Yoga Clothing, More Than Just Style

March 13, 2014

Yoga is designed to foster flexibility, stress relief, and relaxation, which means that the clothing you choose to wear while practicing yoga should help you to achieve these goals. Yoga clothes should be comfortable, breathable, and should allow you to move freely in a variety of different poses. Clothing that is too tight will restrict your movement and will not allow you the full range of mobility required by yoga movements. Loose fitting clothes as well as stretchy leotard type outfits are best suited for yoga outfits as they will allow you a full range of motion.

Even though yoga is a low impact and relaxing exercise, you still need support when practicing yoga. Women should wear a comfortable and supportive sports bra and anyone with joint problems should wear some type of joint support. It is also a good idea to wear clothing that absorbs or wicks away moisture because it is possible to work up a sweat doing challenging poses. If you are a beginner to yoga you should also consider wearing shorts so you can better see your feet, ankles, and knees and learn how to properly align them.

Many people enjoy yoga because of it helps to build self esteem and boost self image. It’s ok to want to look the part and feel great in your yoga clothes, but skip the fancy form fitting outfits that will restrict your movement and hinder you from learning the correct breathing techniques. It is possible to look great and trendy in comfy sweats and tops, and no matter how chic you want your clothes to be, make comfort your number one priority.

Some people wear shoes while practicing yoga, either by choice of because the class requires it. You should pick your yoga shoes with the same things in mind as your yoga clothes, comfort and flexibility. Rigid yoga shoes will not give you the full range of motion needed to master challenging yoga poses. Make sure your feet can flex in all directions when trying on yoga shoes and that there are no points that pinch or rub.

Yoga is about total mind and body fitness and nothing will make you feel better than looking your best while you tone your body. You should enjoy your yoga clothes but also be able to experience all the benefits of a full range of motion.

Choosing the Best Type of Yoga for You

November 7, 2013

Yoga offers many different health benefits from toning muscles to becoming spirituality enlightened. There are different types of yoga and each type focuses more on one element or another although every type of yoga is still based on the principal of improving well being through physical, emotional, and spiritual exercise. If you want to take yoga, it is important to evaluate your fitness goals to decide which type of yoga is right for you. If your goal is to become more relaxed and spiritually aware then you should do a different form of yoga than a person who wants to become physically fit and improve muscle tone. All types of yoga will reduce stress and help you to increase flexibility but there is probably one type of yoga that is the best for your fitness goals.

If your goal is to become fit, increase your flexibility, and improve your muscle tone, Hatha yoga is the best for you. This type of yoga is the most common form of yoga and uses the types of techniques and positions most people associate with yoga. You will focus on stretching and developing your flexibility. Hatha yoga is not the most strenuous form of yoga but it will work wonders on developing your flexibility and helping you reduce stress.

If you are looking for a more strenuous workout but still want the other emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga, there is a type of yoga for you too. The most strenuous form of yoga, known as Ashtanga yoga, is great for people who want a challenging workout that will help them to tone their muscles and improve their physical health. Ashtanga yoga uses the most challenging poses and movements to improve your physical health.

If your fitness goals focus more on your emotional and spiritual fitness, there is a form of yoga that will help you to reach your goals as well. Jnana yoga focuses on the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga and helps students to reach a deeper spiritual level. If you are searching for meaning in your life, Jnana yoga can help you to develop spiritually and emotionally as well as relieve stress and allow you to live a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Using Yoga for Weight Loss

April 7, 2013

If you are like many people you have probably considered starting an exercise program to help you loose weight. Many people assert that yoga will help with weight loss, and while many people have lost weight thanks to yoga others do not believe that such a serene form of exercise will help them to reach their weight loss goals. It is widely acknowledged that yoga helps to develop flexibility by stretching muscles and promotes a more balanced approach to life that can also help with stress reduction, but in the area of weight loss yoga’s benefits are not as clear.

The truth is that people do loose weight from practicing yoga, but that weight loss is not a result of strenuous exercise as yoga is a very gentle way to tone your body. The weight loss from doing yoga is a result of embracing the principals of yoga that work to reduce stress and balance your mind, body, and soul. A lifestyle that is free of stress and balanced is conducive to weight loss as you can more easily manage a healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The principals of yoga that allow students to lead a stress free and balanced life also help them to avoid destructive practices such as overeating that contribute to weight problems. Stress has been proved as a cause of weight gain, so an exercise that aims to relieve stress will eliminate this weight gain risk factor from your life. Even though the physical aspect of yoga is gentle, it still helps to keep your body healthy, limber, and in shape.

Even though we may not know exactly how yoga causes weight loss, you can use yoga to loose weight. Yoga may not be the fastest way to lose weight but you will notice many benefits after you start a yoga program. The benefits of yoga will positively affect your entire life and help you to find balance between your body, mind and soul. No other exercise program encompasses so many aspects of life and serves to create balance that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle conducive of weight loss.

Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

March 31, 2013

Yoga is a great exercise for people who want to increase flexibility, reduce stress, get fit, and lead a more healthy life. Almost anyone can do yoga because it is very gentle which makes it well suited as an exercise program all throughout life. Many people consider taking yoga but also have questions on how to get started.

Many people are concerned that they are not flexible enough to do yoga and will never be able to get into the contortionist poses many people associate with yoga. The truth is that yoga is about building flexibility, among other things, and you do not need to be super limber to begin yoga. Yoga is not just about being flexible either; it is also about relaxation and properly holding positions to the best of your ability. It takes time to build flexibility and yoga will help you to become more limber.

Many people think that yoga is just for women, but men can also participate in and benefit from yoga as well. Men benefit form yoga in the same ways that women do with increased flexibility, strength, stress reduction and overall well being. Yoga has become more and more popular with men as they to have discovered the many health benefits of this ancient exercise.

Yoga is well known to have many health benefits, but some people wonder if it will help them loose weight as this is one of their main fitness goals. While yoga is not the fastest way to loose weight, it can help you to loose those extra pounds. Because yoga combines physical exercise with positive lifestyle changes, you will be able to better manage stress and eliminate the negative influences in your life that contribute to weight problems.

Many exercise programs have strict rules as to how often you should perform them. While it is important to give your body time to rest after strenuous activity, the gentle nature of yoga makes it one type of exercise that you can practice as often as you like. You can start with classes a few times a week and gradually add more or you can practice everyday at home. If your schedule allows structured exercise less frequently, you can practice yoga whenever possible and still reap the health benefits.

Yoga Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

March 11, 2013

The Demanding Intensity of Bikram Yoga

March 19, 2011

Designed by Bikram Choudry, Bikram yoga consists of 26 postures and 22 breathing exercises. The movements stretch every part of the body including joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It was developed in California and then brought to Los Angeles, and this then gave it the nickname of ‘hot yoga’ as the postures were performed in a minimum temperature of 40 degrees.

It is fair to say that Bikram yoga differs to the other styles in that it is probably the most demanding and intense style of hatha yoga, however the benefits of studying this style are great. The heat ensures that the body is warmer and more flexible even at the start of the class; this is beneficial as there is less chance of injuries such as pulled muscles. As the body is more flexible, the stretches become more pronounced and so the rewards are greater.

Understandably, when students perform demanding postures in a hot environment, it would be very easy to become dehydrated so it is necessary for students to drink copious amounts of water before and after the session to prevent this from occurring.

Bikram yoga is considered to help correct and improve sleep patterns, promote better digestion, improve cardiovascular functions and metabolism, so it is no wonder that there are dedicated followers to this style.

Having a qualified Bikram yoga teacher on hand to guide and to encourage is always beneficial. As with any other form of yoga, ensuring that the postures are correct is vital. In a class there is usually a mirror so that students can self-correct and perhaps it can be said that correct alignment is more important than reaching advanced positions.

Other benefits include a feeling of walking tall, improved posture, clarity of mind and increased confidence. Attending a class several times a week and then supporting this with yoga practice at home, will enable the student’s progress to be vastly accelerated.

The sequence of movements in Bikram yoga tend to flow and are perfectly balanced to compliment each other, it is then finished with a cleansing and energizing breath called Kapalbhati

The breath is very important in any yoga style but an important tip is to breathe through any difficult postures and learning to recognize negative thoughts, which may also impact your yoga session. The mind can sometimes tighten up at the thought of a difficult or less favorite posture, so by recognizing that this happens and using the breath, the mind can be controlled and the body will then open up to the demands of the posture.

Bikram yoga adds additional dimensions to a usual yoga practice and the feeling is much more intense than in any other style. Some people find the heat and the intensity a problem but others revel in the style and their progress may be much greater than within a usual class and there is always a new challenge for them to strive towards.

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.

Kundalini Yoga to Awaken your Inner Energy

February 20, 2009

Whilst yoga generally is renowned for helping the body to be healthy and flexible, there are also different styles of yoga, which focus’s on the more spiritual aspects and increasing the latent energy contained within all of us.

Kundalini yoga-also known as the ‘lock of hair of the beloved’ this is a term used as a way of depicting the way that energy flows through us and by using Kundalini Yoga, we can awaken this energy within us, by means of postures, breathing exercises, meditation and by use of chanting.

This is a very powerful system which increases our opportunity for individual growth.

Kundalini yoga enjoys simple techniques which are available to everyone, regardless of physical ability or age. Dedicated practice ensures a balanced mind, a renewed connection with your inner wisdom, it helps to increase your vitality and yet be peaceful and strong.

Furthermore for those students who are interested in this discipline, the added advantage is that no previous knowledge is required before the benefits of Kundalini yoga are experienced in a very short time. It simply provides us with the techniques to awaken and harness this energy which lives in all of us, so that we can be happy and healthy.

Where possible, students should attend a class as the teacher will be able to guide and encourage those who are keen to learn. Each class will usually look at undergoing warm ups for flexibility and work on the spinal area. There will be an exercise sequence relating specifically to inner energy and of course relaxation and meditation to follow.

