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7 Steps To Mastering Yoga Asana

On one level, mastering yoga asana means to achieve strength and flexibility and to be able to get in the many variations of the pose. On the second level, it means to stay conscious in an asana with constant awareness.

Yoga asana is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and it is essential to reach the highest level of practice to achieve the highest level of consciousness. In Yoga Sutras, there are seven steps which lead Yogis to the mastering of yoga asana.

1. Mastering Of The Ujjayi breathing – this means to connect the breath with the mind and to be aware of the proper movement of the ribcage and muscles involved in breathing. It allows us to become more present. Ujjayi sound is the mantra in yoga asana.

2. Breath Moves The Spine – the focus of this step is connecting the Ujjayi sound with the actions of the ribcage and the muscles responsible for breathing and feeling how this moves the spine.

3. Breath Moves The Body – after connecting mind, breath, and spine, we add the movement of the limbs. Breath prepares the body, so the movement is done without effort. We should be aware of this during the entire practice.

4. Sthira Sukham Asanam – the most important principle. It means to enter the pose with steadiness and ease. Only when we calm our body and senses, our attention can go inward towards our mind and spirit. When mentioning this principle in his Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali was referring to the pose in which we are meditating. But these days more and more Yogis practice this principle in other poses too. We have to focus on the area we are stretching and set the intention to relax that part. We try to stay grounded and steady, with controlled breath and thoughts.

5. Application Of Bandhas, Mudras, And Kriyas In The Practice Of Yoga Asana. With the practice of kriyas, we purify our body so that bandhas and mudras are more effective. Kriyas promote localized energy movements; we practice to reach a specific result. Bandhas contract specific muscles to intensify the energy in the particular area of the body. Mudras are gestures, mostly done with hands, which strengthen the energy movement already created by the posture.

6. Adding Mantra To The Practice – the goal is to connect specific mantras with chakras in different parts of the body, depending on the Asana. The vibration of the mantra reaches certain centers of energy in the body and transfers this energy through the nervous system to different organs.

7. Development Of Inner Awareness – We start to recognize our body as the expression of the Pure Consciousness and come closer to becoming one with God. As we move through the poses, we feel this consciousness moving within us to different parts of our body. When we lose the differences between mind, breath, and body and become whole, is when we truly mastered yoga. 

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Comfy Must Haves for Meditation

Meditation is an important practice, but it’s a hard practice to master. It’s even harder to get it right when we’re distracted, so it’s important to make sure that your clothing and environment won’t cause any unnecessary distractions. Everything surrounding you while you meditate should give you positive vibes that make you feel happy, comfortable, and provide visual appeal.

To set yourself up for meditative success, create a practice area in your home where you can meditate distraction-free. This space should be comfortable and created just for you. Make it a place where you can seek relaxation and solace to meditate regularly. Explain to your roommates, family, and friends that this is a sacred space just for you and that you need some time distraction-free for meditating. As you begin to create your meditation space, fill it with the following comfy must-haves:

Meditation Pillow

Adding lovely décor to your meditation space will improve the quality of your practice by making you more physically comfortable. It’s much easier to stay in a seated position and maintain proper spine alignment if you are sitting on a meditation pillow. Your meditation pillow doesn’t have to be anything special, but it should provide sufficient padding to soften the strain of sitting on a hard surface for an extended period of time. A simple meditation pillow is the quickest way to improve your practice.

Green Plants

Green plants filter the air and bring new life into a room. They are a symbol of intention, caring, and nourishment which will add greatly to your meditation space. Fill this space with attractive green plants that will allow you to breathe in fresh, clean air while you sink into your meditations. Some options for air cleansing green plants include Aloe Vera, bamboo, snake plant, ficus, and peace lily.

Music

Music can be soothing and set the mood for meditation, especially for beginners who have trouble relaxing. Play calming music to help you de-stress and unwind, or try an app for guided meditation, especially if you are new to meditating. If you choose music over guided meditation, make sure it’s something without words to help ease distractions.

Candles

Candles are gentle on the eyes and the open flame usually creates a sense of calm. Choose candles in a gentle scent and allow the warm glow to help you ease into a proper meditative state. Some people also find that focusing on the gentle flame allows them to clear their minds and sink in meditation.

