Tag: Healthy Living

Aerial Yoga Poses

The Benefits of Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga is a fun and unique type of yoga where the practitioner works in step with a suspended hammock. This allows a unique connection with gravity in which truly remarkable positions and postures can be attained without difficulty. One can maneuver their center of balance, can swing about to stimulate lymph flow, and can easily achieve inversions. The Huffington Post takes a closer look at this new practice, and what all it entails.

Hanging Around

If you like yoga — even if you don’t do it that often — you should definitely, certainly, positively consider giving Aerial Yoga a try.

For me, aerial yoga was like normal yoga… times 10. Not times 10 in terms of difficulty, but in terms of how effective, fulfilling and calming it was.

Here’s how it works: You sit on a soft, fabric hammock that looks kind of like a long scarf. These hammocks are made out of special, high-density nylon material that can support over 2,000 pounds, so don’t worry – you’re not going to tear them.

The hammocks are held up by carabineers, support chains and webbing straps. You can adjust the height according to personal preference, or for better maneuverability. (Note: You’ll also want to bring your normal yoga mat to an aerial yoga class so you have something to stand on.)

Throughout the yoga class, you do various traditional yoga poses or aerial adaptations of traditional poses using the hammock for support.

Some of the most basic poses involve simple stretches while seated on the hammock, while other poses progress to hanging upside down and grabbing your thighs, ankles or feet for support and balance.

Why Aerial Yoga?

Aerial yoga offers many of the same benefits and enjoyments of regular yoga, but it also has some additional benefits as well:

Greater Flexibility. Since you have more freedom of movement, you can move your body into new positions. In some cases, this can result in a deeper and more fulfilling stretch than traditional yoga offers.

Better Focus. By putting yourself in a more challenging situation than usual, aerial yoga forces you to be more alert and aware of your surroundings. You will likely also try to concentrate harder because you’re not used to being suspended in the air during your yoga practice.

Strengthened Muscles. Because gravity is working harder on your body than usual, your muscles work harder too. Aerial yoga is also a great core workout because you have to engage your core muscles to balance and stabilize yourself during your yoga session.

Stress-Relief. Much like traditional yoga, aerial yoga is great for stress relief. Not only do you use poses and stretches common to other forms of yoga to relieve stress, but you also experience the joy of knowing that you did something new and exciting, which makes you feel good.

Of course, any kind of physical exercise poses some risk of injury. So what are the risks associated with aerial yoga?

Mountain Yoga Pose on Cliff at Sunrise

10 Yoga Poses To Cultivate Confidence

From Yoga Journal:

Core strength is simply essential. Not only does a strong core help you maintain good posture and supphttp://exhalezine.com/protein-bars-suitable-paleo-diet/ort your overall health and vitality, there is power in moving from your physical core center. When you feel strong on the inside, you can start to lean on and trust your inner wisdom—your body’s inherent intelligence. When you feel good in your body, your confidence will soar both on and off the mat, and stress and discomfort will start to melt away, igniting your personal power.

Confidence Building Yoga Poses

In this sequence, we’ll focus on working from the center of your body and developing your core strength. Amplify the benefits by linking your movements with your breath and using its pathway to step into more energy and ease.

Hold all poses for 5–10 breaths the first time through. Once you feel confident with the flow, try moving through it again at a pace of 1 breath per movement. I suggest starting with 3 rounds each of Sun Salutation A and B as a warm-up. Note: Have a yoga block handy.

  1. Navasana
    Come into Boat Pose by balancing on your seat, reach your hands behind your knees and lift your heels up to knee level. Activate your feet, pressing the inner arches together and spreading your toes. Extend your hands forward and spread your fingers open. (To modify, keep your hands behind your knees.) Draw your upper arm bones back and broaden across your chest.Engage your low belly and lift your heart high. Cross your ankles, roll over your feet, and step back to Plank Pose.
  2. Plank Pose
    Stack your shoulders over your wrists and extend your heels to the back of your mat in Plank Pose. Ground your knuckles into your mat, soften your thoracic spine (upper and middle back), and hug your thumbs toward the center of your mat. Press your outer shins in, and firm your leg muscles to the bones. Extend your crown forward and reach your heels back. Lengthen your tailbone toward your heels and zip up your low belly. Hold for 5 breaths. Light up your whole body, feeling everything working together as one powerful vessel. (For variations, try lifting one leg and hovering or crossing your ankles.)
  3. Vasisthasana
    Cross your ankles (if they aren’t already), spin both heels to the left, and lift your right arm high into a variation of Side Plank. Press down into your left hand, broaden across your chest, and reach your right arm higher. Lift your gaze and spread the fingers of your top hand. Draw your legs together and arc your hips high. Hold for 5 breaths, then return to Plank and recenter for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
    From Plank, press your hips up and back for Downward-Facing Dog. With your inhale, lift your right leg high. Keep both hip bones squared to the earth and lift from your inner right thigh. Move from core strength rather than from the periphery.
  5. Plank Pose + Right Knee to Right Tricep
    Ride your exhale forward and touch your right knee to your right tricep. Engage your low belly and lift your knee high up toward your armpit. Then on your inhalation, press your right leg up and back to return to a Downward-Facing Dog Split. Lengthen from your right wrist through your right heel.
Yoga Pose in Sunrise Field

Remarkable Healing Power Of Bikram Yoga

From The Columbian:

Kelli Rowe tried Bikram yoga one time a few years ago. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience, thanks largely to the man on a nearby mat whose stomach wasn’t agreeing with exercise in a 105-degree room.

Little did Rowe know that just a few years later, Bikram yoga would give the Hazel Dell woman her life back.

“It’s saved me,” Rowe said.

Rowe, 53, has a birth defect, called Arnold-Chiari malformation that caused her to have seizures, migraines and balance issues. When Rowe was 32 years old, she had surgery that stopped the seizures. The other issues, however, persisted. Rowe has daily migraines and has always struggled with her balance.

Still, Rowe was always physically active. She ran every morning, usually 2 to 5 miles, then would pop in a workout DVD or lift weights. She worked as a massage therapist, tended her garden and ran her house.

“I was quite busy,” she said.

Then, one sunny morning in January 2014, that all changed.

Rowe’s Nissan Sentra was struck twice as she waited to turn at a red light. Rowe was left with a concussion and a totaled car. She was given medication to manage the persistent pain.

A few months later, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was prescribed psychotropic medication. She was also on sleeping pills to help her fall asleep at night and was taking additional medications to balance the side effects of the other drugs.

“I was on so many meds,” Rowe said. “It helped me through a time, but it wasn’t the answer for what I needed.”

Rowe was unable to run or lift weights. She couldn’t work in her garden. Keeping up with her raw foods diet became too cumbersome. Soon, she was 50 pounds heavier and had arthritis in her back. She had no energy, no motivation.

“I went from being very physical to, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” Rowe said. “I didn’t know limits before. Now I have to ask for help.”

That’s where hot yoga came in.

That November, one of Rowe’s friends bought her a 30-day pass for Bikram yoga as a birthday gift. Rowe was ready to make a change, to try something new. That first month, she attended 60 classes.

Rowe never turned back. With the exception of a monthlong break to sort out medication issues, Rowe has been a regular presence at the Bikram Yoga Hazel Dell studio.

“It’s worked out a lot of kinks,” Rowe said.

Today, Rowe has been off of all medications for four months. She’s stronger. She’s sleeping better. Her body feels good. Her mind feels clear.

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