Yoga and Age Related Conditions

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Yoga & Age Related Conditions

It’s not the most uplifting piece of information you’re ever going to receive but as we get older there are, potentially, a few conditions and diseases coming our way.  However, on a much more positive note, by practicing yoga as part of our self care routine in some cases we can slow or prevent the onset of some of these. 


Heart – High Cholesterol & Heart Disease

How yoga can help. It has long been known that exercise plays an important role in keeping ourselves heart healthy.  Staying mobile and incorporating physical exercise into our daily routine is critical to our long term health.  Incorporating a yoga practice of asanas (physical poses) in to our daily routine can help.  A moderate vinyasa (flowing) class practiced a few times a week will keep the heart rate up for a cardiovascular workout but even a slower paced practice also has its benefits as it encourages physical activity.  The meditation element of a yoga practice can also reduce the effects of stress and anxiety and its impact on heart health.

Lungs – Chronic Respiratory Diseases

How yoga can help The breathing exercises which form part of a well rounded yoga practice can help to improve lung capacity.  With yoga’s attention to breath techniques and posture the ribcage becomes more expansive and the diaphragm moves more freely enabling the lungs to work more efficiently.

With a regular yoga practice we can support ourselves and, in some cases, slow or prevent the onset of some conditions and diseases.

Mind – Stress & Depression

How yoga can help.  Through the practices of mindfulness and meditation the mind can quieten and negative thought patterns that can fuel stress and anxiety may be managed more effectively.  Many yoga instructors will incorporate an element of mindfulness or guided meditation into a class or, alternatively, it’s well worth giving a dedicated meditation class a try.

Bones – Osteoporosis & Arthritis

How yoga can help.  There are many conditions that affect the bones as we age, the more common ones being osteoporosis and arthritis.  The weight bearing poses of a regular yoga practice can help reduce the risks of bone degeneration caused by osteoporosis.  Moving fluidly through physical poses helps keeps the body moving and maintains the range of motion in the joints which is beneficial for those who may be affected by arthritis.


Although this is just a small sample of yoga benefits in relation to some conditions it does illustrate the value of a yoga practice as a worthwhile health care investment.

Make 2017 the year you discover the life enhancing affects of yoga by        giving your local class or yoga studio a try.

As with all online health related research, be sure to get the ok from your doctor before embarking upon any new fitness regime 🙂

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Thrive Global – ‘More than Living. Thriving.’

 

Thrive Global Logo

According to recent research 81% of us now use a smartphone and time spent interacting with media on a phone, laptop, tablet or other digital device increases year on year.


We all know what a time drain anything to do with the internet can be and we’re all guilty of getting caught up wandering aimlessly online.  Even the most disciplined of us can get distracted by a well targeted article or advertisement.

Ironically, despite the digital help that is meant to simplify our lives, more and more of us a succumbing to a life of stress, anxiety and burnout.   There are not enough hours in the day.

Last week, Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post success) and author of bestselling books Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, launched her latest digital project, Thrive Global.  A digital resource to support you in living a balanced, healthy and inspired life.  The website tagline says it all – ‘More than living. Thriving.’

So, if we’re going to spend so much time online then we may as well be filling that time with quality content and learning how to make positive use out of all of the reams of information coming our way all day, every day.

‘when we prioritize our wellbeing, our decision making, our creativity, our productivity and our performance dramatically improve across the board’.

Focusing on health, well-being and performance, Thrive Global is packed with articles about thriving in life as well as apps, podcasts and e-courses all around the theme of self care both physically and mentally.

Take a look through the digital pages and you’ll find…..

  • journal.  Packed full of positive articles embracing a range of topics and filed under categories such as well-being, wisdom and working smarter.  Thrive Global nurtures the idea of creating balance in our lives by prioritizing our well-being and not living to a point of burnout.  Another great feature of the journal is the indicator at the top of each article describing how long a read it is.  You can make the decision to invest in 3 minutes of reading time or 20.
  • shop.  An opportunity to browse the latest health and well-being products, services and technology available to us.  The products here are selected specifically to support us in our quest for a healthy life.
  • apps&podcasts.  Digital aids and e-courses to help you live a more productive and, therefore,  less stressed life.

Arianna believes that ‘when we prioritize our wellbeing, our decision making, our creativity, our productivity and our performance dramatically improve across the board’.

Dip in and take a look and you will find something to inspire.  If you’re going to spend time online, which we all inevitably will continue to do,  this inspiring website is one well worth getting lost in.

Thrive Global – More than Living. Thriving.

8 great places to source a yoga mat

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8 Great Places to Source a Yoga Mat
The great thing about yoga is that it is such a portable practice.  Once you have a few of the poses down it’s easy to practice anywhere you have space to roll out your mat.

There are many accessories and props you can purchase to assist your yoga practice (which I would recommend investing in over time) but when starting out the most important yoga item to have is a mat and, for that, you have many options.

The key thing to bear in mind is that yoga mats need to be ‘sticky’ in the sense that they grip well when you are working on them.  Some mats have a texture to them which really helps with grip.  Initially, you may find the mat surface to have a light, slippery sheen but this breaks down with use.  You can always help break up the surface a little by rubbing with a cotton cloth.

Around 3-4mm is a great thickness for a yoga mat as it offers some cushioning to the body but isn’t so thick that it is like stepping on to a camping mattress.

1  Borrow one.  Most studios do have yoga mats available to borrow so if you are not too particular about using a mat other students have used then this is a good option to start.

2  Borrow one (again!).  From a family member or friend.  Another good way to check out a yoga class without committing to buying something you may use three times before it’s on the yard sale pile.  Which leads me to number 3

3  If you’re a yard sale, rummage sale or thrift store fiend, keep an eye out.  I’ve seen mats at yard sales with the cellophane wrap still intact – an unwanted gift for the seller but a gem find for you!

