Yoga FAQ

April 14th, 2006

What is Yoga?

The word “Yoga” means “union.” Yoga is a psycho-physical discipline with roots that go back about 5,000 years. There is a lot more to Yoga than physical postures (Asanas), or the breathing exercises (Pranayama) or even the Meditation. In the true tradition of Yoga the goal is union with the Absolute, known as Brahman, or with Atman, the true self. Most people now, however, approach Yoga to obtain the very real benefits of health, mental clarity, stress release and fitness. The wonderful thing about Yoga is its flexibility. Practitioners can focus on the spiritual, psychological or physical benefits of Yoga, or all of the above.

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga defies categorization. Whatever your method of contacting the Divine, Yoga can accelerate movement in that direction. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender or religion or race. Yoga is truly universal. Most people find that they can practice Yoga without any conflict with their religious beliefs.

Is Yoga Good for You?

Studies in the United States and India suggest that Yoga can help conditions such as stress, Anxiety, and even epilepsy. Western science has been studying Yoga for nearly 50 years and evidence suggests numerous physical and psychological benefits.

How many styles of Yoga are there?

There are many different styles, and this is a good thing because people have such differing temperaments. There are four basic paths of Yoga: 1) Jnana, which is the path of knowledge and wisdom; 2) Bhakti, the path of devotion; 3) Karma, the path of action; and 4) Raja, the path of self control. Within this path (Raja) is found Hatha Yoga, which is the most popular path in the West. In India, Bhakti is perhaps the most popular. Many paths such as Iyengar, Kripalu, Astanga, Integral and Jiva Mukti, to name a few, are Hatha Yoga styles. A common lineage dates back to Patanjali’s Yoga sutras, the text which outlines the basic philosophy and practices of classical Yoga.

What does Hatha mean?

The word hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha Yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body–especially the main channel, the spine–so that energy can flow freely.

Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects–active, hot, sun–and feminine aspects–receptive, cool, moon–within all of us. Hatha Yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

Hatha Yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.

Is Yoga a New Age Practice?

Yoga and New Age movements share a common focus on the improvement of the body and mind and their connection to the soul. Yoga goes back thousands of years.

What is Om?

It is a sacred Hindu sound symbolizing the Absolute. It can be spelled Aum. It is used as a mantra during Meditation. Correct pronunciation rhymes with “home.”

Is Yoga Aerobic Exercise?

The physical Yogas are certainly aerobic, because they improve oxygenation of the blood through increased heart rate and deeper breathing. Astanga and Vini Yoga are good examples.

What is power Yoga? Is it okay for beginners?

Power Yoga is a style of Yoga that moves quickly from one posture to the next. The foundation of this practice are 3 variations of the sun salutation, named simply A, B, and C. All of the other standing postures are thrown into modifications of these 3 series, making the practice very vigorous and challenging. Generally, non “power YogaYoga classes are slower, softer and a bit more static.

The problem with power Yoga and the beginning student is that there is none to very little alignment instruction provided. The other problem is that a beginning student doesn’t know how or when to slow down, stop or modify a posture. Both of these problems lead to Yoga students hurting themselves in class by poor alignment in the postures and by over exerting themselves and going past their edge.

What if I am out of shape?

Finding a good teacher is the optimum way to go. Also books and videos can be very helpful. Remember, if you have any condition or physical situation you are in doubt about, consult your health care practitioner.

Is it difficult to do Yoga being overweight?

Yoga can be difficult for any body type. Being overweight is going to make it a bit more challenging on a physical level, but Yoga is as challenging as you make it. Do not try to fit your body into the pose, but adapt the posture for your body. Accept where you are at and do not judge or criticize yourself because you cannot it perfectly.

How is Yoga different from normal exercises?

Yoga focuses more on process than goal. Gym activities or other more goal-driven exercises are quite different. You are not competing with anyone when you do Yoga. Toning is the way in which Yoga achieves muscular strength, in contrast to, for example, weightlifting, which breaks down muscle to build it.

Do I need to be vegetarian to practice Yoga?

Recent surveys suggest that only one out of three Yoga practitioners is vegetarian. The traditional Yoga diet is vegetarian, but one’s awareness keeps evolving, and at each stage a person can tune in to what is best for her/his own body.

