Holistic yoga for holistic living

The revelations that different people have when they first start taking yoga sessions are often eye opening. Yoga has the power to make you aware not only of your body but also the state of your mind. When you embark on the journey of yoga, practicing the various poses, you become more aware of your body and its movements. You may realize more closely, how your body moves, how it bends, and how it aligns itself for your comfort.

Your state of mind and the connection that your body makes with it can all be explored using various yogic techniques.

Holistic Yoga

If your body is not used to exercise, its range of motion is limited. However, as you progress further and pick on the more difficult poses, you will realize that your body and the range of movements that you can achieve with it increase manifold. You may initially feel some discomfort and perhaps even sustain minor injuries. However, these discomforts will pave the way for holistic cures that involve both body and mind.

Those who suffer from physical ailments like pain in the various regions of the body, or those who suffer from injuries, and disorders of the joints are most likely to benefit physically from yoga. Those who suffer from arthritis can in fact find a gradual decrease in pain and swelling. In time, their ability to move also increases.

Yoga also brings in a certain amount of discipline to an individual’s daily routine. You are able to increase your endurance and improve flexibility. You are also able to control your immediate impulses, keep stress and anxiety at bay, and also evolve spiritually.

The reason why yoga is considered one of the most effective holistic cures is that it allows you to improve breathing and respiration, increase core strength, flexibility and immunity, improve your self confidence and self worth, and improve your concentration as well as your ability to bring out your talents.

Holistic health yoga involves a healthy mix of the many different yoga techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, and the yogic poses together have many effects on the over all physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health of a person. Yoga, in fact, can be seen as a holistic alternative medicine that slows down the ageing process. You will see your skin glowing, eyes sparkling, and your body will become more flexible and more capable. You will also improve mental acuity and overall immunity.

Yoga for Emotional Stress & Emotional Imbalance

Yoga is known to have a wide range of benefits for those with physical ailments and also those with mental or emotional disturbances. For both spiritual and mental ailments, yoga offers an interesting and an effective way of attaining peace of mind.

Yoga helps to rejuvenate both the mind and the body. In fact, the holistic effects of yoga are quite well known, because of which yoga has now become much sought after.
Though the physical benefits of yoga have been stressed quite often, the mental, emotional and the spiritual benefits of yoga often are not described in great detail. The truth is that yoga is one of the few techniques which can effectively alleviate all kinds of stress and emotional disturbances. The many different techniques of yoga can help you fight emotional stress and keep it at bay. Yoga takes care of your mental and emotional health, allowing you to deal with stress, depression and any other emotional illness.

Emotions and stress go together a long way. It is not unusual to feel stressed when you are emotionally overwhelmed. People who are emotionally more sensitive are also slightly more predisposed to experiencing stress and emotional imbalance. Yoga, however, with its many different poses, meditative techniques and breathing exercises, is one of the most potent techniques of dealing with such emotional problems.

The biggest advantage of yoga is that it opens your mind to your own needs and desires. This simply means that it allows you to contemplate your own actions and situations, helping you to introspect. In more ways than one, yogic techniques help you to work on your self confidence and self worth, allowing you to have more control over you’re your actions and the direction that your life is taking.

Yoga can also help you deal with specific problems. If you have been in depression for sometime, then yoga, combined with medication, can help you instill positivity inside you. Physically too, yoga can offer you a ‘pick-me-up’. A combination of deep breathing and meditation is excellent in depression. Specific poses like standing forward bend and twisting triangle may also help improve your body’s strength.

The meditative techniques are also helpful in dealing with stress and anxiety. The practice of yoga helps the body to secrete hormones that help decrease anxiety and neutralize stress. Yoga can also reduce stress hormones in the heart and the cardiovascular system. For these, again a combination of physical poses, meditation and breathing techniques are helpful.

