June 28, 2007

How To Reduce Your Asthma With Yoga

Yoga has been a revelation for many people. They have found that they can improve the quality of their life with the power of yoga. Yoga combines both physical and mental activities, so it engages your whole body rather than just part of it. Some of the benefits of yoga include better breathing, easier relaxation and relief from the symptoms of asthma.

The reason that yoga can help with your asthma is that by using yoga, you will get your body back to a more natural state. Both your body and your mind will be less stressed.

Relaxation and deep breathing were made for each other. Both of them help you to calm down, clear your mind and re-energize your body. By spending a few minutes taking slow, controlled breaths and paying attention to your breathing rather than taking it for granted, you will notice that your breathing automatically becomes calmer. Rather than it's "normal", hyper-active state. In turn, this will bring more energy into your body and calm you down.

Try out this simple breathing relaxation exercise. Read the instructions through a couple of times and then start.

1. Sit down, making sure that your posture is good and your spine is straight as possible.

Place your feet flat on the floor and check that your knees are directly over your feet. Place your hands on top of your legs.

2. Gently close your eyes.

3. Concentrate your thoughts on your ribs and your lungs. Inhale slowly and deeply. Notice your lungs filling up and your ribs expanding outwards and upwards. Then slowly exhale, again noticing your lungs slowly releasing the air you've just breathed in and your ribs gradually going back in and down.

4. Repeat this routine once a day for up to 3 minutes when you first start out. Over the coming days, gradually increase up to 5 and then 10 minutes throughout the day as necessary.

Yoga breathing exercises have been shown to help sufferers of mild asthma. You may still need your medication and any other health devices, although you should notice that you need them less and less as you practice these techniques.

Discover more about the natural treatment of asthma together with other ways that you can reduce or eliminate your asthma naturally.

How To Reduce Your Asthma With Yoga by Norman Hurst

May 28, 2007

Top 5 Natural Ways To Reduce Your Blood Pressure

by vitalgirl
1. Try Yoga: Yoga is a great way to reduce stress, which contributes to hypertension. But there are some poses in particular recommended for those wanting to improve their cardiac health. These include:

* forward bends like virasana and upavista konasana, which are both sitting postures.
* horizontal asanas which allow the heart beat to slow down when they are practised slowly and rhythmically
* asanas like uttanasana and adhomukha savasana

2. Regular exercise: It doesn't have to be yoga. Any regular exercise like walking, biking or gardening is great for lowering blood pressure. Your physician will be able to give you an exercise plan that suits your heart condition and physical fitness levels. It's important not to overdo it too quickly. Tai chi is actually an excellent way to reduce hypertension. Like yoga, it is relaxing, rhythmical, a stress reducer, and has great benefit on the nervous and parasympathetic systems within the body.

Having a regular exercise program may even reduce your need for blood pressure medication.

3. Eat more bananas! Bananas are high in potassium, which is great for reducing hypertension. Other dietary improvements include eating more fruit and vegetables generally. Studies have found 8 servings of fruit and vegetables daily to be preferable, with these having a particular benefit for cardiovascular health:

* Lettuce
* spinach
* cauliflower
* cabbage
* broccoli
* swiss chard
* citrus fruits

And when these changes are combined with exercise, there are more significant improvements in blood pressure.

4. Make sure you get your folic acid: A study by the Harvard Medical School looked at the benefits of folic acid on blood pressure, and found it to be highly beneficial, particularly amongst younger women. It seemed to have a protective effect against hypertension. Younger women who took at least 1mg of folic acid a day lowered their risk of hypertension by 46%. Older women who had reasonable amounts of folic acid daily lowered their risk by 18%. The study was conducted on 156,000 nurses, 19,720 of whom had high blood pressure.

5. Blessed chocolate: Dark chocolate, and foods and supplements that had high levels of cocoa including chocolate confectionary, cocoa sandwich filling and drinks, have been found to be associated with a lower blood pressure and reduced risk of dying from any cause in a small study conducted on 470 elderly men (they were on average 72 7ears old). The study followed them for 15 years, and those that ate more than 2.3 grams of cocoa a day had lower blood pressure than those that didn't. Researchers believe it is the flavanol component of cocoa that provides this beneficial effect.

Before thinking this is a green light to eat lots of chocolate, you'll need about 100 grams of dark chocolate a day to get the blood pressure benefits. That equates to an extra 500 calories per 100 grams, with an average fat content of 30%. Raw cocoa is not well taken by people when it is eaten in large amounts. The calorie and fat considerations need to be taken into account, although there are some chocolate bars out there that have a higher flavanol content.

About the Author

For high blood pressure herbs, check this article. For other articles on blood pressure, click here.

May 27, 2007

Headstand and Inversion Yoga Poses - A Primer

by vitalgirl
Headstand (salamba shirshasana) is one of the yoga poses that are considered inversion poses. Inversion poses involve any asanas that lift the feet above the head. Other inversion poses that are well known include shoulderstand (salamba sarvangasana) and half shoulder stand (viparita karani). But even lying on the floor with your legs on a chair is an inversion pose.

The concept behind inversion poses is expressed in yoga texts as viparita karani. Viparita karani is translated as meaning 'opposite process'. This simply means facilitating a different perspective. From the purely physical point of view, this different perspective in inversion poses is literal - in terms of looking at the world from a different physical viewpoint - as well as involving the body being supported in a different way.

But as yoga is more than simply physical exercises, there are other processes that are assisted. A lot of yoga is designed to help us change mental habits as well as physical habits. Through increasing our ability to adapt to change, instead of being stuck in old habitual responses, we increase our capacity for growth and transformation. This applies in all areas of our lives.

There is a theoretical concept in yoga about why inversion postures help. Ayurveda considers that many of the body's impurities are in the lower abdomen. When we raise our feet above the head, gravity is assisting us to move these impurities towards what the Ayurvedic system calls agni, or 'fire'. Agni particularly relates to our 'digestive fire', and is thus located above our lower abdomen.

So, by being upside down, and by using the deep and slow breathing typical of yoga, we help 'burn off' the impurities that were previously stuck.

Improved circulation is a more readily apparent and less 'esoteric' benefit of inversion yoga poses.

Whilst inversion postures have many health benefits, the ability of an individual to receive those benefits depends as much on their capacity to comfortably hold these sometimes difficult postures. For example, headstand and shoulder stand should simply not be done if people are pregnant, have neck pain, high or low blood pressure, neck injuries, or are menstruating. And neither of these postures should be attempted without the appropriate preparatory postures. Otherwise the risk is there that an injury, or stiffness, particularly to the neck area, will result.

Likewise, if doing these postures is very uncomfortable and difficult, more benefit will be derived from doing either the modified versions, or simply working on other yoga poses that strengthen these areas.

There are several important prerequisites for getting the most benefit fro inversions. The first one, a strong neck, I've mentioned. The others are a strong back and abdominal muscles, and the capacity to breathe well whilst in the posture. The latter is going to get better with practice, both of yoga itself and the inversions. It is also somewhat tied into having a strong back. Our back and stomach muscles will provide the support to hold the legs straight, which inturn opens up the thoracic cavity, and increases our ability to breathe well whilst upside down!

Tips for Doing the Inverted Postures

For Half Shoulder stand:

* Lengthen the exhale
* Don't lock the chin
* Keep your weight not on the head but on the wrists and elbows
* Don't try to pull your torso (and legs) into the vertical like in full shoulder stand if you have difficulties with your neck. By doing so, you're placing more pressure on your neck.
* Make sure you do the appropriate balancing postures afterwards. These include shalabhasana and bhujangasana

For Shoulder stand:

* Don't worry so much about keeping your elbows and arms parallel. This will create more tension in your neck if you're not proficient in this posture.
* Do the appropriate balancing postures. These are the same as for half shoulder stand.

For Headstand:

* Don't ever make adjustments whilst in headstand. If you feel your alignment is not quite right, come down and do it again.
* Never do this posture first up, or without the prerequisite postures. It will lead to stiffness in the neck at best, and injury at worst. And the negative effects can build up over time. This posture is never done traditionally without preparation, and there is reason for this.
* Use a wall for support as a learning stage
* Support your head with all of your fingers, including the little fingers and thumbs
* Finding the right position for your head will make sure weight is distributed evenly, and ensure you don't have to overly press down with your elbows to compensate
* Think of the support for the whole body as being distributed evenly across both elbows and the head
* Don't hold your weight too much on the back of your body. It will place too much pressure on your neck.
* Don't use props that allow the neck to be free. It will lead to the neck muscles contracting
* Use the balancing postures. Shoulder stand is the traditional, but Mohan recommends half shoulder stand instead
* Rest your neck before doing the balancing postures, however. Lie down with your legs bent.
* Other balancing postures include chakravakasana, dvipada pitham with the arms, and shalabhasana

There may be fears or a sense of limitation about doing inversion poses that will be confronted. Sometimes, it's best to start an asana gradually. Shoulder stand comes with a few variations that you can use to build up strength and flexibility, as well as overcome any fear based feelings about the posture and your ability to do it.

Overcoming the fear, and finally being able to do a difficult pose that you thought you couldn't, can create positive psychological effects. When we prove to ourselves that our fears don't bind us, that we can move beyond our limitations, we are more able to make changes in other areas of our lives where before we thought it just wasn't possible.

References: A.G.Mohan, Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind

About the Author

If you'd like instructions on how to do shoulder stand, complete with pictures, click here. For information on ashtanga yoga, check out this article on the truth and myth of ashtanga yoga.

Tips On Getting The Most Out Of Corpse Pose In Yoga

by vitalgirl
Shavasana, or corpse pose, is usually done at the end of most yoga sessions. It is a deceptively simple posture, as there is no twisting, or stretching or anything that is usually associated with the asanas. However, corpse pose is an important part of the restorative yoga postures. And it is considered one of the most difficult postures to do correctly.

Shavasana is more about being than doing, and as such it touches on the fundamentals of what yoga is trying to achieve. The sequence of asanas beforehand has helped train the body and mind for this period of relaxation, and in the corpse pose we integrate the experience we have just had with yoga into our conscious and subconscious mind.

There are many restorative postures, or variations in yoga, but shavasana allows the most relaxation. Its benefits include:

* increase our energy levels
* great for stress
* good for normalizing blood pressure after exercise
* good for stress symptoms in breast cancer and prostate cancer sufferers
* good for people who don't get enough sleep, or who suffer insomnia

Corpse pose should be done lying flat, but still providing some support to the lumbar and cervical areas of the spine. Some people use a narrow, flat pillow for their head, whereas others just lie on the yoga mat without any props - do what feels most comfortable for you.

If the floor slopes, you should lie with your head in the downward sloping area, to facilitate blood supply to the brain. Your feet should be spread a little apart, with the arms and thighs slightly spread out, in an open and relaxed manner. Your palms and forearms should face up.

Try and start shavasana with your body mildly stretched out, so you feel elongated. This is recommended because the muscles of the torso, arms, and legs lengthen when they relax. The aim of shavasana is not to move until you are ready to get up. This helps quieten the motor neurons of the brain, and induces a feeling of greater relaxation, or 'letting go'. If you are positioned well, with enough space to allow your torso to relax and lengthen, you won't need to move until you finish.

You can either breathe through the abdomen or through the diaphragm. It is recommended that you practice abdominal breathing unless you are either an intermediate or advanced student of yoga. Breathing through the abdomen is the most relaxing, and diaphragmatic breathing is more of an energizing technique. It uses the chest and abdomen without interrupting the relaxation of the rest of the body. If you tend to breathe through your chest habitually, you should avoid this type of breathing, as you will tend to have a restricted type of thoracic breathing that is counterproductive to the aims of yoga generally, and corpse pose particularly.

Breathing through the abdomen during shavasana should not be forced. It should be relaxed and natural. But start 'where you are', and let your breathing settle as the experience of the posture deepens. The rate of breathing will slow down the more you become relaxed.

Try not to fall asleep during corpse pose. When we sleep, the motor neurons in the nervous system become more active, and the idea with the relaxation postures is to quieten them.

Start practicing shavasana for 3 to 5 minutes, then build up to 15 as your personal limits allow.

