Yoga, and the benefit of yoga, is generically defined as a Hindu discipline that helps unite the body and mind. Aimed at achieving a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility, it is practiced in the West most commonly as physical exercise practiced as part of the discipline.

The benefit of yoga practice is nothing new.  It has been recognized for many years as the perfect discipline to help one achieve tranquility, better health, and longer life.

Many people view the benefit of yoga as some weird discipline that involves yogi’s contorted in unnatural positions, doing strange acts of the body, and living on a mountaintop somewhere in India.  I personally remember a television documentary many years ago featuring a yogi that had his tongue split, using it to clean his sinus cavities!  Anyone interested in yoga has probably also seen images of yogi’s supporting great weight with their genitals.

In this modern age, much has been learned about the benefit of yoga. Yoga practitioners achieve greater mobility, longer life, and internal happiness through their practice of the art. Yoga as we know it today is aimed at uniting the mind, body,and spirit.  The mysticism of the Hindu discipline is no longer a myth, and is reachable by all willing to learn.

Yoga practice is roughly grouped into three categories – the Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) and Meditation. These categories embrace physiological, psychological, and biochemical effects.  In addition, clinicians have compared these results against the Western practices of jogging, aerobic exercise, and weight training, and find results comparable.

The most popular style of Yoga in the West today is Hatha Yoga.  It is designed to focuses on the physical well-being of a person and believers in the practice consider the body as the vehicle of the spirit.

Ananda Yoga, a classical style of Hatha Yoga, uses Asana and Pranayama to awaken, experience, and take control of the subtle energies within the body, and focuses on the energies of the seven Chakras.

Anusara (a-nu-SAR-a)yoga is defined as “stepping into the current of Divine Will”, “following your heart”, and “moving with the current of divine will.” This new style, which was developed by John Friend, is defined as “yoga positions that flow from the heart.” It is heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, and is based on a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. It is based on the principles of Hatha Yoga and biochemical practices.  Students of this discipline base their practice on attitude, action, and alignment.

Ashtanga yoga could possibly be the perfect Yoga for those looking for a serious workout. Ashtanga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, and is very physically demanding. A series of flows, moving quickly from one posture to another, is utilized to build strength, flexibility and stamina. This style is not good for the beginning practitioner, as it requires 6 series of difficulty.  The physical demands of Ashtanga are not for the casual practitioner beginning the journey of yoga fitness.

Bikram Yoga, named for its founder Bikram Choudhury, is practiced in a room with a temperature of up to 100 degrees. Twenty six Asanas are performed in a typical session, and focus is on warming and stretching muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Each pose is accompanied by Kapalabhati Breath, the “breath of fire.”  Practice of this style promotes cleansing of the body, the release of toxins, and ultimate flexibility. One must be in very good physical shape to practice Bikram Yoga.

These basic definitions will give the person seeking the benefit of yoga a clear-cut understanding of what is to be expected, and will help them make the proper decision to find the discipline that best suits their needs.  More information is posted on a regular basis at https://www.bikramboy.com.  Visit today to learn about the practice of yoga to meet your exercise needs.

As we walk the tightrope between modern life and our animal instincts, the human race strives to find balance. In our bodies, our minds, our environment, in our lives. With our brains over-stimulated and our bodies more sedentary than ever, many of us suffer from the fatigue and imbalance that comes from chronic stress without sufficient recovery. A yoga practice is an excellent way to soothe nerves that are in a constant state of overdrive. Yoga can help give us the ability to live healthy amidst hectic schedules and bustling environments. Why does it seem that as technology evolves at such epic pace we have less and less time at our disposal? Now more than ever we need to slow down, quiet our minds, take a deep breath…

Stress has become a chronic aspect of life for many of us, and it takes its toll. The nervous system senses continued pressure and remain slightly activated, producing extra stress hormones over an extended period of time. This can wear out the body’s reserves, leaving us feeling depleted or overwhelmed. Over time the immune system weakens causing illness and fatigue, mood swings, lack of focus, and irritability. Stress is implicated in many health problems from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, poor digestion, weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. In milder situations, a little stress can keep us on our toes and help us to rise to a challenge. However, in today’s world chronic, unreleased stress has become prevalent and is taking a tremendous toll on our bodies as it diminishes our enjoyment of life.

