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“I am a yoga teacher and truly enjoy Joanne’s blog. It is relaxing to read, refreshing and relevant. I often send her blogs to my students.” Virginia W.
This past weekend I attended a workshop given by Rama Jyoti Vernon. She has been practicing yoga for over 50 years and was instrumental in facilitating the yoga movement in the U.S. She has also been teaching yoga for decades and has led worldwide peace missions. She recently published a book, Yoga: The Practice of Myth & Sacred Geometry and I was attending her book signing. What she said about asana as meditation really resonated with me. Continue reading
The statistics are scary … 1 in 9 Americans over 65 has Alzheimer’s disease and it is now our third biggest killer. The numbers are grim but I did read a hopeful article in the April 2015 issue of Prevention Magazine, “How to Beat Alzheimer’s at Its Own Game.” The hopeful part is that a new science is emerging related to prevention. Continue reading
A daily meditation practice does wonders for your health and wellbeing and actually promotes wellness. Scientists are beginning to understand what is happening physiologically that causes these benefits to happen.
In recent studies, meditation was shown to initiate change at the cellular level, “turning on” genes that make us healthier and “turning off” genes that lead to disease. A control group meditated 20 minutes a day for 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, researchers discovered that immune response; energy metabolism and insulin secretion (prevents diabetes) were enhanced.
These results are truly remarkable. What is also remarkable is that it’s all in our control. We don’t need a doctor to write us a prescription or spend a lot of money to get these benefits. It’s literally free. Continue reading
Meditation can be hard to explain without sounding woo-woo and esoteric to those who have never experienced it or are trying it for the first time. From my experience as a yoga teacher helping students to meditate, most students think they aren’t doing it “right” because their minds wander constantly. As I tell them, “welcome to the human condition of Monkey Mind.” Continue reading
Most of my private yoga students are 50 and over and very interested in staying mobile for life. Balance plays a big part in staying both mobile and healthy. In fact, research confirms ability to balance on one foot for at least 20 seconds is an important indicator of brain health.
With these benefits in mind, our posture focus this week is on balance and adapting Tadasana for that purpose.
This adaptation of Tadasana is particularly good for strengthening your feet and lower legs. It also has the following benefits, which are found in all balance postures:
- Improves posture
- Develops mental stamina
- Improves focus and attention
- Increases self confidence
People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons. They include wanting to reduce stress and balance emotions; improve fitness; lose weight; improve flexibility; improve strength. The list is long and the reasons are as varied as the people. But, there is a common thread in all these reasons and that’s the recognition that some aspect of life needs to be different.
So, the recognition that something needs to change is Step #1 in starting any yoga practice. It’s also important to believe change is possible and to have a deep desire to have it happen. Continue reading
In my opinion, yoga is tailor made for today’s world.
Many years ago I started practicing yoga as a way to reduce the stress of corporate America. It was very effective. Fast-forward to today and our world has become even more stressful. There are fewer and fewer boundaries separating our working lives from our non-working lives. The Internet and mobile devices have made us “available” 24/7.
One researcher says that being connected 24/7 to emails, texts, social media, etc. is a big reason why we feel busy all the time. It’s hard to feel like we’re getting away from work and work-like activities, which makes us feel overwhelmed. See my blog Busyness for more about this research. Continue reading
The other day I was feeling stressed. When I’m at my computer I feel that way frequently. It usually has to do with social media and working to expand Yoga for Self’s presence “out there”. I’m trying to understand what works and what doesn’t which, of course, changes daily because the people who design social media are sadistic. Well, probably not literally but you get my drift.
Anyway, I was feeling more and more overwhelmed and feeling like I was wasting a lot of time. So, I said to myself, time to take a break and practice some of the yoga breathing techniques I teach.
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Being pulled in a zillion directions? Feeling like nothing ever gets completed?
“Take a deep breath.” We’ve heard it before. Something stressful happens to someone who then gets told to … “take a deep breath.” Somehow it begins to calm the person down. Why does that work? What goes on in our bodies to trigger a more relaxed state? Continue reading
“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard that comment. My response is always, “Every Body can do yoga.” As my yoga teacher says, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” In other words, you don’t need to twist, stretch or bend into the shape of a pretzel to reap the benefits of yoga.
Muscular vs. Skeletal
Everybody’s body is unique. We are all built differently. I have yet to see the perfect body and am confident I never will. Continue reading
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