Come out of the corpse pose slowly, wiggling your toes and fingers, bringing the arms overhead to stretch them, and stretching down to your toes. Then roll over to one side, and slowly sit up when you're ready. If you have low blood pressure, you may need to turn onto the left side first before sitting up to avoid dizziness or fainting.

References: H.D.Coulter, Anatomy Of Hatha Yoga

About the Author

Corpse pose is one of the restorative yoga poses. Learn more about them here. Rebecca runs this yoga site with information on asanas and more.

May 26, 2007

Yoga and Pregnancy

by mikeherman1
If you're pregnant and are already in yoga classes, don't be afraid to take a break from your current classes or to take a class that is less strenuous. Even if you haven't gone public with your pregnancy yet, you should have a confidential talk with your instructor let him or her know of your pregnancy, the instructor will then be able to assist you with less strenuous postures or teach you poses that you aren't doing that will help you.

If you are new to yoga and are looking for a low impact way of exercising the best thing to do is to look for a prenatal yoga class. These classes are designed for pregnant parishioners and you can start them as early in your pregnancy as you want. If you are having morning sickness, you may want to wait until that passes and that usually is the second trimester.

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you still may find your regular classes seem to be too intense for you. Prenatal classes may seem too easy, so at this point you will need to decide which class you should take on a given day depending on how you feel.

The solution might also be to include some prenatal poses that have been adapted into your regular routine. If you are in a class, your yoga instructor may help you with special poses developed for pregnancy and your changing body. When you enter the second or third trimester, you may find that prenatal classes are more suited for your body and its changing shape.

If you do Yoga with videotape, you should buy a prenatal video. Some of the recommended poses are ones that open the hip such as Pigeon, Triangle, Warrior II, and Knee to Ankle.

Second Trimester?

Are you a Yoga enthusiast and want to continue to do your practice while pregnant? Yoga can continue to be practiced during your second trimester with just a few precautions.

By the second trimester, your morning sickness should be over and should be feeling better.

If you haven't yet started a yoga yet and wish too, and you are in luck, "now is the perfect time to start".

Always contact your health care provider before starting any new exercise program. This is a good rule of thumb even if you aren't pregnant.

Start with finding a class with an excellent and experienced instructor. Many women enter yoga for the first time during their pregnancy so don't worry that you will be the only new pregnant woman in class. Talk with your friends and get references for and instructor.

If you are already practicing yoga, there is no need to give up your classes if you feel strong enough to do them. You can incorporate your own adaptations to the poses when fitting. As your belly grows, the more adaptations you will need to make. You will want to take any inversion pose to the wall if it poses a risk of falling. If you aren't comfortable doing these poses, then it's all right to give your body permission to skip them. One that you can practice safely is the Legs Up the Wall Pose.

If you practice at home, you still might consider going to a prenatal class at least once or twice a week. You will be able to connect with other pregnant women there and know you are not alone in what you are going through.

Some Yoga Poses you will want to avoid during your second trimester or at least adapt them to your growing belly. Deep twists from the belly compress all of your internal organs, including the uterus. You can continue to do the twists, just do them gently from the shoulders instead of the belly.

Of course avoid any jumping or poses that require back bends. Abdominal strengtheners should be avoided, as they need to be softened in preparation for birth. Of course, lying on the belly should not be practiced once you begin to show. It will probably be too uncomfortable for you anyway.

Practice the Birthing Breath, deep inhalations in through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth.

Third Trimester?

In the third trimester of your pregnancy, everything becomes more difficult to do. Tying your shoes, climbing upstairs and even turning over in bed can become a chore. Yoga will become more difficult and you should use more caution but there isn't any reason you can't continue to practice yoga up to your due date.

For those that were working and are now on maternity leave, you might just now be finding time to do prenatal yoga. You will still benefit from doing gentle yoga stretches and poses. If you are attending a class, be sure your teacher knows when you are due. Remember, now is the time to take it easy. It isn't the time to be an overachiever. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program or if you have questions about which prenatal yoga is best for you.

If you are listening to your body, it will tell you what you can and can't do. Continue to stay in touch with your body, allow your body to take it easy. It's a good idea to continue practice breathing, as this will help you during the birth process.

Some poses that are recommended for the third trimester are hip openers such as Pigeon, Warrior II, Triangle, and Knee to Ankle. All four Cat-Cow positions will also help by preparing the baby for birth. They will help the baby get in proper position, head down and it's back turned toward your belly.

Of course, the same poses you adapted during your second trimester must be practiced with extra caution. No jumping, or twisting from the belly, deep back bends or anything that involves strengthening the abdomen. Goes without saying, there shouldn't be any poses that need you to lie on your belly.

One of the more important aspects to remember when you are practicing Yoga during pregnancy is to control your breathing and listen to your body. Practicing yoga and listening to your body will help prepare mentally for the birth process. As you learn to be in the moment and quiet your inner body, Yoga will help with that as well as your breathing exercises.

Pregnancy doesn't have to be an obstacle in your practice of Yoga. In fact, it can be a vital part of your prenatal routine. With poses that are designed for pregnancy and incorporating routines that will help you to have an easier birth. Some routines you will find you are unable to do. If you are unsure of the poses, listen to your body. It will tell you which ones that are too much for you in time in your pregnancy.

So, don't be afraid to continue your Yoga practice. It may mean that you will have an easier delivery and a faster recovery after birth. It also should make getting into shape after birth easier as well.

About the Author

Yoga is designed so that while you are exercising and practicing the different poses you are also focusing on your breathing and connecting with your body and your spirit. Learn more about yoga

The Purpose of Yoga - Peacefully Co-existing with Others

Yoga has always contained ethical guidelines and methods for people to co-exist in harmony. The Yamas and Niyamas have changed a little over time, but the guidelines are there to keep humankind in place.

How often do you hear the following statements? "Relationships are not what they used to be." "Dating is different nowadays." "Nobody wants to make a commitment any more."

Consider these words, "Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers." Does it sound like a 21st century problem? Guess who said those words? The answer is Socrates!

People have not really changed much over that past 2,000 years. The birth place of Yoga is India, which was, and is, heavily populated with people. It is said that in ancient times, the soil of the Indus River Valley was rich and produced heavily.

Yet, you must realize that crowds of people who live in the cities tend to be stressed. Stress is not something new to humankind and Yoga is the best answer for a holistic approach to life. Cities, all around the world, and in general, have stressed populations in comparison to the countryside.

Mohandas Gandhi once said, "Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being."

His words are true, but what is the Yogic formula for peaceful co-existence? The following are some of Yoga's solutions for peaceful co-existence between all people and all societies.

Rules: Since the beginning, man has needed them. Every culture has them, because ethical guidelines for all, do establish mutual respect within families, organizations, and governments. The Yamas and Niyamas do not conflict with any religion or government.

Communication: When you combine mutual respect with communication, you display loving kindness. This has always been in short supply. Karma Yoga teaches you to give, but respect, courtesy, and showing appreciation to others, cost you nothing.

All you have to invest is time and take action. The positive results of your efforts will come back thousands of times. Every time mankind has "peace talks," a little progress is made.

Tolerance: Unfortunately, there has always been a shortage of tolerance. Human beings have made a habit of killing the Enlightened, the Prophets, and the Saints. Use your best judgment and listen to your heart.

Except for self-defense - you know in your heart intolerance, and killing, for any reason, are morally wrong. Think upon this: If a Holy Man tells you to oppress or kill the innocent, he is not a Holy Man.

God does not discriminate, and God loves you, so do not listen to anyone who tells you to commit crimes "In the Name of God."

Forgive: Start with forgiving yourself first. This is a very big step, but forgive others next; otherwise, you will become a prisoner to hate - and worse.

Pray: Talk to God and you will not be disappointed. Open your heart and your mind to God in prayer and meditation. Bhakti Yoga is the Yoga of devotion to God, which is no small matter.

Since the beginning, ancient man has struggled to define the creator of the universe. Thousands of years later, mankind is still struggling to define the creator of the universe. We have only our collective intelligence to define such power, so we are "handicapped."

Yet, all religions and Yoga, teach us to peacefully co-exist with others.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

Why Zen Yoga Poses Can Improve Your Health

by vitalgirl
Zen yoga poses are part of an Oriental system that combines the practice of asanas with Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine. Postures are categorized according to the primary meridian they affect. A meridian can be understood as similar to a blood vessel, in that it has an energetic structure that corresponds with the human body, but which is instead a channel for energy to circulate (instead of blood).

The alignment of these exercises with specific meridians is what makes zen yoga such a powerful healing modality. In fact, teachers of this Oriental system emphasize its' capacity to help treat the basic causes of illness.. This article will explore what is meant by that, and provide some illustration on how zen yoga poses can be adapted to an individual's problems.

Meridian exercises work by facilitating the natural flow of energy in areas where we experience blockages and stagnation. We may feel those areas of blockages as stiffness, aching, tension, pain, or simply a feeling of being uncomfortable. Zen poses open up their primary meridians, and as a result, they dispel 'ill' energy, and allow healthy energy to flow instead.

A little background on meridians may be helpful. There are 12 meridians, and they are named after different organs of the body. So, we have the Lung meridian, large intestine meridian, Heart constrictor, triple heater, liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach, heart, small intestine, kidney, and bladder.

It's important to note that although these meridians each have an energetic relationship with the organ after which they are named, they are not just referring to the organ when we speak about them. Their primary meaning is an energetic reference, to a type of energy that runs along a specific channel, which just happens to be associated with a physical organ as well. So, when Oriental practitioners and yoga teachers talk about a particular meridian being out of whack in some way, this definitely does not mean that our organs are! I emphasize this because a lot of people tend to get alarmed by some of the terminology, and it just stems from a misunderstanding of the context in which it is being used.

By understanding how important the energetic aspect is in Oriental philosophy, it is easier to understand how they look at the symptoms of disease, illness, or any problems we feel in our bodies. Instead of focusing on the symptom itself, Oriental diagnosis looks at what is going on in the meridians, and a healing approach is based on this, instead of a rigidly defined solution for a set of symptoms. What this means in practical terms, is that one person's ideal solution to a bad back, or a stiff neck, may be very different to another's.

The good news is that you don't have to know a lot of theory to do zen yoga successful. And neither do you need to understand the intricacies of Oriental diagnosis to apply zen yoga exercises for your own specific problems. Masunaga offers this useful guide: "first find the exercise which is hardest to do... and then look for another one which is the easiest... If doing the easiest exercise causes an improvement in the performance of the most difficult one, or relieves a ... symptom, it is effectively reinforcing the Ki [energy] in the Kyo [deficient] meridian".

Masunaga was a leading shiatsu teacher in Japan who organized meridian exercises into a system that people could use themselves. He actually wrote that the best way to learn about zen yoga poses, was to practice them! Zen yoga seems more difficult in theory than it is in practice. It's actually a very fun, playful and gentle style of yoga that can readily be adapted to any level of fitness and health. Like tai chi, it has great health benefits, which can be explored in more detail through classes or publications.

References: Zen Imagery Exercises by Shizuto Masunaga

About the Author

For more articles on different yoga types, click here. Rebecca presents yoga tips and articles here.

May 25, 2007

Pilates Yoga - History and Theory Overview

by matth02
One of the most popular forms of yoga is Pilates yoga. People all over the world practice Pilates. This form of yoga has been praised for aiding people with developing a spiritual and body connection. By doing exercises to develop strength, muscle tone, flexibility, and better posture, people who do Pilates get themselves into better shape mentally and physically.

Joseph H. Pilates developed Pilates Yoga in the 1920's. As a child Joseph was sickly and frail. He grew tired of watching other children run around and play sports and became determined to not only improve his health but also strengthen his body. This began his journey on this now popular mind/body fitness movement. He began to overcome his physical limitations through exercise and soon became an accomplished sportsman. When he was detained as a German national during World War I, he trained other detainees with his exercises, even helping bedridden patients.

After Pilates was released, his exercise method was gaining popularity in the dance world. He immigrated to the United States and opened a fitness studio in New York City with his wife, Claire. Many of his clients were dancers, some from the New York City Ballet. Several of his students went on to open their own studios, spreading this form of exercise to places outside of New York City. Pilates continued to teach until his death at the age of 87.

