Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yoga Postions For Stiffness

Yoga for stiffness in the body

Exercises for the back

Bharat Thakur

Almost 40 per cent of the population suffers from some form of lower back pain. If only people would practise a few simple postures to keep the lower back relaxed, they would not find themselves with such a stiff and painful back. These exercises are simple to do but they are highly effective in keeping your back supple and pain free.


• Kneel on the floor. Stretch one leg straight out in front as shown
• Inhale raise both arms over the head. Exhale and bend forward from the hips, interlock the hands around the foot as shown and place the chin on the knees
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Repeat with the other side.


• Sit with the back straight; place both the arms behind you as shown, the fingers pointing away from the body
• Bend one leg, place the foot below the kneecap
• Gently twist the spine, take the knee towards the floor on the opposite side
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Repeat with the other side.


• Bend the knees and pull them towards the chest as shown
• Roll on your back in forward and backward movement
• Hold for 10 - 30 seconds
• Keep breathing at a normal pace.

• Kneel on the floor, the knees together
• Sit back on your heels, keeping the back straight
• Inhale and raise your arms above your head
• Exhale slowly and bend the body forward so that the forehead rests on the floor, the palms facing downward
• Hold the position breathing normally
• Inhale and come up. Exhale and resume start position.

Exercise 4

Read more here

Yoga For Stress Relief

Lunch Break Yoga Helps Ease Work Stress

More people are skipping the drive-through and spending their lunch hour in yoga classes.

Jamie Powell is the instructor of a lunch break yoga class at Carrboro's Balanced Movement studio. She said mid-day exercise classes are a growing trend.

"It seems to be catching on in other work environments," Powell said. "I know that Blue Cross, Blue Shield offers yoga to their employees and other companies are starting to offer it."

**Corpse pose is my favorite asana for stress relief.

Lay on your back with arms slightly away from your body, palms up.
Close your eyes, and inhale deeply.

Stay in this position for at least ten minutes

Read more here


Practice Yoga With Care, Especially Prenatal Yoga

In recent years the practice of yoga has gone from obscure to mainstream. Offered at private studios, national chains, fitness clubs and every imaginable fitness venue, yoga has far outgrown its eastern origins and draws thousands into its practice.

Those practicing do so in many different styles including, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Hot and Power Yoga -- and they do so for good reason. Yoga has the ability to improve your flexibility, joint mobility, balance and coordination.

It also offers the benefits of greater endurance and strength while enabling you to better cope with stress, and function with greater calm and clarity throughout your day.

Read the rest of the article here

**When practicing yoga ALWAYS take care.
Yoga is about being in connection with your body and mind
There is no benefit gained in try TOO hard. Relax into the asana's and it will happen


Yoga For Therapy Or Yoga For Weight Loss?

Yoga: inside-out wellness
Lee Welles
August 29, 2006
Recently I saw a new yoga magazine with a cover touting, "Look Great! Lose Weight!" I could practically hear 3,000 years' worth of yogis rolling in their graves (or getting a wicked migraine in their newly reincarnated life; pick your dogma).

If you do a Google search of "yoga," you will get more than 92 million hits. In the first listing, the first word is "diet." Sigh. The second listing is Yoga Journal, a respectable publication that, nonetheless, is getting fatter with glossy advertisements for $80 carrying bags for your yoga mat! The third listing was for products.

It is interesting that a practice that was developed for the benefit of the everlasting soul has devolved into yet another reason to feel that our hips are too wide, another reason to go shopping and try to find the "right" article of clothing, another thing to wish for.

I get a lot of questions about yoga: "Will it make me more flexible? Will I lose weight? Will it keep me from getting into a knockdown, drag-out argument with my sister-in-law this Thanksgiving?" Sigh.

*** I completely agree with Lee.
It is truly amazing how 'we' have managed to take a practice such as yoga, one that is meant for enlightenment, mind/body/spirit connection, and turn it into the next 'weight loss craze'.

