Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Yoga For Improving Your Figure

Knowing as you do that Yoga can give you a perfect figure, you have made this your main reason for pursuing the subject. I assure you this is no worse a reason for beginning the study of Yoga than any other. There cannot really be a bad reason for wanting to do something good, and though Yoga offers much in the way of a peaceful and healthy existence, your main concern at this stage, anyway, is how to get that pad of fat off your hips and reduce that bulging tummy. So be it. I will show you the way and as you learn more and more of Yoga perhaps eventually your reason for studying it will be a more spiritual one.

There is little need to explain to you the connection between obesity and your health. Apart from being aesthetically all wrong, it puts a strain on the heart, the internal organs, the legs and feet and in fact the entire body. It is dangerous to be overweight. It is your duty to improve your figure for the sake of your health, your peace of mind and your general well being.

But before I explain how Yoga can help you to regain a slim, supple, and graceful figure I must impress on you right at the beginning that there is no magic formula which will sheer those extra pounds off you while you go on eating four square meals a day with snacks in between and goodness knows how many cups of tea sweetened with sugar. In short, Yoga is not black magic. It is sheer common sense. It will help you if you are prepared to help yourself.

In presenting various Yoga asanas, I must impress on you that these alone will not make you lose weight. Yoga you see is a way of life not just a system of physical culture.

You must study Yoga as a whole and let it pervade every part of your life. Let it gradually alter your way of thinking and in time it will affect your attitude towards food. For many people food is a social occasion or a means of chopping up the day. To very many others, it is a form of sheer solid comfort in times of stress or anxiety. To still others it is a hobby or a release from boredom. They don't know what to do with themselves so they eat-and grow fat.

I do not suggest that you try drastically to alter your eating habits. Let Yoga gently do that for you. Practice Yoga as a complete science and very slowly adjust your eating habits according to your state of mind. By this I mean that, at the moment, maybe food is of major importance to you. It is right that you have this incentive to eat for it is necessary to take food in order to live, but many people, far too many, take far more food than they need. This results in a gradual build up of fat in the body until there you are-two, three, or even more stones overweight.

It is never easy to take off weight and Yoga is not a short cut by any means, but this much I promise you. Once you have slimmed the Yoga way, you will be able to eat as you please and not gain an ounce. Yoga, in affecting the glands, establishes a rhythm in the body so that you do not feel a desire for food that you do not need. You want to eat only enough to keep superbly fit. Your new calmness of mind will make it unnecessary for you to turn to food for comfort or as a means of relieving tension or boredom. As I have said, Yoga will affect your way of life, even against your will; it will alter your attitude towards many things and one of these things is the food you eat.

Having warned you that I have no magic formula dreamed up by the ancient Yogis with regard to recovering a slim, beautiful figure, let me discuss the first step in this 'battle of the bulge'. Here is a Yoga asana which will help you on your way. It is called the SIDESLIP and it should not present too much difficulty if you spend the first couple of days limbering up your torso with the following simple movements.

Limbering up Exercises
Stand up straight, feet together, arms raised to shoulder level. Holding your arms steady, swing them as far as possible round to the right. Twist your body to the maximum to bring your right arm as far round as you can and at the same time turn your head to look over your right shoulder so that you twist your neck to the utmost; as you turn slowly, bend your left arm so that when the swing to the right is at its height your left thumb should touch your right shoulder. Hold this position for a few seconds and then repeat the swing to the other side. You can repeat these swings ad lib but at first it is as well to limit yourself to a maximum of six if you have never taken any exercise before.

Two points to remember. These swinging movements from side to side should be performed slowly and rhythmically. Emphasis is on the full sweep of the arms and the twisting of your torso to the utmost rather than on speed. Speed isn't a word used in Yoga, rather substitute the word pressure. At the extreme points of the twisting movement, you can exert a slight pressure to enhance the value of this limbering exercise. And having practiced it for a day or two you should graduate with no difficulty to a more advanced lateral twist called THE SIDESLIP POSTURE.

Sideslip Posture
1. Kneel down on the floor and sit back on your heels. Raise your arms above your head, clasp your hands together and turn them palms upwards. Slide your body off your heels to the right and at the same time gently swing your arms towards the opposite side. You should not bend forward while performing this movement but move from the waist to the side only. Now raise your body off the floor, swing it slowly and gently to the other side and at the same time swing your arms over to the opposite side. Try to keep your knees together throughout the Sideslip Posture, but if you find this difficult or impossible at first, you may hold your knees apart to maintain your balance, but at all times endeavor to bring your knees together.

Many people, while attempting this asana for the first time, have difficulty with stage 3, that is the lifting of the body off the floor and the swinging it to the other side. In fact some people have trouble in getting themselves off the floor at all in this position and others, if they do succeed, land with a great thump on the opposite side and have difficulty getting up from there. Be patient. This exercise is not quite so easy as it looks. Graceful, and a great favorite with women everywhere, it looks simple enough but in actual fact it requires a high degree of muscular control and concentration.

Remember your head while you are doing the SIDESLIP POSTURE. It should bend the same way as your arms which you should, throughout the movement, try to press backwards as far as possible to avoid any possible sagging forward of your body.

This asana is one of the finest in the entire Yoga range for slimming the waist and reducing that pad of fat which often settles on top of the hipbones. You will feel a powerful stretch from your hips to your armpits and if you do this exercise correctly you will feel rather sore in the region of your hip joints the next day. This is normal and it will prove to you that this Yoga exercise has already begun to work for you. While one side of your body is being stretched the other side is being powerfully contracted. You can feel it squeezing the fatty tissue. It also imparts a healthy massage to the organs and muscles of the abdomen and helps the torso towards a new suppleness and grace.

