Ashta Anga refers to the eight limbs of Yoga. According to the ancient texts, “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali,” and “The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” all eight must be practiced in order for Yoga to occur. Yoga is both the means and the end. It is the combination of the practices of right action, speech and thought. What is right is defined by the eight limbs. When we follow the guidelines provided by the ancient Yogis we are more likely to be upon the right path.
The Right Practice for You
Every body is different and each one of us is unique. Just because all of your friends are taking “Hot Yoga” or “Vinyasa,” style classes that does not mean it is the right practice for you. In fact, it is rare that a hot or active practice is the best place for any of us to begin. The additional stress placed upon your body due to warm temperatures and new, challenging movements can actually hurt you. As with anything new, your first Yoga practice should be slow and well directed. You should be given the opportunity to attempt simple movements, ask questions and provide feedback to your teacher about how you are feeling throughout the session.
Living in Pain
I began practicing Yoga because all of my friends were enrolled in the class and it fulfilled a course requirement. I continued practicing because it initially reduced and then eliminated my debilitating back pain.
My pain had begun in high school as a result of scoliosis and growth spurts while competitively running in track and cross country. I continued to run while in college and continued to damage my back further. Adding insult to injury; my role as a teacher for children with autism required that I lean forward to reach desks and be at eye level with my students. There were days during which, due to the pain, I couldn't stand up straight, sit comfortably or sleep.
Yoga for Healing
Yoga Asana as well as the calming effects of breathing consciously and mindfulness practices helped me to heal. The movement was the perfect prescription for my back. The breathing helped me to remain calm when managing stressful situations and aggressive students. The mindfulness practices helped me learn to slow down and focus so that I could pause before putting my body into an unsafe position or activity.
As I continued to practice I learned the differences between the various modern styles and began to explore the various practices. When I met my teacher, in New York, I was granted access to the lineage of Rajahatha Yoga and began to develop my own practices in a way that best works for my life.
Continuing the Healing
Although I enjoy attending group classes at Yoga studios, my personal practice is what keeps me healthy. I spend less time moving actively and more time slowing down. The more slowly I move, the more awareness I have, and the better I am at addressing whatever issues; physical, emotional, energetic or mindful, that I am dealing with.
If you are ready to begin healing and to feel better through Yoga you might consider seeking out a teacher who has experience in more than just teaching classes. That which you experience physically could be a manifestation of something deeper and vice versa. Seek someone who can offer more than just poses. Find a Guru: a guide who sheds light where it is currently darkness.
“The Holidays;” the time period that begins after Halloween and ends at the onset of the following year. It seems as though the promotion of these days begins earlier every year. As a result, you may be feeling any number of emotions and energies as you prepare for and are inundated with the events of the season.
Yoga can help. Here are 5 ways to apply the practices of Yoga to your life so that you may be a bit more calm, reasonable, and in control this holiday season.
Transalated to mean non-harming this practice of one of consideration of yourself and others. We all react to stress differently. We all perceive the holidays differently. We all experience the world differently. Practice non-harming this season by remembering the following:
-Participate in that which brings you and those closest to you happiness.
-Give yourself and others space and time to complete that which they are focused upon.
-Prepare yourself by taking a few moments to breathe before engaging.
-Eat, Drink and Enjoy slowly.
Self Study is the practice of learning from others and listening for our own vibrations. While spending time with friends and family practice listening. Ask about their lives, their experiences and their opinions. Allow them to express themselves. Listen for the gems of knowledge that are revealed as they share their stories.
If you become overwhelmed with the chatter, distractions, and noise of the day step aside to a more peaceful and quiet space. Reflect upon the goodness of the day. Take the time to enjoy all that you have been given and created for yourself. Hum or Aum in honor of the wonder of your life.
Move, groove and get active. Encourage others to join you. Yoga prescribes poses for specific application, but you don’t need to be in class to experience the benefits of conscious movement. Twist gently to massage your digestive system. Move through a seated version of cat and cow to move food through. Encourage children to get moving during a game of tag. Massage your grandmother’s shoulders. Take a walk outside. Activity before and after eating will help you to digest your food and feel energized.
Moderation may be one of the most challenging practices of the season. You may feel like you “have to” buy, eat, go, give, etc. Practice moderation by pausing to consider each choice you are about to make. Reflect upon the value of the item or experience. What is your intention behind each? Choose that which improves your life and that of others rather than that which looks or sounds good in the moment.
