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Spine Twisting Pose Ardha Matsyendrasana

(category: Yoga, Word count: 484)
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Ardha Matsyendrasana asana is also known as the Spine Twisting Asana. It is one of the essential poses which make the body healthy and fine. It is a basic pose which should be done by everyone, if their body is capable to do it. If done correctly it becomes a value addition in your day-to-day life. It may seem hard at the first attempt but you can do it in stages. By doing it in stages the asana proves to be very easy and simple.

The twist in the asana is a blessing for the adrenal glands, kidneys, liver and spleen. It is also very beneficial for people who suffer from asthma, indigestion, constipation and obesity. If you are a person with good height but stooping shoulders, this asana can correct it. It also improves the back and corrects a faulty posture. The twist stretches every muscle and ligament of your back.

Ardha Matsyendrasana is the only asana which twists the spine to achieve a healthy and toned body. Every movement of the asana assists in strengthening the spine and its muscles. It strengthens the spine which gives you a healthy back. The body becomes flexible with the twisting pose. A flexible body also helps in creating an agile and fit body.

Your back, hips, neck and shoulders get stretched very well. The digestive process of your body is rejuvenated by performing the asana. The asana can be a boon for many women as it alleviates the menstrual trouble many go through month after month.

People having problems like sciatica can also be provided help. It is very therapeutic for problems with infertility. It is known to cure many diseases and improve your appetite. This asana gets rid of all the toxins from your body to have a fresh and clear body. It is a great help for the bronchial muscles and rib cage. Abdominal muscles are also toned by this asana. Chances of slip disc can be erased. The pancreas are also massaged which helps the diabetes patient.

Hernia problems can also be treated by regularly doing this asana. Arthritis patient can find a relief due to the asana. The circulation towards the spinal nerves, veins and other tissues improves drastically. It also cures the lumbago and rheumatism of the spine due to the twists of the asana. By regularly performing this asana your abs are improved. You can use props or modify the asana to make it easier. A wall can be used as a prop while doing this asana.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

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Yoga Three Reasons You Should Not Do Locust

(category: Yoga, Word count: 484)
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Locust - (Salabhasana)

When this pose is demonstrated it resembles a locust (grasshopper) moving its rear ends up and down, hence the name.

Locust is one of the backward bend asanas usually performed in a sequence; first the Cobra is practiced, than the Locust followed by the Bow. Locust is a posture which turns the body out expanding the chest to face the world. It is a very stimulating, powerful and dynamic asana, one of the most demanding but also one of the most unnatural posture in Hatha yoga.

The Locust pose requires the muscles of the lower back, abdomen and legs to work with each other to achieve the lift in the lower body.

Before attempting the full Locust try to do the easier version (Half Locust), which involves lifting only one thigh at a time instead of both of them simultaneously.

As a beginner you may not have enough strength to make any movement of lifting the thighs up but you will still benefit from the effort.

As an intermediate student you will be able to lift your legs higher than the beginner student but it will require more strength in the arms, forearms and shoulders.

As an advanced student you have to be careful not to hurt yourself by falling out of the posture by trying to toss yourself up into the full pose before developing sufficient strength and control.

To maintain this asana the intense whole-body muscular effort is needed.

Locust serves as a counter pose to Sitting Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Plough (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) which bend the spine forward.

This asana greatly compliments the Cobra (Bhujangasana), lifting the lower part of the body rather then the upper, but it is more difficult pose because it is less natural and more strenuous to lift the lower extremities (legs) from a prone position (lying face downwards) than to lift the head and shoulders.

Locust brings a large supply of blood to the kidneys, cleansing and regenerating them. It strengthens the shoulders, arms, pelvic organs and lower back muscles. It tones the muscles of the abdomen, tights and legs. It tones the sciatic nerves providing relief for people with backache, mild sciatica and slipped disc (as long as the condition is not serious).

However beneficial the Locust is there are some health conditions in which the Locust should be avoided.

Three important reasons (out of many) not to do Locust:

1) Person with High Blood Pressure is better to avoid this pose.

