Posted by: Trudy Prevost | June 14, 2017

Cardio Flow Yoga

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; Author; Researcher and Psychology Professor

Definition of ‘Flow’: “In mindful movement  programs ‘flow’ also known as ‘vinyasa’ is a steady, continuous stream of yoga poses coordinating the movements with the breath. This practice can be so intense it provides a strong cardio workout and sweat or so gentle it is doable by a beginner. This practice can involve one or 2 techniques or 10 or 20 techniques.” ~ Rainbow Yoga Teacher Training Manual: The Spectrum of Yoga; Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Definition ‘Flow’: “In positive psychology, ‘flow’, also known as the ‘zone’, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does and loses sense of space and time.a state of mind: ” ~ Wikipedia

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a psychology professor who has studied the state of mind called ‘The Flow’ for over 20 years and has found there are tremendous benefits to achieving this. He is not the only one to study and utilize this state of mind in their program.

The Montessori Educational system is designed to encourage ‘The Flow’ while learning.

‘Flow’ also has a documented correlation with high performance in the fields of artistic and scientific creativity, innovative business management; effective teaching; enhanced learning, improved athletic performance, computer gaming and even developing computer programs.

In a study performed with professional classical pianists who played piano pieces several times to induce a flow state, a significant relationship was found between the flow state of the pianist and the pianist’s heart rate, blood pressure, and major facial muscles.  This study demonstrated the fact that flow is a state of effortless attention. Yet in spite of the effortless attention and overall relaxation of the body within the activity, the performance of the pianist during the flow state improved.

‘Flow’ has been linked to persistence and achievement in activities while also helping to lower anxiety and raise self-esteem.

‘Flow’ was a concept written about within the practice of yoga well before scientists started exploring it.

Rainbow Yoga Cardio Flow Yoga is a fun and dynamic way to experience ‘The Flow’ of Yoga while practicing The Mindfulness of Yoga and building The Functional Fitness of Yoga

Note: This class requires a certain level of fitness. If you are not comfortable with Planks; Side Planks; Plows this may not be the class for you. If you have wrist challenges this may not be the class for you.

Experience ‘The ‘Flow’ of Yoga’
We build a parable of positions; adding one position at a time; getting to know each new position intimately as it is introduced then practicing it over and over as we build each unique vinyasa. We create a different flow each time we practice together and often the flow is choreographed with dominate sides – the brain is fully occupied – we build not only a physical ‘Flow’ of poses all linked to the breath but the state of mind psychologists call ‘Flow’.

Practice ‘The Mindfulness of Yoga’
We keep connecting to The Mind Body Breath Connection as we move through the poses by transitioning and finding each pose with the breath. Linking one movement to one breath! The eye movements; the movements of the body; the mindful breathing and the focus on what is next in the flow all contribute to make the whole class being a  Mindful Moving Meditation.

Build ‘The Functional Fitness of Yoga’
We progressively journey through The Warm Up building the flow and progressively intensifying the workout during The Body of the Class. We stretch and release utilizing the Warmth of the Body effectively and safely. During one session we build: Balance, Flexibility, Range of Motion and  Strength; we consciously: Activate and Release Muscles and Soft Tissues; we Practice all the Major Movements of the Spine needed to keep it healthy. Thereby building a Function Fitness that allows us to go through daily life without injury.

Cardio Flow Yoga is different

Studies released within the last year have shown that Yoga practiced at higher speeds then the usual speed yoga is practiced – results in a significantly greater caloric and muscular expenditure.

Results from other studies have also shown that transitions from one held phase of a pose to another produce higher normalized muscle activity than the held phases of the poses.

This proves that Rainbow Yoga Cardio Flow Yoga can be an effective alternative program for those targeting cardio metabolic markers.

 

While taking your body to the next level of strength and flexibility and building stamina and aerobic parameters a Rainbow Yoga Cardio Flow Yoga Session will assist you to find your ‘Flow’.

