There are several body mind spirit yoga programs that combine to help you achieve better balance in the triad of health.
And the gentle art of Yoga is a practice that will both strengthen you physically and that will also help your mind to become more centered.
More and more health gyms are beginning to conduct special classes that combine forms of more traditional exercise with yoga postures.
For example, a popular form of this kind of workout is cy-yo, which is a blend of cycling and yoga
There is also a new program called pi-yo, which combines both of the gentle practices of Yoga and Pilates. These are great activities to help you with balance.
With exercise as in anything, you will need to remember to maintain balance and not become addicted to working out.
It's an important part of your life balance, but not everything.
The key to getting started is as basic as learning Deep Breathing techniques.
Yoga helps you to regain the natural state that your mind and body should be in - a state of relaxation.
Yoga has a lot of deep breathing exercises that help to calm and energize you.
When you practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises you will find you have much more energy, but not nervous or hyper type energy, it is more a calm, steady energy.
When you slow your body down with deep breathing it sends a message to your body and nervous system to be calm.
Here is one good five minute breathing exercise that you can do at any time of the day.
1. Sit up with your back straight.
You can sit in a chair as long as your spine is straight and you aren't slumped into the chair.
Have your feet flat on the floor with your knees lined up directly over your feet.
Place your hands on top of your legs.
2. Close your eyes and let them rest behind the closed lids.
3. Focus your thoughts on your ribs.
Think about the front, back and side ribs.
Think about your lungs behind those ribs.
4. As you breathe in feel your lungs fill with air and your ribs expanding out and up.
As you breathe out feel your lungs emptying and your ribs coming back down and in.
Don't push the breath but let it be
5. The first few times that you do this exercise do it for two to three minutes.
Once you are comfortable with this exercise then do it for up to five to ten minutes.
Try to do this at least once a day and once you
start feeling the benefits you will want to do it more than once a day.
Relaxing for a few minutes every day and practicing the above pose will help you to be calm and to deal with stressful situations in life much better.
We are very fortunate in this day and age that we can so easily access
whatever training manuals or guides to help us learn how to do anything
we are looking for.
You can even buy Body Mind Spirit Guide books and DVD recordings that show you every step of the way to use yoga for your body mind spirit yoga training.
Below are a few that I think are worth featuring here, as they are quite beautiful and effective to help you achieve your balance and wellness goals
|Ali MacGraw - Yoga Mind & Body (2003)||Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients: Reconnecting Body, Mind and Spirit|
|Restorative Yoga Practice: Gentle Beginners Sessions||Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression|
|Yoga for Stress Reduction: Simple Techniques to Manage and Release Stress with Hala Khouri, M.A.||Yoga for Pain Relief: Simple Practices to Calm Your Mind and Heal Your Chronic Pain|
One very popular yoga exercise is the 12 step salute to the sun.
Most people who practice yoga will do this step at least once or twice a day when they first get up in the morning.
This can help to relieve any stiffness that has built up during the night and can leave you feeling invigorated.
If you practice this pose at night it can help you to relax and sleep well.
1. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your palms together with your thumbs against your chest.
2. As you inhale deeply raise your hands over your head and bend back as far as possible, while tightening your buttocks.
Hold this position for
3. Now slowly exhale as you bend forward, keep your knees straight and bend until your fingers touch the floor outside your feet.
It is ok if you can't touch the floor, just go as close as you can.
Bring your head
in toward your knees.
4. As you slowly inhale bend your knees and if your fingertips weren't already outside your feet on the floor then place them there now.
Slide your right foot back as far as you can until the right knee is about an inch off the floor - this is a lunge position.
Now raise your head and
look up as high as possible, arching your back.
5. Before you do your next exhale, slide your left foot back until it is next to the right one and you will now be supporting your body weight with your palms and toes.
Straighten both legs so that your body forms a flat plane.
Pull your stomach in.
6. Now slowly exhale and bend both knees toward the floor and have your hips in the air.
Lower your chest and forehead toward the floor.
7. Inhale slowly and look up.
Bend your head back, raise it, and then raise your upper chest and lower chest.
Your lower body from the navel down should be on the floor and your elbows slightly bent.
position for three to five seconds.
8. Exhale slowly and now raise your hips until you have your feet and your palms flat on the floor.
Your arms and legs are straight and should
be in an inverted V position.
