Gunas Gracious

Then you eat tamasic food (such as processed or preserved food or alcohol), you could achieve an uneasy balance, like two kids standing on either side of the teeter-totter. The slightest shift, and both kids will topple. But what if the two kids sit right over the teeter-totter's fulcrum They'll be pretty stable, and that is what sattvic food such as fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains in or close to their natural state (and other sattvic influences like a regular schedule, plenty of...

Bhujangasana Cobra Pose

Bhujanga means serpent, and the cobra is a sacred and revered serpent in India. But what is a serpent Basically, one big spine In the cobra pose, bhujangasana (pronounced BOO-jhan-GAH-sah-nah), concentrate on allowing the strength of your spine to move you. The cobra pose helps to align your spinal disks, open up your heart chakra, and strengthen your back. It also strengthens your nervous system and your eyes. When practicing the cobra pose, keep your elbows in toward the body. As your...

Why Am I So Tired

Fatigue is a common problem in our overextended and fast-paced lives. Sometimes we simply wear ourselves out Fatigue can also be caused by stress and extreme mental exertion, such as when you've been studying excessively, or when you're bothered by an emotional problem, such as depression or anxiety. A good holistic healthcare practitioner or therapist may be able to help you discover the underlying cause of your fatigue. If you notice unusual fatigue, however, even when you've gotten enough...

Target Your Chakras with Yoga Poses

Depending on which chakras are blocked, certain yoga poses throughout this book can help to release and balance those chakras. For example, the triangle pose (see the following figure) can help relieve lower back pain by releasing the lower chakras and allowing prana to flow through this area. Sometimes the power of two is greater than the power of one. If you have an interested partner, try meditating together, facing each other, legs crossed, knees touching, holding hands. Focus on each of...

Tadasana Mountain Pose

When holding tadasana, it's important to breathe. Let your lower ribs expand on the inhalation. Imagine your diaphragm lowering to make room in your lower chest. You are a soldier of peace in tadasana, so there's no need to put up your armor or feel any tension. Try to notice the difference between tension and simple awareness. As you complete the pose, distribute your weight evenly between your heels and toes, between each leg, over each hip. Think balance. Let your belly expand and release...

Take the Forward Path

Forward bends child's pose, standing head to knees, feet apart side angle, sitting one leg, bound half lotus, yoga mudra, boat, tortoise, and downward facing dog Modifications, challenges, and other tips to improve your yoga practice Forward bends are important for several reasons. They're wonderful for helping you to focus inward and quiet your mind. As your body bends forward, it folds your heart into its center. Forward bends are also important to balance backbends, so include a few of each...

Whats Up with My Digestion

Maybe you've noticed you can eat chili dogs, cotton candy, and ice cream all day some days and feel fine, while on other days, a few bites of an enchilada are all it takes to give you heartburn all night long. Part of the reason is that much of your digestive success depends on the manner in which you eat. If you eat slowly, concentrate on your food, and enjoy the experience, you'll have a better chance at digesting without a hitch. Rushed, stressed eating or...

Halasana Plough Pose

Halasana (pronounced hah-LAH-sah-nah) looks like a plough, and hala means plough. The plough pose stimulates the spine strengthens the nervous system improves the circulation releases neck tension relieves constipation decreases insomnia promotes mental relaxation activates the Mercury chakra (in the throat) improves communication and stimulates the stomach, spleen, small intestine, heart, liver, gall bladder, and kidneys. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and...

Practice Yoga

Making a schedule Sticking with it Squeezing yoga into your busy day Revitalizing with yoga throughout the day Time, time, time never enough of it, and it just keeps on passing us by. During the course of our busy lives, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the demands on our time. Family, friends, work, school, home all require their share. The furnace needs to be repaired, the dishes are dirty, the kids need to be picked up from soccer practice or ballet or the baby-sitters. You can't neglect...

Meet Your Chakras

Different traditions associate different things with each chakra which body parts, emotions, and thoughts each chakra governs which colors each chakra radiates which areas of our personality each chakra represents. We (the authors) like to refer to the chakras according to their associated planets, excepting the top two chakras, whose names are descriptive. Just about everybody who talks about chakras calls them something different. There are no pervasive Western names for the chakras people...

Yoga from Tapes and Videos

Another great way to learn yoga is with a yoga videotape or audiotape. With a tape, you can see (or at least hear) a teacher. You can watch the postures performed or hear them described, which can be easier to follow than a static picture in a book. The teacher on the tape can offer advice and wisdom vocally. Some people comprehend information better if they see or hear it than if they read it, while others benefit much more from the written word. If your teacher has made tapes or videos, you...

What Makes You Sick

Theories abound concerning the cause of illness and pain, but many yogis believe that although illness can be caused by physical factors such as viruses, bacteria, and accidents, illness can also be brought on or encouraged by > Insufficient prana, or life force, within the body. > Too much rajasic (causing agitation) and or tamasic (causing lethargy) food. > An imbalance within the physical body or the mind, which can be caused by any of these factors. One of the characteristics of...

Breath Control Equals Mental Control

Your breath and your mind have an intimate relationship. Just think about all the ways your breath is affected purely because your mind is experiencing something completely unrelated to breathing. Spend an entire day tuning in to your breath. Notice how it quickens or slows according to what you're doing, saying, or even thinking Your breath can be affected merely by who you're near. Just imagine watching an exciting movie. You're sitting still in your seat eating your popcorn. You aren't doing...