We will be holding Cardio Flow Yoga Sessions in the Gardens for free. International Day of Yoga in the Botanical Gardens Saturday June 24 2017

 

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | June 1, 2017

Mindful; Mindfulness in Yoga

Cambridge Dictionary
Definition of Mindful adjective

  1. Formal:careful not to forget about something: Mindful of the poor road conditions, she reduced her speed to 30 mph. Politicians are increasingly mindful that young voters are turning away from traditional parties.
  2. deliberately aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, in order to create a feeling of calm: I’m trying to be more mindful and I think it helps me with stress.

Definition of Mindfulness noun

  1. the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm: Mindfulness can be used to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.

I don’t remember hearing the word Mindfulness or Mindful much in the 1970’s when I first started studying yoga. But the word does so aptly describe the focus of the mind in all aspects of yoga practice: mindful movement; mindful breathing; mindful meditating; mindful socializing; mindful eating; mindful livity.

Archa my teacher was the first teacher I had who really took you inside the body as you practiced. When I came out of her classes – I would often remark to myself how the class was like a holiday from the daily chatter of my mind.

My mind has always been FILLED with daily chatter from the moment I woke up till the moment I slept. Yoga taught me I could control that; I could focus on the moment. I could actually decide to enjoy each moment more; I could actually decide whether that thought that was going round and round in my mind was beneficial to me.

For me it was the Mindful Movements that helped me go within at first; then the Breath Control Techniques and then the Mindful Meditation Techniques.

Mindfulness is one of the side effects of Practicing Yoga no matter what style no matter what technique.

What is Mindfulness?

That is one of our topics of study during our Yoga Teacher Training. To give you a taste of the information we will be sharing I copied and pasted our document on ‘The Mindfulness of Yoga’ from our Training Manual ‘The Spectrum of Yoga’; Chapter: The Techniques of Yoga” below:

Quote                          The path of yoga requires faith, energy, mindfulness, meditation and wisdom. ~ Pantjali; Yoga Sutras 1.20

NAME:                      THE MINDFULNESS OF YOGA

Sanskrit:                    Smṛti / स्मृति)

Other Names:                        Zen

At Rainbow Yoga promoting The Mindfulness of Yoga is one of the most important goals of our Rainbow Yoga Wellness Program. The Mindfulness of Yoga is interwoven into almost all the paths and practices. Knowing how to be mindful/conscious and in the moment is one of the most basic of our life skills. When we are not conscious we do not enjoy life to the fullest.

We encourage students to bring The Mindfulness of Yoga into their day to day life outside the studio as well as we deeply believe this results in a more holistic, healthy life and is a another step towards achieving oneness with the absolute.

The Mindfulness of Yoga teaches students to recognize and then control negative or stressful thought patterns. It teaches us to pause; realize our first reaction is often one of limited perspective; look at the bigger more holistic picture and then make some intentional choices on what to do.

We trust once The Mindfulness of Yoga has been experienced in class through a variety of techniques – it will gradually flow into other areas of daily life.

Definition

At Rainbow Yoga Health and Wellness we consider ‘mindfulness’ to be a ‘state of being’; a ‘multidimensional consciousness’ – a state of active, observant attention to the present.

Our sensations. thoughts and feelings are observed from a distance, without judging them good or bad  as we maneuver through our day to day life. The ramifications of our actions are considered before we act; with each decision we strive to enhance our prana/energy levels.

Mindfulness is a training of the mind to be more aware of what we are doing; it differs from deep sleep or relaxation or even deep meditation in that it involves active mental effort rather than total rest, release or surrender.  Through mindfulness we can gain new perspectives on life. The practice of yoga refines this awareness through a variety of practices such as concentrating on the fine tuning and alignment of the postures; the subtlety of the breath; the focal point in balances, the ramifications of conscious living and turning the consciousness inward (pratyahara). From there the practice moves to increasingly subtler forms of mindfulness such as one-pointedness (dharana) to one-flowingness (dhyana) to absorption (samadhi).

You will often find one tiny concept of the yoga lifestyle extolled as the only way to reach mindfulness but it is the wide range of techniques that makes yoga so effective.

Note: Not to confuse The Mindfulness of Yoga (state of mind) with The Mindful Meditations of Yoga (techniques to assist with a ‘mindful’ ‘state of mind/being’).