9. Now inhale slowly, bringing your right foot forward, like in position 4.
The right foot should be flat on the floor between your fingertips.
The left leg is now straight behind you with the knee about an inch off the floor.
Raise your head and look up with your back arched.
10. As you exhale slowly, bring your left food forward so it is next to the right foot.
Straighten your legs and keep your fingertips on the
floor and bring your head in toward your knees as in position 3.
11. Slowly inhale and raise your arms and stretch back as in position 2.
Tighten your buttocks and hold this position for three seconds.
12. As you slowly exhale, lower your arms to your side.
Relax. Repeat the series.
One of the tools that helps you to quickly relax and start feeling in balance again is soothing music.
You may prefer classic music, or spa music, there is a special kind of New Age music that is electronic in nature as well.
Try listening to some samples of music like the ones below to see what kind works best with you to help you relax.
You may find that you simply prefer the sound of nature or the ocean to calm your mind and help you to meditate
|Bliss: Waves at the Rocky Coastline, Crystal Singing Bowls for Body, Mind, Soul, Spirit||Quiet Time for the Mind: Native American Flute, Pacific Ocean to Heal Your Brain, Relieve Stress, Anxiety|
Weight loss with yoga doesn’t happen overnight.
You have to combine proper eating and eliminating sugar from your diet as an example.
Eat foods like fruit only for breakfast, as fruit is processed quickly in the intestines and sends glucose to your brain.
An alternative is drinking the freshly squeezed juices of your favorite fruit and perhaps adding a touch of honey.
Typically weight gain comes from your life being out of balance. You may be experiencing stress at home or work.
This can cause you to skip breakfast or overeat using a stack of pancakes as an example of a poor breakfast choice.
Do you always rush out the door and hit the local coffee shop for a fix of coffee and donuts?
The words, “comfort foods,” should scare you.
In many cases the person indulges in a comfort food because they feel the need to be soothed.
Their nerves are raw and their emotions are out of whack.
Instead of doing deep breathing, they reach for the fried chicken.
Doing daily yoga exercises and staying away from the store bought cakes and fatty milk, will aid in weight loss.
An overweight person does not eliminate body waste effectively. Toxins remain in the body.
Organs responsible for releasing toxins have to work harder to release.
Organs like the liver and the kidneys tend to take a lot of abuse.
The effect of toxins combined with alcohol for example are a double shot of pain for those organs-causing them to work harder and in some cases, suffer damage.
Weight loss is aided by drinking water. Yes, green vegetables and fruit contain large quantities of water; however you need good quality water to help with body waste elimination.
As well, a person loses a great deal of water per day doing regular things like working or playing.
Now if you are involved in yoga, you have to remember that although it is not like weightlifting, you are still going to sweat.
This means you need to replace the water you are losing to keep your body functioning properly.
In your yoga practice you can do physical things to help detoxify and lose weight.
Yoga twists are excellent in for aiding with detoxification.
Self massage is wonderful for releasing sore points in the body.
While doing self massage a yoga student can assist the body in releasing toxins.
Another method to help with weight loss is practicing fire stomach cleansing.
This yoga movement is done by churning or rotating the stomach muscles.
Stand straight and then lower into a slight squat. Have the legs about one foot apart, and then exhale fully. Hold the breath.
Try to rotate the stomach muscles by moving them in a circular motion.
Release the breath. Relax and breathe in and out. Now repeat the exercise.
This movement will take a bit of practice and you will need to focus all your attention on the muscles of your stomach.
Do you know anyone who suffers from a eating disorder?
Anyone with anorexia or bulimia has what is called a stuck state.
We have many states some of which assist us and others which help to defeat us.
Depression and anxiety are examples of stuck states which you may be quite familiar with.
Yoga helps to release stuck states and many practitioners note that when doing certain poses, they feel a release and begin to cry gentle tears. There is nothing wrong with this.
It is your mind and body working together to tell you that you are in the healing process. When a person becomes unstuck in regards to their poor eating habits, the weight loss will begin.
Do you wake up in the morning and wonder where you are?
Then stumble to the bathroom to splash water on your face in order to come alive enough to get the coffee going?
Try starting your day with yoga energy poses the moment your feet hit the floor.
One of the reasons that you may be so foggy in the morning is mild to severe sleep apnea.
Of course if you snore like a freight train, you may want to Google sleep apnea and then be tested.