How often should I practice Yoga?

I would suggest starting by practicing Yoga 3-4 times per week, 30-60 minutes per day. It is best to start slow and gradually build up the duration per day and per week. Your body may change a lot the first year of Yoga, and you need to listen and adapt/adjust your practice to work with your body. Most importantly do not push yourself, and do what feels good for your body. Shorter sessions like 20-30 minutes a day are better than one 90-minute session a week.

Will Yoga help me to reduce weight?

You will look and feel better very soon if you practice regularly and eat healthy food, fresh vegetables and more water will soon improve your physique. Also your muscle tone and strength will improve.

I am wondering if Yoga will tone my body in the same way as working out?

Yoga does tone and strengthen the body, but not in the same way as working out. To build strength in Yoga focus on holding the postures longer and longer (without strain) and possibly move on to more advanced postures.There is also a style of Yoga called “power Yoga” or ashtanga Yoga that moves very quickly between postures, which builds strength and Endurance.

Is it normal to experience soreness after Yoga?

Some soreness is normal following your first class. However, a nagging ache or intense pain is not.

Is it normal to feel tingling in the arms and legs during Yoga?

Yes, a small amount of tingling is normal. If the tingling is intense, you may be holding the pose too long, or not resting sufficiently between poses. The tingling sensation usually occurs in new students and subsides with time and further practice.

Sometimes my legs shake when I am doing stretches, do I continue the stretch and just let it shake. Or do I stop?

Usually when the body shakes during Yoga it is because the muscles are becoming fatigued and need to be strengthened to hold the posture longer. In postures where the focus is on building strength (like upward boat) its okay to shake a little, if you hold too long you can strain a muscle (or just feel really sore the next day).

I’m not sure why your legs would be shaking if you are only stretching the muscles and not strengthening them as in seated head to knee. You may be pulling yourself a bit too hard into the posture. You want to work on finding the balance between using effort and relaxing into the posture. If you are tensing up the muscles they will not be able to stretch and increase their flexibility.

Is it okay to use a chair to assist me with some balancing postures?

Yes, it is fine to use a prop (chair, block, wall) to help you with balance. Try to use the lightest touch possible to support yourself, slowly lessening the pressure until you can hold yourself up without it. Most importantly, focus your gaze at one point on the wall or the floor in front of you, as this will assist you in being balance.

Are there certain postures that you might suggest to help me as I basically have little balance?

I would suggest trying some of the balancing postures on the floor: upward boat, balancing table, prayer squat, balancing bear, half warrior, and balancing bound angle. If you want to work on the standing balancing postures use a wall to help support you. In both positions, focus on building Concentration by using a drishti or focal point to stare at.

Whenever I do any inverted postures (especially the Headstand) I usually get a Migraine, is there a way in which I can overcome this?

Usually inversions would be a good thing to do for Headaches and Migraines. But it sounds like the increase in blood pressure is triggering them for you. I would avoid all inversions where the legs are over the head (head stand, shoulder stand, hand stand) and would experiment with plow, Yoga mudra, standing angle, standing forward fold, downward dog and other semi-inversions.

The other possibility is to only go into the full inversions for very short periods of time on a daily basis, and very very gradually lengthen the amount of time you hold the posture.

I have a problem with my hands and feet sliding during poses. I have a sticky mat but it has made no difference. Do you have any recommendations?

You may want to try several things: 1. wear socks and use a small hand towel between hands and sticky mat. 2. wash your sticky mat. 3. try a different type of mat. 4. hold the postures for shorter times.

Do I have to exhale through the nose or mouth?

You inhale and exhale through the nose, unless doing a specific pranayama.

Can Yoga help me improve my height?

Yoga can help improve your posture, which will make you feel and look taller, but it will not make you “grow” any extra inches. The bones in the body stop growing once you reach adulthood, and thus make it impossible for the body to increase it’s height.

Practice the mountain posture (tadasana) not only in your Yoga practice, but all through your day, standing, sitting, driving your car, waiting in line at the supermarket. Consciously keep your awareness on your posture, keeping the spine long and straight as much as possible.

Which style is best?

