Asana Studies: Shoulderstand Pose: Examining the Physical and Philosophical Dimensions of Sarvangasana

This pose is good to insert later in your workout, once your legs and spine have become active. This pose is demanding, and should not be pursued without very strong guidelines or (preferably) an experienced yogi.

Physical Nature of Shoulderstand

The idea behind a Shoulderstand is simple: you invert everything you’ve done in Mountain Pose, up to the shoulders. Your body should extend upwards from the mat, propped up by your hands and pointing at the sky. Do not try Shoulderstand without much more thorough instruction: here is a place to get it on the web if you can’t find a yogi to teach you.

The extent to which your neck should be bent during Shoulderstand is tricky. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, your neck should be at a 90-degree angle with your body, but that assumes you can do so without injury to yourself. It’s most important that you don’t overreach your limits. By approaching discomfort and then taking a step back, you can find out how straight your body should be.

One of the dangers of Shoulderstand is throat tension. You may find that you can feel your pulse very strong in your neck and that you have trouble …

Be Present Here and Now in Yoga: Santosha, Balance and Focus During Yoga Classes

“Now, Here, or Nowhere” is what some yoga instructors might tell you if you drift away from the present moment when you’re in class.

Balance Practice

It can be challenging to stand for the duration of seven or eight breaths (about 30 seconds) in Vrksasana, or Tree Pose (pictured below). Imagine trying to follow these instructions:

  • Stand balanced on one foot.
  • Focus the gaze on a drishti (a single immobile point used to steady the mind).
  • Concentrate on maintaining the posture properly – spiralling the hips open and the raised knee further out and away from the body, using the pressure of the foot on your thigh to keep it up.
  • … and while you’re doing that, try to figure out what you’re going to have for dinner tonight.

One of two things is likely to happen: either you will fall over, or your mind will refuse to leave the present moment (preferably option 2.)

Use the breath to Focus on the present moment

Much of the stress relief available in a regular exercise regimen comes from spending time in the present moment. Most workouts use the breath in synchronization with movement. Weight lifters exhale as they lift their weights …

Yoga that Helps De-stress and Rejuvenate

Yoga that Helps De-stress and Rejuvenate

Everyday, one is exposed to a surge of potential stressors. Meeting deadlines, family pressures, a hectic schedule, and watching the latest tragedy on the news, all send the adrenals in to overdrive. Living in a high-adrenal haze is tough on the body, the mind and the soul.

Yoga is an ideal way to banish stress, ease tension and worries and dispel the gloom. It checks the occurrence of a host of psychosomatic ailments and keeps one energized and cheerful all day.

How Does Yoga Help De-stress?

The Yoga Asanas are great channels to physically work out emotional stress. Focusing on the various poses gives the mind that much-needed holiday. That’s why people feel relaxed and composed after even a 20-minute session of Yoga.

  • The free-flowing and fluid motions of the various Yoga postures help open up the obstructed or blocked Prana (i.e. the vital principle that governs the body). Thus the channels through which the Prana flows get purified.
  • Psychologically, Yoga soothes frayed nerves. The Asanas provide tranquillity and peace by giving the nervous system a chance to rest.
  • A range of psychosomatic and lifestyle disorders can be prevented through a sustained and regular practice of Yoga.

Yoga Asanas to

How to Create a Gratitude Journal: Change Your Perspective and Outlook on Life

How to Create a Gratitude Journal: Change Your Perspective and Outlook on Life

There are many reasons to journal, and one popular area is that of gratitude. If you feel anxious and find it difficult to see the joy in life then creating a journal of gratitude could help to shift your focus to more positive things.

If you spend time giving thanks for what you have even if you don’t have much you will be developing a different outlook. You will begin to see the positive side of things and this can transform your attitude.

Gratitude Journaling

By first learning how to journal effectively you will get an idea of how to use a journal to your advantage. Once you have followed these steps you are ready to create a gratitude journal.

  • Begin by listing why you love yourself. Don’t think about things you want to change just yet and avoid making comparisons with anyone else while you do this as this will just bring you down.
  • Make a list of your proudest achievements and describe how you felt at the time.
  • List problems you overcame and what you did to get through them. Always use positive language when journaling.
  • Think of all the things you have in your life that you

How To Use A Gratitude Journal

Having a gratitude journal is a great way to cultivate a more positive mental attitude in your life. A gratitude journal is one of those little tools that can help anyone to see the abundance that they already possess in their life just by thinking about all the things one can be grateful for on a consistent basis.

What Is It

To put it simply, a gratitude journal can be any small notebook that you use you everyday to record your thoughts and ideas on why you are grateful and why you should be grateful. In a way, it forces you to take your mind off of the things that you do not want in life and instead it helps you to focus on the things that are going right for you as well as the good things that you want to bring about in your life.

You can use your gratitude journal any one of several different ways once you use it on a regular basis, at least once or twice per day.

