Standing Yoga Poses for Strength and Flexibility

How can an exercise which requires you to spend most of your time sitting or lying down have any benefits? This is a very common question that is posed by those who are not very familiar with yoga. It’s true that the popular perception of yoga is that it mainly involves static postures that are performed while breathing o lying down; however, this is not always true.

The truth is that yoga involves many standing postures as well. These standing yoga poses help to promote strength and flexibility. In fact you’ll be surprised to know that many of the common standing exercises that are used to warm up the body prior to workouts have been derived from standing yoga poses.

Let us take a look at some of the common standing yoga poses and see how they can help us maintain our strength and flexibility.

Tada Asana

The Tada Asana or Mountain Pose is the most basic standing posture in yoga. It also forms the basis for the more advanced standing yoga poses. In addition to this, the Tada Asana also helps to improve your posture and corrects any imbalances that poor posture may have caused in your body.

Trikona Asana

The Trikona Asana or the Triangle Pose will be very familiar to those who have taken part in any form of exercise in school. It basically involves bending down and rotating your torso to touch your toe with the opposite hand. The only difference between the Trikona Asana and the exercise that is usually taught in gyms is that all yoga exercises are performed at a slow pace and with emphasis on breathing. This slow, deliberate movement not only minimizes the chances of injury, it also ensures that you’re not using inertia to “cheat” your way through the exercise.

The Trikona Asana helps to increase the circulation of blood throughout the body and gently stretches all the muscles. This is why it is such an excellent warm up exercise.

Vriksa Asana

The Vriksha Asana or Tree Pose is one of the most popular standing meditation poses. Since the pose involves standing on one foot, it can seem very difficult at first, but with a little practice, you can soon master this pose and enhance your sense of balance.

Other standing poses

Other popular standing yoga poses that can help to improve your strength and flexibility include the Vira Asana (Hero Pose), Parivritta Parshvakona Asana (Turned Side-Angle Pose), Nataraj Asana (King of Dance Pose), and Ek Pada Asana (One Legged Pose).

Get refreshed with Kapalbhati Pranayama

What is Pranayama?

The word Pranayama refers to the series of breathing exercises that are taught in yoga. According to yoga, the single most important function necessary for the existence of life is breath. You cannot live if you cannot breathe. Also, when you don’t breathe properly, the cells of your body do not receive sufficient oxygen. This in turn leads to many different ailments in the body.

Sadly most people have become used to taking shallow breaths that only utilize the upper portion of their lungs. This leads to a steady state of oxygen deprivation over a period of time. Pranayama can teach you how to breathe fully once again, so that you are using all your lung power to deliver to your cells the oxygen that they so desperately need.

What is Kapalbhati Pranayama?

There are many different kinds of Pranayama exercises. Kapalbhati Pranayama is one of the yoga breathing exercises. It is commonly translated into English as the “Shining Forehead” because ‘Kapala’ means forehead and ‘Bhati’ means to shine. So why does this yoga breathing exercise have such a strange name? Well the truth of the matter is that Kapalbhati Pranayama can actually make your forehead shine. Regular practice of this yoga breathing exercise stimulates the nerves in your brain and imparts a visible glow to your forehead.

How to do Kapalbhati?

Sit down in a comfortable posture. The Padma Asana (Lotus Pose) or Sukha Asana (Easy pose) are the most common postures adopted when performing Kapalbhati Pranayama. However, this yoga breathing exercise can even be performed while seated on a chair. Just keep in mind that your back should be straight. Concentrate on a point on the tip of your nose.

Inhale gently through the nostrils. Now clench your lower abdominal muscle to force the air out explosively through your nostrils. Your diaphragm should visibly rise up while exhaling. Repeat this process.

Kapalbhati Benefits

Kapalbhati Pranayama offers a number of benefits to your body. The first and most obvious benefit of this breathing exercise is that it gives your abdominal muscles a strenuous workout. If you’re looking for those elusive six-pack abs, Kapalbhati Pranayama is one of the best ways to get them. In addition to this, the forceful exhalations help to get rid of any toxins that have collected in your respiratory system. Kapalbhati also helps to reduce lines and wrinkles from your face, especially those irritating lines that appear on your forehead with age.

Benefits of Anusara Yoga

What is Anusara Yoga?

Created in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara yoga is a powerful Hatha yoga (most basic style of yoga) practice mixed with Tantrik philosophy. Anusara is a Sanskrit term that means “flowing with grace”. Anusara yoga is fast becoming one of the most practiced forms of yoga in the world. It works on the principle that all beings have an intrinsic goodness present in them. The practice of Anusara yoga poses results in an increase in strength, toning of the muscles, and provides relaxation to the body and mind. There is a strong spiritual component to Anusara yoga like all other yoga styles. The Anusara style of yoga equips you with not just physical strength; it assists in making sure that you are at peace with your mind and your spiritual self as well.

