Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Should Beginners Practice Hot Yoga?

hot yoga class
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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Using Classical Yoga For Healing

yoga for healing
By Faye Martins

The practice of Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years. The desire for personal freedom, health and longevity gave birth to this form of physical and mental exercise. Yoga brings the mind and body together in a harmonious encounter which is why many use Yoga for healing.

The System of Yoga 

Yoga, built on the three compositions of exercise, breathing, and meditation strengthens the glandular systems, ultimately increasing a person's total health. The body is the means that allows us to act and evolve in the world. Therefore those practicing Yoga treat the body with respect and care.

Breath work is as much a part of Yoga as breath is the body's source of life. Increasing breath control is essential in improving the health of both the body and mind. Using exercise and breathing together help prepare the mind for meditation which allows for quiet and healing from everyday stress. Daily practice of Yoga with exercise, breath control and meditation help produce a clear mind and strong body.

Therapeutic benefits of Yoga are not always quantifiable but today many medical practitioners and surgeons are recommending Yoga for a wide range of symptoms and illnesses. Among some of the most commonly treated are back and knee pain, sciatica, tendonitis, carpal tunnel and many others.

Benefits of Yoga 

Physical benefits of Yoga include the following.

- Strengthens and tones every part of the body.

- Increases endurance and the capacity to do work.

- Creates more flexibility through correct stretching.

- Establishes a straight and effortless posture.

- Improves glandular function and relaxation for increased energy.

- Creating a healthy state of well-being and a balanced body and mind.

Mental and spiritual benefits may include these advantages.

- An improved ability to concentrate on daily issues.

- Better mental balance resulting in increased emotional stability.

- Inner peace and a sense of being calm even during times of stress.

- Increased intellect and wisdom.

- A sense of lightness and freedom that is as deep as the soul.

- Unity of body, soul and spirit.

Types of Yoga

There are several different types of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is probably the most recognized name. Hatha Yoga incorporates the physical movements and postures with breathing techniques. Postures serve a dual purpose of spiritual development and physical health. Executing postures correctly and consistently can help to give physical health in all areas.

Raja Yoga incorporates exercise, breathing, meditation and study producing a well-rounded person. Jnana Yoga includes learning the nature of self. Jnana Yoga, termed the yoga of wisdom, is considered the most difficult path.

Bhatki Yoga and Karma Yoga are both more spiritual with a concentration on one's concept of God. The difference between the two is that Bhatki focuses on emotion while Karma focuses on action.

There are several other forms of Yoga and choosing one is a completely personal choice. Just as we are all unique people, so are the different forms of Yoga. Each bring with it healing and calming qualities. Yoga is notable for helping the body deal with changes in life, seasonal changes, stress and much more.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Reasons Why Yoga For Biking Is A Good Idea

preparation for hand to extended toe posture
By Faye Martins

Biking and yoga are both excellent forms of exercise. They are also both very popular right now. There are people who will swear that one or the other is the best fitness activity you can do, but there's no need to choose sides. Doing both of them is best of all, as they complement one another in several important ways. Yoga for biking can help you stay in great shape and reduce the chances of injuries. Let's look at the top five reasons why you should practice yoga if you ride a bike.

1. Promotes Good Posture and Spinal Alignment

Many yoga poses lengthen the spine and teach you to keep your back and neck in alignment. This is important to keep in mind while you're cycling. The looser your spine is, the more relaxed you'll be on your bike and the less likely you'll feel fatigued from riding.
2. Keeps Your Legs Strong and Limber

Your legs bear the brunt of the work when you cycle. Pedaling is a repetitive motion that takes its toll on the legs. Yoga involves many stretches involving the knees, hips and legs. Over time, cycling can put a strain on your knees, quads and hamstrings. Regular yoga practice can help keep your leg muscles limber and strong. This reduces the chances of injuries to these areas and helps prevent soreness.
3. Makes Your Bike Riding More Meditative

The lessons you learn in yoga can be transferred to riding a bicycle. Yoga teaches you to breathe deeply, relax and enter a meditative state that unified body and mind. These principles work well when riding a bike. They can help you enjoy riding even more. It can also help you stay calm and breathe into pedaling when you experience challenges such as steep hills.

4. Strengthens Your Core

One of the benefits of regular yoga practice is that it strengthens your entire core. Poses such as planks work your abdomen, legs and back muscles. This will make you a stronger cyclist. It also makes it less likely that you will experience back and other types of injuries from riding.

5. Shortens Recovery Time

For cyclists who go on challenging rides, yoga can help reduce recovery time. Yoga provides the perfect counterbalance to the rigors of cycling. You stretch and lengthen your muscles, which helps them recover from the many hours of pedaling you've done.

