We all know get-rich-quick scams work about as well as weight loss from a pill. While these enticements are tempting for most people in this country, there is another camp of people who always seem to want to make things harder for themselves. Be it working, dieting, or exercising, the old adage “less is more” often takes a back seat to the preferred “no pain, no gain.”
For those of you who are tired of experiencing pain for your gain, an ancient yogic practice called Yoga Nidra may help loosen your fierce grip on your need to achieve your goals.
Yoga Nidra is essentially the yoga of sleep, but it is not the type of sleep we engage in while napping, or at night. It is a relaxation induced, conscious sleep.
The benefits of attaining a super-restful yet fully awake state of mind reach far beyond just putting your feet up and enjoying a cup of tea. Yoga Nidra settles the nervous system and slows brain waves for an overall feeling of euphoria and inner peace.
A typical Yoga Nidra class may involve some guided imagery, body scanning techniques, or gentle pranayama practice. To aid in relaxation, participants are instructed to lie comfortably with their eyes closed and listen to the teacher’s vocal directions. (more…)
Kids benefit from yoga as much as, if not more than, adults. With yoga programs for the classroom sprouting up all over the country, the opportunity for school-aged children to get in on this wildly beneficial discipline is growing.
A few days off of school, let alone three full weeks, can really wreak havoc on you and your child’s state of mind. In order to avoid the chaotic days that follow a break in the routine, you must do what you can to maintain some sort of consistency.
If your child has been participating in a regular yoga practice at school, there are a few things you can do to help them maintain their healthy habit during the holiday break. No doubt you both stand a lot to gain!
Yoga in the Morning
Every morning while your child is brushing his or her teeth, practice a few fun balance poses like tree pose, eagle pose, or mountain pose on tippy-toes. Encourage your child to focus on a spot in the mirror or on the wall and keep their attention fixed on that spot for as long as they are brushing their teeth. (more…)
When people think of yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of someone doing a yoga pose on a sticky mat. But did you know that only one of the four main branches of yoga involves poses, and poses are just one fraction of that branch? This means that the yoga poses you are familiar with are a very small part of yoga.
If you study the origins of yoga, you will learn that yoga began as a way to reach enlightenment. Of the various methods, only one involved the deliberate and systematized use of the physical body. The others were centered on the path of selfless service (Karma yoga), love and devotion to God (Bhakti yoga), and the study of the intellect (Jnana yoga). In the fourth branch, Raja yoga, steps were taken to prepare the body (and the mind) for long hours of meditation for the purpose of attaining union with the divine.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest recorded books of yoga, these steps consisted of eight parts, or limbs. The first two limbs are comprised of morals and ethics to guide the yogi toward making the proper choices that foster inner peace, purity of mind, and non-violent actions. (more…)
If you don’t have the luxury of sitting for hours to contemplate the meaning of life, or the solitude to sneak in an hour or two of quiet time to realign your soul’s intention for being alive, you are not alone. In this day and age, American’s are hard pressed to chill out and enjoy the simple pleasures of being mindful.
We all know meditation offers many health benefits. If it didn’t, Medicare would not cover it under their insurance plan, nor would people like Donna Karan spearhead a movement to offer it to cancer patients in hospitals. The problem most people have is finding the time to practice.
It may not be a full-scale meditative program, but the following three-minute “time-out” can at least help you eliminate some stress and tension from your day at the office. Practice once a day to begin, and then if time permits, add another session when needed. (more…)
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, if not deadly. Heart disease, obesity, and depression are just a few consequences of inactivity, and in most cases, these conditions could be prevented if our bodies were a little more active.
It is hard not to wonder what kind of harmful effects sitting in meditation might be doing to our health. If stiff knees and a tight lower back weren’t painful enough, the thought of damaging your health while trying to gain inner peace seems blatantly counterproductive.
For those who have a sedentary job, or are addicted to the television set, practicing a form of active meditation instead of the classic seated meditation might be a better option.