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Comparing 4 Different Styles of Yoga–Find The One That’s Best For You.

Use this list of popular yoga styles to get curious about your own needs and find a perfect fit for your unique yoga journey. You might just walk away with a new favorite style in your yoga tool belt!

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Whether you’re just beginning your yoga practice or you’re looking to try a new style, the options can feel limitless. 

The benefits of yoga are innumerable. They include improved physical health, more flexibility, lowered stress levels and actual changes in your brain. Regardless of your goal for practicing, you are bound to get something out of whichever style you choose.

Comparing different styles of yoga can help you choose a practice that aligns with your goals. There is something out there for everyone. 

In my own yoga journey, I’ve dabbled in many different styles. I was eager to test out the benefits of each style and arrive at a routine that felt right for me. Exploring new styles is always a great way to tailor your yoga practice to meet your specific needs. 

Sometimes I look for a powerful energetic shift during yoga, sometimes I want a rigorous workout, and other times I need a more loving and restorative practice. Use this list of popular yoga styles to get curious about your own needs and find a perfect fit for your unique yoga journey. You might just walk away with a new favorite style in your yoga tool belt!

Hatha Yoga

Depending on the translation, the word Hatha can mean force or effort in Sanskrit, but it can also mean sun and moon. Sun and moon highlight the balance that Hatha yoga seeks to instill in the practitioner. Force and effort need to be balanced with ease. 

A Hatha yoga practice usually involves a sequence of yoga poses that are held for periods of time–perhaps a round of five breaths, or a minute. Chances are if you’ve gone to a more general yoga class, you were practicing Hatha yoga. This style can be contrasted with more dynamic styles such as vinyasa yoga (explained below). It is not geared toward fitness but instead focuses on cultivating a balance of effort and ease in each pose. 

This style involves the typical poses, or asanas, of yoga, and can be designed differently to meet the needs of each class. Some poses are challenging in nature, some are gentle–the practice seeks to combine the sun and moon for a well-rounded experience. You will focus on breathing exercises or pranayama and syncing the breath up with the poses of your practice. A session usually lasts from 40 to 90 minutes and will end with a brief meditation that can either be silent or guided.

Since the pace of this style is slower, it is great for beginners. Often, an instructor will include more challenging poses to help you grow your practice, but you can always modify a posture if needed. Because poses are held static for short periods of time, there is space to focus on alignment and purpose of the poses.

If you’re looking for a practice to help you unwind and check in with yourself, Hatha yoga is the way to go. Choose from one of the many varieties of this style and use it as a daily method for finding your center and releasing tension.

Hatha Yoga Is Great For:

  • Beginners
  • Those looking for a slower paced practice
  • Those wanting to focus on alignment
  • Those interested in breathing and meditation

Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is characterized by sequences of poses that are linked with breath repeated several times throughout each session. The word vinyasa means to arrange in a special way. You link your breath with these poses–up to one breath per one movement–to create a sense of flow throughout each sequence. One of the most commonly known sequences in this style is the sun salutation.

Vinyasa flows are typically a bit faster than the Hatha style, working to achieve a continuous flow of breath and movement. However, vinyasa sequences can be conducted in Hatha’s slower, more gentle rhythm. The level of difficulty will depend on the class and the specific sequence involved. If you’re familiar with sun salutations, you’ll know that you can take a slower pace or modify the poses in the sequence to meet your needs.

The goal of this style is to work to achieve balance and flow. The connection of breath and continuous movement improves physical and mental wellness by strengthening the mind-body connection. Regardless of the flow you use, repeating postures builds strength, endurance, and focus.

Variations of vinyasa flow include Ashtanga, Power Yoga, Baptiste yoga, and Jivamukti among others. Each will vary in poses, duration, and level of difficulty, so you’re sure to find one that works best with your lifestyle.

Vinyasa Yoga is Great For:

  • Those looking for a quicker paced class
  • Those who want to build up a sweat
  • Those looking for vigorous movement

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a style that was popularized in the 1970s. The practice is meant to cultivate awareness by activating your ‘kundalini energy.’ This energy is said to be coiled at the base of the spine and we can tap into it through certain techniques.

Kundalini practice involves awakening your energy through breathing techniques, yoga postures, chanting and meditating. The inclusion of chanting mantras adds a spiritual element to this practice that sets it apart from other styles. Awakening your kundalini energy is said to move it up through your spine through each chakra, which can help cleanse and clear any blockages.

Each session will involve different kriya, or poses, that are used to achieve a certain purpose. Since there is variability in the techniques involved, you can find a kundalini practice to work with your skill level. 

If you’re looking for a yoga style to increase your energy while building your spiritual practice, kundalini is a great method to incorporate into your routine.

Kundalini Is Great For:

  • Those looking for a spiritual dimension to their practice
  • Those wanting to try something distinctly different from other styles of yoga
  • Those looking for a body-mind-spirit experience

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is a great solution if you’re looking for a gentle practice between more active yoga sessions or during a recovery period from an injury. This style can be traced back to the style of B.K.S. Iyengar. The goal is to stretch in a gentle and loving way to release tension and relax.

This style involves prolonged, passive stretching in comfortable and unstrained positions. You can add props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, or straps to add more support and comfort. The idea is to create a healing ritual for yourself, so adding elements like soft music, low lighting, or essential oils can also contribute to the loving sensation.

The slow pace of this style makes it accessible for all levels. Even if you’re a more advanced yogi, you can always benefit from slowing down and checking in with your physical and mental wellbeing.

Restorative Yoga Is Great For:

  • Beginners
  • Those recovering between workouts or from injuries
  • Those looking for nervous system down-regulation
  • Those looking for a slow practice

As you can see, there is a style of yoga to achieve any goal you may have for your practice. This list is just the tip of the iceberg, but I hope it gives you a good place to start for exploring new yoga styles to try. Whether you are hoping for a sweaty and active practice, or a more nurturing and relaxing session, never hesitate to compare different styles to find the best way of growing your practice.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am a meditation instructor and expert in using brainwave entrainment and binaural beats technology to deepen the practice of meditation. I write and advocate for personal growth and spiritual development through my website, Unify Cosmos.

