Showing posts with label restorative yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label restorative yoga. Show all posts

The Need for Office Yoga

The Need for Office Yoga
The typical office setting often includes quiet cubicles, where people spend most of the day sitting in a chair, facing a computer keyboard. Perhaps, they roll over to a fax machine once in a while, pick up the phone, or turn and bend to pull open a file drawer. Sitting for up to eight hours a day, while performing very little physical activity, can affect the overall health of a person. Studies even show an increase in heart disease, diabetes, body weight, cholesterol and more, in people who sit all day long.
It is time for offices around the world to wake up and encourage employees to get up and move throughout the day. Many large corporations provide on-site exercise facilities, as well as time during the work day, for employees to use them. However, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Many small offices do not have the resources to provide such luxuries for employees. For those types of companies, Hatha Yoga might be the answer. Yoga can be practiced anywhere, anytime, with little or no equipment needed.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga include stronger, leaner, more flexible muscles. Physical forms of Yoga increase blood flow throughout the body, giving a renewed sense of energy throughout the body and the mind. As the blood flow to the brain increases, so does creativity and critical thinking. Employers who encourage employees to practice Yoga, throughout the workday, will most likely see an increase in productivity as well. Yoga helps employees release built-up stress and anxiety, which will affect overall health. Employers might also see a drop in employee illnesses upon starting a Yoga program.
Yoga can easily be incorporated into an office setting. Employers need to find a certified Yoga teacher to educate employees about the proper alignment and practice of Yoga poses, teaching them how to perform them, and the benefits they can offer. Yogic breathing and relaxation techniques will also reduce stress levels within the office. Then, all employers need to do is encourage employees to take Yoga breaks throughout the day. Employees might choose to spend five minutes every hour practicing one or two poses, or perhaps, they would rather take a half-hour chunk at lunch to re-energize the body and mind. It is important for employers to give their employees the flexibility to make office Yoga work for them. Fatigue lowers productivity and Yoga reduces fatigue.
It is time for office Yoga to enter the work place to keep employees healthy. Since office work is generally sedentary, it makes sense to bring some movement to the day. Offices can designate a room for Yoga, or allow employees to practice in their own space. The nice thing is that Hatha Yoga requires only a small mat that rolls out anywhere. However, a Chair Yoga teacher could easily teach employees to practice techniques with office furniture. The more educated people become about the benefits of Yoga, the more likely it will be seen popping up in offices everywhere.

Yoga Lovers - Are You Stuck In A Rut? - Shake Up Your Yoga Practice Today

Yoga Lovers - Are You Stuck In A Rut? - Shake Up Your Yoga Practice Today
As someone who has loved and practiced yoga since 1998, I have a huge beef* with today's mainstream yoga 'industry'. (*with apologies to the vegetarians and vegans out there)
My beef is this: these days, far too many yoga studios pander to what's in vogue and trendy, jumping on the bandwagon du jour to give their customers what they think they want.
Sadly, this seems to be at the expense of giving their customers something 'different', while educating, informing and inspiring the ever-growing population of yogis and yoginis that there is a whole world of yoga out there beyond Hot Yoga, Ashtanga or Power Yoga.
I'm on a mission. And my mission is to help you identify if in fact you're in a yoga rut; to help you break out of that rut; and shake things up by introducing you to a bright shiny world of yoga, beyond what you're probably currently doing.
My personal experience/history with yoga started with my first Hatha class in 1998, in a non-descript little studio in a suburban strip mall. Back then, yoga was still quite fringe and not that 'trendy'. The owner and teacher, a middle-aged Englishman who had clearly spent a large part of his younger years hanging out with yogis and gurus in India, gave me what I know now to be my solid foundation and profound love for yoga that continues to serve me today.
And over the past 15 years, I have tried several other types of practice - Ashtanga, Kripalu, Iyengar, Restorative, Bikram, Jivamukti, Anusara, Kundalini, Moksha, Power, and Yin - feeling a natural affinity for some... and a complete aversion to others (just because it's yoga, doesn't mean that it's all great!)
I share this fact not to impress or dazzle you, but because I feel that most yoginis (and yogis) today are doing themselves a huge disservice.
Yes, I'm thrilled that you're practicing yoga, but are you stuck in a yoga rut?
Here are 5 easy questions to ask yourself to spot if you are.
Do you only ever go to Hot Yoga classes, or high-intensity Ashtanga, Power or Vinyasa classes?
Did you jump straight into the world of yoga through Hot Yoga without trying any other type of yoga beforehand?
Can you name 5 other different types of yoga? Have you tried one or more types?
Do you know how and when different types of yoga can benefit you (your mind, body and soul) and why?
Do you know where to find these classes in your city?
Not only is variety the spice of life even in yoga, but shaking up your regular routine and practice is a wonderful way to get in sync with what your mind/body/spirit needs on any given day, which is never going to be the same from one day to the next.
For instance, if you're feeling sluggish, a vigorous Ashtanga or Vinyasa class is exactly what you need to get your energy going.
In the Fall when it's cold, windy and wet and you're chilled to the bone, there's nothing better than the warmth of a Moksha or Hot Yoga classeAnd if you're a driven, intense Type A personality and have just done an intense 60-minute spin class, the best thing for your body would be a gentle yet highly effective Restorative class, or even a Hatha class, to gently stretch out your muscles... and not a 75-minute Hot Yoga class!!
Don't get me wrong. I love my Moksha (Hot Yoga) practice, but there are many days that, and in spite of living in a major urban center, I wish I had easier access to a Kripalu, Restorative or wonderful 'old school' Hatha class when I felt like it, and within walking distance. Unfortunately, it all boils down to demand and supply. Fewer people today are clamoring for Kripalu, Hatha, Kundalini or Restorative classes than they are for Hot Yoga or Ashtanga/Vinyasa/Power yoga classes.
In an effort to help you break out of your yoga rut, here's my personal 'playlist' of 5 different types of yoga for you to explore and shake up your routine.The key here is to try a different type of yoga class and see how it resonates with you, and then moving forward, remember to tune in to what your mind/body/soul needs on any given day, by opting for one of these instead of doing the same-old-same-old type of class week after week, which not only puts repetitive action stress and strain on your muscles and joints, but also limits the magic and postiive impact of your yoga practice in your life, on and beyond the mat.