Pilates supports fewer successive repetitions and more control over body movement. It is a method of total body conditioning training and strengthening entire body alignment. It stretches and strengthens muscles, builds endurance and restores muscle balance. It aims at developing graceful bodies that move more efficiently but don't result in bulky bodies. Pilates believes 'change happens through movement and movement heals'. By performing movements, the body will learn by its actions. The methodical form of exercise will stretch, strengthen and balance the body while performing proper breathing techniques.

Pilates exercises are done on mats or with the aid of apparatuses. The One Hundred pose is one of the most common poses. It consists of lying on the floor on your back with your waist to the floor. Place your arms by your side and legs pointed up in air. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off mat as you pump your arms like a bird. Hold this for the count of 100. This exercise will strengthen abdominal muscles, as well as, warm up the body for more exercises.

Joseph Pilates combined yoga with stretching, creating the popular form of exercise today. It is known for its ability to produce core strength, which is a balanced development of the trunk muscles that stabilize movement. It also helps to control and expand yoga poses safely. Pilates had much success in treating bedridden soldiers during the war. Today, this exercise program is used not only for fitness but also widely used in rehabilitation processes. He believed you could train the mind to control the body. His discipline program is designed to bring mobility back to the body through a less vigorous, slow, concentrated effort. This makes it safe and easy for anyone to use.

About the Author

More Pilates Yoga Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

Coping Strategies - Yoga For Menopause Relief

by vitalgirl
Yoga is not a 'remedy' for menopause - not least because menopause represents a stage of life, rather than an illness. A woman's experience during menopause is completely individual, and yoga is not specific like the drugs of modern medicine. There is no one set series of postures that thus make up a 'remedy' for the symptoms of perimenopause.

Yoga is, instead, an adaptive discipline that can support the body through the myriad of biological changes it is making. Importantly, it can also support our minds and emotions, and allow us to come to a perspective on the inner processes that are happening. Many perimenopausal women have found both the physical and less tangible benefits of yoga helpful at this time.

If you haven't done any yoga before, it would be best to go to a class to learn. No DVD or book can quite replace watching a teacher demonstrate a posture, taking you through the different breathing practices, and offering insight into how your body is coping with the poses. It also helps to have a practical grounding like this if you're reading yoga books, where they will present a number of different poses and variations. Learning yoga first by practicing it in class, gives you the experience to adapt what you read in books to your own needs.

There are some general points about asanas (poses), however. Back bends can be great for improving one's mood and lifting energy levels, and forward bends are good for anxiety and stress.

There are a huge number of forward and back bends in yoga however! And different asanas require different preparatory poses, and what are called counter postures. Counter postures are an important follow-up to doing certain asanas. They can help prevent injury, just as the preparatory postures do.

There is somewhat contradictory advice given to women going through menopause who want to practice yoga. Many books encourage gentle, nurturing poses - restorative poses. But some female yoga teachers who used yoga for themselves when going through menopause found that an over-reliance on restorative postures made some menopausal symptoms worse. This included mood swings and weight gain. They found that sometimes, more activity was better.

Given that quite active physical exercise had been found to help with menopause, this observation is no real surprise. Ultimately, it depends on what is going on for each woman, and this can vary over time anyway. If you're feeling really tired all the time, restorative poses may be best for that period. However, if you've got more energy, there are a number of other asanas that can really help.

For example, inversion yoga poses can be great for the hormonal systems of the body. Inversions include headstand, shoulder stand, standing forward bends, and others. With inversion poses, especially shoulder stand and headstand, it's important to do the preparatory and counter postures. And if you have a particularly tense neck, it may be better to do a standing forward bend than downward dog (and certainly not shoulder stand or headstand), as the angle of the shoulders, combined with the weight on them, can cause tension in the neck.

Other good postures for menopause can be the standing postures - including triangle pose, half moon, and the extended side angle pose. These open up the front of the body, and the hips - which can be an area of stiffness for many women anyway!

Whatever poses you incorporate into your daily life during menopause, remember to be flexible. The needs of our bodies change, areas of stiffness change, symptoms change. Learning to respond to this, like the challenges that life can send our way, is the best way to tailor a practice to suit your needs.

1. Australian Yoga Life, Nov 2006 - Mar 2007
2. A Mohan, Yoga For Body, Breath, and Mind

About the Author

Rebecca writes on both yoga and menopause at these information sites.

May 24, 2007

Options To Strengthen And Ease Your Back Pain

by Ron Keegan
Most people in the health care business when asked how-to deal with treatment for back pain usually recommend the same type of pain remedies. That is because western cultures rely too much on anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. Perhaps it is time to take a look at other options to strengthen a person’s back while easing back pain.

Exercise is an option that is worth trying. But which form of exersice do you choose? Aerobics is too high impact for people with back problems and isometric exercise can cause serious joint problems. Then there are calisthenics, these are good for your muscles but only help a certain number of muscles so this is not worth doing either. So what options are available that
can strengthen your muscles?

Tai Chi Is A Great Options For Back Pain

Tai Chi, is a marital art that can be very beneficial, for people with all types of back pain, it is designed to enhance the body’s resilience, improve flexibility, keep your weight in check and help a person to an easier recovery from injury. One of the reasons that Tai Chi works so well is that it is based on slow movements of the arms, legs and upper body. The person moves slowly, using deep breathing as a technique to help heal.

One of the other advantages is that those who are in the process of healing can do this program, even if they are still in pain, because it is not stressful on the body. Tai Chi also encourages better posture through its exercises and we all know that good posture goes a long way to how someone’s back feels.

Yoga Is A Good Way To Strengthen Back Muscles

Yoga, which came from Hindu teachings, is not unlike Tai Chi, its designed to help a person restore both body and mind. By doing Yoga exercises you are strengthening your back muscles, improving posture and bring into line the spine. Yoga practitioners believe that if you learn about your body, in this case your back, then you become more able to tune into the area of problems and make them better before they become really bad.

Each Yoga positions is designed to do something specific. Either to strengthen, stretch or diminish the tension in the area. It also boosts blood flow, which is good for healing sore muscles. One of the benefits of using yoga when your back is painful is that the yoga exercises go a long way to stretching the spine. By doing these exercises the stretching is taking the pressure off of the vertebrae and so alleviating the compression. This will greatly reduce back pain.

Tai Chi Or Yoga Are Good For Overall Health

The other advantage to using Tai Chi or Yoga is that it is not expensive, both forms of exercise are good for healing as well as a long term health benefit. They are the most effective non invasive treatment for back pain and do not require a person to take medication of any kind. Then when the pain is gone either one is still good to keep up for your overall physical health.

About the Author

Ron Keegan is a successful Webmaster and publisher of a Health/Lifestyle Directory with up to date information on health/lifestyle issues. treatment for back pain at

Article Source: Content for Reprint

May 23, 2007

Yoga Positions - Positive Energy Flow

by matth02
Practicing yoga can be wonderfully beneficial to both the body and the mind. It is through a series of yoga positions that one can reach a state of true inner peace and tranquility. Various yoga poses can also promote a positive energy flow throughout the body.

By slowly executing the yoga pose with a concentrated effort, you will not only train your body but also your mind. You should start out slow and practice them daily, building up your repetitions, as well as, the number of poses you can master. Poses consist of warm-up, standing, seated, twist yoga, supreme, inverted postures and balance, backbends and finishing poses.

One of the most basic yoga standing poses is the triangular pose, or the trikonasana. To do this pose, standing, position your legs slightly farther apart than your shoulders with feet facing straight. Turn you right foot out and your left foot in, while keeping your hips straight. Your arms should be raised to shoulder level. Lower your right arm, stretching as far down the right leg as is comfortable, while raising the left arm over your head. Straighten your body to the beginning position and repeat on other side. This pose will tone your leg and abdominal muscles, as well as, promote lower back health.

Perhaps one of the most known yoga poses is the lotus pose, or the padmasana. It is a seated pose that requires flexibility. You will place your right foot on your left thigh with the foot facing upward. Similarly, place your left foot on your right thigh with that foot facing upward also. Next, lay the palms of your hand on their corresponding thighs also facing upward. This pose is usually done in meditation and will strengthen your legs and ankles, as well as, increase your flexibility. It relaxes the person and promotes good posture.

One of the yoga poses that will rotate the spine is the half spinal twist, or the Ardha Matsyendrasana. To begin, kneel on your heels with your legs together. Sit to the right of this position and place your left leg over your right with your foot on the outside of your right knee. Keeping your spine straight, bring your right heel close to your buttocks and stretch your arms out to shoulder level. Bring your right arm over your left knee and hold your left foot. Place your left hand on the floor behind you. Gently twist as far to the left as possible. This pose will tone your spinal muscles and ligaments.

One of the basic yoga poses, often called the king of the asanas, is the headstand or the Sushasana. In performing this, you will begin in a kneeling position with the elbows and hands on the floor in front of you. Interlock your fingers and put your head between your hands. Push up on your toes, bringing your legs extended to an upright position. Focus on a point in front of you and keep your body straight and balanced. This pose will strengthen the neck and back and, also, reduce stress and fatigue.

These are just a few of the numerous poses and positions taught in the yoga world. They are meant to strengthen different parts of your body, as well as, relax it. The key in yoga is to start off slowly and gently until you have mastered each pose. The results will be beneficial to your health and mind. At first you may not be able to correctly assume the positions yoga practices, but through repeated efforts you will gain the flexibility to master each pose and experience the benefits each has to offer.

About the Author

More Yoga Positions Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

May 22, 2007

Yoga Improves Strength

by k_buchanan32
A number of people wonder if yoga can improve their muscle fitness and strength levels. While they recognize that yoga can help reduce stress and increase flexibility and overall health , when it comes to increasing muscle fitness people think it might the most appropriate exercise to do the job. But, according to experts, yoga can definitely make you stronger.

If you would like to really put your daily fitness routine in overdrive and get better results than you ever have in the past, you really should consider adding yoga exercises into your home fitness workouts. Unlike traditional weight building exercises, in yoga your body provides the resistance. While you are not likely going to produce the bulked up muscles of some weight lifters, you will certainly increase your muscle strength. In addition, some balance postures require enormous muscle control in order to prevent you from falling over. This helps to build and strengthen your muscles. Aerobic exercise is great for burning calories, and strength training works very well for strengthening your muscle groups, but yoga goes far beyond either of those forms of exercise and can benefit you both physically and mentally.

In addition to all its other benefits, yoga can help you improve muscle fitness and make you actually feel and be stronger. Whether you choose to use it as your primary means of strength training or you want it to supplement your other exercises, yoga can help your muscles grow fit, balanced, and strong. In fact, many poses in yoga are done very slowly or you are required to stay in a specific posture during several breaths. In fact, those who have experienced it, support that it is much more challenging to your muscles to hold a pose or do it slowly than it is to allow momentum to move you through an action.

Furthermore, while in weight training, you isolate a specific muscle as you perform an exercise and this leads to a short, tightened muscles, the muscles you develop during exercising yoga are more likely to be elongated, because as you are strengthening them, you are simultaneously lengthening them. Particularly, practicing yoga can help realign your muscles, so they are more balanced. You truly work your entire body when you practice yoga as you do not focus on an isolated muscle, but actively recruit the smaller muscle groups as well. Finally, since you are not overworking any specific muscle group, you are less likely to get injured.

Concluding, this type of exercising has a number of mental benefits, as the yoga positions and breathing exercises helped people focus inward rather than on the outward distractions of their lives. According to related literatures, Yoga is a science that has been in place for thousands of years in the Indian culture. It consists of ancient theories, observations and principles about the mind and body connection. Its aim is to unite the mind, body and spirit and if it is given the right tools and right environment, the body can find harmony and heal itself. Many support that this introspection helps them clear their mind and focus their attention on the more important things in their lives. In addition, regular yoga exercise routine can greatly reduced a person's stress levels. Since many yoga poses and breathing techniques encourage extreme relaxation of body and mind those experiencing the mental benefits of yoga can get rid of their daily stress and its damaging influences.