A friend and I developed a Free 12-Month, Progressive Binaural Beats Meditation Program, called Infinite Beats. We hope to help anyone access the benefits of brainwave entrainment.

I enjoy reading books and writings in the fields of psychology, spirituality, and awakening of consciousness. A few of my favorite writers are Alan Watts, Ram Daas, Mooji, Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber, Charles Eisenstein, and David Singer

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Essentials for Opening a Water Yoga Studio.

When you are doing yoga in water, the poses that felt hard before are now much easier (thanks to the buoyancy effect).

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The practice of yoga is beneficial for staying in tune with your body and soothing your mind. However, that can be difficult when your joints are whining and your muscles shaking from holding sometimes complicated yoga poses for too long. When you are doing yoga in water, the poses that felt hard before are now much easier (thanks to the buoyancy effect). Plus, the movement of the water provides you with an incredibly calming effect. That’s why we foresee that aqua yoga will become even more popular in the future and opening a water yoga studio is, therefore, a smart business call. If you think so too, here is your guide about the essentials you need for an aqua yoga studio.

 

Obviously, you will need a pool

There is no water yoga without water, so for a functioning yoga studio, you will need a pool. Since one of the main purposes of yoga is reconnecting with nature, an outdoor pool will work just fine, especially if you live in an area where the climate is mostly warm. Outdoor classes intensify the yoga experience, by allowing you to breathe the fresh air and listen to the sounds and ambiance of nature. However, if the climate doesn’t allow this, indoor or covered pools are an acceptable option.

If the pool is inside…

 

Source / Source

Because nature is so important for yoga, indoor yoga studios, including pools, should do their best to evoke a natural setting. Large windows that allow a glimpse of the great outdoors, and other elements that reminds us of nature, such as stone, wood, bamboo, and houseplants, can make the indoor pool a more serene surrounding for practicing yoga.

 

Creating ambiance

 

Yoga requires a warm atmosphere and an inspiring ambience. By getting LED lights for your swimming pool, you can achieve a more pleasant atmosphere, and equip your studio for working until late hours. You can go for traditional LED pool lights and lights in different colors, but if you truly want to design a calming studio, go for spa electric lights which provide the ultimate soothing effect, and use approximately 90% less energy than standard 100 watt halogen lights.

 

Think about some additional features

 

Source / Source

Aqua yoga practice includes many traditional yoga poses done in a water environment and slightly adapted for the specifics of the pool. Some of the best poses to try in the pool are Warrior II, Boat Pose, Standing Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, and Floating Savasana. Besides practicing yoga in this traditional manner, there are other additional features you can include to make the experience even better. Here are two of them:

  • Salt water pool systems are becoming a popular way to conjure the beauty and the serenity provided by the ocean. However, salt-water pools have a lot of other benefits too, including diminishing the need for using chlorine, which makes you less exposed to chemicals. Salt neutralizes contaminants in the water and disinfects it much better than chlorine.
  • Floating yoga mats are necessary equipment for “Holy Water”, a new yoga class everyone is talking about. It is a very difficult style of yoga, because it requires you to hold perfect balance on the floating mat. The water movements force you to maintain proper alignment and actively use your core muscles, which challenges your body to be more stable and strong. Getting several floating mats and tapping into this hot new yoga practice could make your classes even more popular.

 

Enough space both “in the sea and on the land”

 

Depending on how many people will practice yoga in the pool, you should determine the appropriate size. It is essential to keep in mind that one person needs a lot of space to maintain balance and perform yoga poses inside the pool. The area around the pool should also be spacious because you will need room to rest, stretch and if you want to, do some other asanas in your pool. In fact, combining water yoga with traditional yoga is a great idea, and if the size of the space allows you, you should totally go for it.

 

Just a little something…

 

In the end, regardless whether you will be teaching water yoga outside or in a covered pool, it is essential to make the entire area look peace-inducing and welcoming. Additional water features such as waterfalls, are always nice addition because the sound of flowing water can enhance the calmness. A fire pit near the pool provides a similar feel. Fresh flowers, fountains, statues and candles are also welcome, just be careful not to overwhelm the space with stuff, because clutter can have a counterproductive effect.

Practicing yoga in the pool makes a lot of sense, because the water movements make your body feel light, free and unconstrained. All of this, consequently, frees your mind, which is the ultimate purpose of yoga. To achieve all that, you will need a well-equipped yoga studio.

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Sudarshan Kriya Yoga & How It Beats Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY) is a rhythmic breathing technique, derived by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to help de-stress and remove toxins from the body.

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Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY) is a rhythmic breathing technique, derived by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to help de-stress and remove toxins from the body. It’s practised through controlled breathing patterns ranging from slow and calming, to rapid and invigorating. Through these breathing techniques, SKY becomes a powerful management tool for health conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

 

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness consisting of several symptoms including severe tiredness, feeling unwell and in some cases – pain. The causes of CFS are still unknown, but can be triggered by infections, weak immunity or mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety. There is no cure or agreed treatment plan for sufferers, and traditional medicine—such as painkillers—only provide short-term relief.

 

Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A typical day with CFS involves feeling depleted and tired throughout the day, possibly starting with getting out of bed in the morning. Daily tasks may involve muscle cramps and joint pain, and even simple commitments may be met with an inability to concentrate, and frequent headaches.

 

How SKY Can Help Reduce Physical Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

SKY has become popular in helping reduce the stresses of daily life by calming the mind and body through yogic breathing exercises. This technique offers a low-cost and effective alternative treatment for numerous physical ailments related to CFS. These conditions—like muscle fatigue and aching joints—gradually diminish with SKY due to the increase in respiratory sinus arrhythmia(RSA) that occurs. When your RSA rises, so does your heart-rate variability, which has been shown to accelerate the physical recovery of high-level athletes.

 

How SKY Can Help Reduce Mental Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS can be caused by several triggers including psychological stressors, such as mood dis-orders and depression, are often linked to the onset of CFS-related symptoms. Rapid breathing combined with slow controlled breath used in SKY techniques, has been shown to greatly reduce cortisol levels, thus improving stress-related symptoms. This results in better sleep, reduced anxiety and increased mental clarity.

