Yoga for Weight Loss
A medium-build person doing classic yoga burns an average of just 150 calories per hour. We have slightly higher figures when it comes to the dynamic styles or hot yoga – around 300 calories, but this amount of energy expenditure hardly compares to what we can get even from regular brisk walking. However, it’s known for a fact that, from a weight loss perspective, exercise is only 20% of the equation, the rest being nutrition. 80/20 is the primary formula for those keen to lose weight, with yoga capable of doing most of the management thereunder.
When we roll out a yoga mat for practice, it’s usually because we seek stability. Stability in the body as we play with balance and gravity, but, perhaps more importantly, stability of the mind. A steady yoga practice is a refuge, a sanctuary, and a grounded force for daily life. In a world that can feel erratic and unstable, yoga offers a reliable source of peace. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) is a beautiful manifestation of that safety, represented in a single, solid pose. Yoga is a process of self-discovery which can be intimidating as much as it is freeing. Within that journey, Trikonasana is a grounding force that can be relied upon. Sutra 2.46 of Patanjali says: “Posture (asana) [should be] stable (sthira) and comfortable (sukha).” There is no better place to explore this power of comfortable stability than in Utthita Trikonasana.
Salamba Sarvangasana: Shoulderstand — It’s History, Meaning and Method
Shoulder stand is a mysterious pose.
Scholars make an educated guess that it’s been with us since at least pre-modern times.
By its Sanskrit name, Salamba Sarvangasana, we can date it only back to 1934, where we read about in Tirumalai Krishnmacharya’s book, Yoga Makaranda.
But, if Salamba Sarvangasana is the same pose as Viparita Karani — mentioned in the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika — it has been with us for many centuries.
The earliest picture we have of the pose by this name is fairly late — but it looks alot like Shoulderstand (in its “unsupported” form).
We see that picture in the March, 1898 New York Herald (Figure 1).
Namaste – The Art of Cultivating an “I-Thou” Relationship in Everyday Life
Does this sound familiar? It’s the end of yoga class . . . you’re lying face up on your sticky mat, the bell rings and you slowly make your way up to a seated position. You join your hands together in prayer, you bow your head down toward your heart, and whisper with reverence, the sacred word, Namaste. You feel connected to all of life and at peace. As you walk out to your car, that feeling of oneness and connection lingers and you feel a part of the sacredness of life. You feel like you are living Namaste.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog, is likely the most ubiquitous pose in the entire yoga practice. Utilizing the full body, creating both strength and flexibility, it is really no wonder that so many differing schools and styles of yoga have adopted this all-encompassing posture into their disciplines.
A forward fold and a spinal neutralizing pose, Down Dog works to create length in the back body while simultaneously strengthening the arms, back and core. But even beyond just the physical, Adho Mukha Svanasana is often used as a ‘resting’ pose between other more challenging postures to both relax the mind and restore the breath. Allowing practitioners to draw their attention inward, this pose provides the perfect space to bring meditation into the physical asana practice.
Mayurasana (Peacock Pose). Its History, Purpose and Method
Some yoga poses are new, and some are thousands of years old. By this measurement, Mayurasana is on the young side. We find a description of Mayurasana in the 500-year-old Hatha Yoga Pradipika, yet we have depictions of other yoga poses that go back 5000 years. Similarly, some poses are easy and some poses are hard. Mayurasana is not the hardest pose in yoga, but it is definitely difficult! As you can see from the images here, its shape is unusual and—arguably—unnatural. Besides the delightful physical challenge it gives us-and the benefits to balance, strength and endurance it offers—we might ask, “why do such a pose?”
The Value of Inverted Asanas
Life has a way of surprising us, so it’s empowering to be the one to decide to turn life upside down. Yoga inversions are a safe, beautiful, exhilarating way to do just that. A yoga inversion is simply any asana that brings the hips above the heart or the head below the heart. With this simple definition, an inversion takes – literally – many shapes and forms depending on what your body needs and is prepared for. Whether it’s as basic as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) or as challenging as Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), there is a place for inversions in your practice.
Yoga During Periods
Just as a yoga practice should be adapted for its one-of-a-kind yogi, a woman experiences her menstrual cycle uniquely. Though many women feel less energetic on their periods, some may feel little to no change. Where one woman may crave the soothing flow of Sun Salutations, another may wish for gentle restoration or complete rest, without practicing yoga at all. Still others may crave an intense, inversion-filled Ashtanga sequence.
Yoga practice depends on the yogi and the choice of how to practice yoga while on her period depends on the woman. A sincere practice of yoga is done to learn how to listen to the intuitive wisdom of the body. It is with this intention that a woman learns to care for her practice – and herself – during the so-called “critical days” of the menstrual cycle.
The Importance of Forward Bends
There are many, many poses within the yoga practice that incorporate some aspect of forward folding. Forward bends tend to be more restorative, cooling postures that often move the head below the heart also creating the effects of an inversion. Introspective and soothing, these gentle (or deeper forward) bends work to lengthen the entire back body, stretching the neck, the upper, middle and lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings and calves. Literally lengthening from head to toe, these postures create space and awareness throughout.
Downward Dog cultivates strength for the rest of your practice. In addition to working muscles in the arms and shoulders, the whole pose is like a breath of fresh air for the entire body. Downward Dog asks for a beautiful balance in your practice: effort and ease, strength and surrender, muscular effort and flexibility. This is felt by grounding your hands into the mat and running lines up energy up the arms. The energy is carried through the hips, reaching towards the ceiling, and back down through the legs, where hamstrings are stretched and the spine is open. The gentle inversion calms the mind and nervous system while rejuvenating the blood. It’s a great pose for grounding yourself and getting out of your mind.
Yoga and Mental Health
The benefits of yoga are impactful because they’re felt rather than analyzed. Usually this is manifested in an open body and expansive breath. However, researchers are finding that yoga’s positive impacts on mental health are validated in a scientifically-established way.
It makes intuitive sense that a practice teaching relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and conscious muscle release would result in relaxation of the mind. The key to this connection is in yoga’s impact on the body’s stress response. A Harvard Medical School article1 reports that yoga’s ability to decrease physiological arousal, such as increased heart rate and shallow breathing, also decreases mental arousal to stress. Usual emotional stress responses would be feeling frustrated or anxious, nervous, and exhibiting clouded judgment.
What is Bahiranga?
The father of yoga, Patanjali, identified the eight limbs of yoga. We can say that there are eight steps on the path and that every yoga practitioner must climb these steps. On the other hand, they are like eight facets of the same gem, all of which are equal and necessary. You should pay attention to each individual limb in order for your yoga flower to blossom. Five of them (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara) form the external aspect of yoga, called Bahiranga, while three others (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) create the internal aspect, or Antaranga… read more
We wish you good practice!