Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sunday, September 14, 2014
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
Although many Yoga students and teachers may feel that summer is the high season for a variety of outdoor activities, frequently the fall season is just as busy, if not more so. This seems to be especially true in temperate areas, such as the Northeastern United States, where there are four seasons. In areas such as New York and New England, many of us are aware that all too quickly the warmth of the summer will begin to fade as we approach the Autumn Equinox later this month.
As the nights become cooler and the heat and humidity of the summer weather begins to dissipate with each successive day, many Yoga practitioners find that they are racing to fit in all of the outdoor activities they were planning on doing before the weather turns crisp and cool. If this is the case for you, you may find that your schedule is over booked as the fall season gets into full swing. This may be particularly true if you are starting a new school year, commencing a professional training program or are working on a new project at work.
As the days begin to shorten, you may also find yourself rushing to fit in that final week at the beach or climb a mountain peak that has been calling to you all summer. With all of this activity, many Yoga students find that their level of anxiety and sense of being rushed is much higher. You may also find that you are pressed at the end of the day to check your email or return text messages late into the evening that you were unable to get to earlier in the day. All of these circumstances can lead to problems falling and staying asleep.
* Upavishta Konasana or Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold
Upavishta Konasana, or Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold, is a wonderfully relaxing Yoga pose that helps to quell an overactive mind and release deep-seated tension in the groins, back of the legs and lower back area. This Yoga pose also relieves arthritis, detoxifies the kidneys, eases sciatica, stimulates the abdominal organs, and calms the mind. Practicing Upavishta Konasana in a supported fashion is even more relaxing and therapeutically effective if you are having difficulty sleeping. To practice Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold in a supported fashion you will need a Yoga bolster or a rolled blanket.
Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold is generally practiced toward the end of a Yoga class or session. This posture can also be practiced as a “stand alone” Yoga pose as part of a warm up or cool down session after a workout if you are cross training. It is also a nice posture to practice just prior to going to bed. When you are ready to practice Upavishta Konasana, come to a wide-angle seated position on your Yoga mat. If you are practicing this posture in a supported fashion, place a Yoga bolster or rolled blanket in between your legs and perpendicular to your torso. If you are using a rolled blanket, please roll the blanket up lengthwise so that is long enough to support your entire torso.
With an inhale raise your arms over head. With your next exhale, extend your arms forward, and then place your palms down on your Yoga mat between your legs. If you are using a Yoga bolster or a rolled blanket, extend your arms forward and place your palms on either side of the prop as you drape your torso over the prop. If your hamstrings are tight today, you may bend your knees slightly or use a small rolled towel or blanket underneath each knee to support your legs and rest more comfortably in the posture. Hold Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold for three to five minutes.
While you are in Upavishta Konasana, remember to breath deeply by expanding your lungs fully on the inhale and releasing your breath completely on the exhale. I often find that when I am stressed, anxious or over scheduled that I tend to breath in a shallow manner. By remembering to expand my lungs completely on the inhale and release my breath completely on the exhale, my mind quiets down naturally. When you have completed your practice of Upavishta Konasana, remove any props that you are using and come back to Easy Seat on your Yoga mat before proceeding on to the next pose in your Yoga practice or resting in Shavasana.
© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
By Eleanor Bartel
Whether it's power, vinyasa, hatha, Bikram, or Baptiste, yoga performed in a heated studio has become a popular new trend. Hot yoga can be a taught in a variety of styles, but the yoga itself is always performed in a studio that is most typically heated between 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is that the heat will help students deepen their practice by allowing the muscles and ligaments to relax and stretch in the warm environment. Many practitioners also believe that by sweating in the heated studio, students can detox their body. Hot yoga is an intense experience, but it can be suitable for yoga beginners. Even novices can benefit from a hot yoga class, as long as they have an experienced teacher to prepare them.
Hot Yoga Introduction
If you have a new student coming into your hot yoga class, make an effort to give them a tour of the studio before their first class. Be sure to go into the heated room with them so that they will know what to expect. Show the student where you keep your mats, if you have any available for rent, and where they can get water. Make sure you discuss what they will need to bring, such as a mat, towel, and water, and what is appropriate for them to wear to class. You can show them where they can keep their things and where they can shower. Be sure to go over what they should not bring into the actual class (like cell phones!). Before their first class, it can be helpful to give out information about proper nutrition and hydration as well. Students should be well-hydrated before they arrive to a hot yoga class in order to avoid fatigue and nausea. It is also best to perform hot yoga on a mostly empty stomach, so advise eating a light meal no later than 1 and a half hours before class. This may seem like a lot of information, but it will help the student be prepared for their first class.
Listening to the Body
Encourage each student, whether they are a total beginner or a more experienced practitioner, to listen to their body during class. Sometimes, the heat can be overwhelming, and a student may feel nauseous or faint. This can happen even if someone has taken classes more months – perhaps they didn't get enough water that day, or they are feeling run down. Encourage students to stay in the room if possible, resting in a restorative pose such as Shavasana or child's pose if they need to. Make sure students are drinking enough water and replenishing electrolytes if they have dizziness or lightheadedness during class. Don't pressure your students into remaining in the heated room at all times. Let them to listen to their bodies and leave if they need to. This is especially true for beginners, who are not yet accustomed to the heat.
Discuss Health Conditions
While most people can benefit from hot yoga, even if they are a yoga novice, some people with certain medical conditions should not try to do this practice. Before a new student signs up for your hot yoga class, encourage them to consult their physician to ensure they are healthy enough to participate. Some contraindications may include pregnancy, cardiovascular conditions, and chronic diseases. People taking certain prescription medications may also need to consult their doctor for more information before they can safely participate.
Hot yoga is a wonderful type of practice that is very unique and rewarding. Many people find themselves returning to hot yoga again and again because of the amazing feeling it gives the body, both during the practice and after. Both beginner practitioners and experienced students can participate in hot yoga classes of various levels in order to get all the benefits from practicing yoga in these special heated studios.
© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division