Surrender, dedication and devotion are the words used to translate this term. Be willing to surrender to the traditions of the holidays. Have fun, be silly, try something new and celebrate with time-honored traditions. Disregard the aspects of the season that spark negativity. Instead, focus upon the joyful moments so that you may experience Yoga all season long.
If you are interested in learning more about the philosophies and practices of Yoga as well as how to transition into a Yogic Lifestyle contact us at LakeTahoeYoga@gmail.com or call the studio at (775)580-7224.
When you're consumed with a busy work-life schedule, wellness is not a priority and often forgotten. We are too preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of life's demands. Opting for what's better is not an option. We prefer to do things that are convenient, easy, and fast. We're eating fast food, skipping exercise, and drinking numerous amounts of coffee. When you do have the spare time to work out, you're exhausted and the only thing you want to do is relax. Since you're seated comfortably on the sofa, why not zone out in front of the TV? Don't feel guilty. We've all done that. So the question remains, how is it even possible to be consistent with your wellness? It takes discipline, dedication, and perseverance with all aspects of your work-life schedule.
One of the most critical details to pay attention to is how you manage your time. Organize your time using a calendar app and a virtual assistant. It will clear some clouds from the chaos in your life. Set a schedule to plan not only work, but also your meals, exercise, and free time. A little can go a long way with wellness. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, enter it in your calendar. Set it on repeat to keep you on track. Be wise and realistic with your time allocation. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself not accomplishing tasks and goals. Inadvertently affecting your overall wellness to a negative state.
Prepare Healthy Meals
If you find yourself eating on the go most of the time, you’re likely eating highly processed fast food items that are loaded with fat, salt, carbohydrates, and sugar. Avoid that at all cost by preparing healthy meals. It’s possible to prepare healthy meals within the same amount of time as getting fast food. Based on The Statistics Portal study in July 2017, a fast food drive-thru service wait time is approximately 4 minutes. This study is based on the quickest fast food drive-thru services. This means that the wait time can be longer. You can prepare a healthy meal in 5-minutes! With meal preparation, it gives you full control to create healthy meals in no-time and done on a regular basis.
Exercise at Work
If you don’t have time to exercise at home, exercise at work. There are many exercises that you can do at your workplace. Stretch and do chair exercises every hour. You’ll forget to do this. This is when an hourly reminder set on your smartphone comes to your rescue. During a break, go for a brisk walk. If you work at a building with stairs, climb up and down the stairwell after lunch to burn off those calories. Don’t sit in traffic. Instead, go to an exercise class or the gym right after work. To make it more interesting, work out with a fellow associate. Having a workout partner will keep you motivated. However you see fit, do something that sparks your interest. You’ll look forward to doing your exercise regimen more often.
Get Plenty of Rest
Without getting enough sleep, you’ll be lethargic and unmotivated. On top of it, you’ll be jeopardizing your wellness and work performance. Make sure you sleep at a reasonable time and no less than 8 hours. Set a reminder during the weekdays if you have too. Save the partying on the weekends and on special occasions. Recharge yourself during the day with power naps from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Any later, it will disrupt your bedtime schedule. A 6, 30, or 60-minute nap will serve you best.
Wellness doesn’t only mean being physically fit and eating right. You can be in the best shape of your life and love your veggies, but if there’s a dark cloud above your head, what good will that do? When you keep a positive outlook in life, it will help you immensely. Start with practicing mindfulness and light meditation daily. You don’t need to be chanting a mantra while seated in a cross-legged position. You can do this anytime and sit however you like anywhere quietly for a few minutes. Then close your eyes, clear your mind, and take deep breaths. Try focusing on your daily affirmations. Believe in yourself and take action each day to accomplish your goals.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a few days or if you want to treat yourself. It’s okay. Consider it a break, but don’t wait too long or overdo it. Stay positive and think about the importance of your wellness. Then jump back into your daily wellness routines. After all, you’re not adopting new habits. You have a calendar. You eat and sleep daily. It’s a matter of being wiser with your time to incorporate work, life, and wellness altogether. In time, it’ll feel natural and you won’t have to struggle with your wellness again.