When sleeping at night, the average person does not breathe on a regular basis.
Even with mild sleep apnea you may stop breathing for 5 seconds and then restart. This is very hard on your brain and especially your heart.
You need to get maximum oxygen flowing again. So head to your yoga mat and start with the downward dog pose.
In the downward dog, you begin by getting onto your hands and knees.
From here, you lift your tailbone up, so that your knees come off the floor.
Next, lower your shoulders and head to the floor while still keeping a bend in your knees. Place your heels flat on the floor.
At this point you should have your arms outstretched and your head is lowered but not touching the floor.
To complete this pose, straighten your legs and begin proper breathing.
This pose is great because it stretches your whole body at the same time.
Picture yourself as a large jungle cat while you are doing this power pose.
The downward dog starts by reducing your muscle tension and then sends more blood to your brain.
When you are laying down, standing or sitting, the blood flow to your brain is reduced.
To illustrate this, imagine that you have cut your finger and a first aid responder asks to help.
One of the first things the person aiding you will do, is to have you elevate your arm and hand above your shoulder to reduce blood flow.
When the blood flows to your brain during yoga, you will experience a surge of energy as this life giving force, feeds your brain.
The downward facing tree pose, also known as the hand stand, builds on the idea of sending blood to the brain.
Beginners should find a sturdy wall and preferably a friend or family member to assist in the first attempts.
Unlike a mixed martial artist who would use this move to build shoulder strength, you want to avoid extending your arms fully and then moving into the pose.
You may not be able to support your body weight and can damage your neck by dropping down on your head.
Instead, use a folded towel or thin pillow to rest your head on.
Position yourself about six inches from the wall, with your arms crossed and flat on the floor.
Resting the back of your head against your arms, kick up against the wall.
Your partner will grab your legs and help to bring you up against the wall and then adjust so that you are straight.
Immediately you will feel a rush of blood to your head. Relax and breathe deeply and evenly.
Hold the position for one to two minutes and then roll down with assistance of your partner.
The sitting spinal twist is another great pose for energy.
It also has other benefits such as stretching your spine, getting rid of backaches and reducing pain in the hips.
On your yoga mat, sit with your legs straight out in front.
Take your left leg and bend it towards your chest before placing it over your right leg.
The heel/side of your left foot should now rest beside the outside of your right knee.
Turn slightly to the left and then place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee.
Your right elbow is going to be used to apply pressure to your left leg, while you continue to stretch your upper body to the left.
Hold the position where comfortable and feel the stretch. You then repeat this pose on the opposite side.
You have heard it before. Perhaps you even stifled a laugh. It’s that OM sound.
Maybe you saw a movie where a serious Yogi sat cross legged and let out a vibrating OM sound that echoed on and on.
Well the OM sound works wonders and using it with this interesting pose... “the corpse,” you are going to find it very relaxing.
Now if you live in a cold climate with snow, you may have done something similar as a child, called making snow angels.
Only in this pose once you set your arms and legs there won’t be any flapping of limbs.
The corpse pose is so named because you will be lying on your back with limbs slightly extended, looking for all intents and purposes, as if you may have passed on.
Pull out your yoga mat and then lay down flat as if you were going to sleep.
Position your legs so that your feet are about two and half feet apart.
Take your arms and move them out from your body so that your hands are also about two and half feet away from your body.
Your hands should be facing upwards, palms to the sky. Close your eyes and totally relax your body.
Next, starting at your toes, give them a wiggle.
Rotate the ankles slightly to release any pressure.
Focus your attention on your legs and thighs. Feeling any tightness in that area?
Tense and release them slightly to let go of any pressure or tightness.
Work your way up your body. Is your chest and rib area completely stress free? If not, breathe in and out and let it go loose.
Take notice of your shoulders. Are they tight?
As you sense areas that are tight or sore, verbally tell them to relax.
Tell any chronic sore spots to relax and be like all the rest of your muscles.
Your body will respond if you ask it to.
After you have worked your way from your toes to the top of your head, it is now time to work on your breathing.
Take a deep breathe in, hold and release.
As any negative thoughts begin to creep into your mind, simply say, "stop or cancel.”
You are the director of your mind and you need to give your thoughts the directions that help and assist you.
Many times people work themselves in a depression by saying and thinking repetitive negative thoughts.
Be conscious of how you talk to yourself and stop negative self talk as it begins.
