Modified Yoga Develops Focus

Distraction is a very big concern for many of my modified yoga clients. People are distracted by their phone, their obligations, and the bad news on news outlets. In this world of super speed; constant updates and information bombardment, it's understandable that people can not focus. Distraction and lack of focus becomes a force of habit. People have not been well well, how to stay focused. So they just remain in a constant state of distraction. Modified yoga teachers people to focus with intensity. It allows them to make a choice to turn off the bad news, to free themselves. It gives them a choice; to stop worrying, about everyone else, in their lives for a brief time; without guilt.

How does it happen? While my clients are with me in my modified yoga class, I ask them to focus on the breathing, and on the pose, and a long point in front of them. When their minds wander I remind them, to come back and be in this present moment. To do a balance pose, without focus, sure it's possible to do well. But it's more likely that they will fall off-balance, the moment they lose their focus. When they really concentrate on their breathing, they move the focus from the top of the head through the tail bone. If they can continue to focus, they could also feel their feet grounded to the earth. They could hear their heart-beating.

We also do focused meditations in class. Many of my clients have not had much experience with meditation, and do not know how to get into a complete state of relaxation, or a super calm space. An exercise of focus during meditation, eases them into awareness of the space around them. To be aware of everything that comes within the sight of the eyes, and peripheral vision. Sometimes I set an object in the middle of the circle, and have them sit still; with their eyes open, and to concentrate on the object in the center. Other times we do color meditation. To first have them focus, on a colored jacket or strap, in the circle center, so that when they close their eyes, the will be able to imagine the vividness of the color. Other times I ask them to touch their center of their palm, with one of their fingers. When they close their eyes, they can still feel, the finger which had made an impression, against their palm. I ask them to focus on that finger impression. All these techniques assist in their focus.

Back to our modified yoga poses. When a client focus on the body through the exercises, I ask him or her to scan their body, to find out if they can sense when there is tension. I then direct my client to breathe into those tight points. When in poses, it's a good exercise to imagine that you can breathe past the area that you are working on. For an example if you were holding your leg in a pose, you would focus past the leg, to a point in space. The extended focus frees your mind from the confines of the body, and allows the client to feel, the pain or discomfort as located in a remote place, that is separate from their body.

Many poses are difficult, to do well one needs to focus. But more importantly I encourage my clients, to focus on what is really working for them. If there is pain, the best solution is to modify or accomodate their own body or distress. To focus on the moment, where the pose starts to become uncomfortable, and then to pull back is super helpful, for my clients, who have compromises, or challenges. The focus is one of self-acceptance and allowing.

The awareness, the breathing, the poses, the other participants in the class. It's all part of it. When my clients are focused on poses, or focused inward; outside distractions dissolve after a moment. So the focus gained in a modified yoga class, is helpful, for adults, teens and young children. If everyone could learn to master focus, they could get far more accomplished, would not choose to focus on everything that went wrong, and would focus instead on what was good, and for what they could be grateful. They would learn to focus only on what is really important, what they are passionate about, and would fully accept all the parts of them, be themselves, and just focus on this present moment. If people developed their ability to focus, I really believe that they could learn to heal with their focus. Starting with their own back, knees, and hips. By developing focus, I really think they could achieve anything they wanted.

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Modified Yoga Strengthens Legs

Many senior clients come to their first modified yoga class lacking leg strength and with balance issues. On average, older individuals deal with many leg and feet issues, including hip and knee replacements, spider veins, sciatica, and ankle and feet challenges. By participating in a modified mat or modified chair yoga class consistently, most start developing their leg muscles, which immediately helps with balance, agility, their gait, and circulation. It's not just the seniors who can benefit. An inactive person, and one who sits too long, will have leg challenges. An overweight individual may also have some leg challenges. Others who have a leg or knee injury. A person with diabetes could have leg challenges.

Everyone who takes a modified yoga class will feel their legs getting stronger. In a modified yoga class, we also implement the use of straps, to aid in flexibility and isometric exercises challenges. By using a strap we are using the body's force against itself, and it causes leverage. In my experience, hamstrings are one of the toughest areas for most clients. Once they start loosing up the hamstrings, participants can usually do more weight-bearing, and lunging type of poses, and begin to develop more strength, agility and flexibility. By working against a wall, we can also create isometric poses, which aid in the strength building and flexibility.

It takes some discipline and practice to work your legs and protect your knees at the same time. Quad muscles are also tight for many clients. Think that everything is connected. From your lower back, hips, hamstrings, and quads, to your knees. If you have tight hamstrings and thighs, your knees and hips may also become challenged. If you have a knee challenge, you tend not to move too much because you are in pain. The quad muscles actually start atrophying from lack of use. You can not actually stretch your knee. Its bone, and cartilage. To heal your knee, a person will work on strengthening the thigh muscles, and the little muscles and ligaments on the outside or inside of your knee, and the hamstrings.

Leg lifts, done one leg at a time, with your knee slightly bent, while you are sitting, is just one exercise that will strengthen your quad muscles. A lateral leg movement to the side, will strengthen the muscle group on the side. Deep low lunges and presses like modified push-ups, or plank, side plank also build your legs. The warrior or triangle pose is another great strength builder. And these poses just do not strengthen your legs, but your gluts and your free hip connectors.

I smile when beginners come to me with the idea, about yoga that it is just breathing, meditation, and some arm stretching. I listened politely and then ask, “What about the push-ups? Have you ever tried yoga? You will feel it like a work out.” Even a modified yoga class; will create stamina, strength, and looser muscles. You will not feel the ache, of having just worked out with weights. But your own body becomes your weight. We do weight-bearing exercises, like push-ups that build the arms and legs.

