Author: Stuart Allen

What are the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation.

by Stuart Allen Uncategorized

Introduction:

When we talk of Yoga, as we have said before, people associate it with meditation rather than exercise. So I thought that for a change rather than continue with what both Yoga and Pilates can do for you, that in this blog that I would take a brief look at meditation. You may be pleasantly surprised at what this ancient art can do.

You will notice that in addition to having to concentrate your mind, that breathing also plays an important part in your meditation.

What are the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation.

It is understood that in America over ten million people practice the art of mindful meditation. It is believed that this is due to people being able to enjoy living a life that is more productive and less stressful, which results in them enjoying a better life.

With such a large number of people turning to meditation, we have to ask ourselves why? The simple answer is because it works. It is of course much deeper than that, our generation has to absorb far more information, resulting in more stress than our ancestors.

Those who practice mindful mediation, do so for a number of differing reasons such as, reducing stress, a better more purposeful life, better awareness, the list can go on. However that is sufficient to give you a basic understanding why people have turned to this form of developing their mind.

Irrespective of your reasons, you are more in control of your life, the more that you know about your thinking. Mindful meditation, like music has a number of layers. Your awareness is concentrated on the here and now.

We often let ourselves become distracted, let ourselves wander into the past or the future, this results in us not focusing on the matters that are important now. By practicing mindful meditation we are given the power to direct our attention to the present. We are able to perform better, thus achieving more as our mental energy is increased.

Using mindful meditation allows us to not only increase our awareness and enjoy the present more, heightening our senses as we do so.

We are able to become more relaxed, as our awareness is increased, the threats of stress and other less helpful thoughts become easier to cope with.

Unlike our ancestors who rarely moved from where their birthplace, in today’s modern world it is not unknown for people to move on a regular basis, this causes us to not be able to form the number of long-lasting friendships, which previous generations enjoyed. By using mindful meditation we can have the mind set to help us cope, with a large number of the problems, which modern life brings with it.

The best way to describe what are the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation, is that it exercises the mind, as Yoga can be said to exercise the body. It is suggested that you have a short period of meditation daily, this will gradually strengthen your mind, strengthening your thought process and awareness as you do so.

When you begin to practice meditation, you may well find that it is difficult for to sit quietly for say ten or fifteen minutes. Do not make excuses for not doing it, if you do, it makes resuming the meditation harder, the longer you think of excuses for not continuing.

If this is you, ask yourself, why did I start to meditate in the first place, whatever the reason, it will not be right or wrong. Be strong allocate a period, either first thing in a morning or at lunchtime, in time you will see the progress that you have achieved.

You may be interested to learn that I meditate, felt that I could not write this without trying it out. At the bottom of my garden is a summer house, which I have turned into my art studio. I sit in there and meditate, am only at five minutes at the moment, but it works, when I return to my office, I feel relaxed, very calm and full of go.

How often have we avoided thinking of our problems, as they have become too stressful, practicing meditation on a regular basis, help us to deal with problems by giving us an inner calm.


We are all aware of using our addiction to drugs, alcohol and even social media to avoid helping us to sort out our problems. By meditating on a daily basis, we are kept not only focused, but able to deal with our problems. Like many things in life, the more you practice the better you become.

Studies have found that the regular practice of mindful meditation has a number of benefits, these include amongst others:

Lowers the Blood Pressure

Gives you more energy

You enjoy a better night’s sleep

Stress related illnesses are reduced

Improves your ability to make better decisions

There are a number of other benefits, but it is felt that just listing the above will give you a general idea.

It is well-known that the body and mind are connected, if we are stressed so is our body, this is why mindful meditation helps to alleviate problems we suffer when stressed, as when we improve our mental health, we can reduce a number of our physical problems.

Studies have shown that when patients have used mediation instead of drugs, that the effect on the brain was the same with either treatment. This goes to show the power of this form of meditation. The studies were based on just two and a half hours of mediation a week, it was thought that a longer period would show even better results and improvement.

Practicing Mindful Meditation

To begin make sure that your clothing is comfortable

Find a spot which is without noise if possible, and sit somewhere which is comfortable.

Where you choose to meditate, is up to you, it can be indoors or out.

Begin with short sessions of say ten minutes. Once you are used to meditating the time can be increased to suit you. As I mentioned earlier I do five minutes at the moment.

If need be you can split your time into two sessions.

