Hot Yoga Lifestyle

Revitalise your soul & body with yoga

Month: May 2017

YOGA SYMBOLS DICTONARY

As you are becoming more and more aware of yoga, you will also come across some ancient yoga symbols. They are known as yoga symbols because my practising the yogi kind of lifestyle you are more than likely to come across them and it can be liberating to know what these symbols mean.

These symbols can also be somewhat spiritual and are not restricted to yoga alone because Yoga is about the mind, body and spirit.

Here are some of the symbols that are most commonly noted in yoga. We have A Mala, Om or Aum for pronunciation sake, Hamsanand, The Tree of Life, The Mandala, The Chakras, Ganesh or Ganesha and Buddha.

These are all great and interesting words to mention but what do they mean? What do they stand for? How are they important when you are practising Yoga?

Let’s explore them one by one;

A Mala

These are usually made into beads which are used as a tool when practising yoga because they are worn by people who are into spiritual practices….not the voodoo kind of practice….. And yogi’s who literally is everyone that practices yoga.

They are also used as part of a healing process that acts as a reminder of what one might be going through. It is liberating!

Om or Aum

This represents a sound or a vibration sound of the whole universe. This is widely used when meditating in Yoga and it is often chanted and the beginning and end of the meditation. The word comes from Indian religions such as Buddhism and the sound Om symbolises the any different types of states that we normally have in our lives, whether we are asleep, awake and strangely enough in between.

The Lotus

A lotus is a natural flower that generally originates from Asia particularly in the south and Australia. The lotus flower grows in streams on mud and the worst possible conditions, but despite this, it still comes out to be a beautiful flower.

This is yoga symbolises how as people we can overcome the obstacles that come our way in this journey that we call life and still flourish. It represents spiritual growth and development

The Tree of Life

The tree of life connects us all. This symbol represents the existence of people, the heavens and the skies. It is a symbol that represents unity for all forms of life, from mother Earth to the Universe.

The Mandala

This is an ancient word that means circle. This represents how as people we are widely connected to a wider universe.

The way this works is that one has to focus on a mandala or be able to visualise one. This is used when meditation because it helps draw attention to our inner self and puts one into a conscious stake which is where we normally want to be in when we meditate.

Hamsa Hand

This hand as it is also called ‘the hand of Fatima’ is believed to protect people from the ‘evil eye’. The evil eye in Yoga represents bad luck, evil spirits or some negative energy.

Having this as an amulet, or wearing it, or even having a piece of this inside your house is believed to offer your home or you with some protection from evil spirits, bad energy or negative energy and protection against evil spirits.

The Chakras

Chakra means wheel, and it originates from India. This system originates from India and represents the balance of life. If you have one Chakra out of balance, it affects all of the Chakras.

What this means is that there are things such as being upset, being tired, being stressed or even sickness that has an effect on specific Chakras but meditation and other practices in yoga that can help bring all these areas into balance for a much more healthier you.

The Buddha 

Buddha means ‘he who is awake’. This is linked or associated with a Crown Chakra which means enlightenment; this includes being able to discover the meaning of life.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON YOGA BENEFITS

There is a lot of scientific research that is being done to show how yoga can improve the most common disorders that people have, especially in mental illness patients that suffer from a lot of anxieties.

Sat Bir Khalsa an Assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School explains in a documentary that was aired which outlines the scientific benefits that there are four components that make yoga what it is which are as follows;

The first component he explains that the Physical postures, the stretching, the exercises the breathing techniques, the exercises and the movements and the relaxation techniques all make yoga into what it is. A combination of all these that make yoga what it is.

The second component is Self-regulation which is the ability to control our stress response and also our emotional response that also adds an extra element to yoga.

The third component is Cultivation of the mind. This is a sense of being able to sense and feel what is going on in the body and to mentally observe the flow of thought that leads that leads to an increased mindfulness that has the ability to change behaviors in the most positive way.

The fourth component is being able to experience deeper states that make people have a much more positive lifestyle.

What you will find though is that the people that have experienced the benefits of Yoga do not actually need to be convinced of what Yoga can actually do for them.

The Research and the Benefits

Michael de Manincor Psychologist and Director of the Yoga Institute conducted a research where he observed a group of people that severe depression and anxiety disorders over a 6 week period.

What they did is they observed these people as they did Yoga for twelve minutes a day over the six week period and compared them to similar patients that were taking drugs for the same disorders.

The result was a 33% reduction in their disorders as a result of doing Yoga. They saw a reduction in depression.

Overall anxiety and psychological disorders and an increase in resilience which is the most important measure in mental health patients.

There are a lot of prescription drugs that have been designed to alleviate a lot of symptoms, but what we must understand is that these drugs also come with side effects that can harm the body.

At the end of the day, it seems better to look for much healthier and safer ways to help alleviate these symptoms and conditions that we have and Yoga is designed to help improve some of these problems that we may have.