When you can perform the SIDESLIP POSTURE at a moderate speed and with some degree of muscular control, then try to slow down the whole process so that it becomes a study in slow and gentle motion. This calls for a much higher degree of muscular control and thus the benefits of the posture are greatly enhanced. When you have perfected your movements in slow motion, regulate your deep breathing so that you lean to one side while inhaling and to the other while exhaling. Rhythm and slow motion are the final keywords in this exercise.

In its perfect form, the Sideslip Posture should be as follows. Lean to the right while inhaling. Remain immobile as you complete your inhalation and hold your breath for as long as possible. When the impulse to exhale appears, do so, as you raise your body off the floor and swing it to the other side. Remain immobile as you complete your exhalation and remain holding your breath for as long as possible before inhaling again. This constitutes one round. Perform up to a dozen rounds a day, starting with four and adding two rounds per week.

Like the Sideslip Posture, this next exercise is not so easy as it looks. It is called AROHANASANA or in English THE RAISED HEAD AND LEGS POSTURE. This asana wages war on that bulging abdomen. Lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched and your feet together. Lace your fingers together and place them at the back of your head just above your neck. Inhale very slowly and deeply and at the same time raise your head, shoulders, and legs off the floor, remembering to keep your knees straight. Hold this position until you have completed your inhalation. After holding your breath for a few seconds, very slowly return to the original position.

Those two words 'very slowly' in connection with the lowering of the legs will catch most of you out at first. You will want to plop your legs down on the floor in a great rush, but try as hard as you can to resist this impulse. It is the easy way out and you will gain nothing from employing it. You want to reduce that abdomen don't you? Then do please remember that there is no hurry at all in this exercise and the slow s-l-o-w lowering of the legs is precisely what strengthens, tones, exercises, and reduces those flabby abdominal muscles and helps to reduce fat in this area.

This is an exercise that requires a lot of patient practice before you can perform it perfectly. As it is a strenuous posture, do not do it more than twice a day for the first few days and after that very gradually increase the number of times you do it up to six.

In addition to toning and strengthening the abdominal muscles and reducing excess fat, this exercise also helps to relieve constipation, so it is doubly beneficial to the would-be-slimmer. The back and shoulders are also strengthened by the slow motion lifting and lowering of the head and shoulders.

A word of warning. This is not an exercise for women during pregnancy or who have any internal disorders, and people with hernia should practice it with extreme caution.

For those readers who find the Arohanasana too strenuous or simply beyond you, here is a similar though much easier exercise which is called UDHITTA PADASANA or THE RAISED LEG POSTURE.

1. Lie on your back with your legs outstretched and feet together. Inhale slowly and deeply and at the same time raise your right leg, keeping the knee straight until it is at right angles to your body.

2. Remain thus as you complete your inhalation, hold your breath for a few seconds while keeping absolutely still, your other leg flat on the floor.

3. When the impulse to exhale appears, do so, and at the same time very slowly lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg.

This simple exercise may be performed once or twice a day until you feel you are ready to try it with both legs at once. This exercise, like the previous one, will help to break up fatty tissue in the abdominal area. I must warn beginners to this and the previous exercise, that they might find their abdominal muscles a little sore the day after starting as you are using muscles which may never have been used in that way before. Do not worry about the discomfort. It means that Yoga is working for you so you should welcome it as a sign that you were performing the exercise properly. Remember always to lower your legs s-1-o-w-l-y.

Let us now try a standing posture for the improvement of the figure. This one will keep your spine healthy and supple, reduce abdominal fat, tone up sluggish bowels, and slim your waist. It is called THE WOODCUTTER Exercise.

Stand erect, feet far apart. Stretch out your arms, lace your fingers together and imagine that you are holding a very heavy axe. Inhale slowly and deeply and at the same time slowly raise the 'axe' above your head until you are leaning back as far as you can without losing your balance. Remain in the backward bend as you complete your inhalation, remain immobile for a few seconds holding your breath. When the impulse to exhale appears, swing the 'axe' down slowly as though there were actually a log in front of you and you were chopping it up. The downward movement should be a very powerful one, but do not stop when you reach the imaginary log, but let your hands follow through your legs.

Repeat this exercise six times, and do watch the following four points. Firstly that your elbows should be straight throughout, secondly that your feet should be firmly planted on the floor without moving, thirdly that you do not move your buttocks whilst you are bending down, and lastly, that all the movement should be done from above the waist. The lower half of the body should remain absolutely still.

A word of warning. This is a rather strenuous exercise and I do not recommend it for women with internal complaints or people with weak hearts. This exercise should not be done during menstruation.

The next posture for reducing abdominal fat is called THE TRIANGLE BEND.

Stand erect with your hands clasped together behind your back. Your feet should be far apart with your knees straight. Inhale slowly and at the same time turn your torso, from the waist upwards, slightly to the right. Continue with your inhalation as you bend your head slowly until your forehead touches your right knee. Your hands should still be clasped behind your back. Remain in this position for as long as you comfortably can without exhaling and, when the impulse to exhale appears, do so, at the same time slowly straightening up. Repeat the movement to the other side, bending your head towards the left knee.

That is the Triangle Bend. Repeat it twice each way at first but when you are limbered up you can perform it up to half a dozen times. Did I hear some of you say 'impossible'. I'll admit that if you are very stiff or very much overweight, the Triangle Bend may well seem so, but again I must ask you to practice it, without straining, and you will soon be pleasantly surprised at how easy this exercise really is. It reduces fat on the abdomen, waist, and thighs.

And now for another posture which has a similar name. This is TRIKONASANA or THE TRIANGLE POSTURE, and you may find it easier than the previous one. It is one of the most effective Yoga asanas for reducing fat round the waistline, the hips, the upper arms, and the thighs, and it should present little difficulty even to the beginner.

Stand erect, feet far apart, and your arms extended sideways at shoulder level. While keeping your head in the same position (that is not turning it), bend slowly to the right until your right hand touches your right foot. You will have to bend your right knee a little to do this and at the same time your left leg should remain outstretched to maintain balance. Your left arm should be gradually brought up and over your head as far as possible. Remain in this position until you have completed your inhalation. When the impulse to inhale appears, do so and at the same time slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise to the other side.