 

SKY Breathing Techniques For CFS

Poor breathing habits lead to constricted blood vessels and higher alkaline levels in the blood. This restricts what is known as the Bohr effect, or attaining proper levels of carbon-dioxide in the blood in order to utilize oxygen more effectively. This results in less oxygen reaching the brain and muscles, causing light headedness and lethargy, both of which are closely linked to CFS. The four breathing techniques within SKY all offer different benefits without inhibiting the Bohr effect.

There are four breathing techniques within SKY offering different benefits.

  • Ujjayi: The Ujjayi breathing technique, also known as ‘oceanic breath’, relaxes and stimulates the body and mind simultaneously. This deep rhythmic breath can help reduce the dizzying symptoms of CFS.
  • Bhastrika: Bhastrika breathing may help manage emotional issues—as well as blood pressure and heart rate—using swift, powerful inhalations and exhalations.
  • Kriya: Kriya is the practice of slow, medium and fast cyclical breathing patterns which can detox the body from toxins and purify the system.
  • Om: Extended exhalation of the Om sound through repeated chanting, provides soothing internal vibrations which helps connect the mind and body.

 

In Closing

With a slew of holistic benefits, SKY is a great option for combatting CFS. Since SKY isn’t a physically demanding style of yoga, it’s appropriate for all body-types. Despite this, it’s not recommended for pregnant women, those with extreme mental illnesses, or those going through alcohol and drug abuse. It’s strongly advised to only learn SKY breathing techniques under the guidance of a trained professional.

To learn more about SKY and find a certified instructor near you, visit The Art Of Living. Founded by SKY founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar himself, it has all of the resource you’ll need to begin your journey towards ending chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

LANA ANDERSON is the head instructor of Yoga By Blisstopia in Blaine MN. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services, and is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner through Healing Touch International. She’s also a certified Doula through Doulas of North America(DONA), and has helped deliver over 400 babies.

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6 Surprising Benefits of Yoga

Those who practice yoga regularly probably find this title a little surprising in itself. Practitioners often speak…

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By Sally Holland

Those who practice yoga regularly probably find this title a little surprising in itself. Practitioners often speak of the many benefits that yoga brings to their lives – a greater sense of calmness, new opportunities for social interaction, a boost in self-confidence or enhanced physical fitness, and many more. But beyond our personal experience with yoga, there are many documented benefits for body, mind and spirit as well. The next time you speak to someone who doubts the extent to which yoga can change their life, mention these recent scientific findings:

1. Yoga reduces stress

Studies have shown that the regular practice of yoga reduces stress hormone levels, improves mood and battles fatigue, even in life-changing challenges such as breast cancer. Yoga is currently recommended for those who experience chronic stress and is a popular supplemental therapy in a wide range of settings, including rehabilitation centers and counseling sessions for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and eating disorders.

Peace and Serenity

2. Yoga encourages compassion for others and ourselves

In Buddhism, there is no distinction between compassion for others (being kind and understanding with someone, no matter the circumstances) and self-compassion (being kind and forgiving with ourselves). The yogic frame of mind involves self-acceptance, which elevates us to a higher plane than mere self-confidence. Confidence enables us to be proud when we achieve great things, yet self-compassion is more important because it encourages acceptance even when we have failed to meet our own or others’ standards.

3. Yoga can help with back pain

A recent study published in January 2017 in the Cochrane Library found that yoga may lead to a reduction of pain and increased functional ability in people with chronic, non-specific back pain. Other studies have shown it can help with chronic neck pain, and even migraines.

4. Yoga can help battle anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental conditions on a global scale, and is characterized by the constant arousal of the fight of flight reaction. During an anxiety attack, individuals can feel dizzy, think they are having a heart attack, or have a full-blown panic attack which involves hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is caused by rapid inhalation (flooding one’s system with oxygen). This is why someone having a panic attack is often given a paper bag to breathe into. Yoga can help with this because it places great importance on controlled breathing (pranayama). This type of breathing instantly lowers the heart rate, thus being of great use to stop a panic attack from arising. An interesting report published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, shows that yoga helps those who suffer from anxiety, who also tend to worry constantly and get locked in patterns of negative thinking. These types of thoughts are often linked to the past or the future. Yoga is very much a mindful activity, which involves ‘being in the here and now’, focusing on aspects such as breathing and the correct performance of asanas.

5. Yoga can help stave off depression

One study shows that Sudarshan Kriya yoga (which is centered around breathing) can alleviate symptoms of severe depression in individuals who do not respond well to antidepressant medication.

6. Yoga can help with arthritis

Studies have shown that yoga is safe and effective for people with arthritis, bringing significant improvement in mood and symptoms. In one study carried out by scientists at John Hopkins Medicine, it was found that eight weeks of yoga classes improved the physical and mental health of people with knee and rheumatoid arthritis. Compared to a control group which did not practice yoga, those who attended the sessions had a 20% improvement in pain, mood, physical functions and vitality! They were also able to increase their walking speed and complete more physical tasks at work and at home. Chair yoga in particular is very useful for those with limited mobility, since it provides them with the support and sense of safety.

A considerable body of scientific research has focused on the many benefits of yoga. Over the past decade, many more findings have been made. These include yoga’s ability to stimulate brain function, improve the quality of life of people with certain types of heart disease, encourage mindful eating, reduce pain associated with fibromyalgia and so much more.

If you have never tried yoga before, discover how it can change your own life after just a few sessions.

 

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Bhakti Yoga at Pilgrimage of the Heart

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of emotion, bliss and devotion; devotion to Creator, creation and our place in It…

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Bhakti Yoga at Pilgrimage of the Heart

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of emotion, bliss and devotion; devotion to Creator, creation and our place in It. Bhakti is one of the four major aspects of the yoga path, the others being Jhana spiritual self-study, Karma, the yoga of (selfless) service, and Raja or Royal Yoga the mystical reunion with the Creator thru meditation practices and lifestyle. All are paths to enlightenment (see the Bhagavad Gita (I personally recommend the Arnold translation). These four traditions have each their own chapters. Any or all of these paths are available to the practitioner.