Try a few different styles and when one clicks, commit to that one. Any style you choose will help you. Availability of a teacher whom you like can also play a big part in your enjoyment.

Should I do Yoga while I am pregnant?

Yoga is a great way to strengthen the pelvic area, normalize thyroid function and blood pressure, and reduce stress, all of which are good for the baby. It is fine to continue modified practice if you were doing Yoga before; if you are just beginning, it is best to work with a teacher who has prenatal Yoga experience. In general you should avoid strain, compressing the abdomen, and inverted postures, especially in the later stages.

What postures are contraindicated during pregnancy?

Avoid all postures that put pressure on the belly, especially after the 3rd month. Inverted postures are not contraindicated but are cautioned. This is mostly a concern late in the pregnancy, as the weight of the belly will compress the chest and make it difficult to breathe. It may also be just to strenuous to lift the legs and belly over the head.

In pregnancy there is a hormone secreted that makes muscles very easy to over stretch, which can cause injury if the woman pushes/pulls to hard into the pose.

Postures done on the back are cautioned due to the weight of the fetus pressing on the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava (cutting off Circulation), and shavasana should not be practiced, have her lay on side in fetal pose.

Why are certain postures contraindicated during menstruation?

The postures that are contraindicated for mensuration are inversions: shoulder stand, head stand, plow, etc. These postures increase the flow of the menses, and cause a greater loss of blood which could leave to health problems. Other postures may be cautioned because they put stress or pressure in the lower abdominal region.

A slow gentle Yoga practice is recommended during mensuration, focusing on postures that stretch the sides of the torso (triangle), open the hips (bound angle), forward folds and spinal twists.

I am 45, in early Menopause and I would like to know which styles of Yoga would best help me at this stage of my life.

The best styles of Yoga to balance the endocrine system and regulate the hormones are ones that hold postures for long-ish periods of time: Kripalu, Iyengar, Sivananda.

Can Yoga help with social Anxiety?

Stress and Anxiety levels can be drastically reduced by Yoga practice. A stronger sense of self is built with regular practice, and over time this increased confidence and well-being can reduce or nullify feelings of Anxiety. Nadi Shodhana, which is a breathing technique, can help alleviate the symptoms of an Anxiety attack. You may also become more able to observe the factors that lead to an Anxiety attack, and deal with them before the symptoms escalate. There can be significant improvement within months.

Is it possible to use Yoga to help lower back pain?

Yes Yoga can help. Try knee down twist, child, forward bending poses, half and full wind relieving poses. I would also suggest strengthening your abs and core body strength using upward boat, triangle, and some belly down (prone) poses (being careful not to strain the back muscles).

I have a Circulation problem in my hands and lower arms, which includes numbness and pain. Is there an asana or pranayama that will help release the energy blockage?

Standing and inverted Yoga postures and kapalabhati pranayama will all help improve Circulation.

Can you recommend any Yoga positions that may be beneficial for Hypertension?

Yes, it has been shown that practicing Yoga does lower blood pressure, mostly due to its calming and relaxing nature, but also because it is a form of exercise. There are a few postures that are contraindicated for Hypertension, mainly the inversions where the head is placed below the heart. I would suggest you focus on gentle Yoga postures, mostly doing the postures done on the floor. The most important posture to practice is “Savasana” (relaxation/sponge/corpse pose). Pranayama (yogic breathing) and Meditation will be very helpful as well.

Can I do Yoga when I have a cold and a headache?

For Headaches and colds a slow gentle Yoga practice is best. Focus on floor postures, especially those that are focused on the spine. Try spinal twists (seated and knee down twist), forward bends (seated forward bend, seated angle, seated head to knee) and inversions (half shoulder stand, plow, standing Yoga mudra).

I have Anxiety attacks and cannot relax, can Yoga postures help?

Try a slow gentle Yoga practice focusing on asanas that stretch out the area(s) where you hold the Tension and stress in your body. Specific postures to reduce stress would be: standing Yoga mudra, triangle, standing forward fold, cobra, camel, child, knee down twist, and at least 10 minutes of conscious relaxation in shavasana.

How do Yoga positions open up the chakras?

Even though the chakras are often described using physical qualities, these are energy centers in the body. Yoga effects the energy of the body, and using Yoga postures that focus on the chakra centers will stimulate them allowing the energy to flow and open.

