Diet and digestion are two essential elements in maintaining good health. Exercise is also really important. Practicing asanas regularly is not only a great way to get exercise but can also improve our digestion over the long term.
According to yoga scriptures, we are all eternally youthful: “For the soul there is neither birth nor death, nor having once been, does he ever cease to be.” This explains why we feel young inside, even as the image in the mirror slowly ages. The challenge is to keep our bodies in good shape so that we retain our vitality. Yoga offers us a way to do this. Just consider two of the many things yoga has to offer, diet and exercise.
We know that a house needs a solid, even foundation for it to stand straight and strong. The same goes for our practice of asanas. Regardless of the position we place our body in, we must be grounded and secure.
In yoga’s many standing poses our feet are our foundation. So it’s important to make sure that this foundation is a solid one. How do we do this? First of all, by bringing our awareness to our feet.
I think of flying as ‘down time’ and actually find it quite relaxing. Think about it. Once you get through the busy airport and are settled in your seat, there’s nowhere to go until you arrive at your destination—no household chores to get through, no phone calls or text, and work is on hold (unless you absolutely have to open your laptop to finish a report or something). It’s actually quite a good time to practice yoga. And there are plenty of simple exercises you can do right there in your seat. You can even meditate.
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.
If you find yourself getting tired during the middle of the day, it could be because of dehydration or low blood sugar. Try to be more conscientious about drinking enough water throughout the day, and see if that helps. Or your fatigue may be caused if your blood sugar is low, in which case, of course, you need to eat. Choose complex carbs, vegetables, or protein. Avoid refined sugars because although they can give you a boost for a little while, it’s often followed by a crash, making you just want to lie down for a nap!
I’ve always tried to create a serene and peaceful mood with my yoga DVDs and music videos. My goal is to help people step away from their busy lives for a little while and step into the calming world of yoga.
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.
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.
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.