Modified means that you can use straps, and you can do alternatives to poses, or a less strenuous version of a pose. But most clients feel a modified yoga class like a work out. It's a practice, it's a discipline. But modified yoga is very deceptive. You're not really aware that your body is getting stronger, until one day you notice that you can do more, that you have better stamina, that your legs are stronger. Sometimes it's when you took that long hike. Or after you did weight lifting, and realized that you had better focus, or breath control.

One client, eighty-two years young, was hiking through Asia, when she realized just how strong her legs had become. She said that sometimes she climbed over or under fences, and across walls, and up huge staircases to the temples, in very remote areas. All the travelers were about the same age, but she passed some resting along the way. She stopped and realized how strong her legs had become with our yoga classes.

The craze of power yoga, is like the fascination of an extreme sport. I advocate, yoga as a strength building, calming and healing the mind and body. Yoga to me, is ALREADY powerful. I do not think it's necessary to emphasize POWER YOGA. So if you do not want a Power yoga class, and you want something that is more modified. Modified yoga will work on your physical, mental and well-being. It will develop your overall strength, including your legs, ankles and hips and almost every other part as well. You can do it at your own pace, and modifying poses as you can. Are you ready to strengthen your legs, and do some modified yoga?

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Modified Yoga Gives Relief for Depression and Anxiety

I have been teaching yoga for twenty-two years. I got into yoga at that time, because I was suicidal, not just depressed. During that time period, my state of mind, was so down, that I began to daydream constantly, on how to kill myself. My friend dragged me to my first yoga class, and insisted, that yoga would help with my emotions. I resisted by saying, “How can yoga help with your emotions?” I had done other exercises , and other fitness classes. I was a runner, I played volley ball, basketball, tennis, and I did all sorts of fitness work outs. I thread myself into weights, crunches, and sit ups. I was plagued with worry, guilt, rage, insomnia, depression, and sorrow. Nothing had helped my state of mind, until yoga. Yoga truly saved my life. Now twenty-two years later; I'm dedicated Yoga teacher, with a passion to motivation, those who are; depressed or suicidal; and I urge them to come, to experience, the yoga difference.

From the very first class that I tried, yoga was hard for me. The poses were not that difficult to follow, but my hamstrings, hips and back muscles were super tight, and the stretching was painful for me. The breathing was contrary to breathing in working out, where you breathe out, through your mouth, to maintain the power of the work out. In yoga, by comparison, you breathe continuously through your nose. You take deep breaths in, that expand out your belly, and sometimes, you hold the breath for several seconds. I was determined to figure yoga out.

The movements were slow and thoughtful. The repetitions of the movement felt monotonous. Yoga worked on your strength, and you had to hold poses, such as down dog, or plank pose, or an inversion pose, for several looonnngggg moments.

Why does modified yoga work to relieve depression and anxiety? I feel that it's a combination of elements. First, modified is an easier yoga class, than a regular beginner's class. I personal share myself, and I encourage clients to do exactly what each can do in my class. There is an acceptance, and spirituality that is present in a restored or modified yoga class. The space in itself is a very calming, and not intimidating.

Yoga teachers you to fully dwell in the present moment. To do the poses well, requires focus, strength, balance, and a willingness to complete the pose. If your mind wanders, you may wobble off-balance, and fall. Plain and simple. The slow breathing, brings in more oxygen which then clears out your organs, such as the liver, which contains negative emotion, such as grief, and anger. The breathing and the poses, are specifically done which clears the stomach of gases, and stimulates blood flow. The injected posts, bring a blood flow to your brain, which stimulates, and revitalizes your brain, your skin, your lungs, and assists in altering your mood. The poses; open your torso and hips, which cause your heart to be open. When you change your physiology, from your fallback position, of closed, tight, and a seemingly guarded position, to a more open position, your body starts to trick your mind. Oh if I'm standing like this, I must not be depressed. If my chest is up, and my arms are out, maybe I'm happy, at least not sad.

In the present moment, if you really stay there, during the yoga pose, you realize that there is nothing from your life, which is happening right now. You are perfectly fine. If you snap your fingers; that snap is how quick, a present moment, zooms by. There is nothing worrisome, or that needs your immediate attention, no distracting voices, in your head, that tell you are worthless. It's just you being mindful and doing a moderate, focused, yoga pose.

Another element in a modified yoga class, that helps give relief for depression, is meditation. In almost every one of my yoga classes I put in meditation. Meditation, if practiced, helps clients stay in the present moment, and also allows them to sense, that they are loved, cared for, and there is a safe place within. There are many different types of meditation including color meditation, question and answer meditation, open-eyed meditation etc.

At first, yoga takes a lot of focus and discipline. Modified yoga is a discipline but it's easier than a regular strenuous mat class. You practice the poses, and the breathing, and you practice NOT beating yourself up, and allowing yourself to accept, that you are not perfect. When you develop in yoga, your confidence also develops. Sometime down the road, you realize, it was not too long ago, that you could not do, some of the strength and conditioning, poses of yoga, and now you can. Earlier, you may not have had much luck, with balance, and now, you stand on one foot for 1 minute or more.

The really important thing about a modified yoga class, since it's not as difficult as power yoga, is that everyone , or almost everyone can do some form of modified yoga. I have modified mat and modified chair. You experience acceptance, and not rejection which makes you feel better about yourself. Self-acceptance is a very important element to clearing depression and anxiety.

Self-acceptance allows you to acknowledge that you are not perfect, and therefore, you do not have to DO everything perfect. You do not have to claim responsibility for others happiness, or their choices, that lead them to the unsatisfied place, of their lives. So, if right now, you are struggling, with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, get help. Some counseling can really help, and go to a restorative or modified yoga class. Not a yoga class, where everyone is super competitive, or the teacher pushes you, beyond your limit. You have to go to a class, that you feel acceptance, honor and respect, and that you are truly encouraged, to do, only what you can do, and whatever ability, or flexibility you come with, you are encouraged. That class will be a transformational class for you! If you give it a chance, a modified yoga class along with, that positive Yoga teacher, will be able to assist you, in clearing depression and anxiety.

