Mind and Spirit By Practicing Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is a 5000 year old system that is used to improve the health of your body, mind and spirit. Hatha yoga combines the stretching exercises of the asanas. Breathing techniques and mental concentration are included in hatha yoga.

The lotus position of the asanas is used in hatha yoga. The goal of hatha yoga remains the same as that of the other types of yoga. The goal of hatha yoga is to blend the spirit of the universe with that of the human spirit. The spiritual, mental and physical health aspects are improved amazingly with the practice of the Hatha yoga. It also gives you peace of mind and improves your concentration. Concentration is the root ingredient of any yoga and its success.

In some ways all the types of yoga are related. Preparing the body to give in is the main goal of hatha yoga. If the mind is relaxed and the spirit within you is enlightened you won’t feel the pain and the stress that you are experiencing. This is achieved with the practice of hatha yoga. You need to understand the relation between your body and the spirit. If you do not understand the relation between them you might get confused. You spirit is responsible to accomplish any task.

If your body is not fit then your spirit may not accomplish what is wants. Hatha yoga helps you to maintain your body and the hence the spirit positively. This positive attitude keeps your mind healthy with good concentration. Hatha yoga comes to the mind of the people when they hear Yoga, since it is the popular branch of yoga. The other types of yoga that gave rise from hatha yoga are the Kundalini, Ashtanga, Bikram, and power yoga.

Hatha yoga is considered and known as the vehicle of the soul. Hatha yoga is so relaxing that it drives both you body and spirit into the universe. This feeling can be compared to a person floating with no gravity at all. Many people are easily distracted by the outward forces and may not be able to focus on a particular task. Such people can get benefited with the hatha yoga. By constantly practicing hatha yoga you can find the divinity in yourself. This helps you to become stronger, relaxed and flexible apart from enlightening you.

With harmony between your mind, body and spirit the spiritual energy will flow through the open energy channels. This is achieved only with Hatha yoga. A healthy body is necessary for you mind and spirit to be strong. This is done by the practice of hatha yoga. It is easy to handle stress and get relieved of your pain and passion with the constant practice of hatha yoga. If you are exhausted with your work, hatha yoga makes you relax.

Reduce Your Asthma With Yoga

Yoga has been a revelation for many people. They have found that they can improve the quality of their life with the power of yoga. Yoga combines both physical and mental activities, so it engages your whole body rather than just part of it. Some of the benefits of yoga include better breathing, easier relaxation and relief from the symptoms of asthma.

The reason that yoga can help with your asthma is that by using yoga, you will get your body back to a more natural state. Both your body and your mind will be less stressed.

Relaxation and deep breathing were made for each other. Both of them help you to calm down, clear your mind and re-energize your body. By spending a few minutes taking slow, controlled breaths and paying attention to your breathing rather than taking it for granted, you will notice that your breathing automatically becomes calmer. Rather than it’s “normal”, hyper-active state. In turn, this will bring more energy into your body and calm you down.

Try out this simple breathing relaxation exercise. Read the instructions through a couple of times and then start.

1. Sit down, making sure that your posture is good and your spine is straight as possible.

Place your feet flat on the floor and check that your knees are directly over your feet. Place your hands on top of your legs.

2. Gently close your eyes.

3. Concentrate your thoughts on your ribs and your lungs. Inhale slowly and deeply. Notice your lungs filling up and your ribs expanding outwards and upwards. Then slowly exhale, again noticing your lungs slowly releasing the air you’ve just breathed in and your ribs gradually going back in and down.

4. Repeat this routine once a day for up to 3 minutes when you first start out. Over the coming days, gradually increase up to 5 and then 10 minutes throughout the day as necessary.

Yoga breathing exercises have been shown to help sufferers of mild asthma. You may still need your medication and any other health devices, although you should notice that you need them less and less as you practice these techniques.

Got a Few MinutesHigh Blood Pressure

For controlling your hypertension, there are two effective yoga exercises that helps lower the blood pressure:

Inverted Yoga

Inverted yoga reverses the action of gravity on the body. The most profound changes brought about by Inverted Yoga is in circulation. In inverted poses, legs and abdomen are placed higher than the heart.

