Get Physical with Ashtanga Yoga

May 18, 2010

Physically demanding and often practiced by those who have experienced other styles, Ashtanga yoga has a series of demanding postures which students work through, moving from one pose to the next.

These sequences build stamina, increase flexibility and strengthen the whole body. Heat is generated within the body as the student moves through the range and this heat leads to cleansing which in turn increases circulation and sweating.

Ashtanga is often referred to as ‘Power Yoga’ and is not recommended for beginners due to the demands of the poses. For those who are physically strong and flexible or who have experience within yoga and who may be looking for a fresh challenge, then it is advisable to seek professional instruction.

Ashtanga yoga needs a great deal of focus and concentration as the students move through the postures, so it is imperative that a teacher is on hand to guide the student into the correct position and so that bad habits are not formed in the early stages. It is very easy for students to not fully understand the exact position they are supposed to be in, and a teacher will be able to spot any minor mistakes which could have a negative impact on the student’s progression.

To the onlooker, Ashtanga yoga can seem a beautiful carefully selected sequence of extreme and difficult postures, strength and flexibility is required throughout the session. Students should focus on the breathing throughout as this will help prepare the body for the different moves. For every movement, one breath is taken.

As in any yoga class it is important that the mind is kept controlled and focused, as concentration will help the student to progress within each movement and achieve maximum benefits. In Ashtanga yoga, the student has to master every step before proceeding to the next and the theory behind this diligent practice is that the student’s mind should be purified through careful progression through the eight essential steps.

As this discipline is so very powerful, it would be attractive to those who seek an absolute challenge, enjoy intense physicality and who have much energy and inquiring minds.

Like all styles, regular practice is best and early morning practice sessions are recommended. Sessions can be tailored to suit busy modern lifestyles however, and the most important aspect is that regular practice ensues. Students reap the rewards of dedicated practice sessions quite quickly and within a very short space of time, those around will begin to notice some changes to the student’s demeanor and physique.

Renewed confidence and energy levels are quite common as is an increased ability to handle stress. Quite often, students appear radiant, poised and calm. Focus for work projects increases as does concentration levels. Providing the student is careful and pays attention to the teacher during the class, the benefits of Ashtanga yoga are far –reaching.

How Far are Herbs from Pharmaceuticals?

May 9, 2010

The thought of using herbal medicines to treat colds, headaches, and even chronic illnesses can send the average person into a state of shock. The fact is that most people in Western countries think of herbs as the medicines of barbaric medieval surgeons and tribal “witch” doctors. But while this was and is certainly true, most of these people would be shocked to discover that many of the pharmaceuticals commonly used in Western medicine are derived from these same “barbaric” herbs.

Western medicine frequently uses herbs like digitalis and even opium to treat many of the medical complaints and illnesses of the average, modern person. Digitalis is actually a plant from the Scrophulariaceae biological family and is closely related to the common English foxglove plant. Opium is used to create many pain medications commonly prescribed for hospital patients; it is created from seed pods of the opium poppy.

Natural Remedies For Fibroids

May 5, 2010

Although there are no guaranteed natural remedies for fibroids, there are a few treatments that you can try which may help to reduce their size or at least prevent them growing further, and reduce the heavy bleeding that is often associated with uterine fibroids.

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors usually found in the womb (uterus) and are very common in women of childbearing age. They appear in about 25% of white women and 50% of black women. Some women may have them without knowing, but in other cases they can grow to a size where they cause pain and a noticeably swollen abdomen. The swelling may make a woman look pregnant. She will often have very heavy and painful periods.

Fibroids may cause pain at other times too, for example during sex. They can also interfere with pregnancy, either making it difficult to get pregnant in the first place or causing miscarriage, premature birth or bleeding during the pregnancy. If they press on the bladder they may cause incontinence as well as pain.

The cause of fibroids is thought to be hormonal. They almost always shrink or disappear after the menopause, unless a woman takes hormone replacement therapy. Genetics may also play a part in the causes of these uterine growths.

The standard medical treatment, if required, is surgery. In the past, the only option was hysterectomy, i.e. complete removal of the womb. Now it is possible in many cases to have what is called a myomectomy in which only the fibroids themselves are removed. If successful, this means that you can still have children afterward. The surgical procedure that is recommended will depend on the size and number of the growths.

If you do not need surgery or decide against it, you may want to look for a natural remedy that will help deal with the symptoms. Doctors will often recommend contraceptive pills but not every woman wants to take these. You may want to try the following home remedies that some women have found helpful. Consult your doctor first and again if the symptoms persist or increase.

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV may shrink the fibroids. It certainly reduces discomfort in many cases, and unless there is some reason why you should not take vinegar, it will not do you any harm. If you are overweight you may find it has the added benefit of helping you to lose a few pounds. Take one tablespoon three times a day.


Some women recommend molasses for reducing the size of fibroids. The usual dose is one tablespoon 3 times per day.

Be aware that molasses is high in calories, iron and copper. It is important to monitor your intake of all of these, as too much can cause other problems. Blackstrap molasses also contains sulfur which can thin the blood and may therefore increase the menstrual bleeding in some women.


There are some herbal medicines that may help in some cases. Herbs that balance the hormones, such as agnus castus or yarrow, may be recommended.

Do not take blue or black cohosh which are likely to increase the symptoms.

If you want to try herbal medicine the best solution is to see a qualified and experienced herbalist who will take a full history, consider different possibilities and monitor the results of the suggested herbal natural remedies for fibroids.