About the Author

Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Women Health, Women, and Nursing

May 21, 2007

Yoga Can Be Intimidating - First Time Experiences

by matth02
If you are very nervous about taking a yoga class for the first time, you should not despair. You may find the shapes that people are able to twist themselves into as being quite intimidating to a newcomer like yourself. This may prevent you from even attending a class.

Others may feel they are too old or too out of shape to sit on the floor turning into the 'pretzel' like poses. A first time experience may very well leave you feeling overwhelmed, but after a few classes your misconception may change and you will realize it may be something you will want to keep as a part of your life.

When you first attend a yoga class, you may feel inadequate. Others around you will have their bodies twisted into the most unimaginable positions. You will probably think, 'I could never do that'. What you will come to realize is, that the person in the most difficult pose most likely started off thinking the same thing as you are. In a yoga class, everyone works at his or her own pace and level. Seasoned practitioners will be there, as will the beginners. But, these seasoned practitioners started off as beginners. You may very well be uncomfortable, but remember, yoga is a practice and as you continue you will train your mind and body and flexibility is likely to occur. The only thing blocking your mastery of this art will be your own mind. If you are open to yoga, you will learn through practice.

There are many things to keep in mind during your first yoga experience. First off, don't worry about what you look like, or what the others look like. You may feel like the most awkward individual in the room, not being able to master one pose in your first session. What is important to remember is you must not force a pose. Each time you practice this pose, and concentrate on how your body is bending, you will get closer and closer to mastering it. Don't expect to be able to do the poses correctly at first. And don't give up because the person next to you seems to bend with such ease and grace. With practice you will be this person someday. After just one class, you will have achieved at least a little more flexibility.

Yoga is a powerful workout. You may feel light-headed or nauseous during your first experience. The heated room combined with your physical movements can cause this. But don't leave the room or get discouraged. Simply lie down until you are feeling better and don't worry if you skip some poses. Rejoin when you feel up to it.

You may also experience a range of emotions during your first class. You may feel the urge to laugh or cry. You may feel anger or happiness. This is entirely normal. Your body is full of emotional energy. Yoga helps to release this energy so you can attain a more meditative state. Many people also experience strange sensations during their postures. This is also quite normal. If you have a prior injury, you may feel pain or stress like you have re-injured yourself. In reality it is your body healing the old injury.

Your first experience will hold a wide range of doubt, emotion and preconceived thoughts. It is important to let go of these feelings so you can truly get the most out of your yoga experience. It is an ongoing process, which can greatly yield so many benefits to your mind and body. It is not only about poses and postures, but it is about breathing, meditation and relaxation. It is, as they say, a mind/body experience. Many claim better health and mental well being from its practice. So give into the true yoga experience. Focus on the movement, not yourself and others. Don't be embarrassed, as everyone else is concentrating on his or her own bodies. Don't have the attitude that it is something you could never do, as it is a practice that will eventually produce the desired results. Have perseverance and openness. You will experience a new self.

About the Author

More Yoga Classes Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

Working Principles Behind Yoga

by kevinp
Yoga is a sacred practice and a healing tool of growth and transformation. It honors the individuals spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical process of human evolution. Yoga gives you the courage to undertake your own journey towards the Self. Yoga fills you with a feeling of coming home. You will discover a powerful tool, probably the path you are searching for. Especially if you have a sense of purpose to learn, you will receive great satisfaction in practicing and working with individuals and groups.

Further, Yoga is a complex integrated system that has a history of 5,000 or more years. Beginners can easily be snowed under by the vastness of Yoga practice, its philosophy, and literature. However, here are the key working principles that will help you understand better the different aspects of Yoga.

Ten Key Fundamental Principles.

1. Yoga is traditionally a liberation teaching. It guides you to free yourself from your historical limitations of who and what you were to become something greater and better.

2. To truly learn and understand Yoga, a teacher must be able to instruct, either in a class or even on a video. This is crucial to ultimate success in Yoga. However, you can benefit from a good many Yogic practices even without instruction, since any form of Yoga is better than none at all.

3. Since everybody has their different strengths and weaknesses, Yoga has different styles developed over time. Here are the seven most common:


4. Yoga is both a theoretical and practical journey of the jivatma, individual soul. In order to practice Yoga well, you ought to pay attention to the ideals behind its practical disciplines as well as to the exercises and techniques supporting its theories. This calls for considerate and conscientious practice. For instance, the regular and right practice of Yogasanas will most certainly help you maintain optimum physical health.

5. All forms of Yoga have their grounding in a sound moral life. For this reason laws have been laid down, laws that stand for moral virtues like nonviolence, truthfulness, and abstention from theft, compassion and kindness. Basically it' Yoga is all about leading a positive life. Without a firm foundation in these moral and ethical principles, you cannot practise and benefit from Yoga.

6. No matter how simple a particular yogic approach may be, all approaches call for a huge commitment. If you fear change and cling to your old habits, you cannot succeed in Yoga. The practice requires considerable personal effort and that involves self-discipline.

7. Yoga consists of a lot of practice, both physical and mental. These can be further split up into two major categories. The first is the performance of a set of exercises or techniques intended to produce a positive state of mind in us. The second is the complementary practice of letting go old behavioral patterns, habits and attachments that hold you back

8. In Yoga, focus is the key to making improvements. With focus come control and power, which is the nature of consciousness itself.

9. Return to the basics, the more you untangle your life the better off you will be.

10. Yoga is the progressive process of replacing your unconscious thought patterns and behavior with new, more beneficial patterns, which lead towards a better life. It takes time to reach this goal of self-realization. Hence, practitioners must first practice patience.

We should be willing to commit ourselves to a lifetime of practice. There must be a basic desire to grow, regardless of whether or not we achieve enlightenment in this life. One of Yoga's fundamental beliefs is that no effort is ever wasted. Even the slightest attempt at transforming oneself makes a difference. It is patient cumulative effort that, ultimately, grows into self-realization.

About the Author

Kevin Pederson writes content for Working Principles Behind Yoga which focuses on the benefits of Yoga techniques intended to produce a positive state of mind in us.

May 20, 2007

What Else Should a Hatha Yoga Teacher Know about Pranayama?

Since Yama literally means "control," you could say that Pranayama is control of "vital energy." When teaching Yoga classes, the four stages of Pranayama should be thoroughly explained. If you think in terms of a pendulum, it is much similar to the four stages of Pranayama. The pendulum moves in one direction, pauses, then moves in the opposite direction, and pauses again. This is the same action that occurs in the lungs, when a Yoga student practices Pranayama.

The following are the four stages of Pranayama. Puraka is the inhalation stage. Antar Kumbaka is the pause that happens when we retain the inhalation. Rechaka is the exhalation stage of a breath. Bahir Kumbaka is external breath retention and occurs after the exhalation stage.

Why should we get so technical about Pranayama techniques in the average Yoga class? Many Yoga students will come to your classes for a variety of pain relieving methods, and some Pranayama techniques usually help alleviate pain.

When a person has pain, he or she can think of nothing else. Pain is the companion you wish you never met. Pranayama can help us say goodbye to pain, but it must be performed technically and safely.

Here are some of the many forms of Pranayama a Yoga teacher should know. There are more, but this is a good foundation. It should also be noted that Yoga students are advised to seek guidance from a competent Yoga teacher.

Pranayama methods deserve much more respect and should not be taken lightly. One Pranayama session of 20 minutes, would make any Yoga beginner realize the hard work that goes into this practice. The value of Pranayama, and quality of life it can bring, cannot be overstated.

Ujjayi Pranayama: Also known as victorious breath is often seen in Vinyasa style Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga classes, but can be found in other Yoga styles, as well. This technique allows the Yoga student to concentrate deeper on his or her practice. However, this is also a calming form of Pranayama that can be performed before bedtime, relaxation, or meditation.

The glottis is gently contracted to draw the length of your breath out. Yoga students should seek guidance from a certified Yoga teacher when integrating bandhas with Ujjayi Pranayama.

Natural Breath: This is the breath of a new born baby. It is a full breath in the upper, middle, and lower compartments of the lungs. The stomach, intercostals, and chest should expand equally during an inhale. If a student is naturally short of breath and nervous, he or she may have difficulty learning this technique, even with the guidance of a certified Yoga teacher.

However, this same student is relieved to master natural breath, as this Pranayama will also calm those who feel anxiety, nervousness, and hypertension. This Pranayama technique is not a cure for nervousness, but some Yoga students have had amazing relief from natural breath.

Dhirga Pranayama: Is a three part breath, where awareness is developed through all three lung compartments from the bottom up on an inhale and from the top down on an exhale. This is a very common practice within a Hatha Yoga class.

Kapalabhati Pranayama, Sitali Pranayama, and Bhastrika Pranayama are also essential techniques. As stated earlier; there are many more Pranayama techniques that can be taught by Hatha yoga teachers, as quality of life can be rediscovered through their practice.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

May 18, 2007

What Is Kripalu Yoga

by vitalgirl
Intertwining the mind, body, and energy is the primary goal of Kripalu yoga. Those who practice it believe that the body contains energy pulsations in a flow that are called prana, which is sometimes referred to as life force. The idea is that the smallest thought or worry can cause problems with the prana in your physical body. That is why Kripalu is important; it is a way of being aware of the prana and using breathing with thought to prevent blockage or disturbance of the life force in your body. In turn, you will feel an increased level of mental clarity and emotional control.

Boiled down to its essence, Kripalu yoga is about looking at yourself in order to free you. Kripallu yoga followers believe that by simply examining and experiencing physical, emotional, and mental processes, you begin to erase blockages in the prana. In turn, this creates a better flow of life force inside you and invokes a feeling of physical and mental well-being.

Why Kripalu?

Yoga, in all its forms, has been shown to be highly effective in honing the physical human body. This is much of the reason for yoga's immense popularity. What Kripalu does, though, is use the physical body and yoga's benefits to it as a vehicle for pursuing the greater good of mental and emotional stability and clarity. Hence, many believe it to be the most complete and beneficial form of yoga. The idea is that as you release your emotional and mental impurity, you increase the amount of prana in your system which in turn also helps with physical healing and performance. Of course, when all yoga practices and meditation are prefaced with techniques, such as the Maharic Seal (Azurite Press), that seal the body's energy fields from external influences, the experience of self knowledge is both clearer and authentic. Kripalu yoga does not teach this, however.

Many use this popular form of yoga to combine physical fitness with self growth and the empowerment of the self. In Kripalu, you will learn to lead yourself through self-examination rather than through a leader or instructor. In this form of yoga, leadership is there only to help you turn yourself into your own leader. Your sensitivity to self, others, and your own body will increase from the focus you will receive when you look inside. To take it deeper, many believe that you are using your body to as a temple to attract the presence of those powers greater than yourself. Though some may be skeptical, many more feel such presences when led there through their own self-examination.

When you learn Kripalu from an instructor, you will find that it usually does not matter what your level is in yoga. The classes are generally conducted in the same way for new yoga practitioners and veterans alike. The emphasis, remember, is on looking inside yourself and seeing what is there. Though there are postures and a 'right' way to do them, you will likely be encouraged to concentrate on your mental state and on increasing the flow of your prana.

Moreover, Kripalu is truly about life change. You will learn to focus on your spiritual well being outside of the classroom as well as while you're on the yoga mat, contributing to your overall well being and helping you on your way to being the best person you can be.

Kripalu is a unique form of yoga. With emphasis on looking at the self and ridding it of all that has gone awry, this form of yoga is about more than just fitness of the body. It is about fitness of emotions, spirit, and even a little bit of the soul.

About the Author

Rebecca presents yoga articles, like yoga breathing dangers, and vinyasa yoga postures.

Article Source: Content for Reprint

May 17, 2007

Teaching Hatha Yoga: Difficult Students and Fitness Centers

What would you do if you had to substitute your Yoga class for an Aerobic Step class? What if one of the Step Aerobics students gave you a case of misplaced aggression because he or she was disappointed the Step Aerobics class was canceled?

If you are considering teaching Yoga in a fitness center, or health club; imagine the following situation. A Power Yoga teacher is called, by the fitness center she works for - to substitute her Power Yoga class for the regular Step Aerobics Class; this is her story.