In city living the constant noise, electricity, radiation, radiowaves, electromagnetic rays, and infra-red which surround us, create an ever-present stimuli that haggars the central nervous system. We do not yet know long term effects of this “white noise.” We may not consciously be aware of it, but our bodies register all that is going on around us. In our jobs and lifestyles, we are often engaged in many tasks at once and feeling that we are constantly on the go and that even when we do have a moment to spare we can’t seem to truly relax.

What is Stress?

In a challenging situation the human brain responds to stressors by activating the nervous system and specific hormones. The hypothalamus (located in the center of the brain) signals the adrenal glands to produce more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and release them into the bloodstream. Heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism increase, blood vessels open wider to allow more blood flow into large muscles groups, making our muscles tense and putting the brain on high alert. Pupils dilate to improve vision. The liver releases a dose of stored glucose to increase the body’s energy. Sweat is produced to cool the body. This chain reaction of physical effects happens to prepare the human being to react quickly and effectively, enabling them to handle the pressure of the moment. Cortisol is a natural steroid that raises your blood sugar level (so the muscles have plenty of fuel) and suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system. The adrenal hormones are catabolic, which means they foster biological processes that burn energy and break down cellular structures. If you activate the adrenal glands over and over again without sufficient recovery in between, your body becomes depleted and exhausted.

Stress is necessary for the human to remain self-sufficient; to survive. In the jungle, ancient man conjured stress hormones when needed to fight a bear or a tiger, or to survive extreme weather conditions. With a concrete defensive action stress hormones in the blood get used up entailing reduced stress effects and symptoms of anxiety. In modern life some stress situations sharpen us; clear the cobwebs from our thinking, and stimulate faculties to attain our true potential. Each stage of human evolution happened by adapting in order to survive extreme conditions and stressors in our environment, as at this time the body is prepared to act with increased strength and speed while the mind is sharp and focused. Stress and a human response to stress is necessary.

However, what we need now is to learn to adapt to our new world, to handle the increase in milder but consistent stress in a better way and to learn to release before it affects us in a negative manner. When we fail to counter a stress situation these chemicals and hormones remain unreleased in the body and bloodstream for a long period of time. This leads to a long list of symptoms such as tense muscles, unfocused anxiety, dizziness and rapid heartbeat, and compels the mind-body to in an almost constant alarm state in preparation to fight or run away (known as the fight or flight response).

Accumulated stress can increase the risk of both acute and chronic psychosomatic illnesses, and cause everything from headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent cold and fatigue, to diseases such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, heart ailments and even cancer. Many medical doctors and psychologists go as far as to say that 70 – 90 % of visits by adults to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems.**

How Yoga Affects Stress

Enhance the body’s natural functions:

To recover from the exhaustion associated with chronic stress, we need to do things that turn off the adrenal hormones and promote secretion of anabolic hormones. Certain yoga poses, such as inversions help to stimulate glands in the brain (Pituitary, Pineal). Moving into the ALPHA state is very important. The alpha state is considered the ideal waking state, where we reach the pinnacle of our creative thought process while the body is in a healing cycle. Alpha state is often attained during savasana; final resting pose in yoga practice.

Yoga’s smooth, deep, symmetrical breathing, twists, stretches and balancing postures help to enhance the body’s natural functions, keeping the spine, house of the nervous system supple, enhancing flow of fluids in the spine and stimulating glands and circulation of blood and lymph throughout the rest of the body. Muscles are lengthened and toxins are released. Pranayam (breath exercises) and poses such as cat where we roll along the spine with breath can help to flush and clear the lung tissue.