Walking Yogas Eightfold Path

V Meditation and pure consciousness If you're the kind of person who likes a nice, clean set of rules to live by, this is the chapter for you In Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, the eight limbs of yoga are enumerated. These limbs provide a structure for your yoga practice and your daily life. They are designed to help you along the yoga path. One very important thing to remember about the eight limbs of yoga They are not commandments or laws They are more like guidelines for living. But if you don't...

Kapalabhati Skull Shining

Kapalabhati (pronounced KAH-pah-lah-BAH-tee), or skull shining, is similar to bellows breath, but with a slow inhalation and a strong exhalation, and with a pause after each exhalation. This exercise has similar benefits but is like a calmer, easier, slower version. It is therefore more calming than bellows breath, which is more energizing. Since the skull consists of sinus passages, the technique is called skull shining, because it shines or clears the sinuses. It is also said to make your...

Acknowledgments

Far more people than can ever be mentioned here have, directly or indirectly, helped to make this book what it is. We'll name a few, but we send sincere and grateful energy out to all of you Joan's dear friend and Webmaster Kathie Huddleston, who convinced her that she needed a yoga Web site on the Internet, and who consequently created the most beautiful YOYOGA Web site (www.yoyoga.com). All Joan's students, who have taught and continue to teach her so much, and to all her many inspiring...

Yoldies but Goodies

Life, suffering, and joy, simply because you've seen more of it. If you haven't practiced yoga before, now is a wonderful time to start. Aging brings about some undeniable physical changes. As we age, we all lose muscle tissue and bone mass if we don't stay physically active and combat these changes with weight-bearing activities to build muscle and bone. Studies show that bone loss can be reversed through weight-bearing activities like walking (great for hip, leg, knee, ankle, and foot bones...

Kiss PMS Good Bye

When you're suffering from PMS, you probably don't feel very radiant. PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a condition that affects a lot of women before the onset of their menstrual periods. Symptoms are as diverse as overall discomfort, bloating, backache, headache, irritability, food cravings, depression, acne, painful or swollen breasts, insomnia, fatigue, even uncharacteristically violent or suicidal behavior. Many women get a little emotional, uncomfortable, and hungrier, but everyone is...

Yoga Makes Work Less Work

Here are a few yoga bytes you might like to try at the office if your situation permits > Practice on your coffee break instead of drinking coffee. (Yoga is far more energizing, once you break that caffeine addiction ) Sit with your fingers wide apart on top of your knees. Inhale deeply. Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue. Look up and exhale strongly. Repeat the process a few times (not in front of your boss ). This releases emotions, tensions in the face, and self-consciousness....

The Shape You Are In

To know your body is to love your body, with all its unique characteristics. Whether you tend to be muscular, curvy, slim, or some combination, look around and you'll see others with many of the same qualities and different physical characteristics of all kinds, too. But knowing your body type can do more than make you feel satisfied that there are plenty of other people who have a similar shape. Your body type can give you clues to what types of yoga poses will come more easily to you, and...

For Women Only

How yoga can help you through PMS and menstruation Pregnancy and new motherhood yoga Yoga for menopause This chapter is for all you female yogis (yoginis) out there Being a woman means certain things biologically and certain things culturally, too. We experience menstruation as our first rite of passage into womanhood, many of us experience childbirth, and eventually we experience menopause. We're also raised in a culture obsessed with beauty, youth, and the female body. Women have many unique...

Murccha Kumbhaka Third Eye Breathing

Murccha kumbhaka (pronounced MER-chah koom-BHAH-kah) focuses all your attention and energy on your third eye, which is the chakra, or energy center, located between and just above your eyebrows on your forehead. (For more on this and other chakras, see Chapter 20. This exercise produces a focused, blissful feeling. 1. Gently and slowly inhale, then hold your breath. 2. As you hold your breath, concentrate on the spot on your forehead about an inch above the place exactly between your eyebrows,...

Prana Arch

In this pose, the front of your body opens, releasing tension in your chest, neck, and abdomen. This pose is particularly effective for releasing the chakras in the chest and throat. Breathing deeply through this pose encourages the flow of prana through the chakras. 1. Stand in the mountain pose with your arms hanging loosely at your sides. 2. Inhale as you look up and just slightly behind you. At the same time, lift your hands, palms facing forward, away from your body and out to the sides,...

Uttanatavasan Leg Lifts

Uttanatavasan pronounced ooh-TAHN-ah-tah-VAH-sahn , leg lifts, involve a steady-pose. They prepare the body to make the more fluid movements of a vinyasa. Leg lifts strengthen your stomach, which in turn supports your lower back. The deeper your breathing during this movement, the easier and smoother your vinyasa will become. Leg lifts also help prepare your body for a headstand. Remember the headstand in Chapter 15, Come on, Body, Let's Do the Twist Be careful not to let momentum swing your...

Cardiovascular Disease

Your heart is the pump that keeps your body running. When your heart begins to lose efficiency or fails, your life is in immediate jeopardy. The best course of action is to prevent heart disease by eating a healthy, low-fat diet and by exercising regularly, but even perfectly healthy individuals are sometimes struck by cardiovascular disease. Maybe it's a matter of genetics. Sometimes the reason is a mystery. The treatment needn't be mysterious, however. In addition to your regular medical...

Bhastrika Bellows Breath

Bhastrika Breath

Bhastrika pronounced bah-STREE-kah is a powerful technique. Progress with it slowly to make the foundation strong. The bellows breath brings heat to the body and is excellent for weight reduction. It clears energy, purifies the physical body, and opens up restrictions in the spine, permitting a freer energy flow. 1. Exhale deeply and sharply, feeling your diaphragm muscle refer to our definition earlier in this chapter pull your navel in. 2. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose by...