RELIEVE YOUR BACK PAIN WITH YOGA

You have worked hard all day and all week and spent a countless number of hours on that desk, and not to mention that your mobility has been close to zero, it is enough to tighten your hips because the better part of the day is spent being immobile!

There are some yoga poses that can help the body recover from the hours that are spent sitting on that desk. What I would love to do is to share some poses that will help relieve some of that back pain that comes as a result of this for a much more flexible you!

Lower back pains I a very common complaint in those people that have tight hips and nothing stresses a person out even more than a lower back pain that will not go away.

One of the ways to relieve that back pain is by performing the ‘tree pose ‘that is aimed at improving that posture, that bad posture that we develop through sitting on a desk for a very long time!

Emotional benefits of the Tree Pose

In 2015, Justin and his wife Sophie did tree pose — with Trudeau in a full suit — impressing Canadians and yogis alike by maintaining excellent form, keeping their feet away from their knees.

The tree pose helps you with your balance, but what it will also do is to help you gain your physical and mental steadiness.

Performing this pose improves one’s concentration and at the same time also helps calm your mind. By keeping calm and focused while maintaining a pose like a tree, balancing your body on one foot will teach you to be steady no matter what the outside situations might be, like a tree! The beautiful thing about trees is that no matter the circumstance, a tree will always maintain its balance….

This pose teaches one to have a meditative state of mind even in the outside world. This goes beyond the yoga classes that you might have.

It teaches you that you can always bring calmness and that you can also be able to focus in all situations whether you are at work, or even at home. It gives you that sense of balance for both the mind, body, and soul.

Restorative Yoga for neck and Shoulders

Forget massages, forget to go to a therapist and having them focus on fixing your neck, shoulders and your upper back, there are a number of restorative yoga exercises that you can do to help you combat this problem.

Let us have a look at some poses that can help restore your body and help relieve that tension that comes as a result of slouching and folding your shoulders forward.

An example of a pose that is likely to achieve this is the ‘Eagle pose’.

This pose opens up your joints and brings your elbow in line with your shoulders. if you are a beginner or is probably doing this pose for the first time it can be difficult to bind the crossed leg around your ankle so the simplest way that you can achieve this is by simply crossing your leg around your ankle and then you press the edge of your pinkie toe on the side of the calf that you are standing on.

This is just one of the many poses that can help restore the tension that can build up around the neck and shoulders.

 

 

EXPLORE THE PEACOCK POSE (MAYURASANA) WITH JUSTIN TRUDEAU

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is well known for many things. Whether it is his inclusiveness on gender and race, his strong faith in the American people, his warmth toward refugees, his ability to ignite the world’s best bromance with President Obama, but we also got to know him as a man with an impressive upper body strength.

There are pictures of Justin Trudeau performing many different styles of yoga, including the famous picture of him performing the Peacock Pose or Mayurasana in what appears to be a conference room.

When we talk about the peacock pose or Mayurasana is an asana where a person makes a pose that resembles a peacock.

How do you achieve this pose?

To achieve this Mayurasana pose, you will have to get on your hands and knees…..don’t forget your yoga mat!

You will then need to turn your hands out and then around so that your fingers are facing backwards. It sounds complicated, but it is easily achieved! Don’t forget to breathe………….

Check that your hands are about 6 inches apart because you want to have that little bit of space, bend your elbows and then lower your back as you are doing this onto your upper arm.

At this point your elbows will be in your lower abdomen, you then bring your upper arms to a point so that they are exactly parallel to the ground, lean your body forward…..don’t forget to breathe, very important! And then you will extend your body forward while at the same time extending your legs and then you lift them off the ground!

This may sound a bit complicated and probably something that may come across as unachievable, but it works!

Mayurasana Benefits and Precautions

Tip; your stomach must be empty if you are to perform this asana!

I would recommend that you have your meals at least six hours before you attempt or do this asana that way your food is all digested and that you have enough energy that you can actually devote to performing this asana.

The best times to practice this asana is in the morning because, at that time, the food that you would have eaten the night before would have been nicely digested and let’s face it, most of us have our bowel movements in the morning so you literally have a clear digestive system to start off with.

A definite plus!

Benefits of Mayurasana in Points 

  • It strengthens your upper body muscles and gives you that upper body strength, it also strengthens your legs as you stretch them out to achieve the pose. Your back will love you for this!
  • It is useful because it improves the digestive system especially in people that normally get constipated quite often.
  • It also improves the spinal cord by making it much straighter and improves any problem that you might have with your spinal cord.
  • It stimulates one’s metabolism, induces the pancreas to regulate that body sugar which then helps in the prevention of diabetes.
  • It also has that tendency to reduce any cholesterol build up that may accumulate in the areas that are around your stomach.

 

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