Yoga innately helps us to create balance; to know our bodies, to recognize when we are not balanced both on and off of the mat. On a purely physical level hatha yoga creates strength, flexibility, grace. Part of Yoga’s philosophy is to take the approach of strengthening and healing the body in the process of healing and cleansing the mind. Yoga views the body as having many layers. Asana (physical yoga postures) affect the body but also these deeper layers, en route to creating a whole, balanced self. Hatha yoga practice creates unobstructed energy flow.

Release Tension:

Stressed out individuals tend to carry a great deal of physical tension in their bodies. Yoga helps to unlock and release these tensions before they can accumulate over time and become chronic physical and psychological conditions. As we release physical blockages, toxins, and limitations from the body we also do so in mind, spirit, and emotions. The benefits of yoga postures (asana), breathing (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana) include increased body awareness, release of muscular tension and increased coordination between mind-and-body which leads to better management of stress and cultivates an overall feeling of well-being

During the resting poses in yoga such as child’s pose, abdominal tension is released. This allows internal organs to unwind promoting deep breathing and enhancing digestive and reproductive functions. This deep rest affords the central nervous system much needed time in ‘para-sympathetic’ mode (relaxed calm state, free of the “flight or flight” stress response) in order to recover and rejuvenate. Creating focus through a series of specific bodily poses also helps us to truly take our mind off of work and other stressors.

The Breath:

In normal conditions, the body follows a natural breath pattern that is slow and fairly regulated. Under stress when the body shows symptoms such as tightening of muscles, distractions, anxiety, hyperactivity and angry reactions, breathing becomes quick and shallow. One tends to hold one’s breath frequently. With restricted breathing inflow of oxygen is diminished. Lungs are unable to exhale the stale airs and residual toxins build up inside the body. Stiff muscles restrict the circulation of blood that so even less oxygen comes in and fewer toxins are removed. This in turn, affects the healthy regeneration of cells and can accelerate aging and disease. Medical studies show that the oxygen-starved cells are the major contributing factors in cancer, immunity deficiency, heart disease and strokes. Breathing also affects our state of mind and consequently makes our thinking either confused or clear. Lengthening and deepening breath in yoga creates a more balanced state of being. A change in breath pattern creates a change in the metabolic process, emotions, endorphins, internal chemical reactions, and the release of specific hormones. Mind affects body; body affects mind.

Mind-Body Connection:

The sensitivity that comes through a yoga practice helps to develop a level of skill in cultivating, observing and choosing one’s posture, breath, emotions, and diet more wisely. As we practice we learn to listen with our bodies. Whenever we experience an emotion, our bodies register this emotion and mirror it. The next time you get angry, stressed, or afraid, stop and notice exactly what is happening in your own body in that moment. Which muscles got tense? How has your breath been affected? How did your posture change? Is your heart beating faster? What affects you and why? Are you able to notice it as it happens?

Over time yoga helps us to let go of unwanted emotional and physical patterns. Yoga practice is great for providing recovery and can also help you deal with stressful circumstances without having such a strong negative reaction. The mindfulness – mind-body awareness cultivated with yoga practice allows us to realize emotions as they arise; sensing what is the cause of the emotion and how that emotion affects the body/mind. As Patanjali says in his Yoga Sutras**, “Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind.” It slows down the mental loops and patterns of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. No matter what age, we can release past traumas, feelings of guilt or inadequacy, denial, patterns of feeling unable to communicate or connect, patterns of addiction, (all of which lead to more guilt and denial). We need to clear out these patterns in order to stay freshly alive or else there is an accumulation, a blockage, both physical and mental. We need to continually release these psycho/somatic holding patterns. As we release blockages, toxins, and tightness physically, we also do so in mind, spirit, emotions.