History

The Mindfulness of Yoga predates most mindfulness programs of today and most of the techniques utilized to reach a ‘mindful’ ‘state of being’ are yoga based. The general populace looks on mindfulness as deriving from Buddhism yet the first yoga carvings predate Buddhism by 1000’s of years.

The Mindfulness of Yoga can be used beneficially to alter or build healthy patterns of living; enhance overall health and increase cognitive function.

Present Day

Recently a scientific program designed by John Kabat Zahn based on Buddhist mindfulness meditation traditions and various techniques used in yoga named Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR has become very popular. There are many people who use the terms Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness interchangeably. MBSR is more accurately one of many programs incorporating a few of The Mindful Meditation Techniques of Yoga with a few of The Mindful Breaths and Breath Movements of Yoga and a few of The Mindful Movements and Postures of Yoga to promote health and wellness.

In Psychiatry mindfulness is being used to treat a host of mental challenges within the fields of Positive Psychology and Cognitive Therapy.

In Neurology ‘mindfulness’ has been broken down into various terms of sense: “proprioception” – refers to the awareness of ‘one’s own body’ and its muscular, tendon, and articular movements; and the awareness of the positioning of the body parts in relationship to each other’; “introspection” –    ; refers to the awareness of ‘one’s own internal messages;  “exteroception” – refers to the process by which Extroceptors (organs which process information outside of body, such as the eyes, ears, mouth, and skin) send information to the brain; “interoception” – refers to the process by which interoceptors (organs which process informaton inside of the body (such as taste buds) send information to the brain, (Charles Sharington, 2007).

Benefits

Practicing The Mindfulness of Yoga can help people to begin to recognize their habitual patterns of mind; movement and ways of living that develop over time and then respond in a new rather than habitual way.

When you consider the ramifications if everyone in the world utilized mindfulness in their daily life – mindfulness can help with almost every situation and every condition we meet as individuals; communities and organizations – the world would be a better place.

Traditional

Traditionally the ultimate goal of mindfulness was absorption/oneness/unity with the absolute.

The Benefits

The benefits of ‘Mindfulness’ are so many it would be hard to list them all. Literally every aspect of our lives can benefit from mindfulness; our physical health; our mental health; our energetic health and those around us benefit too. Our communities our earth

Studies

Over the past 20 years there has been a plethora of studies on the health benefits of the practice of ‘MBSR or other Mindfulness Techniques’. Studies have shown ‘mindfulness’ to be helpful in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress; Depression; Obesity; Schizophrenia; Eating Disorders; Stress Management; Heart Disease; Stroke; Diabetes; Metabolic Syndrome. Studies have shown The Mindful Lifestyle of Yoga can: enhance The Immune System at a cellular level; build brain function and memory; reverse Heart Disease; change Prostrate Cancer cells at a cellular level.

During our Rainbow Yoga Teacher Training Programme we share the studies we have gathered for a lifetime.

Note:

 

Teacher Tips:

Rainbow Yoga encourages the development of The Mindfulness of Yoga through the practice of The Mindful Movements and Positions of Yoga; The Mindful Breaths of Yoga; The Mindful Breath Movements of Yoga; The Mindful Meditations of Yoga; and The Mindful Living of Yoga.

As Rainbow Yoga Teachers we encourage participants to experience The Mindfulness of Yoga through:  The Flow of Yoga; The Mind Body Breath Connection; Body Honesty; Verbal Cues; Visual Cues and Mindful Business Practices.

As participants start to tune into themselves this can facilitate emotional release. As Rainbow Yoga Teachers  we are supportive; non-judgmental and accepting guiding our students to approach a professional if the emotions extend from trauma.

As Rainbow Yoga Teachers we start every class with the concept of mindfulness and refresh everyone’s memory and intention of mindfulness repeatedly as the class goes on. Remind each class to carry their mindfulness into their daily life.

Opening classes with the Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a great way to promote mindfulness of the body.

After the students become more aware of the body from within bring the awareness to the breath through a Breath Observation or a Mindful Breath Technique of Yoga. Observing the breath from within is one of the basic mindfulness skills in almost every practice.