Let’s Get Started

If you wish you can sit in your favourite armchair, or even adopt the lotus position, if you are sitting own have your feet resting on the floor. Make sure that your spine is straight, but not tensed or stiff. Hold your head so that it hangs naturally, whilst gazing downwards. Let your hands rest on your thighs.

The majority of people seem to prefer to close their eyes, but you do not have too. This is a personal choice, which you must make. If you are happy with whatever you want to do, then do it. The main objective here is to be comfortable.

Begin by concentrating on your breathing, as mentioned in a previous blog, inhale through the nose, taking the breathe deep down into the stomach, exhale slowly.

When I do this, I can feel the air as it moves into and down my body. Must confess it feels invigorating. Whilst you must try to concentrate, do not worry if your mind wanders, just try to concentrate on you breathing.

When you have finished your meditation, open your eyes, or if open just relax, being aware once more of your surroundings.


Overcome Stressful Situations with Meditation

Doing meditation on a daily basis can help you deal with your daily stress, we all have periods most days when we have a stressful moment, it could be the children wanting things which you cannot afford, your partner wanting a meal out, when you want to stay. There are a number of things that occur daily which can cause you stress.

Whenever this happens, try to take deep breaths, sit quietly if you can for just a few minutes as you concentrate on your breathing. This will help you to relax. If it is possible taking a short walk, practicing your breathing as you do so. This is known as walking meditation and is a great way of getting your mind clear of stress.

Unlike the previous meditation, where we concentrated on our breaths, when we walk we concentrate on our steps, not the rise and fall of our breath, but how our feet move as we walk. Try counting to yourself ten steps at a time as you concentrate.

This time as you move you will notice the sights and sounds around you, let your thoughts drift back to your feet.

Instead of focusing on your feet and body, try instead to be aware of what is around you, the smells, the colours the general atmosphere.

More Techniques

Other techniques which help you to become more mindful and increase your awareness,

Meditate by Focusing on a Specific Object

This time, choose an object that you would like to observe and can see completely, begin by doing your breathing meditation for five minutes with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and focus on your chosen subject. Is it in the light or dark, is it of differing colours, notice what you can as you breathe slowly and deeply focusing all the time on our object.

Should your mind wander, return to the object of your awareness.

Body Scan Meditation

This is very useful in helping to keep your focus sharp, releasing tension as you finish the day, you are then helped too easily fall asleep.

Sit or lie where you feel most comfortable, you are going to concentrate on the areas of your body where you feel most tension.

Begin with five minutes of breathing deeply, with your eyes closed. Move your concentration to your body, as you become more aware, concentrate first on your feet and toes, moving up to the ankles, feet, thighs and then your body itself.

When an area feels tense breathe in concentrating on that area, then breathe out, spend as much time as you want too on these tense spots. Cover the entire body, this exercise not only relieves tension, it helps to calm the mind, and helps in dealing with stress.

Meditation by Counting

As you have done previously, find somewhere comfortable to sit, spend five minutes to relax, whilst you do your breathing meditation. Now inhale deeply, wait for a second, then while counting the number one in your mind, exhale. Continue doing this increasing the number each time, so from one go to two and so on. Cary on until you reach ten, then count backwards, until you reach one. Should you lose track of where you have got to with your counting simply start again.

How high you count to is down to you, as you breathe think of some exotic place that you would like to be. Take your time, relax and enjoy the new peace which you have found

Conclusion

Do try some of these meditation exercises, I am sure that you will be surprised by the results I know that I was.

As with all my blogs, what you read here is for information purposes only, and should be treated as such. If in doubt about trying these exercises please see your medical Adviser first.

Stay healthy

Stuart

Yoga Relieves Stress and Anxiety

by Stuart Allen Uncategorized

Introduction

To the man or woman in the street, you could add depression to stress and anxiety, they appear to be similar in some ways and some problems can be linked.

At sometimes in our life we all suffer from both stress and anxiety, the degree of which differs from person to person, as does the degree of suffering. We can even suffer from depression, often without realizing it.

Yoga relieves Stress and Anxiety, as you will see.


What do we mean by Stress

We all know that stress in a severe form can overwhelm us, this can then lead to being depressed or suffering from anxiety. Whilst we all know what it is like to feel stressed, it is difficult to put a definition on what stress actually means.

People can report feeling stressed when multiple competing demands are placed on them.