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Modified Yoga Relieves Shoulder Pain

Many active clients come to me with shoulder discomfort and actual shoulder pain. It's a pain that's very common, is very inconvenient and causes sleepless nights. Shoulders carry the brunt of; heavy bags, extra weight, the toil of excessive reaching, pulling and pushing, and actual injuries. As I work with clients through the modified yoga poses, we specifically focus on tight and strained shoulders to relate shoulder pain. The movements are slow and focused to stretch ligaments and shoulder tendons. Shoulder rolls are a great way to begin.

Many of the examples I will describe can be done standing or sitting. Roll both shoulders up and back several times in a slow circles. This starts to ease shoulder tension. Then we can focus on one shoulder at a time. Push one shoulder forward as if you are pushing a soft cloth forward. Do this about ten times or more. Then you can do the same with the other shoulder.

Before we continue to ease shoulder pain and strain, imagine a long horizontal line, which extends straight across the tops of the shoulders, and the line, extends past the sides of the shoulder. I call this the “shoulder line.” To avoid reinjuring a sore shoulder, as much is possible, you have to keep your arm moves, under the shoulder line. For an example; you can start with your back and shoulders rounded forward, and your chin down. Then you place your hands on the sides of your thighs with your elbows bent. I call this exercise “Angel Wings.” Your arms will appear like wings spreading open. If you are standing, keep your back and shoulders rounded, and knees bent, as you move your hands slowly out, to the side, and sweep them up. Imagine if your hands could just touch the imaginary shoulder line. Then you bring them back to rest on your thighs. This could be done slowly five to ten times but it's really a personal choice.

If you stand interlock your fingers behind you, and slide your fingers down toward the buttocks. This slide helps to tie shoulder pain. You could also modify this exercise, by using a non-elastic strap or belt. Hold the strap, against the width of your hips, and slide your hands down toward the buttocks. This lengthens the shoulder tendons.

If you are sitting in an armless chair, you will turn your body to either side of the chair, to clear the back of the chair, and interlock your fingers, or use the strap as described. If you are sitting in a chair with arms, move your legs to one side, and come close to the edge of your seat, now you can extend your arms out behind you, to clear the arm of the chair. You will then lean your body forward, and lift your arms slightly up. To remind you that your arms are extended and interlocked behind you, or you are holding the strap, behind you and extending your arms up. This stretches the shoulders in a gentle, focused manner.

If you are standing, to continue with the exercise to ease shoulder pain; your arms are interlocked behind you, or you are using the strap on your hips, for modification. You will round your shoulders and your back up to a slightly forward tilt, and bringing your arms, which are behind you, slowly upward, towards the ceiling or sky, as you tilt your body forward. Bending your legs as you lean forward. Lift your arms up behind you at least three times. If you are using the strap, the strap will cause leakage on your arms, to cause a greater stretch. These exercises relieves shoulder pain. It may not go away completely and right away. But it really does work as a daily practice.

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Yoga and Personality

Stress, fear, anxiety- if we start counting all those instances in life when we experienced these emotions, we may just lose count! Anxiety about the results of the main exam or the reaction of our parents in the report card can affect us.

The problem starts when this fear becomes persistent and so intimidating as to start interfering with our everyday life. Then it becomes an anxiety disorder, a state of excessive uneasiness, worry, or fear of the unknown, which need to be treated, and this is where yoga can be useful.

Practicing yoga has many benefits in improving our health, as it keeps away from diseases like headaches, fever, flu, asthma, etc and helps in making us fit, flexible, and fresh for whole day. In our daily life, one is busy working the whole day and forgot all about our health. And as a result, we always feel pain, stress, and have many chances to fall ill. But practicing yoga, just once in daily life will help reduce and overcome problems that even medicines are unable to cure. Even after that, not practicing yoga or doing any physical exercise can affect our body in looking obese and making stuff. Doing all postures of yoga on a daily basis can cure the various health remedies of individuals.

Symptoms to know if you have anxiety disorders:
• You feel unusually panicky, scared, and uneasy
• You wake up from frequent nightmares
• You have problems sleeping
• You got frequent palpitations

How can yoga exercises help get over anxiety

Regular yoga practice can help you stay calm and relaxed in daily life and can also give you strength to face events as they come without getting restless. Yoga practice ideally includes the complete packages of body postures, Pranayam, meditation, and the ancient yoga philosophy, all of which has helped several anxiety patients recover and face life with the new positive strength.

• Move your body and relieve your mind of stress with body postures
• Breathe right with pranayam to treat anxiety
• Meditate to enjoy the gift of relaxed mind
• Apply your philosophy in your life, stay happy and enjoy every moment
• Pray, keep faith, and smile
• Think about what you can do for others
• Know how can you motivate others to the regular exercises
• Remember a similar past situation when you could overtake anxiety.
• Keep positive company around you.

Here are some of the diseases yoga can help with:
• Asthma
• Indigestion and stomach ailments
• Headaches
• Bone, joint, and body pains
• Heart problems
• Diabetes
• Anxiety and depression
• Life threatening diseases

With this yoga has benefited many women in the health care:
• Relieving physical pain
• Keep fit
• Alleviate pressure

Some of the asana that is necessary to keep yourself away from anxiety and other health problems:
• Bhastrika
• Kapalbhati
• Bahya Pranayam
• Agnisar
• Anulom film
• Bhramari
• Udgeeth

Today, when almost everyone is suffering from some form of ailments or the other. Yoga is an effective way to deal with your problems. Yogic meditation allows the mind and body to slow down, controls the heart rate and breathing and relaxes the mind. Balance is an important element of yoga. A yoga exercise allows you to shift weight to different organs of the body, allowing oxygenated blood to enter these organs and flush out toxins. Yoga postures push your muscles to hold their positions and situations and strengthen them core. There are three systems that eliminate waste out of the body circulatory, digestive, and lymphatic and the stretching and breathing exercises of yoga with work at all process. With this, there are different levels with various poses in yoga which help in improving movement and several yoga exercises drain the lymph nodes of toxins.