After the class has found the breath and the body encourage them to find the Mind, Body, Breath Connection to promote their mindfulness by executing a few movements that Warm Up the body in coordination with the breath and move it in most of the main directions.

Verbal Cues, Visual Cues, Imagery Cues and Kinesthetic Cues are invaluable for the promotion of mindfulness throughout class especially when purposely blending them to address all Learning Styles.

A clean healthy soothing Environment and a safe protective supportive Atmosphere is essential for students to feel secure enough to be able to let everything go and focus on the moment.

At Rainbow Yoga the concept of The Mindfulness of Yoga is incorporated in every program we teach from Cooking Workshops to Hatha Yoga Classes.

We are constantly adding to our programme to keep our clients interested and stimulated – ‘mindful’.

The Business of Teaching Yoga

The Mindfulness of Yoga is incorporated in every program we teach at Rainbow Yoga from Health and Wellness Vacations to Hiking Tours; Cooking Workshops and Hatha Yoga and Meditation Classes.

At Rainbow Yoga we strive to bring The Mindfulness of Yoga into our own daily lives and business operations – whether designing and teaching our programmes; when managing our day to day operations; when working with our associates and clients no matter what their status.

Bibliography

Dictionary definitions.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mindful

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mindfulness

Wikipedia State of Flow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

Wikipedia Mindfulness in Buddhism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness

Wikipedia Mindfulness in Psychology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_(psychology)

Wikipedia Proprioception

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception

Wikipedia Introspection

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection

Wikipedia Mindfulness Based Stress Release

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MBSR

Yoga Concept of Mindfulness Meditation

http://www.swamij.com/mindfulnessconcentration.htm

Mindfulness – About.com

http://ptsd.about.com/od/glossary/g/Mind_def.htm

Further Research

Books

Online

Centre for Mindfulness; University of Massachusetts

http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/stress/index.aspx

Mindfulness Information Website

http://www.mindfulnet.org/

Mindful Awareness Research Centre; UCLA

http://marc.ucla.edu/default.cfm

Ted Flow for Happiness

http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

Cultivate the Seeds of Mindfulness

http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/1667

The Neuroscience of Mindfulness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-rock/the-neuroscience-of-mindf_b_2908665.html

Autonomic Nervous System

http://www.mashpedia.com/videoplayer.php?q=jIz4uVnZo0M

Dr. Mihalv Csikszentmihalyi Calaremont University

http://www.cgu.edu/pages/4751.asp

Mihalv Csikszentmihalyi TED bio

http://www.ted.com/speakers/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi

flow the psychology of optimal experience; Mihalv Csikszentmihalyi

http://www.integralvision.net.au/share-it-hub/flow_the_psychology_of_optimal_experience.pdf

blog post on book flow and yoga

http://hathayoga.com/flow-by-mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

 

 

 

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | May 20, 2017

Yoga for Depression in Pregnancy

Image result for image pregnancy yogaOne of the main reasons I wanted to be a Yoga Teacher was to share the Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga to help other women who were traveling through life and found themselves on the pregnancy journey. I used yoga in many ways during my child bearing years.

While raising my children my yoga practice kept me healthy; more calm and mindful during my parenting years. I was not a perfect parent but it helped.

Rainbow Yoga has been providing Yoga for Pregnancy Programs for over 15 years.

Science has shown yoga to be so beneficial that the governments of some countries provide yoga to encourage low risk pregnancies and births.

Birthing was an intense but manageable experience for both children I had. I feel my yoga practice and yoga lifestyle prepared my body for pregnancy; contributed to conceiving easily at 31; kept me healthy during pregnancy; contributed to the health of my babies; eased my labour and birth; assisted me to have a medication free birth and  helped  my body recover after birth. I had very few challenges but with trimester adaptations  yoga can easily help with many common challenges of pregnancy. Some yoga practices are particularly beneficial for pregnancy. Find a trained yoga teacher if at all possible so they can share The Cautions and Adaptations  and the Tips for Yoga in Pregnancy  we need to learn during pregnancy.

Psychologically I was definitely more emotional than usual but I did not feel depressed for long periods of time. At the time I never really considered this as a benefit of my practice but science has shown this to be true as well.