"This morning I substituted for another fitness class and had a woman literally scowl, once she found out that Yoga was filling in the time slot for the Step Aerobics class. She looked at me, and said, that it wasn't against me, but she just didn't see the point in stretching. "I can't loose weight by stretching. I need cardio."

I told her that she might be surprised and she might see Yoga in a different light. She replied "Not likely," and walked away from me. Though she said it wasn't personal, I took it so.

I really thought hard about all the things I wanted to say, but found that everything I wanted to say had a negative tone. I told this person, as she walked away that I was not going to argue with her because I saw no point in it.

I felt hurt by her attitude, what can be said to people like this? What can I do to let it "roll off of me?" Can you respond in love and still get the point across?"

Let's find some realistic solutions for this Yoga teacher.

In a nutshell: This particular health club member is full of negative energy. You are doing your job by substituting for the Step Aerobics class. She decides to take it out on you, but it is all misplaced aggression. She would have acted the same way toward anyone teaching anything, except a cardio based fitness class.

Fitness centers are doing the best they can to serve their clients, on tight budgets. This particular fitness center wants to make sure there is a class for its members, because the Step Aerobics instructor is out. This is obvious, but, this person decides to attack what you do - just to lash out at somebody.

What you did is the best thing by avoiding an argument. Showing loving kindness was wise for many reasons. Management will usually back the members, no matter how obnoxious they are.

Many Yoga instructors currently teach Yoga in, or have taught Yoga at, fitness centers, in the past. When a racquetball court is in full swing, a fitness center is not always an ideal place to teach meditation.

My advice: Design a prepared handout, which highlights the researched benefits of Power Yoga. Some fitness center clientele don't understand what Yoga is or what it can do for them.

Pass them out with a smile. If the class wants to work hard, give them their money's worth (a serious challenge). They will believe Power Yoga can get them fit, when they can see and feel it.

Those scenarios are the reasons why some Yoga teachers do not teach in fitness centers anymore. When I teach Yoga to anyone, I want to make sure the students want to be there for Yoga.

In a health club, Yoga is just part of a big fitness menu - Like ice cream on an apple pie in a restaurant. So, very few of the members see it as something special.

Lastly, you are a Yoga teacher, but you are human too. Negative people do not think much before talking, but they do upset everyone all day and every day.

You did the right thing by displaying self-restraint. Remember the saying: "You cannot please everyone all the time."

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

May 16, 2007

Flexing Yourself With Hatha Yoga

by vitalgirl
Increasingly, you may hear about your companions enrolling in Hatha classes at the local gym. In terms of pure popularity, Hatha yoga is number one in the yoga world. As a result, the poses are known well by both beginners and experts.

Hatha yoga poses are called Asanas. The Asanas are used in combination with meditation and the breathing techniques known as Pranayama. Together they work the body to improve strength and flexibility as well as overall health, which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Hatha is a hybrid of the Sanskrit words 'ha' which means 'sun' and the word 'tha' which means the 'moon.' Together, they refer to the way that Hatha's yoga poses often bring together opposites currents in the system.

Of the eight limbs of yoga, Hatha focuses mostly on the third, which is Asana, and the fourth, which is Pranayama. These pose and posture techniques coupled with the breathing patterns are used to clear out your body's energy channels, known as the Nadis. This, in turn, removes obstacles that could hamper other limbs helping to improve your well being.

Hatha History

Hatha has been around since 15th century India when a yogic sage, Swami Swatamarama, detailed Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the most important yoga texts. The original intent of this form of yoga was to help support relaxation of the body and to support the 'contemplation of one reality.' Many of the classic Hatha yoga poses that were used at its inception, in fact, are still in use with it today. According to those first practitioners of Hatha, the postures can lead to the best in not only physical well being, but also the best state of mind you can possibly attain.

Your Hatha Path

Before beginning your journey into Hatha yoga, you need to be prepared just like with any other form of yoga. There are some basic tips that can help you have an easier, more effective, and safer experience as you begin this original yoga style.

First, remember to breathe normally while you are in and move between each of the poses. Your breaths should be deep and smooth. Try to feel your diaphragm opening and expanding as you switch from one posture to another. Hatha rarely, if ever, uses the shorter and harder yoga breathing, so stay smooth and deep.

Second, do not force any of the stretch positions in Hatha. Start with the easier ones and make sure you are moving easily and naturally into each pose and that you are holding it for 15 to 30 seconds. This will ensure that you get the most out of your yoga and minimize your risk of injury. Be patient with your body and do not attempt the more difficult poses until you are sure you are ready.

Finally, concentrate on your breathing. One of the big focuses in this particular yoga is the breathing which leads to much of the mental health benefits. Use the exercise to relax and become at peace with yourself in the moment. That is what Hatha yoga poses are intended to do for you.

Hatha has been in practice for over 600 years. Longevity like that is rare even in yoga, and can be a sign of success and true belief. If you are considering this form of yoga as for yourself, then remember: never strain, take the time to make sure you are ready for a given pose, and to concentrate heavily on your breathing. Following these tips will help you to attain the superior mental and physical well being that Hatha is said to provide.

About the Author

For an intro to hatha yoga poses. Info on Bikram yoga, and weight loss benefits.

May 15, 2007

Should an Obese Person Become a Yoga Teacher?

There seems to be a stereotypical view of what a Yoga teacher should look like. Worse yet, there seems to be a preconceived notion about what a Yoga teacher should weigh. There are many reasons for this - Athletes, doctors, and exercise instructors are expected to be slim and trim. Hatha Yoga teachers are also expected to be role models of good heath.

This type of thinking will not change, but we can make the public aware that stereotypes are often wrong. Most of the adult population in the West is overweight. Some Yoga teachers also fall into this category.

Many adults can identify with the daily struggle at the plate and on the scales. Does this mean a person should go through a "weigh in," before deciding to become a Yoga teacher?

Consider this: Any style of Yoga causes lifestyle changes. Yoga students, and Yoga teachers, make gradual changes that result in weight control. These are not the changes of "instant gratification" that we are so familiar with.

We are not talking about, "Losing 30 pounds in 30 days." The many "Yo-Yo" diets and weight loss pills can make those promises, but at what cost to your overall health? Life endangering weight loss products are a waste of money and an insult to your intelligence.

Then again, teaching most people to drink more water, eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains is not as easy as showing them the "new ultimate diet pill." The Yogic diet has been around for thousands of years, so it's "old news." Do you remember the saying, "Out with the old, and in with the new?"

People fall for the "new and improved," more than old and proven methods, until the hard data comes in. This is why people, who said Hatha Yoga was just another fitness fad, were terribly misinformed.

Yoga was around long before the Shaolin temple, and Yoga influenced the health maintenance of the Shaolin priests. Kung Fu was then created within the Shaolin temple, but the relationship to Yoga is still apparent.

The exposure of Yoga to the West is only centuries old, but the Pilates method is one more example of a "Hatha Yoga spin off." This is not meant with disrespect toward any health maintenance system, but most of them have origins in Yoga.

In the West, Yoga teachers have a responsibility to be role models for physical health. Therefore, if an obese Yoga teacher lost weight at a safe rate, that is a good thing. A Yoga teacher who takes positive action is a good role model; especially, since Yogic dieting methods are sensible, safe, and proven, in comparison to the many fad diets that come and go.

Over the years, I have seen people lose weight from a Yogic lifestyle change, but it is a very gradual process. Lifestyle changes, like Yoga, also result in weight loss that stays off.

Getting back to an obese person becoming a Yoga teacher; does the public feel that he or she should go on a diet first? We are all guilty of classifying and itemizing, until it affects our perception of reality. Tolerance is a daily challenge for all of us.

There are many good Yoga teachers who carry a few extra pounds due to any number of different reasons. The idea that a Yoga teacher should only be a young, thin, very flexible, super model, with a background in gymnastics, is a pure myth.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

Yoga Insights: Walking Yoga Meditation

Walking meditation is more difficult for most Yoga students, than breath awareness meditation, but it is very beneficial to those students who have difficulty sitting still.

Some Yoga practitioners are more restless than most of us, so this is when walking Yoga meditation comes in handy, but we should all give it a try. You will find walking Yoga meditation to be a very rewarding practice for your mind, body, and spirit.

When you first start practicing walking Yoga meditation, you should set a steady pace and breathe naturally. Once you have established your pace, you should then try to focus on your breath without controlling it.

The first exposure I had with walking meditation was in Kundalini Yoga practice. We would establish how many foot steps per inhale and how many foot steps per exhale. This is your own natural breathing pattern and it may be difficult to get the typical Yogic breathing - One part inhale to two part exhale ratio.

An example of the one to two Yogic breathing patterns would be: You inhale for three steps and exhale for six steps. Please bear in mind that each of us will breathe differently. Some of us may find the one to two Yoga breathing to be a strain, so your natural breathing pattern is important to establish.

It will take a while to focus on your natural breathing pattern and determine what the correct ratio is for you. Whatever you do, it should be easy and this should not be a strain.

Later in life, I learned Sanchin Kata. Sanchin is an Okinawan Karate form that may seem simple from the outside looking in, but is, in fact, a form of walking meditation.

The breathing is different in Sanchin practice, but the movement is repetitious enough to qualify for an example of meditation in motion. This exercise can teach you many things, but one valuable component is not to worry about your breathing, or anything else in life, if possible.

When you decide to try walking Yoga meditation, you should choose your location carefully. Choose a course that you are familiar with. This must be a safe place for walking Yoga meditation. During day light hours a local park is a safe place you could try a walking Yoga meditation session. Walking across or through traffic would not be recommended.

Although, it is very beautiful up north, during the foliage season, you would want to keep your awareness very keen. Bears, bucks, moose, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, and some people, do not have the same appreciation for walking Yoga meditation and you want to be careful about what you stumble across. You should also be aware that people do hunt in season, or out, and are not always where you expect them to be. Once I ran into a hunting party, with a complete entourage of dogs, in a wildlife refuge.

Therefore, carefully choose a walking course that will keep you out of harm's way. Morning hours are always my favorite. Take the time to develop mindfulness of each step and each breath. Try to walk without talking, when you have a companion with you. This silent walking will keep your mind in the moment and you will be able to take the surroundings in, without disrupting your meditation.

Yoga and Yoga meditation can be carried into many aspects of your life. Walking Yoga meditation is just one example of this.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

May 14, 2007

Tips For Finding The Right Yoga Teacher

by vitalgirl
People start yoga for many reasons. They may want to increase their levels of health, fitness, and flexibility. Or improve their muscle tone. Reducing levels of stress and anxiety are also high on the list, as is personal development, and the desire to follow a more spiritual path. Some may have a particular medical condition or health problem they want to address.

One's reason for starting yoga may have a bearing on both the type of yoga that makes a 'best fit', as well as the particular teacher chosen within a yoga discipline. Whilst the different types of yoga obviously suit some aims better than others, the teacher you practice with will also make a difference to achieving what you want with yoga. Or not.

Foe example, if you have a specific medical condition, it would be better to informally interview prospective yoga teachers beforehand. First, to find out which classes might be suitable, and to see whether that teacher has a real grasp of what the condition or problem implies for a yoga practice. Some people, whether they are yoga teachers or not, have a more rigid outlook, and may not be able to appreciate that a flexible approach in such circumstances is important. Or, they may not have sufficient training or experience. Perhaps they are even too busy to be available in a more personal way.

When choosing a yoga teacher, it's important to use your intuition. And to understand that we, as individuals, may not find our needs met by a class even if others do. Some teachers are more nurturing than others, some are more focused on the spiritual aspects of yoga (which may or may not align with our own spiritual outlook). Some perform adjustments - which is where a teacher will use their bodyweight to help you go further into a position - without really finding out whether a person has any injuries. And some simply do it too overzealously. A student in that situation may feel that the 'teacher knows best'. But it's important to listen to your own body, and understand that not all yoga training is equal. And, not all teachers are equal, in all areas, either.

Some other things to consider when choosing a yoga teacher are:

* Are they dogmatic? Do they push a certain philosophical or spiritual viewpoint? Is there a subtle (or not so subtle) manipulation that implies that without their 'guru', your spiritual evolution is on shaky ground. In fact, do they suggest that you 'need' a guru (their guru) as a 'guide' in matters of spirituality because your own connection to Source-God isn't good enough. In other words, are they suggesting you place your power outside of yourself, or do they reiterate that you in fact are your own guide, and can get their quite well under your own steam.

