Tag Archives: health

Mindfulness – What is mindfulness meditation?

6 Jun
Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation

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About Yoga Food

2 May

ABOUT YOGA FOOD

Yoga food is vegetarian.

It is an eating philosophy based on a wholesome vegetarian diet. Its principles of healthy eating use vegetarian ingredients in combination with spices and herbs that have therapeutic value and delicious flavors.

“You Are What you Eat” – a commonly used phrase in yoga, has a powerful meaning. Yoga believes that food not only influences your body in the physical sense but is also known to directly influence emotions and feelings. It can induce bliss or anger, contentment or restlessness, thoughts of the sacred or the profane. The quality of the food you eat literally creates your state of mind and emotions. The teachings of yoga advocate a vegetarian diet with special emphasis on foods that bring peace to body, mind, and sprit.

Why vegetarian? – Yoga food is based on the idea that foods must be consumed in their most natural forms in order to realize their true benefits. The yogic belief is that several health disorders can be traced to faulty nutrition, poor diet and difficulty in digestion. The big Idea? – In order to stay healthy and happy “food should be digested very easily”! A vegetarian yoga diet ensures that all faculties of digestion work smoothly—absorption, assimilation, and elimination. The diet also contains high amounts of fiber and antioxidants. Yoga food helps to maintain a strong and healthy body, a stress-free mind, and a positive spirituality in our complex lifestyles. The benefits of a well-balanced vegetarian diet can be powerful.

Yoga Food is classified into 3 categories – Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic Foods

SATTVIC FOOD – EAT MOST

Sattvic Foods are foods that should be eaten the most and that are very easily digestible. These foods nourish the body, purify the mind and heal the imbalance in the body by generating good health, energy, vitality, vigor, mental alertness, peace and strength. These include foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables, fruits, herbs; essential dietary fiber and carbohydrates required by the body include whole and unrefined grains; protein rich foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy; natural sweeteners such as honey and raw sugar, therapeutic spices in small quantities, oil and ghee (Indian clarified butter) in small quantities for the required fat in the body.

RAJASIC FOODS – EAT MODERATELY

Rajasic Foods are foods that should be eaten moderately or occasionaly and are foods that are not as easily digestible like Sattvic foods. Although, these foods create restlessness and provide extra-stimulation, it is sometimes required when the body needs higher amounts of energy or during the fall and winter seasons. They include very spicy, hot, salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and gaseous foods such as chickpea, toor lentil, white urad lentil, black and green gram, soy bean, hot spices such as red chili powder and black pepper, stimulants such as onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chocolate and wine.

TAMASIC FOODS – EAT LEAST

Tamasic Foods are foods that should be eaten the least and are foods that are difficult to digest. These foods require a lot more energy to digest and are known to be the least beneficial to the mind and the body. Tamasic foods can enhance dullness, lethargy, depression the body feel heavy, generating the least amount of energy. When eaten too often or in excess they could destroy the body’s resistance to disease. They include meat, fish, eggs, intoxicants, alcohol, and foods that are processed, chemically altered, artificially flavored, food kept for over 24 hours, reheated and deep-fried foods.

YOGA FOOD TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD HEALTH

Eat four times a day at four hour intervals

Do not skip breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day

Do not drink water with your meal – drink water 30 minutes before a meal

When you eat a meal, you’re stomach should be 1/2 filled with food, ¼ with water (drunk 30 minutes before) and ¼ should be empty for proper digestion

Eat food that is freshly cooked

Do not overeat or eat too less

Food should be tasty and easy to digest

Food should be eaten with concentration and in a calm environment

So whether you practice yoga or just want to eat healthy and be happy, Yoga food is for you!

viaAbout Yoga Food.

8 hours after quitting smoking, this is what happens to your body

30 Sep

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Smoking_health_benefits_male

Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey – Trailer

29 Sep


This is the story of a woman who thought she had it all — until she lost her beloved mother to cancer. Trying to process and understand her profound grief, Suzanne embarked on a journey and turned to a deeper practice of yoga. Along the way, she discovers what YOGA IS. Suzanne’s journey led her to India, where she studied various disciplines of yoga and met with respected gurus. During her visit, she came face-to-face with a near death experience and discovered that something had shifted within her; the light had returned. Inspired by her experience, she returned to the U.S. to explore what yoga means to the West and how it can transform lives. What she found was something wonderful: a path that can enable anyone to transform suffering in order to experience daily peace and happiness.

8 Reasons Yoga is a Better Workout Than the Gym

29 Aug
yoga-handstand

by Heidi Kristoffer

By nature, I am not a comparer. Everything has its plusses and minuses in my book (except, of course, yoga which is all plusses!). So, while I am not anti-gym, I do think that yoga kicks the gym’s derrière on every level, and you can kick your own (butt, that is) in yoga, literally, if you feel like it!