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Spiritual Yoga to Improve Mental Health

Yoga has been practiced in various parts of the world for many years now. This ancient wellness technique was formulated to bring together the physical and the metaphysical, creating a spiritual technique which allows for mental growth and increasing inner peace and tranquility.
Yoga, if practiced regularly, can change the way you look at yourself and the world around you. Though largely treated as an exercise regimen, yoga also has several spiritual benefits. With the help of spiritual meditation, yoga attempts to bring together your mind and soul in a perfect balance.

Spirituality Yoga

As an underlying principle, yoga encourages thought, concentration, and introspection. The many questions that yogic philosophy asks you are meant to propel you in the direction of self contemplation and accession to the higher powers. Allowing yourself to be one with the spiritual forces as well as the natural forces, is one of the biggest achievements that a yoga practitioner can attain.

No matter which faith you belong to, yoga has something for everybody. The texts of yoga, though written many centuries ago, allow for people of all faiths to practice this technique. Contrary to popular belief, yoga doesn’t only serve Hindu interests; in fact its philosophy is purely spiritual and allows for anyone to embrace it not only as a wellness technique, but as a lifestyle.

Yoga is a technique which doesn’t force you into spiritualism. It allows you to have your own view of the world, without offering you any religious mantras or texts. It simply allows you to unlock the spiritualism that you may have inside you. Some of the important spiritual techniques that are widely practiced today are meditation healing.

Practicing spiritual yoga allows you to have spiritual balance. When you practice yoga, you are gently propelled in the direction of feeling compassionate about your fellow human beings and allowing yourself to be trustful of others. Your sense of morality and ethics will also undergo a huge transformation. Apart from the changes that you will see in your own behavior, you will perhaps also realize that respect and gratitude comes more easily to you, and you have begun to respect all living beings with a renewed fervor.

In order to inculcate spirituality, yoga is again a very effective tool. There are many different styles of yoga from which you can choose. You may try one style for some time before moving on to another. Since almost all styles of yoga have the same underlying philosophy, you will not have a tough time identifying the style that best suits you.

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Benefits of Yoga Weight Training Programme

Yoga has gained immense popularity all over the world because of its multifaceted benefits. In the last few decades, both fitness enthusiasts and medical professionals have accepted yoga as one of the most potent techniques of exercise.

Yoga Weight Training

Yoga is actually an ancient practice which promotes balance between the body and the soul. There are several methods of practicing yoga and each has its own specific benefits. Even those who practice weight training exercise can benefit from yoga. A weight training program when coupled with yoga, can help the person’s body and the mind in several ways. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Consistent yoga practice can help decrease blood pressure. It also improves the blood circulation.

  • The various breathing techniques of yoga can help increase the amount of air that we inhale, increasing in turn the amount of oxygen that can be utilized by the body. The increased oxygen in the body allows the organs to function better.

  • Yoga can help reduce the heart rate and increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. Together, both these conditions help in increasing cardiovascular endurance.

  • Weight training can frequently lead to sore muscles and limbs. This is caused due to the buildup of lactic acid. Practicing yoga helps to avoid this accumulation of lactic acid, which in turn helps alleviate soreness.

  • Yoga also helps increase metabolism, helping you to maintain your weight.

  • Yoga improves your metabolism, as does weight training. When these two forms of exercise are practiced in tandem, they give your metabolism a major boost and this helps your body to burn more fat, giving you that ripped look.

  • Though yoga and weight training are seldom thought of together, yoga can be effectively used for weight training. The body movements of people who perform yoga are more deliberate and easy, giving a specific poise and balance to the person.

  • When you incorporate yoga into your fitness routine in addition to weight training, you will experience massive increases in your core strength. A strong core helps you to lift more, train harder, and avoid back injuries that are so common in weight training.

  • Weight training can reduce flexibility to a certain extent. The dynamic and static stretches in yoga help to ensure that your body remains supple and flexible.

  • Yoga can be used as a very effective cool down routine at the end of a strenuous weight training programme.

Health Benefits of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

What is Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Vinyasa yoga is a form of yoga which is based on ‘breath synchronized movements’. In a yoga session, when you seamlessly move from one pose to another while inhaling and exhaling, it is known as Vinyasa. The literal meaning of the word ‘vinyasa’ is the movement of breath and therefore this technique in yoga is known as vinyasa flow yoga.