The History of Yoga and Its Different Philosophies

The History of Yoga and Its Different Philosophies
Yoga, in today's world has become a commodity and something of a statement. Arguably India's greatest cultural export, yoga has morphed into a mass culture phenomenon. All our popular assumptions about this ancient science actually date back to the last 100 -odd years. Yoga has been subjected to reinventions for thousands of years. 
Yoga, today involves a complex regimen of postures (asanas) - that are either held for a long duration of time or are executed in a rapid manner - along with breath control (pranayamas). However, the ancient Hindu texts, like Bhagvad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali make no mention of body postures and breathe control. They have laid more stress on the theory and practice of meditation (dhyana).
So, what are we missing here? How did Yoga undergo such a transformation since its use in the classical scriptures? To understand this, let us have a brief look at the history of yoga.
The word Yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred Hindu scriptures, The Vedas. The Vedas are a collection of texts that describe rituals, hymns, mantras and songs to be used by Brahmans, or the Vedic priests. The first mention of the term yoga was found in a hymn to the Sun-God in the Rig Veda (1700-500 BCE). The Vedas were known to contain the oldest known Yogic teachings and these teachings found in the Vedas are called Vedic Yoga. This is characterized by rituals and ceremonies that strive to surpass the limitations of the mind. During the period of Vedic Yoga, people practiced the ritualistic way of life. Various rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices were considered as a means to connect to the spiritual world.
Pre-classical period 500-200 BCE:
The vedic priests or the Brahmanas, redefined and developed the yoga and they then documented their beliefs and practices in the Upanishads. Upanishads are a huge work that contains more than 200 scriptures. Upanishads changed the idea of ritual sacrifice of Vedas and taught the principles of sacrificing the ego through a medium of self-knowledge, action (Karma yoga) and wisdom (Jnana yoga). Upanishads also introduced the acoustic spells, most prominent amongst them being, 'OM', which is the spell of the Supreme Being.
Yoga also shares some characteristics with Buddhism. In the 6th century, Buddha started teaching Buddhism, which laid stress on meditation and the science of asanas. It was during this period that a number of principles of yoga theory and practice were formulated. Siddharth Gautam, was the first Buddhist to practice yoga and he became the "Awakened" or "Enlightened" One (Buddha), and so was liberated from future rebirths, realizing the extinction of suffering (nirvana) at the end of his life at the age of 35. Amongst the Indian religious groups, the Jains were the last ones to inculcate the teachings of Yoga.
 In 1200 BC, the great Jain teacher Rishaba, who was the exponent of the tradition of Jainism, emphasized on the principles defined by yoga, which involved efforts dedicated to the liberation of the spirit.
Later, around 500 BC, the Bhagvad Gita was scripted. Today, it is one of the oldest scriptures that define the yoga. The Gita is mainly result of the conversation that takes place between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. The Gita mainly states that, our life should be filled with actions, irrespective of the rewards to be gained. Our actions have to free from the ego and be benign in nature.
 The Bhagvad Gita had reiterated the doctrines found in the Upanishads. Gita states that, each man should follow Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (Knowledge) and Karma (selfless actions). Teachings in the Bhadvad Gita strive to bring about unification between the Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga - stating that each is responsible for the other.