Pilgrimage Audience

Kirtan at Pilgrimage of the Heart

Kirtan is a legitimate and valid part of the Bhakti tradition. It is a chanting, devotional practice centered around the singing of the Names of the Creator. As a practice it reminds us of our origin and ‘Maker.’ The distractions of our lives often will veer us away from higher truth and firmly root us in a purely physical mindset. Kirtan elevates us to the more spiritual realm as we sing and chant devotions to our Creator. It reminds and motivates us to look more frequently at the subtleties of our existence. It’s truly an avenue to a higher mindset.

I’ve looked at the demographic of our Kirtan practice. I find it interesting that most of our participants do not practice yoga (Hatha, Asana, etc.) nor are they members of the Pilgrimage of the Heart yoga studio. We have attracted a large following from outside, some of who have been attending regularly for years, which to me is fantastic. I am inspired by the high level of awareness of our participants and I am committed to bringing relevance and meaning to our practice for them.

But I also find it interesting that we draw less that 1% of the members of our studio to our Kirtan practice on any given week. That’s a little troubling. Not that I am complaining… our Kirtan is in the top 10% of all classes attended at Pilgrimage and has been for years! I just wonder why our members don’t take greater advantage of this incredible offering.

A few years ago an anonymous, lovely soul posted this comment about her first Kirtan experience. It brings a tear of joy to my eyes that we can bring such a joyous and meaningful experience to someone from our humble practice. Truly, my hope is to have Kirtan generate this type of experience for all who attend, every week. So I repost this in hopes that I might motivate our members to join with us. We want you. We need you. We are here for you! Kirtan is a heart-opening experience… and an eye-opener, too. It’s bigger than the sum of its parts!

Join us on Thursdays at 8:30pm in the East Room.

“I will never forget my first week at Pilgrimage of the Heart. I was immersing myself in yoga – I took a week off work and had a “stay-cation”. . . practiced 2-3 times a day, meditated, hiked; basically created my own little yoga retreat on the cheap. Of course I had to try out the Thursday night yoga philosophy class and musical meditation double header. What I learned that night has been a foundation for many of the decisions I have made over the past two years.

I couldn’t even tell you exactly what ancient text we were reading from in the philosophy discussion. However, the main point being made was this . . . Life (or the universe, or God — put in your entity of choice) will ALWAYS give you what you ask for. However, many times it will be presented to you in a way you don’t recognize at first, and often in a form which is scary. So, do you run away from what you want because it scares you, or do you accept what life/the universe/God is offering?

This idea stuck with me as I shuffled my way into the east room for music meditation. I was expecting an hour of gentle music as I breathed in inner silence. Ha! Instead, I got an hour of chanting. Drums, harmoniums, a guitar? It was fantastic. And kind of weird. A whole room full of people shaking noisemakers and chanting “Hare Krishna!” This was pretty far outside my comfort zone. I mean, come on. . . what would all the non-yoga people in my life think if they saw me now? And then it hit me. I had been looking for a place to sing for a long time. I love to sing. I mean, this is a love the runs deep to the core of my being. It’s a visceral love that I’ve felt my whole life. For a while I had toyed with the idea of joining a church choir, even though I don’t follow any particular religion, just to sing with a group. And there I was. Singing with a group. I felt a joy I hadn’t experienced in years. And it was scary.

I almost cried when I realized how immediately this lesson was being presented to me. It was a big moment. I decided then and there that I would keep going to music meditation. I have to keep singing, and I also have to investigate why I was so scared of such an amazing group of people. Why was I so concerned with what others thought? Where had I picked up all of these judgments, and why the heck would I keep holding on to them?

That lesson has come back to me many times, guiding me to make decisions that have clearly changed my life. Each time I actively choose to take what life has to offer, no matter what it looks like, I find myself deeply grateful for the way things unfold. It’s funny how sometimes we think life just isn’t working out the way we want it to, but it always seems to end up exactly how it should be.”

— Author unknown

 

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Interviews Podcast E10: Alexa Hatt

Sujantra interviews a 17 year old yoga teacher named Alexa Hatt. They discuss Youtube Yoga, finding your life purpose, opening your heart and the role of social media…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians, teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 10: Sujantra interviews a 17 year old yoga teacher named Alexa Hatt. They discuss Youtube Yoga, finding your life purpose, opening your heart and the role of social media.

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Interviews Podcast: Richard Rosen Transcript Part 1

Today’s podcast interview is with Richard Rosen and he began his study of yoga in 1980…

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Today’s podcast interview is with Richard Rosen and he began his study of yoga in 1980, trained for several years in the early 1980s at the B.K.S. Iyengar Institute in San Francisco, CA. In 1987 Richard co-founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA which existed for nearly 28 years. It recently closed its doors in 2015. Richard still teaches seven weekly classes in Oakland and in the Berkeley areas. He’s a contributing editor for Yoga Journal Magazine and President of the Board of a non-profit organization that we are going to talk about, which is a wonderful organization. Richard has written three books published by Shambhala, The Yoga of Breath, Pranayama, and Original Yoga and he’s also working on a fourth book which we are also going to touch base on today. Richard lives in a cottage built in 1906 in Berkeley, California, and Richard, I assume you’re talking to us from your cottage.

Richard: I’m talking to you from the office that is outside my cottage.

Sujantra: Oh the office outside your cottage, wonderful! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us.

Richard: I’m really happy to be here. Thanks.

PYO

Coming to the Practice of Yoga

Sujantra: My first question, Richard, is what brought you to the practice of yoga?

Richard: Well, I moved down to the Bay Area in 1979 to finish up a Master’s Degree at Cal and things weren’t going too well and I was sitting around this little apartment I lived in at the time, trying to figure out what to do with my life, and I thought of a book I’d read a few years earlier and had no idea what the guy was talking about. Then all of a sudden, a little bell went off in the back of my mind and I got up, got the book and it was like a 180 degree turnaround and I could all of a sudden understand what the man was talking about. The man’s name was Krishnamurti. It started me off looking around for other sources that might help me figure out what to do with myself. Eventually I found a book that said yoga was the best exercise there was or had ever been invented, so I just happened to also find a local newspaper at the time that directed me to the Yoga Room in Berkeley. I started yoga to help myself try and figure out what to do.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Sujantra: What was it about Krishnamurti or his writings that woke up something inside of you?