There are several vinyasa yoga poses, but in reality, you may practice any pose in this form of yoga. The poses run into each other in a smooth manner in this type of yoga.

The term vinyasa is often used alone as a reference to various different poses. You may go through the technique as a part of a series. For instance, the entire series of poses performed during the Sun Salutation, can be referred to as Vinyasa. You may use the breathing techniques of inhaling and exhaling while performing the poses, to your advantage. You may maintain your own tempo, according to the rhythm of your breathing. Your breathing becomes the basis of your poses and the form and movement are integrated with it.

Poses like the Upward Facing Dog pose, Plank pose, and Four Limbed Staff pose are usually in the spectrum of vinyasa style yoga.

If you follow the poses that you practice carefully, you will find that there are many instances when you effortlessly practice vinyasa yoga, without being conscious of it. Upon practicing vinyasa yoga for some time, you will be able to proceed without any problems. You will also be able to free yourself from any structured sequencing, gaining the maximum vinyasa yoga benefits.

Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga

  • When you begin with vinyasa yoga, you will begin to feel the build up of strength in your body. The technique of vinyasa yoga helps build strength and flexibility, especially in the legs and the hips.
  • Vinyasa yoga helps to stretch the spine to its fullest extent, allowing the muscles around the spin to relax and strengthen.
  • Vinyasa yoga can also help improve your flexibility especially in the areas surrounding the hips, joints, neck, and shoulders.
  • The coordination that you have to practice between the breathing and the pose can help increase concentration and the ability to focus on a specific thing.
  • In Vinyasa yoga, you do not have to worry about holding your poses. You can retain one posture for some time or you can explore more postures and can keep transiting from one posture to another.

Yoga for Stress Related Health Problems

With the kind of hectic lifestyles we have today, it is not unusual to be under a lot of pressure and feel stressed. It is impossible for anyone to not get anxious and stressed when faced with the everyday challenges of life. Sometimes, you may even feel that your day has too few hours or that you need some more time to yourself.

If you are wondering how to reduce stress, yoga is what you should be looking at. Till date, of all remedies, yoga for stress relief is considered the best and most fitting technique to keep both anxiety and stress at bay.

There are many things that you can do in yoga. The breathing, meditative, and physical poses of yoga help in various ways to quiet your mind and bring peace from within. Due to the calming effect that yoga has on people, it is fast becoming a popular relaxation technique, especially in urban settings where the pace of life is really hectic and stressful.

Yoga essentially works on the principle of bringing peace to the body and mind, allowing the body to be in a deep state of relaxation. There are many styles of yoga, but Hatha yoga is considered to be the best amongst them for stress relief. You may also choose any other discipline of your particular choice.

Traditional yoga relies on an amalgamation of diet, exercise and meditation to beat stress. Along with the poses that you practice in yoga, you also have to pay particular attention to your diet. Certain foods increase stress and cause anxiety. However, there are other foods known as ‘sattvik’ foods, which help improve health and help you beat stress.

The poses of yoga can be performed by people from any age group because of which they are highly recommended. Yoga requires coordination between both the mind and the body. Yoga consists of poses of varying complexities. Some can be as simple as lying on the floor and willing your body to completely relax; yet others can be quite difficult and take years to master.

You may not be able to hold a particular pose for as long as it is recommended; however, yoga has a basic rule. In yoga, you should only do as much as your body allows. If you are practicing a pose which your body is not comfortable with, it is best to move to another pose. You should never exceed your own limits that you may have set for yourself.

Breathing is also another important part of yoga. Your vital energies can be controlled using various breathing techniques. You can gain control over both your body and mind using the meditative techniques of yoga along with controlled breathing.

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Yoga for irregular menstrual cycles

You will seldom find a woman who is comfortable or at ease with her menstruation cycle. However, not having a regular cycle is something that no woman wants. A lot of women experience irregular periods. There are many causes of such a problem. Usually, irregular periods are associated with hormonal imbalances and stress. Women who have increased sexual activity after a long break may also experience temporarily irregular menstrual cycles. In most women, who are nearing the onset of menopause, menstruation problems are a common occurrence.