2) As the asana puts lots of pressure on the abdomen it is strongly advisable for pregnant women not to attempt this asana.

3) Anyone suffering from Peptic Ulcer should not do this posture.

Issued in the interest of people practicing Hatha Yoga by Subodh Gupta, Yoga Expert based in London.

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Karma Yoga The Art Of Living

(category: Yoga, Word count: 415)
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The ancient book of Gita, which is the treatise on the living has led a great stress on the karma. Karma is defined as the action and its fruits. Ancient Hindu saints have believed that a man's life is the direct result of his karma. Good thoughts, words and deeds lead to good and happy life while bad thoughts, words and deeds lead a person to disaster. This has been postulated in the 18th century by Isaac Newton, who gave his law as "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

The branch of yoga that deals with karma is called as the karma yoga. Usually you are bound by the cravings and desires associated with your act but you can free yourself by doing the act but dissociating yourself from its consequences. This is the basic concept behind karma yoga and the person who follows this path is known as karma yogi. His behaviour is of indifference and while the world may think he is not interested, in reality he has mastered his desires and has developed awareness of the real significance of the events that occur around him.

This yoga involves doing your duty without any reservations but is free of the cravings of the results that are obtained from the act. This attitude is difficult to acquire because we are taught to hanker after the fruits of our labour and any failure to obtain the desired results leads you to frustration and negative thinking. Also, constant attachment to the results leads you to stress, competition and aggressiveness. This has led to increased incidences of stress, diabetes, depression, heart ailments and suicides and has led many youngsters to use drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Hence following the teaching of Krishna in Gita, wherein he advises Arjun: "You are entitled to an action but not its fruits" will lead you to a happy and stress free life.

A karma yogi realizes this and hence he follows the path of detachment. But this does not make him dull or inefficient. On the contrary, he channelizes his entire energy into the tasks at hand with complete vigour as his energy is not dissipated and gives it a best shot. Hence the results of his actions are the best and he gets good fruits. He does not run after pleasure but pleasure follows him. This makes him a pleasant person to be around and thus enjoys success in his life.

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Hot Off The Press How Hot Is Hot Yoga

(category: Yoga, Word count: 485)
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The beginning of yoga goes back 2,500 years and was introduced by Patanjali of who we owe a debt of gratitude for helping us all in our quest to maintain stability in mind spirit and soul. Most importantly it is the healthy outlook on life. (mentally/physically) it gives. Hot of the press, word has it this form of exercise has taken the world by storm and still continues to do so and will for a long time to come.

Believe it or not hot yoga is a type of exercise people are practicing on such a high scale that it is becoming a craze. Hot yoga is a combination of different poses carried out in a special heated room of which the temperature is normally between 95-100 degrees.

Think sauna - think perspiration when this routine is performed. Having a towel handy is a good idea to wipe your brow or other parts of the body that needs attention in absorbing sweat loss.

Light clothing like shorts to practice hot yoga will make your experience a more comfortable one, no winter wollies please they are not needed.

Involving your self in hot yoga is a fabulous way of cleansing the body and ridding any waste toxins on the inside.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluid (water) during lessons. Bring your own thermos or bottled mineral water, by doing this you can quench your thirst thus stemming off dehydration. Before taking part in hot yoga remember that it is not advisable to consume food at least two hours before. The reason being is you have nominated your body to take part in a strenuous workout.

Cholesterol and fat levels are lowered through sweat loss, so if slimming is on the agenda then it is certainly worth checking out the Bikram yoga method.

Moves and bodily posture movements differ greatly so choosing which class is for you could prove to be a problem. Do a little research or talk to a guru in the field of yoga who can advise you on what is best for your needs, whether it is a health matter, slim down or just to claim peace of mind.

Before enrolling in a hot yoga class make sure to delve more intimately into what it entails as it may not be your cup of tea unlike it is for others. Hot yoga can be exhausting but it does have its perks giving results. Your health is so very important thus making yoga a number one priority to be taken seriously to take claim of a fit mind body and soul.