Parshvottanasana Feet Apart Side Angle Pose

How Tone Your Back Home

In parshvottanasana pronounced PARSH-voh-tah-NAH-sah-nah , you will tone your abdomen straighten drooping shoulders and make your hips, spine, and wrists more flexible. 1. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart. Turn one foot out and face that foot. 2. Bring your hands into the namaste or prayer position, but behind your back with your fingers pointing up. If this is too difficult, simply clasp your hands behind your back, or keep your hands at your sides as you move forward. 3. Inhale,...

Ustrasana Camel

Ustra means camel, and ustrasana pronounced oohs-TRAH-sah-nah imitates the hump of a camel. Your shoulders and chest become more open and mobile through the camel pose. Your abdomen is stretched, digestion is improved, rib muscles are strengthened, and the pose can also help sciatica a painful condition felt in the hip or thigh, resulting from inflammation of the sciatic nerve a long nerve that starts in the hip and runs down the back of the leg . When practicing the camel pose, pretend there...

Jnana Yoga Sagacious

Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge and wisdom. Inquiring minds are what Jnana Yoga is all about, and because all knowledge is hidden within us, Jnana Yoga's goal is to inquire deeply into ourselves through questioning, meditation, and contemplation until we find that knowledge. Jnana Yoga involves a radical shift in perception. Everything you know, think, believe, or feel is questioned temporarily. When everything you know is suddenly untrue, all that remains is you and the universe, which are...

Virasana Be a Hero

Sitting Heels

A hero stands tall and proud, even when sitting on the floor The hero pose refreshes your legs, stretches your knees, and balances your Saturn chakra located at the base of your spine . Virasana is pronounced vir-AH-sah-nah. The hero pose also teaches you to expand your breathing space even while sitting. Imagine lifting from the top of your head and anchoring your hips to the floor. Let your breath expand everything in between. Feel your breath while sitting in the hero pose. The hero pose can...

Asthma Allergies and Respiratory Problems

When your breath is disturbed, your prana delivery system is disturbed, and that's a big deal. You don't want to mess with the life force If you suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems, you know how frustrating, let alone dangerous, breathing difficulties can be. Try the following to keep your breath flowing freely gt Practice poses that open and stretch the chest tree and warrior poses Chapter 13, What Do You Stand For fish, bow, and cobra poses Chapter 14 . Be careful not...

Kurmasana Tortoise Pose

Kurmasana Postura Yoga

You'll look like a tortoise when you practice kurmasana pronounced koohr-MAH-sah-nah . This pose keeps your lumbar limber In other words, it makes your lower spine more flexible. It also strengthens your neck, massages your thyroid, aids digestion, and rejuvenates your nervous system. Take it slow just like a tortoise Does the tortoise pose seem impossible Simply lower yourself as far as you can, smile, and enjoy the journey to the floor, even if it takes many, many yoga practices. Tortoises...

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Bridge Pose

Yes, setu bandha sarvangasana pronounced SAY-too BAHN-dah SAHR-vahn-GAH-sah-nah looks like a bridge. Setu means bridge, and sarvangasana is composed of sarva all , anga limb , and of course, asana posture . Setu bandha sarvangasana also strengthens the neck and back tones the entire spine builds supple wrists and bathes the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands in blood and other nutrients. The bridge pose helps intestinal function as well. This pose is a good preliminary to the shoulderstand....

Finding Your Personal Guru

You've heard the word, we're sure, but you may be confused as to what a guru actually is. A guru is a spiritual teacher. You can have many spiritual teachers in your life, but traditionally, you have only one guru, and you attach, spiritually, not only to the guru but to the guru's lineage in other words, the particular tradition out of which that guru comes, what he or she has studied, what school or branch of yoga he or she is associated with . Literally, the word guru means dispeller of...

Yoga Poses for Your Whole Self

Meditation may be all well and good, but maybe you want to get moving first. Great Any poses you enjoy will be good for your soul, but consider including poses that build bone strength, muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and concentration to keep your muscles, bones, and mind strong. While we certainly don't assume that just because you are over 65, you are less able to do any pose in this book than someone who is 25, we have adapted some of the following poses to meet the needs of seniors...

Naukasana Boat Pose

In the boat pose, don't hold your breath, even as you are concentrating on balancing. Your feet may fall to the floor at first. Whether you are doing the full boat pose or the half boat pose see the following description , keep your leg position steady and your knees together. 1. For the full boat pose, sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and your arms holding your knees. 2. Lean back to about a 45-degree angle, bring your feet off the floor, and balance on your tailbone. 3....

Mudhasana Childs Pose

When practicing the child's pose, put some pillows or a blanket under your head to help lengthen your back if you find it hard to bend forward, or place a pillow or blanket between your knees and calves if your knees feel strained. 1. Sit back on your heels, then bring your forehead to the floor. 2. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up. The pose should feel completely relaxing. 3. Breathe deeply. Feel your diaphragm rising and sinking with each breath, like a baby's...

Sanskrit Terms

Adho mukha shvanasana Downward facing dog a forward bend. adho mukha vrksasana The handstand an inversion. ahimsa One of the yamas nonviolence. ananda-maya-kosha The bliss sheath and fifth sheath of existence. anna-maya-kosha The physical body and first sheath of existence. apana A type of prana the vital energy of excretion that flows downward and out of the body, ridding it of impurities. aparigraha One of the yamas nongreed. ardha baddha padma pashchimottanasana Bound half lotus pose a...