The most important feature of this exercise is the gradual increase of the stretch of the free arm, which should be brought over farther and farther each time you practice this exercise. It should be performed four times a day at first and, when you become more flexible, it can be performed up to a dozen times a day. The accent is on slow and rhythmical movement, as this exercise is much more beneficial to the health and the figure when performed slowly and gracefully. The breathing should also be carefully timed to coincide with the appropriate movements. Trikonasana is not a very strenuous posture but, all the same, I do not advise it for women with any kind of internal disorders or for people suffering from hernia.

This being the last of the so-called 'slimming' Yoga asanas, I should like to lend a helping hand to those of you who, with the best will in the world to practice Yoga and grow slim, feel that you cannot find the time to practice. I know it isn't always easy especially if you go out to business, as the mornings are filled with rushing about, and breakfasts and bath water, and if something has to be left out-well that's Yoga isn't it? This is one of the main reasons, I find, why would-be devotees of Yoga do not pursue the subject.

In view of the fact that Yoga asanas should be done on an empty stomach, it is usually convenient to perform your practice schedule first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. You may feel you are too sleepy to do them then but you will find that some of the asanas are very bracing owing to their stimulating effect on the nervous system and soon give you a wide-awake feeling. And once you have established the habit of doing Yoga postures first thing in the morning, it should become as much a part of your routine as having your morning bath or cleaning your teeth.

So, starting with one of those bracing exercises, here is a ten-minute practice schedule which is not beyond the means of anyone. All you do is get up ten minutes earlier. Ten short minutes each day-so very little time to devote to Yoga, but how rich will be the rewards, so rich that I feel convinced that many of you will soon want to get up even earlier to devote yet more time to this healthful study.

Ten-Minute Practice Schedule
1. Limbering up for Sideslip -1 minute
2. Sideslip - 3 minutes
3. Raised Head and Legs Posture - four times 2 minutes
4. Leg Raising Posture
5. Woodchopper - six times 1 minute
6. Triangle Bend - four times 1 minutes
7. Triangle - six times 2 minutes

This ten-minute practice schedule can be varied of course, according to your individual needs and the amount of time at your disposal. There may be one exercise which you find you like better than some of the others, in which case, do spend more time on that one. The schedule I have set out is a mere indication of what can be done with a few minutes set aside for Yoga practice. Do not omit the correct breathing as you perform these exercises and if you would slim do please avoid constipation, as this is one of the worst enemies of the body and of the figure. Yoga will do wonders for your health and your appearance and for your figure, but do please give it a helping hand by watching your diet.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fitness Yoga Tips For Moms With Newborns

When the glow of childbirth wears off, what you will start wondering is just how much damage has been done. Not as much as you think, but getting yourself back to where you were will take some time, and you will have to take it slow and easy. Fitness yoga is a great way to get back into the swing of things, and can adjusted for each individual to be as simple or as difficult as you want it to be. As a bonus, once you get some muscle tone back you can take on more challenging positions that will really get you into shape.

Most communities offer some kind of fitness yoga, and may even offer yoga for new moms. Classes even allow you to bring your little one so you don't have to find a sitter or leave your baby at home. Beginner classes focus on reintroducing the body to exercise through gentle stretching and strengthening positions. As you become stronger and more limber you will find that you can go deeper into poses and hold them for longer, getting more benefits out of the class.

There are many different types of yoga, and starting with a beginner class will open up a whole new world of exercise for you. You can go for more meditative classes that focus on breath and connection to the world. Or you can get your heart rate up with some flow yoga which will keep you moving from pose to pose, or really challenge yourself with Bikram Yoga, which is performed in a 105F room and gets you sweating.

Fitness yoga will not only get you strong and toned, the positions will relax you and help you cope with stress. Cardio-based yogas will get the blood flowing to joints and muscles which will also release endorphins, the body's natural happy drug.

To succeed with fitness yoga you need to stick with it. Try to go twice a week if possible, you will see results quicker this way and you will find that your body is more responsive when there isn't a huge lag time in between sessions.

Can the Wii Fit Yoga help you tone your muscles and loose the post pregnancy baby fat and tone up your abdominal muscles with abdominal strengthening exercises?

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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Yoga: Breathing And Relaxing

You don't need to fall into the stress mode of life. You can use breath to relax, rather than stress, your mind and body. Yoga helps you to relearn that natural state that your body and mind want to be in: relaxation.

Deep breathing is both calming and energizing. The energy you feel from a few minutes of careful breathe is not nervous or hyper, but that calm, steady energy we all need. Slow, steady, and quiet breathing gives a message to your nervous system: Be calm.

Whole books have been written on yoga breathing. Here is one 5-minute Breath Break. (Read through the instructions several times before you try the practice.)

1. Sit with your spine as straight as possible. Use a chair if necessary but don't slump into it. Feet flat on the floor with knees directly over the center of your feet. Use a book or cushion under your feet if they do not rest comfortably on the floor. Hands are on the tops of your legs.

2. Close your eyes gently and let them rest behind closed lids.

3. Think about your ribs, at the front, back, and at the sides of your body. Your lungs are behind those ribs.

4. Feel your lungs filling up, your ribs expanding out and up. Feel your lungs emptying, your ribs coming back down and in. Don't push the breath.

5. The first few times you do this, do it for 2 to 3 minutes, then do it for up to 5 to 10 minutes. At first, set aside a time at least once a day to do this. When you learn how good it makes you feel, you'll want to do it at other times as well.

Just as one stressful situation goes into your next challenge, relaxing for a few minutes every day gradually carries over into the rest of your daily life and activities.

By: Nicholas Tan

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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Mantra Yoga - Meditating on a Sound

Sound is all around us; yet, sound is within us. Both forms of sound can be used for constructive meditation sessions. A repetitive external sound can easily be used to focus the mind. There are musical compositions for meditation. For beginners, the more repetitive the sound, the easier it will be to focus.

