Three very easy tips on using yoga to de-stress your hectic life
By Selena Keegan
Many people miss out on the benefits of yoga because they think these benefits are only accessible to a few lucky people. If you think yoga is only for people who are younger than you, or to those lucky enough to have loads of free time, or only for individuals with naturally slender and flexible bodies, think again. Yoga offers de-stressing, healing benefits to everyone. If you can breath, you can do some form of yoga and you’ll be surprised how easy it is, and how much it can minimize both mental and physical tension
Many people move through their daily lives taking several short, quick breaths every minute. This type of breathing leaves you vulnerable to stress factors in your life and may cause chronic muscle pain, headaches, insomnia, depression and/or irritability. Learning to breathe better can dispel these symptoms.
Count the number of inhale-exhale cycles you take per minute. Then take some time to practice slowing your breath down. Slowly inhale, thinking of filling a three-quart container (the air capacity of the human lungs) from bottom to top. Then slowly exhale, emptying the lungs from top to bottom. As you practice breathing more slowly and deeply on a regular basis, you will become accustomed to using your full lung capacity. Gradually, you will find you take fewer breaths per minute. You will also find yourself becoming more resistant to the tension triggers in your life. Breathing practice is very healing on its own and it also forms the perfect foundation for the two suggestions below.
Mini-breaks of adapted stretching
Even if you are temporarily trapped in a seated position — whether an airplane seat or an office chair in a cubicle — you can still do some gentle stretching so that the time spent sitting does not leave you with muscle tension. Extend your left leg straight out in front of you, heel on the floor gently pointing your toes back toward your knee so that the back of your leg stretches. If there is space available, exhale and gently fold your upper body forward to increase the stretch, then inhale and slowly lift your upper body back to seated position and bend your knee, returning the sole of the foot to the floor. Perform this on each side.
To stretch your torso, keep your shoulders pressed to the chair back and your buttocks firmly in contact with the chair seat, then gently slide your upper body to the left until you feel a lengthening of the right side of your body. Only go as far as you comfortably can, then inhale and return to an upright position. Repeat to the opposite side. Simply taking five-minute stretch breaks a couple of times during a regular work day to do gentle stretches like these can ease the tight muscles and chronic back pain.
Practical meditation: re-setting your tension meter
Even if the demands of family and job mean you do not have time to sit in meditation for an hour, you can get some of the benefits of that practice by shifting your perspective. For example, traffic noises from the street or the sound of neighbors playing loud music can aggravate many people. Try combining some wisdom from the Serenity Prayer (“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can”) along with a bit of imagination.
Most of us do not become angry when we hear noises we accept as natural — birdsong, thunder, raindrops, etc. Practice reacting to traffic noises as if you were hearing the sound of waves rolling onto a beach. If you have to deal with situations or people you dislike, try suspending your judgment. Pretend that you are an anthropologist sent to observe another culture as objectively as possible. Try to take note of the situation with fresh eyes each time, observing new details, but letting go of any temptation to form opinions.
It will be easier to take this kind of flexible approach to daily life if you prepare yourself with at least 10 minutes of breathing practice each day, and use the breath throughout your day to help dispel any tendencies to waste emotional energy on situations you cannot alter. This kind of intelligent emotional economizing will also leave you with more energy to change the things on which you can improve.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Guys are discovering that yoga isn’t for wimps.
By Fernando Pagés Ruiz
Jay White, a University of Nebraska professor, tried yoga to relieve back pain; Karl Schiffmann, of Santa Barbara, California, thought it would help him manage his anger. Mike Shaw, a trainer at Gold’s Gym in Lincoln, Nebraska, after years of bodybuilding, turned to yoga for flexibility. Three men, three different backgrounds, but all came to yoga with one thing in common: an interest in yoga sparked by the women in their lives. In fact, many American male yoga practitioners are led to yoga this way, and most men who give it an honest effort get hooked.
White was 50 when he took his first class. He’d been a runner until an injury forced him to quit. Bored with exercise bikes and treadmills, he asked a trainer at his health club for advice. She recommended yoga. “I was skeptical,” he says. “When I walked in, there was only one other guy and a room full of women.”
But he removed his shoes, thinking, “What the heck, I’ll try it.” Four years later, he’s still at it. “When I’m doing yoga,” he says, “my cares disappear.” Outnumbered six-to-one in most classes, the men who try yoga, like White, often get more out of it than just a good workout. “Yoga showed me that I can be both strong and very loving,” says Schiffmann, who dabbled with yoga until his wife encouraged him to take it up seriously. Now a certified yoga instructor, Schiffmann says the practice is central to his personal growth. “It’s my form of warriorship,” he explains.
Schiffmann’s experience is telling, says Richard Miller, psychologist and meditation teacher: “First men see their bodies changing, then their focus.”
Steve Dwelley, who leads Ashtanga classes in Santa Barbara, California, thinks “yoga has been toned down for Western consumption, losing men in the process.” Yoga is taught differently in India, says Dwelley, where it was cultivated for thousands of years by Brahmin men—and it’s anything but gentle. “We’ve adopted yoga on a feminist model,” he says, “but yoga has plenty to attract men.” The Indian masters aren’t softies, Dwelley claims, “They’re fierce.”