The feeling of being stressed can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous. We could be talking about a number of situations that put pressure on us:

You have an important meeting at work: guess what, you over sleep the alarm or the children are running late for school, when you finally get in the car and begin the drive to work, there is traffic everywhere.

Deadlines change: you have been given a problem to sort out at work, it is not easy but you are coping, until the completion date is brought forward by a few weeks.

Both the above are two of the many situations that people find themselves in, often on a regular basis, when they do they can get stressed, or suffer with stress.

What do we mean by Anxiety

If a person is suffering from depression they have a feeling of being lethargic, and feel that doing anything is too much trouble. Anxiety however makes them nervous, jumpy and in a fearful state.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease.

The problem with anxiety is that it is the fear of the unknown. Whilst it is easy to name the problem as anxiety disorder, it does appear in many different ways.

Psychiatrists believe that the root cause of anxiety is depression, as people who are depressed often experience anxiety. The two go together like strawberries and cream.


Relieving Stress

If you look for a medical definition of stress, you will not find one. Both medical and health care professionals often disagree whether stress is the reason for the problems or as a result of them.

This makes it difficult for you to work out what the problem is, or how to combat it. Whatever you think, it is possible that you could manage stress better by:

Learning to manage external pressures, do not let them get to you, this will reduce the pressure and thus the stress.

Try to overcome your emotions, this will enable you to cope better with situations that would normally cause you stress.

Relieving Anxiety

Anxiety can disappear when the cause of it fades away. One example is that you can be late for a train, so you become anxious in case you miss it, as it is the last one of the day. When you arrive at the station, the train is late and you can board. You breathe a sigh of relief as you settle in your seat, anxiety gone.

If the anxiety lingers, as it often does, as the problem is deeper than just possibly missing a train, it can make it difficult to enjoy life, due to the anxiety. Early steps to obtaining relief require measures which will form new mental and physical habits.

There are a number of ways in which this can be done, these can include changing the way that you do things, which cause you to worry and lead to stress.

Altering your lifestyle by:

  • Not drinking Coffee
  • Reducing your intake of alcohol
  • Reducing your intake of sugar and starchy foods.

Natural stress reducers include.

  • Bananas
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Nuts

Yoga – how it can help

If you learn to practice yoga it can effectively relieve stress, it also eases both the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Yoga exercises transfer focus and attention to the body and breathing, this releases physical tension, while helping to control anxiety.

Whilst our bodies are designed to heal naturally, this process is stopped by the stresses of our normal daily lives. When you are practicing yoga, the stresses are dissolved during this time, it is not uncommon for the effects of the practice to last for a number of hours afterwards.

Whilst today yoga is not uncommon, a large majority of people are still not using it to relieve their tension. Many gym’s offer yoga classes, but it is still not accepted as a form of treatment.

If you are living a life full of pressure, and not doing anything about it, may I suggest that you seriously consider giving yoga a thought. Just a few simple exercises could make all the difference.

Two Common Stress Occasions

Children’s Parties

Those of us with children are familiar with our offspring, saying but Freddie/Rosie are having a birthday party why can’t I? Even worse when they return from one and tell you how fantastic it was and how cool the birthday child’s parents are.

This of course gives you stress before you start, so what do you? Plan and budget for the occasion. A good party is well planned, not a reason for a second mortgage.

If you can, try to recall a really good party that you attended, use this as a base for an idea but do not copy it.

The first and possibly most important part is cost, set a budget that you can afford, then ensure that you stick with it.

Can your friends and family help you to plan the day? Do you know someone who is able to provide the music, does anyone have access to a karaoke machine, is anyone an amateur magician, the thoughts are numerous. To keep costs down try to borrow or gently persuade people to do the gig for free.

Keep the food bill down, if possible choose a time of day when people will already have eaten, then you need only provide snacks and nibbles. If you can make most of the food yourself, this also keeps costs down.

Whilst it is a good idea to have a theme for the party, beware the budget, keep it simple, use balloons and similar items to decorate the room.

The aim of the day is for those attending to have fun and to enjoy themselves, for you to keep within the budget and have a happy child when all the guests have gone home.


Shopping

To some people this may seem a strange subject that can cause stress to others it is possibly the most stressful day of the week.