Celebrate Yourself by Celebrating Others
The practice of Santosha is defined as having an attitude of contentment through which unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy and satisfaction is obtained.
We humans seem to always be seeking satisfaction in the external world and our internal fantasies. Only when we comfortably accept what we currently have will be able to do the practices that lead to the highest realization.
Begin to practice Santosha by celebrating those in your life who help you to feel happy, comfortable and joyful. Realize the satisfaction and contentment that results from having them in your life.
Practice Yoga Everyday, Everywhere
Just because September has been designated as "National Yoga Month" doesn't mean that you should stop practicing when the month has ended. Just like any other lifestyle Yoga is to be practiced regularly in order to have the best effect.
Remember that Asana is just one eighth of the practice. There are seven other fabulous aspects that you can incorporate into your life. Conscious breathing, mindful focus, inward awareness, etc. can all effect you at home, at work and while out enjoying the world.
Your health depends upon more than just one month of Yoga. The best time to begin is now and the best time to continue is forever.
Contentment Happens When We Let Go
Most of our lives are driven by control. We have schedules, responsibilities, places to be and people to see. Add the practice of Yoga to your daily schedule. Join a class, follow a video, book a private session. Booking the time for yourself will allow you the opportunity to let go.
Your time in the practice is time to let go. Release the worries and stresses of the day. Relax and know that there is no where else to be. Learn to practice taking time out for yourself. Learn to change your lifestyle with Yoga.
Practice Yoga, Change Your Life
Yoga is, if nothing else, a practice in mind over matter. The more we practice, the more we begin to change the way we feel, see and engage in the world. Join us and learn to begin creating change. It may not happen quickly, but that feeling of Santosha (contentment) will slowly express itself as you continue to focus upon Discovering Your Self.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars per month and three hours every day to get into shape. It is possible to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle, even if your budget is bare and you barely have time to breathe. These activities will fit into your schedule without purging your pocket.
Park entrance fees aside, hiking is an activity you can enjoy with friends and family for free. And even more than simply getting in shape, hiking will help you get in touch with nature, which studies have shown can have a positive impact on your mood. The Healthy Living section of Huff Post reports that hikers are among the fittest people out there and enjoy lower blood pressure and longer attention spans than the rest of us. Hiking on dirt trails is also easier on the joints than pounding the pavement.
There’s no denying that running is good for the heart. Even a short five or 10 minutes jog each day can drastically lower your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. Fitness further reports that running triggers a chemical in the brain that produces euphoria and burns an astounding 12.2 cal per minute. Another significant benefit of running is that you don’t have to have any special equipment, just a pair of practical running shoes and a desire to strengthen your core, legs, heart, and lungs.
Like hiking, yoga provides a boost for both mind and body. It’s also one of the easiest ways to put yourself in a relaxed mindful state. Yoga and guided focus are used nationwide as alternative therapy in addiction recovery to help people overcome both physical, mental, and emotional burdens. DrugRehab.org explains, “This is because these activities allow you to focus your mind and can relieve stress and anxiety, both of which are triggers for relapse in many individuals who are in recovery.
Trampolines aren’t just for kids, although bouncing for half an hour with your children is an excellent way to burn calories while toning and tightening every muscle in the body. If you don’t have kids or the room in your yard for a recreational trampoline, a small fitness trampoline will get the job done. Not only is jumping on a trampoline fun, but this specific motion encourages your lymphatic system to rid itself of waste. Jumping also improves coordination and balance and is a relatively low impact form of cardiovascular exercise.
Take extra steps
How many steps in a 24 hour day does it take to meet general fitness guidelines? According to Fitbit: 10,000. That’s just enough strides to equal five miles…When you think of it that way, it’s an impressive feat for your feet. While it can be hard to figure out exactly how to get that many steps in on an average day, it’s possible if you look for opportunities. Here are a few ideas: park as far away as possible at the grocery store. Make two trips instead of one to the laundry room for each load. Walk to the mailbox instead of stopping on your way into the driveway,
Whether you’re hiking, jogging, jumping or sneaking in a little yoga under the stars, keeping your body in motion is paramount to a healthy body and mind. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic says just 30 minutes of physical activity each day will go a long way toward improving your health. And, when you break it up into short burst of activity, there’s no excuses for not getting off the couch or away from your computer.