The three A’s of Anusara Yoga

The practice of Anusara Yoga is arranged into three categories - attitude, alignment, and action.
  • Attitude - Attitude is related to a Tantrik concept described as the power and energy of fullness. This concept is termed as “Iccha Shakti”. Attitude brings to surface the relationship with the heart and the force that is behind every action present in the Anusara yoga poses.
  • Alignment - is also a Tantrik concept. It is about the power of awareness of how your various parts are integrated and interconnected.
  • Action - concept of action in Anusara yoga is related to the Tantrik concept that explains the power of action. It is in relation with the natural flow of energy in your body providing stability and freedom.

Benefits of Anusara Yoga

  • Some of the many benefits of Anusara Yoga are:
  • Anusara yoga makes you focus not just on your mental faculties but physical health too. Practicing the Anusara yoga poses helps in creating more awareness about your physical and emotional feelings.
  • It has been proved that you are likely to feel highly energized after an Anusara yoga session. Participants have reported in general that they feel less fatigued, more relaxed and calm after performing the Anusara yoga poses.
  • Anusara yoga poses are considered to be “heart-oriented” or “heart-opening”. This happens because while practicing Anusara yoga, you have the ability to express your inner self and your feelings, which are otherwise lying suppressed or hidden.
  • If one is quite regular with the practice of Anusara yoga then he or she will definitively enjoy a very radiant and healthy lifestyle. People who practice the Anusara yoga poses and techniques are less likely to fall prey to various forms of illness and other disorders. The healing effect that Anusara yoga has on people is very powerful.
  • Anusara yoga ensures great flexibility in the body at all ages. The Anusara yoga poses also stretch out the tendons, ligaments, and muscles and this ends up improving your strength and body posture.
  • The deep and mindful breathing exercises that you learn in Anusara yoga sessions does wonders. It improves your lung capacity. This control over ones breathing is considered to be one of the best stress-busters known to man.

Benefits of Iyengar yoga poses

Iyengar yoga, a sub-discipline of the larger discipline of yoga, is named after Shri Belur Krishnamchar Sundararaja Iyengar, a native of southern region of India. Shri Iyengar created this sub-discipline after years of extensive research on various Hindu religious books and the Vedas. Now being practiced for the last sixty years, Iyengar yoga poses are considered to be among the best stress relieving techniques. The books that this form of yoga has been derived from, discusses in detail the practices of many of the powerful Hindu gods and goddesses. Today, this form of yoga is recommended for those who suffer from various spiritual and mental tribulations.

Shri Iyengar has won many various awards for his contribution to this field and has also authored many books on yoga, some of which are also referred to as Yoga’s bible. The technique works on various different levels, starting from the physical to the mental and spiritual route of the body. The Iyengar yoga asanas draw heavily from the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga. These eight limbs of yoga emphasize the building of stamina and development of flexibility, concentration, strength and balance. All these are achieved through deep meditation and various Iyengar yoga postures. With the passage of time, this eight limbed approach imparts wisdom to these sutras.

The first limb, known as Yama denotes physical abstinence from violence. The abstinence when practiced for some time can help people prevent from falling into the trap of stress and negativity. Abstinence also helps the body to be strong against cravings and the allure of material things.

Niyama, the second limb, is based on a feeling of self satisfaction. There is an emphasis on clearing the body and mind of any stress that may be caused due to unfulfilled desires. The practice of this gives greater psychological control over oneself.

The next limb is based on the asana, or postures, which help give the body a control over its flexibility, purpose and strengths. These postures, an integral part of Iyenger yoga, benefit the body in many ways. The Iyengar yoga benefits are especially notable because of the ability of the discipline to help those who suffer from severe physical malaise.

Pranayama, which is the next limb, helps give the body control over breathing or the life force which is inhaled through air. The Pratyahara and Dhyana, other two limbs which are practiced by Iyengar yoga enthusiasts, are used to quiet the mind and become one with the Supreme Being, thus achieving an unsurpassed calm and consciousness.

Benefits of yoga breathing exercises

Yoga, an ancient Indian healing technique, is made up of many poses and postures. However, often ignored, yogic breathing techniques are sometimes more beneficial for the body and mind than any of the postures.

According to the principles of Yoga, the air around us contains a life-force, also known as ‘Prana’. We may be able to live without food and water, but this life force is essential to our existence and without it, we cannot hope to remain alive. Though there is a lot of this life force in all forms of nourishment, it is most readily assimilated when inhaled. Mixed with the blood, this life force reaches all the various parts of the body and the vital organs, pumping life throughout.

Pranayama is a technique, with which the human body can gain control over this inhaling of the life force, harnessing it and then expelling the waste. With our changing lifestyles and the increasing incidence of various lifestyle diseases, it is imperative that the life force within us be utilized to the maximum.

Due to the prolonged periods of time that we spend sitting behind our desks, we have developed a faulty way of breathing. To take in large quantities of air, we should breathe from the entire chest and the abdominal area. Unfortunately, most of us use only the upper respiratory tract for breathing.