What is next, meditate for weight loss?......wait I think I saw that already


Beginner Yoga Pose May Help With Back Pain

By Jessica Soccorsi
Senior Staff Writer
Lower back pain is common among many adults and young individuals, and certain forms of stretching may be just the remedy.

In September 2005, Siegfried Bleher and Kimberly Williams of the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University began a scientific study to determine whether the practice of a special type of Yoga called Iyengar Yoga would help individuals with lower back pain.

"The goal of this program is to help people learn what it takes to help themselves. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the affect of Iyengar Yoga on chronic low back pain," Williams said.

Bleher, the main instructorof the position, was the only certified Iyengar instructor in West Virginia when the study began.

Since then, Williams has also become certified and serves as an assistant.
According to Williams, this method of yoga originated with a man named BKS Iyengar, a world-renowned yoga instructor whose techniques have been picked up by yoga instructors across the world.

Although many people have claimed to see some positive results in using the method, Williams said this will be the first study to evaluate its effects scientifically.

The study, which is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine through the National Institute of Health, will ultimately evaluate the affects of Iyengar Yoga on four different groups of participants.

The first group is nearing the end of their classes. Williams said they are currently recruiting more people for the second group.

All groups meet twice a week over the course of six months to fully develop the use of Iyengar positions.

Williams said members of the group start out in fairly simple poses and gradually progress to more advanced, difficult positions.

"Something very unique about his method is that it focuses on proper alignment in each pose because no matter what their imbalance is, we try to help them get proper alignment," Williams said.

Another distinguishing factor of the Iyengar method is that it focuses on the use of props such as mats, ropes, blankets, pillows, stools, blocks, chairs, as well as other tools, Williams said.
Trish Ammar, class member, said her back problems were predominantly caused from right lower back strain.

"It's not evident by observing, but it really does help," Ammar said. "The instructors give you subtle instructions that help over a long period of time."

Since the start of the study, Williams said they have had one person drop out due to serious back problems.

There are also two women involved in the program who now go at their own pace after having relapses in their backs outside of the classes.

Elaine Ridgway said she had severe chronic back pain and has only sought treatment through this study. After her relapse, Bleher and Williams started her back at the beginning doing more intermediate poses.

"When they re-examined my condition after the relapse, I was much more satisfied and confident with going at my own pace," Ridgway said.

While some participants say they feel positive affects on the yoga classes, Williams said the study's final outcome has yet to be determined. "No analysis has been done on the data that we have collected so far, so we really can't be sure what the final affects will be," Williams said.

Read more of that study here


Laughing For The Benefits Of Yoga

Laughing Yoga

If I was a Doctor I would prescribe that EVERYONE must watch this at LEAST once a day!


Yoga Position; Marichyasana 3 (Standing version)

Yoga For You
Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy

Marichyasana 3 (Standing version)
This twisting pose is dedicated to the ancient yogi Marichy. The standing version of the asana helps relieve stiff or sore back muscles and energizes the kidneys, spleen and liver.

1. Place a chair close to the wall as shown. Put a height such as yoga blocks on the chair seat. You will also need a rolled yoga mat or a rolled towel. Place this roll on the floor, close to the side of the chair.

2. Now stand facing the chair with your right side close to the wall. Step both heels onto the roll with your feet together. Observe that the pelvis is level and press the thighbones into the back of the legs.

3. Bend the right leg up and place the foot on the block. Check that the left foot is directly under the left buttock and keep the left leg vertical and straight.

Nikki Armstrong, a student at Manoa Yoga Center, demonstrates how to use a chair, block and wall in a standing twist.

4. Exhale and bring the left forearm across the right knee. Place the right hand on the wall, at shoulder level and wider than the shoulder. Keep the left thigh back and do not let the left hip and pelvis swing to the right toward the wall. The pelvis should stay even.

5. Now inhale and lift the spine in and up. Exhale and spread the armpits to the elbows to help rotate the spine. Press the left forearm against the right thigh and the right hand into the wall to facilitate the twist. Breathe evenly through the nose, and every so often repeat this sequence of lifting to create space in the spine and turning on the exhalation.

6. Hold for up to a minute, then do to the other side.

Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.

For more on this pose click here