When I go shopping, the first thing I do is plan the day and time, this usually stops me from having to fight my way through crowds of other shoppers, with their overloaded trolleys of unhealthy food, surrounded by a seeming multitude of children. Why is it that other people’s children cannot behave when they are out, when yours are perfect!.

Planning the day and time will also, hopefully, mean that there will be room in the car park.

That is the first point, if possible leave any children at home, this will reduce the possible stress immediately. Do have a shopping list, which is within your budget, and stick to it.

What you must avoid is an overspend, as this will cause more stress later when you do not have enough money left for other essential items.

Leave time when you get home for a few simple yoga breathing exercises, to relieve the tension, (just a thought)

Conclusion

Stress and anxiety can be helped by practicing a few simple yoga exercises, give it a try you might be pleasantly surprised.

Why not give Yoga a try, as Yoga relieves Stress and Anxiety.

Stay healthy

Stuart

Yoga and Pilates Benefits – What are they?

Introduction

This question is often asked by those who are thinking of studying Yoga or Pilates for the first time, or those who are just curious, as to what these two forms of exercise are. So just what are the Yoga and Pilates benefits, when you make a decision which discipline that you would like to follow.

There is however, nothing to stop you following both, working them alongside each other, or doing some exercises from one, then the other to suit your preferences.

Some people, will do mainly Yoga, with one or two Pilates sessions added in once or twice a week, others will reverse the process.

It really depends on what you want to get out of the two disciplines.

What are the differences between Yoga and Pilates?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago, and has been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways.

Pilates places particular emphasis on core strength, aiming to strengthen the body evenly, improving general fitness and well-being, also improving your posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility

Both disciplines can use a mat. Whilst it is usual to use one for Pilates, a mat when doing Yoga exercises is more comfortable than just using the floor.

If, however you require your body to be strengthened and toned, then Pilates would be your choice. However, whilst both Yoga and Pilates can help you in building more strength, Yoga does not place as much emphasis on building strength and toning as Pilates does.

If, however you wish to do exercises to help you relax, then Yoga would seem more preferable than Pilates.

Yoga Exercises

The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.

To confuse the issue, there are a number of different types or forms of Yoga, with differing poses and structures, these include:

Hatha Yoga – a basic form of Yoga, the classes are slow moving, requiring you to hold your breath for just a few breaths.

Vinyasa Yoga – this would suit those that like artistic movement, as this flows linking both breath and movement, in a way that reminds you of dance movements.

Other forms of Yoga include, Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Lyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Kundalini Yoga to name but a few.

For the beginner there are a number of gentle exercises which you can start with, that are slow as well gentle.

Pilates Exercises

Whilst some Yoga exercises can be done on a mat, Pilates exercises are always done on a mat. If, however you are undecided about Pilates and wish to try out some of the exercises first, you could always use a rug.

If, however you find that you are comfortable with the exercises you can then buy a mat. A ball is also used in some of the routines.

However, Pilates can be done with no equipment whatsoever. It just depends on how deep you wish to go, just a few core exercises getting a flatter tummy, or the whole hog to impress your partner.

The Health Benefits

Both Yoga and Pilates Benefits, do have some similarities with regard to improving your health.

Are there any health benefits to Pilates? Those who practise regular Pilates exercise believe that it can improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility.

Classed as a muscle strengthening activity, this can help you to maintain a healthy weight.

For those who wish to lose weight using Pilates, these exercises should be combined with a healthy diet and activities such as walking and swimming.

Pilates can improve your general fitness and well-being, it is also believed to relieve stress and tension.

Yoga helps you to relax in a recognised way by improving your physical and mental health.

Research has shown that not only do regular sessions of Yoga help stimulate your immune system, it can also help with conditions such as…..

  • Arthritis
  • Asthema
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Heart Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Headaches
  • And a number of other related illnesses.

Those who practice Yoga believe it enables you to get a better night’s sleep, improves your concentration and focus, reduces your stress levels, boosts your self-estem and respect and improves your feel good factor

In General

Pilates has something to offer people of all ages, levels of ability and fitness. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or an elite athlete.

Age, level of fitness and ability are no barrier to Pilates.

Yoga is a more gentle form of exercise, which apart from a mat does not require any other form of equipment. But some teachers do use a varied array of extra kit.

Some forms of Yoga are more physical demanding and power related these can get you very hot and sweaty.

In Summary

Yoga is now commonplace in leisure centres, health clubs, schools, hospitals and surgeries.