Part

Lotus Position

Energize Postures to Build Strength and Endurance On to the workout Part 4 consists of energizing postures you can try, master, and incorporate into your workout. Standing poses build strength, endurance, and steadiness. Balance poses improve poise and self-possession. Backbends release the flow of energy through your body. Twists and inversions rejuvenate and revitalize you. Vinyasa is a method of yoga that strings postures together in a sequence with deep breathing to create an active,...

Detachment Pratyahara

The fifth limb of yoga is sense-related. Pratyahara is the practice of withdrawing the senses from everything that stimulates them. Normally, we live by our senses. We are drawn to look at beautiful or even ugly things. We listen, we taste, we touch, and we smell. This is the ordinary state of things, but it's also a state we can temporarily suspend in favor of a deeper awareness. Pratyahara cuts off the connection between the senses and the brain. This can happen during breathing exercises,...

Mild and Mindful Vinyasa

Start in shavasana Chapter 19, Dead to the World . Inhale and bring your hands under your tailbone, lifting up into the half fish pose Chapter 14 . Hold for a few breaths, then come out of the pose, exhaling, and rolling over into the child's pose Chapter 18 . Stay in the child's pose for a few breaths, inhale, sit up, exhale, and move into the hero pose Chapter 17 . Inhale as you move up, then exhale into the staff pose Chapter 17 . Inhale into any meditation pose take your pick see Chapter 17...

One Body or Three

The Causal Body Yoga

You have one body or do you Actually, according to yoga, you have three bodies the physical body, the astral body, and the causal body. These three bodies can function separately, but they are intimately interrelated, too. Maintaining an awareness of all three of your bodies will help you see more clearly who you really are. Self-actualization means knowing your whole self. Here's a closer look at your three bodies gt The physical body is the crudest of the bodies and the smallest. This is the...

Uttanasana Standing Head to Knees Pose

Uttanasana pronounced OOH-tah-NAH-sah-nah stretches the entire back of your body. It also tones your abdomen, decreases bloating, refreshes your mind, and clears your head. To accomplish this, you may have to bend your knees. As you become more flexible, you'll be able to grasp your big toes with your index fingers. For those who can fold in half, give yourselves a hug 1. Stand with your feet together. Inhale and raise your arms overhead. 2. Exhale and bend forward at your hips. Bending at the...

Relax Past Your Boundaries

What are your boundaries We all have them, and they are all branches of avidya, or our false perceptions of life and of ourselves. Boundaries limit us from the truth and from our potential. Some of the boundaries we impose upon ourselves are known as asmita, or ego raga, or attachment dvesha, or rejection and abhinivesha, or the survival instinct. Avidya pronounced ah-VEE-dyah is the word for incorrect comprehension. The opposite of avidya is vidya VEE-dyah , correct understanding. Avidya...

When the Easiest Is the Hardest

Some of you may still be stuck on the idea that shavasana is the most important of all the postures. How hard can it be you might wonder. How hard can it be to lie on the floor and relax Actually, shavasana is also the most challenging pose, even though it seems, at first, to be the easiest. In a way, the corpse pose is both the easiest and the hardest pose. Unlike some poses, where you first need to spend a lot of time developing strong ankles or upper arms or balance, the corpse pose can be...

Do You Trust Your Body

Maybe you've never thought of your body in terms of something you should or shouldn't trust, but you have an intimate relationship with your body. It's your vehicle for communicating with the world. Do you trust your body How many of the following statements do you agree with Moderation is the wisest, most peace-inspiring course. Nothing should be so important that it must be had in excess, and nothing should be so unimportant that it must be utterly denied. V When I get a craving, I can't...

Om Mudra Simply Divine

Om pronounced AUM mudra, or the divinity gesture, invokes divine balance. Open your palms, and with each hand, bring the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index finger to form a complete circle, which represents the complete cycle and ultimate harmony of divinity. Om. Jnana pronounced GAH-nah mudra, or the wisdom gesture, produces wisdom. Rest your hands, palms up, on your knees, and touch each index finger to the middle of each thumb. The wisdom gesture promotes harmonious inward expression...

The Lower Body Going Nowhere

Once you are in the corpse pose and have followed all the steps mentioned earlier, but before you focus on your breath, relax your lower body 1. Tighten one foot, curling the toes and contracting your foot muscles for a few seconds. Then release and feel the tension flowing from your foot. 2. Flex your ankle and tighten your calf, then relax both. 3. Lift your entire leg two inches off the ground. Tense your leg, especially the large thigh muscle. Squeeze Then let your leg fall to the ground....

Yoga Is Healing Power

Yoga is a boon to the healthy body, but it can also be of supreme benefit to the body in need of healing. Of course, the best route for a healthy person to take is one of prevention. Healthy habits, maintenance of the body, peacefulness of mind, and calmness of spirit will go a long way toward protecting you from compromised health. Yoga is great preventive medicine, because it keeps all of you body, mind, attitude, outlook, immune system in top form. Your spine, the Grand Central Station of...

Dont Be Greedy Aparigraha

Go to your closet and count the pairs of shoes lined up in there or the red sweaters or white shirts or ties. Or maybe you can't even open the closet because it's bursting with stuff. It isn't easy to abstain from greed in this materialistic world. With television, radio, and billboards continually telling us what we want and what we must have, it's hard not to believe some of it. But are you familiar with the feeling of buying something you've always wanted, then feeling strangely...