Awareness from the inside out and from the outside in are necessary. They are one in the same. Through a regular yoga practice we develop a balanced state on a consistent basis and this translates into our lives off the mat. We become better equipped to handle everything that comes our way in life; to handle life with more grace, ease, and presence, from a more objective point of view. By staying open we keep on top of the game, in the moment, able to truly enjoy each day to the fullest. The way we deal with coworkers and friends or family will innately be transformed. The very way we perceive things around us and who we are as a person from moment to moment will be transformed. Our sense of self-perception is the root of our own life. From here the world around us takes shape. As we become more aware of ourselves we are able to be less judgmental, more open, more honest, and take things less personally. True wisdom comes from within, from self-knowledge and a clear eye.If you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll be likely to live longer, and fuller, with better health. Yoga and meditation offer some of the same benefits as antidepressants without the side effects.

It is no wonder yoga has soared to such heights of popularity. Through yoga practice, we begin to find a sense of wholeness. We become more aware. We create balance in our bodies, in our minds, in our lives. As we evolve individually and come closer to an open, authentic state of being, we also evolve as a species, creating a better world for us all.

A healthy anal and genital area is of great importance both for the general well-being and for the sexual abilities. The same is true about a healthy respiratory tract and breathing apparatus. Here are presented three poses and three breathing exercises that have the following effects when done together in a series:

-They stimulate the physiological functions of the genital and anal area.
-They correct muscle weakness and anatomical problems of the anal and genital region.  They increase the sexual drive and abilities.
-They produce a stimulating response that spreads upwards along the spine and revitalizes the whole body.
-They stimulate the physiological functions of the respiratory tract and help against infections in the airways.
-The exercises are very good to start each day with or to do before going to bed in the night.

POSE 1

Stand on your hands and knees upon the floor. Kneel backward so that your buttocks go backward and down towards your feet and stretch your arms forward. Breath out and then take a deep breath in, filling your lungs totally with air. Hold your breath with the air inside.

Squeeze your anal muscles and pull your anal opening as deeply inward as you can. However, do not strain when squeezing. This exercise shall not be exhausting. Relax your anal muscles completely again. Repeat the squeezing and relaxing 3-5 times, but not so long that you go out of oxygen in your body.

Empty your lungs. Rize up on your hands and knees again. Relax a while in this position and then you can repeat the exercise if you wish.

POSE 2

Lie on your back upon a carpet on the floor with your arms along your sides and relax. Breath out. Then breath in deeply while relaxing all the muscles you do not need for the breathing.

Then breath out. When breathing out, squeeze your anal muscles and pull your anal opening as deeply inward as you can. However, do not strain when squeezing. This exercise shall not be exhausting. After having breathed out, relax your anal muscles again.

Repeat the breathing in and breathing out while squeezing 3-8 times, but not som much that you get exhausted. Then relax again.

POSE 3

Lie on your back upon a carpet on the floor. Breath out completely.
Swing your arms in an arch over your head and down to the floor over your head so that your whole body is stretched from top to toe. When swinging your arms, take a deep breath filling your lungs totally with air. Hold your breath with the air inside.

Squeeze your anal muscles and pull your anal opening as deeply inward as you can. However, do not strain when squeezing. This exercise shall not be exhausting. Relax your anal muscles completely again.
Repeat the squeezing and relaxing 3-5 times.

Swing your arms back at the same time as you empty your lungs. Relax some while and then you can repeat the exercise if you wish.

BREATHING EXERCISE 1

Sit upon a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed and the back straight.
Empty your lungs completely. Breath in counting to 4. When breathing in, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other:

Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves out.Then fill further by using your chest muscles. And then complete the filling by using the muscles around your shoulders.

Hold your breath counting to 16. Then breath out counting to 8. When breathing out, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other:Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves in. Then empty further by using your chest muscles.And then complete emptying by using the muscles around your shoulders.

BREATHING EXERCISE 2

Sit upon a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed and your back straight. Take 10 rapid deep breath in and out after another, but not so rapid that you get strained or breath incompletely.

When breathing in, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other: Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves out. Then fill further by using your chest muscles.And then complete the filling by using the muscles around your shoulders.

