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Yoga Insights

Energize and Focus with an Outdoor Yoga Practice

Spring is probably my favorite season. Now that it’s here, I’m looking for any opportunity to be outside—going for walks along the beach, playing with my kids and grandkids, watering the garden, picking flowers, or just sitting on my deck to read. I can feel the sun’s comforting warmth beckoning me. So, of course, I also practice yoga outdoors when it’s not too hot.

I leave a yoga mat on my deck so that whenever I begin to feel sluggish or tired while working, I can pop outside and do a few simple poses or deep breathing exercises. It wakes me up, stretches out any kinks or tension, and lets me get back to work more relaxed and focused. Sun Salutations are a great way to wake up and energize your entire body.

I also really enjoy practicing yoga meditation outside. Whether sitting by the ocean or a stream, in the mountains, forest, or in a park, being out in nature is very inspiring. You become aware of the natural rhythms of nature, the incredible creativity in the design of every flower and leaf, and the majesty of a beautiful sunrise or sunset.

If you have the opportunity to do yoga outdoors, I highly recommend it. Find a flat surface and lay your mat down. If you don’t have it with you, standing poses are always an option, like the one featured this week, Embracing the Sky.  And of course, you don’t need anything to practice meditation–just Yoga Sound.

Asana Practice on Cold Days

I know what it’s like to get out of a warm bed into a cold room on a winter’s day before you’ve had a chance to turn up the heater. Your body feels stiff and the last thing you feel like doing is a forward bend. On cold days I always take a hot shower before I start my asana practice. The hot water takes away the chill and melts away the tension I’ve been holding in my muscles from being cold. Then I pull on some comfy clothes for my asana practice and get onto my mat.

Building Strength in Asanas

One thing I love about yoga asanas is that I can build strength simply by using my own body—I don’t need any weights or expensive machines. Holding the body in yoga’s various poses while resisting gravity builds muscle strength, while also helping build strong bones. Even moving into and out of poses, especially when done slowly and with awareness, helps gain strength throughout the body.

Simple Tips for Relieving Shoulder Tension

I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t suffer from tight neck and shoulder muscles at least some of the time. Well, maybe my grandkids don’t. But for many, shoulder tension can be chronic. Left unchecked, we can get used to the discomfort and not even realize how much it’s restricting our movements. Of course, if we don’t do anything about it, at some point, it is likely to become quite painful and even cause headaches, backaches, and other problems.

3 Steps Towards Developing a Higher Consciousness

As yoga becomes an integral part of our society, people are looking to this ancient science and wondering whether it can offer them something deeper and more meaningful. The answer, of course, is yes.

Practicing yoga and living a yoga lifestyle can have a profound effect on our consciousness. If we want to experience deeper meaning in life as well as true happiness, we need to elevate our consciousness. If we want to know what truth is, to understand the real nature of ourselves and the world around us, we need to delve more deeply into the practice of yoga.

Stretch Your Hamstrings the Easy Way

If the backs of your legs scream at you whenever you do straight-leg forward bends, it may well be that your hamstrings are tight. If you don’t stretch them regularly, they’ll stay that way—or even get stiffer. That’s not a good thing because tight hamstrings affect more than just our ability to bend forward with straight legs. They can make us more prone to injury—especially if we play sports. They can also interfere with good posture, which, in turn, can contribute to back pain.

The Secret to Successful Meditation

It’s really not hard to practice meditation. Anyone can do it—even you. Having a successful meditation practice doesn’t mean you have to conquer your mind by the strength of your will and clear it of all thoughts. If you have tried to do this and have become frustrated, I’m not surprised. The mind is notorious for jumping around from one thing to another—in fact that is its nature. But don’t despair.

5 Yoga Tips for Over-Achievers

Do you have a Type A personality—always busy, a real go-getter, pushing yourself to achieve goals at home, at work, and even at play? If so, my guess is that you could be transferring that goal-oriented mindset to your asana practice as well, and this may not be in your best interest. If you always focus on a vigorous asana practice, pushing yourself to exhaustion, perhaps feeling disappointed that you’re not as “advanced” as you’d like to be, you may not be experiencing the amazing benefits yoga has to offer. Yes, a good asana session can be a great workout, but yoga is so much more than that.

Heal and Dissolve Stress with Yoga Nidra

Do you ever dream of just lying down and doing nothing for a while? Wouldn’t that be nice—to just stop and rest? Maybe you should—it will do you more good than you can imagine. Yoga’s deep relaxation, called Yoga Nidra, gives the body and mind much-needed downtime.

I’m sure your days are as busy as mine—perhaps you work, then rush home to prepare a meal, to help kids with homework, or throw in some laundry. The pressure of trying to fit it all in is added to the already stressful situations we experience in life—difficult relationships, health problems, stress at work, to name just a few.

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