Comfy Clothes

This is the number one comfy must-have for meditation. Comfortable womens gym clothes are essential to helping you relax and practice meditation distraction-free. Being uncomfortable makes meditation impossible so you don’t want a tight waist, itchy tags, or any other distracting or uncomfortable clothing that prevents you from focusing and relaxing. Eliminate any potential distractions by wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that fall away from the body.

Now that you’ve created a distraction-free meditation space, keep in mind that meditation is still a difficult practice. It takes time and patience so start slow, and increase the time of your practice as you grow and become more comfortable sitting in meditation.

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Does The Design Of Your Yoga Mat Matter?

Have you been in the market for a new yoga mat recently? If you have, you may have been overwhelmed at the sheer selection available, even from major retailers that don’t specialize in yoga gear. Where there was once just a rainbow of colors to choose from, there are now patterns and designs aplenty to satisfy any design preference. 

While you may be quickly overwhelmed by the abundance of yoga mats, does the design of your mat really matter to your practice? 

Instead of standing in the aisles for hours while you decide which pattern will enhance your practice, try to keep these tips in mind. They can help you to figure out what’s most important to you and how your yoga practice can benefit from a new mat:


  • Color Can Really Alter Your Mood And Prana Energy

There’s an entire field of psychology dedicated to color theory. The way that a particular shade makes you feel when you see it is a subconscious reaction. For example, blue and green usually have the capacity to make you feel more relaxed. Meanwhile, yellow can make you feel more alert and give you additional energy. 

You may want to consider what type of color could enhance your mood. Do you need help slowing down and paying attention to the breath? If anxiety frequently overwhelms you during your practice, a cooler color may be an ideal choice for you. 

If you seem to be lacking the necessary energy to pull yourself through a vigorous yoga routine, a brighter color may inspire you to push yourself harder through one more vinyasa. You may find yourself moving into each asana with renewed energy when surrounded by bright and warm colors. 

The Design May Have A Meaning 

Do you ever feel like you need a visual reminder to maintain your intentions? Sometimes having a picture of something that allows you to ground yourself in practice is helpful. Many yoga mat manufacturers try to select images and patterns that resonate with the yogis who use them. 

Yogis who struggle to stay grounded in their practice may love the imagery of a tree beneath them. Similarly, a wandering mind may be better anchored by an ohm symbol or experience more peace with a lotus flower nearby. A swirling pattern of dots and lines could help you to focus your drishti on one set spot as you untangle their complicated weave. 

Don’t Be Distracted By The Pattern

Is there such a thing as too much color and pattern on your yoga mat? Small amounts of well-placed color psychology and imagery can guide yogis deeper into their practice. However, loud bursts of color and heavy patterning could actually be a distraction from the asana in your practice. 

If you choose to use a mat with a color or design to deepen your yoga practice, be careful that it doesn’t become a dangerous distraction. These mats certainly have plenty of benefits when used properly in a regular yoga practice.

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How Music Can Enhance Your Yoga Experience

 

 

While there are some who feel that incorporating music into yoga can be detrimental, certain yoga teachers have taken careful consideration to this. They have come up with powerful playlists to enhance their classes. Why take all the trouble of doing this? Here are 6 key benefits that you can get by incorporating music into your yoga class.

Stress Management

In the world we live in today, there is so much stress in the environments that we work in. It is therefore not uncommon to feel exhausted after a day’s work. One of the best ways to deal with such stress is to go to a yoga class that incorporates music into the movements. Pleasant soft music can aid in calming your emotions and relaxing your mental faculties.

 

Is a Healing Aid

There are numerous studies that have conclude that music has a healing effect. People have recovered much more quickly after surgery just by listening to music. Are you ailing emotionally? Have you lost a loved one and you just can’t seem to manage your sorrow? Then listening to music during a yoga meditation exercise can be a wonderful way to heal.

This not only heals your mental wounds but also physical ones. Your brain has the power to restore health to your physical body. That is why listening to positive music has the seemingly magic power to restore health to affected body tissues.

 

Can Help Increase the Level of Concentration

There is a difference between concentration and meditation. Concentration entails focusing your mind towards achieving one goal. With music, it easy to block out other external dictations such noisy neighborhoods or honking vehicles.