People are always curious as to “what else I do” to “work out” other than yoga. The answer? Nothing! Yoga is everything my body needs to function at it’s absolute best. Here’s why:

It’s efficient! Why would I waste so much time at the gym working each part of my body separately when I can connect all of the dots and do it all at once with yoga? No amount of lifting weights is going to make my arms as strong as holding up my own body weight in yoga. Also, practically everything you do in yoga is engaging your core, from core-centric poses to moving from pose to pose, using your core to stabilize your body. And in different inversions and arm balances, yoga allows you to raise your heartbeat, strengthen your muscles, and lengthen them out all at once. How’s that for efficiency?

It can count as cardio. All you have to do is try a few sun salutations or any flow at a good, steady pace, matching your breath to your movement. Or, if you are a bit more adventurous, try some Kundalini kriyas (like the Kundalini frogs in the step-by-step breakdown of shoulder press pose.)

Yoga is not a competitive sport! I prefer yoga to the gym as I steer clear of anything that involves pitting myself against others. Isn’t there enough competition in work and in life in general? While some people thrive on trying to be the fastest in spin class or trying to run longer than the woman on the treadmill next to them, in yoga it doesn’t matter what any one else is doing. There is no comparing or competing because there is only you.

It saves money. In fact, yoga doesn’t have to cost a penny. All you need to practice is you. You can wear any clothes that allow you to move, and you don’t even need a yoga mat: grass and carpet work just fine. If you want some inspiration, there are plenty of great, inexpensive yoga DVDs or free online videos.

You can do it anywhere. With no equipment necessary, it doesn’t matter if you are at home, at your office, on the road—or even in the streets of NYC, as in the SHAPE Yoga Anywhere videos. So long as you have the desire, you can strike a few poses.

Yoga will help you lose weight. Practicing yoga changes your mind: It changes the way you approach life, your body, and eating. Yoga shows you how to appreciate your body for all of the amazing things that it can do for you and points you in the direction of wanting to fill your body with the best possible fuel rather than processed junk food. And changing your mind about your body and the foods you feed it will be a much more effective weight-loss tool than burning a bunch of calories in an aggressive kick-boxing class and then mindlessly plowing through equal or more calories later that day.

Hello, variety. Yoga can be different every single day, if you want it to be. Want a challenge? Throw some arm balances and inversions into your practice. Need to focus? Try a few balance poses sequentially on the same foot. Or if you’re seeking relaxation, hang out in pigeon, a few seated forward folds, and a restorative backbend.

No injuries. In yoga, you learn to unite your body and mind. This allows you to move with ease and pay attention to how your body is feeling at all times, so you move in a way that feels good for you and not one that puts you in places your body doesn’t want to be. The result? An injury-free, strong, healthy, whole you.

In all fairness, I realize that this is a pretty one-sided argument (okay, a totally one-sided argument). But, for those who ask, “What else you need other than yoga?” I say: If you are going to chose one over the other, chose the one that saves you time, saves you money, makes you feel great, and helps you lose weight.

via8 Reasons Yoga is a Better Workout Than the Gym – Shape Magazine.

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Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon

21 Aug

Warm water and lemon

The way you start each day is incredibly important. Whether you’re a mom, a coach, a writer, a small business owner or a yoga teacher, what you do first thing in the morning matters.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down.

Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

Your mind may say you have to check emails, take the dog out, get the kids out the door, that you can’t be late for work or that you just don’t have enough time to cultivate your own morning rituals.

But, if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this…..

Start the day out with a mug of warm water and the juice of half a lemon.

It’s so simple and the benefits are just too good to ignore. Warm water with lemon:

1. Boosts you’re immune system 

Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain & nerve function and helps control blood pressure.

2. Balances pH

Lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, believe it or not. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). As you wellness warriors know, an alkaline body is really the key to good health.

3. Helps with weight loss

Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster. And, my experience is that when I start the day off right, it’s easier to make the best choices for myself the rest of the day.

4. Aids digestion

The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract.

5. Acts as a gentle, natural diuretic

Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.

6. Clears skin

The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well.

7. Hydrates the lymph system

This cup of goodness helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration (obviously) and adrenal fatigue. When your body is dehydrated, or deeply dehydrated (adrenal fatigue) it can’t perform all of it’s proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on. Your adrenals happen to be two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and along with your thyroid, create energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by your adrenals that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated. Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don’t want to mess with a deep state of dehydration!

Adopting just this one practice of drinking a cup of warm water with lemon in the morning for a month can radically alter your experience of the day. Don’t be surprised if you begin to view mornings in a new light.

Like I said, the recipe is really simple – a cup of warm (not hot) water and the juice from half a lemon.

In the comments below, tell me which one of these benefits is going to get you to try this morning ritual. Or, if you’re already a lemon water junkie, what specific benefits have you noticed?

viaWhy You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon.