There are many yoga breathing exercises that you can try. These exercises help you to re-programme your natural breathing techniques and clear the airways, allowing the lungs to work at full capacity and increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Yoga breathing techniques offer numerous benefits in addition to de-stressing the body. Here’s what yoga breathing exercises can do for you:
  • Release tension, either acute or chronic, that may have accumulated due to strenuous work or routine. This not only helps you to get rid of pain and aches in your body, but also gives a gentle internal massage to the internal organs like the heart and the lungs.
  • If you suffer from any illness of the respiratory system, yogic breathing techniques can help overcome shortness of breath and asthma.
  • Strengthen the cardio vascular system and stimulate the nervous system.
  • Reduce anxiety and mental stress, helping an individual achieve calm and inner peace.
  • Cause detoxification of the body, helping to expel toxins from the body, and increasing the quantity of red blood cells.
  • Improve stamina and vitality.

Yoga Exercises During Pregnancy

Yoga, an ancient Indian discipline that allows its practitioners to achieve a spiritual balance between the mind and the body, is also beneficial for expectant mothers. Pregnancy and yoga go well together. Yoga exercises for pregnancy aim to open up a woman’s pelvis so that the birthing process becomes easier. There are a lot of poses in yoga which are specifically designed to have a beneficial effect on a woman’s health. These exercises for pregnancy not only stretch your body in a gentle fashion, but also help you to maintain your ideal weight during and after your pregnancy while keeping you healthy and active.

Since exercises in pregnancy should be gentle, so that you don’t injure yourself or your baby, yoga offers an extremely gentle and useful workout. Pregnancy exercises in yoga are drawn from the various branches and disciplines of Yoga.

Yoga exercises are especially beneficial for reducing the swelling due to water retention, an irritant which is often experienced by pregnant women. Apart from that, cramping, which is another common symptom of pregnancy, can also be prevented by the regular practice of yoga.

Sometimes, when the baby is not able to position itself correctly for birth, pregnancy yoga exercises can help reposition the baby by turning it inside the womb of the mother. This can prevent complications and C-sections at the time of birth.

Yoga has other health benefits like strengthening of the muscles and joints. The abdomen gets massaged with the help yoga. If you practice yoga during pregnancy, you won’t even have to worry about your appetite or your bowel movements. With the help of yoga, you can increase your stamina, raise the general energy levels, and restore your metabolism to pre-pregnancy levels.

Since yoga is a spiritual discipline, the exercises also help you to strike a balance between your body and mind, helping you keep calm and focused. If you are under a lot of stress regarding the impending birth of your baby, you can relieve this stress and tension, expanding the tensed birth canal. Discomfort in other areas of body, especially the lower back which is stressed due to carrying so much weight, can also be eased using yoga.

Keeping in mind its many yoga benefits for women, it is not only recommended during pregnancy but also as an integral part after the delivery. Post natal yoga is a fast catching concept that helps mothers restore the size and strength of their uterus, pelvic floor and abdomen.

Yoga for controlling stress

Today our lifestyle has become such that we are constantly under pressure and stress. Stress has become an integral of life and affects us in many detrimental ways. As societies and cultures have evolved we have learnt to expect stress in our day to day life, but we have still not learnt the right way to deal with this stress.

The effects of stress are not only manifested as illnesses of our body, but also of our mind. Many of the most pressing health concerns today are directly related to stress. Stress can cause physical discomfort and aches all over the body, especially in the lower back region and the neck and shoulders in addition to lack of sleep and inability to concentrate.

How to control stress?

Fortunately, yoga can come to your rescue. No matter how you may react to stress, yoga makes you feel much more relaxed and de-stressed. Simple yoga techniques like deep breathing and Shavasana (The Corpse Pose) can help you relax and free your mind from nagging thoughts.

There are several other stress reduction techniques, but by far, yoga has proved to be the most effective technique to control stress. Yogis are famous world over for their ability in controlling stress and appearing unperturbed even in times of chaos and confusion. Anyone, no matter at what fitness levels they may be, can practice yoga.

Yoga is a holistic approach for wellness. Apart from giving you the ability to control stress, yoga also helps you bring together the mind and the body, creating a spiritual balance between the two. Here are some of the yoga exercises you can do to beat stress.
  • Start with the Shavasana. This is also known as the corpse pose. Lie down flat on your back with your eyes closed. Stretch your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up. Stay in this position for a few minutes while envisioning the various parts of your body.
  • Maintaining the same position, start to turn your head from side to side. Inhale and exhale deeply, allowing fresh air to enter your lungs. In your mind, tell yourself that you are feeling relaxed, while consciously allowing each one of your body parts to distress.
  • Let your breathing be easy. Do not try to control or alter its rhythm. Concentrate on the inhalation and exhalation and the heaving of your chest with each breath you take.
  • Think of a calm and serene place and imagine that you are there. Try to ignore any thoughts that may trouble you. Initially, it will be difficult to let your mind be completely devoid of thoughts but as time progresses, you will be able to master your thoughts and eliminate stress while you are practicing these yogic techniques.