Richard: I don’t remember exactly which book it was but it was very inspiring and it gave me insight into how and why I was feeling the way I was feeling. It moved me that there were other sources and books like that because before that I had never had this feeling whatsoever. It just really woke me up to the possibilities. I was recently teaching in Ojai and a place called the Yoga Crib and I actually stayed in the room where Krishnamurti had written so many years ago.

Sujantra: Wow, the big circle of life keeps going. That’s beautiful. You turned to yoga in 1979 for your own growth and years later you’re writing books for Shambhala and people around the world are learning yoga from you. Is there a specific moment when you felt that transition from a student of yoga to not just a student but also a teacher of yoga?

Richard: (Chuckles.) Sometimes I find it hard to believe I am a teacher. I still consider myself very much a student. I’ve been very fortunate being allowed to write those books and I really appreciate everything Shambhala has done for me. I still consider myself a beginner and a student, so thank you for calling me a teacher but I will pass on that for a while.

Inspiration to Teach

Nikole YTT

Sujantra: Well, here at our studio in San Diego we train a lot of people who want to be yoga teachers. What do you say to someone who’s inspired to teach to give them confidence and courage to take that big step?

Richard: Well, it is a big step and it’s a big responsibility. You have to think about it really hard before you decide to become a teacher and of course it requires a lot of training and you want to get the best training possible. It’s important to, in the old days, the yogis dedicated their life to the practice and we can’t quite do that nowadays, but we have to still make a huge effort if we want to become a teacher. We have to read the old books and the new books that are available to give us insight into the old books. We have to practice and it’s important to get out there and find some people you can teach, make your mistakes, learn from them and keep plugging away. It’s not a straight-line progress to become a teacher. Just how your practice waxes and wanes like the moon I think that’s the way your teaching career progresses as well.

The Yoga of Breath

Sujantra: One of the things I liked right away about the book of yours that I read, “The Yoga of Breath,” is that right away you come across quotes from the Upanishads and great teachers so you obviously revere and give a lot of importance to those source teachings.

Richard: I think tradition is important. Nowadays, the younger yogis and teachers I don’t know how much they know about tradition and that’s fine. I’m not sure how important it is in certain contexts but I do think that it’s important to have a little bit of knowledge about the old yoga texts. There were generations and generations of old yogis who were out there doing their practice and the wisdom they came up with is very important to know about.

Sujantra: Right, and the great teachers that have come to the West, they go right to those source teachings. I’m thinking of Vivekenanda, Aurobindo, and yogis like that. They are honoring the past and I think it’s important for contemporary teachers to do the same.

Richard: Exactly. I think it’s important. I don’t know how much you want to do that, depending on what school you’re teaching from, but you should know at least a little bit about the background.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

Sujantra: And you mention the importance of teachers practicing and I am wondering after 35 years of your own yoga journey, what does your daily practice look like?

Richard: Well, I might let you know that I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about thirteen or fourteen years ago. I don’t know if you know much about Parkinson’s but it’s a neuromuscular condition that makes you stiffer, weaker and less balanced which is pretty much the reverse of everything I had been working on for the first twenty years. My practice has changed because of that. First of all, I’ve been very fortunate with this condition. People that I know can progress very rapidly to the point where after just two or three years they are in pretty bad condition. I’m very fortunate. It’s very difficult to tell sometimes that I have anything like Parkinson’s. My practice still has changed to accommodate some of the shortcomings. My balance is a little bit off and I’m not as strong as I used to be. I use a lot of props. I go a lot slower than I used to do.

Pranayama and Meditation

Sujantra: Is your practice mostly an asana practice or do you incorporate pranayama and meditation?

Richard: Breathing over the years has become a lot more interesting to me than the asana. The asana is supported, using chairs and blocks and straps, but I spend a lot more time than I used to on breathing. I’m not doing anything special. For the most part, I am simply watching my breath. It’s very important to have a breathing practice as part of your yoga practice. Most classes nowadays are solely asana classes.

Sujantra: I read an article recently about Rodney Yee and he said if he only had ten minutes to practice he would do pranayama.

Richard: My good friend, Rodney Yee.

Sujantra: Oh good, he’s right up there, right? In that area?

Richard: He was but he’s living in New York now. He’s the co-founder of Piedmont Yoga.

Sujantra: Oh the two of you founded it together.

Richard: I’ve known Rodney forever. The two of us went to the B.K.S. Iyengar school together. We’ve known each other for about 35-36 years.

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Interviews Podcast E09: Nina Camille

Nina and Sujantra talk about starting a yoga community, living in the Virgin Islands, social media and becoming a yoga teacher…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians, teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 09: Nina and Sujantra talk about starting a yoga community, living in the Virgin Islands, social media and becoming a yoga teacher…

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Interviews Podcast E08: Cat Walker

Cat Walker and Sujantra explore the spiritual heart, deepening your practice, the role of Instagram and reincarnation. Join us…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians, teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 08: Cat Walker and Sujantra explore the spiritual heart, deepening your practice, the role of Instagram and reincarnation.  Join us!

Read about Cat’s interview experience on her blog. You can also connect with her on IG, FB and/or Twitter.

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Interviews Podcast E07: Yoga Instructor Emily Taylor

Sujantra interviews 32 year old yoga teacher Emily Taylor. They discuss yoga, turning inward, the role of social media in yoga, and much more…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians, teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 07: Sujantra interviews 32 year old yoga teacher Emily Taylor. They discuss yoga, turning inward, the role of social media in yoga, and much more…

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The Pilgrimage of the Heart Interviews – beryl bender birch Podcast E04

Beryl and Sujantra discuss reincarnation, giving back, meditation, Sri Chinmoy and more!…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians,teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 04: Beryl Bender Birch is the director and founder of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She is also a founder of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which provides yoga to underserved communities and offers developmental grants to yoga teachers for community service projects.

A spiritual teacher and yoga therapist, Beryl is the best-selling author of Power Yoga, the classic training manual for asana practice for Ashtanga Yoga; Beyond Power Yoga, which theorizes a relationship between the eight limbs of yoga and the chakras; Boomer Yoga,which illustrates how to create a yoga plan that works for maturing adults; and Yoga for Warriors, which provides yoga practices for veterans.

Beryl and Sujantra discuss reincarnation, giving back, meditation, Sri Chinmoy and more!