* Are they (or the prominent representatives of their yoga discipline) overly concerned with money, fame, power, the size of their organization, or their degree of influence? If they (the organization) certify yoga teachers, how long do the teachers have to train for? What are they trained in and what aren't they taught about?

* How well does the teacher embody the basic spiritual qualities of compassion, kindness, peace, joy, and equanimity? Whilst we are all beings at various stages of the journey, it helps to look at a teacher's character, and ethics. No-one needs to be perfect, but what qualities, of themselves, are they bringing to class.

About the Author

If you're interested in finding the best Power Yoga Videos, click here. Rebecca runs this yoga information site.

May 13, 2007

Hatha Yoga - History and Theory

by matth02
Yoga is one of the most popular exercises in the world today. People all over the world use yoga to tone and meditate. There are many types of yoga that can be practiced, among them Hatha yoga.

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning 'union'. Yoga experts believe this union to be that of the inner soul and the cosmos. Yoga originated between five thousand to eight thousand years ago in India. Through the years, yoga experts, referred to as Yogis or Yoginis, created practical yoga techniques to help an individual on their journey to this union. The classical yoga period ushered in the creation of the Yoga Sutra written by Patanjali in the second century. This Sutra is the foundation for all types of yoga. The best-known form of yoga in the west is Hatha yoga and it is often what people think of when they think of yoga.

Yogi Swami Swatmarama introduced Hatha yoga. In Sanskrit 'ha' means sun or hot and 'tha' means moon or cold. Hatha yoga is the union of the opposite forces. This yoga is meant to prepare you for a higher yoga form. It consists of breathing techniques (pranayama), special postures(asanas), and meditation. It is believed that by balancing the positive and negative forces in our body, we can regulate our vital force (prana), clear our mind and experience subconscious states. It is the most physical of all the yoga forms practiced today.

Hatha yoga begins with a cleansing process, which tries to open up psychic (pranic) channels. Ancient yogis believed by mastering our breathing patterns, we can clear the way to mastering the mind. This is believed to bring the body into a disease free state, since opening blocked channels will allow for a body and mind balancing state. They saw breathing as one of the most important functions of the body. Since prana is in the air, breathing correctly can provide us with good health.

The next step is the asanas (poses). These are used to control and extend the vital energy in each of us. Asanas are special body positions which can give you qualities either you are lacking or don't have. These poses can balance the nervous, circulatory and endocrine systems. In this respect, they have been known to have healing effects. Originally asanas were used to produce the ability to sit in one position comfortably for a long period of time, aiding in meditation. Today, we can see that they provide flexibility, strength, and balance. In doing so, they can address health problems by promoting the body's own healing ability.

Hatha yoga prepares the mind and the body, so that meditation can be achieved. For true meditation to occur, we must have a clear mind. This is difficult to achieve since we have many thoughts going through our minds constantly. It is believed through asanas, we can release our restlessness and our emotions.

Hatha yoga is beneficial to the body both mentally and physically. It creates a balance in our physical and mental states. It reduces stress, rejuvenates us and improves circulation. By following the steps contained in Hatha yoga you can achieve a supreme state of spiritual happiness. You can reach the ultimate goal of yoga, which is a self-awareness and union with the self and the universe.

About the Author

More Hatha Yoga Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

May 12, 2007

What Yoga Can Do For Your Health

by David Faulkner
In the past, yoga has become one of the coolest and trendiest of the exercise and alternative methods that have made a big appearance in the world today. Not only is yoga a fun thing to do, it is also a way for you to loose weight and make yourself more healthy without undo stress on the body. Many people have taken upon themselves to start this wonderful and easy way to get in better health. Thousands of humans that are any age and that are from many occupations now do it. it is a safe thing for even children to start doing on a regular basis. Professionals are now looking into yoga to provide the user with many benefits to your health. can you imagine how great it will be to know that the easy exercises of yoga will also help to cure you of an ailment that has bothered you for years with no relief?

You will definately be able to find a way to use yoga for the bettering of your health and your total life. Yoga will take you to a place where you are stronger and more flexible. You can find a way to prevent or cure a serious illness in your life, even serious ones. You will also get a stress reliever and a way to meditate that is also beneficial to your health.

Several claims have emerged highlighting the health benefits of yoga. Yes, according to several resources, yoga is not only capable of making you feel strong and flexible, but it can also help cure whatever ailments you may be suffering from, even the most serious health conditions. It is exciting to find that results from studies are showing that with a regular schedule of yoga that has breathing deeply, different poses, and meditation, you can help problems with asthma, mental health, and heart diseases, and more. It is not certain what other things that yoga can help you with. Each person who is practicing yoga will give you a story about how yoga has helped them. For more info see on Yoga.

We will look at a few of the ways that yoga can help you.

A.) Asthma - yoga can help anyone to heal him or herself of asthma. Deep breathing is involved in yoga and there is also a relaxing of the muscles of the chest that will give you an easier time breathing. There are many people who have problems with asthma today and yoga is helping it. Yoga will help to focus on helping those who have it. The symptoms that are associated with the problems of asthma are reduced in a big way by practicing yoga on a regular basis. The meditation part of the yoga will also give those suffering from asthma a way to control their fear when the asthma attack starts and thus provide themselves a way to not make the situation worse. Those with asthma tend to get more upset when an asthma attack occurs and this will help them to stay calm.

B.) Mental Health - There are some reports that yoga can help those who have a mental health problem. Professionals have had their interest peaked with the strength of the yoga. They have started to work with people of all ages who are known to have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Within the months that the study continued, the group that was practicing yoga has shown to help. It was in the range of forty percent of the people who have started the study doing yoga would continue and have positive results from the disease. Learning to meditate and to release your feelings in a positive way instead of holding them in is a result of the yoga.

C.) Cardiovascular - One other way that yoga can help is with cardiovascular problems. This benefit from yoga comes from the results that yoga is a great way for you to get rid of stress and will make the length of the cardiovascular system better. It has also shown to give you a better blood pressure and rate of heartbeats. The yoga will give you a way to learn to breath deey and it will give you a proper blood flow to all the right places in the body which will ultimately improve the whole system.

Because of these and other things that yoga can give you, it has caused many people to get interested in practicing it. The amount of the classes for yoga have also increased. The positive effects are endless and are different for each person.

About the Author

You can also find more info on Yoga Apparel and Yoga Certification Videos. is a comprehensive resource to know about Yoga and its importance.

Yoga Vinyasas - What Are They

by vitalgirl
When you think about yoga, you likely think first of poses that emphasize self awareness and flexibility. You can, though, link poses in series called yoga vinyasas. In these vinyasas, the poses are done in a free-flowing sequence that adds to your overall yoga experience. While your yoga teacher is trained to create vinyasas for you, there are also certain existing sequences that you can do on your own once you know what poses they involve. Two that are particularly popular in the West are the Sun Salutation and Warrior II.

Sun Salutation

One of the most popular sequences is known as the Sun Salutation. It is a single flow of 12 different yoga postures. With each, you should inhale to accompany your stretching and exhale as you contract or fold your body in. This particular vinyasas is designed to build your strength and increase your overall flexibility. Like with most vinyasas, you may find variations on this depending on what style of yoga you are using, but there are a few basic poses and a flow that is fairly consistent among the variations.

For the Sun Salutation, you go through the flow twice in order to complete one round. Do it one time for the right side of the body and the other time for your left. If you are crunched for time, still try to do at least one. Even that one half of a sequence will help you to feel revitalized.

The sun salutation starts with mountain. From there you go with hands up, head to knees, lunge, plank, and stick. Still flowing, you go into upward dog, downward dog, and lunge. Finally, the sequence finishes with head to knees, hands up, and mountain again. As you can see, the Sun Salutation is naturally circular just as many other yoga sequences are.

Warrior II

Another popular sequence for yogis in the West is called Triangle, or the Warrior II. This particular vinyasas emphasizes your breathing. Though it is usually recommended to try this moving between positions on the beat of your breath, you can experiment with different breathing patters to see what is best for you and how each affects you. In fact, this ability to freely experiment is what has made this such a popular vinyasas.

The sequence for Warrior II works through four poses. You will use Mountain, Triangle, Warrior II and the standing Yoga Mudra. Moving in that order, you will flow through the sequence in time with your breathing. This particular sequence will have a tendency to release stress and help with your flexibility. Be sure, as with all yoga, to pay careful attention to your breathing patterns while staying focused on yourself.

Once you begin to learn a number of yoga poses, you can begin to experiment with vinyasas on your own or with a teacher. They allow you to not only work within the poses, but also to maintain both a physical and mental flow when you perform your daily yoga. Additionally, you can find other yoga sequences that suit your skill level, need, and style of yoga. Overall, the vinyasas are a part of yoga that may help you see and feel results more quickly and more consistently.

About the Author

Rebecca Prescott presents key points about yoga at her site, Yoga To Health. Learn about the yoga breathing exercises, and more,

May 11, 2007

Yoga and Children - Increasingly Popular

by matth02
If you thought yoga was just for adults, you need to think again. Nowadays, yoga is greatly popular among all ages ' especially with kids. Practicing yoga actually enables children to develop a fitness program and a way of healthy living. Yoga can give children these tools at a young age ' allowing them to start out the right way.

Why would children need yoga? Consider the obesity problem existing with children today. Weight problems will result in health problems. It's a great idea to have a physical activity for kids that will exercise and entertain. Also, it will relieve stress or tension in their lives caused by school, peer pressures, competitive sports and busy lives. Yoga is a healthy way for a child to deal with difficult situations and resolve them.

You may not have thought you would see children in yoga classes, but many yoga followers are beginning to see if yoga makes them feel good, then why not let it make their children feel good also. The yoga classes a parent attends might offer a 'mommy and me' class, or you can just practice it at home with your children. Children love to mimic and they will love to try to get into the different positions you assume. Children's yoga may differ from adult yoga in that dogma and spirituality aren't stressed. Children's yoga will revolve around storytelling, repetition, counting, problem solving, dancing and movements. It will keep the child's attention and keep them interested in it.

The physical benefits of yoga for kids are obvious. They will develop greater flexibility, strength, good posture and coordination. The mental benefits would include concentration, relaxation and calmness. But the benefits do not end here. Studies have shown that students taking yoga have fewer disciplinary problems, higher grades and are more physically fit. It is a noncompetitive form of exercise that can and will build confidence.

If these are not enough benefits to convince you, yoga is also very valuable for children with special needs. Many physicians today even recommend yoga for special needs children. It can help children with Downs Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism. These children need an outlet for their energy. This is a perfect outlet. They can refine their motor skills, learn to articulate better, develop improved eye contact and social skills, as well as, strengthen and tone their bodies. If the child has physical limitations, poses can be altered to use only certain portions of their bodies.

Yoga is gaining momentum in the world today and rightly so. It is for everyone, even kids. Whether you are young or old, whether you have special needs or physical limitations, it can be tailored for the individual to get the best results possible for them. Kids and yoga seem like a natural match. It can be therapeutic for those who need it. Kids can develop healthy bodies at an early age and also healthy habits. This is something they can keep with them for the rest of their lives.

About the Author

More Children Yoga Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

Yoga for Health: Are You Stressing Out? Take a Yoga Class

Stress is actually the number one killer of humans on the planet. Stress is a factor and cause of more physical and mental diseases than most of us can imagine. If you have any disease or ailment, stress will make it worse. If you are getting "stressed out," it may bring on an ailment or disease.

Just look at what stress does to your blood pressure and heart. Cancer patients recover better when they are dealing with less stress. There are many reasons to worry, and none of us is without worry or stress. Too much stress can also cause an abrupt withdrawal from society and result in a possible depression.

Stress overload can cause job burn out, chronic fatigue, and nervous breakdowns. All of these conditions can result in long-term effects that can "sap" a person's life energy, focus, and motivation.

Unfortunately, stress can also be caused by the ego, too much attachment to outcome, greed, jealousy, and hate. This is mentioned within the Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali, which has remained a timeless guide to human insight. Sometimes, we create our own stress and are our own worst enemies.