There are many Kiirtan songs which use the words "Baba Nam Kevalam," which is a Sanskrit mantra that means "Love is all there is" or "Love is the essence of all things." Kiirtan musical compositions give off a variety of feelings. Some people love it, and some do not.

If you want to try meditation on sound, please be sure the music you choose makes you feel relaxed and able to concentrate. You may have to experiment to find the right music for you. It should also be noted that some people do not meditate well with music at all.

If you decide to practice meditation while listening to music, at a low volume, you will begin to notice the music fades from your mind. As you continue to focus on sound, you will start to take in the sounds of the world around you without judgment. If you listen to the world around you, there is a background hum.

This is "Om," the most natural of all sounds. This sound is most noticeable when you are away from cities, traffic, and the rest of humanity. For some of us, we can hear this sound anywhere we go. At the same time, some people cannot hear it at all.

This explains why many people go to Yoga, meditation, or spiritual retreats. A retreat gives the practitioner time to focus on the mental and spiritual planes of existence, which are not easily noticed when living in fast-paced industrial societies.

Om is a mantra, which exists all around us, without having to produce the sound within. Om is "pravana," which weaves its way through the fabric of life. Between the sharp sounds made by humans, machinery, nature, and other animals, the sound of Om is always there.

Many of us have heard of "mantra," it is an overused word, which is often over simplified. Mantra is a sacred sound, or phrase, which is repeated to expand our awareness and consciousness. At the same time, mantra has the ability to protect our minds from pessimism, stress, anxiety, and negativity.

Meditating on sound gives you the ability to control your consciousness, instead of being dominated by random negative thoughts and emotions, which come to you externally. The ability to create your own heaven on earth can be found in mantra, but the ability to control your consciousness can also be found in prayer and positive affirmation.

On this earth, we the have the choice to enjoy life or live a miserable existence. Your awareness and consciousness are a viewpoint of life itself. A materially rich man can be just as miserable as a poor man, because they both can influence internal awareness and consciousness.

© Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit:

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Friday, 17 October 2008

3 Simple Yoga Exercises For Ripped Abs

Core abdominal training and power is perhaps the most important aspect of physical fitness, and yoga is an excellent science to help target and develop this region. According to yoga, the abdominal area is governed by the Solar Plexus Chakra, called the Manipura Chakra in Sanskrit, and this chakra is responsible for not just providing the body with the physical energy it needs, but is also responsible for your willpower and strength of character.

Yoga abdominal exercises work on many dimensions of your being. They not just tone and strengthen the stomach muscles, but they also open and balance the Manipura Chakra mentioned above. Thus, not only is your core strength and power improved, but, also your willpower and strength of character developed. In this article I will give three excellent yoga exercises for developing this all important center.

1. Single Yoga Leg Lifts:

Lie on your back with your hands underneath your buttocks palms facing down. The hand position is to support your lower back. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your lower back, go ahead and roll more of your arms underneath you, this will give even more lower back support.

Now lift your left leg up to ninety degrees in a slow, smooth motion keeping it as straight at the knee as possible. Inhale as you lift you lift up, then exhale and bring the leg back down. Next repeat this exercise with the right leg. Continue in this fashion, lifting alternate legs to ninety degrees for one to three minutes.

Take a break in between if you need to. Remember never to overdo anything when it comes to yoga. Slow and steady is the golden rule.

2. Double Yoga Leg Lifts:

Once you complete your single leg lifts take a short break and then try the same exercise but this time lift both legs together is a smooth motion to ninety degrees and then back down. Again try to keep the legs as straight as possible. Keep the hands underneath the buttocks as above to support the lower back.

3. Criss-Cross Legs:

You will find the above two exercise really target the central abs, and this exercise will attack the obliques, which are the stomach muscles that line the side of the abdominal. For this exercise, again remain on your back with the hands underneath your buttocks palms facing down, then raise your legs twelve to eighteen inches above the floor and keeping the toes pointed begin to rapidly criss-cross them.

By criss-cross here, I mean that let the legs cross over each other at the ankles, where fist the right leg crosses over the top of the left, and then the left crosses over the the top of the right. This action will really work the stomach muscles and is excellent training for abdominal strength and toning.


So there you have three excellent exercises for toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles and activating the Solar Plexus Chakra. These exercises also provide the added benefit of helping your digestive system and is an excellent set for those who are just starting out their yoga practice.

Anmol Mehta is a modern Yoga & Meditation master. His massive website offers the ultimate Guided Meditation Techniques guide, a powerful Third Eye Meditation and free Yoga Exercise Videos.

This article is available for reprint on your website and/or newsletter, provided it is not changed and you include the author's signature.

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3 Great Poses In A Pregnancy Yoga Video

The final resting pose that a pregnancy yoga video often has at the end of the workout is great for helping you simply relax your body. This is a great one to help you both with pregnancy discomfort and to prepare you for childbirth. Being able to relax your entire body can be great for helping you get rid of pain in any area of your body. The focused relaxation of different areas of your body that the instructor often does can help you focus on relaxing each area of your body and getting rid of tension in all areas. The relaxation it teaches can help you prepare for childbirth because relaxation is a vital skill that can make a big difference to you when contractions begin during childbirth.

Squats accompanied by kegel exercises are another great pose in a pregnancy yoga video. The best benefit of this one is to help you during childbirth. The deep squat shown in many pregnancy yoga videos is considered the birthing position in many countries. It is reported that this particular position can shorten the birthing canal by up to 20%. Something to keep in mind when you are ready to give birth. Anything that makes the birthing process faster is always good. The kegel exercises that a pregnancy yoga video discusses are great because they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You will be using these muscles during childbirth so making sure that they are strong can be a great help to you.