Other articles:

Yoga Food – Eat like a yogi
Yoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding
Blood evidence, Yoga reduces our stress level

Africa Yoga Project

16 Aug
Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project

The Africa Yoga Project organization uses the transformative power of yoga to empower communities and change lives. By inspiring the global yoga community into active service, we deliver effective and innovative programs that foster peace, improve physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, facilitate self-sufficiency, and create opportunities to learn and contribute across the communities of East Africa.

viaVision & Mission | Africa Yoga Project.

Yoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding

15 Aug

Prenatal yoga

It’s no secret that pregnancy hormones can dampen moods, but for some expectant moms, it’s much worse: 1 in 5 experience major depression.

Now, new research shows that an age-old recommended stress-buster may actually work for this group of women: yoga.

Pregnant women who were identified as psychiatrically high risk and who participated in a 10-week mindfulness yoga intervention saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. Mothers-to-be also reported stronger attachment to their babies in the womb.

The findings were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

“We hear about pregnant women trying yoga to reduce stress but there’s no data on how effective this method is,” says lead author Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of psychiatry and assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development. “Our work provides promising first evidence that mindfulness yoga may be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatment for pregnant women showing signs of depression.

“This promotes both mother and baby wellbeing.”

Mental health disorders during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, have become a serious health concern. Hormonal changes, genetic predisposition and social factors set the stage for some expectant moms to experience persistent irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed and inability to cope with stress.

Untreated, these symptoms bear major health risks for both the mom and baby, including poor weight gain, preeclampsia, premature labor and trouble bonding with the new baby.

While antidepressants have proven to effectively treat these mood disorders, Muzik says, previous studies show that many pregnant women are reluctant to take these drugs out of concern for their infant’s safety.

“Unfortunately, few women suffering from perinatal health disorders receive treatment, exposing them and their child to the negative impact of psychiatric illness during one of the most vulnerable times,” Muzik says. “That’s why developing feasible alternatives for treatment is critical.”

Evidence suggests women are more comfortable with nontraditional treatments, including herbal medicine, relaxation techniques and mind-body work.

Yoga continues to grow in popularity but in the United States, many classes concentrate on yoga as “exercise,” omitting the practice of being fully present in the moment and aware, authors say.

Meanwhile, mindfulness yoga – which combines meditative focus with physical poses – has proven to be a powerful method to fight stress and boost energy.

For the U-M research study, women who showed signs of depression and who were between 12-26 weeks pregnant participated in 90-minute mindfulness yoga sessions that focused on poses for the pregnant body, as well as support in the awareness of how their bodies were changing to help their babies grow.

Funding for follow up work on this subject was recently provided by a grant from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

“Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,” Muzik says. “This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy.”

viaYoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding.

Yoga by Equinox

5 Aug

Blood evidence, Yoga reduces our stress level

26 Jul

yoga anti-stressResearchers at the University of Los Angeles have shown that yoga would have a biological effect on the health of persons under chronic stress. These findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, 14 July 2012.

A previous research conducted in Pittsburgh in April 2012, had already shown that chronic stress cause a weakened immune system and could increase the occurrence of recurring health problems.

Here, researchers from the University of Los Angeles wanted to know if meditation has a biological effect on the immune disturbances of stressed individuals.

So they selected 45 people who take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. These people, in whom there is constant stress, regularly develop depressive symptoms, emotional distress, and have a decreased energy.

Every day for eight weeks, participants divided into two groups, had to do a meditation session of 12 minutes, either by practicing yoga, or by isolating itself to listen some relaxing music.

At the beginning of the experiment, a blood test had revealed that they all had high levels of inflammatory markers in the blood. These substances are released into the body when subjected to an aggression threatening its integrity.

After eight weeks of daily meditation, their rates had declined in samples of the group practicing yoga .

In fact, scientists believe that this relaxation method would influence the expression of certain genes, themselves responsible for the disruption of the immune system by stress.

They bring by blood evidence that yoga can reduce and control anxiety, what fans of the practice had advocated already long!

viaLe yoga réduit notre niveau de stress, la preuve par le sang : Allodocteurs.fr.

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Is Yoga Popular?

24 Jul

If you were to Google “Yoga popularity” you will find pages upon pages of articles talking about the popularity of yoga. So the question this article asks is: Is yoga really popular? The answer that this post comes up with may surprise you.

Before we jump into answering this question we should clarify by what we mean by yoga. In this article the practice of yoga asana or the yoga of postures is referred to as yoga. The practice of all 8 limbs of yoga as defined by Patanjali would reduce the numbers of yoga practitioner to be quite marginal.

Let us look at the raw numbers. As per Yoga Journal survey in 2008 there are about 16 Million people practicing yoga in the US. This translates to about 5% of the population. If we were to take this number world-wide we have to first eliminate half the population. It was estimated in 2005 that about half the world lived in poverty at less than $2.50 per day. For the people fighting a daily battle to bring bread on the table yoga is not on their list of priorities. We then have to accept that yoga has poor penetration in China, most of Africa, and Middle-East. Even in India, the asana yoga practice is not very popular and it would be safe to say that the popularity is no greater than that in the US.

