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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.

Breathing & Yoga

The way you breathe can either help or hinder your asana practice. When you breathe smoothly and evenly, you’ll notice that your breath helps you relax into a pose, gives you more stamina, and eases tension. In fact, it’s because of the relaxing effect of the breath that we’re often told to “take a few deep breaths” when we get angry or upset. It’s also true that full, deep breathing clears the head and improves concentration. Actually, breathing right helps improve the functions of all the systems in the body.

On the other hand, taking short, shallow breaths can be detrimental to our health, decreasing our vitality. When you practice asanas, if your breathing is uneven, too shallow, or if you’re holding your breath when you don’t need to, your body will be tense and probably uncomfortable, you’ll be more likely to strain, and you won’t get the full benefits of the poses.

Asanas are meant to remove blockages and increase the flow of the subtle energy, or prana, in the body—which improves our overall health. Because your breath can really enhance the flow of this energy, become aware of your breathing as you practice asanas. If your breath tends to be shallow, uneven, and fast, try to slow it down a bit and make it a little smoother and deeper. With practice, it will improve quite quickly because you’ll notice how much better it feels!

But don’t get so caught up in your asana or breathing practices that you forget to do your yoga meditation. After all, the purpose of asanas and pranayama is to prepare you for meditation. And it is in meditation that you’ll reap the greatest rewards of yoga—inner peace and true happiness.

Wai Lana’s Asana of the Week: Lying Stretch

Banish tension with this feel-good stretch whenever you need a pick-me-up.

The steps to do this Lying Stretch Asana are :

  1. Lie on your back and raise your arms over your head.
  2. Inhale as you stretch the right side of your body, keeping the left side relaxed. Your right leg and buttock stretch down, while your right arm and the right side of your torso stretch up. Extend away from the waist in both directions. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  3. Exhale and relax, then repeat, stretching the left side of your body.
  4. Now inhale and stretch your whole body. Stretch upward from the waist through your chest and arms, downward through your hips, legs, and toes.
  5. Exhale and relax completely. Repeat the entire exercise once or twice.

Learn this easy yoga pose with Wai Lana.

Focus in the Pose…

Stretch through your fingers and point your toes. Lengthen the side of your body that you are stretching.

Benefits…

  • Quick tension reliever
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Stretches the entire body

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Becoming Vegetarian

Namaste!

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month so we wanted to provide positive inspiration for you to take some steps—little or big—toward a healthy vegetarian yoga lifestyle. If you’re already a vegetarian, here are some reminders of what a great choice you’ve made!

Occasionally there is some confusion about what it actually means to be a vegetarian. A true vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, fish, or eggs. A healthy vegetarian diet is focused on whole grains, beans, and legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and oils, and a moderate amount of dairy products.

1. Increase Your Inner Beauty:

Going veggie makes you more beautiful from the inside out. The toxins and stress hormones found in meat cause you to be more tired, stressed, and irritable. Vegetarian food choices have just the opposite effect. They uplift your mood, enhance your feelings of peace and optimism, and give you lots of exuberant energy.

2. Enjoy Radiant Skin and Hair:

Every year people spend literally billions of dollars on cosmetics and personal care products in their quest for youth and beauty. Yet just by choosing vegetarian foods, you’ll enjoy more beautiful skin and hair than you ever could by purchasing expensive beauty products. Vegetarian foods nourish your body from the inside out, providing invigorating antioxidants and nutrients.

3. Reach Your Ideal Weight and Stay There:

The battle of the bulge has become a serious health problem around the world. Being overweight or obese also causes many people a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical discomfort. Yet just one simple choice—choosing the vegetarian lifestyle—makes reaching and maintaining your ideal weight actually easy. There’s no need to struggle to lose weight. Vegetarian foods balance your body so that you’re more in touch with what actually tastes good and makes you feel good at the same time.

4. Reduce Your Risk of Painful and Deadly Diseases:

Have you ever noticed that virtually every single food to hit the headlines for health benefits is a vegetarian food? Whole grains help you lose weight, ward off diabetes, and cut your risk of cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables help prevent just about every kind of disease in the book. Nuts and seeds promote cardiovascular health and even help you lose weight. Even dairy products are associated with numerous health benefits such as weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and a lower risk of cancer.

5. Promote World Peace:

Becoming a vegetarian is in harmony with the yoga principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence. Raising animals for food causes untold suffering for no real purpose other than to satisfy people’s desire for meat. While some people make the argument that you have to kill living things even to survive as a vegetarian—and there is truth in this statement—the fact is that animals have a much higher consciousness than plants and experience far greater suffering when killed. Eating a plant-based diet is by far the more compassionate choice.

6. Live Green:

Vegetarian food choices make the best use of our world’s precious resources. They use just a small fraction of the amount of water, land, and fuel that it takes to raise animals for meat. Factory farms, where animals are raised for meat, are also one of the biggest polluters of our waterways. Simply becoming a vegetarian is the biggest single step you can make to help protect the environment.

7. Pave the Way to Spiritual Happiness:

Ultimately, the greatest and most perfect happiness you can experience is the internal spiritual happiness that transcends all the ups and downs of the material world. Becoming a vegetarian helps to cultivate qualities conducive to spiritual realization, such as compassion, self-control, and peacefulness.

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