When breathing out, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other: Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves in.Then empty further by using your chest muscles. And then complete emptying by using the muscles around your shoulders. After the last in-breath , hold your breath with your lungs filled counting to 10. Then breath out.

BREATHING EXERCISE 3

Sit upon a pillow on the floor with your legs crossed and your back straight.
Empty your lungs completely. Close your left nostril with the fingers of one of your hands. Breath in through your right nostril counting to 4.

When breathing in, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other:Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves out. Then fill further by using your chest musclesAnd then complete the filling by using the muscles around your shoulders. Hold your breath counting to 16. Then close your right nostril with your fingers. Then breath out through your left nostril counting to 8.

When breathing out, try to do it in three stages that proceed smoothly into each other: Use first your diaphragm so that your stomach moves in. Then empty further by using your chest muscles. And then complete emptying by using the muscles around your shoulders When you have breathed out, repeat the exercise, but this time begin by closing your right nostril first.

RELAXING AT THE END OF THE SERIES:

When the series is done, then lie down upon a carpet on the floor and relax for 2-5 minutes. This relaxation will increase the effects of the exercises and make you recover if the exercises have made you tired.

Concentrate upon relaxing your legs first, then your lower body, then your upper body, then your arms and shoulders, and at last your head and face. When the whole body is relaxed, try not to think about anything, and relax your whole body even further. Then lie some time in this relaxed state without thinking about anything.

Yoga is all around us these days. From Sting to Madonna, to maybe even your next door neighbor, everyone is hooked upon this fitness craze and with good cause. As a form of physical exercise, Yoga indeed is a force to be reckoned with. But just how can one go about using yoga for beginners? It is my hope that as a Yoga practitioner and enthusiast, this article will be of assistance in this regard.

If you have been considering learning yoga or have recently begun a yoga practice, I hope to provide you with some useful and helpful tips in which may be helpful to you in using yoga for beginners.

I have been doing Yoga for quite some time now, 6 years to be exact and since the first day, I swore of free-weights and exercise machines, my use of Yoga and other body weight exercises like Hindu-Push ups (in my honest opinion a Yoga derivative) has been the main method for keeping fit. (in addition of course  to my diet which co-incidentally changed when I started Yoga as a beginner those 6 years back.)

I will now enumerate the yoga poses to be learned as a starter which can aid or supplement your knowledge from your yoga classes, books and or DVDs.

Yoga for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Learn first.

The Sun Salutations: Okay, this is the core of Yoga itself. This exercise is a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing exercise, Sun Bathing and Prayer. It is the warm-up of a yoga class or personal yoga session and is a combination of poses, 12 to be exact, that are performed in a synchronized motion with emphasis on rhythmic breathing. They mildly exercise the arms and legs and are often recommended for obesity, depression and fitness. Friends, several Martial Artists, Indian and African Wrestlers perform tons of rounds of these exercises alone, so in learning yoga, for beginners, this will be a guaranteed must-know.

The Shoulder Stand: Don’t be intimidated by the name at all. Even for a beginner, this yoga pose is a piece of cake, really. It is actually a very important pose though, arguably the most important as its Sanskrit name (Savangasana) actually means the “all members” or “all limbs” pose, meaning it affects all parts of the body. As a beginner, be aware that some poses (such as this one) do have specific counter poses, so if you’re taking a Yoga for beginner class or learning from a DVD, make sure you are taught these poses to counter-act and balance the effects of the shoulder-stand pose on the body, these are the Bridge and fish poses. Here’s a hint or ratio to adhere to in their combined execution: 6:1:2 , meaning the ‘bridge’ and ‘fish’ poses should be held for a sixth and third of the time you spend in the Shoulder-stand Pose respectively.

The Corpse Pose: You’ve got to learn this Yoga Pose as a beginner. It is the relaxation pose that is usually executed during and after your session as a means of relaxing the muscles used for your yoga exercise. At the end of a session, it is usually done for about 15 minutes and one always comes out feeling refreshed after its execution.