For each woman, the cause of menstruation cycle problems is different. In fact, it is critical to determine the exact cause of the irregularity because the choice of yoga poses for treating the irregularities will also depend largely on the cause.

If the irregular menstrual cycle causes are hormonal, specific yoga poses are practiced in order to improve the circulation of hormones. Sometimes, stress may be a contributing factor to menstrual problems. Yoga for menstrual problems caused due to stress will include more of breathing and other stress relieving techniques like meditation.

Yoga Practice during Menstruation

Most problems with menstruation can be dealt with proper and guided yoga poses. However, it is equally important to get a medical perspective and take regular medications as prescribed by a doctor.

There are two categories of yoga poses for irregular periods. One category contains poses that are generally beneficial in enhancing the menstrual flow by stretching the pelvic floor and opening up the vagina. The second category is of those poses which are meant for menstrual problems caused by specific reasons.

Some of the general yoga poses which can be practiced to help treat menstrual problems are the Baddha Konasana or the Sitting Cobbler Pose, Supta Baddhakonasana or the Lying Down Cobbler Pose, the Gaumukhasana or the Cow Pose, Supta Virasana or the Lying Down Hero Pose and the Janu Shirasana or the Head To Knee Pose. Of these, the Cow Pose is especially recommended for those who are suffering from irregular menstruation.

In addition to these the Virasana or the Hero Pose, the Lion, Cobra and Half Wheel Pose can also be performed for disorders of the endocrine system that may be causing an irregularity in the menstruation cycle.

All of these poses help in improving muscle strength, regulating hormones, improving spinal flexibility, and restore alignment and balance in the body. These poses, when performed three to five times a day regularly, can help regulate your menstruation.

Yoga for Mental Health and Mental Illness

The word yoga originates from the ancient Sanskrit script and its literal meaning is ‘union’. Yoga is a physical technique which aims to unify the body, mind and soul. It is a complete workout that helps strengthen the body, calm the mind and purify the soul, bringing you closer to a higher power and allowing you to gain higher consciousness.

Yoga is a complete body workout that helps promote the health of the entire body, strengthening all aspects of the being. There is no particular pose of yoga that can be considered more beneficial than the others. Everything about yoga is scientific (at least in context of the benefits, even if its action or method of working is not yet understood) and each pose benefits specific parts of the body.

If poses are practiced in specific sequences, maximum benefit can be derived from them. Though any kind of physical exercise releases hormones known as endorphins which are natural mood enhancers, yoga in particular allows for increasing mental acuity, concentration and prowess. Mental health has a deep connection with physical health. Good physical health fosters good mental health and the vice versa is also true.

Specific disciplines of yoga like Hasya yoga or laughter yoga are more beneficial for mental health than any other forms of yoga. The studies conducted on the discipline suggest that the deep breathing exercises and stretching exercises allow increased blood flow to the brain, improving mental activity and relieving both stress and anxiety. Regular practice of yoga poses can also treat any specific mental health problem like depression or anxiety related disorders.

Yoga is considered the best alternative mental illness therapy. Yoga and mental health have a lasting relationship. The principles on which the discipline was formed, took into account all aspects of well being.

Meditative techniques of yoga help trigger brain chemicals like the gamma animobutyric acid. Many of these chemicals are beneficial for the body and allow expulsion of stressful thoughts. These chemicals are also beneficial for naturally treat depression. Some of the specific benefits of yoga for treating each and every specific mental illness are:
  • By increasing the secretion of endorphins, the body naturally feels more energetic.
  • Mental acuity is improved, therefore increasing concentration and improving focus.
  • By relieving stress, yoga can help improve the quality of sleep.
  • Anxiety levels are reduced and depression can be cured.
  • Regular practice of yoga can help improve self esteem and self worth.
  • Yoga also helps improve physical health which is again associated with improved mental health.

