 minutes. Another excellent beginning yoga pose is the downward, and upward dog poses. These two poses stretch out your hips and lower back. These should be done for about one minute each all while breathing in and out slowly.

The finishing pose of a typical yoga session is the corpse pose. The corpse pose is performed by laying flat on your back, hands on each side of you laying flat. This pose is to totally relax the body and mind of everything. You want to clear your mind of any stresses or anxiety you may have previously had. The goal is to think about nothing at all. This pose is very unique because not many people think about nothing at all in their day. This should be done for 5-7 minutes, or longer if desired.

Taking a break from the workday is crucial. I recommend after lunch as a good time to do a 20 minute yoga session. The yoga will relax you and make you less stressed and feel better about yourself and the day. Encourage management at your job to get involved also. The management will want higher morale and better productivity. It is a win-win situation for both sides.

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Hatha Yoga – What to Expect in Yoga Class

Yoga is everywhere. In ads from McDonalds to mattresses, people are shown striking a yoga pose. Television characters are running off to a yoga class. Friends and family own yoga mats and blocks and videos. Local studios are opening up, classes are being offered at churches and schools. So, it seems like everybody is doing yoga, but what exactly is it that they are doing?

A hatha yoga class will generally contain three elements: breathing, postures, and relaxation. Different types of yoga will offer these elements in different amounts and different orders, but most always the three will be present in a class. Breathing, really becoming conscious of the breath and using it with awareness, is one of the most physically and mentally beneficial aspects of yoga. There are many different kinds of breathing exercises, some that create calm and balance, others that create energy and heat. These exercises may seem unusual and even awkward at first, but allow yourself to simply experience them, and you will come to enjoy them.

Yoga postures are practically infinite in variety. There is a core of between 15-30 postures that are most often done in class. These include seated postures, standing postures, balancing postures, twists, and inversions. The postures may be sequenced in a variety of ways, depending on what the teacher is emphasizing in the class. Different postures may open the hips, lengthen the hamstrings, stretch the shoulders, build strength, increase spinal flexibility, and even change a mood. The breath will be emphasized during the postures as well, with coordination between movements of the body and the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.

The end of class is time for a deep relaxation. As you lie on your back on the mat, the teacher will begin by leading the students through some type of guided relaxation for the body and mind, progressing to silence. At first, you may fall asleep as the body relaxes fully. But as you continue to practice and your body and mind become accustomed to releasing, you will find this time relaxing and rejuvenating, but not sleep inducing. When the relaxation period is finished, usually indicated by the ringing of a bell or chimes, you will slowly sit up and come into a cross-legged position again. Traditionally, a yoga class ends with the chanting of OM three times. The sound OM has no meaning in itself, but is considered a cosmic vibration. It sounds similar to the sound Amen.

After class, students feel incredibly peaceful and relaxed, and the body feels awake and comfortable. Students report having a very good night’s sleep on a day they have taken a yoga class, feeling more patient, less in a hurry, and in a good mood. If all this sounds like a tall order, investigate for yourself: sign-up for an introduction to yoga course. Commit to taking a yoga class once a week for a couple of months. See for yourself what yoga can do for you.

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How to Become the Best Yoga Teacher With Training

Contrary to the popular belief, becoming a yoga teacher is not a very easy task. It is no wonder that many people compare a certification program to a major hindrance in their path. However, it is also a fact that the day a teacher gets his or her degree after their training; he or she considers it as a new beginning of the ultimate journey. The final day of graduation, the transition from being a student to becoming a yoga instructor, can be compared to a butterfly getting out of a cocoon. For a new yoga instructor, it is the marked beginning of a long quest to learn more and more about body, thoughts, mind, and spirit.

Being a yoga trainer is to take a journey where there is constant room for improvement, indeed it a never ending endeavor towards self-improvement and being in harmony and unison with one's inner self. Many people waste their lives in the race to chase. Yoga teacher training teachers an individual to enjoy each day, as a new verse of your most favorite song, and it is also expected that every person will pass on the same message to his students.

Students after graduation need to make a constant effort not to get caught in the pursuit of the excessive nature of worldly matters which is very much possible in today's hectic lifestyle. It is more than likely that many of the trainees join the class to beat the stress and pressures of daily life and since they always look forward to a yoga teacher who can help them to be relieved from stress and anxiety, it is also a fact that a teacher who is stressed themselves will be of very little or no help to the trainees.

One habit which can take any person in yoga instructor training a long way is the a habit of penning down a journal, in which one can include writings on one's vision as a teacher and what one has been able to realize till now. A good student should continue to study the discipline as much as possible till it becomes their life. In your private free time, one can concentrate on independent self study on topics related to this path of inner development.