If back pain is a problem for you during your pregnancy, there is a simple pose in a pregnancy yoga video that can help with this issue. In this pose, you are on your hands and knees. You put your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Then slowly arch your spine up and bring it back down. This pose is great for stretching out your back and helping relieve discomfort of the added pregnancy weight.

By: Jill B

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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Handy Guide To Yoga Retreat

Are you very excited to join a yoga retreat? You would do well to plan your trip properly, in order to make it a grand success.

Here are some FAQs that will guide you in planning your yoga retreat.

1. First things first. One of the best things about retreats is that you give yourself an ultimate treat. A yoga retreat is meant for all of us who wish to prevent stress during vacation while doing the most beloved activity of yoga.

It is an education in itself wherein you get to relax, unwind and renew your sense of health. Moreover, it is an opportunity to connect and share with other people with similar experiences and explore the exciting nature adventures.

2. Yoga retreats are normally designed to gradually introduce the practice of yoga giving anyone the opportunity to learn on their own pace and ability. It is offered not only for yoga professionals but also to yoga students of any level.

All sorts of people and people from all age groups also join a retreat. Even other people who are looking for a transformative and memorable vacation experience enroll to a yoga retreat.

3. Yoga retreats are offered across the globe. So, you need to decide on a particular place. You can choose a place you’re interested in exploring. Any relaxing place that is ideal for yoga. The venue can be close to the nature, in the countryside or near the sea.

4.It is a must that you get one especially for beginners. The retreats provide the opportunity for the instructor to get a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses. In this way, he will have the idea on how to guide you.

It would also be beneficial if you have attended a yoga class with the instructor before the retreat. This is for you to have a better confidence that their teaching style and approach will meet your needs.

5. It is okay if some of you do not know the other. One of the good things about the retreat is that you’ll have the chance to work with other people. These people would be your best source of information, and be your friends. Also, through the yoga retreat you’ll be able to learn new techniques, and above all, have fun.

6. It would be ideal to have Casual, comfortable clothing. In case you are visiting a new destination, you find out from the retreat organizer the local weather of the place. This is to ensure you on the appropriate clothes to wear. However, in some cases clothing requirements are likely defined especially if there will be religious services.

7. Yoga retreats can be of many types, quite a few are like camping, in hotels, whereas a lot of them are are closer to the resorts. Therefore, please ask your retreat organizer about what all you should carry. You might be advised to bring some yoga accessories like flashlights, bathing suit, yoga mats, etc. Be sure to inquire about necessary passports and visas if you are going overseas.

Are you ready now for the experience of lifetime? remind yourself your goal that is to get rid of stress, educate yourself and have fun!

By: keshavlaxmi

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Monday, 13 October 2008

Yoga - 5 Yoga Habits To Better Health

Yoga is of the mind as ayurveda is of the body. As the mind is being constantly bombarded with information and going through thoughts, we have created many more diseases which we have to contend with. To live a happier existance and understand ones purpose in this life time, the mind needs to be calm and come under the control of the individual. The mind and body need to be fully connected and functioning together to be able to live in harmony and be disease free. Here are a few simple discipilines which if followed will have a major affect on a person's whole being.

1- Practice some postures on a daily or weekly basis to help the body stay igile and flexable. As the body consumes more physically and mentally, stiffness and rigidity set into the bones and muscle. Yoga postures will keep the body supple so you will be able to sit quietly for meditation. In today's age this is a fundemental necessity to be flexable.

2- Concentrate on your breathing to see what kind of rhythm is 'normal' to you. Do you take short breaths or do you stop breathing at times? Start to take a full breath as your stomach protrudes and your chest expands. When exhaling the chest relaxes and the stomach is sucked in a little. The breath should be through the nostrils and in a calm, deep and meditative manner to bring balance to the male/female or the hot/cold energy in our being. Breath is life so watch your breathing at all times.

3-Avoid overloading the senses by excessive behaviour and habits. Once the senses are over stimulated with too much food, drink and thoughts they disrupt the balance and harmony of the mind/body where a person finds it difficult to function naturally. The best way to control the senses is to avoid any excess and to also refrain from indulging in all activities, talk or desires which come to mind or are presented by others. This will cultivate discipline and help lower a person's ego mind and out of control desire of 'wanting.'

4- Be in silence some part of the day without noise or talking. Once the environment is quiet the mind will be more alert to what is going on in the body. Silence is necessary for us to be able to digest food and to digest information which comes invisibly through higher awareness. We connect to a higher level of consciousness once the noise pollution has been lowered. This is wonderful also for the nervous system which controls most of the body and mind.

5- During the day periodically watch your thoughts to identify what is entering your mind and which thoughts are more dominant and repetitive. Once you see a pattern, think back to the origin where and from whom this way of thinking came about. Move away from any judgement or expectations and just observe each thought to see its origin. Through the practices mentioned above the mind and thoughts will eventually be under your command.

Start to practice as no one can do this for you. A yogi or guru can guide but can never do the work which is up to each individual. The change you are looking for is in your control but first through choice one must take action.

By: Yogi Cameron

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Yoga and Back Pain Part 5

The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit translation "Yuj", meaning to unite; the union of both the mind and body resulting in a pure and perfect state of consciousness. It aims to tailor yoga to the individual needs of the student so that yoga is relevant to every person and every situation. "Yoga is a way of life, it changes you and therefore changes the way you relate to other people and influence your environment. Whatever your starting point and wherever you wish to take your yoga journey to, yoga is a non-competitive regime.

Speaking of which, yoga is definitely NOT a religious practice, though you could, if you wish, call it a spiritual practice. The ultimate aim of yoga is to unite the body, mind and spirit through the practice of physical exercises, breathing techniques and meditation. One who follows this path of Yoga is a yogi or yogini. The philosophy of Yoga is mainly of the Hindu tradition but its description of the spiritual significance corresponds closely to the teachings of many other religions.