For those who continually strive to learn, Kundalini yoga has thousands of exercise sets within its system so there are many opportunities for the student to continually develop. It is about encouraging people to strive forwards but to not exceed their safety limitations.

Exercises themselves can last for 1-3 minutes but could last for longer. Also included within the sessions are:

Mantra’s- these use sound and vibrations for effect.

Mudras-these are hand or body poses which are held during specific exercises or during meditations

Chakra’s-These have a specific frequency and area which they correspond to, such as the heart, solar plexus. Kundalini yoga helps to ensure that the energy flows freely through these areas.

It is worth noting that some beginners may experience some feelings of discomfort initially such as light trembling sensations when in some of the postures or feelings of light-headiness. If this does occur it is worth realizing that it occurs as part of the cleansing of physical and mental toxins.

Kundalini yoga is a lifelong discipline designed to encourage all aspects of self –development so that students can live in a healthy body yet obtain higher consciousness.

Hatha Yoga for Health, Vitality and Inner Peace

February 5, 2009

When people talk about yoga, they usually mean Hatha yoga which is the most well-known of the disciplines. Hatha can be interpreted as meaning sun and moon and yoga translates as union or unity.

The focus of Hatha yoga is for the student to achieve a balance of body and mind and to be able to cope with the daily stresses and strains. Continued and regular practice enables the student to achieve a sense of deep inner peace, mental clarity, flexibility of the body and to be able to reach deeper relaxation.

There are many useful books or DVD’s on the subject of yoga and these depict the correct body alignment, the various stages of development within individual postures and also the benefits. Hatha yoga was pioneered in the 15th century and is suitable for the complete beginner, those with disabilities or those who are inflexible. Hatha yoga could be considered the ultimate stepping-stone from beginner to greater health.

Some of the postures have a positive impact on conditions such as arthritis and diabetes and by practicing the breathing techniques, can help with asthma and also those who suffer with bronchitis.

Hatha yoga is more of a way of life rather than a set of exercises. It becomes a conscious act, a way of developing and improving, a way of reaching a higher awareness.

Each of the postures should be carefully followed to reach maximum benefits and attention should be turned inwards so that the practitioner is aware of every movement, every sensation, feeling the stretch and then releasing the tension. Whilst increased flexibility is the aim of many, it is more about listening to the body rather than the reward of being sat in some advanced yogic position, which is more important.

The benefits of yoga can be felt within days; certainly a feeling of lightness and achievement can happen quite readily. Yoga is highly therapeutic, the regular practice sessions providing an outlet for tension and everyday stresses and strains.

Attendance at a yoga class is useful as not only can the student receive regular guidance from the teacher, but there is a feeling of support from the other students too and often, strong friendships can develop through the attendance of a class. These friendships can be useful in that they encourage continued practice of yoga even on those days when you may not feel like practicing.

During your Hatha yoga session, the teacher will also introduce gentle relaxation techniques, which will then lead into guided visualizations and meditations so that the students can realize the benefits that are achievable instantly through applied practice.
Yoga postures, the breathing techniques and meditation are simple techniques for the eager practitioner to achieve a healthy balance in life.

Discover Spiritual Growth with Kriya Yoga

January 12, 2009

Many people believe that yoga is all about the physical aspects meaning the body becoming stronger, suppler, and the student being able to deal with stress more efficiently. Of course Hatha yoga which is the more well known of the yoga styles is to a greater extent about improving the body and these are some of the advantages of making yoga part of your life. However, Kriya yoga is an advanced form, which focuses on spiritual growth as opposed to the physical context of yoga.

Typically, the practitioner of any yoga style should have studied any style of yoga for a year or more before embarking on the Kriya yoga route. This is because Kriya yoga is much more complex and requires even greater dedication and understanding of its principles.

Essentially all yoga disciplines teach the student about the inner life force and all yoga postures work at increasing the life force, opening up channels, clearing blockages, balancing inner energies.

The Kriya yoga student focuses on the energy in a different manner and works this energy up and down the spine. Kriya practice is to do with mastery of the breath and the concept is that the student directs this energy to rotate around the spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal plexuses) these spinal centers relate to the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The practice of kriya yoga is very deep and involved and the student must be dedicated to the practice to be able to progress and this is why it is recommended that students will have practiced other yoga methods and styles previously.

The techniques are very powerful and bring inspiration and clarity to the student; it opens up the spiritual eye and magnetizes the body. It takes students a long time to be able to grasp in fully the theory behind the practice and this is one of the reasons why it is important that the student does not self-teach this discipline. There are qualified teachers who should be contacted so as to instill correct techniques into the student; this will then help them to understand all that is Kriya yoga.

Essentially, the student will be able to decarbonize the blood and recharge it with oxygen, and this then rejuvenates all of the spinal centers and the brain. The idea is that the student will have control over the decay of body tissues by using the energy, this internal life-force and the power of their mind.

The student can still carry on with the other elements of yoga such as Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga etc, keeping the body strong is important and will help with the studies towards spiritual growth.