Ecstasy Yoga Union

The Western approach to yoga tends to be more fitness-oriented, while the Eastern approach to yoga is based on the idea that a healthy body makes it easier to progress spiritually. Either approach benefits both body and mind, however. If you're interested in yoga for its physical benefits, you can consider the spiritual centeredness you achieve a splendid bonus. Or, if you tend more toward the Eastern way, consider fitness the icing on the cake of spiritual growth. Either way, yoga fitness...

Cool It Casanova Brahmacharya

No, don't close the book and toss it aside This yama doesn't mean telling your spouse the fun is over and you now need separate beds. Brahmacharya is about virtue, and not just when it comes to sex. Many great yogis are householders, which means they are married with children. Brahma means truth, and car means to move, so brahmacharya essentially means to control the movement of truth. Lust and desire, in their many forms, obscure truth. Developing the inner...

Plank Pose

Yoga Poses Extended Pushup

The plank pose develops strength in your arms and legs. It helps to create a balanced and strong body. It is often used as a transition pose, leading or connecting one pose to another. 1. Lie on your stomach, with your fingertips in line with your shoulders and your elbows bent in toward the body, toes curled under. 2. Push yourself up into an extended pushup position the up end of the pushup and hold. Try to keep your body in a straight line from ears to ankles. You will discover where the...

Finding the Edge vs Feeling the Burn

But if yoga is so easy on your body, how are you supposed to get anywhere you may wonder. Hey, we never said yoga was easy Yoga isn't always easy. Sometimes it's downright difficult. Just because you aren't committing violence to your body doesn't mean a yoga workout is akin to a day of sunbathing at the beach. On the contrary Yoga can be tough and intensely challenging. The difference between yoga and other types of exercise is that the challenge and the progression are deeply internal and...

Kriya Yoga and Karma Yoga

Breaths can be centering to body and mind. comfort you and aid in healing. If you're in physical pain due to illness, however, or find yourself too distracted to even think about meditating, start slow, as little as five minutes a day. Even taking a series of full, deep In Karma Yoga, the emphasis is selfless action. Karma Yoga transcends concerns of success or failure, egoism, and selfishness. What emerges is service to all beings. Because yoga teaches that every person is part of the divine...

Solar Flare Vinyasa

Start in the mountain pose Chapter 13 , then jump your feet three to four feet apart and assume the warrior 2 pose Chapter 13 . Hold for a few breaths, then change your body position to face forward with your arms overhead in the warrior 1 pose Chapter 13 . Hold for a few breaths. Switch to the other side, doing warrior 1 and 2 in the other direction. Now, keeping your feet separated, turn your entire body to face forward and bend straight over with your knees straight. Bring your hands toward...

Pungent Spicy Westerners

As we've mentioned, most Westerners tend to be rajas-natured because Western life is so rajas-oriented. Our culture rewards high energy, overachievement, even anxiety and agitation if they help to get the job done Rajasic foods are generally the stimulating kind spicy, sour, pungent, and bitter. The following are examples of rajasic food If you aren't ready for all-out vegetarianism, try it for a day. Tell yourself you can have a cheeseburger tomorrow, but today you'll stick with hearty...

Know Thyself

What does self-actualization or self-awareness mean to you Self-awareness means different things to different people, but here are some ways to look at self-awareness. Self-awareness is gt Finding out that the alignment of your large toe is responsible for your headache. Discovering that your body is full of links, clues, and connections to your health and mental well-being. gt Pausing before your emotions take over your actions, and eventually finding out that your emotions can exist without...

Garudasana Eagle

Eagle Yoga Photos

The eagle is a god in Indian mythology, and so is considered sacred and important. As with the tree pose, garudasana pronounced gah-roo-DAH-sah-nah improves balance and concentration as well as develops the ankles and removes stiffness in the shoulders. Symbolically, the eagle represents the life force prana. 1. Begin in tadasana, but with the knees slightly bent. 2. Bend one leg over the other like you are crossing your thighs, then hook your ankle around the back of your other ankle. Try to...

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana Standing Half Bound Lotus Pose

Standing Padmottanasana

The purpose of this more advanced variation of the tree pose is to keep the trunk steady with the help of your arm. It has the same benefits as the tree pose but allows you to open your hips more fully, which in turn opens the Jupiter chakra the energy center located on your spine behind your pelvis . It also allows a fuller chest expansion. Don't be frustrated if you have trouble getting into the standing half bound lotus pose. If your hips are not open enough yet and your knee isn't pointing...

Dont Forget to Breathe

And once again, we remind you of your ever-present breath. Although breathing exercises are performed separately from the postures, breathing is also important during the postures. Of course, you have to breathe while exercising, but becoming aware of your breath, even breathing in a specific way according to the posture you are holding, will enhance your practice and help your body work better. Here are a few breath-savvy concepts to keep in mind while practicing your asanas gt Inhalation most...

Warrior

The first warrior pose aids in deep breathing, relieves a stiff neck and shoulders, strengthens the legs, and trims the hips. Be sure to exhale as you go into the warrior pose, and inhale as you go out of the pose. Think strength instead of tense. Be careful to relax your muscles while in the warrior pose. Keep your face and neck relaxed. Breathe normally. Feel the warrior strength gathering inside you. Strength doesn't come from muscle contraction. Strength comes from the mind. 1. Stand with...

Joining the Sun and the Moon

Hatha Yoga is about balancing the opposing forces of the body, just as opposing forces are balanced outside of the body. Sun and moon, male and female, day and night, cold and hot the universe is filled with opposites. Maybe you've heard of or seen the yin yang symbol. This ancient Chinese symbol see the following illustration represents the universe of opposing forces. Notice how a white dot sits in the center of the black swirl, and a black dot sits in the center of the white swirl. Yin and...