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The Correct Choice of Yoga Sets for Women

Yoga is suitable for everyone, and there are no restrictions on either gender, or age, or the level of initial fitness. It is considered not just as a sport or exercise, as well as the psychological practice of healing and a course on the recovery of the body. Meanwhile, considering yoga should not be a complete treatment, it is a great addition to the capacities of traditional medicine. Thus, Yoga is a holistic system of exercises that will help to make your body and mind in order.

Regardless of where you do yoga, at home, outdoors or in the studio, you need a responsible approach to the selection of clothing for yoga. Choosing the right Yoga sets will help to achieve the harmony and a sense of satisfaction during the practice. However, the choice of clothing to practice Yoga is a difficult question. Today, let's talk about how to choose the correct yoga sets for women.


Yoga clothing should be breathable, hygroscopic and easy. Some practitioners believe that the perfect material is organic cotton because it is grown without the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. However, such material is not without drawbacks. Clothes made of 100% cotton would not hug the body, so you have to engage in large style. Such clothing would be less durable and quickly lose a good appearance. Synthetic fabrics also have their fans. Manufacturability wicking material feels comfortable when doing difficult asanas. However, preference should be given to the mixed fabrics, which makes clothes better fitting and easier to reach where it is needed.


Yoga clothing needs a minimum of details, the absence of buttons, zippers, and drawings, which would be a serious obstacle in the inverted asanas. Ideally, you should give preference to a seamless garment. In practice, the tight style would allow you to concentrate on practice during the class. A good option would be the tight leggings or wide knit pants.


As for the choice of colors, you have room for imagination. However, it should be borne in mind that yoga is harmonic, so it is better to choose peaceful and natural colors. The bright and flashy colors should be abandoned as they are unsuitable to the eye. For more vitality, you can choose the orange or yellow in color. For meditation, you can choose the blue or purple.


In conclusion, I would recommend giving preference to the women's yoga sets made of natural fabrics or cotton in white or pastel colors.

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Attaining the “Yoga” Body and Spirit: Is It Possible?

Theoretically, yoga is a means to attain the perfect unison of mind, body and spirit. At the very heart of ancient yogic wisdom is the belief that this ancient practice is actually a well-defined path leading to self-realization and the ultimate evolution of universal consciousness.

However, there are many among us, who keep on complaining that the modern yoga instructors and teachers are too focused on perfecting physical postures with too little attention to its “psychological” facet. Yes, there are a few centers that do include meditation but then there are others that completely do away with meditation as well.

There so many amongst us who keep on questioning the slow but steady demise of the “spiritual” element of yoga. It was more than two thousand years ago when Patanjali, the famous sage had clearly expounded on the system of yoga where he had put little emphasis on physical exercise. Pranayama, however, was given precedence. It has also been pointed out that earlier, pranayama and hatha yoga practices were so important that there was no need to mention them when we uttered the word “yoga”. They were conspicuous. People automatically understood that one's practice was incomplete with these elements. People, in general, lived very harmonious lives on those days – so much so that they did not even need to be “painstakingly” attentive to body consciousness.

So, the question is – “Is it even possible to have yoga body and spirit today?” Let us explore our answer to this particular question.

Estimating possibilities

Now, much to the joy of those seeking to nourish their spiritual fact, it is not entirely impossible to attain the much-coveted union of mind, body, and spirit even when we are all too worried about the modern emphasis on body consciousness. How can we ensure that? We will find out!

You can begin your entire spiritual pursuit with a thorough self-analysis. At first, try and figure out where you stand spiritually. With all the materialistic or worldly temptations today, it does get difficult for us to attain the spiritual balance. However, you can still think about attaining your goals by being a little observant and introspective. Where do you stand spiritually in this materialistic world? What role do the four basic urges – namely, food, sleep, sex and your efforts of self-preservation play in your life? It is important to regulate these urges as you continue expanding your yogic horizon. If you fail to regulate them properly you will actually not be able to experience the positives that life has to offer you.

There are many centers that say that pranayama should be practiced only after you have mastered the asanas. However, let's not forget that it takes years to perfect asanas. So instead of holding your pranayama for so long, you can actually practice both the postures and meditation simultaneously and keep on monitoring your spiritual framework on a constant basis.

In short, it is not impossible impossible to aim for a spiritual and physical harmony if your endeavors are geared in accordance.

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5 Yoga Mistakes You Should Avoid Making

Yoga not only keeps you fit, it's also of great importance to your mental well being. Studies show that many beginners make plenty of mistakes that jeopardize their success in yoga. These mistakes include:

Joining the wrong yoga class

Just as there are poor schools, hospitals, and other institutions, there are poor yoga classes. You will have an unpleasant experience if you join the wrong class. Many yoga beginners make the mistake of joining cheap schools in the bid of saving money which results to them not returning the full benefits of yoga. To be on the safe side you should take your time to research and find the most reputable yoga classes. While the classes will be expensive, they will be worth it as you will gain a lot from them.

Prioritizing on perfection

It's always good to do something right but this does not mean that you should be perfect in doing it. Yoga incorporates different poses and you need to do them right for you to get their full benefits but this does not mean that you should be perfect when trying the poses for the first time. Most beginners try to do the poses as the veterans which results to them giving up.

You should know that you are a beginner and your body is different from the others. Look around the yoga class and you will find that people look different in the same pose. While you should not struggle to be perfect, this does not mean that you should not work hard at getting better. You should practice as regularly as possible until you are able to execute the poses without any problems.