Feeling good about your self is a step forward in leading a better life. Consult your doctor on any health concerns you may have before he points you in the right direction of easing your symptoms with a dose of yoga.

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Yoga For Kids Torment Of A Silent Mind

(category: Yoga, Word count: 631)
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Why is it that Yoga for kids is becoming even more popular today than it was in days of yesterday, well children are just as much prone to suffer from stress just like adults do. How can this be a great many would ask. Kiddies pressure come from additional education requirements (like more homework) We all know the importance of furthering our childs education to give them a better chance in life but when it can destroy life then it is time to take action.

Yoga for kids is a priceless gift to give to a child where they lay claim to peace of mind. Pressure put upon our kids today can be brought on by other factors like being bullied. Children also suffer at the hands of the parents while watching them worry over debt or whatever comes with surviving in the 21st century. How can we help the mind of a tormented child, simple introduce them to Yoga?

Yoga for kids help them become aware of the body and start to understand how vital it is to keep in good shape. Even at an early age kids need to develop better body awareness and after doing this they take control all by themselves to lead an active healthy life. Children who practice yoga self educate themselves on self control flexibility and coordination.

Exercises for children have proven in some cases to assist slowing down Hyper active behaviours. Yoga has helped kids by channelling their impulses in a positive way. Yoga moves for minors differ just like that of the way adults practice. A couple of poses for children that work perfectly well are the Warrior pose and the Tree poses. Both are exercises that help the child to find calm, build up confidence and balance.

Some children take to yoga like water of a ducks back whereas others have to be coaxed and need assurance and the benefits pointed out to them. The secret behind getting a dubious child to enrol in a yoga class is to explain how it is a popular craze among other children. Point out how much fun it can be. Explain in fine detail of the Warrior posture moves in your quest to encourage the child. Ease their discomfort if afraid to practice yoga alone. Let them know they can team up with a partner, this will also help build up on their team skills therefore gaining a bonding with others.

There will be times where the children will find it difficult to focus and concentrate but is that not the case with all children whether practising yoga or not. Children and relaxation are not very compatible. Just to have a child close their eyes for a period of time will be task in its self. Ask the child to visualize something that he/she are interested in or enjoy doing.

Try them with the belly breathing yoga exercise while listening to soothing relaxation music. Ask them to imagine they are up in space floating or making sand castles on the beach. After the session is over invite the child to share their experience of how they felt while practicing the Yoga for Kids routine.

If they divulge their secret thoughts then this can only mean that the child has opened up and what a major breakthrough that is. To have your child share a secret is enough to say they want to be heard.

Those silent thoughts that once troubled your little boy/girl will give you as a caring parent the insight on how to deal with what was once a tormented silent mind.

Yoga for kids is the healthiest wealthiest form of knowledge for any child.

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Learning About Ayurveda

(category: Yoga, Word count: 539)
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It is the science of preventive health (take care of health so that disease does not get a chance to get in) and the living habits that check over indulgence in physical senses, going against conscience and natural resistance to the call of the soul (refusal to enjoy the present moment) .

Ayurvedic Treatment

What if when someone is already ill ? It deals with internal medicine (kayachikitsa), surgery (Shalyachikitsa), Treating eye,ear,nose and throat (shalakyachikitsa), Pediatrics, gynecology and osterics treatment ( kaumarabhritya) and mental health (bhutavidya).

Body Elements & Constitution (Prakriti)

There are five elements of which the human body is made up of : akasha (ether), Vayu (air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (earth).

Because of the above five elements, all human beings are constituted with a combination of two or three primary ones. Those are called body humours or Doshas: Kapha, Vata and Pitta. Any person is easy to treat with the identification of his/her category.

Vata category is combination of space and air elements : People are fearful, illogical and insecure. Skin is dry. They have thin hair. They have dark brown or grey eyes. Vata activates the nervous system, hearing and speech and the persons is a great enthusiast with creativity. However, the state of his mind gets imbalanced easily because of which he gets diseases like insomnia, cramps and constipation.