Sthala Basti Ground Colon Cleansing Elimination Illumination

This ritual helps relieve gas and keeps the bowels moving smoothly. It also improves the digestion and gives your body a lighter feel. Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Grab your toes, right toe with your right hand, left toe with your left hand. Bend forward, bringing your head toward your knees just a little, so that it feels comfortable. Relax the abdominal muscles, then churn them up and down. While churning your muscles, lock your anus this is the...

Yoga for All Ages and Stages

Yoga is both fun and beneficial for kids of any age. You can do yoga with your newborn infant, your toddler, your preschooler, your kindergartner, your fourth-grader, your eighth-grader, your high school sophomore, your high school graduate. Older kids often enjoy establishing and growing in an individual yoga practice, too. If you've set them on the yoga path, chances are they'll continue it on their own. What a great gift to give your child But yoga is a little different, depending on the age...

Prana the Universal Life Force

Prana The Universal Life Force

In Chapter 6, Walking Yoga's Eightfold Path, we described prana as the life force or energy that exists everywhere and is manifested in each of us through the breath, but prana isn't exactly the same thing as breath or oxygen. Prana exists in all living things. It doesn't have consciousness it's pure energy. Every cell in your body is controlled by prana. Prana animates all matter. Prana can be a difficult concept to comprehend it may become clearer if you understand what it isn't. Once a body...

Posture Perfect

Good posture is essential to proper form in yoga. It also helps allow your body to achieve or maintain good health. It feels better, looks better, and is better for your body. Good posture also influences your feelings and thoughts. If you stand up straight and tall, you'll think more positive thoughts. It's true Try it Good posture extends beyond the practice of your yoga postures. You spend a lot of your life standing but do you stand well The next time the fact that you're standing comes to...

Uplifting Weight Lifting

Lifting weights adds bulk to muscles but decreases flexibility. Many weight-lifters are muscle-bound. Weight-lifters can benefit dramatically from yoga While weight training builds bone, muscle mass, and strength, yoga lengthens the muscles and keeps them flexible. Weight-lifters also benefit from the breathing exercises and balance training of yoga. Yoga is really a form of weight lifting. You aren't lifting barbells, but in many of the poses, you are lifting your own weight. Think about how...

Yoga Essay Test You Cant Fail

If you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of a test, think of this as a self-evaluation. No one else will read your answers unless you show them to someone , so be as honest as you possibly can. Don't try to fool yourself. Your yoga journey will be better and more fulfilling if you really understand your goals, motivations, and desires. For each question, write what first comes into your mind, and here's a new twist keep on writing for a minute or two. Even if you feel you've answered the...

Cakrasana Doin Wheelies

Cakrasana pronounced chah-KRAH-sah-nah makes your body strong and mobile, like a wheel. It stretches and strengthens the stomach, improves the concentration by bringing blood to the head, and gives greater control over the body. It also prevents bad posture, tones the extremities, improves the memory, heightens energy and vitality, brings a feeling of lightness to the body, and improves circulation to the trachea and larynx. The trachea also known as the windpipe is the passageway between the...

Yoga Renewal

Depending on what time of day you practice yoga, you can experience different kinds of renewal. We humans are deeply affected by the time of day. We all have a circadian daily rhythm, or physiological rhythms associated with the 24-hour clock. Have you noticed you have more energy in the morning, the late afternoon, or at night Are you a morning person or a night person Are you usually hungrier at a certain time of day, or sleepier, or happier, or more depressed Probably, if you take the time...

Your Personal Energy Cycle

No matter how in touch or out of touch you are with your body, everyone has energy cycles. You know, even without consciously knowing, when your energy levels fluctuate. Sometimes your energy peaks, sometimes it lags. Sometimes you wake up ready to go-go-go, and sometimes you can barely pull yourself out of bed. Energy cycles can be affected by increased activity, over- or undereating, or too little sleep. Your monthly cycles, the weather, lunar cycles, and your health, diet, and regular level...

Shirshasana Headstand

Shirshasana pronounced sher-SHAH-sahn-ah is probably one of the most famous yoga poses and is considered the king or queen of the Hatha Yoga poses. It stimulates the whole system, improving circulation and strengthening the nervous system, emotions, and brain. Plus, when your body is ready for it, it's fun But be sure your body is ready. You must have sufficient arm, shoulder, neck, and stomach strength, plus be well-versed at tadasana remember back in Chapter 13, What Do You Stand For , the...

Ujjayi Drawing Breath

Jaya means success on the spiritual path, and ujjayi means she who is victorious. The ujjayi pronounced oo-JAH-yee technique aids in recalling and working with your dreams. It is also cooling to the head, aids digestion, soothes nerves, and tones the body. This breathing exercise produces sound in the throat with the inhalation. 1. Inhale slowly, keeping the lips closed and closing off the glottis, which is the opening between the vocal chords. Make a soft, humming sound hahhhh-hhh. Think Darth...

Mudra Magic

Mudra means seal, and technically, mudras refer to a variety of yoga practices that aren't poses exactly, but techniques for sealing life-force energy inside the body in various ways to preserve it rather than let it escape. These techniques get pretty esoteric and can involve complex rituals, chanting, meditation, and some practices we Westerners might find a little odd. The word mudra, however, is more commonly used today to refer to specific hand gestures used during meditation and pranayama...

In Search of the Sacred Svadhyaya

Because yoga encourages the study of the sacred svadhyaya , it may be helpful for you to become at least somewhat familiar with the major spiritual texts. Reading and studying any or all of them will benefit your yoga practice by expanding your mind to possibilities you may not have considered. Svadhyaya pronounced svahd-YAH-yah means inquiring into your own nature, the nature of your beliefs, and the nature of the world's spiritual journey. Accomplished by the study of sacred texts, such as...