If you were to do the math you will probably conclude that no more than 2% of the world does yoga. Even this is probably a wild over-estimate. So the question then arises: can we claim that something practiced by 2% of the population as popular?

The point of the article is not to stir up controversy or engage in a mindless statistical exercise. The point is to illustrate the work ahead. Because of the low penetration of yoga the benefits to society has been on the margins. Yoga can help bring down healthcare costs and also improve productivity of the working population. Yoga can also help improve education. It is not difficult to imagine that reduction of anxiety and stress can greatly improve learning. The resulting benefits from improvement in education to society would be quite phenomenal.

Yoga can also help pacify and calm down society. If yoga were to be practiced by 90% of the population you may see the need of less policemen and jails. And as yoga spreads to a majority of countries you may even see a reduction in wars and conflict.

Unfortunately the practice of yoga within the “at risk” community is pretty insignificant. Thus the people who can benefit most from yoga are not the ones practicing it. This is why the tangible benefit to society from yoga has been marginal at this point and that is why work done by people like Lisa Danylchuk is so important.

It has been close to 100 years since Krishnamacharya started his epic quest to popularize yoga and we have reached about 2% of the population in that time. Even if we were to see a geometric increase in the number of people practicing yoga, we are talking about many decades before yoga reaches say 25% of the population world-wide. It is probably only at such levels that we should first start seeing direct benefits accrue to society. When this happens that would be a “tipping point” for yoga. An earlier post talked about the foundation of sacrifice on which yoga has spread. What this post is trying to say is that Krishnamacharya’s work remains unfinished. Only when society sees direct benefit accrue to itself, only then yoga teachers will be justly compensated. Till then the wagon of yoga will have to be pulled by the force of sacrifice.

viaIs Yoga Popular? | MyLifeYoga.

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Acro-Yoga – A more masculine yoga?

17 Jul
Acro-Yoga

Photos: Acro-yoga Montréal

Everyone knows yoga, the Millennium discipline practiced by millions of  worldwide followers. But do you know the acro-yoga, this blend of acrobatics and yoga?

Unlike the traditional form of yoga that is practiced alone, this variant of modern times involves two partners minimum who perform different movements together. Many figures imply the presence on the ground of one of two practitioners, which becomes the “base” and supports the weight of his partner who becomes the “flyer“.

These are two Montrealers Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku who invented in 2001 this hybrid discipline that attracts a wide audience, including men. “It is true that the acro-yoga captivated many men, because some exercises require that one who is on the ground can raise his partner, which requires some physical strength, said Jill Campbell, a professor at Acro Yoga Montreal. But it should certainly not summarize the acro-yoga with the notion of physical exertion, acro-yoga is primarily a way to find balance, move in space with a partner or more while focusing on synchronizing the breath with that of his partner. ”

When looking at some movements of acro-yoga, one quickly realizes the difficulty of the exercise and the importance of teamwork. “It is a discipline that is anything but selfish, each practitioner has with her ​​partner a dependent relationship very strong with time, Jill Campbell says. We must be attentive to the other. ”

But if physical force is a factor in the practice of this new discipline, the meditative spirit of yoga and the values ​​of harmony are not set aside. “When doing acro-yoga, it is important to be in the moment, which means being aware of what one feels, the reactions of our body, communicating with his partner.”
Many acro-yoga practitioners are already familiar with disciplines where the body plays an important role as the circus, tai chi chuan, dance, as is the case with Aurelie, practicing dance since many years and who has just discovered the acro-yoga. “What I particularly like in the acro-yoga is this is a mix between yoga, gym and circus, we play a lot about balance, concentration and self-confidence, but also confidence in a partner that knows no bound. In addition, unlike a yoga session at the end where you feel relaxed and zen, with the acro-yoga we’re pretty super excited and energized. ”

For Jill Campbell, the benefits of acro-yoga are felt even when the course is finished and working closely with a partner resonates in the lives of every day. “We have noticed that people who practice regularly feel an overall improvement in their confidence in themselves, they develop a sense of contact with others both verbal and physical. They less feel barriers and communicate more easily, I would also say they have one certain joy of life ».

viaAcro-yoga – Un yoga plus masculin?.

Related :
Acro Yoga by Equinox

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Namaste! San Francisco International Airport introduces yoga room

14 Jul


SAN FRANCISCOStressed out by flying?

Travelers in Northern California can now find their inner calm in the Yoga Room at San Francisco International Airport.

The quiet, dimly lit studio officially opened last week in a former storage room just past the security checkpoint at SFO’s Terminal 2.

Airport officials believe the 150-square-foot room with mirrored walls is the world’s first airport yoga studio, said spokesman Mike McCarron.

The room, open to all ticketed passengers, contains a few chairs and yoga mats but no instructors or televisions. No shoes, food, drinks or cell phones are allowed.

“Silence is appreciated,” says a sign spelling out “Yoga Room Etiquette.”

A prominent blue-and-white sign with a Buddha-like pictogram beckons visitors: “Come check out our Yoga Room.”