But San Francisco trial attorney Ike Lasater, who started yoga in college, says being more “open” has allowed him to take risks and made him feel more powerful.
The numbers are still small, but many yoga teachers, like Noll Daniel of New York City, say more men are coming to class lately, and “a few are even starting to bring their wives or girlfriends along.”
Evidence That Iyengar Yoga Can Ease Your Chronic Back Pain
This Health Alert is intended for readers interested in learning about the prevention, diagnosis, and management of back pain.
Ready to try something new for your back pain? Iyengar yoga may be the way to go.
There’s nothing new in the world of exercises for back pain, correct? Not exactly. In fact, there’s more evidence that yoga—specifically, Iyengar yoga—can help alleviate chronic back pain.
There are many schools or types of yoga. Iyengar yoga (named for its developer, B.K.S. Iyengar) features precise alignment and props such as blankets, bolsters, and chairs. The props help people who are less flexible and/or are injured achieve the correct yoga poses. The attention to alignment helps prevent further injury.
Iyengar yoga teachers are trained with a premium on knowledge and a stepladder of increasing levels of accreditation. Even at the entry level, certified teachers undergo a rigorous education program that includes in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and demonstrated expertise in teaching.
In the first randomized trial of Iyengar yoga and back pain, 60 participants were placed in either a yoga group or an educational group. Both programs lasted 16 weeks. Participants had experienced low back pain for an average of 11.2 years, and 48% used pain medication. At the end of the study and at a three-month follow-up, those in the yoga group had significant reductions in pain intensity, functional disability (including spinal range of motion), and use of pain medication. The results compare favorably with results obtained with physical therapy.
Evidência que Iyengar Yoga pode aliviar as dores crónicas de costas
Esta informação sobre a saúde é destinada a leitores interessados em conhecer métodos de prevenção das dores de costas.
Está pronto para tentar um novo método contra dores de costas? O “Iyengar Yoga” pode ser o seu alívio.
Não há nada de novo no mundo dos exercícios contra dores de costas!? Não é verdade, porque há evidência que o Yoga, e mais especificamente o Iyengar Yoga ajudam a aliviar dores crónicas de costas.
Há um grande número de conceitos ou tipos de Yoga. A ideia do Iyengar Yoga(nome segundo o mentor, B.K.S. Iyengar) baseia-se no alinhamento preciso da postura com “ajudas externas” como mantas, almofadas e cadeiras. Estes meios auxiliares ajudam aquelas pessoas que têm menos flexibilidade ou lesões, a atingir a posição correcta de yoga. A atenção para o alinhamento evita as possíveis dores no futuro.
A formação dos instrutores de Iyengar Yoga contém um sistema rigoroso de diferentes níveis de conhecimento e certificação. Mesmo no nível inicial, os instrutores submetem-se a um programa intensivo de aprendizagem que inclui o conhecimento profundo da anatomia e fisiologia bem como a prova de competência didáctica.
Na primeira experiência aleatória (Iyengar Yoga e dores de costas) 60 participantes foram divididos num programa de yoga e num programa educativo durante 16 semanas. Os participantes tinham tido problemas ou dores lombares, em média, durante 11,2 anos e 48 % deles até usavam medicação. No final do estudo bem como no reexame depois de 3 meses, demonstrou-se claramente que os do programa de Yoga tinham reduções significativas da intensidade das dores, da incapacidade funcional (incluíndo o aumento da amplitude de movimentos da coluna vertebral), e do uso da medicação. Estes resultados são ainda melhores do que os obtidos através de uma fisioterapia.
Caso queira ler o artigo completo (em inglês): http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/back_pain_osteoporosis/JohnsHopkinsHealthAlertsBackPainOsteoporosis_496-1.html
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How Yoga Can Bring Down Attrition and
Absenteeism Rates in the Workplace
By Paul Catiang
“In Germany, yoga is part of most insurance packages,” says Clé Souren, a veteran yoga practitioner and instructor in the Iyengar yoga approach. “It’s very cost-effective, since it doesn’t require a lot of equipment, and preventive medicine and therapy costs much less than an actual cure. All the national insurance companies have yoga in their package. They also offer therapeutic yoga. Companies made yoga mandatory. Absenteeism rates go down and there are huge savings. In Holland, there is a 7 to 10 percent absenteeism rates. There is a 50-percent absenteeism rate among emergency medical technicians, especially among ambulance crews.” In Mr. Souren’s experience, and judging from the opinions of the national insurance companies in Europe, yoga’s therapeutic value is held in high esteem when it comes to reducing absenteeism and attrition.
In the Philippines, high turnover, absenteeism and low productivity are all prevalent issues across industries. These are caused, for the most part, by health problems, but morale and interpersonal friction are also known causes. Many companies—particularly outsourcing firms, with their high-pressure environments and night shifts—have been exploring other strategies of reducing attrition and absenteeism.
One of these possible solutions is yoga. John Clements has tried out some yoga techniques in a class taught by Laura Naulty at the company’s May Sales and Production Conference.
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