Wearing the wrong clothing

While it might look like common sense, you will be shocked to see the number of people that wear the wrong outfit to a yoga class. When you wear the wrong outfit you not only attract weird looks, you also tend to fail to execute the moves the way that they are supposedly to. To be on the safe side you should wear the right clothing. You should wear light and comfortable pants and a t-shirt.

Pushing yourself too much

It's common to want results as fast as possible but it does not work like that in yoga. Just like in any other sport, you should be patient and practice regularly. A telltale sign that you are pushing yourself too much is the pain. Yoga is supposedly to be comfortable and enjoyable; therefore, if you are feeling the pain you should know that you are doing it wrong.

Comparing yourself to others

I have mentioned above that our bodies are different and you should always remember this. When you join a yoga class you will meet different people with different abilities. Some will execute the moves with great ease while others will have difficulties. Yoga is meant to be enjoyed and you should have as much fun as possible doing it. This calls for you to avoid comparing yourself to others.

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New to Yoga

Yoga comes to you

There's a saying that yoga comes to you, not the other way around. The idea that it bestows its ancient wisdom upon you because you are in need of it is quite magical to me and I fully believe it. I have heard this many times and for me it was most definitely true.

So, whatever has bought you to yoga, I am glad it found you. Not everyone dives right in and takes on a full practice, but that's the beauty of it. It gives you whatever you need, when you need it.

If you are coming to yoga late in life you may find it hard. This is not necessarily because it is hard, but because of your perception of it. By this I mean anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, gender, height, weight, physical conditions and so on, but because the perception is that you have to wrap yourself around your own body like a pretzel you are not capable of it . This is not true and a complete myth that needs to be dispelled right from the get go.

Bend like a pretzel

Yoga postures do take on pretzel form at some point but not always and not in everyone's journey. The further we are from our child-like state the harder we will find the physical postures to practice, but that does not mean they are not attainable. We have to start where we are at, with what we have. Actually by trying to attain the postures themselves in their full expression at the beginning is where the first lessons of yoga lie. The first lesson is then one of patience. To practice yoga, you must practice patience, with yourself.

It is extremely difficult for most people to come to a yoga class and not gaze at the teacher or the person next to them and try to push harder in the. It is human nature and rather than working with our own body, warts and all, our egos get in the way. By pushing in this way you can injure yourself which just adds more time and yes you guessed it, more of a need to be patient. If I could give one piece of advice to a yoga newbie it would be that of patience – be patient with yourself, the postures will come. Be comfortable with where you are at, with all your physical limitations, conditions and anything else you perceive to be in your way. Just focus on practicing patience (and breathing of course!)

Mind, Body, Soul

Yoga means different things to different people. The majority of people first come to yoga because of the physical benefits it can offer. They want to lose weight, tone up, feel healthy or sometimes help a medical condition or physical symptom. Yoga works on all physical conditions. There are others who are more attracted to the emotional and / or spiritual side, but in my experience people who are new to yoga are often drawn to it, they feel, because of the physical benefits. What's interesting here is that we are connected on all three levels; mind, body and spirit, so actually when we have a physical condition whether that be something medical or simply just being overweight or unfit, it will always be linked to our emotions and extremely, whether we choose to believe it or not (and there are many who do not) connected on a minority, spiritual level too. You do not have to acknowledge this fact to practice yoga, but it is worth knowing when you begin that you are actually working on all three levels of your being, not just the physical.


There was, a few years ago, a yoga introduced called NO OM. There are many new forms of yoga that evolve. They are always derived from the same physical (hatha) postures but are put together differently or modified in some way to make them seem different. NO OM literally meant practicing yoga and gaining all the physical benefits but never chanting the word OM. The founder loved yoga but did not buy into the spiritual side of it and felt it put people off, so naturally banished it to the black hole and making sure everyone who came to practice knew that it was OK because it was a NO OM zone. Whatever works, but banishing it does not make it disappear. Just because you do not acknowledge something does not mean it does not exist.

Be Open

Based on this information, I would encourage you to be open minded. Do not be afraid of what you do not understand. Yoga does not change your mind (well not in a bad way) and by that I mean it does not brain wash you into believing in Hindu gods and goddesses or try to convert your religion. There are people out there who do believe that. Yoga is born out of ancient Vedic wisdom which is set out in the oldest recorded writings there are. The path of yoga is based on fundamental universal truths that have been taught since time began. It does not conflict because by nature it is harmonious. Indeed, yoga itself means union – to join or harmonize your being; to bring together your mind, body and spirit in union or in harmony. Ultimately, it's goal is self-realization which simply put means to better understand yourself – to leave you feeling a happier, healthier and more fulfilled person – and that that I say, bring it OM.

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To Flow or Not to Flow

I decided to try an Urban Vinyasa Power Flow class. Being a Saturday, I thought the traffic on the way to town would be hellish, but it was not, so I arrived half an hour early and was greeted in the changing room by a woman dancing to heavy reggae music. I said hello and she enthusiastically informed me that she had just come off night shift and was energized after having to deal with two deaths just before leaving. Energised by people dying? Really?

Fortunately, I did not have to say too much because someone else, who she obviously knew, walked in the room. She continued her conversation with her, repeating that two people had left the building just as she had left. I gleaned being energized came from actually running on adrenalin while the crash teams had tried to save the two people in question. Energised still seemed a little odd to me.

She proceeded to inform me that she never quite got why patients often referred to her as the 'colored' nurse. She said, 'seriously, girl I've seen every color of the rainbow, white people go blue, pink and even green. We just go a little pale sometimes. ' I was stuck by the fact had I made that statement, referring to 'black' people she might have bounced my ass out the room!

Still feeling cold, I decided I would hang on to my long sleeved top for a while before getting changed. I did not think sitting on the bench knowing my own business flicking through my phone would be a problem, until I looked up to be inches away from someone's bare bum. I'm not a prude and I realize I was sitting in a changing room but seriously, what was it with people's modesty! I would not stick my bare bum in someone's face. At 10 in the morning it was just too much to bear (excuse the pun). I hastily changed and went to sit for the remaining 20 minutes in the lounge.

