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Yoga Insights

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.

Yoga offers us wonderful techniques to help us become aware of what’s going on in our bodies. Even simple neck exercises, gently turning the head from one side to the other, help us become aware of tension that may have built up around the shoulders and neck. We may be able to turn our head to one side easily, whereas the other side feels tight and doesn’t move as freely.

The key to making yoga poses work for you lies in noticing how you feel whenever you are practicing. This valuable feedback should guide your practice—what poses you do and how you do them. For example, if the left side of your neck is tight when you turn your head to the right, you might want to hold it longer on that side and perhaps massage the tight muscles to see if you can get them to release. Take the time to do this—to wait, to release, and to stretch out the tension. Turn your head to the other side, and then come back to the first side and repeat the process. It’s certainly worth spending a couple of minutes to release tension in the areas where you need it most. You’ll feel much better—and you’ll prevent it from getting worse.

It’s so important to practice asanas with awareness. It’s not about getting through a certain number of poses in a session or being able to do every pose. It’s about looking inward, observing, and using your asana practice to give your body what it needs to feel good.

Our asana of the week, Double Angle Pose is also good for releasing shoulder tension, especially if you sit or drive a lot and tend to hunch forward. If you don’t want to bend forward in the pose, just stand with your hands clasped behind your back and raise your arms a little, feeling the opening in the front of the shoulders. 

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.

Practicing Yoga Asanas with Osteoporosis

Whether you have just started practicing yoga exercises or have been doing them for some time, keep it up and you’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come. Aside from managing stress, improving concentration and balance, and maintaining muscle strength and flexibility, doing yoga asanas regularly also helps keep our bones strong. This means we’ll be less likely to suffer the painful fractures that many people experience in old age.

Practicing Asanas with a Healed Injury

Think back to any injuries you might have sustained—maybe a broken bone, a torn ligament, sprained ankle, or a back or shoulder injury. Most of us have hurt ourselves in one way or another over the years. If we were able to take care of these injuries properly and they healed well, they may not bother us anymore. But sometimes, though seemingly healed, they can come back to haunt us.

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