Lengthening up through the legs and keep them very active so your spine opens and the entire body actively involved in the pose.

One of the reasons for this is simply because the force of gravity is reversed and venous return becomes significantly greater.

Normally, the muscles of the calf and other skeletal muscles in the lower extremities must contract in order to pump unoxygenated blood and waste back to the heart through the veins.

In inverted poses, gravity causes the blood to flow easily back through the veins and this brings the blood pressure in the feet to a minimum. This in effect gives skeletal muscles a chance to rest.

In Inverted poses, drainage of blood and waste from the lower body back to the heart is increased and disorders such as varicose veins and swollen ankles are relieved.

Rhythmic Breathing

It’s time to learn about breathing, because inhaling and exhaling has the power to nourish the body and calm the mind.

Not just any old breathing will do. If you’re like most people, you take shallow breaths, pull in your stomach when you inhale and never empty your lungs of carbon dioxide when you exhale.

Here’s the physiological explanation: Long, slow breaths are more efficient than short, fast ones.

To take in a good breath, your lungs must first be basically empty. Thus the key to efficient breathing lies in exhaling completely. A full exhalation begins with the upper chest, proceeds to the middle chest and finishes with tightening the abdominal muscles.

Only after a good exhalation can you draw in a good lungful of the oxygen-rich air your blood needs for nourishing cells.

How to borrow from Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga is often praised in the mass media as the new fitness-craze promising weight loss, and increased strength and flexibility. However, when one sees a yoga practitioner curled up in a seemingly impossible pose, the natural tendency is to think: “Well this person has been practicing for years, how can Yoga help me lose the weight now?”

Through the acclaimed Sun Salutations, that’s how.

What are they?

These exercises are a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, Sun Bathing and Prayer. They have been practiced for centuries by Yoga Practitioners in India, Martial Artists and African Wrestlers and as a system to rejuvenate the body and soul are beyond compare. It’s been said in the Drugless Healing circles that one round of the Sun Salutations is much better than a week of exercises at the gym!

They are very simple to learn and just about anyone, regardless of their fitness or flexibility levels can learn these simple exercises. In actuality, if you are familiar with “burpies” (the calisthenics exercise), they do derive their origin from the Sun Salutations.

Here are some of their benefits:

-They alleviate disorders of the skin and waist.

-Flexibility increases and breathing is corrected, moreover, they mildly exercise the legs and arms, thus increasing the circulation.

-They are the best way to burn calories and reduce weight and are often recommended for obesity and depression.

-They are an effective way of loosening up, stretching and massaging all joints and internal organs of the body.

-They stimulate and balance all the systems of the body including the endocrine, circulatory, reproductive and digestive system.

Technique:

1. Stand straight with the palms together as in a prayer position.

2. Inhale and stretch the arms above the head.

3. Exhale and bend forward while touching the toes.

4. Inhale and stretch the right leg away from the body in a big backward step and keep the hands and left foot firmly on the ground. Bending the head backward the left knee should be between the hands.

5. Inhale and hold the breath. Move the left leg from the body and, keeping both feet together and the knees of the floor, rest on the hands (arms straight) and keep the body in a straight line from head to foot.

6. Exhale and lower the body to the floor. In this position, only 8 portions of the body come in contact with the floor: the two feet, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead.

7. Inhale and bend back as much as possible bending the spine to the maximum.

8. Exhale and lift the body of the floor. Keep the feet and heels on the floor.

9. Inhale and bring the right foot along the level of the hands; left foot and knee should touch the ground. Look up, bending the spine slightly (same position as #4)

10. Exhale and bring the left leg forward. Keep the knees straight and bring the head down to the knees as in the third position.

11. Raise the arms overhead and bend backward inhaling. As in Position 2.

12. Exhale and drop the arms and relax.

You have now completed one round. Perform as many rounds as possible in multiples of 3. Ideally you want to aim for 6 rounds minimum and up to a maximum of 30. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your speed and intensity and is best practiced with as little clothing as possible before an open air window first thing in the morning.