Arguably, these are the 3 main poses you have to lay emphasis on in learning yoga for a beginner, but there are other poses that should be included as you go further. They are

1. The forward Bending exercises: Head to Knee pose, Plough Pose and Wind reliving pose

2. The Back Bending exercises: The Bow, Inclined Plane and Wheel Poses.

3. The Spinal Twists

4. The Balancing Exercises: The Peacock, Crow, Side Plank and 4-limbed staff Poses

5. The Exercises in Sitting and Standing Positions

6. The Abdominal and Breathing Exercises.

Each of these groups has several variations on the root poses; however, let me tell you a secret that would go a long way in aiding you as a beginner learning Yoga. Do at least 24 round of the previously mentioned Sun Salutations and the ease in executing these poses will come almost naturally. Trust me.

There are several styles of Yoga to pick from and in seeking the right style of Yoga for a beginner; it might be quite difficult to pick the best. However, since Iyengar Yoga seems to involve a lot of props that can aid till flexibility is re-gained or enhanced, it may be one of the easier choices to pick. Kripalu and Bikram Yoga may also be quite easy to pick up as well as a beginner.

To find the best yoga for beginner class around you, you can always check your local YMCA or YWCA branches as they almost always carry information on Yoga classes for all stages: from beginner to intermediate.

One other factor that I must stress is the need to also pick up a Yoga diet for health and aiding these poses to both strengthen and detoxify you. This will as a result of the symbiotic relationship that exists between Yoga and a proper diet speed-up an increase in fitness, weight loss, focus and the ability to execute these poses easily.

Though Yoga for beginners may best be learned from a certified instructor, your own practice will remain paramount for your mastery of this form of physical culture and there are tons of books and DVD’s to help in regards to this. Moreover, keep in mind that as a beginner doing yoga, not unless you intend to do lots of Sun Salutations as mentioned above, you may still want to incorporate some body-weight resistance poses (that co-incidentally are still Yogic in origin) such as the Hindu-Push-ups and Squats and the Bridge (now this is and the first one are basically Yoga poses in motion friends…).

This combination will see that till you have mastered the use of Yoga poses to make a complete session, you are still burning up enough calories and exercising the muscles for both weight loss and fitness.

Doing Yoga is fun, exhilarating and extremely rewarding for lots of reasons that may have already got you researching about it, so needless to say, choosing this exercise, even as a beginner, will go a long way into making for a fitter and healthier you.

I have been practicing Yoga for close to 5 years now. Prior to this time, my life had been a day-to-day existence erected by symptoms of depression and low self-esteem. Aggravated by acne and burdensome asthma symptoms, not feeling depressed was usually a rare occurrence. A rare occurrence that is; until I discovered Yoga and how it could help with depression treatment.

It’s not a surprise that I was not alone during this time as research has shown that some form of depression treatment medication is offered to over 20 million Americans annually. However, what should be the main cause of concern are the many side effects common to these anti-depression drugs. Effective as they may be for a while, it’s been noted that these depression drugs have several side effects which may include nausea, fatigue, insomnia and some sexual dysfunctions.

Thankfully, as with nearly any human ailment, at least in its not fatal stages, drug-free healing is not limited to curing any discomfort-including depression and this without these side-effects. One standout alternative for depression treatment my friends will be the incomparable Yoga.

How is this so? Well, first of all, with Yoga and its gentle movements and poses, Alpha waves (relaxation) and Theta waves (unconscious memory, dreams and emotions) tend to increase significantly after its execution. This finding is based on a Scandinavian study conducted by Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., that measured brain-waves before and after a two-hour Yoga class.

As a result, you tend to have more contact with your own subconscious and emotions. Moreover, after its use, alpha waves increases in the right temporal region of the brain as other studies have shown that people with depression tend to have more alpha activity in the left frontal-temporal region, while optimistic, extroverted people have more alpha activity on the right.