The lady who had been non stop chatting to the teacher in my Urban Body Art class on Wednesday was sitting on the bench drinking tea. She informed me, from beneath a wild arrangement of frizzy hair, that she was hung over but after drinking water had managed to get herself here.

A few more people came into the lounge to wait for the class and the hung over lady began to chatting to one of them about not being able to come the following week because of having hair done and she would of course not be coming, especially after the last disaster. The suspense was too much and I could not help but ask what that was. She told me that the last time she had her hair dyed, she had joined a hot yoga class and as she got hotter, the bright red dye had started to come out from her hair and she ended up with red sweat pouring down her face and settling in a pool all over her mat.

We were in the room behind the hot studio which meant we would be getting some heat from that room. Hopefully not all 42 degrees of it. There was enough space in the room for two rows of yoga mats and a few people had already set themselves up. We sat for several minutes as more and more people came into the room, each time, everyone shuffling closer to fit in the mats. Shortly before the class started people were still coming in and the teacher arrived, asking if everyone could move closer together to fit everyone in. The girl next to me rolled her eyes, clearly wanting more space. I told her about the London shala I practiced in sometimes. Little lotus symbols were printed on the wooden floor where you were to lay your mat, meaning you were centimetres apart from the person next to you. She said this class was not usually like that. However, by the time the class started there were 23 people resulting in just a couple of inches between mats. As we lay down in savasana to prepare, I realized my choice of spot had not been such a great one because the woman on the other side of me had a cold. Why? Why did she have a cold but seriously, why the noises? It is not pleasant when trying to center yourself to hear the sound of the person next to you snorting and gurgling the content of their nose into their throat. Flow was suddenly taking on a whole new meaning! I reminded myself to be compassionate.

I decided I could not let it distract me from practice, took a deep breath in and focused inwards.

I was not sure what to expect. Vinyasa in Ashtanga is very dynamic and is what links each posture to the next. This practice started a little slower, moving from plank to down dog into warrior, moving into triangle and going all the way back through again. After a while, with so many people practicing together, the room warmed up, but it was a very wet heat and although I felt hot and my body supple, I was not sweating. We did a few sequences which made the practice more dynamic and because it was in a class setting with a teacher instructing you exactly when to move, I felt I was fully immersed and could really feel the power and flow.

I loved the teacher. She was a young (I would say that being 43) tall, tanned, blonde South African with the most perfect precise voice I've ever heard which to me then reflected in how I practiced the postures. Hard to explain but it was as though the precision of her voice somehow weaved its way into the application of your postures. The teacher told us our breathing was gorgeous often which I thought was lovely.

There were only two men in the room, one of which was close to me in the opposite row and did ujjayi so loudly that I thought he might start to vibrate the positive words (exhale, OM etc) that were written on his vivid purple mat clean off! Ujjayi is a central part of Ashtanga yoga and over time becomes quieter as you master it. This, however, I believe takes time and for many years you sound like this dude did; Darth Vadar.

We opened the hips a lot in the standing postures and towards the end of them did hanumanasana; splits. Although I've achieved this post before, I do not practice it often, but because we were so warm up and spent a lot of time opening the hips, I was surprised I went straight into full splits. I wanted to do a 'yay' dance but, one, I would have seriously injured myself and two, I think everyone would have thought I was an idiot. It was a personal triumph in any case and I smiled. The girl opposite did not seem as inspired by my achievement and I must have just looked smug.

We finished with savasana which I was grateful for and I'd got so lost in the practice that I had forgotten all about 'snotty' next to me.

Lesson 3

Moist heat room and ujjayi breathing is a perfect remedy for colds. OM shanti to that.

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My Buddy the Bolster

Relaxing is not something that comes easy to me. I'm one of those people who travels much of the time at 100 mph and is always on the go. Even when my body is not, my mind is.

Recently, however, I have worked on relaxation in savasana for at least 5 minutes after my yoga and have been maintaining a consistent morning and evening meditation practice, even if it is only for 5 or 10 minutes a sitting.

After the very active week of yoga I decided this week I would begin by joining the meditative andorative yoga class. I thought it would be yoga, but slower. I was quite mistaken.

Taking place again in the loft with its colorful mood lighting, I found a spot and noticed that other people who were already set up had a whole way of props. Was I meant to be bringing these with me? I surprised. I asked the guy next to me if I needed these things and he told me, most definitely and to go into the back room where I could get them. I sighed relief that they were provided, making my way to the back room to get a bolster, block and blanket (why did they all begin with B?).

I've never used yoga props before, well except for a flat block to sit on in padmasana when I first started practicing. In my usual, 'I know best' way, I assumed I would not need the block, so when the girl next to me realized they had all gone, I gave her mine.

I had not realized the teacher was in the room because there were so many people milling about. She told us we would need a block, bolster, eye-pillow and blanket. Were we going to be sleeping? I went back to the room to collect an eye pillow and the teacher said she had another block by her mat that I I could use.

We finally settled down on our mats in savasana and I hooked my knees over the bolster, just following what everyone else was doing really. I placed the eye pillow over my eyes. It smelt of lavender and was filled with beads which made it heavy, but not uncomfortably so, just enough to allow it to nestle softly into your eyelids. It was actually too far down because I realized it was actually restricting the breathing through my nose. I moved it up slowly and wonderred what to do next.

The teacher explained that the class was about being supported and instructed us to lie back and take deep breaths through the nose, sighing out through the mouth. She continued talking about mindfulness and asked us to bring out focus back to the breath each time our mind wandered. After the day I had it felt good to relax. She guided us through our senses, which was surprisingly eye opening (oh the puns!)