With all forms of exercise if you do have any doubts about your health then do seek medical advice first.

Both Yoga and Pilates benefits, will help you to achieve, a healthier you, enabling you to feel more relaxed and generally enjoying that feel good factor.

Practising both will enable you to get the right balance of benefits.

Whichever you choice, or both if you like, enjoy the experience and well-being, that either or both will bring.

Before you begin any form of exercise it is advisable to do some form of warm up exercises first.

As was said earlier if you are in any doubt about the state of your health,

PLEASE, DO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FIRST.

Which ever activity you choose, enjoy it, be healthy and happy.

Stuart

Yoga Pilates Weight Loss

Introduction:

Speak to any person who practices Yoga or Pilates, they will all claim that the regime which they are a devotee of, offers a number of outstanding physical benefits, these include Yoga Pilates Weight Loss.

To lose weight you normally need to create a deficiency in your calorie intake, this means burning off more calories than you consume.

It is surprising that Yoga Pilate Weight Loss does not involve the burning of numerous calories. But the gentle exercises that are involved on both Yoga and Pilates, help to achieve weight loss in different ways.

The programs which you undertake when studying either Yoga or Pilates, or indeed both, as some do, can assist you in losing weight as you learn to appreciate the functioning of the body, also to understand it better.

Pilates – Does it Help:

Created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s, the exercises use a mat, and can include the use of balls, resistance bands and rings. It is actually a program designed to tone the body, this in turn improves core strength, flexibility, co-ordination and muscle control.

In addition it also believed to promote better respiration, and a stronger back whilst increasing the circulation.

The American Council of Exercises says:

“The immediate physical benefits of Pilates are improved posture, leaner muscles and a flatter stomach”

Yoga – How it Helps:

Yoga is the very ancient of exercises  which uses poses or postures combined with controlled breathing and a spiritual mind set. The regular use of these postures helps keep the body, strong, loose and flexible.

The spiritual side of Yoga, which has its origins in Eastern philosophy, is intended to help the practitioner or student to be more mentally aware and balanced.

As a fitness regime Yoga continues to grow in popularity, with its combination in one practice, of emotions, presence of mind, and movement all connected by controlled breathing, many of these exercises can be carried out in small doses. Such as when you sit at your desk whilst taking a break from your computer.

There are a number of variations in the exercises or postures which are used in Yoga, differing forms also appear, you can do gentle, soothing practices which soothe both mind and body. You can also carry out power postures if you wish.

Weight-Loss Effects:

It is highly unlikely that you will lose weight by the torching of calories in either Pilates or Yoga. Yoga power burns for example will cause you to lose only three hundred to four hundred calories in an hour.

However as was stated earlier both Yoga and Pilates give you a new understanding of your body. It has been suggested in research that by doing Yoga exercises on a regular basis, you become more aware of what you eat. It is also believed that Yoga helps you to understand what your body is telling you, thus reducing the likelihood of overeating when you are stressed.

There have been no studies carried out which support losing weight by doing a series of Pilates exercises. However as Pilates is designed to build muscle, this in turn could help to burn off more calories. Becoming aware of your improved physique, could encourage you to not only eat less, but to be careful about what you do eat.

Mistaken Believes:

Do not be fooled into thinking that you will lose weight by just doing Yoga or Pilates exercises, you will need to have a calorie reduced diet, and also take part in other activities such as swimming and walking.

Whilst certain styles of Yoga can provide you with a higher calorie burn off. These are not best suited to the beginner. Those new to Yoga, should begin with the learner or beginner classes, slowly working up to the more advanced classes.

As was said earlier, whilst Pilates can help you build muscle, please ignore the promises of those who promise that by doing Pilates you will experience a significant loss of weight.

Conclusion:

Whilst it is a good idea to include in your general exercise and weight loss strategy, either Yoga or Pilates or both. It is also an idea to keep your focus on healthy foods, with sensibly sized portions.

You can alternate your Yoga/Pilates exercises with other forms of exercise, such as a visit to the gym or swimming pool.

Yes you can lose weight with Yoga and Pilates, but you must be aware that they are not just a one stop solution.

Be Healthy

Stuart

Why Yoga is so Good for You

by Stuart Allen Uncategorized

Introduction:

This bold statement can be answered very simply it happens to be true for the majority of people. Let us look very briefly as to why Yoga is so good for you?  To go into any depth on this subject would take a book or even several!

