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benefits of yoga

3 Simple Steps to an Inspirational New Year

Well, the New Year is here! This is a great time to set goals and aspirations for the coming months. Most often, New Year’s Resolutions revolve around specific achievements, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or saving money. However, what if there were some simple steps that would allow you to accomplish many goals at once? And what if those simple steps also helped you to become happier and more peaceful at that same time?

The ancient science of yoga is a holistic way of life that helps to inspire and motivate you from within, so that achieving positive goals is a natural side effect of being healthy, happy and productive. Yoga is different from ordinary goal-setting because rather than just struggling to achieve a particular goal, you simply embark on the yoga path to optimal physical, mental and spiritual well-being. You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish in the process.

So, here are those 3 simple steps that will propel you forward to an inspirational new year:

Wai Lana Yoga Peaceful Meditation

Step #1: Take a little time every day for peaceful relaxation and meditation.

When we feel stressed out and pressed for time, usually it’s the farthest thing from our minds to take time to stop and relax. We may feel that we can’t take a breather until we finish X, Y and Z. Of course the excessive stress simultaneously makes it harder to be productive, hurts our health, and leaves us feeling tired and drained. When we’re overly stressed, we simply can’t be at our best.

On the other hand, just 10 or 15 minutes of daily relaxation and meditation can work wonders for your overall health and well-being. Simple relaxation techniques, such as those in Wai Lana’s Rest and Relax CD, have a profoundly positive effect. On a physical level, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate slows and relaxing “feel good” hormones are released. On a mental level, your mind becomes more calm and peaceful. And on a spiritual level, you’ll gradually experience a deep sense of happiness and interconnectedness.

Wai Lana Healthy Eating

Step #2: Try to gradually eliminate meat and processed foods from your diet.

The way you eat has a powerful effect on the way you feel. Eating foods such as meat and processed food leaves you feeling tired, sluggish and irritable. Modern scientists have found that the ideal diet consists of the same foods that yogis have recommended for thousands of years: whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and milk products. Every one of these foods has been found to have remarkable healing benefits. Yet you won’t find a single study showing that eating more meat, more artificial dyes, more white sugar or more preservatives has any health benefits!

It takes a little effort to change your diet, as it’s natural to be attached to eating the foods that you are used to. However, as you gradually make changes towards foods that are wholesome and healing by nature, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and even how much better those foods taste! Taste is acquired; if you eat unhealthy foods, you’ll crave unhealthy foods. If you eat healthy foods, you’ll crave healthy foods.

Changing your diet for the better helps with so much more than just your health. It also helps you feel calmer and more peaceful. Researchers have even found that eating a wholesome diet makes it easier to give up undesirable habits such as smoking.

Warrior Pose

Step #3: Practice some type of soothing exercise at least 3 days a week.

We all know we should exercise, but sometimes it can seem so hard to stick with it! One of the reasons why so many people fall in love with hatha yoga is because it feels good. The gentle strengthening, stretching and firming movements of yoga leave you feeling peaceful and invigorated. Yoga actually releases calming “feel good” hormones that make it almost like a positive addiction!

Of course you don’t have to practice yoga to experience these benefits. Other eastern-inspired exercise systems, such as Tai Chi and Chi Kung, can also help you to achieve fitness while simultaneously relaxing your body and mind. Even walking, especially while listening to a soothing soundtrack such as Wai Lana’s Yoga Sound, can be very helpful.

So as you embark on your own personal journey over the course of this New Year, let us help you incorporate the wonderful, healing benefits of yoga into your life.
Happy New Year!

Relieve Your Headache with Yoga

For many people, a headache is almost an everyday occurrence.  It can range from minor discomfort to debilitating, agonizing pain. Some people experience headaches everyday all day long, while others don’t get them at all.  (I’m sure they’re a minority!)

There are so many causes of a headache and the solutions for it are just as many.  Sometimes the solution can be as simple as drinking a glass of water.  If you live in a hot place, for example, chances are your headache is caused by mild dehydration.  So get out of the heat, chug down some water and head for a long cooling shower.  You’ll feel much better afterwards.

Some headaches, however, are caused by a serious health problem.  So seek medical attention as needed.  Depending on the cause, yoga asanas and yoga meditation can actually prevent and alleviate a headache, especially if it is triggered by stress.

Stress is one of the most common causes of a headache.  This is where yoga can help you.  By combining asanas, pranayam and meditation, you can have a powerful tool in combating a tension headache.

Yoga asanas can help by relaxing the neck and shoulder muscles.  When you are stressed, you tense up these muscles and the ultimate result is a headache.  So instead of reaching out for a dose of painkiller, take out your yoga mat for some gentle neck and shoulder stretches.  End each session with yoga nidra and proceed to Yoga Sound Meditation.

If you regularly practice Yoga Sound Meditation, you will come to a point where you will see the troubles and problems that give you headaches simply as a temporary, passing show.  Problems will come and go.  There is no need to immerse in it.

Even if the cause of your headache is an irritating person, Yoga Sound Meditation can still help you.  Sounds hard to believe?  Here’s why.  Through repeated practice of sound meditation, you will be more tolerant of others.  The obnoxious person won’t disappear, rather you will be more patient and will not be bothered as much.

So make time everyday to practice your asanas, pranayam and Yoga Sound Meditation and prevent your headache from getting worse.  If you already have a regimen to follow to manage your tension headaches, you can still incorporate these techniques I have just shared with you.  In fact, yoga will complement your current regimen and you’ll notice that nagging headache will nag you no more.

Release Anger Through Yoga

Anger can be very destructive. It can cause physical and mental problems and can even destroy our personal relationships. But you don’t have to let it. You can learn to release your anger through yoga.

Breathing exercises are particularly good for calming down immediately. Just take as many slow, deep breaths as you need to.  Yoga sound meditation combined with breathing is even more effective, as the sounds themselves are calming. Yoga asanas also help release tension in both body and mind. So before you blow off steam and hurt yourself or someone else, release your anger with some yoga.

Doing Yoga with the Right Consciousness

In many yoga asana classes, it is very common for students to look at the person beside them to see how far the other is twisting and bending.  They think, “Oh that person twisted 10 inches.  I only twisted 2 inches.”

Wai Lana Meditation

Classes like this are always full of tension and may even result in injuries because of the competitive atmosphere.  One of the objectives of yoga asanas is to relieve you of tension and heal your body of minor ailments, not worsen your stress and cause you injury.

This is the reason why I always reiterate to all my students that doing yoga asanas is not a competition.  You simply need to go as far as your body can go, according to its own condition.  This means you need to feel and listen to your body.  In this way, you will be careful and sensitive and you will not push yourself beyond your limits.  After all, you are not doing yoga asanas to impress other people.  Rather, you are simply doing it for your own health.  This is the proper consciousness to be in.

Don’t worry if you can’t twist as far as the other person or if you can’t stand on your head like the person beside you.  It is irrelevant.  A broom stands on its head!

So don’t fall into this trap of competing against somebody else or looking at the other person.  Just do your yoga asanas in a way that is conducive to the health of the body, not damaging it.

If you practice your yoga asanas in this noncompetitive consciousness, you’ll find yourself more relaxed and peaceful after your asana session and you’ll save yourself from a whole barrage of injuries!

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