Moreover, with the execution of Yoga, a noted reduction in the hormone known as cortisol and increase in the hormone prolactin occurs—which is believed by many professionals to be the key in producing the anti-depressant effect of electroshock therapy

If this all sounds a bit advanced, perhaps a simpler illustration of how Yoga works effectively for depression treatment may be that it exercises the motor centers of the brain, making the blood flow away from the emotional activity center; consequently one becomes more receptive to positive thoughts.

Although this can be accomplished by the use of several Yoga poses, I will narrow the wide array of choices down to three simple yet very effective ones namely the Sun Salutations, Shoulder Stand and Relaxation poses.
Depression Treatment: Choice of Yoga Poses for depression help

1. The Sun Salutations:
The sun exercises stimulates and balances all systems of the body including the endocrine and nervous systems that have marked effects on our emotions, furthermore they induce deep breathing, which has been known over the ages to help alleviate many a stressful situation. Performed in rounds of 3, they actually are a combination of very simple movements executed in a flowing motion. Although they are usually a warm up to other Yoga poses, they can stand on their own as a Yoga session so you may not have to spend too much time to reap Yoga’s benefits as an alternative treatment for depression.

2. The Shoulder- Stand:
In spite of what its name may suggest, no worries, this pose is indeed very easy to execute and is the one pose that both old and new Yoga Instructors and writers view as near panacea for most human ailments including depression. It is essentially a very easy inversion pose that I see most kids practicing unknowingly…most of us have at some point, so again, it’s really easy. Being that you’re inverted, everything is turned upside down, throwing a new light on old behavioral patterns. Working together with its counter poses, you will see for yourself what this pose can do for depression treatment.

3. The Relaxation Pose:
Daddy of them all! As the name suggests; it involves lying motionless on one’s back with emphasis on deep, even breathing and meditation. It is usually performed for several minutes to alleviate stress and mental tension and positive affirmations such as helpful verses from religious books could be mentally repeated during its execution.
Being a Christian myself, one of my favorite verses while executing this pose will be a personalized derivative of Rom 12: 2-“I am being transformed by the renewing of my thoughts.”

Depression Treatment: Closing Thoughts on Other Factors.

No one is saying that Yoga POSES alone will be the end all be all of your depression. No. Poses alone DO NOT constitute Yoga. Breathing exercises (known as pranayama), meditation, (which could be rooted in your religious or spiritual beliefs) and a proper diet all being important limbs of Yoga, should be used in your use of Yoga for depression treatment.

These limbs will be subjects of other articles to save space; however, for a depression treatment alternative without unwanted and oft times harmful side effects, dare I say drug-free healing using simple Yoga principles and natural methods might be your best bet, it did work for me.

So the next time depression sends you to the doctor, you may do well to ask for a new prescription for depression treatment-Yoga. I believe it won’t hurt and possibly could help you immensely.

Yoga through meditation works remarkably to accomplish harmony and helps the mind work in synchronization with the body. How often do we find that we are unable to perform our activities properly and in a satisfying manner because of the confusions and conflicts in our mind weigh down heavily upon us?

Stress is the number one suspect affecting all parts of our physical, endocrinal and emotional system. And with the help of yoga, these things can be corrected. At the physical level, yoga and yoga poses have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders.

Listed below are just some of the benefits of yoga that you can get.

Benefits of Yoga 1:

Yoga is known to amplify flexibility; yoga has postures that trigger the different joints of the body. Including those joints that are not acted upon with regular exercises routines.

Benefits of Yoga 2:

Yoga also increases the lubrication of joints, ligament and tendons. The well-researched yoga positions exercise the different tendons and ligaments of the body. It has also been found that the body which may have started doing yoga being an inflexible one may experience a quite remarkable flexibility in the end on those parts of the body which have not been consciously worked upon.

Benefits of Yoga 3:

Yoga also massages all organs of the body. Yoga is perhaps the only exercise that can work on through your internal organs in a thorough manner, including those that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime.

Benefits of Yoga 4:

Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.
One of the far-reaching benefits of yoga is the uncanny sense of awareness that it develops in the practitioner of an impending health disorder or infection.