It has been found that this ancient art fits into modern life quite nicely with the hectic life style so many people adopt, always rushing somewhere, giving themselves very little time to stop and think..

Whilst Yoga has been around for quite some time, it has like other forms of exercise been over shadowed by other crazes.  Until the last few years when people began to realise that it helps to relieve not only the stress of day to day modern living, but can be an aid to relieving ailments and injuries.

However a wide range of age groups and well known stars are beginning to understand why Yoga is so good for you.

The recent interest in Yoga  has been caused by the Medical Profession beginning to accept that Yoga has the capability to heal certain illnesses. It is used in the treatment of certain conditions, such as asthma, the risk of cardiac problems, arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease.

Breathing and Relaxing

Correct breathing techniques are an essential part of the Yoga regime and is often combined with exercises, or the varying poses or postures which are used.

Yoga helps you to return your body and mind to its natural state, which is where it wants to be when it relaxes.  This enables you to get away from the stresses of modern life and living.Yoga Breathing

Learning to be calm, inducing the steady energy that is essential to reducing our stress levels.

Try taking deep breathes as you relax, sit upright as you let your lungs fill with air, relax as you exhale.  Do this just a few times and if you breathe steadily and quietly, your nervous system gets the message to be calm.

It helps if you make the out breath twice as long as the in breath

Try doing this at least once a day, either set aside a time for you to relax and exercise, or use it when you are feeling stressed.

You will be surprised at how calm and relaxed you feel, as this type of exercise carries you through the day.

Try this when reading your emails, breathe slowly, instead of focusing your attention on what you are reading, try focusing on your breathing instead.  You will be surprised how this calms you.  This I suppose could be classed as a form of meditation.

When sat at my computer, if I am feeling tired or stressed I do this routine.

Kick Back Log-on Pose

Sit upright in your chair, feet firmly on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Relax your elbows and shoulders. Smile, this makes me lift my head, breathe deeply and stretch your elbows back as far as possible, feel your chest expand. Release the tightness slowly as you exhale.

This is my interpretation of a well-known Yoga exercise.  It is surprising how it relaxes me and relieves the tension in my back and neck.  After I have done this exercise four or five times, I will often follow by doing my neck stretches.

Whilst I have detailed neck stretches in another post, for completeness sake I will repeat it.

Sit upright in your chair with your back straight, feet firmly on the floor, hands on hips.  Take a deep breath and rotate your head to the left, whilst holding your breath, exhale slowly, repeat five times.  Repeat rotating the head to the right.  Now repeat but moving the head from back to front.

This exercise can also be carried out standing up, which is what I do when, on the rare occasion I have been on my exercise bike, which I must point out I do very gently as a warm up exercise.

When breathing in any of these exercises, do so deeply and fully while you hold the pose.  Breathe from your lower stomach and diaphragm,  do not hold the breath in your chest.

 Brief Yoga Interlude:

It does not matter if you work too many hours, are a stay at home housewife or mum, are retired and enjoy just doing odd jobs at home.  You can practise Yoga at any time.  Some of the stretches and postures that are found in Yoga, can be done whilst in bed or even whilst driving.  Obviously you must be careful which postures or stretches you choose.

You would be surprised at just how many people do a small Yoga session during their lunch break.  Whilst many do it to shed extra pounds, others do it relieve the stress and tension of the morning.

Some people use it to act as a break before they return to work in the afternoon.  It has been said that it helps them to face the workload better.

Why not try doing the exercises that I have detailed above before going onto anything more adventurous.

Yoga can help release lower back pain:

When carrying out specific poses or postures, if you practise them on a regular basis, you will not only be able to build a strong spine, but one which is also supple.  There should be no pain, however once you do have back problems, you must at all times be careful how you sit, stand and lie down.

There are a number of exercises which you can carry out, not only to reduce the pain and strengthen your back, but to avoid back problems in the first place.  Sitting at a computer all day is not a good idea, without a break and doing some form of exercise, or at least getting up and walking around, just have a stretch as well..

Yoga – A Cure for the Stresses of Modern Life:

Yoga is now seen as a very effective form of managing stress.  Its use is spreading not only to the world of business, but too such institutions as retirement and nursing homes.  It is also used for hyperactive children, those children who have learning disabilities, and alcoholics.

The less stress that you have in your life, the more you can relax and enjoy it.