So, what's the solution? Stress management programs are one answer. Have you ever noticed how many stress management techniques look like Yoga? To be honest, if something looks and sounds like Yoga; it's probably "Yoga in disguise."

I do not want to take away any credit, but Yoga is a 5,000 year old health maintenance system. You could call Yoga the "mother" of all health maintenance systems. Many of today's health maintenance systems are "off shoots" of Yoga.

Hatha Yoga teaches you to stretch and strengthen your tense muscles, breathe correctly, relax, meditate and much more. Regular Yoga practice will help you develop your focus and turn stress "on its head." As a result of Yoga practice, you will easily be able to handle life's daily stress.

Whether the form of Yoga you practice is holding postures for a while, or flowing from one posture to the next, your body will be relieved of stress. Hatha Yoga sub-styles such as, Restorative Yoga and Iyengar Yoga, hold the Yoga Postures a bit longer than most.

The controlled breathing, practiced while holding a posture, enables the Yoga student to release stress, and walk away from a Yoga class feeling better than he or she did before the start of the class.

On the other hand, Hatha Yoga sub-styles that flow such as, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga, have more movement, but the repetition of movement will also release stress from your body.

So, which is the best style for you? Most Yoga studios and wellness centers realize that students do not all "dance to the same beat."

These movement-based Yoga classes differ from a gentle Restorative Yoga style. Each Yoga style has its own flavor, but a prospective student should talk to a Yoga teacher prior to the particular class. This is the wisest course of action, when considering your own goals.

Yoga is not a complete cure for stress, but it does cause the opposite effects of stress. Most Yoga students do find themselves living a calmer, more relaxed, and healthier life style as a result of practicing Yoga on and off the mat. This is why so many doctors recommend Yoga to their patients.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

May 10, 2007

What Is Ashtanga Yoga - Does It Suit You

by vitalgirl
Ashtanga yoga, also known as power yoga, is quickly gaining popularity among practitioners. So what is Ashtanga yoga? It is the form of yoga most used by athletes and those interested in quickly increasing strength and stamina. Because of that, Ashtanga yoga postures have a higher degree of difficulty than those in other styles. Additionally, they are done as part of series.

Usually, students doing Ashtanga yoga postures will move quickly from one to the other to maintain that focus on strength. That is in opposition to many other forms of yoga where the emphasis is on breathing, relaxation, and flexibility.

Who Should Practice Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga yoga poses are for most anyone who is in decent shape. If you are new to exercise, this is probably not the form of yoga with which you should start. Even the very easiest of Ashtanga poses are very demanding on the body, especially since you will even start with a body warming routine that is designed to activate your muscles. Overall, Ashtanga yoga can provide you with a build up of strength, stamina, and even some flexibility which explains its popularity with those involved in athletics.

If you decide to give Ashtanga a try, you should expect things to progress quickly. You will likely start right off with a sequence of yoga poses. Those will be practiced until the teacher feels you have mastered it fairly well and have complete understanding of its fundamentals. Then, you will move on to another series and a higher level of difficulty. Overall, it is a very fast moving form of yoga.

Ashtanga Poses

As for the Ashtanga yoga poses, they range widely in terms of positioning. You will find yourself moving from standing, backbent, inverted, balancing, seated, and even twisting poses. In power yoga, the sun salutation sequence of poses is very popular as well, so you will often use standing forward bend, upward dog, downward dog, and many other poses sprinkled in as well.

Though much of the focus in Ashtanga yoga poses is on the development of stamina and strength, you will also, as with any yoga, be focusing. You will be asked to focus your eyes on a point as you move through the poses given out by your instructor. In order to get the full effect and benefit of Ashtanga, you should make sure that your muscles and perhaps even the rooms are very warm. This ensures maximum flexibility and minimal injury as you work through the demanding postures.

If you are into athletics, exercise, or just want a new physical challenge, perhaps you should consider giving Ashtanga yoga a try. The clear choice of athletes and an increasingly popular form in general, it is perfect for those that are in decent shape and want to increase their strength, stamina, and flexibility. Power yoga is a series of poses taken in a quick and free flowing sequence. Even the classes move quickly with teachers adding more difficult sequences every time one is fairly well mastered. So if you learn fast, like to work hard, and think you are up to the challenge of power yoga, then you may benefit greatly from Ashtanga yoga poses.

About the Author

If you'd like to find out more about ashtanga yoga postures, see this article. Ashtanga yoga is great for losing weight, so if you're interested in learning about the benefits of yoga breathing and weight loss, click here.

May 09, 2007

Yoga Positions - A Few Tips

by vitalgirl
Yoga positions and the practice of yoga can be beneficial to your mind, your muscles, and even internal functions like your digestive system. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that yoga's popularity is on the rise. Before you take it up, though, it is a good idea to have in mind the right information to help you succeed and get the most out of the experience. Take these yoga tips into account as you begin your physical, mental, and spiritual journey.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice your positions often. Yoga offers many benefits to your mind, body, and spirit, and these benefits may be maximized with regular practice on your own in addition to your classes and with your teacher. As a beginner, it is especially important that you practice so that you may see and feel the benefits early on. With yoga, the frequency with which you work on your positions is as important if not more so than the length of the practice sessions. Try to find a few minutes each day to do a little bit of yoga.

Make sure that you practice your poses correctly. Most anything you read, watch, or listen to about yoga will tell you to practice often, but one of the yoga tips that sometimes get skipped is that you must practice right. Make sure that each practice session extends you. Do not practice only your best poses, but also work on poses you struggle with as well. Such a practice will be more productive and give you the feeling of self-assurance that you seek with yoga.

Maximizing Your Potential

One of the more important tips for beginners is to let go of your ego. In order to fully maximize your yoga experience, you must forget about such things as impressing your teacher and classmates. One of the central ideas of yoga is self-study. To fully study yourself, you must try not to compare yourself to the teacher or other students, but instead, you should strive to maximize your own learning and improvement during each class and practice session.

Finding Yourself

During practice, remember what is important. The depths of your poses are not nearly as important as how deep you delve into yourself. In yoga, you learn about your inner attention. Be sure to use that attention when practicing and when with your instructor to get the most out of your poses even if you cannot get deeply into them physically.

Finding the Right Teacher

No number of yoga positioning tips can compete with having the right teacher. When selecting a yoga teacher, make sure you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Your instructor should have good knowledge and work through compassion and respect for you as a person. No matter how many books you read or tapes you watch, you will never get the feedback and encouragement that you will with the right teacher.

As a beginner in yoga, there are undoubtedly times that you feel a bit lost. That is okay. Hopefully, though, with these tips you will have an idea of what you need to do to feel more successful in your yoga experience. Yoga is not a religion, but in some ways it does become a way of life, and by following these tip you can start your journey toward that way of life on the right foot.

About the Author

If you'd like to learn about 6 beginner asanas, click here. Or if you're pregnant, check out these prenatal yoga exercises.

May 08, 2007

Will Yoga Help Weight Loss?

by jakekennedy
The answer to the question in the title of this article, 'Will Yoga Help Weight Loss?', is a resounding 'Yes'. Yoga will help weight loss and has been proven to do so. Yoga will work on both your body and mind to provide a new and leaner you.

Yoga is well known for it's abilities to create a wonderful state of relaxation in the practitioner which has been proven to lower blood pressure and many other physical ailments. It is also a great way to remove that access weight that has been plaguing you for months or years.

The reason that Yoga is such an effective way to lose weight is that it burns calories at a much faster rate. It increases one's metabolism, thus speeding up the rate at which calories burn.

There are many forms of yoga. Some practices, like power yoga, is a much more active form which will burn calories much faster than other yoga practices like ashtanga yoga. Power yoga though is NOT for the faint hearted. Like all forms of exercise you should check with your family doctor before setting off to engage in a new fitness regime.

It is becoming more and more recognised that overeating is related to our emotional state and our minds. Thus, a quieter mind, brought about through yoga practice will make it less likely that you will reach for that cream cake every time you get the urge.

This is not to say that you have to diet on celery and lettuce leaves. The idea of weight loss through yoga is to become relaxed about this area of your life that it causing you problems. That way you are in a better state to deal with it.

It is said that 'what we resist, persists'. So, stilling the mind through yoga will certainly give you a more positive outlook on life and lead to a calmer mind and body.

Now, on to the physical aspects of yoga for weight loss -

It is not difficult to see that yoga exercise will burn those stubborn calories that you have been trying to rid yourself off. Have you watched some of the asanas or poses? Any physical activity at all will help you lose weight but the turning and twisting of yoga helps to break up the stores of fat and rid them through the body's natural processes.

Don't let the gentler forms of yoga fool you either. It looks very serene to watch those that have been practicing it for years. It almost looks as though there isn't much going on. Believe me, you will be surprised at how much perspiration is generated by these simple poses. When I first started off on a half hour yoga regime of simple poses, I was absolutely surprised at how much workout I had actually achieved at the end of it.

Things do get easier as you progress and the feeling that yoga gives at the end of a workout is second to none. You WILL get a feeling of achievement and relaxation that you may have never felt before.

Keep at the yoga regime and the calories will surely burn off like you wouldn't imagine.

About the Author

For More Great Tips on Finally Ridding Yourself Off Those Stubborn Calories Through Yoga Check Out Will Yoga Help Weight Loss? and Healthy Body Diet

May 07, 2007

Yoga Room Decorating And Design Ideas

by Lee Dobbins
A room in which a person can practice a yoga routine must be one of comfort. In order to truly reap the benefits of yoga, a person must be able to move around freely and in perfect comfort. When considering your yoga room decorating and design you must be sure to add things that will free you mentally while in the yoga practice so that its benefits will be felt to their fullest.

Yoga, which comes from the ancient practice of meditation, is a moving practice in which you are trying to train your muscles in certain directions while also concentrating on making them more firm. In order to do this practice, there are certain items that you will need to use. Yoga mats should be used to provide your body ultimate cushion and support. There are yoga balls that get used as well as several other tools. These can be added to the décor of your yoga room.

The color that you choose for your yoga room should be an earthy tone. Perhaps a rosy yellow or a waterfall blue/white combination would be a great color for this room. This will add to the calming effects of yoga while in practice of it. Another color choice may be a deep red to reflect the color of décor that yoga originated from. Either way, you want the color to help your mind relax as you concentrate on particular muscle groups in your practice.

Candles are another important part of yoga. The colors of the candles you choose can either match or contrast with the colors that you’ve chosen to paint the room. They will grace your practices as you light them and reflect upon their glow when you are doing yoga. Their flames will add to the décor and feel of warmth in the room. Other knickknacks throughout the room may include Buddha statues or paintings of waterfalls. These add unity to the room as you bring together your own tastes and the history of the practice of yoga.

A final touch that will enhance the use of this room would be a set of speakers to surround the person practicing. This would be something that’s both functional and decorative. Speakers can come in several different colors or they can reflect the wood grain that they are made out of. They can be on stands in several places throughout the room, or they can be placed within the walls themselves. Ultimately, as they are used in the yoga practices, they will create the feel of tranquility that is so important.

A yoga room should create a feeling of relaxation while remaining functional. Though you are certainly not relaxing while doing yoga, your mind should be free to concentrate on the muscles being worked. By adding these decorative touches in your yoga room decorating and design efforts, you are freeing the mind to be where it should be while your body is prepared for the stretches and practices of yoga.

About the Author

Lee Dobbins writes about decorating and design. Visit where you can read more about decorating styles and how to incorporate them in your home.

May 06, 2007

How To Choose The Best Yoga Videos

by vitalgirl
Finding the best yoga videos is not as easy to walking down to your local video store and wandering over to the exercise aisle. Not all such videos on the market are ideal for effective home practice. In order to make sure you get the best yoga videos for your home, consider a few things you should really look for.

Easy To Understand

First of all, a quality yoga video will be easy for you to follow. You should be able to understand what is being done, how the positions are achieved, how long you should hold each one, and how often you should do it. It should also be easy to follow into each subsequent move. If you cannot understand the video, then it has failed on its most basic level.