Yoga and Biking Are the Perfect Combination

Just as there are many benefits to doing yoga for biking, the reverse is true as well. Biking is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise. This promotes aerobic fitness, which is not always prioritized in all forms of yoga. While yoga is appropriate for people of all levels of fitness, it can be very helpful to start off with the kind of fitness promoted by cycling. Both yoga and biking are highly beneficial, and they are even better together.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bone Up With Yoga Therapy For Osteoporosis

By Faye Martins

There are many risk factors for Osteoporosis that cannot be controlled. However, what can help limit the chances of acquiring the ailment is a lifestyle that utilizes preventive care for your bones. These choices should occur during your 20's and 30's to help maintain strong bones throughout your life. However, if you miss this window, it is never too late to start. The weight-bearing poses utilized in yoga therapy for osteoporosis can help lower the risk of Osteoporosis in the future or ease the ailment if you already have it.
Maintaining Good Posture

In order to maintain healthy bones you must keep good posture. Standing and seated yoga poses significantly help with good posture. When an individual has Osteoporosis, their vertebrae weaken and they become more vulnerable to a collapse. If poor posture is added to the already-weakened spine, the chance of a vertebral fracture rises. However, by practicing standing, sitting, walking and adding forward and backward bends into a daily yoga practice, you can strengthen the front and back sections of the vertebral column to increase flexibility.

Best Yoga Poses for Osteoporosis

When starting yoga therapy for Osteoporosis, there are several poses that will maximize the effect of the exercise. The six best poses for Osteoporosis include:

Bridge Pose

The Bridge Pose is extremely therapeutic for osteoporosis and provides a stretch of the back, chest and neck. Simply lay down with your feet flat on the ground. Then, lift up your back while keeping your head against the ground and hold for 30-60 seconds.

Seated Twisting Pose

The Seated Twisting Pose adds pressure to the spine and the bones respond by strengthening. Start by sitting Indian style and tuck one leg under the other. Then move the right arm to the other side of the left leg and do the reverse.

Twisted Triangle Pose

For weak bones or joints, the Twisted Triangle Pose is one of the best exercises. This pose helps to support the bones and avoid any fractures. The added spine twist can help build up the back bones. To begin, spread your legs while standing. Then, gently twist the body so your right arm touches your left foot and then reverse to the other side. Make sure to keep your left arm in the air for maximum effectiveness.

Extended Side Angle Pose

The extended side angle pose offers easy stretching while strengthening the bones. The pose is most commonly practiced with the lower forearm on the knee or the hand on the floor. Simply stand in a wide pose with the right one leg straight and the other bent. Lean toward the bent leg and rest your forearm on your knee. With the other arm, extend it over your head.

Locust Pose

Although the Locust Pose may appear to be simple, it can be challenging. Regardless, it is an effective method of stretching and strengthening the back and spine. It can also assist with easing lower back pain. To perform, raise the legs and upper torso simultaneously and hold the pose three times for 10 seconds each.

Tree Pose

The Tree Pose helps to work all areas of the body. Start by standing on one leg with your other leg tucked against your inner thigh. Then, hold the tree post pose for 30-60 seconds on each side with your hands in prayer position. Finally, extend your hands above the head and hold.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

About Teaching Yoga Sessions - Popular Yoga Types

popular yoga types
By Faye Martins
The best advantages about teaching yoga sessions are that they bring physical and mental health advantages to your body. Yoga has many health advantages including reducing blood pressure, increasing flexibility and improving endurance and flow of blood. Yoga also helps many people with stress, depression and anxiety. Regular sessions of yoga also help to improve concentration and focus. There are several types of yoga; some focus on balance, strength and toning while others focus on meditation and increasing focus.

Bikram Yoga

This type of yoga was created by an Olympic weight lifter. It focuses on flexibility, weight loss, toning and muscle strengthening. One of the unique features about this type of yoga is the temperature. During a bikram yoga session, the room is heated to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Most sessions last up to 90 minutes and cover 26 yoga positions.

Performing Bikram yoga may be slightly uncomfortable at first but once you finish, you feel relaxed, well worked and flexible. There are many health benefits of Bikram yoga including improving flow of blood, helping the body rid itself of toxins and improving hormonal balance in the body. Bikram yoga helps to improve flow of blood even when the body changes positions. The heat and body positioning makes the body produce significant amounts of sweat, which helps to strengthen body systems.

Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga focuses on meditation, posturing and breathing exercises. Hatha yoga involves keeping the body in certain positions for fixed periods. Remaining in one position for a certain period helps you to regulate the flow of energy through your body.

Hatha yoga is ideal for stress management and reduction. This type of yoga has more than 200 positions that people can try during sessions. Some of the Hatha yoga positions include sitting, reclining and bending. The objective is to stay in one position for a certain period before switching to another. This aids in improving balance.

For the best results, begin your Hatha yoga sessions in a relaxed state of mind. Sitting still in one position for a certain period calms your body. Hatha yoga is not meant to be strenuous. It increases strength, flexibility and helps participants to focus.

Jivamukuti Yoga

Jivamukuti yoga goes beyond what many people know about teaching yoga sessions. Apart from the typical yoga moves and positioning exercises, Jivamukuti yoga also emphasizes a peaceful lifestyle, vegetarianism and prayer. The sessions can be physically strenuous to participants.

Jivamukuti yoga associates physical problems with a person's state of mind. For example, tightness is associated with negative thoughts and emotions. Common practices performed during Jivamukuti yoga sessions include chanting Sanskrit as calming music plays in the background as well as performing positions that bring participants to face their emotions.

Ashtanga Yoga

This type of yoga class is not recommended for beginners. Ashtanga yoga is a form of athletic yoga that involves coordinating breathing techniques with continual posture series. This type of yoga makes participants perspire intensely due to internal heat. Ashtanga yoga is physically demanding and helps to improve flexibility, vigor and circulation.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro,