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Yoga Insights

Turn "Off" Days into "On" Days

Have you ever noticed how your body and mind work better on some days than on others? How one day things come easy to you, but on other days those same things require much more effort? These "off" days have a variety of causes. For example, if your body is stiff or tense, or if you're constipated or suffering from indigestion, your mind will also be disturbed. On the other hand, if your mind is disturbed because you're stressed out or emotionally upset, you may also feel lousy physically.

Inside Out Yoga

When you do yoga asanas, don't try to force your body into an "ideal" position; instead, do them from the inside out. Move into the postures with inner awareness, noting and accepting your body's strengths and limitations. Don't worry if you can't stretch as far as someone else—yoga is about doing the poses the best you can while maintaining proper alignment. This is the safest way to practice, too. If you practice regularly and conscientiously, gently stretching your boundaries, you will advance very quickly.

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.

Too Tired to Practice?

If you feel tired and exhausted at the end of the day, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But yoga asanas, as well as breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques, actually relieve fatigue, stiffness, tension, and stress.

So take your pick, or do some of each. If you practice regularly, you'll have more energy and you'll tire less easily. But if you do get tired, stressed, and tense, you'll have some powerful tools to help you feel better insta

Yogis Don't Gamble

One of the activities yogis avoid is gambling. Why? Because it counteracts the effects on the body, mind, and consciousness of our yoga practice. For example, you may do yoga to relieve stress and tension. Gambling not only increases tension and stress but creates fear and anxiety as well. These mental and emotional feelings can become deep-rooted, leading to health problems such as insomnia, headaches, ulcers, and digestive problems.

Outdoor Yoga

Now that the warm spring weather is here, why not practice yoga outdoors? I love to practice outside, especially by the ocean. Out in the fresh air, any of the asanas or breathing techniques quickly oxygenates your entire body.

Water Replenishes Body Fluids

If you've been doing yoga asanas, you've probably noticed that they can cause you to perspire a lot, especially in hot climates. But don't worry, sweating is good for your health. It cools down the body and eliminates toxins. However, if you perspire a lot without drinking enough fluids, your body can dehydrate, and this can cause both minor and major health problems. In general, you should drink between 6 to 10 glasses of water each day. If it's hot and you plan to exercise vigorously, you can drink more. Some yoga asanas should not be done too soon after drinking.

Busy, Busy Yogi Bees

The less time you have, the more you need to do yoga. "But how?" you may ask. "I'm already doing way too much." Well, with yoga, it's easy to break down your practice into shorter periods if the mere thought of getting up an hour earlier makes you yawn. Although, I must say, an hour of yoga is more energizing than an hour of sleep!

Increase Your Flexibility

Pain is not a bad thing—the good pain of a safe stretch, that is. In fact, putting up with a bit of discomfort will increase your flexibility. You may be tempted to pull back from a stretch, especially in a pose you're not used to. But instead of coming out of the pose at the slightest hint of discomfort, bear with it. It's only by holding the pose that you'll coax your muscles to lengthen. You know from experience you'll feel better afterward, and the longer you hold the pose (safely, of course), the easier it will be next time.

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