Who Should Become a Yoga Teacher?

Who Should Become a Yoga Teacher?
Lately, there has been a fuss over who has a right to become a Yoga teacher; but let's look at some of the variables to consider if you desire to teach Yoga. Consider the following questions, "from both sides of the Yoga certification debate."
Do you have the correct Yoga lineage? This is interesting because - what exactly is the correct Yoga lineage? There are so many styles of Yoga and many sub-styles of those Yoga styles. In general, you should know who your Yoga teachers were and possibly, who their teachers were.
However, Yoga traveled outside of India in a variety of ways. Although there have been many famous Indian Gurus, who helped Yoga flourish worldwide, the British carried Yoga abroad, as well. There are competent Yoga teachers, who trace their Yoga lineage back to Englishmen, who served in India.
Some of the first non-Indian Yoga teachers did not have extensive Yoga training under the guidance of a Guru, but a few did. Consider this idea: If you know nothing about Yoga, but I know a little something - I can show you what little I know. This happens with any form of shared knowledge, and the person who knows a little more about Yoga, becomes a Yoga teacher.
Granted, we are considering the beginning of Yoga's worldwide proliferation, but now we have 21st century Yoga teacher certification in a fast-changing world - with a variety of styles and approaches to overall health.
There are many new forms of Hatha Yoga being created and evolving at this moment. If you have a traditional Yoga lineage, that's wonderful, but times change, and so does Yoga.
I can remember when some traditional Yoga teachers did not believe in the Yoga teacher certification process. For example: The master Yoga teacher did not have a Yoga teacher's diploma, and would not fill one out for their long-time students, who worked as "substitute Yoga teachers," in the ashram.
Some of these substitutes had over twenty years of experience in Yoga practice, and taught classes when the master teacher was on vacation, but the master Yoga teacher would still not certify them.
Meanwhile some Yoga certifications were obtained, over a weekend Yoga teacher training intensive, by people who just needed a quick Yoga certification for a health club.
So, who has a right to become a Yoga teacher? Anybody, I guess, but Yoga certification bodies should stick to the 200 study hour minimum standard for graduates of their Yoga teacher training programs.

Positive Practice - Support Yourself With Quality Yoga Accessories

Positive Practice - Support Yourself With Quality Yoga Accessories
Whether you're an experienced yoga practitioner or a beginner, there are many accessories available to enhance your yoga. Here are some of the most popular and helpful:
Yoga Bags & Totes
If you're going to a yoga class or yoga studio for your yoga, you'll probably want a yoga bag to carry your yoga mat. A yoga bag will carry and protect your yoga bag as well as provide you with a stylish accessory. Many yoga bags or yoga totes also come with inner or outer pockets for carrying a water bottle, yoga props, clothing or other yoga accessories.
Yoga Mats
A yoga mat is one of the most essential accessories you should have for your yoga. A quality yoga mat will have some stickiness to it so that it grips the floor and does not slide. A yoga mat protects you from the harshness, hardness and coldness of the floor while doing your yoga. A yoga mat is essential for any yoga practitioner.
Yoga Attire
Many designers now have lines of clothing specifically made for doing yoga. Yoga clothing tends to be lightweight, soft, comfortable but form fitting so that the clothing does not get in the way of your postures. Typical yoga clothing includes tank tops, long sleeve tops, shorts, leggings and sweat pant and sweatshirt type apparel. Special yoga clothing is available for men and women and often comes with colors or symbols that represent meanings in yoga practice.
Yoga Props
There are many yoga props available to help or enhance your yoga practices. These include yoga blocks, yoga straps, yoga bolsters, yoga pillows and yoga blankets. In the case of yoga blocks, these are used to prop yourself up to reduce the risk of over-extension and a resulting injury. 
Yoga straps are great for beginners and people who can't stretch very far, a yoga strap enables them to stretch farther or hold limbs when they wouldn't have been able to without a strap. Yoga straps are useful for many poses. In addition to yoga straps, yoga bolsters or pillows can also be used to anchor yourself during certain poses or provide comfort during awkward poses or allow you to deepen or extend certain poses.
Yoga Blankets & Rugs
Yoga blankets are one of the most versatile yoga accessories you can buy. A yoga blanket can be a mat for shoulder stands, stand in for yoga pillows, blocks or bolsters and can even provide added warmth under your body while you're doing your poses, for added relaxation.
More Yoga Accessories
Additional yoga accessories are also available, including yoga sandbags, benches, balls, aromatherapy accessories and much more.
Yoga Kits
There are also all-in-one yoga kits available to buy, where a mat, bag, blocks, pillows, straps and other accessories are included in one package. These yoga kits may also include a book or video about yoga.