Yoga for spondylitis cure

Spondylitis is a group of chronic disorders in which the vertebra gets inflamed and tender. Though spondylitis may end up affecting other joints of the body too, the spine is the most commonly affected one. Young adults are usually more prone to spondylitis, the incidence of which is the highest around the age of 35.

Even after years of research and studies, no viable spondylitis cure has been found. It is an irreversible condition in which the joints receive irreparable damage. Though the symptoms of spondylitis can be alleviated with the help of medicines, it can never be permanently treated. It is therefore best if proper precautions are taken to avoid spondylitis.

Yoga, one of the oldest disciplines known to man, has had success in alleviating many of the symptoms of the disease. In fact yogic spondylitis exercises can help manage pain to such an extent that the symptoms may become non-existent for long periods of time.

Some of the recommended poses in yoga for spondylitis are:
  • Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Supine Cobbler’s pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
  • Eagle pose (Garudasana)
  • Camel pose (Ushtrasana)
  • Locust pose (Shalabhasana)
  • Supine Hero’s pose (Supta Virasana)
Apart from these physical poses, yogic breathing techniques can also be great for spondylitis. Techniques like Kapalabhati can help cleanse your body while strengthening the spine. Another great spondylitis exercise is Anuloma-Viloma in which breathing is carried out through alternating nostrils.

Along with practicing these various yoga exercises, you may also consider correcting your posture. It is poor posture which is usually responsible for the aggravation of spondylitis. People, who tend to slouch while sitting or walking, are more prone to developing spondylitis.
With the help of yoga, you may also be able to correct your posture so that further aggravation of the condition does not occur. Both structural and postural flaws can be corrected by practicing yoga. Yoga can also help strengthen the muscles around the inflamed area.

However, even though there are many benefits of yoga, holding poses for long can make you feel extremely uncomfortable. Another important thing is to practice these poses in the presence of a trained instructor who is able to guide you properly through each of the poses. If you do not perform the poses correctly, you may end up injuring yourself or further aggravating the condition that you were trying to resolve. It is therefore of the utmost importance to practice yoga for spondylitis with care.


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Yoga Symbols for Spiritual Healing

Yoga is a traditional fitness program. Originating in India, it has been practiced for well over 5000 years. It incorporates postures, breathing techniques and meditative practices to create a harmonious balance between the mind, body and spirit. Regular practitioners also recognize the importance of yoga symbols that are incorporated in the routines. These spiritual symbols were designed to enhance the practice, enabling you to embrace the tradition and put you on the path for spiritual healing.

Yoga symbols are known to stimulate and harmonize energy within the body. This energy can then be channelized for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth. There are a number of yoga symbols that are used in daily yoga practice. You’ve probably walked past a yoga symbol everyday without recognizing it.

Yoga Om Symbols – The most commonly used yoga symbol is the Om symbol. According to ancient Hindu philosophy, Om is the eternal word. You may have seen the Sanskrit symbol of Om. It represents four phases of awareness that one has to experience to reach the higher plane. This includes deep sleep, material consciousness, dreamless sleep state, and the ultimate transcendental state. The yoga Om symbols are one of yoga’s most utilized focus enhancing tools. It is used as a chant, repeated continuously during practice. The image is also commonly used as a visual focus aid to keep the mind from distraction. It induces a state of inner peace and harmony. This makes it one of the most popular meditation symbols.

Yoga Chakras – Yogic philosophy states that the body has seven primary energy centers known as yoga chakras. These chakras can be traced along a linear path that runs from the lower edge of the spine to the centre of the crown. Each yoga chakra is represented by a specific color and motif. These chakras play a significant role in maintaining the body’s health as they are energy pools. Each chakra corresponds with a body functions, managing its maintenance and function. When the body’s chakras are imbalanced or blocked, the body’s physical, mental and emotional functions are also imbalanced. They manifest as illnesses and disorders. Through regular chakra yoga practice, these chakras can be accessed and unblocked. Using these techniques you can tap into the chakras and re-energize and strengthen them. This unlocks the flow of therapeutic energy across the body, resetting the body’s balance and restoring health. The seven primary chakras are: Root, Sensual, Power, Heart, Communication, Perception, and Crown.

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Yoga exercises for pelvic floor muscle pain

Pelvic Floor Muscles

The term pelvic floor muscles is used to describe the muscles that are set from the base of the spine to the pubic bone, this includes the muscles between the legs as well. The pelvic floor muscles hold the bladder and urethra in place. It also lends support in holding the intestines and womb.