Secondly, videos should provide not only easy to follow instructions, but also easy to understand demonstrations. You should be able to, by watching, understand the basics of achieving each pose and each transition. You should also understand, from watching, the breathing patterns and focus. If you can understand the verbal instructions, but the demonstrations are unclear then your video is no better than a book on yoga.

Next, there should be easy modifications offered in the best yoga videos. Yoga can be difficult, so beginners to it may frequently need modifications to their practice so that they can understand even that which they cannot complete. No matter what your ability level may be, you want your video to be able to apply to you. Once you buy a video, it should be of use to you at every stage as you progress further into yoga. Choose a video that will grow with you.

Teaching Qualilty

In a quality video, the yoga should be taught in a student centered manner. Though that seems like it should go without saying, you will see a number of yoga videos that are just a fancy way of showing off the instructor's ability in yoga. Such videos do little if any good and in many cases may even be counterproductive for you. The idea of having the yoga video is to help your development, not to put you in awe of someone else's level of flexibility or fitness.

Finally, high quality yoga videos should feature prominent and well qualified instructors. They should not only be practicing instructors, but should probably have achieved great success in their yoga education. You always want to learn from someone at as high a level as possible. By simply reading the back of the box, you will often get an overview of the teacher's qualifications so that you can make an intelligent decision as to whether or not you want this person to help you practice yoga in your home.

Finding the best yoga videos really isn't easy. However, when armed with the tools above, you can more accurately assess a video's value. Look for something you understand visually and orally, that you can use at any level, and that features a successful teacher while staying student centered. When you find that you will have found the best of the best yoga videos for use at home and between private sessions or classes.

About the Author

Rebecca Prescott presents more information on the best power yoga videos, and a hatha yoga DVD guide here.

May 05, 2007

Exhance Your Yoga Experience With The Latest Gear

by dbsilva
One of the great advantages of persuing yoga is that it doesn't require much in the way of gear. In fact, most folks can get by with nothing more than a comfortable pair of sweats and a litte open floor space. But if you're ready to get more serious about your yoga, there are some items that you might want to add to your routines. Here are just a few for your consideration:


Sticky yoga mats can provide a safe and comfortable non-slip surface for your yoga routine. Believe it or not, there are mats that are specifically designed for yoga, as opposed to Pilates mats or other exercise mats. A good yoga mat will tend to be thinner and easy to roll up to place in your gym bag for easy transportation and storage. By the way, most places selling yoga equipment can offer you a variety of mat styles and colors, so you'll be able to express your individuality in the gear you choose.

Yoga Straps

Yoga straps are less common that some of the other forms of gear listed here. In fact, if you've been doing yoga for awhile, you still may not be familiar with them. A yoga strap is a simple nylon strap with a plastic or metal buckle. Usually light-weight, you can find them in a number of different colors. How are they used? Most commonly the yoga strap is used as an aid for those people who just can't quite reach a specific goal in a pose. For example, they can help you with such challenging poses as the Seated Forward Bend (or Paschimottanasana) where you sit with both legs in front of you and attempt to lay your torso flat over your thighs. If your hamstrings are particularly tight, a yoga strap can be looped around your feet to pull your torso gently forward until you feel that distinctive sensation where you know you want to be.


Yoga blocks and bricks are used by many yogis to modify poses in their workouts. These blocks can help you to deepen your stretches, reduce the strain on a particular muscle group when you're beginning to learn a new pose, and provide a better foundation for proper body alignment. Most yoga stores will sell a variety of blocks in sizes that can help you with both simple and advanced poses.


Not technically gear, yoga workouts on DVD and video have become incredibly popular today, particularly for those who are too busy to attend a regular class, or who no longer feel the need for the guidance of a yoga instructor. You can find DVD yoga workouts for all levels, from beginner to master, including titles such as Crunch - The Perfect Yoga Workout, The Total Body Yoga Workout DVD, QuickFix - Power Yoga Workout, and ZenMama Prenatal Yoga Workout DVD. There's something for everyone interested in yoga on DVD.

If you have a yoga store near you (or if you poke around the Interent a bit), you'll also find that there are a variety of yoga "kits" available as well. These packages typically include all the basic yoga gear: one or two blocks, straps, a mat and sometimes even a video or flash cards of different poses. Yoga kits are a wonderful starting point for the yoga enthusiast, especially if you aren't quite sure where to begin.

About the Author

David Silva is the webmaster for Alternative Medicine First, where you can discover many of today's alternative medicine approaches, such as holistic medicine, biofeedback, Chinese medicine, meditation, homeopathic medicine, hypnosis, yoga, and more.

May 04, 2007

Be the Teacher

How could a Shy Person Become a Yoga Teacher?

The calling to teach Yoga classes can reach into any of us, but what about obstacles which hold each of us back. A shy person may want to become a Yoga teacher, but how can he or she develop the voice of a Yoga instructor?

For an aspiring Yoga teacher, shyness is like a prison which stops him or her from life's rewards. This person knows what to do, but feels serious anxiety when having to address a person or when having to speak in front of a group.

So what is a shy, but aspiring Yoga instructor to do, when confronted with this impasse? Should he or she give up the dream of becoming a certified Yoga teacher? Some trainers of Yoga teachers would agree, but the truth is there is a solution for the shy, but aspiring Yoga instructor.

Luckily, we are surrounded by recording devices. You can record your voice or film a mock Yoga class to develop your Yoga teaching skills. Watch the recording of yourself teaching Yoga, and later, practice along with the film or the audio recording. Then you can make corrections as you deal with the learning curve involved in becoming a Yoga teacher.

If you have some areas in your video or audio recording that need work; you will find a solution, but you must be patient with yourself. We are our own worst critics. This is just a part of the learning process in becoming a Yoga instructor. It is guaranteed that if you try, you will succeed, and you will not be let down.

Many of my best Yoga teacher training graduates spent their lives under estimating themselves, but found independence and a better quality life, teaching Yoga. The harshest judge many of us face on a daily basis is ourselves.

This is not an exercise in self-criticism, but a proven method for developing your Yoga teaching skills. Do not "beat yourself up," but do take a constructive look at ways you can improve the range of your voice, cueing skills, and your Yoga lesson plan.

You should also seek out a trusted friend or an experienced Yoga teacher for constructive advice. Some Yoga teacher mentors will tutor you through any part of learning process.

Later, you may need at least one student and you can film your lesson plan in any open room. Some Yoga instructor interns have filmed a Yoga class outside, depending upon the season. Teaching Yoga in different settings will also build new found confidence.

You will learn to develop your own lesson plan. This is not acting, but a way to see your personality evolve into a Yoga teacher. This evolution of personality knows no boundaries. Most Yoga teachers are very confident and make the most out of enjoying life to its fullest potential every day.

To be honest, I was nervous when I taught my first Yoga class. I never thought I would be a public speaker, and I never considered that I would some day train Yoga instructors from every part of the earth. The raw skills are within all of us, but your dreams will not be realized without positive action by you.

Life happens, and hopefully, most of us change for the best. As a result, you will help others and have a tremendous feeling of job satisfaction, when you become a Yoga teacher.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

May 03, 2007

Yoga Classes: What To Expect

by matth02
One popular type of fitness routines today is yoga. Although it is the current rage, it is certainly not new. Yoga is one of the oldest forms of fitness. People who practice yoga generally attend classes and work with yoga instructors to perfect their mental and physical skills. Let's take a look at what yoga class entails.

Yoga has been in the world for over 8000 years. But recently it has gained momentum as a choice fitness program. There are several different types of yoga to choose from; Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Bekram Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Iyengar Yoga. It is a good idea to observe some of these classes to determine which yoga is right for you. Once you make your choice, you can attend classes at fitness centers or the YMCA. You can join a group session or participate in a private session.

Classes are usually sixty to ninety minutes long. The beginning of the class will consist of relaxation, breathing and warm-up stretches. This may also include some chanting, such as 'OMS' to help relax your body. Then there will be a series of asanas, or poses. The teacher will walk around, watch your movements and offer advice on how to improve your form. The end of the class will be a total relaxation period, which will help calm the body and clear the mind.

To be prepared for your yoga class, you should wear shorts, a t-shirt or tank top. They should be loose or tighter fitted, but not restrictive of movements. Yoga is usually done barefoot. You might want to bring a yoga mat, especially if there are wood floors. Most people prefer sticky mats for their sturdiness. Many yoga classes have mats for rent. Just keep in mind; you will get sweaty during a class and so will the people who have used the mat before you. If you are going to stick with this exercise, most people prefer to buy their own mats. Also, bring water to hydrate yourself after class. And remember do not eat one to two hours before the class.

You will be expected to work at your own ability level. If you need a rest during the workout, you can always resort to the child's pose. You can continue when you feel you are able, as each individual sets his or her own speed. In your class, everyone will function at his or her own stage; you shouldn't be concerned others are more advanced. This will only hinder your concentration and rob you of any benefits you may experience.

Yoga is an exercise, which is easy to learn and requires no equipment outside of a yoga mat. It will produce a more relaxed you, and you can expect to feel good after it is over. You may feel inadequate as you start but with practice you will be able to master the yoga poses. So if you want a feel good, get fit, self-awareness exercise program, it may be just an 'OM' away.

About the Author

More Yoga Classes Articles at Learn how to operate a Successful Niche Website Network at Matthew Hick has been designing profitable Adsense Websites for over 5 years.

May 01, 2007

Yoga Explained

Explore The Spiritual Benefits Of Yoga

by kevinp
Yoga is an ancient art of staying fit, both physically and mentally. The yoga benefits are so enormous that they are still being discovered almost everyday. The benefits of this ancient art include physical, mental, emotional health, spiritual benefits and natural healing.

The art of Yoga has evolved over many centuries in ancient India. The earliest records of this form of art are found in the ancient Hindu texts and mythologies. Yoga keeps the mind and body of a person fit by slowing down the natural aging process. It reduces the amount of toxins absorbed by our body cell and thus slows down its deterioration.

The physical well being of a person is an obvious benefit of Yoga. There are specific yoga poses or asanas that are aimed at increasing height, losing weight from waist or hips, improving blood circulation, solving Gastrointestinal problems and respiratory problems, normalizing blood pressure levels and in keeping it under control, improving our cardio-vascular efficiency, improving physical strength and stamina are to name only a few.

Beyond the more obvious physical benefits, there are many spiritual benefits of Yoga. At a basic level Yoga helps by improving our level of concentration and mental clarity. At an advanced level it improves thought control, mind control and is also known to help in developing psychic powers. On a higher level Yoga unites ones self with the environment and the people around us. It helps us realize and experience how we are One with nature. It is a sort of enlightenment that makes us feel at par with the universe. We become more aware of the lives of people around us and how they are intertwined with our own. This makes us feel at peace with ourselves. Purifying, healing and rejuvenating exercises can restore health, force of life, joy and also lengthen life span. Certain exercises, such as Laya Yoga practices serve liberation, salvation of the soul and reinvent our relationship with God. Yoga thus provides mental peace and spiritual harmony. The realization of ones spiritual self makes us a better person.

The three main components to the practice of Yoga are: breathing, concentration and posture also known as asanas. All three components work together for specific objectives.

One of the most commonly practiced asanas is the Sirsha asana or the Headstand Pose. To do this exercise firstly kneel down and place your arms flat on the floor. Interlock fingers of both hands. Place your head between your hands, flat on the floor. Raise your back from the kneeling position so that you are on the tip of your toes, with your head still on the floor. Slowly raise your legs off the floor so that it extends upwards, keeping the body aligned and balanced. Breathing techniques used during the exercise enhance the overall effect.

Breathing techniques, also known a pranayama, is aimed at bringing more oxygen into our blood stream thereby improving the efficiency of our system. Breathing techniques go hand in hand with the various asanas.

Yoga finds immense use in our present day lives. From relieving office work tension to keeping de-stressing ourselves on a long flight to making us a better person in todays outright competitive and religiously divided world. It brings out a harmony in our precariously unbalanced lifestyles and emotional stability to our personal lives. It is surprising that sparing only a few minutes a day to practice this art can bring us enormous benefits.

About the Author

Kevin Pederson can guide you on the working principles behind Yoga which focuses on the benefits of Yoga techniques intended to produce a positive state of mind in us. This article explores the spiritual benefits of yoga.

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