Frequent flyer Maria Poole accepted the invitation, practicing a downward dog asana and other yoga poses before boarding her flight.

“It’s perfect,” said Poole, 47, of Lafayette. “I think it should be in every airport, especially the terminals that I fly through. This would be such a great way for me to get my exercise in, get a little peace and quiet — a little Zen moment.”

The Yoga Room is just the latest example of how airports are trying to improve the passenger experience and showcase their regional culture, noting the ancient practice’s popularity in the San Francisco Bay area, said Debby McElroy, executive vice president of Airports Council International-North America.

In recent years, airports have upgraded their food and shopping venues and added massage parlors, nail salons, dry cleaners and pet hotels, McElroy said, but SFO is the first to add a yoga room in North America and probably the world.

“I expect other airports will be looking at whether a yoga room at their airport makes sense,” McElroy said.

SFO officials say the idea came from a passenger who checked out the newly remodeled terminal last year and told Airport Director John Martin it was lacking one thing: a yoga room.

Martin, a long-time yoga practitioner, agreed. Airport managers spent $15,000 to $20,000 to turn the storage space into the yoga studio.

SFO officials had to design the Yoga icon after they couldn’t find one in the international guide of airport pictograms that direct travelers to taxis, restrooms and baggage claim carousels.

Lindsey Shepard of Fremont, who was traveling with Poole, said she liked having “a dark place to chill out and have a timeout and relax.”

“Flying can be stressful,” Shepard said. “It’s nice to have something to do at the airport besides sit around and eat bad food and read magazines.”

Of course, the Yoga Room isn’t for everyone.

“If I got into yoga, I might lose track of time and miss my flight,” said Robert Diaz, 52, of Seal Beach, who was visiting San Francisco with his wife. “I’d be so relaxed.”

viaNamaste! San Francisco International Airport introduces yoga room – NY Daily News.

airport yoga room

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

 

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Yoga Food – Eat Like a Yogi

10 Jul

How do lessons learned on the mat translate to pleasures of the table?

Yogi food

Yogi food – Photo By Joe Coca

Go on. No one’s looking.

Just take a quick peek inside the kitchen of Ayurvedic educator and yoga teacher Scott Blossom’s Berkeley, California, home. In the pantry you’ll find ghee and sunflower-seed butter, plus dozens of herbs, spices, and teas. In the fridge, bundles of kale, carrots, and beets. On the counters, jars of homemade jams, organic raw honey, and a warm loaf of sprouted spelt bread. On the stovetop a pot of dahl (Indian lentil soup) simmers.

All of these foods reflect Blossom’s quest to meet his nutritional needs while honoring his yogic values. He spent almost 20 years experimenting with veganism, vegetarianism, and other dietary styles, while studying Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, before figuring out the right diet for himself and his family. In 1998 he settled on an Ayurvedic diet in which his daily food choices reflect the needs of his individual constitution, what’s going on in his life, and the season of the year.

Eating is perhaps the single most important act for one’s yoga practice,” Blossom says, “because nourishment of the body’s tissues forms a foundation for nourishment of the mind and emotions.” One way to think about this is to imagine devoting your days to practice while feeding yourself nothing but sugar and caffeine. What effect would that have? It’s easy to see that a balanced, calm mind is much easier to come by if you commit yourself to nourishing your body properly, just as you commit yourself to asana, pranayama, and meditation. But what exactly does it mean to nourish yourself properly? Just how do you eat like a yogi?

The Diet of Patanjali

Admittedly, extending your yoga practice to the dinner table is not an easy task, mostly because the classic yogic texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita don’t list any specific foods for following a “yogic diet.” And even if they did, it’s highly unlikely that the foods prescribed in India thousands of years ago would be appropriate today for each and every one of us.

But while there is no prescribed menu for yogis, there is a yogic diet, says Gary Kraftsow, the founder of the American Viniyoga Institute. “These are ingredients that enhance clarity and lightness, keeping the body light and nourished and the mind clear,” he explains. In other words, a diet that offers your body a great basis for practice—or encourages the same effects as practice—makes for a great yogic diet.

In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In contrast, tamasic foods (such as onions, meat, and garlic) and rajasic foods (such as coffee, hot peppers, and salt) can increase dullness or hyperactivity, respectively. But maintaining a diet that keeps your body light and your mind clear doesn’t necessarily mean eating only sattvic foods. What is best for you and what in the end will best support your yoga practice is informed by your constitution (known in the Ayurvedic tradition as vikriti) and your current state (prakriti), Kraftsow says. “Both need to be considered,” he adds.

In this way of thinking about nourishment, what you need as an individual may be very different from what someone else needs. And what you need at this moment in your life may be very different from what you needed five years ago or will need five years from now. Perhaps the ancient sages were relying on wisdom when they chose not to lay down a yogic diet for all to follow. Just as you learn to listen to your body on the mat, so you must listen to your body at the table.