Half

Half Bow Pose

In the half bow, the bow is strung one string at a time. When in the half bow, be careful not to lean over to the side that is held straight. Balance both sides of your body. Be sure to breathe. You'll be able to tell how much caffeine you've had lately by how much your straight hand shakes 1. Begin on your stomach as with the bow pose, but extend your left arm straight over your head, palm down. 2. Bend your right knee and bring your right arm back toward your right ankle. 3. Push your stomach...

Parshvakonasana Side Angle Stretch

Parshva means flank or side, and kona means angle hence, parshvakonasana pronounced par-shvah-KOH-nah-sah-nah means side angle stretch This pose tones your legs, strengthens your knees, and lengthens your spine. It relieves back pain and sciatica problems, and stretches and strengthens the hips and stomach. Exhale as you go into this pose, and inhale as you come out breathe while you hold 1. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart. Point your left foot forward and turn your right foot...

Warrior Pose for

Warrior Pose

This pose will help you find balance with a partner. In the process, you'll both become stronger. 1. Stand with one of you in front Partner A and one behind Partner B . Each perform the warrior 2 pose Chapter 13, What Do You Stand For . Once you are both in position, Partner A balances the extended arms and hands on top of the back of Partner B's extended arms, forming a chain of energy. 2. Partner B keeps Partner A's arms and hands at shoulder height. Partner B will expend more effort, but...

Mandalas Goin Round in Circles

Meditation With Mandalas

While a mantra is meant to soothe the body and mind through sound, a mandala is meant to center the mind through sight. Mandalas are beautiful, usually circular, geometric designs that draw your eye to the center. Mandala means circle or center, and the designs suggest the circular patterns that exist in so many levels of life, from atoms to solar systems. Mandalas represent a pilgrimage to enlightenment. As you focus on the center of the mandala, you'll notice the outer parts shifting and...

Create Your Own Flow

The sun and moon salutations are popular vinyasa because they combine a series of poses that so nicely balance each other a backbend, then a forward bend, and so on . But you, too, can create your own series of postures. Just keep them balanced forward with backward, exhale with inhale, upright with inverted, one side with the other side, an expansion with a contraction, and so on. This will become easier as you familiarize yourself with the postures in this book. Here are a few suggestions to...

Chandra Namaskara Moon Salutation

Chandra Namaskar

This vinyasa restores vitality, strength, and flexibility to the entire body. It also improves digestion through the continual compression of the intestinal tract. Chandra means moon, and just as the sun salutation greets and honors the sun, so chandra-namaskara pronounced SHAHN-drah-nah-MAHS-kah-rah greets and honors the moon. Try practicing this vinyasa outside on a clear evening when the moon is in full view. Serenity Quite an energetic sequence of poses The moon is a lunar emotional yin...

Kevali Kumbhaka Hold Your Breath But Not Til You Turn Blue

Kumbhaka Pranayama

Just like anything else, breath control and capacity increase with practice. In kevali kumbhaka pronounced kay-VAH-lee koom-BAH-kah , you practice holding your breath. Don't make yourself dizzy. Don't hold your breath until you faint. Just hold your breath until you feel like you need to let it go again. The more you practice this technique, the longer you'll be able to hold your breath, which increases your lung capacity and makes your breathing more efficient. 1. Inhale deeply through the...

Adho Mukha Vrksasana Handstand

Wall Handstand Yoga

In adho mukha vrksasana pronounced AHD-hoh MOOK-hah vrik-SHAH-sah-nah , adho mukha means face down, and vrksa means tree, so just as headstand is mountain pose upside down, handstand is tree pose upside down. To properly perform this face-down tree pose or handstand, your arms must be strong. Practice the downward facing dog pose adho mukha svanasana, described in Chapter 18, Take the Forward Path to develop your arms and prepare your body for the handstand. The handstand gives you tremendous...

Sarvangasana Shoulderstand

Foundational Inverted Postures

Sarvangasana pronounced SAHR-vahn-GAH-sah-nah is a great inversion that stimulates the thyroid gland and the Mercury chakra located in the throat . It reverses the pull of gravity on your internal organs and reduces the strain on your heart, because your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump to the extremities when inverted. The shoulderstand helps with varicose veins purifies the blood nourishes the brain, lungs, and heart strengthens the eyesight and is a great headache remedy. 1. Lie...

Buddhi Mudra How Enlightening

Buddhi mudra, or enlightenment gesture, is often associated with the Buddha, and is ideal for centering and calming. Bring your thumb and index finger together, tip to tip, as in the Om mudra. Then bring both hands together, knuckles touching, and rest your hands against your lower abdomen at your Jupiter chakra. This mudra represents divinity and the oneness of self and also the joining of all energies. It quiets the mind, stills action, and enlightens the self to its inner divinity. Try this...

Sukhasana Easy Pose

Sukhasana pronounced soo-KAH-sah-nah is a great meditation pose for beginners. Sukha means joy, and this pose should feel so good that it fills you with joy Sukhasana facilitates pranayama, quiets the mind, and stills the body. Sit in a simple crossed-leg position, with either leg on top. Try to sit more often with the leg that is least comfortable on top, to balance your body. Rest your hands on your knees and breathe. Do not be concerned if your knees do not yet rest on the ground. This will...