How To Use It

The first way is that each morning when you wake up, you can open up your gratitude journal and begin to write …

Ashtanga: Eight Limbs of Yoga Practice

Patanjali’s “Ashtanga” or “eight limbs” of yoga are traditional yogic teachings and practices arranged and documented to form his great work, The Yoga Sutras. In his sutras, Patanjali presents an approach to the ancient system of yoga that is built upon a foundation of social and personal ethics and leads to ultimate liberation of the soul.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Approach

Patanjali is known as the person who compiled the main axioms of a living yoga tradition. Historically an Ayurvedic doctor, he has also been credited with authoring an Ayurvedic medical text. His systematic approach honors Ayurvedic wisdom in that it presents an empirical path to reaching the highest spiritual goals of yoga, emphasizing healthy social practices as integral to ultimate personal liberation and spiritual freedom.

The system conveys essential teachings and practices of yoga, beginning with the social ethic “Ahimsa” or “not causing harm”. This attitude and lifestyle pillar is an external premise for the deeper yogic practices and higher powers gained through those deeper practices. Considering Ahimsa is a fundamental yogic practice. In order to understand and appreciate the interconnectedness of all things in the universe, an experience of a reduction in harmful practices is required.

An important …

List 100 Things That You Feel Gratitude for

If you can’t list 100 things, then try to come up with 10-20.

  1. I’m grateful for waking up every morning feeling refreshed.
  2. I’m grateful for having good health.
  3. I’m grateful for being able to sleep in a big, cozy bed.
  4. I’m grateful for being able to eat a warm meal every day.
  5. I’m grateful for a shower with running hot water.
  6. I’m grateful for my intuition because it allows me to think and analyze when problems arise.
  7. I’m thankful to God for his divine presence in my life.
  8. I’m thankful for my heart because it lets me feel love once again.
  9. I’m grateful for my cute little ears because they allow me to hear.
  10. I’m grateful for my cute button nose because it allows me to sneeze.
  11. I’m grateful for my sense of smell.
  12. I’m grateful for my teeth because they allow me to chew my food.
  13. I’m thankful for having electricity in my home at all times.
  14. I’m grateful for my almond-shaped eyes with thick lashes because they allow me to see and trap dust from my eyes.
  15. I’m grateful for my taste buds because it allows me to savor all kinds of food.
  16. I’m grateful for my small

Mindfulness What is It?

There are a lot of words that we could use when talking about being mindful. In its essence mindfulness is being aware in the present moment. Much of the time our attention is invested in our passions about the past. This is because our process of growth has given a foot hold on those memories. Our minds give a sense of present reality to feelings that you have at this time about our past and tries to speculate about our futures. Our minds are constantly drifting in and out of awareness.

For example, for those of us who are old enough to remember when most clocks ticked you would notice the sound. If you apply yourself to something like reading a book your attention becomes captivated by the content. When we stop reading we begin to notice things around us and we notice again the sound of the clock. Our reality is closely tied to what we are aware of. There is a part of you that notices everything. It does not judge and does not get distracted. It is the observer.

Deepak Chopra, (www.deepakchopra.com) who teaches mindfulness as a part of a process of spiritual, physical and mental health …

Secrets of the Sun Salutation: Surya Namaskar naturally co-ordinates with normal breath cycles.

Since yoga is so much taken up with breathing, it might seem very obvious, but it can take years for beginners to realize that the essential exercise series called Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) can be perfectly co-ordinated with normal inward and outward cycling of the breath.

Part of the essence of Hatha yoga is to coordinate each movement with controlled breathing. Good breathing can deepen stretches without straining the muscles. It can awaken the body to the demands of more challenging postures, and it can assist the body to relax in resting postures. It can even help the body to cleanse and purify itself.

Normally, in yoga, whenever the body bends forward or twists sideways and the abdomen and chest are compressed, the breath is exhaled. When the body straightens and lengthens, or when the back is bent backwards so the chest opens up, the breath is inhaled.

Surya Namaskar is a series of postures that seamlessly flow from one into another, beginning while standing in prayer position with the hands meeting in front of the heart. In the first movement, the arms are extended upwards, until the whole body is lengthened and the back arches back slightly with the …

Yoga in Dallas

Whether new to yoga or Dallas, the city’s vibrant, open community offers many styles to explore and helps each individual find his or her own yoga path.

It is often said that everything is big in Texas, and that is certainly the case in Dallas, the city nicknamed the Big D. The yoga community is no exception to the rule. While big hair, oil and shopping are more typically what comes to mind when thinking of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, the area is home to a large and vibrant yoga community.

Growth of Yoga in Dallas

Yoga has exploded in Dallas in recent years. According to Ginger Newberg, a 200-hour (HR) Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who teaches at studios and gyms, the Dallas yoga community has grown tremendously over the past ten years. “We’ve gone from two or three studios in the DFW area to two to three studios within every five square miles in some places,” says Newberg. Part of what’s fueled yoga’s growth is the city’s ability to bring nationally known yoga teachers to Dallas to conduct workshops and other educational programs. The force behind this effort is yoga instructor, Kendall Inman who started Living Yoga Dallas about …