Last but not the least, the most important duty of a good yoga teacher is to help each and every trainee of his or her, to move a little closer to the realization of their own unique spiritual identity for which they have come into this world.

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A Brief Introduction To The Science Of Yoga

Yoga is basically a science of correct living. When it is incorporated into daily life, it works on every aspect of the individual. The physical, mental, spiritual, psychic and emotional levels are all affected and strengthened through practice of Yoga. The word ‘yoga’ means oneness or unity and comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means has the meaning of joining together.

Yoga is not magic or sorcery, neither is it mental or physical debauchery. Those practicing yoga believe that the human mind is guilty of five wrong beliefs which must be corrected before the person can live at peace. The five defects are

wrong ideas of the external world

wrong ideas of oneself

attachment and longing for things of the senses or for objects

like and dislike of objects or persons

love of life

By practicing introspection and constant meditation, the mind can be rid of its flaws.

It’s important to note that yoga is a science, not imagination. Yoga is a science that is demonstrable. It has a unified system of laws to follow which will accomplish a desired result.

Yoga is also a practice. Using techniques of meditation and focusing of the mind are important in being able to rid the mind of the wrong beliefs mentioned earlier. Proper breathing, proper exercise, proper relaxation and positive thinking all play a part in retraining the belief system.

Most people in the West think of unusual and difficult to maintain positions when yoga is mentioned, but this is a small part of the total package. Nevertheless, the gentle exercises of yoga have become very popular in recent years. Used in this way, yoga is an excellent way to tone and strengthen the body, improve respiration and blood circulation and reduce stress factors in your life. Yoga exercises are gentle, yet focused on the stretching of the body to relieve tension and anxiety.

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Yoga and Healthy Living – Five Yogic Secrets to Healthy Living

Are you interested in looking after your health? Do you read healthy living magazines and dream of living the sort of life where you always eat well, have enough sleep, and work-out three times a week? But in reality, you drive everywhere, have fast-food takeaways and burn the candle at both ends?

Like most people you probably strive to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle. You aspire to prepare freshly cooked meals, make time for friends and family and have a lean-toned body.

Given the fast pace of modern day living, it can be very difficult to fit everything in. It takes time to go to the gym, time to go shopping and buy fresh fruit and vegetables and even longer to cook a healthy meal for your family.

In view of this, what can you do to carry out your good intentions? What can you do to live a healthier lifestyle? Is it possible to be healthy and still fit in all your every day activities.

Yoga may well be the secret ingredient in your quest to live a healthier lifestyle. The teachings’ and practice of yoga are based on the five following points; put together these points help you to live a healthier more balanced lifestyle.

Five Yogic Secrets to Healthier Living

1. Yoga Exercises. Yoga exercises or Asanas, help to strengthen and tone the physical body. Regular yoga practice promotes flexibility in the joints and stimulates circulation. If you can fit 10 – 20 minutes of gentle yoga stretches into your daily schedule you will feel healthier and stronger.

2. Yoga Breathing Exercises. Yoga breathing exercises help to cleanse, strengthen and purify your mind and body. There is a close link between your state of mind and the way you breathe. Correct breathing forms an essential part of yoga and meditation and helps to bring mental and emotional balance to your body and mind. Again, a few minutes of yoga breathing exercises practiced throughout your day will help you to feel calmer and more in control of the situations in your life.

3. Yoga Relaxation Exercises. Learning to relax is an art. The pace of life today can often prevent you from taking time out to rest and relax. Through yoga relaxation techniques you are able to relieve stress symptoms and develop resistance to deal with life’s stressful conditions.

4. Healthy Eating. As you know there is a direct link between what you eat and what you are. Yoga advocates eating a simple, wholesome and natural diet; one that helps to keep your body in optimum health. In addition, a yogic diet principle is to eat foods which create the least harm to other living beings and the environment.

5. Positive Thinking and Meditation. Through the practice of meditation it is possible to achieve a state of inner peace, calm and balance. These are essential qualities to ensure you do not allow negative thoughts to spoil your day. By being aware of your self-talk, and thoughts about yourself and others, it is possible to reduce the harm you cause to others.

As you can see, the practice of yoga offers you a range of tools and principles which you can use in your search to live a healthier lifestyle. Yoga is about achieving balance and harmony in your inner life and outer world. Rather than beat yourself up, just try to include one of the above yoga points into your daily life and with time, you will achieve your desire to feel healthier and live a healthier lifestyle.