Now take a deep breathe from the diaphragm. Hold this breathe for a three count and then release it.
As you release this breathe, say OM as loud as you can.
Not sure about the OM sound?
On the O portion your mouth is open and as you head into the M portion, your mouth closes and the M portion vibrates in your closed lips.
Let it go on, until all your breath is released through the nose as you vibrate the OM.
You should feel a slight tingling in your body as the vibration of OM works its way through.
Really focus on saying OM and take note of the positive feeling that starts to resonate throughout.
As you breathe and chant the OM, begin to focus on all that you are thankful for in your life.
Thankful for being alive, having food to eat and family to support and love you.
It is true that we can get a lot of benefits from yoga. It is a good meditation for the mind and the body.
Once a person practices yoga in his daily life, great changes in his life’s perspective can be achieved - he will have a more positive outlook in life and he will be calmer and more understanding.
Aside from that, the health is being improved as well, since yoga, as considered by many, is a good form of exercise too.
Muscles are being stretched and proper posture is being achieved.
For that reason, there is an increased number of persons who want to learn this ancient tradition.
However, before you buy your things to attend a yoga class, do you know that the yoga mats that are being used in each session may affect your mood on the class?
Indeed, yoga mats are like flowers wherein there are meanings behind their colors. Want to know what are they?
Well, here is the list of colors that are most commonly used on yoga sessions and their corresponding color interpretation.
Yoga Mat – Classic color for beginners
A blue yoga mat is the safest choice for those who are beginners with yoga.
Because with the blue yoga mat, you will just blend in with the group – this is a classic color in yoga.
So, if you just want to be there, without drawing too much attention, then a blue yoga mat is a better choice for you.
Green Yoga Mat –is for relaxation.
Having a green yoga mat is a better choice for those who want to relax since the color has a soothing effect.
There are different shades of green and choosing a shade or level of green that best matches your personality and style is much desirable.
Purple Yoga Mat – is a yoga mat for spiritual choice.
With a purple yoga mat your spiritual side will be improved.
In addition to that, the purple yoga mat will help to calm you as well as to inspire you.
Pink Yoga Mat – refers to yoga mat for healing.
If you are tired and feeling exhausted, then a pink yoga mat is the best for you since using a pink yoga mat will help you to have more healing energy and at the same time, it will help to rejuvenate you.
Red Yoga Mat – passion.
A red yoga mat is a good choice for those with great passion.
This is because red is the color for power.
Thus, using a red yoga mat will empower you, giving you more energy as you practice and perform the different yoga positions.
White Yoga Mat – is a choice for the pure.
This yoga mat can bring purity as well as calmness as you practice yoga in your class.
Moreover, it takes away the worries of your life. Thus, it is a good cleansing mat.
Black Yoga Mat – is a very authoritative choice for a yoga mat and it can create a very calming place of work.
If you want a very powerful relaxation, then a black yoga mat is definitely a very good choice.
There are many nagging chronic complaints, like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
People with arthritis tend to get more pain due to stopping exercise altogether.
This in turn makes the condition worse.
A better way to manage arthritis or any chronic pain is to exercise the areas of the body that are not currently inflamed or hurting.
Also relaxation in yoga can help to ease any pain.
When you are calm and centered, you should find that your body hurts less.
Sleep is difficult for some people. They may be in pain or in the phase of aging where sleep becomes more difficult and waking up frequently becomes normal.
Going into a meditation pose before sleep will lull the mind and restore a sense of calm.
As a person goes into deep meditation, they can focus on sore spots or tight areas and command them to ease and relax.
Throughout the day, many people feel tired or generally fatigued on a regular basis.
There may be many reasons for this, such as lack of sleep, stress or poor diet.
To energize start a daily habit of going to a quiet spot, even if it’s only for five to ten minutes.
Begin a series of deep breathing. This will clear the mind and send a flow of energy.
Depending on your work area, you may be able to engage in a few yoga back bend poses to unwind.
Do you have enough room to lay flat on your stomach? Well then you can do the cobra pose.
Laying flat on your stomach, place your legs together with your feet touching.
Place your hands on the floor on either side of your chest, with your face resting comfortably on the carpet or mat.
Inhale deeply and start lifting your head, followed by your chest and shoulders.
You will use your hands to gently push your head and upper torso off the floor while your hips remain pressed against the floor.
