Have you ever wondered what to prioritize when you are doing a yoga pose? What is the most important thing to focus on when doing Triangle? Or Downward Dog? Or Savasana? Ask 15 different yoga teachers from different yoga lineages and you will likely get 15 different answers. Is alignment the most important? Is it the breath? Awareness? Eye gaze? What is it?
I have wrestled with this question myself and have attempted to deconstruct hundreds of poses to figure out what is most important … but after 29 years of practice (yep, I’ve been practicing since I was a kid!) there is one element that I come back to again and again — and it might surprise you!
When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
Hope is having positivity, belief and faith — in yourself. Hope is perseverance, because it doesn’t give up. With a little practice, you can make hope a habit. Not only will you improve your health and fitness, but you also will improve your life.
In the spring of 2007, after the birth of my second beautiful daughter, I relapsed from the eating disorder and severe depression I suffered with in college.
After six months of draining the lives of so many family and friends, I decided to receive intensive therapy once and for all. I was losing my husband, alienating friends and family members and spending days and weeks inside the house. I had two little girls to take care of and I could barely take care of myself.
Are you crazy busy? Is there hardly a moment to catch a breath? Is your significance tied to how much you work and how much you accomplish?
We must retrain ourselves to be, not just to do; to live, not just work. It can take time and awareness to rewire yourself, but it’s not an impossible task — and you can make a significant headway with 15-30 minutes of daily yoga practice.
by Rachel Wallmuller
I consider myself to be pretty independent, taking pride in all that I have because I’ve worked hard for it.
If you asked those closest to me, they would probably tell you I’m a little too headstrong, preferring to do things myself rather than seek help. I never really considered it like this, thinking instead that I am just successfully self-sufficient. However, in the past year or so, I’ve had to soften to the experience of seeking and accepting help. For the first time, I’m learning to lean on others more than makes me comfortable and to rest easy with accepting help.
Thinking that I’ve been doing a good job with this practice, I was shocked to feel genuine discomfort when I had to ask for help from my boyfriend recently. We’re moving in together, and we have a very solid relationship, so you’d think that asking for a little assistance would be a no-brainer…
Whenever my friend Shannon can’t sleep because too many thoughts are barreling through her mind, she calls it “riding the A train.” She’ll text me at 3 a.m., “I’m on the A train again.” Of course, I get the message because I’m awake, too. My type A personality and business responsibilities are battling it out with my dire need for some mental stillness and rest.
Fortunately, I have a snooze-inducing ally in yoga, and when I get up and do the following sequence, miracles happen. In about 10 minutes, I’m back in bed, shifted toward sleep in a natural, easy way that no pill can provide.
Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner! In Los Angeles where I live, it has already started: The days are getting longer, the birds are chirping louder outside my window and I’m starting to feel that subtle energy change, both in my personal training clients and in myself!
This is the time when there is so much “newness” happening that I like to use it as a catalyst to create a resurgent flow of energy for the rest of the year. The best thing about creating this flow of energy is that the byproducts can include a fitter body, more energy and an influx of self-confidence.
But I can’t stress enough that change takes time. Starting too many things all at once usually ends in exhaustion and a feeling of “I MUST DO” instead of “I WANT TO.” One of the best ways to overcome the inertia and the absolute best way of creating a habit and sticking to it is to change slowly and repeat the new positive pattern over and over again. And over the next ten weeks, that exactly what we’re going to do!
Last week I began a discussion about a modern epidemic, a deadly disease that one of every two Americans has, a disease that’s making us fat and sick. And 90 percent of those affected don’t even know they have it!
This disease is diabesity, the continuum of abnormal biology that ranges from mild insulin resistance to full-blown diabetes.
I have found that in times of stress, physical exertion is one of the most effective and important steps to take — and it can actually help us through hard times!
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
It seems as if cold and flu season is packing an extra punch this winter. But did you know that yoga can help you fend off these illnesses?
Yoga can help protect you from marauding viral invaders like cold and flu germs because it:
- Detoxifies and oxygenates your system
- Balances the hormones you need for a strong immune system
- Reduces stress and fatigue, two precursors to lowered immunity
- Triggers acupressure points said to help evict viruses and bacteria from your body
Add these yoga poses to your regular routine and say, “Good riddance, sniffles!”