In 2014 the University of Colorado announced that “Mindfulness techniques can help protect pregnant women against depression”.

Mindfulness Techniques can mean many things – in this study they taught: prenatal yoga, walking meditation exercises that could be done later while soothing a baby, and shorter practices that could be easily integrated into the busy lives of new moms. The lessons also specifically addressed worry, which can be common during pregnancy, and put particular focus on kindness for oneself and one’s baby. –

I found it interesting that the researchers remarked that they were surprised by the number of pregnant women who expressed interest in participating in a mindfulness program, even though they didn’t meet the criteria to participate in this study. A high percentage of the women who began the courses—86 percent—completed the study, a sign that the women found the sessions valuable, Dimidjian said.

In 2016 the same university announced “Pregnant and postpartum women at risk of depression are less likely to suffer depression when they meditate or get in a yoga pose than when they are treated with psychotherapy or antidepressants.”

The Mindfulness Therapy Program they used included meditation, yoga and walking birthing and labour meditations; other mindfulness techniques many of them ancient yoga techniques such as Breath Control and Awareness Techniques; Creative Visualization; cognitive therapy and yoga postures and movements  as well as strategies to relate differently to negative thoughts and to bring greater self-care into their daily lives. The women were also assigned practices to do at home each day.

The scientists looked at 42 women who had had at least one previous episode of major depression. They took eight mindfulness classes and were asked to complete homework assignments to develop their mindfulness skills.

Data shows that risk of depression is high during reproductive years. The risk will be higher if the woman had already suffered from the condition earlier. Nearly 30 percent of the cured cases relapse during pregnancy, according to the authors.

Genetic predisposition, social factors and hormonal changes are some of the major factors behind this occurrence. Treating the mental condition early is crucial as a prolonged depression can lead to poor weight gain, preeclampsia, premature labour and trouble in bonding with the new-born.

Women in the MBCT group achieved 40 percent reduced risk of having a relapse than others.

Yoga can truly improve our journey through pregnancy.

Rainbow Yoga Pregnancy Classes encourage father and mother to attend so both can have a little quality time together and connect over the pregnancy.

 

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | May 19, 2017

Yoga for Diabetes

When looking at yoga from a therapeutic point of view there are often 2 ways of approaching a specific illness – sometimes even more but we will talk about that later.

In the case of diabetes yoga is usually looked at from two angles – prevention and alleviation of symptoms.

Practicing yoga and even better a yogic lifestyle dramatically lowers our chances of getting diabetes.

Practicing hatha yoga has been scientifically proven to lower metabolic rate; lower stress; lower weight therefore practicing yoga can lower your chances of getting diabetes. Practicing a yoga lifestyle including conscious eating; conscious socializing; conscious exercising lowers your chances even more.

But yoga has also been scientifically shown to help those who already have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Practicing Yoga has als been scientifically proven to alter

West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown recently published a review of over 30 different papers reporting on conclusions from 25 controlled trials.  They found that ‘collectively, findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in DM2 management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition.’ (note they say significant 🙂

The Yoga Lifestyle

When I first came to this island it was known for it’s ratio of centenarians

The numbers on diabetes throughout the world are staggering.

Since 1996, the number of people with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to 2.9 million.

In 2005 my Aunt and my mother came to visit – I was so happy to have them visit.

My mother knew my love for Dominica for over 20 years and my Aunt too – too have them come and share my home was so blissfull.

My mom kept saying “my hair will never be the same” as we took her island wide windows open and breezes flowing in.

It is always an iffy thing when my mom visits as to how we eat. her and my aunt are staunch meat eaters – my aunt co-owned a large cattle operation and my dad was a hunter so I grew up knowing the eating of deer and moose.

We have worked out this lovely medium where I cook lavish vegetarian meals and we enjoy that at home and we go out for them to get their fish and meat.

My aunt was pre – diabetic and had a blood sugar guage which she read every morning.

While talking and cooking breakfast the first morning

Diabetes prevalence is estimated to rise to 4 million by 2025.

Nearly half the adult population in the United States suffers from prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most people develop full-blown diabetes within 10 years of being told they have the precursor to it.