Pelvic floor muscles are very important as they dictate and control bladder movements. The pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken with age for both men and women. They also weaken for women during and post pregnancy. They may also weaken due to excessive weight gain.
The most frequent cause of pelvic floor pain is pregnancy and childbirth. The weight of the unborn baby puts great pressure of the body’s pelvic floor muscles. As the baby grows, the muscles get stretch and pulled leading to pelvic floor weakness.

Problems Associated with Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles

Pelvic floor problem lead some embarrassing conditions like urinary incontinence. This means you aren’t able to exercise any control over passing urine. It also causes stress incontinence, which causes small amount of urine to leak through in the middle of regular but sudden movements like laughing, coughing or sneezing. It results in pelvic floor muscle pain and backaches. A weak pelvic floor also causes a loss of sensitivity during intercourse for women.

Fortunately there is a simple way to cure a weak pelvic floor - yoga exercises. Yoga is one of the most effective and stress free routines for pelvic floor strengthening. This is especially true for pregnant women. In fact it is recommended that women trying to conceive adopt the yoga regime and continue it through the pregnancy as this helps with an easier pregnancy and quicker labor.

Yoga for Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles

Yoga provides some excellent pelvic floor muscle exercises. The yoga postures help rehabilitate and strengthen against any weakness; they soothe the pain, increase circulation in these muscles and build endurance. Postures recommended for strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles include Child Pose, Cobra Pose, Fish Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Triangle Pose, Tree Pose, and Shoulder Stand.

It is important to find a good yoga teacher when undertaking yoga for the first time. It is also crucial that you share your physical and medical condition with the trainers. This is so that they can chart a beneficial routine for you, discarding postures that won’t work for rehabilitating ones.

Yoga for chronic lumbar pain

The spine is one of the most important structural units in the body. It supports and protects information bearing nerves that run from the brain to the rest of the body. It also supports the torso, dictates movements and maintains posture. Given the burden it holds on a daily, it goes through a considerable wear and tear. Add to this poor posture and unhealthy lifestyles, and back pain tends to be a fairly common ailment.

Most back pain is concentrated at the lower region, the lumbar region. This pain may be caused due to herniated disc, muscle strain, scoliosis, sciatica, etc. Chronic lumbar pain can have a debilitating effect on the body. In extreme cases, patients have to resort to surgery. However making some lifestyle changes and adopting a therapeutic regime like yoga can help ease the pain.

Yoga is an ancient healing practice. It incorporates gentle postures which strengthen the muscles through a series of effective stretching and twisting movements which strengthen the spine. Yogic breathing or pranayama, teach you how to breathe properly and to lung capacity. This allows for a fresh flow of oxygen to the body. This eases tension in the muscles, releases stress and anxiety and flushes out the toxins accumulated in the region.

Practice the following lumbar pain exercise to alleviate pain:

Yoga poses are gentle and therapeutic. They are effective in easing lumbar disc pain. Postures like mountain pose, half spine twist, cat pose, the triangle and cobra pose all help nurse and strengthen the spine back to health.
  • Triangle Pose – This yoga posture incorporates stretching and twisting which helps build strength in the lower back and removes tension. The posture begins in the downward dog position. Move left foot and left hand forward. Keep body weight on the front foot. Make sure the spine is straight as you twist your upper back towards the left. Raise your right arm and follow the movement with your head. Hold this posture for a few minutes. Repeat on the other side.
  • Child’s Pose – This yoga posture also helps stretch the spine and relieves the back off stress and fatigue. Begin by kneeling down and sitting on your feet. Keeping hands by your side slowly lean forward and rest forehead on the floor. Now stretch your arms forward and place them by your side with palms facing upwards. Hold the pose and repeat.
  • Cobra Pose – This yoga posture is very effective for backaches. Begin by lying on the stomach with your head resting on your lower arms. Slowly, using your arms, push your body up. As you rise, raise your head too. Push your body as far back as you can without moving the lower body. Hold the pose and repeat.
In case of lower lumbar pain, consult a trained yoga teacher before embarking on any exercise. When done correctly they help to ease back pain, but if done wrongly it can aggravate the injury to the back.

Yoga and meditation for living a healthy life

Yoga is a holistic ancient tradition. Through a series of gentle exercises, known as asanas, deep breathing techniques and meditative practices it delivers the promise of living a healthy life.

Yoga benefits go much beyond simply the physical strength. Yoga and meditation teach the body the physical and mental discipline it needs to experience and lead a productive and happy life. While the physical aspect of yoga is easy to learn, meditation requires a lot practice and a ton of patience to master.

Meditation is one of the most significant yogic concepts for living healthy life. The mind is a chaotic and noisy place. At any given point of time is it cluttered and crowded with thoughts and noise. Over time the increasing levels of mind noise lowers the mind’s ability to focus and stay in control of a situation.

Meditation teaches you how to focus the mind’s attention on a single point of reference. It teaches you how to hold your mind to that one focal point without wavering. Meditation teaches you how to block out distraction and stay true to the task at hand. Meditation instills a sense of relaxation in the mind which then seeps through to the entire body. It leaves you feeling rejuvenated and flushed with energy.