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Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Yoga and Stress Relief

As the amount of stress that we deal with in our everyday lives goes up, yoga for stress relief emerges as a valuable technique. If statistics are to be believed, stress relief yoga is the number one preferred technique for dealing with stress. Regular practice of stress relief yoga poses can help fight many of the stress related disease like high blood pressure and other cardio vascular complaints.

People who are under chronic stress are more susceptible to heart failure or a stroke. An increase in the blood pressure is usually a precursor to other heart troubles and to avoid any major heart disease, it is recommended that you should remain on medication and continue to follow up with your medical checks regularly.

Stress can take a toll on your life and to manage it, a change in lifestyle is an absolute necessity. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and cessation of smoking are some of the vital aspects of a changed lifestyle. Less consumption of fats, red meats and salts can also help you deal with stress.

Apart from all the precautions that you take from your end, yoga for stress management should be explored as an alternative stress relief technique. The meditative techniques of yoga are a great stress relief exercise. Simple yoga exercises can be performed to stretch the body, improve blood and hormone circulation, and increase lung capacity. While the physical exercise improves the strength, immunity and flexibility of the body, deep breathing techniques improve the lung capacity, allowing for more oxygen to be taken in and utilized in the body.

Stress relief yoga

Meditative techniques in yoga can help calm the mind down, expelling stressful and unwanted thoughts. This is especially beneficial for those who suffer from hypertension and blood pressure. A ten minutes session of meditation can work wonders for you. If you want, you can even chant a prayer while meditating. This will not only help you soothe your mind, but also psychological help you feel closer to god.

Some of the simplest and most effective yoga poses for stress relief are the Balasana or the child pose, Savasana or the corpse pose, and Makarasana or the crocodile pose.

Hatha yoga, one of the prominent disciplines of yoga, is considered to be the best remedy for stress. The conjugation of the poses of Hatha yoga and various breathing techniques can help improve all aspects of a person’s being - physical, mental and spiritual. These postures will help you relieve stress and at the same time promote overall wellness.

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Yoga for coronary heart disease

One of the most common forms of cardio vascular disease is coronary artery disease. A buildup of cholesterol is the one of the primary coronary heart disease causes. The cholesterol, when it builds up in the arteries, can cause a blockage. The blood flow tends to slow down to quite an extent and the heart has to exert extra pressure to pump blood through the narrower vessels.

The increasing amount of cholesterol also tends to weaken the arteries, leading to blood clots and disfiguring of the arterial walls. Such blood clots could eventually cause a complete blockage of the arteries, ultimately leading to the bursting of the artery.

In a lot of cases, the condition is caused by the natural ageing process. Those who have had someone with the disease in their family are at a greater risk of developing it themselves. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, excessive smoking, obesity and diabetes are some of the other risk factors of coronary artery disease.

Today heart diseases are the biggest health concern all over the world. Though heart diseases were once only associated with the elderly, today even young people are getting susceptible to it. Some of the symptoms of coronary heart disease are chest pains, burning sensations in the chest, pressure in the chest and pain in the arm and neck. This pain is caused because the blood vessels are not able to deliver the required amounts of blood.

Medical science offers expensive and complex surgeries as a coronary heart disease treatment. However, with the treatment, coronary heart disease diet is also very important to lower bad cholesterol.

Yoga for coronary heart disease

Yoga, an ancient Indian discipline helps you improve your body’s strength. With the increase in both strength and flexibility, it becomes easier to control your metabolic rate and blood pressure. Yoga can also help you draw for yourself a coronary heart disease exercise routine. A yogic diet which is completely vegetarian in nature and is free of tobacco and alcohol can help improve health.

The continued practice of yoga can also help a person cope up with stress and anxiety which can aggravate coronary heart diseases. Yoga in fact can easily help you eliminate the risk factors of coronary heart disease. Not only will yoga help you in coping with coronary heart disease but will generally help you improve your health and increase the efficiency of various systems in the body.

Poses like the mountain pose, warrior pose, hands to feet pose, triangle pose, tree pose, lotus yoga pose, standing side stretch pose, double leg raises, child pose, leg reclining lounge, and cobra pose are especially useful for keeping coronary heart disease at bay.