In today’s Europe, approximately 60 million people live with diabetes, of whom more than 50% are unaware of their condition.

Studies show that shedding just a few pounds, only 5 to 7 percent of your body weight (a mere 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person), can turn the metabolic tide.

In India, yoga is a common prescription for conditions associated with insulin resistance such as diabetes and hypertension.

This fat can actually chemically react with our bodies. Fat tissue, especially around the abdomen, decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Unable to use insulin efficiently, the body demands more than the pancreas can easily produce. The pancreas gets exhausted and can’t keep up. Without enough insulin to regulate blood sugar, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The result is insulin resistance and prediabetes.

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | April 30, 2017

The Cultural Diversity of Yoga

“Yoga has evolved in 1000’s of ways through 1000’s of teachers over 1000’s of years in 1000’s of places.” ~ The Spectrum of Yoga by Trudy Prevost.

Rainbow Yoga: The Style

Rainbow Yoga Sessions celebrate The Cultural Diversity of Yoga – as you participate in A Rainbow Yoga Style Session you will hear the teacher mention Yoga and Mindful Movement Practices from a few different cultures.

After nearly 50 years of yoga practice and study I feel like I have only just skimmed the surface of what there is out there to learn.  But I find it inspiring and interesting to research the many influences there have been on our yoga practice. The Cultural Diversity of Yoga is not only interesting but it can improve your practice as you look at a different pose or a different of way of doing things.

So far in my studies I have found I can usually categorize The Styles of Yoga into a few general Cultural Based Yoga: African Yoga; Indian Yoga; Tibetan Yoga; and Chinese Yoga.

There are many Styles of Yoga but each involves the practice of a variety of The Techniques of Yoga in a variety of ways with a variety of goals and focuses and claims a heritage to a Culture Based Yoga

Rainbow Yoga; The Style of Yoga is fundamentally based on sharing this concept therefore our classes are diverse; cross cultural; and unique.

This is the start of a series of posts on The Cultures of  Yoga and Rainbow Yoga The Style.

Join our Facebook Page; Email us or Comment on this page so you can join our next The Cultures of Yoga Workshop or Retreat!

Learn more about The Cultures of Yoga in our Yoga Teacher Training! We study the history; the tenants; the practice; the poses and the styles that have evolved from Indian Yoga; Tibetian Yoga; Chinese Yoga and African Yoga.

Do you enjoy The Rainbow Yoga Style? Learn more about Rainbow Yoga; The Style in our Yoga Teacher Training!

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | April 6, 2017

The Rainbow Legend

 

“Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different?

From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.

The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.” ~ Indigenous American Legend

DSCF2124I grew up with this legend. The wisdom in Indigenous writings impressed me as a young child.

How the Rainbow Came to Be
~An Indigenous American Legend~

Once upon a time, the colors of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.
~
GREEN said: “Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves – without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”
~
BLUE interrupted: “You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”
~
YELLOW chuckled: “You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me, there would be no fun.”
~
ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet: “I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and paw paws. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”
~
RED could stand it no longer. He shouted out: “I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood – life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”
~
PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me – they listen and obey.”
~
Finally INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: “Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”
~
And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening, thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
~
In the midst of the clamor, Rain began to speak: “You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”
~
Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The Rain continued: “From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.

The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.”
~
And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky,
let us remember to…appreciate one another.

Note:

Rainbows play a variety of roles in Native American mythology. In Navajo tradition, the rainbow is the path of the Yei (holy spirits), and is frequently depicted in sacred sandpaintings. In Cherokee folklore, the rainbow is said to be the border of the sun’s coat. The Rainbow is also used as a clan crest in some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Haida.

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | March 31, 2017

Yoga for Depression

People who suffer from depression should participate in yoga and deep (coherent) breathing classes at least twice weekly plus practice at home to receive a significant reduction in their symptoms.” ~ Boston University School of Medicine

One of the reasons I promote the ‘Science of Yoga’ is to share the science backed possibilities of using yoga for Health and Wellness so people can feel comfortable exploring yoga as a therapy with their doctors.

Yoga for Depression works big time.