One of the health benefits of yoga and meditation is that it is very effective in combating stress and anxiety disorders. It is a highly therapy for depression. When you are faced with a stressful situation the body panics. It floods the body with stress hormones and hampers regular breathing. The result is more stress and inability to react in a cool and calm way. By learning how to meditate, you learn how to detach from the stressful situation and handle it with inner poise. On the physical side, meditation incorporated deep breathing exercises. These maintain proper oxygen flow to the brain even during a crisis enabling you to think and act rationally.

Regular practice of yoga and meditation cuts down on stress and anxiety; this in turn reduces the rise of high blood pressure and heart trouble. Meditation thus addresses the root problem to an illness, not just its symptoms, allowing you to heal completely. Meditation also helps individuals suffering from chronic illnesses. For patients undergoing cancer therapy for example, yoga and meditation can provide a little bit of calm and confidence. It can take your mind off the pain and maintain positivity in the face of pain.

Learning how to meditate isn’t easy. It takes dedication to master the practice. However once you do, even a small fifteen minutes of daily meditation will significantly improve quality of life.

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Yoga and Massage: Facial Massage Techniques

Facial Massage

Massage Therapy has been pursued through the ages as a means for detoxifying, relaxing and de-stressing. It forms an integral part of most beauty and relaxation treatments. Facial massage is one of the more commonly practiced branches of massage therapy. A face massage is designed to work the muscles on your face, neck and scalp. This is an excellent and effective non-surgical method for skin rejuvenation.

Facial Massage Technique

Face massage is the technique of muscle and tissue manipulation on the face, neck and scalp. The massage may also include the shoulders and the upper back. The therapy involves applying pressure on the facial muscles and tissue. This pressure is applied by the hands, fists and fingers. A facial massage is given using a series of movements like rubbing, pulling, rolling, kneading, pinching, pushing, and rotating.

A massage therapist may use a variety of massage creams, essential oils and packs to help enhance the benefits of the massage. Ideally a facial treatment lasts anywhere between twenty minutes for a basic massage to forty five minutes for an elaborate face massage technique (this includes a cooling of period as well).

Facial treatments are an effective natural way of retaining ones youthful features. The most convenient aspect of a face massage is that it can be self administered at home on a regular basis. You can use wholesome natural ingredients like essential oils and fruits and herbs in your massage. Regular face massages make a very visible impact on your skin. Gone are the dark circles and the sagging skin. Instead the face looks fresh and energetic.

Benefits of Facial Massage

Face massages help in the maintenance of healthy skin. Given day to day wear and tear, the skin is exposed to a number of harmful agents. These range from harsh weather, pollution, poor nutrition and stress. These elements cause the skin to become dry and dull. The skin on the face looses its elasticity and begins to sag and wrinkle. Effective facial massage techniques exert an adequate amount of pressure on the skin. The repetitive and therapeutic massaging movements help boost circulation to the face. It also helps flush out toxins in the body and stress. It is an excellent remedy for stress headaches and migraines.

The massage doubles as a facial workout. It tones the muscles and stretches them. This makes the skin firm, filling out the wrinkles and bags that had previously formed on the face. This alone reduces the age on your face considerably.

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Yoga to develop positive attitude

One of the cornerstones of a successful life lies in having enough confidence and developing a positive attitude. The right attitude can get you through some difficult times that are bound to crop up every now and then. It allows you maintain composure and spirit in the face of a fight. But how does one develop a positive attitude?

Positive Thinking is one of the fundamental concepts of yoga. This traditional fitness form is known for its therapeutic properties. It also plays a vital role in developing greater self awareness, self confidence, and a positive attitude.

Building positive attitude

Yoga incorporates a series of postures, deep breathing, and meditation techniques. Each infuses the body and individual with a positive energy. Yoga supports the thought that negativity has a detrimental effect on the body and mind. It weighs down an individual breaking down his spirit and health. With a regular yoga regime, you can teach your mind to control negative emotions and stay focused.

Developing self confidence and a positive attitude is tied with an individual’s self esteem. Low self esteem, automatically gives rise to doubts and negativity. It is essential to focus on the good rather than weaknesses. This is where yoga proves to be very helpful.

Our thoughts play a vital role in determining our moods and as a result, our confidence levels. Negativity results in a foul or morose mood. This in turn affects breathing, increases production of stress hormones, and clouds our focus. It is based on this thought that yoga encourages undertaking positive affirmations. This sounds very simple but it can be a powerful tool in developing confidence and a positive attitude. By controlling thought, your mind directs your body to action and success.

Exercise is a mood lifter. By undertaking regular yoga exercises, you help to shake lethargy out of the body. The movements tone and strengthen the muscles. They stimulate organ functions and get the blood pumping. A healthy body automatically translates into confidence.