Pitta category is fire element : These people are achievers, intellectual, fiery, angry, judgemental, with clear voice and precise expression. They have soft and fine hair. Eyes are blue, grey and hazel. They are good leaders and warm personality when healthy. Because of emphasis on metabolism and anger, they suffer from acidity, ulcers and rashes and also thinning of hair occurs.

Kapha category is(water and earth element : They have thick lustrous hair. Eyes are blue or brown. People have great endurance capacity with calm and steady mind. They are capable of forgiveness and intense love. Sometimes they are greedy and possessive. Kapha is the lubricant that keeps the joints working, keeps the body vibrant and balanced with immunity. Too much of it leads to lethargy, congestion, allergies and weight gain.

Nature of ailments

After the Prakriti is decided, one should know the nature of the diseases(Vikriti). It is imbalance obviously, but there are tow extremes to every imbalance, either deficiency or excess. Those are heavy-light, slow-sharp, cold-hot, unctuous-dry, smooth-rough, solid-liquid, soft-hard, stable-mobile, subtle-gross, and non-slimmy-slimmy. When corrected, Prakriti or original constitution is restored.

These 20 characteristics that with regards to one's basic constitution will decide the treatment. These may be caused by wrong foods causing improper digestion, wrong sleeping habits, improper mindset, anxiety etc.

The other type of ailment is clogging or blockage (Ama) for life energy to circulate for vitality. When this is corrected, it produces energy, perfect immunity, physical strength and hence a general sense of bliss which is summarised in Ayurveda in one word called Ojas.

Some Herbs and Minerals

Malabar nut : bronchitis, asthema, boosting immune systems

Bael : Digestive system

Garlic : lipids and cholesterol

Asparagus : Female reproductive system and lactation

Aloe Vera : Hair and skin treatment

Neem : blood purifier and anti-fungal treatment

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The Benefit Of Yoga

(category: Yoga, Word count: 583)
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Yoga, and the benefit of yoga, is generically defined as a Hindu discipline that helps unite the body and mind. Aimed at achieving a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility, it is practiced in the West most commonly as physical exercise practiced as part of the discipline.

The benefit of yoga practice is nothing new. It has been recognized for many years as the perfect discipline to help one achieve tranquility, better health, and longer life.

Many people view the benefit of yoga as some weird discipline that involves yogi's contorted in unnatural positions, doing strange acts of the body, and living on a mountaintop somewhere in India. I personally remember a television documentary many years ago featuring a yogi that had his tongue split, using it to clean his sinus cavities! Anyone interested in yoga has probably also seen images of yogi's supporting great weight with their genitals.

In this modern age, much has been learned about the benefit of yoga. Yoga practitioners achieve greater mobility, longer life, and internal happiness through their practice of the art. Yoga as we know it today is aimed at uniting the mind, body,and spirit. The mysticism of the Hindu discipline is no longer a myth, and is reachable by all willing to learn.

Yoga practice is roughly grouped into three categories - the Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) and Meditation. These categories embrace physiological, psychological, and biochemical effects. In addition, clinicians have compared these results against the Western practices of jogging, aerobic exercise, and weight training, and find results comparable.

The most popular style of Yoga in the West today is Hatha Yoga. It is designed to focuses on the physical well-being of a person and believers in the practice consider the body as the vehicle of the spirit.

Ananda Yoga, a classical style of Hatha Yoga, uses Asana and Pranayama to awaken, experience, and take control of the subtle energies within the body, and focuses on the energies of the seven Chakras.

Anusara (a-nu-SAR-a)yoga is defined as "stepping into the current of Divine Will", "following your heart", and "moving with the current of divine will." This new style, which was developed by John Friend, is defined as "yoga positions that flow from the heart." It is heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, and is based on a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. It is based on the principles of Hatha Yoga and biochemical practices. Students of this discipline base their practice on attitude, action, and alignment.