Karma yoga is performed as an expression of divinity for the revelation of divinity, all other benefits, individual and communial being secondary or even insignificant. The great thing about yoga is it can be as vigorous or as gentle as you want it to be. Practising yoga is a completely different experience for most of us when we first start classes and in the beginning the postures (movements) can feel much more difficult than they look.

The "practice" of yoga is this actual effort to direct the mind towards one-pointedness, without distraction or interruption, and to calm and steady this wild monkey that jumps around in the jungle from branch to branch. The beauty of Yoga is that it is accessible to everyone, as the session can be adapted to each person's level of fitness or state of health.

With back, neck or shoulder pain yoga can help you and is well worth the effort with practice. The benefits that you will get by practicing yoga are substantial. Not only will you start to lose your back, neck or shoulder pain you will also feel better. You will tend to look younger than you are. Your body will be stronger and with your immune system stronger also you will tend to ward off colds and coughs.

Any injuries that you may have will also tend to recover quicker. It is well reported that the elderly have been practicing yoga for some time will heal quicker when they have a fall.

Glen Wood - The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.

To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE "Yoga and You" report at

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Yoga and Back Pain Part 4


One of the major concerns with acute back pain injuries is the prevention of the injury becoming a long term one, with all the individual, social and healthcare costs that chronic conditions incur. By setting up a programme of regular yoga practice your body will get stronger, more flexible and your immune system will be enhanced. You will feel better as the endorphins kick in.

How much pain do you need to go through before you say "I have had enough of this pain, I am now going to change the way I am doing things to make my life better"? Or you have a "aha" moment when you see the light coming on which makes sense to you and you will change. It is usually the former; we get into our comfort zones (although it may be painful) and are reluctant to change until we have had enough.

The dividends and benefits are numerous, so mush so that care homes and the like have introduced some form of exercise (yoga) to help the elderly. Much research has shown that when the elderly have a fall their recovery is much quicker when practicing yoga. Their quality of life seems to be better as well.

Yoga is a way of exercising your body, healing your body, meditating, relaxing your mind, re-connecting with the universe, and yourself. Yoga is the best thing in the world for aging bodies. Yoga is not about how flexible you are; it is about stretching your body and spine.

A complete science, Yoga is a way of life, an integrated education system that teaches the mind, body and inner spirit to coexist in harmony, originating in India, it's teachings can be traced back to over 5,000 thousand years ago. "Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are. In simple terms, however, Yoga is best thought of as a system for improving the holistic well being of an individual.

It is important to note that although it evolved in the Hindu society of India, Yoga is not a religious system and can be practiced without compromising your specific religious beliefs (or indeed without any religious belief whatsoever). Any Yoga is better than no Yoga, and 20 to 30 minutes a day is better than 90 minutes once a week. I believe that yoga is for everyone and it is my goal to pass on the ancient knowledge of yoga to my students, so they can experience the true spirit of yoga and begin to integrate some of this wisdom into their lives.

Glen Wood - The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.

To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE "Yoga and You" report at

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Yoga and Back Pain Part 3


Exercise in an important aspect of treating tension headaches. Yoga exercises for back pain. There are special exercises for relieving your back pain through yoga. A combination of stretching, extending and aerobic exercises will also aid recovery as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding future back injuries. Appropriate stretching exercises, which are best used in the morning and during and after a stressful work day, can be provided by a qualified health care professional.

Another important element to include in an exercise program is a form of cardiovascular exercise done two or three times a week and this can also be yogic. How can exercise help one look good and feel better at the same time? Good posture, proper body mechanics, and exercise will help you prevent back pain. Treatments may include trunk strengthening, range of motion/ stretching exercise, initiation of aerobic exercise program, posture and spinal mechanics instruction, soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, joint mobilization, and modalities for pain control such as heat, ice, ultrasound, and/or electrical stimulation.


Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. A large percentage of our patients suffer from repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, elbow pain, back pain, knee injures, and a wide variety of other musculoskeletal conditions throughout the body. Some medical conditions can cause pain to spread to the back from other parts of the body (referred pain). It is important to position yourself so that you can sit comfortably and minimize stress on any one area of your body. Applying ergonomic principles -- designing furniture and tools to protect the body from injury -- at home and in the workplace can greatly reduce the risk of back injury and help maintain a healthy back.

The best way to correct imbalances in the entire body from all injuries is a prevention exercise program with yoga. This tug-of-war from upper body back muscles verses lower body leg muscles has now caused vertebrae joint instability which can lead to numerous conditions and various pain levels such as stenosis, inflammation, nerve impingement, bulging, or herniated disc, ligament, tendon muscle, hyper-mobility, and so much more.


Treatment strategies aim to provide pain relief and restore flexibility and mobility. Exercise is amazingly effective in providing pain relief. A doctor said "mind and body effects" help bring pain relief.

Yes, doing yoga for your back may give you the benefit of pain relief, but establishing a yoga for back pain practice that is safe and meaningful for your condition requires that you know more about why and how to do selected yoga poses than the average yoga student.

Glen Wood - The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.

To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE "Yoga and You" report at

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Monday, 6 October 2008

Yoga and Back Pain Part 2

Although back pain is often caused by an injury to one or more of the structures of the back, it may have another cause. Factors that increase your risk for back pain and injury include getting older, having a family history of back pain, sitting for long periods, lifting or pulling heavy objects, or having a degenerative disease such as osteoporosis. Chronic pain syndrome caused by a previous injury or degenerative disease with aging can cause back pain. Many problems in the neck resulting from injury, recurring work strain, stress, and possibly joint degeneration can lead to head pain. Sudden back pain is characterized by: pain which lasts less than a month and half swelling and/or bruising in the area of injury.


Thai or yoga massage, physiotherapy or spinal therapy treatment for this type of back injury usually give good results and can reduce recovery time and prevent ongoing problems. Injuries such as sprains and fractures, mechanical problems including muscle spasms and imbalance and herniated discs, various acquired conditions of the spine including osteoporosis and rarely, infections and tumours may all give rise to back pain.