Since yoga offers a terrific opportunity to meditate, even on other aspects of your life, music can help you concentrate on building positive thoughts while practicing yoga.

 

Improving Memory

Another key benefit of music is improving memory. By clearing stressful thoughts, it is possible to have a higher capacity to recall. That is why people say that when they hear a certain song, they remember certain things that happened then.

 

Aid in Momentum

In Vinyasa yoga, the poses and the movements are much faster and intricately connected. Without some sort of directional instructions, one can be left behind as other move along. That is why some tutors aid their students by calling out the movements or breathing motions. Instead of this, music is a much better aid in making such movement more natural. As long as there are no distracting lyrics, the music can be of great benefit. Try it and see the difference.

 

It’s Inspirational

The reason why some yogis are careful in choosing their playlists is the effect they desire to draw from it. With the right that inspires, it is possible to improve one’s resolve in life. This is especially possible when inspirational words are consumed during a meditation session.

For someone who has lost hope in life or one who is feeling distraught, music is key. A few sessions of listening to inspirational music can leave one feeling great and motivated. With the right choice of music in yoga, it is possible to change one’s state of mind.

 

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5 Ways to Naturally Combat Seasonal Allergies

Allergy season is upon us and if you have been depending on over the counter antihistamines to help with the sniffles and sneezes, it might be time to try an alternative solution.  What if I told you there were more natural and holistic ways to battle seasonal allergies? Many of those medications might work but they also have some not so pleasant side effects. These 5 remedies work the best and although they won’t be as immediately effective as a medication, they contain natural ingredients and will help you long term. You can now spring clean your medicine cabinet once and for all!

1.      Honey – Something you will most likely already have in your pantry. The best type is raw, local honey from wherever you live. Studies have shown that consuming honey from your area will help your body adjust to whatever allergens are in the environment and build up immunity. It’s basically a natural allergy shot without any side effects. You can either put a teaspoon of honey in a cup of hot tea or take it by the spoonful, multiple times throughout the day. It’s recommended that you do this a month or two before allergy season starts up to get the most benefit.

2.     Quercetin – This has a funny name but can banish allergy symptoms like a boss. Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that has been proven to stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine, a major cause of allergy symptoms. This is an herbal supplement and as with all supplements of any kind, you should consult with your physician before taking. It’s recommended you begin taking Quercetin 6 weeks pre-allergy season. Although you can find this herb in food sources such as broccoli and citrus fruits, it’s difficult to get the amount needed to alleviate allergies from food alone.

3.     Probiotics – If you aren’t already taking probiotics as part of your daily supplement regime, you need to get on it! Probiotics offer a wide array of benefits and are vital to promoting positive gut health. An imbalance in the immune system and not enough beneficial bacteria in the gut is a recipe for a full-blown allergy attack. By taking probiotics, you are balancing your gut bacteria in a positive way and that can have a substantial impact on allergy symptoms.  You have some options when it comes to probiotics – the best way is to eat fermented foods and consume drinks such as kimchi or Kombucha. An alternate way is to take a probiotic supplement. If you go that route, make sure it is a quality brand.

4.     Neti Pot – This option might not be right for everyone because it can be a bit uncomfortable. Neti Pots have been used for centuries and tout many health benefits, including allergy relief. The theory is, by using a Neti Pot filled with a saline solution you can flush out the sinuses and get rid of any allergens and inflammation. Start by filling a Neti Pot with a sterile saline solution. You can make your own by boiling distilled water and dissolving a teaspoon of Himalayan salt. Cool before pouring into the Neti Pot. Pour the solution through one nostril and let it drain out of the other. If this is too scary for you, you can use a sterile saline nose spray, which will offer you the same benefits.

5.     Apple Cider Vinegar – Quite possibly one of the best ways to battle seasonal allergies and a number of other health conditions, apple cider vinegar is a must-have in any holistic household. ACV can be used for anything from heartburn relief to aid in fat loss and is super effective in reducing mucous production and treating seasonal allergies. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink up to three times a day. Make sure the apple cider vinegar has “The Mother”, a colony of beneficial bacteria that isn’t present in all brands.

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