According to The Center for Complementary & Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia

– Depression is a prevalent mental health condition worldwide and is the leading cause of disability in adults under the age of 45.

– Most individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) report only a 50% decrease in symptoms with the use of the standard allopathic treatments for depression.

– The mechanisms underlying depression remain poorly understood even though stress and its correlates contribute to multiple aspects of the phenomenology of depression.

– Thus, stress and depression are clearly linked, as stress may precipitate or exacerbate depressive symptoms and depression may be a cause and/or outcome of acute or chronic stress.

– Therefore, use of additional therapeutic approaches to address stress and depression, such as complementary therapies including yoga, may contribute importantly to symptom reduction.”

I first started to study yoga as a stress management technique – in the past studies have shown yoga lowers cortisol levels in the saliva – I was amazed when one study showed the effects are evident as quickly as within 1 hour.

Study after study from that time on has shown how well yoga can work for anxiety; depression and stress. Yoga has even been shown to work extremely well for PTSS.

Lately there has been a lot of interest shown in the ability of a yoga practice to help with depression.

In February 2007 an Italian University concluded:, yoga appears to be a promising intervention for depression. It is cost-effective and easy to implement. Most importantly, yoga produces many beneficial emotional, psychological, behavioral and biological effects, as supported by observations in this study. The physiological methods are especially useful as they provide objective markers of the processes and effectiveness of the intervention. The methods and observations in this report may help guide further clinical research on the application of yoga in depression, with appropriate placebo control and comparison conditions, and in other mental health disorders, and in future research on the processes and mechanisms involved.

In 2013 a

In 2015 a study of 52 women who were assessed as having mildly elevated anxiety; moderate depression and high stress levels. None of the women had taken yoga or had engaged in other mind-body exercises within the past year, nor had they a history of anorexia, bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorders.

Yoga treatments are now being defined as to dosage and appropriate treatment time period.

In March a study released by The University of California was a randomized controlled trial with blinded outcome assessors that examined an 8-week hatha yoga intervention as mono-therapy for mild-to-moderate major depression.

The Conclusion: In adults with mild-to-moderate major depression, an 8-week hatha yoga intervention as a mono-therapy resulted in statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression severity.

In another study released in March 2017 individuals with Major Depressive Disorder were randomized to a high dose group (three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice) or the low dose group (two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice). Both groups had significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance. Although a greater number of subjects in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms, the researchers believe attending twice weekly classes (plus home practice) may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention.

I find this study interesting for a couple of reasons

  1. It seems to show the style of yoga does not seem to make a difference. This study was on Iyengar Yoga and previous studies have used other styles such as Bikram.
  2. It seems to show when compliance is considered two times a week can be an appropriate dose and more realistic.
  3. It seems to show that there are times when yoga works as effectively as medication without the potential side effects.

 

 

Then in April after conducting a 10 week randomized controlled trial of weekly yoga classes v. health education classes in individuals with elevated depression symptoms and antidepressant medication use – The University of California and The Medical School of Brown University announced that “yoga participants showed lower levels of depression” and “yoga participants showed significantly better social and role functioning and general health perceptions over time.”.

I think that it is extremely interesting to note here that length of time is an important factor in the dosage. Yoga does not work over night! Interestingly in this study at the end of the 10 weeks they did not see much difference between the 2 groups but they began to see marked differences between the groups in the follow-up period. This verifies what the ancient people said – the benefits accrue with practice.

I close with 2 quotes from a scientist Chris Streeter, MD who is associate professor of psychiatry and neurology and psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center.

“This study supports the use of a yoga and coherent breathing intervention in major depressive disorder in people who are not on antidepressants and in those who have been on a stable dose of antidepressants and have not achieved a resolution of their symptoms,”

“While most pharmacologic treatment for depression target monoamine systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, this intervention targets the parasympathetic and gamma aminobutyric acid system and provides a new avenue for treatment.”