Ashtanga yoga could possibly be the perfect Yoga for those looking for a serious workout. Ashtanga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, and is very physically demanding. A series of flows, moving quickly from one posture to another, is utilized to build strength, flexibility and stamina. This style is not good for the beginning practitioner, as it requires 6 series of difficulty. The physical demands of Ashtanga are not for the casual practitioner beginning the journey of yoga fitness.

Bikram Yoga, named for its founder Bikram Choudhury, is practiced in a room with a temperature of up to 100 degrees. Twenty six Asanas are performed in a typical session, and focus is on warming and stretching muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Each pose is accompanied by Kapalabhati Breath, the "breath of fire." Practice of this style promotes cleansing of the body, the release of toxins, and ultimate flexibility. One must be in very good physical shape to practice Bikram Yoga.

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How To Practice Meditation

(category: Yoga, Word count: 349)
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Meditation is the most important practice for calming the mind. A calm mind can lead to a healthy, happy and successful life. It can cure diseases and speed up healing processes. We describe the simple technique below called prana-dharana. Prana in Sanskrit stands for the air that we breathe. It is the most basic act of life which starts from birth and goes on till death. But generally, we are not aware of the breath till our attention is drawn close to it. Dharana means its awareness. Prana-dharana means applying the mind to the flow of air when we breathe. The method is as described below:

Sit in a posture suitable for meditation. The common postures are Siddhasana, Padmasana and Swastikasana. But if you cannot do this, just sit cross-legged. Your back should be straight and eyes closed. Your knees should be placed well on the ground. Do not stoop your shoulders back. The whole body should be relaxed and the whole frame steady without exerting any pull or pressure on the thighs, feet, knees, spine or neck. There should be no stretch on tension along the abdominal wall. Let the abdominal wall sway gently back and forth very smoothly and effortlessly with each respiration. Facial muscles should be relaxed and mouth closed with a small gap between the two jaws such that the upper and lower teeth do not exert pressure on each other. Your tongue should touch the palate with tip touching the back of the upper front teeth. Ensure that the lips, tongue or the lower jaws do not move. Your eyeballs and eyelids should be steady and the muscles of the forehead relaxed.

Your entire posture should be comfortable, steady and relaxed. You should not feel strain on any part of the body. Now start developing the awareness of breathing. The flow of air should be uniform, slow and smooth. Do not make any effort or exercise any control. Never hold breath. Do not utter any word or see any image. This will calm your mind and help you achieve peace.

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Three Reasons You Should Not Do Cobra

(category: Yoga, Word count: 333)
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The Cobra Pose - (Bhujangasana)

"The Cobra pose destroys all diseases and increases body heat".

In a Sanskrit language Bhujanga means a cobra hence the name, mostly used in the West. In the Bhujangasana the body is facing downward while the upper body is curling up and back resembling a snake with its head raised ready to strike. This pose is mostly practiced as the first in the series of backward bending asanas followed by Locust and Bow postures.

Before attempting this powerful movement of the Cobra pose the warm up of the muscles of the back is strongly recommended. During holding the pose the legs do not remain passive; they are extended down from the hips. While you start lifting your upper body from the floor be aware of the point where you have extended as far as you can without straining your back. Keep your elbows slightly bent and do not push it up over your zone limit. The best way to check if you are not too high is to take your hands off the floor for a moment so that the height you find will be comfortable and safe.

During Bhujangasana the spine receives a powerful backward stretch which increases flexibility of the spine, strengthens the spine and rejuvenates the spinal nerves. Each vertebra of the spine is given a rich supply of the blood. This posture is excellent tonic for women as it tones the ovaries and uterus and it helps to alleviate the menstrual problems. By regular practice of the Cobra pose the backache can be removed.

Three important reasons not to do the Cobra pose:

1) This asana should not be attempted by pregnant women at all cost.

2) A person suffering from Hernia should not practice this pose.

3) If you have injured your back please, avoid this posture.

Issued in the interest of people practicing Hatha Yoga by Subodh Gupta, Yoga Expert based in London.

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