Stress and Tension (physical as well as emotions and thoughts) that accumulate in the areas of the chakras will obstruct the flow of energy, and make the chakras close down. When these areas are stretched, twisted, pressed into and lengthened (though Yoga), the stress and Tension in these areas are released, and the energy of the chakra can flow and open.

How do I recognize a qulified teacher?

There are no universal standards. Someone who is certified may have just done a weekend course or may have studied for many years. Yoga is so diverse and broad that some people in the Yoga community feel it would be impossible to create uniform standards. However; the Yoga Alliance has outlined some minimum requirements that Yoga teachers must meet in order to become “registered.” Yoga teacher registration has no national or official significance. The training requirements for registration are very reasonable and are followed by most training organizations.

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Hypnotic Yoga

January 7th, 2006

Two Sessions Including:

* Track 1: Yoga Strength and Balance Become more in touch with your body. Hypnosis will help you to create a great sense of confidence in your abilities as well as enhance the strength and balance you feel during your Yoga practice as well as other times.

* Track 2: Pre-Yoga or Workout Stretch Use the magical wisdom of your body to create more inner connection, inner quiet, and relaxation helping your stretching to go beyond old levels.


Read more about this effective program now!

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Mudras For Health and Vitality

December 22nd, 2005

The physical body is made up of five elements namely - Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Akasha (ether - the tiny intercellular spaces in the human body).

Imbalance of these elements disrupts the immunity system and causes disease.

Deficiencies in any of these elements can be made up by connecting one part of the body with another in a particular manner through Mudras.

When a finger representing an element is brought into contact with the thumb, that element is brought into balance. Therefore the disease caused by the imbalance is cured. Mudras start electromagnetic currents within the body which balance various constituting elements and restore health. The joining of fingers creates an effect on the human body.

The five fingers for five elements :

  • Thumb - Fire
  • Index - Air
  • Middle - Akasha
  • Ring - Earth
  • Little - Water

MUDRAS for benefits:

Gyan Mudra

Effective in cases of mental ailment, imparts happiness, the intellect develops, memory is sharpened.

Method

Join the tips of the index finger and thumb and keep the other 3 fingers stretched and joined.

Shoonya Mudra

Relief in diseases and pains relating to the ear.

Method

Press the middle finger on the base of the thumb and keep the thumb on middle finger. Keep the other three fingers straight..

Apaan Mudra

Helps in clearing the body by elimination of waste matter from the mouth, eyes, ears, nose etc. Helps when urine is obstructed, reduces Constipation.

Method

Join the tip of the thumb with the tip of middle and ring finger, keeping the other finger straight.

Prana Mudra

Helps in pumping the life force into your body. Beneficial for all types of diseases. Imparts special power to the eyes.

Method

Join the tip of the thumb with tip of little and ring finger. Keeping other two fingers straight.

Vayu Mudra

Helps in diseases like Arthritis, trembling in Parkinson’s disease. Better results obtained if practices after Prana mudra.

Method

Press the index finger on the base of thumb and keep the thumb on the index finger. Let the other fingers be straight.

Prithvi Mudra

Makes body sturdy. One experiences happiness.

Method

Join the tip of the thumb and ring finger.

Varun Mudra

Improves the deteriorated quality of blood due to shortage of water & gives freshness to the body.

Method

Join the tip of the thumb and little finger.

Surya Mudra

Reduces weight of your body.

Method

Put the tip of ring finger at the base of thumb, with thumb gently pressing on it.

Ling Mudra

Produces heat in the body and helps in curing cold and cough.

Method

Interlock the fingers of both hands together. Keeping the left thumb up (encircled by right thumb and index finger) i.e. left thumb should be vertically straight and right thumb around it.

WHEN TO DO?

1.Can be practiced at all times while sitting, lying, standing, walking or even talking. 2.For good results should be practiced for 24 minutes continuously. Can be practiced for 4-5 minutes also at one time. 3. If a mudra cannot be made in both hands, you may do it in one hand only

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Yoga Beginner - Getting It Right

December 21st, 2005

When it comes to promoting relaxation and reducing stress, nothing beats Yoga. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone. Most people who quit Yoga think they fail because they are unable to get the positions and technique right. In fact, the reason they fail is that they put too much importance on getting the positions and technique right.