Add yoga’s deep breathing and meditation to this lot and the effect is life changing. Deep breathing allows you to take in more oxygen than you usually do. This infuses the body with positive energy. Similarly, by exhaling fully, you expel the toxins build up in the system. It is a purification process.

Meditation builds awareness and focus. It teaches the mind to calm down, rise above the chaos and concentrate. It allows you to do more for the same effort as before. This in itself builds confidence and confidence in turns helps bring about positivity.

When faced with doubt, remember yogic breathing. Practice a few rounds of deep breathing, clear you head and repeat some simple positive affirmations. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it works wonders!

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Yoga for aging - an anti aging solution

Aging is a normal phase in the life cycle. Everyone has to experience it. Every individual is plagued with aging issues, and the symptoms it sets off. While many spend thousands of dollars on anti aging solutions in the form of creams, injections and surgery, a far simpler and more effective option exists.

Yoga and aging

Yoga is an excellent fitness program to counter the symptoms of aging. This rich fitness tradition combines gentle exercise with deep breathing techniques and meditative practices to restore full body functions and maintain a harmonious balance between the body, mind and spirit.

By regularly pursuing anti aging yoga, you can maintain your dignity and grace despite the years rolling on. While yoga cannot turn the clock back, it can help you enter this phase of your life with as much joy and strength as possible. Yoga for aging has a number of benefits that senior citizens and those looking to stay fit as they get older can enjoy.

Internal & Physical Fitness - If yoga texts are studied, they state that age is not just a play of numbers but can be studied by the flexibility or rigidity of the human spine. As we grow older, the spine tends to lose its flexibility and stiffen. Regular practice of yoga and allows you to maintain spine elasticity, ensuring the flexibility of a much younger person.

In addition to flexibility, yoga helps maintain and improve body function. It builds immunity which keeps life-threatening conditions at bay. It improves posture, develops the body’s core muscles and stimulates the glands and organs in the body. Using anti aging yoga, you can avoid all the aches and pains and severe limitations that could be caused by aging. Regular practice can help you avoid or at least control joint pains and other symptoms associated with aging; it allows you to be in great shape, despite the growing years.

Youthful Features – Yoga helps you control those very visible aging signs. The exercises involved in a yoga practice help keep the skin firm and well toned. This reduces the chances of sagging skin, excessive wrinkle formation, and dry skin. Deep breathing helps expel toxins and other waste material from the body, keeping it healthy and beautiful. The fresh flush of oxygen injected into the system keeps you looking young and refreshed without even trying.

Mental Integrity – Yoga for aging is an excellent idea. Apart from the physical aspect of yoga, its deep breathing and meditative practices help maintain mental, emotional and spiritual balance. Meditation helps infuse the individual with a positive attitude and optimism. It fights off depression, stress and anxiety. It also helps you maintain mental function, without any loss or compromise.

Yoga for bronchitis - an alternative treatment

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis refers to a respiratory tract infection wherein the windpipe and the bronchi (both large and small) get inflamed due to infection or other causes. Bronchitis, in short, is the inflammation of the air passage to the lungs.

What are the Symptoms of Bronchitis?

Symptoms of bronchitis may include one or more of the following:
  1. Bronchitis is accompanied by a hacking cough. This cough may persist for at least two weeks or longer. It could be dry or produce yellow-grey phlegm. The presence of phlegm could highlight a lower respiratory tract problem. In this case it is very important to consult your doctor as this could be the first sign of pneumonia.
  2. Wheezing is also a common symptom of bronchitis and is caused by the inflammation of airways, making it harder to breathe freely
  3. Other symptoms include sore throat, blocked nose, tightness in chest, sinus, headaches, slight fever, and stomach and chest soreness (caused by constant coughing).

What are the Causes of Bronchitis?

Bronchitis almost always occurs during the cold and flu season, and is preceded by a cold and is the result of bacterial or viral infection. Bronchitis can also be the result of exposure to harsh chemicals, fumes and dust; this includes tobacco inhaled when smoking. It can also highlight a serious underlying respiratory tract infection like pneumonia.

There are two types of bronchitis – acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. The former is usually preceded by flu and if diagnosed early is fairly simple to treat and control. The latter on the other hand is a more severe condition. It lasts longer than acute bronchitis and needs immediate medical attention. It may not be very easy to treat and causes even greater discomfort.

Doctors recommend a round of conventional allopathic remedies for bronchitis till the infection clears. When this course of medication is combined with bronchitis alternative treatments like yoga, it helps the body heal faster. It also helps the body regain strength and eases discomfort that is usually associated with the condition.

Yoga for bronchitis is a complementary therapy for treating bronchitis. Through a series of very gentle poses and more importantly deep breathing techniques, yoga can help the body beat bronchitis faster and more effectively.