You could do a search in Yahoo! Images for “Sun Salutations” to see a visual representation of these powerful exercises and be rest assured that with a sensible diet and a wise combination of these exercises-with any other fitness regimen you may choose-you are well on your way to attaining natural weight loss, increased strength and overall fitness with the help of yoga.
So don’t get intimidated when you see a seasoned practitioner in a seemingly tough pose. Yoga is for everyone and can help you lose weight.

Practice Meditation

Meditation is the most important practice for calming the mind. A calm mind can lead to a healthy, happy and successful life. It can cure diseases and speed up healing processes. We describe the simple technique below called prana-dharana. Prana in Sanskrit stands for the air that we breathe. It is the most basic act of life which starts from birth and goes on till death. But generally, we are not aware of the breath till our attention is drawn close to it. Dharana means its awareness. Prana-dharana means applying the mind to the flow of air when we breathe. The method is as described below:

Sit in a posture suitable for meditation. The common postures are Siddhasana, Padmasana and Swastikasana. But if you cannot do this, just sit cross-legged. Your back should be straight and eyes closed. Your knees should be placed well on the ground. Do not stoop your shoulders back. The whole body should be relaxed and the whole frame steady without exerting any pull or pressure on the thighs, feet, knees, spine or neck. There should be no stretch on tension along the abdominal wall. Let the abdominal wall sway gently back and forth very smoothly and effortlessly with each respiration. Facial muscles should be relaxed and mouth closed with a small gap between the two jaws such that the upper and lower teeth do not exert pressure on each other. Your tongue should touch the palate with tip touching the back of the upper front teeth. Ensure that the lips, tongue or the lower jaws do not move. Your eyeballs and eyelids should be steady and the muscles of the forehead relaxed.

Your entire posture should be comfortable, steady and relaxed. You should not feel strain on any part of the body. Now start developing the awareness of breathing. The flow of air should be uniform, slow and smooth. Do not make any effort or exercise any control. Never hold breath. Do not utter any word or see any image. This will calm your mind and help you achieve peace.

find the right Yoga teacher

I am often asked by beginners about how to evaluate a Yoga Teacher?

The following is the “CALM check list.” These factors are basic criteria that your Yoga Instructor should meet before you continue on to a second Yoga class.

CALM gets it name from four main factors: Communication, Assist, Listen, and Modification. For the right Yoga teacher, you should be answering with a “yes” to all questions.

• Communication: Does your Yoga teacher talk to you, and other students, in a manner of mutual respect? Can you ask a question during class time?

Does your teacher show compassion for you and other students? Does your Yoga teacher take the time to lead you through a guided meditation or relaxation? Meditation and relaxation are major aspects of Yoga practice.

There are Yoga teachers who just want to get “their workout” done. Beware of Yoga teachers, who are so important, they don’t have time for you.

Some students love this air of superiority and, unfortunately, some people love abuse. If you want to learn Yoga, you need an open line of communication with your Yoga teacher.

• Assist: Does your teacher care about your form? Will your teacher give you a verbal or physical assist during your Yoga class? Are props encouraged in your Yoga classes?

Some students never have major problems with alignment and some do, but if your teacher doesn’t give verbal cues, what does that tell you?

• Listen: Does your Yoga teacher take the time to listen to your feedback? Is your teacher “in the moment” with the class?

Once in a while, there is a Yoga instructor who runs, “The-it’s-all-about-me-show.” You are not going to learn anything from this type of teaching. Beginners will be put at risk, trying to keep up with a seasoned Yoga teacher who doesn’t explain anything.

• Modification: Does your Yoga teacher allow modifications and props? If your teacher discourages props, you are in the wrong place.

Some students will need props for life depending upon their range of motion. Just because a teacher can do a posture without props, doesn’t mean every student can.

Summary: Stay away from abusive Yoga teachers, and if you are attracted to abuse, there is always professional help. Some students crave “the stern, but loving parent” types. They will push you harder, but how much pushing do you really need?

Respect is a two way street, and you deserve as much respect as your Yoga teacher does. Let common sense be your guide. You should feel good after a Yoga class, and you might even feel muscle soreness days after a vigorous class.

Make sure your Yoga teacher meets the above criteria before making a commitment.