The eye pillow, when lying back, was great because it blocked out the lighting, but difficult to keep on when we turned on our sides!

We moved through variousying postures and in each remained there for what seemed like forever; perhaps just 5 minutes in some, but longer in others. Rather than pushing yourself into postures, the idea was to get comfortable and be supported by the bolster; relaxing into it. I found this difficult at first because the bolster is not some squishy pillow its like a 3ft long pillow that is soft but very firm.

I was suddenly stuck by the thought that this is the most supported I've felt in a long time. Yes, by a fabric bolster. Seriously? I felt tears prick into my eyes but took a deep breath in, let it go and relaxed some more. Now was not the time. I tried to be in the moment and enjoy being relaxed and supported, even if it was just a bolster!

We moved into side and back bends, again very gently laying with the bolster supporting us and continuously breathing and focusing on the present moment. The hip opening exercises were so good. Usually when you practice baddha konasana to open the hips, its quite a difficult pose to remain in. In this practice the bolster lay across the lap with you over it, which meant as you relaxed you fell into the bolster, and because we stayed there for several minutes, the body relaxed far more than it would in a normal yoga practice just holding for 15 breaths. Each post had variations with the position of the bolster, all focused around what felt most comfortable for your own body. The real key being in relaxation rather than pushing yourself in the postures and being uncomfortable.

We finished the restorative practice laying down again with the bolster supporting the back and covered in a blanket. It was difficult not to let the arms drop down to the floor which made it feel uncomfortable because you were higher up. The teacher did this 'wrap' where you placed your hands across your chest and she, in one swift magician movement, tucked in the blanket which you grabbed under your shoulders, thereby creating a wrap that supported your arms. Well I never knew! It was like a limbo land; somewhere between sleeping and wake, drifting on a cloud of relaxation.

Finally we sat up for 10 minutes of meditation, with a mudra where the hands were placed together, middle fingers pointing up and the thumbs to the chest, fingers clasped. It felt odd at first but it was actually quite interesting; the focus it offered. We moved to practicing alternate nostril breathing, but not in the literal sense; we were to visualize a triangle (where you would normally place the fingers), from the base of the nose up to the top of the eyebrow center, down the right side of the nose and across again. I was amazed at how uplifting it felt to do this practice without actually doing it, just visualizing breathing in through the left nostril, breathing out through the right. We did this several times before drawing in the breath and holding at the eyebrow center. I felt as though my soul had lifted up and was suspended in that center of the body, just delicately fluttering there and waiting to be slowly flown back down again as we breathed out. Although I have experienced this feeling before, as though the soul is lifting out of you, in meditation, this was different. It was more pronounced but much gentler and softer, like a feather floating.

Lesson 4

Softness, gentleness and being supported is not weak. There is great power and strength in relaxation. Giving the body and mind to be restored.

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Yoga and Women’s Health

Yoga is an ancient sport to unite the body, spirit and mind. The word yoga in Sanskrit refers to unity, communication and integrity. Yoga was originated in the ancient India and became popular in the west. It is known to us all that, yoga is a traditional Indian philosophy which unites physical and mental health. After regular practice, you will find that your journey through life is calmer, happier and more fulfilling. Yoga benefits women's health in the following ways.

Relieve Physical Pain

Nowadays, high blood pressure is becoming a general serious illness in the world. Practicing yoga can enhance blood circulation, make blood pressure tend to a normal condition. What's more, yoga can help digestion, improve lymph circulation. Yoga also help cells get more oxygen. This may lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these diseases.

Keep Fit

Yoga is not just a sport, but a healthy lifestyle. It has been proved that this healthy sport can make women stay in good shape and keep fit. For women who suffer from sleeplessness, yoga may help them get a high quality sleep. Women can also alleviate or even prevent gynecological diseases. The relaxing exercise can make muscles become strong, improve blood circulation, increase the supply of oxygen and nutrition. A few minutes of yoga everyday provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic even after a long day.

Alleviate Pressure

Scientists find that yoga has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. This kind of sport can help people deal with stress. Business women have to work with computers all day or walk with high heels in the crowded streets. Those will lead to varicose veins, back pain, low quality sexual function, and general fatigue. Yoga is a good way to tie muscle soreness. After a busy day of work, before going to bed, it is a good habit to make the lights dim and lit a fragrance lamp, forget the heavy work and life pressure in yoga. After that, you will feel fresh and relaxed.

Unlike other sports, yoga suits for all generations and fitness levels, it does not matter if you are young students, athletes, middle-aged moms, old ladies, and even fitness buffs or body builders. The only thing you need is perseverance. Practicing yoga may help eliminate excess fat and maintain your perfect body, reduce the pressure of life and work. From now on, begin to practice yoga!

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5 Best Yoga DVDs for Men

Obesity has become an international concern. The results of being obese are critical and cause several health ailments. Yoga poses can help you lose some of the excess weight and assist you in leading a healthy life. Frankly speaking, yoga poses are ideal for men, women and even children. Your entire family members can practice them.

Here is a list of some of the 2016 5 best yoga DVDs for men.

Element: Hatha & Flow Yoga for Beginners

The Element: Hatha & Flow Yoga for Beginners is designed to reduce the stress and boost your inner strength. If you feel that your health and lifestyle is not right, then this DVD can help. It has a 30-minute workout session where you can quickly learn how to start doing yoga exercises. The instructions are easy to understand and guidance useful.

AM Yoga for Your Week

The AM Yoga for Your Week is ideal for both men and women. It provides you with yoga exercises which you can practice the whole week. It is an excellent training tutorial and has five 20 minutes sessions which give you the perfect routine. Each session covers something different and enables you to learn something new.

In yoga, you should how to breathe correctly. They also help you release tension and stress to make your body stable.