4 Look for a bargain.  Stores like TJ Maxx and Ross are both bursting with deals and it’s well worth a look here for a bargain priced mat.  Sometimes branded with a name you may recognise, sometimes not.  I’ve seen mats in both stores for twenty bucks and lower.

5  Target.  It doesn’t really matter what you’re looking for – Target will always provide!  They have a yoga section with a great selection of yoga gear.  Mats are in the $20 – $30 dollar range.

6  Sports shops.  Sports shops do stock yoga mats just be careful not to pick up the typical ‘gym’ type mat which is often much thicker, spongier and more slippery than a yoga mat.

7  Specialised Yoga & Fitness clothing stores. There are a few of these around now.  Some of them carry great quality yoga mats but you might want to be doing some deep yogic breathing when you read the prices!

8  The studio.  Many studios have a retail area where you can buy, among other things, yoga mats.  These are generally well established yoga brands which are great in quality but do come at a price.

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Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar

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The Classic Yoga Text – Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar

Light on Yoga is one of the most universally recognized books about yoga and the textbook of choice for many a teacher training’s reading list.  A must have for any yoga student’s bookshelf.


A yoga instructor once said to me that ‘the only book you will ever need for yoga is Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar’ (admittedly, it was an Iyengar yoga instructor 😉 ) But there must be some truth to this comment as, despite first being published in 1966, it is still in print today and one of the go to references for many a yogi.

BKS Iyengar is one of the most recognized names in contemporary yoga and the ‘Iyengar’ style of yoga one of the most established and popular today.

Light on Yoga is one of the most universally recognized books about yoga and the textbook of choice for many a teacher training’s reading list. 

The book is broken down into three parts……..

  • Part 1 Introduction – What is yoga?

An introduction with references to other important yogic text books including The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (another important yogic text)

A large section is dedicated to the  ‘8 limbs of yoga’ from The Yoga Sutras which are often referred to in a class setting and certainly in a teacher training program.

  • Part 2 – Yogasanas

Asanas, or poses, make up the biggest chunk of this book.  Each pose is broken down into its Sanskrit name with translation and the effects of the pose – physical benefits, anatomical breakdown and mental/emotional benefits.

This is the section where you’ll know you’re reading a book that dates back to the 60’s simply because of the photos but each photo clearly demonstrates the pose.

  • Part 3  – Pranayama

Pranayama, or breath work. Each technique is described, along with the effects and cautionary information.

The back of the book offers three sections of asana sequences for different levels of student – primary, intermediate and advanced.  There is also a section describing weekly practices incorporating all of the poses.

A further useful section also gives a comprehensive list of health conditions with appropriate poses.

Light on Yoga is always available on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and other large booksellers as well as the online option.

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Restorative Yoga & Essential Oils

yoga & essential oils, restorative yoga and essential oils
The Perfect Balance of Restorative Yoga & Essential Oils

Look on any yoga schedule today and there is a good chance that nestled away somewhere between Hatha Level 1 and Vinyasa Flow is a Restorative yoga class.


If you haven’t experienced a restorative yoga class you can expect a very calming experience set at a relaxed pace with an opportunity to totally destress as your body surrenders into yoga props.  Sounds good, no?

‘students are trying restorative yoga and feeling the difference in their bodies and minds’ 

Restorative yoga is rapidly gaining popularity because of its ability to help manage the stress overload we experience in our day to day lives.  Combined with the use of essential oils, restorative yoga is a practice that will bring the body and mind into balance.

Props used in a restorative practice include folded and rolled blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks along with additional support from a wall or chair for some poses.  The use of multiple props arranged to suit the student’s specific physical needs enables them to hold a fully rested position for an extended period of time.

Susan Kjesbo, a certified Yoga Therapist, describes restorative yoga as ‘active relaxation where the body is supported with props to give the message to the body to let go’ and in a typical class you will be able to do just that.

A class or workshop will consist of just a handful of poses where the whole body is fully supported and each individual pose is held for several minutes.  These very relaxed physical positions initiate a response where the breath deepens and physical and mental stresses can release.

A restorative yoga practice offers great health benefits and in Susan’s experience ‘students are trying restorative yoga and feeling the difference in their bodies and minds when they walk out of class and are coming back for more’.

Susan is also passionate about the use of essential oils as a complement to a restorative yoga practice.  When oils make contact with the skin they are absorbed into the tissues affecting the body as a whole and, through our sense of smell, are linked to the part of our brains associated with emotion and memory which, in turn, can influence mood and mindset.

‘stress has become one of the biggest health challenges of modern life and the use of essential oils and a regular restorative yoga practice are great additions to our self care routines’,  Susan Kjesbo.

If you are just getting started with essential oils, she suggests using lavender for its calming properties.  ‘You can place a drop in your hands and breathe the scent from your hands or rub it in to the bottom of your feet’.  If you are keen to learn more about essential oils, she also recommends that students ‘find someone knowledgable to work with or use a good reference book such as Modern Essentials’ in order to get the greatest benefit.

As we try to keep up with ever more frantic and over scheduled lives so stress has become one of the biggest health challenges of modern living. A regular restorative yoga practice and the use of essential oils are perfect additions to our personal self care routines because, as Susan points out, ‘we all operate better from a place of centeredness rather than frenzy’.

To see Susan’s teaching schedule visit www.Susankjesbo.com

Susan’s go to brand for essential oils is doTerra.

Want more visual stuff? Take a peek at her Instagram page @therapyyogi

 

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