Parkinson’s Disease:

It has emerged that Yoga has a major role to play in managing Parkinson’s,  becoming an alternative therapy due to its slow and gentle movements, it is seen as an excellent form of exercise, for those who are suffering from this disease.

Those suffering could try the steps below, as they could be very effective.

Try to concentrate on controlling your breath, this type of Yoga is known to help in moments of panic.  Also the mind is usually alert with this exercise.

Exercises such as those which use postures too strengthen the back, have a lot of movement of the shoulders, along with breathing practices all help.  Some practitioners believe that meditation certainly helps.

A form of Yoga known as Ashtanga, is often used as it not only strengthens the body, but it also increase blood circulation.

Asthma – a Cure or a Helping hand?

It is believed that those who suffer from mild asthma, and who practice Yoga breathing exercises, could find that the use of low-dose inhalers, may be reduced during a wheezing attack.

Breathing becomes more difficult in those who suffer from Asthma, as the airways become restricted.  In the United Kingdom over three million adults and children suffer from Asthma, which is responsible annually for over 2,000 deaths.

During clinical tests Doctors were able to test how irritable the airways became, by measuring the amount of air that a patient could blow out in a second.  After Yoga exercises the airways were found to be twice as less irritable.

Whilst those who suffer from Asthma should not stop their medication, it would be an idea to experiment with breathing exercises.

Before you Start to do any form of Exercise:

As with all forms of exercise please make sure that you are fit enough to do any form of exercise, please do check with your Health Professional first if you are in any doubt.

Except for the two exercises detailed above, always warm up first.  Either go for a brisk walk, run up and down stairs, even have a march round the garden.  Anything that will loosen your muscles, this will avoid undue strain and possible damage to your ligaments and muscles.

Conclusion:

Whilst yoga is defined in a number of ways, I like this one

“Yoga is the union of, mind, body and spirit with truth”

Whilst there are many kinds of yoga, Hatha, is the most popular in the Western world.  This concentrates on using postures that not only strengthen and stretch the body, they also help to develop not only mental concentration, but body awareness and a sense of balance and flexibility.

If you able to, when practising your Yoga exercises play some soothing and tranquil music, it will help you to relax even more.

Do remember that however little time that you can give to it, wherever you wish to practice,

Yoga really is good for you

So enjoy the many ways that you can improve your well-being and reduce your stress levels.

Stuart

Easy Yoga for Kids

by Stuart Allen Uncategorized

What are the Benefits of Yoga for Kids

  • It helps to increase both their strength and flexibility.
  • By helping them to relax and unwind, they become calmer, which reduces their stress and anxiety.
  • They get a better nights’ sleep.
  • By doing the poses with an adult, it encourages interaction.
  • It improves their co-ordination whilst promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Not only does it help to develop their self-confidence, makes them better at expressing themselves, but also gives them that awareness of their bodies.

Relaxing to start

Yoga is good for kids, teaching them different poses by giving each pose a different name, makes it become fun yoga for kids, and takes any serious thoughts away from them.

There are a number of Yoga Poses for Kids which are used, all of which they can relate too, such as:

The Yoga Alphabet – Learning with Yoga

Where we have poses such as D for Dog, F for Fox, with two favorites being X and Y.

One area which should appeal to most parents and grandparents, are those poses which come under the heading of Calm Down Yoga for Kids. These include: being friendly, brave, strong and wise.

Everyday Objects and the Animal World

Similar to the Alphabet Yoga is Garden Yoga, where the kids pretend to be such objects as a Tree, a Frog, a Flower, a Flying Bird, Falling Rain or a Butterfly. In all of these they can identify with whatever they are pretending to be. This then becomes a game, which is helping them to develop a good strong mind set for the future using Yoga.


I am a Lion

The list of poses which can pretend to be is almost endless. To those already mentioned can be added, an alligator, a moorhen, a bat, an owl, a toad, the subjects just go on and on. The large number of pretend to be subjects, goes to show, that once you have the child’s interest, it can be maintained for a very long time.

A way in which kids can learn Yoga poses may surprise some people. It is by using cards which have the poses on them. It was somewhat a surprise to me to learn just how many types of packs are available, at a very reasonable price.

Story books which incorporate Yoga poses are also available.

It can be seen from this brief article that Yoga for Kids is becoming increasingly popular.

Do have fun with your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Stuart