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The Pilgrimage of the Heart Interviews Podcast E01 – Brian Leaf – Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi

In this episode Sujantra interviews the author Brian Leaf who has written 11 books including “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi” and “Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi”…

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Enjoy interviews with inspiring and uplifting guests who share their insights into yoga, personal improvement and world transformation. We feature yogis, writers, musicians, teachers and visionaries from many fields who are reaching for the highest in human potential. The program is hosted by Sujantra McKeever, founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, CA.

Ep 01: In this episode Sujantra interviews the author Brian Leaf who has written 11 books including “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi” and “Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi“.

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Meditation – Building Your Home Practice

The importance of a home meditation practice and how to successfully establish one for yourSelf. Practicing meditation might just be…

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The importance of a home meditation practice and how to successfully establish one for yourSelf.

Practicing meditation might just be the best thing you can do for yourself! We’re so busy every moment of every day that we spend no time on Self-realization. Meditation is a practice where we consider the nature of our existence. Through this exercise we take stock of our life. It’s a practice of Self-awareness and Self-growth. We discover that there is more to life that just existing. We discover how to live. We discover Truth… inner Truth, outer Truth. We improve ourSelves.

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Let’s face it. When we’re by ourselves it’s easy to be lazy. We can rationalize any excuse to avoid and procrastinate (substituting low-priority endeavors for high-priority endeavors.)…  no ‘task’ is too big or small that it can’t wait until tomorrow.  And that’s part of the problem; we tend to look at meditation as a TASK. And avoiding tasks can easily become habitual.

It’s important that we reassess our perception of meditation early on. How we establish our practice initially is vital to its longevity. We want to create an anticipation about our practice so we are drawn to it. It’s important to look forward to your meditation practice! It can’t be tedious. If it becomes tedious you’ll skip it. So it’s important to establish a TIME during the day that works within your schedule. That time is set aside for your meditation practice every day.

Buddha

I recommend that you keep your regular, daily meditation short. Ten minutes is a good DAILY practice. If you want to go on a marathon meditation adventure once in a while, go for it. But your regular, daily practice should be short and sweet, an easy routine.

I practice in the morning, first thing. I get out of bed, take care of my body, make a cup and go sit down for ten minutes. It’s entirely routine. I look forward to it. It’s easy. It’s a good way for me to start my day, centering, aligning, grounding, sharpening my focus, building greater awareness. And from a practical point of view, I’m not so busy and engaged in my day yet that I can willfully avoid my practice.

Make sure your family or roommates understand that for your 10 minutes or so you are UNAVAILABLE! If you want to meditate as a family, that’s fine. But otherwise, this is your private time. Do not disturb! No kids, no spouse, no phone, no doorbell…

meditation patio

Create a Mediation Space

Create a meditation space. Establish a comfortable seat. Set up a little altar or shrine. Populate it with meaningful reminders that resonate with you. Pictures, plants, candles, statuary… it doesn’t matter what it is, necessarily. What matters is that they remind you of what you are doing there. Meditation. Devotion. Outpouring. Contemplation… And then keep your space pure. Keep it tidy. Don’t leave your coffee cup on your shrine. Straighten it up once in a while. Add new things. Let it grow with your practice. Keep it sacred.

Lastly, understand that change is inevitable. Our shrines are just tools, like meditation itself. Avoid becoming too attached to the tool. We may move, so a new shrine is in order. A while back I moved six times in three years. I reestablished a new shrine at each new location. Every shrine was different depending on space and environment. What was enduring was that I immediately created a space where I could continue my practice. It might be all too easy to have just let it slide. The first thing I do is establish a meditation space.

It doesn’t take long to establish a routine. You just have to DO IT. Once you are established you will look forward to it. SELF discovery is exciting! Practice Self-discovery daily.

Monk

You’ll be amazed what you will find!

One last thing: If you are brand new to mediation, find a guided meditation class offered at a local yoga studio or spiritual center. Participating in a few of these offerings will help you develop a meditation routine for yourself. You’ll learn the philosophy of meditation and gain some insights about basic meditation techniques that might work for you. Then, ‘cut and paste’ to create a routine for yourself. And remember, your practice will change and evolve as you grow.

Be open to change. It’s inevitable.

 

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Find Your Female Warrior Goddess

HeatherAsh Amara coaches women to reclaim the Warrior Goddess energy that they have lost by undergoing physical, spiritual and emotional training…

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Women often put their partners, friends, family, and children before themselves. While they can move mountains to accomplish things for their loved ones, there can be an emotional emptiness left where they once held their own Warrior Goddess power.Warrior-Goddess-Cover-Final-662x1024

Warrior Goddess Energy

In her book, HeatherAsh Amara coaches women to find and reclaim the Warrior Goddess energy that they have lost by undergoing physical, spiritual and emotional training to unchain the inner strength inherent in every woman.

 

  • Transcend the set traditions and agendas to find what inspires you within
  • Overcome fear and doubt with resilience and mindfulness
  • Reclaim your power and energy focusing within and letting go of the idea that that you need things outside of yourself to feel complete (partner, children, career etc.)
  • Show personal strength with compassion and love.

 

Buddhist and Toltec Wisdom

HeatherAsh’s approach draws on Buddhism and Toltec wisdom, as well as ancient earth-based goddess spirituality.  As a long-time student of don Miguel Ruiz and a world-traveler, HeatherAsh trained in many different philosophies, which allows her to weave intricate threads of each of these spiritual traditions into a beautiful, cohesive tapestry.

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Begin Your Journey

Her teachings, interlaced with personal stories, rituals and exercises for Warrior-Goddesses-In-Training, encourage women to begin their own journey towards unleashing the power of their inner Warrior Goddess.

How are you finding your Goddess within?

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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3 Yoga Poses for Children

If you’re a stay at home parent, yoga and mindfulness can help to stretch and strengthen a child’s body while calming and focusing their mind…

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If you’re a stay at home parent, yoga and mindfulness can help to stretch and strengthen a child’s body while calming and focusing their mind.

Yoga Reduces Stress in Kids

Yoga contributes to improved concentration, more confidence and reduced level of stress in children. Parents should practice gentle yoga poses and breathing exercise with children and teenagers. It’s a wonderful way to help your kids reduce their stress and develop a lifelong appreciation for yoga.