Beyond the basic needs of the body, many modern yoga practitioners suggest that a yogic diet should take into account the values and philosophical teachings of yoga. Many people name ahimsa, the yogic precept of nonharming, as an influence on their dietary choices—although how they put that principle into action varies. Just as different styles of yoga teach different versions of the same poses, and different teachers offer different, even contradictory, interpretations of the Yoga Sutra, so do yogis consider a wide range of possibilities in exploring a yogic diet. But while personal interpretations may vary, there is a consensus that exploring a yogic diet is important. “For yogis, food choices reflect personal ethics,” says Blossom. “They are inextricable from our spiritual development.”

Or, as Jivamukti Yoga cofounder David Life says, “Not everyone can do Headstand, but everybody eats. Because of this, what you eat has more impact and matters more than whether you can stand on your head.”

With this in mind, we asked several well-known teachers and self-described foodies how they arrived at their current food choices. Because different yogic values resonate with people in a variety of ways, everyone had their own ideas about what constitutes a yogic diet. But what these yogis can all agree on is that their yogic principles have strongly influenced how they feed themselves.

Value Meals

When she was 21 years old, Anusara Yoga instructor Sianna Sherman became a vegan as part of her practice of ahimsa. For seven years she followed an animal-free diet, including two years on a macrobiotic diet, which consisted largely of whole grains, fresh and sea vegetables, nuts, beans, and fermented foods. Sherman spent several more years experimenting with a raw food diet for its promise of increased vitality and prana (life force); at another time she followed Ayurvedic dietary principles.

Somewhere down the line, though, Sherman, who spends much of the year on the road, discovered that she needed a different kind of fuel to support her body as she devoted herself to teaching others. She found that to keep her energy up, she needed to step away from strict diets and simply listen to her intuition.

That intuition, Sherman says, has her eating a lot of grains, vegetables, some fish, and milk. She now mainly eats organic, local, seasonal whole foods. “I try to eat close to my food sources so that the gap from earth to kitchen table is bridged with greater gratitude and awareness,” she says. “My choices are not only about serving myself but also serving the earth and the world in an authentic way.”

Ana Forrest, the founder of Forrest Yoga, also began her exploration of the yogic diet by focusing on ahimsa. “I was very attracted to vegetarianism and the philosophy of nonviolence for years, but the diet made me sick,” she says. “I’m allergic to grains. I gain weight, my brain shuts down, and my bowels stop working. And my yoga practice does not improve.”

So with her body screaming for a different regimen, Forrest chose an omnivorous diet, one that consists mostly of meat, especially game, and vegetables. But, she says, this doesn’t mean she can’t practice ahimsa. “Since I do eat animals,” she says, “I honor the elk, buffalo, or moose by not wasting its life force or mine. I use that force to heal myself and others, and to teach, inspire, and help people evolve. My ethics about what to eat came down to my personal truth. Eating in a way that impairs your health and thinking is immoral. And the truth is that an omnivorous diet physiologically works for me.”

As an Ayurvedic practitioner, Blossom views the occasional red meat as medicine for his specific constitution. He still follows a largely vegetarian diet, though: “That’s what nourishes me in the most balanced way,” he says. And when he does eat meat, he sources it with great care, choosing only organically and humanely produced meats.

Not surprisingly, the interpretation of ahimsa is widely debated within the yoga community. Life, for example, has been committed to an animal-free diet for decades. He became a vegetarian in the 1970s; since 1987 he has been a vegan. “One’s suffering is another’s suffering,” says Life, who actively encourages yogis to see veganism as the only dietary choice that truly honors ahimsa. “In the Yoga Sutra, it doesn’t say be nonharming to yourself or people who look like you. It just says do no harm.”

Freedom Food

Clearly, with such varied perspectives on what feeds the body and spirit, developing a diet that reflects your ethics and honors your physical needs can be challenging. In the end most yogis would agree that part of the practice is to develop awareness about what you eat. It’s worth spending time educating yourself not just about the possible diets you could follow but also about the origins and properties of the food you buy. And it’s essential to listen to yourself so that you’ll know what kinds of foods might serve you best in each moment. But, as you explore the parameters of your own yogic diet, allow for some flexibility. “Remember, yoga is about freedom, including freedom from your own strong beliefs and ideas,” Kraftsow says. “So don’t get caught in them.”

For example, Blossom recalls that once, while traveling to a yoga event, the only food he could find was fried artichokes with ranch dressing. “Instead of wrinkling our noses,” he says, “we prayed over it. And it was deeply nourishing.”

To begin forming your yogic diet, think about which teachings best resonate with you and how you might put those teachings into action. If ahimsa is a focal point in your value system, explore how your food choices can cause the least possible harm to yourself, other beings, and the planet. If you are attracted to the principles of bhakti yoga, you may want to make every morsel an offering—silently give thanks to the food as you prepare it and offer it as nourishment for the Divine in everything before you eat it. Or if you’re focusing on compassion for others, you may want to emphasize sharing fresh, home-cooked meals with friends in need. “When you get all these factors in alignment with your personal value system,” Blossom says, “that is the yogic diet.”

viaYoga Journal – Yoga Food – Eat Like a Yogi.