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Yoga for defective vision & vision problems

Many of the eye problems we know of arise because of problems with the muscles of the eyes. The loss of muscle tone and the rigidity caused due to strain on the eyes can cause problems of vision. This can also happen due to the natural ageing process.

As the muscles of the eyes weaken, the lens is not able to focus properly due to the loss of elasticity. When the lens is unable to focus at varying distances, we experience vision problem at different distances.

When there is great stress in the optic nerves, eyesight suffers even more. The intimate connection that is established between the eyes and the brain by the optic nerve, can also become poor. Fatigue of the eyes from sitting in front of the television or computer for too long or the fatigue experienced due to driving are all caused due to this loss of elasticity of the eye muscles.

Yoga for defective vision

Fortunately, there are many ways for natural vision improvement. Yoga for eyes is an effective way to keep your vision healthy. Yoga is the union of the physical, spiritual and mental energies. Together, these energies help to improve health in many ways. The eyes that are made up of brain tissue that is intimately connected to the brain by the optic nerve. If the brain is restless and does not get adequate rest, then the eyes may also be affected.

Yoga eye exercises are aimed at strengthening the muscles of the eye. These exercises can help the muscles of the eye retain their flexibility so that the lens can focus at objects placed at different distances. These vision improvement exercises can also help calm the nervous mind.

Yoga for our eyes can help counter many of the ill effects that our lifestyle has on our health. To improve visual concentration, there is a need to strengthen the concentration and yoga eye exercises can help. The first step in improving eyesight is to improve concentration. Find yourself a place where you can sit peacefully for some time. Ease your body into a comfortable posture and concentrate on a single object for some time. Gradually increase this time over a period of few days.

You may also gaze constantly at the tip of your nose without blinking. Do this for as long as you can hold your gaze without blinking. Once you are done, close your eyes and keep them closed for some time. When you feel that your eyes are very tired, leave your seat and concentrate on a far away object which is pleasing to your senses. Alternatively, you can also concentrate on the portion between your eyebrows. Don’t do it to a point where it becomes uncomfortable.

Yoga exercise for excessive flatulence

There is an old saying that all health problems originate from the stomach. It has been proven scientifically that to continue having good health, it is necessary to have a healthy and efficient digestive system.

Digestion is a complex process involving many different organs. Digestion is also a time consuming process and very often, when a person is not able to digest the ingested food, the partially digested food is retained in the stomach and starts to ferment. When the food starts getting fermented, several gases are released. Due to the release of these gases, a person may experience nausea, belching, acid regurgitation and heartburn. Along with that, you may also experience excessive flatulence. These are all symptoms of indigestion.

Flatulence is a condition in which gas accumulates into the colon. This gas is not absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and therefore either causes the abdomen to bloat or is expelled out of the body through the mouth or the anus.

Excessive flatulence is caused due to eating too much. Some other causes of flatulence are irregular eating, swallowing the food without chewing it, swallowing too much air while chewing and lack of physical exertion. A person under physical duress may also experience excessive flatulence. The muscles of the intestines should also be strong enough to digest the food properly.

Yoga for flatulence

Of all the flatulence remedies, yoga is perhaps the most significant. Though we all know what causes flatulence, a lot of times, we do not know how to treat it. However, to prevent flatulence or to treat it, yoga poses can be effectively used.

To start with, try a head stand known as the Salamba Sirsasana. Once in that pose, bend your legs so that they are behind your back. While coming into this position, do not bend your elbows. Do not disturb the position of your head.

Once your pose is complete, stretch one leg at a time and lift up your torso while shifting all your weight to the heels. Then, tightening the muscles of your anal region, lift up your pelvis. Concentrate on contracting the muscles in your knees, calf thighs. Hold this pose for as long as you can.

Another great pose for releasing flatulence is the Viparita Chakrasana. This pose should be started with the neck, moving to the shoulders. This pose will not only help you to release excessive flatulence, but also help to strengthen your spine while improving overall flexibility of the body.