Picture a serene room full of calm smiles, deep breaths, and mindful movements and you have an idyllic yoga setting. Peaceful instrumental music strums in the background as the sunlight peaks through the windows. Sounds perfect, right? Like just the place for tranquility and happiness! So why do some yoga sessions make you feel more stressed out afterward? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the setting. And it’s all about you. Here are 5 things you may be doing to sabotage the success of your yoga class, and easy fixes for each.
1. You Arrive Late
Nothing disrupts the first sun salutation like rushing in a few minutes late, squishing in between the rows to find a spot for your mat, and attempting to collect yourself after class has already begun. The first and last few minutes of class are arguably the most important and beneficial for your mental and physical health: crucial moments to slow down and check in with your mind and body.
Instead? Shoot for setting up your mat 10-15 minutes BEFORE the class is set to start. Use this time as much deserved “me-time” to stretch, close your eyes, do whatever you need to do to set your day aside and focus on what your yoga practice may bring you that day.
2. You Compete with Your Neighbor
Your yoga practice should be just that: yoga PRACTICE. This means there is no good or bad, right or wrong way to do it. As long as your alignment is safe, and you are not bringing harm to yourself or others, all is fair game. It might be tempting to check out the skinny-mini with her designer tank top in the front row (…how is her Warrior II lunge that low?!), but you’re not doing anyone any favors, especially yourself.
Instead? Keep your eyes closed if you have to, and focus on how your practice feels on the inside, rather than how it looks on the outside.
3. You Add to Your Mental To-Do List
Inhale arms up (“eggs, milk, spinach”), exhale forward fold (“run to the bank, fold my laundry”). Does this sound like your internal monologue during your class? It can be tempting to tune out and let your body to the work while your mind wanders. But the most powerful part of these 60 to 90 minutes are arguably your work on staying present.
Instead? Set your to-do list aside because you can always pick it up the second class ends. But for now, connect your breath and movements together so tightly that there is no room for any other thoughts.
For the most part, we know what causes our own stress: work, family, friends, the usual culprits. But what happens when your stress isn’t caused by a direct influence on your life? Then, unfortunately, you’re suffering from secondhand stress.
It can happen to anyone. For example, if your close friend is going through a rough situation and shares it with you, you may experience stress symptoms even though nothing has changed in your life. Sadly, this is a real thing. Stress is actually contagious.
Alicia Clark, Psy.D. told Shape Magazine this happens because empathy for others is hard-wired into our system. It’s thought that when others around us feel stress, our brain picks up their cues and mimics them, creating stress in us, even without an actual cause.
Republican party candidate E.W. Jackson is not only running for a position as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, he’s running his mouth as a highly conservative Christian who firmly believes yoga is a straight path to hell, not health.
Jackson is not afraid to tell the world what he thinks. As a Christian minister, Jackson wants to save our souls by warning the 15 million Americans who practice that “Doing yoga may leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possession.”
I don’t remember ever coming across any information while researching the benefits of yoga that along with better health, practitioners will start to grow horns and breathe hostility out into the world. In fact, last time I checked, those who practice yoga on a regular basis are happier, less anxious, and more willing to make a positive difference in their community.
Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve’s comment in response to Jackson’s assertions is the best one thus far. Reeve joked, “Behind the ice-cold eyes of Lululemon princesses burn the demonic flames of eternal hell.” Next time you are in your yoga class you better run and hide, because everyone knows the devil wears Prana. (more…)
A boost of positive energy, an experience of total pleasure, and a jolt of pure ecstasy are what we all seek. A tranquil mind, a balanced life, and a calm spirit are what we all need. To realize these wants and needs, we must be open to let love quench our senses and assuage our desires. I found my love wrapped up in a pretty little velvet black box.
Derived from the most exotic, aromatic, and luscious blends of herbs, resins, and oils from around the world, myInsens incense sticks have just raised the bar in the incense industry.
Kaivan Dave, creator of myInsens, founded the company in the latter part of 2011. After spending six months developing more than 120 fragrances, he and a team of researchers decided to narrow it down and only select six of the absolute best, most pleasing aromas.
They made excellent choices. Unlike certain brands of incense products, which can have a strong chemical odor, myInsens smells natural and clean. (more…)
When we think of alone time, we often picture ourselves shopping without chasing children, having a quiet pedicure, or simply lying in the bathtub uninterrupted. For some truly quality alone time, you don’t have to go much further than inside your own mind. Meditation is a contemplative state where by you silently remove yourself from the physical and the present to reflect, increase clarity, and find a more serene or deeper state of consciousness.
It’s an ancient practice, often associated with yoga, that’s becoming increasingly popular in our scattered, harried, pressure-cooked society. Business professionals use it to decompress after a tough meeting or even find their center before heading in to the bull pen. Men and women alike use meditation to strengthen their minds, reduce stress, and even attain that “me time” that is so necessary.
It’s something Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love grappled with during the pray portion of her journey at an Indian ashram. But in real life, celebrities are embracing it seemingly with ease for a vast many reasons.
For instance, Richard Gere says a meditation practice helps him to stay grounded amongst the excess of Hollywood life. Eva Mendes credits meditation for helping her mine her best creativity, according to Well and Good. And Gisele Bundchen, who delivered her second child at home this month, has called meditation the source for her post-baby weight loss.
“A regular meditation practice creates mindfulness. Being mindful helps keep us from feeling distracted and impatient with life when things don’t go our way,” said Jill Lawson, our resident yogi expert. “When we are fully aware of our feelings through the practice of meditation, we can move toward being more proactive, instead of reactive. Taking action versus being frustrated is the first step in living a joyful life.”
We found 20 famous men and women who have dedicated themselves to the art and practice of meditation. If this group can make Power Bracelets, veganism, and the Master Cleanse a storming success, maybe they can serve as models to make us all a bit more mindful out here in the real world. (more…)