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Three Yoga Practices

Here are three yoga practices you can try with your child, with video links.

1. Upward Facing Dog Pose – Calms the mind and energizes the body. Stretches the upper body area and reduces back aches.

2. Bridge Pose – Stretches your back and neck. Removes stress and strengthens the legs.

3. Mountain Pose – Improves body posture and strengthens legs and muscles.

Which are your favorite yoga practices for children?

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Yoga at Home Is Key to Healthier Lifestyle

A research report titled “Frequency of Yoga Practice Predicts Health: Results of a National Survey of Yoga Practitioners” suggests that home yoga practice is key to a healthier diet…

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A research report titled “Frequency of Yoga Practice Predicts Health: Results of a National Survey of Yoga Practitioners” suggests that home yoga practice is key to a healthier diet, exercise and improved mental health. Home practice of yoga is also a better predictor of health than years of class practice or class frequency.

Tosca Braun, a 200-hour Kripalu Yoga instructor and 500-hour Integrative Yoga Therapist notes, “In my own experience, home practice is sweetly satisfying. It can also become stale and rigid without continued inspiration from teachers or attendance at classes or retreats. Hitting the mat can sometimes become another box to check off, with my mind racing through the day’s events as I lose the anchors of body and breath. At other times, the strength or motivation to practice may desert me, due to life’s emotional upheavals. It is then that I am most likely to attend class or seek community, where I find the support, inspiration and belonging I have longed for in my home practice. When I return to my home yoga mat, it is that much sweeter for having been touched by sangha and a skillful teacher’s reminder to inhabit my body and breath with compassionate presence.”

Yoga Promises Healthier Life

According to the report, Yoga shows promise as an intervention targeting a number of outcomes associated with lifestyle-related health conditions including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cancer. While aerobic exercise long has been a valuable tool in combating these health conditions, a review of clinical trials comparing exercise to yoga found yoga to be equal or superior to aerobic exercise in improving a number of outcomes associated with chronic health conditions.

Pilgrimage Yoga Online

Home Practice is Key

The frequency of home practice appears to be very important— more important than how long an individual has been practicing or how many classes one takes. It’s not enough simply to learn how to do healthy behaviors. Rather, healthy behaviors must be incorporated into one’s daily life. While these findings suggest that individuals will only glean benefits from yoga practice that are proportional to the energy they are willing to invest in making it a part of their lives, the findings also suggest that they do not have to practice for years in order to reap the rewards.

What one practices, be it the different types of physical poses, breath work, or meditation, is important because the different aspects of yoga practice may well have different health benefits.

From: Alyson Ross, Erika Friedmann, Margaret Bevans, and Sue Thomas, “Frequency of Yoga Practice Predicts Health: Results of a National Survey of Yoga Practitioners,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 983258, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/983258

 

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Regularity and Yoga – Yogananda

We all want to look, feel and perform at our our best and yoga can help. That’s why we’re here…

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I’m have a friend who has run 2 miles a day for almost 40 years without missing a day.  He has shown up every day to run 2 miles because completing that task is high on his personal priority list.

Many of us are living lives interrupted by constant incoming messages and notifications that can intrude and capture our schedule. We all want to look, feel and perform at our our best and yoga can help. That’s why we’re here.  So how do we become regular in our personal yoga practice at home and work?

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Whatever we want to achieve from yoga practice – health, wellness, fitness, mindfulness, calmness and more – requires focus, practice and patience.  Spiritual guide Swami Paramahansa Yogananda offers empowering wisdom and inspiration on mindfulness, enthusiasm, a strong will and calmness.

yogananda

 He suggests that that “the habitual inclination of our thoughts determines our talents and abilities, and our personality.” In other words, if we envision a lifestyle where we’re practicing regularly and prioritizing health, we’re likely to see our lives transformed with an expanded horizon of opportunity. If we approach life with an attitude towards failure, prospects for success may be diminished. Here are some inspirations from Yogananda:

Be Mindful

Live each present moment completely, and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant. Do everything with full attention, never in a haphazard way.

Be Enthusiastic

Without unquenchable enthusiasm nothing can be gained.

Be Strong

Learn to keep your will strong—a calm will, not a nervous will—and your body will then be full of energy. It is by the power of will that you bring energy into the body and utilize it. The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.

Be Calm

Be calmly active and actively calm.

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Stressed at Work? Try Chair Yoga

If you’re stressed at work, one of the fastest ways to regain a sense of mindful clarity is to focus on your breath. Practice your pranayama (breathing)…

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If you’re stressed at work, one of the fastest ways to regain a sense of mindful clarity is to focus on your breath.  Practice your pranayama (breathing) in this 10 minute chair yoga video with Lena Schmidt. This includes a gentle twist and stretching of the joints. You can practice right at your desk.

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lena-schmidtLena holds degrees in ethnic studies and women’s studies and is dedicated to making yoga accessible to all. Lena’s background in gymnastics and dance has helped her finds the physicality of yoga to be a delightful and challenging way to move the body without competition.

Lena is intentional about taking yoga off the mat and loves finding the bridges between the heart and mind, the individual and community, and mindfulness and expression.

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How to Bring Yoga into the Workplace

We have lots of demands on our time and allocating time for yoga and mindfulness often falls low on our priority list. Research shows…

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We have lots of demands on our time and allocating time for yoga and mindfulness often falls low on our priority list. Research shows, however, that investing in yoga and mindfulness programs on company grounds helps staff work more productively and reduces the number of sick days.

The author of Mindful Work and New York Times reporter David Gelles see mindfulness on the rise: “I think mindfulness is being accepted in the workplace today because we need it more than ever, it seems. We are so stressed. We are so bombarded with constant information overload. We are so addicted to our technology that the promise of a technique that allows us to come back to the present moment and stop obsessing about whatever it we just read in our Twitter stream or what we’re about to post on our Facebook page has a unique and enduring allure that is totally understandable. I mean, after a totally frenetic workday here at The Times, the opportunity to quiet down is totally lovely.”

If you’re interested in setting up a company supported yoga studio where you work, here are some helpful suggestions.

Sign-up for membership

Be clear about your goals and the company’s interests

Providing wellness options for staff can take many forms. What are the you aiming at and what is the company willing to do?