I do not profess to be a master of Yoga. In fact, I am a beginner, with very little skill. However I have taught drumming for many years, and the pitfalls are similar. Here is my advice for Yoga beginners.

Week 1 - Enjoy the activity:

Grab a beginner Yoga video and set up your mat in a place that you can be comfortable and alone (there’s no room for self-consciousness in this step). Go through the exercises, but act as though you are a six year old having fun, rather than an adult worrying about technique. Try all of the positions, don’t worry if there are some you can’t perform right away, modify as necessary.

Week 2 - Examine the sensations:

By this time your body has probably memorized the routine (if you have been having fun and not obsessing about technique, your body will have learnt the movements quickly). Try to concentrate on your breathing. Be aware of how oxygen and energy are flowing to, from, and through the various body parts. Feel the release of Tension and sensations in your muscles.

Week 3 and beyond - Observe the instructor

Most likely you have been improving your technique throughout, without even trying. You have probably figured out which Yoga exercises are the easiest for you, and which are more difficult. Concentrate on the position you are most comfortable with. You are most likely so at ease with this position that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. The breathing and motions should be second nature by now, so you can begin to observe and emulate details in the instructor’s technique. Continue this step for each exercise.

Many people will try to learn Yoga, and other activities, by only using the method I explained in week three. Many instructors are guilty of teaching this way. Unfortunately, beginners who start by obsessing about their technique may never enjoy what is described in week 1 or week 2.

About the Author

Mark Altman is the webmaster of www.soundsleeping.com, a web page containing free relaxing music, sleep-aids, relaxation advice, stress reducing tips and an active discussion.

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Yogic Gaze - Trataka

December 19th, 2005

Trataka means steady gazing. It is a very simple and beautiful Meditation technique.

Method:

In this a regular Candle is used, however any other object of choice can be used. The Candle is set up at an arm’s distance, level with eyes, and steady gazing is first done with the eyes open. After some time, the eyes are closed, and the after image inside the mind is used for gazing. Try not to move through out the practice. Relax your breath , let it lengthen, deepen.

Benefits:

*It improves the optic function, both external and internal, such as poor eyesight and visualization abilities. *It helps develop Concentration and mental resolve. *Develops the ability to maintain one-pointedness in amongst the noise and distractions of daily life. * Develops the psychic eye, that is the ability to “see” or understand what is inside and beyond the obvious

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Breathing, Oxygen and Yoga

December 18th, 2005

There are a growing number of people drawn to the health benefits of Yoga. For good reasons. The deep breathing exercises taught in some schools of Yoga cater to the healthy living of every cell in our bodies.

Many people don’t realize that every cell in our bodies requires oxygen on a continual basis in order to have active metabolism. The cells of all glands and organs require active metabolism in order for those glands and organs to be functional and productive, and we cannot maintain a state of good health for long without their function.

Once we understand this basic principle we can look at our modern sedentary lifestyle and see that it is not the most conducive to health. Coming from nature where all the creatures are moving the majority of the time - we also were designed with motion in mind.

When we do move two things spontaneously occur: first, the activity engages muscles which produce carbon dioxide through their metabolism; this triggers deeper breathing in order to eliminate the carbon dioxide and to acquire more oxygen for continued muscular activity.

Second: the activity stimulates better Circulation in both the Cardiovascular and lymphatic systems, so that both oxygen and other nutrients can be distributed throughout the body.

The lack of activity that usually comes with a desk job, or sitting at a computer all day, is really not to our benefit. Not only does our Circulation become more sluggish and our breathing very shallow but all the brain activity also requires fair amounts of oxygen, and this type of activity does not stimulate sufficient deeper breathing nor better Circulation. Consequently we fall into oxygen depletion.

The result is known as the oxidative stress, produced at a cellular level by cells in a panic because they are suffocating, and communicated up to the brain as stressful Anxiety. Both this stress level and the oxygen deficit are damaging to the entire body.

When these conditions remain for long periods of time they lead to a degeneration of our internal organs and subsequent malfunctions.