Other articles:

Why you should drink warm water and lemon
Yoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding
Blood evidence, Yoga reduces our stress level

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With YogaLab, we associate the benefits of yoga and music

6 Jul

What is it?
An idea of Marco Prince (yes, yes, the lead singer of FFF and, for younger children, the juror of the show “New Star” in France) and Mika de Brito (yoga teacher internationally recognized for its sensory approach). The principle? Do yoga in immersive sound, with headphones glued to the head to balance physical and connect to our emotions quickly.

How is it?
Effective: the sound, rhythm, frequencies of music affect parts of the brain (brain waves) and amplify the benefits of yoga. Resourceful.

It is for me?
This is a yoga for stressed people, pressed and others who are treated for being superative . A yoga to learn to do good, to take time for yourself, to disconnect.

It’s good for what?
Choices: to strengthen (the PowerLab), to realize (the FocusLab), to appease (the MeditationLab) or for fun (the EmotionLab).

With what?
An outfit where you feel comfortable. The rest is provided.

viaAvec le YogaLab, on associe les bienfaits du yoga et de la musique – Le lotus en musique – Beauté – Le Figaro – Madame.. (IN FRENCH)

 

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Hot yoga in pants or shorts?

17 Jun
Tree Pose

Tree Pose by Nicole Megarry

It’s summer, it is hot and therefore more during the hot yoga practice. It has often been used to adopt a minimalist attitude by wearing shorts to feel lighter but here are several reasons to stay in capris:

1 – Absorbs sweat: if puddles of sweat form on the carpet, then it can become slippery, and you may go deeper into your poses while your muscles are not ready or even fall.

2 – Give the grip: there are poses such as the tree where a body part is supported on the leg. The fabric of your pants will provide adhesion to achieve greater success.

3 – Guard covered: the baggy shorts are fine but they can offer a view of your “assets” at any time when you raise your leg. If you opt for small tight shorts, they can move and show more flesh than you would like.

Everyone has their preferences for hot yoga clothing, but the wearing of pants will not give you warmer than wearing shorts while preventing injuries. So pants are a safer choice!

Namasté

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The three rules to follow in yoga

14 Jun

PENSEE POSITIVE

1 – COMPLIANCE WITH THE LIMITS

Easy to say, less easy to apply. There are two kinds of limits. That which we impose and the actual limits of the body. Generally, when one imposes limits it’s either we are afraid, or we are unmotivated or not really interested in progress in our practice. For example: think you can not improve because you are not flexible enough. Such limits may be exceeded and the practice of yoga can help them do that.

In contrast, the actual limits are limits that must be respected if there is a risk of injury. For example if you just leave a wrist surgery, you should allowed a sufficient time to heal before starting to do a headstand!

So for yoga if we follow the real limits of our bodies we are less likely to get hurt. The challenge then is to know when our limits are set by irrational thoughts or real need to go slow.

2 – POSITIVE THINKING

Sure it sounds cliché, but positive thinking is very important. When we practice yoga, the mind is a true sponge wishing to absorb everything within his reach. If you have even a single negative thought during practice, this negativity is going to interfere in every cell of your being and will manifest itself physically or emotionally.

Have you ever met a yogi with an attitude defiant, angry or nervous? Certainly, any person may be at some point but people who are highly irritable or aggressive should be careful not to reinforce what may be neglected. Let go, get rid of anxiety, anger and negativity will make space for the many benefits of positive thinking on health.

3 – SELF-CONFIDENCE

Whether you practice yoga because it is fashionable or other reasons, you must have a minimum of confidence in you. Without it, you’ll pass near the goal and deny you the benefits of yoga. If you break this rule, you will have little or no progress in mastering the connection between body and mind. By cons if you trust yourself, you will understand the needs of your body and can take better care of your health.

Namasté

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Plains filled!

12 Jun
Plaines d'Abraham

PHOTO KARL TREMBLAY

After the huge yoga session in New York,  it was the turn of Abraham’s Plains.  Sunday june 10th,  over 300 people were there for a first success! Claire Vinel, yoga teacher and organizer of the event is sure to repeat the experience next year.

Namasté

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Hot Yoga, ok but what should I bring and how should I dress?

12 Jun

Yoga towel

You can find the accessories required for the practice for rent at Yoga studio. It is available at lower cost (about $ 2): towels, mattresses, water bottles. Personally I prefer to get my stuff and if you forget one of them, the renting is perfect.

It is advisable not to wear jewelry or perfume and it’s better to be dressed with a light and comfortable tank top, a shirt, pants or shorts. The shoes will be left at the entrance of the studio.

After practice, you will find everything in the locker room to freshen up, a shower, some body cream, a hairbrush …. so no excuses, just take your matt!