Benefits of Yoga 5:

Yoga offers a total detoxification of the body. It gently stretches the muscles and joints as we as massaging the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body.

Benefits of Yoga 6:

Yoga helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny of your body as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to benefits such as delayed aging, energy and a remarkable zest for life.

Benefits of Yoga 7:

Yoga is also an excellent way to tone your muscles. Muscles which have been flaccid and weak are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess fats and flaccidity.

But these enormous physical benefits are just a “side effect” of this powerful practice. What yoga does is harmonize the mind with the body and these results in real quantum benefits.

It is now an open secret that the will of the mind has enabled people to achieve extraordinary physical feats, which proves beyond doubt the mind and body connection.

In fact yoga = meditation, because both work together in achieving the common goal of unity of mind, body and spirit which can lead to an experience of eternal bliss that you can only feel through yoga. The meditative practices through yoga help in achieving an emotional balance through detachment.

This in turn, creates an extraordinary calmness and a positive outlook, which also has tremendous benefits on the physical health of the body.

When you are new to Yoga you are probably going to be uncertain as to what to expect when you first enter a beginner Yoga Class on your first day. Most people are uncertain about what they should even be looking for in a beginner Yoga class, so this article will let you in on the four secrets to finding the right class for you.

Secret Number One:

Decide on what you want to achieve before choosing a style.

The number of different reasons for taking up Yoga is usually at least as high as the number of new people in a Yoga class. Broadly people will be looking for one of three things – physical health, mental health or spiritual health. All three are important and all three are realistic goals in a Yoga class. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve through Yoga there will be a class and style that is suitable for you. You can research in a library, online or even by asking various Yogi and this will hep you find the Yoga that will get the best result for you.

It’s worth actually setting some solid goals and many newcomers are surprised at how willing a Yoga instructor is to talk over these goals with them and discuss whether they are realistic or an alternative may be better suited.

Secret Number Two:

Join a class-by-class program

These are sometimes referred to as drop-in classes or pay as you go. These are a good way of getting a feel for Yoga. There will be a regular turnover of other students in the classes and the contrasting level will mean the instructor will keep the classes at a relatively mild level and give everyone a taste of many different aspects of Yoga.

The advantage of this method is of course that you are not committed to an expensive series of classes and you can get a taster for Yoga and see what types of Yoga interest you. You will also quickly learn whether the goals you set earlier are realistic for you, or even too low and need expanding upon.

Your next step will be to choose a series of classes in the areas that you found most suitable from the drop in classes. These classes will build on each other from week to week and you may find yourself behind if you miss a week.

Secret Number Three:

Ensure that you are being taught by someone who knows what they are doing.

Surprisingly enough considering the relatively low intensity and the many physical benefits, Yoga has begun to regularly show up on the statistics for sports injuries. Two key causes are identified. Firstly students pushing themselves too fast too soon, and secondly instructors with inadequate training or appreciation of the individual level of their students(large classes are sometimes to blame for this).

When you are considering a new class don’t be embarrassed to ask your Yoga instructor what their qualifications and background are. Many ‘instructors have nothing more than a three-day training course in ‘gym yoga’ and many people put this in the ‘enough knowledge to be dangerous category’. Traditionally a student would train for many years under a guru before they would be considered fit to pass on even the simplest of Yoga techniques to another novice.

The Yoga Alliance is a United States organization that features a register of teachers who have completed ‘appropriate’ training. This means having completed courses that meet a certain standard. A nice rule to work by is that less than 200 hours of instruction would mean a part time Yoga education.

Secret Number Four:

Be aware of hidden costs.

An unpleasant surprise that can put people right off Yoga is turning up to the first class and finding that there are expenses that they haven’t allowed for. Some studios require each student to have their own mat, a special strap or other props. Some classes will work through a book which you are obliged to buy and some classes will have a dress code ranging from specific colors to specific articles of clothing. Being unaware of any of these things and being refused your first class because of them can be very off-putting.

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