Hold the position and look upward while breathing. Like a cobra, open your mouth and stick out your tongue.
Open wide and breathe in and out deeply.
You should have felt a nice stretch especially in your lower back and the cobra face will have relaxed all the muscles in your face.
Do you know anyone who gets frequent headaches? Quite often doctors find it difficult to pinpoint the source of constant headaches. It could be poor posture or stress.
When a headache starts to occur, try gently rotating your head and neck.
You will hear some cracking and popping which is normal.
Do not force anything and if an area feels totally locked up, consult a doctor.
Next, you can kick off your shoes and start rotating your toes.
Your feet and toes are totally connected to what is going on in the spinal and neck area.
Inversion poses are great for headaches and of course there are other benefits.
A simple to do inversion pose, is the shoulder stand.
Here, you lay flat on the floor and begin by bringing your legs and hips up into the air.
Tighten up the stomach muscles to help in lifting up the legs.
You don’t want to just throw your legs up; you want controlled movement.
As you are moving your legs and hips up, place your hands under your hips to help push your lower body up into the air.
As you begin straightening your legs straight up in the air, start shifting your hands downward from your hips to the kidney area.
Now you have great support and your shoulders should be flat against the floor with your legs straight above you and hands against the kidneys to hold the position.
Keep your head and neck straight and breathe deeply and evenly.
Do not allow your legs to continue moving so that you accidentally go into the plough pose, which means your hips are directly over your face.
The plough pose can put pressure on your neck and you need an instructor or friend to watch over you to make sure that no injury occurs.
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Yogis have put food into three categories which they call gunas.
They are sattvic, rajasic and tamasic.
The one you want to focus on today is sattvic food which will nourish and energize you.
Sattvic foods have great qualities and benefits. Sattvic foods are fresh without additives and preservatives.
Have you heard about the differences between acidic and alkaline foods?
Well alkaline foods which the Yogis call sattvic will prevent disease, slow down the aging process and promote longevity.
Simply put, the more alkaline foods that you can put into your diet, the healthier you will be.
There are certain health groups out there that believe a body that is completely alkaline will not be able to form cancer cells.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that fresh fruit, most vegetables or their freshly squeezed juices are all sattvic foods.
A wide variety of nuts and seeds in your diet can be a great source of energy.
Looking for omega fats but not fond of fish?
Then you should be adding dry roasted sunflower seeds to your diet.
You can eat them by the handful or put them on healthy cereals like homemade oatmeal.
Other nuts that you can snack on that will energize you are almonds and sesame seeds.
For those who want to really to benefit from a yoga lifestyle, well then milk and butter are encouraged.
However they should be organic.
Regular milk that you buy at the local grocery store is altered in many ways.
As well, the cows that produce it are fed altered foods and a variety of chemicals. You are consuming what they were fed.
Get rid of the white sugar, it is actually a poison to your system and not a food at all, due to the refining process. Instead use honey.
Honey can be used in so many ways. You can use it to sweeten your food or reduce your stressful feelings. Are you feeling quite worked up?
Take and heat one cup of low-fat milk and a teaspoon of honey and add dried ginger. This is an awesome way to quiet your mind.
Sit in a warm comfortable place and slowly sip this tasty drink.
Now that we have gone over sattvic foods, let’s talk about raw foods.
Commitment levels in any endeavor differ from person to person.
While some people commit to yoga, they do not commit fully to what they should be eating.
Going 100% vegan may be difficult for many reasons.
For example if you have a spouse and they do not share the same values as you do, it may be difficult to convert to a vegan lifestyle.
Imagine sitting as your spouse is eating a t-bone steak and really working at the fat around the bone.
The bottom line is to eat as much raw food as you can per your lifestyle.
Wash the veggies and eat them raw. Cooking food actually alters it and not for the good.
Most of the goodness in a vegetable is lost when you cook it. Yes if you eat meat, you need to cook it.
There are so many toxins and chemicals in processed meat, that you would get sick if you didn’t cook it properly.
Our ancestors first ate fruit and nuts. Then they started to hunt meat and they didn’t cook this free range meat.
Once they discovered cooking meat over an open fire, they discovered it tasted great but had no idea they were destroying their food. Yes, you heard it right.
Human beings are the only animals on the planet who destroy their food by cooking and altering its natural state.
Decide today what you can commit to in terms of eating a much healthier yoga style diet.
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