Still other studies have found that problems in the cervical spine can cause pain similar to headache. Walking and other cardiovascular exercises have been found to reduce and/or alleviate chronic pain problems, including a tension headache. Whether resulting from a severe or minor injury or daily wear and tear, most people will suffer from back problems at some point in their lives.

Work comfort and design will help most back problems that occur in the workplace which are caused by physical stress, such as being in an awkward position for a long time, making the same motions over and over, and simply using your back too much. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, which will affect about eight out of 10 people at some point during their lives.


Medical reports on yoga. Many doctors are now verifying that yoga is beneficial in treating a number of health problems, including back pain. Until recently headaches were largely considered a nuisance by the medical community and many other health care providers. Headaches are one of the most common reasons that people seek both medical and body work or chiropractic treatment. Because of their greater flexibility and lack of age related degeneration, children and teenagers are much less prone than adults to develop medically significant back pain.

In spite of the magnitude of the problem, a simple, effective cure for backache has proved elusive to modern medical science other than yoga. With a burning sensation of shoulder pain, desk bound and computer users may suffer from back pain on different sides of the body.

Glen Wood - The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.

To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE "Yoga and You" report at

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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Yoga and Back Pain Part 1


Lower back pain injuries are associated with lifting, twisting, bending, reaching, pulling and pushing actions. In order to help prevent back pain injuries, people should: Engage in exercises that don't jolt or strain the back, maintain correct posture, lift objects properly. Low back pain injuries create tug-of-wars with opposing and attachments of bone, ligament, tendon, and muscle.

Doctors also report that men complain of exercise and sports-related back pain injuries more often than women and the two genders identify different activities as the source of their discomfort. This is important because with greater strength and flexibility, not only can current episodes of pain be reduced, but it also helps to prevent further bouts of back pain injuries.


Pain from an injury may be sudden and severe. Pain from the lower back can affect anywhere in the lower limb. Pain usually felt in lower back, and sometimes one sided. Pain in the back may occur in any region from the base of the skull to the hips. Nearly all adults suffer at least one back-pain episode during their lives. In fact, nurses rank second in back-pain injuries among all professions. Our areas of speciality include: - Back pain, Neck pain, headaches, sciatica, migraine, shoulder pain, foot pain, whiplash, sports injuries.

Conditions which have responded successfully under our care are the entire above plus more. Many patients have been able to avoid undergoing surgery or prolonged exposure to medication by attending yoga classes and regular practice.

Although we concentrate on back and neck pain relief, many people suffer both neck and lower back pain. Areas of back strain are common and we offer some suggestions for back pain relief from simple corrections in your daily activities, to posture modification and some devices that are easy to use and can really help.

Local areas of muscle strain are very prevalent among back pain sufferers, and is seen in up to 85% of chronic pain patients. The intensity of pain can change from day to day and is typically made worse and maintained in a chronic state by poor posture, repetitive motions, stress, lack of sleep and even nutritional imbalances.


Our body movements usually do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Severe back injuries may result from car accidents, falls from significant heights, direct blows to the back or the top of the head, a high-energy fall onto the buttocks, or a penetrating injury such as a stab wound.

Glen Wood - The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.

To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE "Yoga and You" report at

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Saturday, 4 October 2008

Yoga For a Double Chin

Dressed to perfection for that evening out and that reflection in the mirror says differently? Well double chins can look quite ungainly when you want to look you best. All of you who suffer from obesity are, will needless to say, in possession of a double chin. Well, get rid of it. It can be done simply by losing weight. And if this is not happening then at least follow these simple rules of yoga for double chin reduction.

This mode of exercise has been in use for ages, and believes in the union of the spirit, body, and mind to create peace within the self, through the practicing of asanas and other meditative exercises.

The first rule of yoga for double chin reduction is-do not use fluffy pillows to sleep on. If possible, avoid pillows completely and sleep on a hard bed. Along with this, do the following exercises to get freedom from that extra chin hanging.

Now for the main exercise in yoga for double chin removal...All you have to do is simple. Just position yourself on a chair in front of the mirror and then look up to the ceiling. From that position, stretch your neck to look over the right shoulder and then follow it by doing the same over your left. Finally bring your neck to look in front and lower it to touch it to your clavicle bone. But remember to do this extremely slowly to get results.

It is believed in the yoga philosophy that one's age is judged not by the years he has lived but by the supple nature of his body and spine. Yoga is therefore effective as a preventive from decay of the body due to age. It makes the spine flexible, the skin more firm, removes tension and gives you a right posture. It therefore that yoga, by keeping your body healthy and in shape reduces the possibility of your getting a double chin

It not only prevents the body from getting bogged down by age but it also helps the mind feel younger thus helping you to lead a greater and more fulfilling life. Moreover, through the asanas yoga continuously fights and neutralizes diseases and problems both inside the body and outside. Therefore, it is only natural that a man who practices yoga regularly will live a longer life than those not practicing. This especially true of those individuals who practice Hatha yoga, which is there for increasing the tenure of life. Moreover, often it has been seen that the inverted yoga postures help reduces graying of hair thereby giving a younger look.

Thus it can be said that practicing yoga is not only healthy for the body but for the mind as well. It will not only reduce your double chin and tone your body, it will also help you fight diseases and problems, both mental and physical, to help you lead a healthier life.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Youth and Children Yoga Pants Available

A lot of exercises and activities in this day and age are too strenuous for children or kids under a certain age. But with Yoga anyone, it doesn't matter the age, size, or sex, can do it. In fact, it is one of the most beneficial exercise activities for people of all ages to involve themselves in. Not only can it make your body healthier, but it has also been proven to reduce stress and other health related ailments. If that wasn't enough it also can "calm" the soul and mind. Yoga was first started as a spiritual practice in Hinduism almost 5000 years ago, but now in the more modern age a part of Yoga known as Asana has grown purely as a form of exercise. Asana is simply a way of keeping fit and healthy.