The Stratospheric Rise Of Yoga Brings Opportunities And Challenges

The Stratospheric Rise Of Yoga Brings Opportunities And Challenges
Over the last 20 years, the popularity of yoga has increased from nearly no interest to being one of the most popular exercise regimes around. To match the increasing demand for yoga, more and more yoga centers are opening all the time. For those of us looking for something new, or just starting out for the first time, the choices can be daunting.
There are many different schools and styles of yoga including Iyengar, Ashtanga, power yoga, Bikram (hot), Kundilini, Viniyoga to name just a few. Although all of these schools of yoga essentially teach the same Hatha yoga asanas (yoga postures), the objectives of the class and the way the postures are performed and taught are very different for each.In addition every yoga teacher has their own characteristics, emphasis and approach to teaching which affects the class and learning experience.
While so many choices can be daunting, it also means that there's so much diversity, we're bound to find a style and a teacher that we like. If we don't like a school of yoga, or a yoga teacher - we can try something else.While personal preference will guide much of our selection process both for the school of yoga and the teacher, finding an experienced and high quality teacher is the most important consideration.Yoga teachers are not all created equal With the increasing popularity of yoga the demand for teachers and peoples desire to take their practice to the next level means that thousands of people take some kind of certification or registration each year. But with so many new teachers around, it's impossible for them all to be to be of the highest standards.
In addition, the absence of formal regulation of the training and certification for yoga it's difficult to know before a class how good a teacher will be. Without formal standards, an individual can become a teacher with very little personal yoga practice and experience. Experience is important for overall understanding but the amount of and quality of teacher training is also important. The quality of yoga teacher training courses and certification varies enormously. Currently certification can take from a year or more for some specializations to merely a 1 or 2 day intensive program. A 200 hour program of learning and supervised teaching practice is quite standard. What's more the format can vary from retreats with formal examinations to correspondence courses and certification over the internet.
With the teacher being so important, and the options on teacher training so varied, the responsibility for selecting a high quality yoga teacher is passed to the students and should not be taken lightly.So what makes a good teacher? The yoga instructor is elemental in setting the tone of the class. The teacher, their style of yoga and their approach to teaching, can not only determine whether you enjoy a session, but whether you like yoga at all. But more than that the yoga teacher, the routines they teach and the quality of their teaching will control how much benefit we get from the practiceWhile there are many complexities that determine whether we enjoy a class, there are two things a yoga teacher must always do.
The teacher must guide our practice on a macro-level with a well rounded practice. It is important that we develop our bodies in a balanced and uniform manner which means in a single session we should develop strength, flexibility to all muscles and joints without over emphasis on one area that could lead to strains and injury. On top of this it's important perform balancing poses that improve body co-ordination and improve concentration. Finally every pose, particularly the flexion and compression of the back, has a counter pose. A well designed yoga routine takes this into consideration to prevent over straining muscles and reduce soreness.
The yoga teacher must guide our learning on a micro-level with correct technique and alignment to increase our abilities without injury. Firstly the teacher needs to provide demonstration and detailed instruction on how to safely enter, hold and exit the poses. The descriptions should include details about correct steps to enter the pose as well as key points to consider such as alignment and muscles to use.
In addition the teacher needs to quickly gauge each individual's abilities so they can advise on more basic or more advanced variations as appropriate. Then the teacher needs to observe how we are performing each pose helping to correct errors that may lead to injuries. Correction of poses can include verbal descriptions or by physical assistance and repositioning.How to find a teacher that works for us? The best way to choose a yoga teacher is by giving their class a try. We usually know before the end of the first class whether we're going to be able to follow this style of yoga and the teacher.