• A room for yoga and meditation

• A visiting yoga/meditation teacher on hire

• A local yoga studio nearby that will offer classes at your office location

• Subsidize the cost of staff visits to a local yoga studio or meditation center

Share Pilgrimage Yoga Online

The quickest way to start an office yoga practice is to gather together friends during a lunch break and play the online yoga and meditation classes from Pilgrimage Yoga Online.  Interested staff can sign up for a membership at Pilgrimage Yoga Online and practice at home using our 300+ video classes.

Talk to Staff – Measure Interest

Talk with colleagues about starting a yoga or meditation program in the office and measure interest. If you take a survey, write down the results. If colleagues favor starting an in-office program, you can share the results with management as evidence for why you want to bring yoga and meditation practices into the workplace.

Speak to Human Resources

Once you’re clear on your objectives and have the support of staff, speak with the person who leads the human resources department. If you have a staff council representative, bring that person into the discussion. Explore the possibilities.

Employee-Supported Program

Even if your company is slow to support your yoga and meditation program, your fellow employees might want to share the cost of bringing in a yoga/meditation teacher to offer in-office classes a few times a week.

Whichever solution you choose, you and your colleagues can start an office yoga and meditation program today using the video classes and playlists at Pilgrimage Yoga Online.

Do you have questions on starting an office yoga practice? Write to us at Pilgrimage Yoga Online.

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Gentle Flow Yoga – Take it Easy

“Take it easy, take it easy – don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”. Who would have thought The Eagles could sum up…

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“Take it easy, take it easy – don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”. Who would have thought The Eagles could sum up what gentle flow yoga is all about?

Not all yoga classes have to be preparation for the Olympics. In fact, gentle yoga is just that, “gentle”, while also being invigorating and helping keep your body toned and in shape. This video from Pilgrimage Yoga, “Gentle Flow with Jamie”, shows how you can benefit from “taking it easy”. And, as it turns out, taking it easy or gentle yoga actually helps to not let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy!

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What is Gentle Yoga?

Gentle yoga is not as strenuous or difficult as “regular” yoga. Movements in gentle yoga are slower and not as difficult to get in and out of. Some of the postures, or asanas, are the same as you would normally do. However, this is not a flow where you go from down dog to plank to upward dog and back to down dog in one breath. This is gentle, slow…..easy! That doesn’t mean you’re not getting anything out of it. As we will see, it’s quite the opposite.

Like a lot of yoga sessions, this one starts with setting an intention and a proper seat position. This forms a good base from which to do other postures. Jamie walks us through a seated stretch for the side body, a seated twist and finally a seated forward fold.

After sitting, we move to tabletop pose where we are led through a series that includes Cat/Cow, modified Warrior II on one knee and Child’s pose (balasana).

Also included in this session is some instruction on Pranayama breathing – specifically alternate nostril breathing.

Benefits of Gentle Yoga and Breath

By it’s nature, gentle yoga connects movement to breath – and that’s a great thing! Since each movement is linked with the breath, we enter the posture gradually. This preparation nurtures the joints, muscles and connective tissue. In addition, some other benefits of gentle yoga include:

• Increased flexibility
• A calmed mind
• Stress relief
• Enhanced range of motion
• Balanced digestion
• Improved sleep patterns

Pranayama, or alternate breathing techniques, further assists with feeling more calm and centered, reduces anxiety and has been known to improve sleep patterns.

The video demonstrates the proper way to hold your fingers and walks you through the process of inhaling and exhaling through one nostril by blocking off the other and then doing the same with the other nostril. Surprisingly, this technique, which has been around for a long time, has students reporting they feel more calm and centered and that it helps mitigate intense emotional feelings and helps them sleep better.

Gentle Yoga and Pranayama in Daily Life

Gentle yoga and pranayama can be practiced most anywhere at any time. Sitting at your desk at work is a perfect time for a break of alternate nostril breathing. Likewise chair yoga, which can also be performed at your desk, is a form of gentle yoga. You can also practice gentle yoga at home, even from your bed. Practically speaking, gentle yoga and pranayama are available to the yogi to practice anytime, anywhere.

The overall approach to gentle yoga, however, can be summed up by our friends The Eagles:

Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand (well, maybe try)
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy.

Who said yoga had to be difficult?

Namaste

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Bliss Flow Yoga – Online video review

Throughout my practice of yoga I focused on understanding and improving the various poses (or asanas) of yoga. I have strived for…

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Throughout my practice of yoga I focused on understanding and improving the various poses (or asanas) of yoga. I have strived for the correct alignment and maximum stretch each pose can provide.

In short, I have attempted to break down every pose I’ve learned and improve upon it during my practice.

Breaking down each pose and getting more in depth is definitely worth the effort, however, another level of challenge in yoga is putting several poses together in a series or what is called “flow”.

What is Flowing Yoga?

Flowing yoga is when a few or several poses are “put together” in a series where you “flow” or go from one pose to the other while utilizing your breath to guide you from pose to pose. An example of this is Sun Salutation A or B where one “flows” from a standing mountain pose, through a forward bend and then on to a warrior pose, plank and down dog/up dog or cobra.

In this particular video with Lena Schmidt, the flow pattern she has created provides a good workout with great variety and excellent instruction. The session starts off seated and gentle with the intensity increasing as the flow gathers steam, but it’s not strenuous. Lena walks you through poses such as pigeon, down dog variations, twists and reverse table top. There is an excellent blend of seated and standing poses along with twists.

Benefits and Application

One benefit of flowing yoga is that all muscle groups receive equal attention, creating balanced strength throughout the body. The continual flowing movements help stretch and elongate your muscles while they are being strengthened, allowing you greater mobility and range of motion.

Focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath results in a positive, calming effect on the central nervous system. Physically, sweat expels toxins and re-energizes your body. Mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes your mind and helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout your body.

Knowing and practicing the individual asanas of yoga is extremely important in that they are the base for a flow sequence. You can’t do a good flow unless each pose has good form. That said, if you’re feeling confident about your individual poses, you might want to give a flow session a shot. It will take your practice to another level and offers enormous benefits. Should you decide to flow, I would highly recommend this video. Go…and flow!

Namaste

Watch this video now:

Lena Flow 30

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