Namasté

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The benefits of hot yoga

10 Jun

Practicing Hot Yoga helps to maintain good health and its benefits are many:

  • Relieves back pain, headaches, muscle and joint aches : reduces symptoms of chronic diseases
  • Improves posture and alignment of the spine
  • Also improves the circulation of fluids
  • Allows rapid removal of toxins through sweating and rapid elimination of fats
  • Harmonizes the functioning of organs and body systems
  • Prevents disease by strengthening the immune system
  • Reduces stress
  • Limits the effects of aging
  • Tones the muscles
  • Refines the silhouette
  • Reinforces self-confidence

Namasté

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Different types of “hot yoga”: Moksha vs Bikram

10 Jun

Maybe have you asked yourself: “What type of hot yoga do I practice?” or “What is the difference between Bikram yoga and Moksha yoga ?”. Here is the answer!

WHAT IS  BIKRAM YOGA?

Le yoga Bikram est un style de yoga dérivé du Hatha yoga. Si vous avez la curiosité de l’essayer, il est préférable que vous cherchiez à suivre un cours certifié proche de chez vous ou si vous êtes casanier, un livre ou une vidéo qui vous aidera progressivement à plonger dans le monde du Bikram.

Bikram yoga is a style of yoga derived from Hatha yoga. If you are curious to try it, it is preferable that you follow a certified course near you or if you are a homebody, a book or video that will help you gradually into the world of Bikram.

Founder

Bikram Choudhury

Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga founder

Bikram Choudhury was born in India where he used to practice yoga every day until he immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s. He then joined the “Yoga College of India” in Los Angeles and decided to create its own form of yoga now more commonly known as Bikram yoga. Today, Choudhury goes around the world and teach Bikram yoga to individuals as well as famous huge classes. You can also find his writings in a book on Bikram yoga and more than 400 franchise schools located around the globe.

Postures

A Bikram yoga class is designed to help us evolve through a sequence of 26 positions developed by Choudhury. Choudhury developed this series of positions in order to increase blood pressure and facilitating the flow of blood in each body part. The sequence is performed using the classical positions of Hatha yoga such as the position of the eagle, the triangle or the tree. Choudhury claims that the practice of these positions in a specific order will warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons and will facilitate muscle tone as well as overall health.

26 positions - Yoga Bikram

Heated room

A classic Bikram yoga session is practiced in a room heated to 101 Fahrenheit degrees. Choudhury said that the heat from the room helps to warm the body before the start of practice, this allowing our muscles to relax and become more flexible. Bikram yoga enthusiasts acknowledge that the practice in a heated room helps cleanse our system by releasing all the toxins gradually as you train and then sweats. The heated room must allow you to work more deeply, however be careful of not hurting yourself!

Bikram classes

Bikram yoga classes are given only in studios affiliated with the “Bikram Yoga College of India“. You must be careful that the Bikram Yoga teacher is certified by the college. All Bikram yoga class lasts for 90 minutes and is suitable for both beginners and enthusiasts. Then each adapts to his own abilities and level of comfort.

WHAT IS MOKSHA YOGA?

Moksha Yoga is a relatively new discipline which is also related to hot yoga. This is two yoga instructors in Toronto who invented it. Moksha Yoga is a series of 40 postures practiced in a heated room and there are three levels of lessons, each lasting 60 to 90 minutes.

The series of regular postures begin with a resting pose that is practiced usually at the end of yoga, relaxation posture savasana. Then there are standing poses, another posture savasana, then poses on the ground to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the lower body. The session ends with savasana posture. By cons there may be some variation in the order of the series standing and / or on the ground. This type of yoga has several “dog upside down” postures, while Bikram yoga hasn’t.

Like other types of yoga, Moksha Yoga is beneficial for stretching and toning muscles, improving flexibility, calming the mind and detoxifying the body.

Moksha Yoga, in addition to individual benefits it can bring, is a practice that was designed for the sake of social consciousness : building ecological studios, assistance to the local community.

IN CONCLUSION

Moksha Yoga is a bit more flexible with regard to the sequence changes, the different types of courses and durations of training. So you can find yourself with different Moksha yoga lessons according to the teacher.

Namasté

RELATED:
What is « hot yoga »?
The benefits of hot yoga
Hot Yoga, ok but what should I bring and how should I dress?
Hot yoga in pants or shorts?
What I wish I had known as a Bikram yoga beginner
Moksha Yoga: A Hot Path To Great Health And Vitality – Evolving Wellness
 

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What is “hot yoga”?

9 Jun

yoga

The term “hot yoga” is used to represent any form of yoga practiced in a heated room. The room should generally be maintained at a temperature between 95 and 105 Fahrenheit degrees. Some studios even go beyond the average. In most cases,  “hot yoga” is a quick series of postures “asanas” dictated by the teacher. As you can imagine, an intense session of yoga performed under high temperature warms up, stretches the ligaments and muscles and makes you sweat profusely. That said, it’s worth it!

Namasté

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