Vajrasana Kneeling Pose

Vajrasana pronounced vahj-RAH-sah-nah is also called the Zen pose, as this is the meditation pose used by Zen Buddhist monks. Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond. Vajrasana aids circulation to the feet, lifts the spinal column, and relieves pressure on the diaphragm. Zen is a sect of Buddhism in which enlightenment is sought through sitting meditation or contemplating enigmatic riddles called koans, rather than through the formal study of religious texts. Buddhism is a religion with many sects...

Rocking

The rocking bow is the full bow plus It aids digestion, relieves constipation, and tones the intestines. The fuller the bow, the easier it is to rock and roll 2. Using your breath, rock your body back and forth. Inhale as the body rocks back, exhale forward. Keep your arms straight. 3. Yoga Adventure This high-energy, aerobic pose-in-motion is great for your whole body. Pick your favorite song with a medium-to-slow beat and see if you can rock and roll through the whole thing. If not, you can...

Agnisara Dhauti Fire Stomach Cleansing Tummy Toner

This ritual is called Fire Stomach Cleansing because it stokes the gastric fire and improves digestion. It helps keep the bowels healthy, cures constipation, and reduces belly fat. If you have abdominal problems or circulatory problems, you should avoid this cleansing ritual. Perform this ritual by squatting just slightly from a standing position with your legs about one foot apart or slightly more. Exhale fully, then hold your breath. Next, perform the muscle churning described in the Ground...

Coping with Loss and Grief

Eventually, we all have to deal with loss and grief. The longer we're here on this planet, the more we will need to learn how to handle loss the loss of loved ones, or health, or independence. These are all very real issues each one of us will need to confront at some time, whether for ourselves or to help another. Yoga helps us simplify our lives, our emotions, and our material concerns. The study of yoga can help us gain perspective on what is important. It can help us detach from our...

Tantra Mantra and Kundalini Yoga

Mani Padme Hum Written Sanskrit

Tantra, Mantra, and Kundalini Yoga are grouped together here because they are all somewhat different than the other types of yoga. Although they share many practices and ideas, Tantra, Mantra, and Kundalini Yoga are more esoteric than other forms of yoga. Tantra Yoga involves the study of sacred writings and rituals. Mantra Yoga is the study of sacred sounds. Kundalini Yoga is the study of kundalini energy movement Karma is the law of cause and effect, or what goes around comes around....

Yoga Mudra EgoBeGone

Yoga mudra pronounced YOH-gah MOO-drah is a symbol of unity. This important pose inspires feelings of devotion and humility. It also stretches your legs and hips, opens your shoulders, and aids the gastrointestinal tract. 1. Sit cross-legged or in the kneeling pose. 2. Move your arms behind your back, clasp your hands, and lower your head to the floor. 3. Keeping your arms straight, lift your clasped hands up over your head until your arms are perpendicular to the floor. 4. Yoga Adventure Bring...

Be Devoted Ishvara Pranidhana

Focus on the divine, whatever that means to you how it is in you and part of you and all around you. Ishvara-pranidhana is an observance that works beautifully with any religion. Whether you're devoted to God, Buddha, or the Force, this niyama reminds you to relinquish ego and center on your highest ideal. Positive energy will flow from the divine into all areas of your life. Niyamas are observances or personal disciplines. Again, there are five shauca...

Baddha Konasana Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Resting Posture

Literally translated as bound angle pose, this pose imitates a butterfly resting its wings on a lotus blossom. When holding baddha konasana pronounced BAH-dah koh-NAH-sah-nah , imagine the delicate beauty of this image of the butterfly. The butterfly pose opens your hips and Jupiter chakra the chakra located in your pelvic area see Chapter 20, Chakras, Mudras, Mantras, and Mandalas . It also loosens your knees and ankles. 1. Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together, drawing...

The Curvaceous Endomorph

The endomorph is the classic Rubenesque figure all curves and rounded surfaces. Endomorphs aren't automatically overweight, but they do tend to have a higher fat-to-muscle ratio than the other body types, accumulating fat on the abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs. They tend to be pear-shaped, with narrower shoulders and wider hips than ecto-morphs. Endomorphs have slower metabolisms and may seem more languid or serene than the energetic and active ectomorph. This natural tendency, when not...

Peppy Preschoolers

Preschoolers have super-powered imaginations and are developing the coordination, flexibility, and balance to accomplish even more yoga poses. While preschoolers would also enjoy the toddler poses in the preceding section, the following poses are great fun for preschoolers, too, and use preschool skills toddlers haven't quite mastered. gt Mountain's Majesty. Stand as in the classic mountain pose Chapter 13 . Ask your kids what it feels like to be a mountain. What kind of mountain are they Rocky...

The Slim Ectomorph

The ectomorph body type tends to be tall and slender with narrow shoulders and hips, long limbs, relatively low body fat, and underdeveloped muscles. Although the stereotypical ectomorph is slender because of a tendency to have a lower muscle mass, ectomorphs can develop a high fat-to-muscle ratio if they don't get enough exercise. Luckily, exercise is easy for ectomorphs, who tend to be highly energetic and who, when in shape, can bounce effortlessly through a high-impact aerobics class...

The Muscular Mesomorph

The mesomorph develops muscle mass easily and has a high muscle-mass-to-body-fat ratio. Mesomorphs tend to accumulate fat around the waist, triceps, and back, but mesomorphs who get physical activity have well-developed muscles. It doesn't take much for a meso-morph to sport washboard abs, cut triceps, or an impressively muscled back. Strength is the mesomorph's forte, so the weight-bearing aspect of yoga makes the mesomorph feel right at home. Too much weight-bearing exercise can actually bulk...