How many people accept that they have stressful jobs? Yet this situation could easily be alleviated by breathing breaks and exercise breaks instead of coffee breaks, or even as well as coffee breaks. Looking into the health statistics of our modern society we can see rising numbers of a variety of immune deficient and degenerative diseases. Should we continue to go this route or would it be better to start applying some simple solutions now?

The science of Yoga has many practical methods of reversing the trend. It does not require amazing flexibility nor acrobatic feats to promote a better state of health. Simple movement and deeper breathing would suffice and these can be done right in the office.

Breathing can be practiced sitting in an office chair for example, so why not change the direction of our health trends. Deep breathing does not require a huge amount of effort, and oxygen is still free, not even taxable.

About the Author

David Goulet has been a certified international Yoga teacher since 1972. David and his wife Marina offer Yoga Teacher Training in Victoria British Columbia and beautiful beach island of Koh Phangan in South Thailand. Visit his website here.

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For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!

Yoga Versus Pilates - Which Should I Do?

December 17th, 2005

Many have heard of Yoga and Pilates. But, not everyone realizes that there are several differences between these two types of exercising regimens. In fact, Yoga is hardly classified as just an exercise program. Each of these methods are quite powerful tools to allow you to feel and look better. But, they are also very different. In order to help you to make a choice between Yoga and Pilates, let’s explain them a little further.

Yoga - It came way earlier

Yoga has been around for over 5000 years. It is something much more than just a way of exercising. In fact, it is a lifestyle change that many people need to take seriously. This type of program is centered on the spiritual healing of the body as well as the physical aspects. It uses a wide combination of breathing and movements to get the body back into its targeted range. Yoga is something that encompasses the entire lifestyle in ethical, spiritual and physical form.

It is important to note that Yoga is centered on Meditation and that the poses that are done are done to allow for better Concentration and better Meditation abilities.

Pilates - It’s a whole different animal

Pilates, on the other hand, is a physical healing process that uses movements and breathing to work. In Pilates, the body is taken from one movement to the next in a fluid change. This allows for continuous improvement in the body in a normal way. Pilates uses Contrology in its dance form. In this, the poses that are done are more fluid and provide for a more natural movement from one to the next.

Both of these types of programs allow for individuals to improve in their health and well being through breathing techniques. Controlled, regulated breathing is very important to the success of Yoga or Pilates.

Which Should I Choose?

In order to know which of these you should choose, the best way to know which the better choice is for you is to actually give them a try. Sign up for a couple of classes and give them a try each. Which methods and processes do you feel more comfortable with? Which works the best for your lifestyle?

The choice between Yoga and Pilates is something that you need to make on your own.

About the Author

Mike Singh is a successful webmaster and publisher of this site. He provides more Yoga health benefits and Yoga sequences for your convenience .

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For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

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Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!

The History of Yoga

December 16th, 2005

The history of Yoga is long and steeped in tradition. Contrary to what some people may believe, Yoga was not developed as the newest way to slim down so they could fit into a smaller pants size.

The history of Yoga goes back 5,000 years. It originated in India, and the first time the word Yoga was found in written form was in the Rig Vada, one of the sacred texts used by Vedic priests. Yoga is a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment.

Originally, Yoga techniques were passed down from teacher to student through word of mouth. These techniques had never been written down until the Indian sage Patanjali wrote down a systematic method of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali is considered to be the father of Yoga.

According to Patanjali, there are eight limbs of Yoga, which lead to the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

Yama - abstaining from violence, stealing, lust, greed

Niyam - developing devotion, purity, studiousness, contentment, discipline

Pranayama - controlling the breath

Pratyahara - going inward and withdrawing attention from the outside world

Dharana - Concentration

Dhyana - Meditation

Samadhi - merging with the universal consciousness

The Swami Vivekananda added to the history of Yoga by bringing it to America. In 1893, he addressed the Parliament of World Religions and discussed the path of Yoga. As a result of his speech, it quickly began to blossom as a practice in many areas of the country. Yoga has since gained major popularity in the United States and many different styles including Hatha, Bikram, and Iyengar, are practiced by millions of people.

Knowing the history of Yoga can help you, the practitioner, realize the richness that it has to offer. More than just a means of being fit and trim, Yoga can help you live a healthy, whole, and empowered life.