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown is one of the all-time greatest Yoga DVDs. He has received awards from several people through his lifetime. Several people have benefited from it. The DVD comes with both soft-core and hard-core training. The DVD is ideal for both experts as well as beginners.

Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners

Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners is the perfect yoga DVD for beginners who do not know where to start. Many people have failed to lose weight or achieve what they wanted to because they are not following the right exercise methods. Using the right poses, breathing techniques, and doing it the right way can only help you lose weight.

The Biggest Loser: The Workout – Weight Loss Yoga

The Biggest Loser: The Workout – Weight Loss Yoga, considered as the best 2016 yoga DVD. The DVD comes with simple solutions for your yoga workout. Ideal for beginners and professionals, they learn how to do natural poses. It helps you to remain relaxed and calm when doing the exercises.

Words of caution

The yoga DVDs for men can immensely help you achieve what you can. If you are someone who has had an operation recently, having health ailments, and are under medications, then you will first want to consult with your doctor about practicing yoga postures. Certain poses require you to bend and strain your muscles.

When doing them, it can cause stress on your heart and other body regions. As soon as you feel some pain or discomfort then stop doing yoga pose immediately and take some rest. The whole idea of ​​using yoga DVDs is to have fun and realize what you want to, which is losing weight and becoming slim.

Yoga poses can be great exercises for losing weight as long as you feel comfortable doing them. Get your entire family along with you in the mornings or evenings and put on the DVD to start a whole new healthy family.

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Yoga Exercise for Pregnant Women

Congratulations on your pregnancy. You are eagerly waiting for your unborn child to come out into the world in a few months time. How about considering doing some yoga? Medical research has shown that working pregnant women, tend to find the birth pangs bearable and can give birth without much pain and hassle.

It is a proven method. Yoga is an ancient exercise form which originated in India and is now popular worldwide. Several men and women have experienced immunity benefits from doing it. That is because it is easy to do, you do not need too many accessories, and you can practice it anywhere.

In this article, we will read some yoga exercise for pregnant women.

Vakrasana (Twisted pose)

The yoga pose is simple. You need to sit down in a straight pose and then stretch your feet in the front. Then raise both your arms with palms facing down and inhale deeply. Now, exhaling, you will want to twist your body and then move your hands and head simultaneously. Avoid bending the knees and wrap your arms as much as you can.

Utkatasana (Chair pose)

The chair pose is considered difficult but is extremely beneficial to keep fit during pregnancy. For this yoga pose, you will want to stand straight with your feet little apart from each other. Then you will want to inhale for a few seconds and then lift your arms. Then slowly exhale and sit in a squatting position using your toes if possible or use your feet flat.

Konasana (Angle pose)

The angle post is helpful to improve the waist and reduce the fat. You should stand in a straight position and keep your feet wide apart from each other. Then lift one hand up and stretch upwards. Then inhale and bend sideways on the other side. Exhale and repeat the same using the other hand.

You can take the help of someone when doing these yoga poses.

Pointers to consider for pregnant women

When you are reaching your eighth or ninth month of pregnancy, some yoga exercises for pregnant women are not the type of activities to be during this time. These are critical times for both mother and the baby inside. You will want to consult with your doctor and take his / her advice before adventuring into yoga asana.

You never know what might happen. Here you are trying to do something good and surely do not want anything untoward happening. However, it is advisable that you join yoga classes with other pregnant women. There are classes held in several cities, and you can certainly find one in your location.

When doing yoga exercises , you will want to make sure that you never over stretch your abdomen area. Similarly, when you are twisting your body, you should avoid using your stomach area and instead use your upper back and your shoulders.

Never be too bothered when you are unable to perform some asana, unlike other pregnant women. When there is pain or discomfort, you will want to take rest or stop exercising immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Yoga exercises must be performed such that you enjoy doing them and they help you during your childbirth.

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How To Practice Injury Free in Your Yoga Class

In modern times, yoga has turned out to be extremely useful to promote mental and physical heath. One must also bear in mind that the right attitude, dedication and discipline are some of the key secrets to go deeper into your practice. However, many times for some students, their practice gets affected by injuries. When beginners are sign up for a yoga class, it is always advised to listen to one's body and sometimes when one tries to push the limits of the body, it can lead to injuries. Practicing safe helps in allowing one to truly benefit from yoga. Here are some tips for you to keep safe through the session:

Be honest with your yoga instructor – Always inform your yoga instructor about any sort of injuries or any health issues, old or new, that you have experienced. You can also request the instructor if they can adjust or give you props to get into those poses safely.

Acquire quality instructor – If one is new to yoga, it would be a good idea to search for an affordable private yoga instructor. One must search for an experienced and certified instructor that knows how to handle the body as well as personal needs of the student ahead of entering into a yoga class.

Bring awareness to your body while practicing – For every pose, develop the practice of examining and watching your body. One must understand the importance of studying muscle and joint movements to know which pose works on what body part. This observation not only helps in your practice but later if one plans to teach, this knowledge will come handy.

Understand and accept the truth that everyone has a different level – Yoga class is not a competition. Remember, it is not the right attitude of the student if one is searching around the room and comparing ones practice with others. One must focus and observe on one's own practice.

If you have not practiced for a longer period, do not expect that you will be able to do all the poses immediately – One needs to practice regularly and must accept the limits of the body. One must practice regularly and build on it with time so that one is safe at the same time. With regular practice one builds the strength and flexibility to do more advanced poses.

Some poses are not suited for everyone – If there are poses that is causing you pain, right away change it and adjust it in a manner that naturally feels more at ease or just discontinue doing it all together. One must feel free to sit out or use props for the poses that are causing pain. You can also explore other yoga styles and follow the one which you enjoy the most.

Among the points mentioned above, it is also important to carefully select the school or instructor, whose style and philosophy one feels comfortable with. Also, ensure that your school has all the necessary equipments like props, mats etc. to help you in deepening your practice.

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