If you are interested in getting your children into something like this, it would be a good idea to start looking into things like yoga classes, as well as yoga apparel for your child. Listed below are a few clothing items that you can look into getting for your children. These clothing items come in different variations as well as sizes and colors.

Youth Yoga Pants: Classic, low-rise, cropped low-rise, and Capri
Classic sizes: 8, 10, 12
Classic colors: Black, white, pink, blue, brown, charcoal
Low-rise sizes: Extra small, small, medium, large
Low-rise colors: Black & Navy
Capri sizes: 8, 10, 12
Capri colors: Black, white, pink, aqua, lime, blue, navy, brown

Youth cotton racer back top -
Sizes: Extra small, small, medium, large
Colors: Black, reds, white, greys, blues, greens, purples, pinks and more

Youth sports bra -
Sizes: Extra small, small, medium, large
Colors: Black, reds, white, blues, greens, purples, charcoal, brown, pink, neon's and more

If you would like to know more information about yoga in general or yoga products please visit the following websites listed below:

AOL health
American Yoga Association Organization (this is the official Yoga website)
Green Yoga

I have seen a lot of sites online that offer yoga and yoga type products and I have to say these are my favorite stores. They have everything you could or would need for yoga or yoga specific products. I refer to sites like this as being "one-stop-shops." Why would you want to go anywhere else when you could find everything you want on a single site? These are the sites you should be looking out for! Ease, convenience, variety and more! Have fun!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Four Basic Yoga Breathing Techniques

NO.1 Dirgha Pranayama

It's important, right from the beginning, to learn to breathe deeply and slowly in a controlled manner. This is known as dirgha pranayama (or simply, long or prolonged breathing).

The greatest amount of prana is absorbed by the nerve endings which line the lungs. Shallow breathing limits the amount of absorption, and therefore is a major cause of many of the chronic health problems that people face. The re-establishment of deep, full breathing is so important to re-gaining and maintaining good health.


  • Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and spine straight
  • Allow yourself to breathe naturally for a few minutes, letting go of any tension in your body and calming your mind.
  • In the beginning breathe in and out deeply through the nose several times to ventilate the air that might have been stagnating in the respiratory tracts.
  • After several ventilating breaths, exhale the air through the mouth, trying to empty the lungs. Maintain the empty lungs for a moment, without straining or forcing yourself.
  • Inhale slowly and uniformly through the nose, filling your lungs with as much air as possible. Hold your breath with your lungs filled with air for a moment, but again do not force yourself to hold it for too long. In time, you will manage to hold your breath for longer intervals.
  • Slowly and uniformly exhale through the mouth, avoiding an explosive elimination of the air.

Note: Do every step in a controlled and calm manner.

  • Relax and take a few comfortable breaths in your own rhythm, and then try again a little deeper, as described above.
  • Again relax your breath for a few rounds when you feel the urge to do so.
  • Try a third set, without forcing yourself too much, or overdoing it.

When complete, lie down (in Shava Asana) and breathe in a relaxed fashion, inhaling and exhaling only through the nose now. Allow your body to let go of all tension, while at the same time just keeping your attention on your breath without trying to affect or direct it in any way. Try to maintain your attention for at least 5 minutes before allowing yourself to let go off all efforts and relax completely. For NO.2, NO.3 and NO.4, please

NO2. Sukha Pranayama

'Sukha' is the Sanskrit word for 'easy'. We use this yoga breathing technique, (the easy breath) to help develop a slow and steady breathing rhythm.


  • Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and spine straight
  • Allow yourself to breathe naturally for a few minutes, letting go of any tension in your body and calming your mind.
  • When you feel at ease, begin inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly, counting to 6 (roughly 6 seconds) during the inhalation, and likewise, 6 counts for the exhalation.
  • Perform 6 to 10 rounds of this breath and then allow yourself relax and breathe in an calm manner.
  • After a few moments, perform another 6 to 10 rounds of the sukha breathing rhythm.
  • Finish by lying down for 5 to 10 minutes, relaxing the breath and letting go of all tension.
  • After a few days, begin to increase the duration of practice, breathing in the sukha rhythm (6-count in and 6-count out) eventually up to 5 minutes at a time.

NO3. Sukha Purvaka Pranayama

The Sanskrit word 'sukha' means 'easy or pleasant'. 'Purvah' refers to 'that which precedes'. Therefore, sukha purvaka pranayama means 'the simple breath which must be mastered before proceeding to more difficult pranayamas'.

In this yoga breathing technique, we are introduced to the four distinct stages (or functions) of the breath:

  • The inhalation (puraka)
  • The held-in breath (kumbhaka)
  • The exhalation (rechaka)
  • The held-out breath (shunyaka)


  • Again, sit comfortably with your eyes closed and spine straight.
  • Allow yourself to breathe naturally for a few minutes, letting go of any tension in your body and calming your mind.
  • In this yoga breathing technique, breathing happens only through the nose.

NO.4 Vyaghrah Pranayama (the tiger breath)

A wonderful yoga breathing technique to help open up the lungs and improve breathing capacity is the vyaghrah pranayama, the 'tiger-breath'. It is performed in chatus pada asana (on the hands and knees).


  • Inhale (to a 6-count) while slowly lowering the abdomen toward the floor and raising the head, neck and chin skyward into a nice back bend.
  • Exhale (again to a 6-count) and slowly lower the head, drawing your chin in towards the chest, while at the same time pushing firmly with the arms and raising the back into a nice high arch.
  • Repeat this movement with the corresponding breath 3 to 6 times.
  • Relax for a few breaths and then repeat another round of 6 to 9 repetitions.
  • Finish by lying down for 5 to 10 minutes, relaxing the breath and letting go of all tension.

Read Raina Sweet's story with 3 weeks Yoga E-courese:

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