About the Author

Della Menechella is a Yoga and fitness enthusiast who has been involved in fitness for over thirty years. Her website is filled with practical information about how you can make Yoga and fitness a positive part of your life.

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ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!

Yoga For The Beginner

November 2nd, 2005

One of the amazing things about Yoga is that despite the great benefits that it produces, it requires no costs. There is not specific Yoga training equipment that one has to use in order to obtain the desired results and there is no such thing as the perfect environment required for practicing Yoga.

All this is a direct consequence of the fact that Yoga is, more than a practice, a state of mind and a life style. That is why your will, as well as your believes and attitudes towards this philosophical path are all that actually matter. Moreover, a balanced and healthy diet, based on natural food, is a key issue for preparing yourself for your first Yoga session. What we eat can strongly affect both our mind and our soul, so it is crucial to mind what we eat.

Even though you do not need a specially designed place for performing your Yoga class, make sure, when electing the room where you will be holding the class, to choose a place as far away from distractions - such as radio, street noise, TV - as possible. The place also needs to be clean and quite and, if possible, ventilated. A blanket is the accessory that you absolutely need in order to gain comfort when carrying out the exercises and the Meditation, as they are performed in either sitting or lying positions, but, however, a towel or a mat, could work, as well.

In what concerns the clothes you are supposed to wear, try to select something very comfortable and loose, such as training suits, sweat pants and a t-shirt, shorts or loose pajamas. Some people would rather wear no clothes at all, but, nevertheless, most practitioners put something on, especially if the Yoga session is not private.

It is also highly recommended to have an empty stomach, before starting your Yoga exercises. As a general rule, one or two hours after a main meal is the ideal time for practicing Yoga. As breathing is a key element in Yoga training, do not forget to also clean your nostrils and your throat.

In case you have not decided which could represent the best moment of the day for carrying out your Yoga session, you have to know that both morning and evening practices can result very beneficial to your body and mind. Thus, performing the exercises in the morning can contribute to your good shape for the whole day, as it improves your vitality level. On the other hand, evening Yoga practices helps inducing a restful and peaceful sleep.

Your Yoga session should not exhaust you. Do not hesitate to take a break, when you feel tired. Actually, short breaks are common, between difficult exercises. Keep in mind that as little as 15 minutes of correct Yoga practice can produce marvelous results on your body and mind.

As a final idea, try to remember that the most important thing, when practicing Yoga, is your attitude and your desire to discover the incredible sensations and experiences this ancient philosophy can provide.

About the Author

Sandra is a certified Yoga instructor who teaches 6 classes in the greater San Francisco area. Her blog can be read HERE.

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For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!

The Benefits of Pilates

October 31st, 2005

Pilates is comprised of over 500 controlled exercises that are a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training intended to improve posture, create long, lean muscles, and reduce stress. Pilates exercises have evolved over the past 75 years.

Through smooth, continuous motion, Pilates works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Its focus is particularly on strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal region. Because Pilates focuses on quality of movement, one feels invigorated after a session instead of feeling exhausted.

Your first Pilates session should be a private lesson in which the instructor will introduce you to the equipment, give you an idea of where your body’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and enable you to make informed decisions.

The Pilates exercises can be performed either on machines or on a mat. A variety of equipment is used to perform some of the over 500 exercises. On the mat you perform with a group, performing the same exercises, at the same pace.

Different instructors, training institutions and equipment manufacturers have developed several props to help you carry out exercises on your own. Small props such as Pilates balls, Pilates circles and Pilates resistance bands can be incorporated into any personal training program.

There are many similarities between Yoga and Pilates. But, the breathing is different for the two disciplines. In Pilates, you pull your stomach in, while in Yoga you allow it to expand with breath. While Pilates is about movement, Yoga involves holding of postures.

If you want to achieve the maximum slimming effect with least amount of effort, then you should go for the Winsor Pilates exercise. The exercise works every part of your body and focuses on the core muscle groups - abdomen, lower back, hips and buttocks - which are going to burn the most energy for weight loss and make the biggest difference in your physical appearance.

About the author

The author’s site provides detailed information about Pilates exercises, equipment, videos, classes, studios, Certification, and more.

—–
For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!



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