Yoga’s deep breathing techniques help clear the nasal passages and infuses the system with a fresh flow of oxygen. Despite the inflammation, yoga helps you breathe in adequate amounts of oxygen to facilitate efficient lung function. It clears congestion and strengthens the lungs. Deep breathing and gentle postures also help ease the many aches and pains experienced across the body. It flushes the body with energy allowing you to recover faster.

Yoga Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic neuromuscular disorders. These disorders can cause major physical problems as they lead to a weakening of the muscles in the body.

Individuals suffering from muscular dystrophy are affected by progressive weakness and degeneration of muscle use. Even performing routine activities like walking and sitting can prove to be a challenge once the disorder sets in.

There are many different types of muscular dystrophy. The condition affects the individual right at birth, or it may manifest later with age. The most common forms of muscular dystrophy include Duchenne, Facioscapcilohumeral, Myotonic, Becker, and Limb-Gridle.

Muscular dystrophy causes a weakening of the muscles and difficulty in undertaking routine movements. The condition sets off muscle wastage and nerve deterioration. Over time it leads to respiratory discomfort, irregular heartbeats, clumsiness, frequent missteps and falls, and loss of mental sharpness. The condition greatly impairs the quality of life and it limits life expectancy.

Unfortunately, as of today there is no muscular dystrophy cure. Patients are provided muscular dystrophy therapy that aims at easing pain and discomfort. This includes physical therapy, respiratory aids, and orthopedic supports. However, there is way to prevent the condition or the deterioration it causes.

Yoga for Muscular Dystrophy

Incorporating a therapeutic practice like yoga can help ease the conditions of muscular dystrophy and greatly improve the quality of life. Muscular dystrophy yoga uses a series of gentle and easy movements in combination with deep breathing techniques to improve muscle tone and reduce pain.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that aims at rehabilitating and reinforcing a balance between the body, mind, and spirit. Used as a complementary practice alongside allopathic treatment, it can help individual’s cope and live with muscular dystrophy.

Muscle weakness leaves you weak and exhausted. Undertaking regular exercise is almost impossible. It is draining and causes even more pain. Yoga however doesn’t cost you energy, but provides you with a fresh flow of energy. Through gentle movements, the muscles are moved, worked, and toned. The deep breathing techniques help you breathe more fresh oxygen as compared to regular shallow breathing. As fresh oxygen is infused into the body, a fresh supply of nutrients is supplied to all the organs and tissues in the body. It improves blood circulation and strengthens the weakening muscles. Along with maximum intake of oxygen, the body is also able to expel adequate amounts of toxins using breathing techniques of yoga for muscle dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy yoga also addresses the mental and emotional damage caused by the illness. It helps individuals find the inner strength to fight off depression and anxiety that characterize debilitating illnesses. It enables a person to think positively, and cope with the condition with hope and energy.

Benefits of Yoga Pilates Workout

What is the Difference between Yoga and Pilates?

Yoga and Pilates are essentially two different forms of exercise. However, over the years, one has been incorporated into the other, and many people are now realizing the benefits of doing yoga and Pilates exercises. While yoga is typically a spiritual practice that was developed about 3,000 years ago, Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates during the First World War. The primary focus of yoga is to calm the body and mind by using asanas and meditation; breathing also plays an important role. On the other hand, Pilates essentially focuses on core body strengthening, with most Pilates poses targeting the spine and abdominal region.

How to do Yoga Pilates Exercises?

Various yoga poses can be modified by incorporating the principles of Pilates exercises into them. For instance, if you are performing a Seated Forward Bend, you can try sucking in your abdomen (which is a basic principle of Pilates).

Why do Yoga Pilates Workout?

Well, the answer is simple. Both Pilates and yoga have several benefits, and when combined together, they strengthen the body and relax the mind. Some of the benefits of doing a yoga Pilates workout are as follows. Pilates help tone the abdominal region of the body, while yoga helps in improving overall flexibility and endurance. Moreover, the two work well in conjunction. Yoga Pilates poses help in not only improving posture, strengthening the joints, massaging the internal organs, and calming the mind but also in stabilizing the spine and improving core body strength. Remember that yoga will facilitate the movement of blood throughout the body and will exercise internal organs and physiological systems; simultaneously, Pilates will help in sculpting the body from the outside, giving your muscles and joints the much needed exercise. Thus, core yoga Pilates work on the body both internally and externally. Yoga helps to improve strength and flexibility, along with having a calming effect on the mind, and Pilates helps to increase core body strength and help you to look lean, sculpted, and toned.

Recently, a new term, “Yogilates” has been used to describe the many exercises that include elements of both yoga and Pilates. Yogilates is touted to be the most comprehensive and complete workout for the body, improving overall health and the years to one’s life.

A few pointers

If you’re new the this school of exercise, it is best to join a yoga pilates center that will ensure that you do not harm your body while performing modified poses and exercises. Also, it helps if the environment in which you practice yoga pilates exercises is a comfortable and conducive to exercising.

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