 

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | November 14, 2016

The Rainbow Yoga Method – The Science

“In over 20 years as a teacher I have had the opportunity to ask 100’s and 100’s of people from a wide variety of cultures and walks of life – Why are you practicing yoga? I have found: people first practice yoga for many different reasons – science; flexibility; stress management; pregnancy; balance; disease prevention; therapy; brain function; core strength; scholastic achievement …… but long time practitioners tend to simply say “It makes me feel good.”  or “I like how I feel good after.” ~ Trudy Scott Prevost

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Rainbow Yoga – The Method

The Rainbow Yoga Method with Trudy Scott Prevost is science/evidence based.

Definition of Science ~ Miriam Webster Dictionary
1 : the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.
2a: a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study the science of theology
2
b: something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge > have it down to a science
3a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
3b: such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena > natural science.
4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws cooking is both a science and an art
5 : capitalized . CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

Personally I believe yoga has always been a science and from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary quote above it seems to fulfill the criteria outlined for the definition of science.

For 1000’s of years yoga experts from many different cultures have recorded the health and wellness benefits from this practice.

Because my yoga practice began with studying the ancient experts on yoga and what they had deduced the techniques could promote in the body and the mind I have an insight into the medicinal aspects of yoga before it was studied by Allopathic Medicine.

I have watched yoga flow from being a hippy thing to being accepted as a valid scientifically proven method of enhancing quality of life and healing the mind and body.

I have watched yoga techniques like the Progressive Muscle Relaxation and the Auto Genic Relaxation be promoted by the medical field.

I thoroughly enjoy every new study I find proving what the ancients said about yoga and I marvel at their insight and knowledge.

In the 1980’s I first began to follow the work of one the first doctors of medicine who utilized the yoga method for not only health and wellness but as a treatment for heart disease and cancer. I have promoted  Dr. Dean Ornish findings with great joy everywhere I have gone since then.

I absolutely love to see the blending of Yoga and Allopathic Medicine to create a Complimentary Medicine. Cancer Centers; Homes for the Aged; and Hospitals all over the world are now utilizing yoga techniques to ease the journey through the treatment of medical conditions.

I love to find the ancient yoga techniques that have been renamed and used in Cognitive Behavioral Psychology Programs for pain management as well as depression; schizophrenia and ADHD.

Over the years I have found other university based programs such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction that are based on yoga wellness techniques and new studies emerge every day as to the benefits of MBSR.

Chiropractic Medicine; Naturopathic Medicine and Physiotherapy programs all use yoga techniques to enhance the healing of their programs.

The Sports and Fitness fields have also scientifically proven that yoga based programs create a functional fitness.

When I teach I love to share

  • the latest scientific research on yoga; foods, herbs and healthy sustainable lifestyles.
  • the historical research on yoga 
  • the historical yoga sources of medical techniques renamed and studied today.
  • what studies have shown the pose or technique we are practicing is good for.
  • what bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons are being effected by a movement from an anatomical point of view.
  •  what physiological systems of the body are effected by the position, movement or technique.
  • what movements are occurring in the joints or spine.
  • how to work your body in a balanced way to promote Functional Fitness.
  • how to utilize the latest yoga/scientific techniques to release stress and improve brain function.

I encourage my students to utilize conscientious decision-making which is based not only on the available evidence but also on: how the food; practice, herb, position or technique feels emotionally; intuitively and physically.

I generally find this sharing of knowledge one of the reasons people tell me they love my yoga – it gives participants a glimpse at the use of Yoga in Allopathic Medicine and encourages a deeper study of all the facets and styles of yoga.

After my Hatha Yoga Sessions – students say they are more mindful during a Hatha Yoga Class as they learn the names of the parts of the body they are are using and the effect their practice has.

I have also had students share the studies with their doctors to ensure Yoga Practice is included in their Wellness or Healing Plans.

I have seen with my own eyes – since the first yoga study from Penn State University in 1998 – the way people’s faces light up and smiles beam out upon hearing a scientific study in relationship to their practice of the moment.   

It was this inspiration I observed – this mindfulness that was encouraged when people heard about a scientific study – that made me take the time to study the Allopathic Science of Yoga and the Ayurvedic Science of Yoga.

It is the same basis I have chosen to include The Cultural Diversity of Yoga and The Styles of Yoga in my teaching – the inspiration I see in my students faces – The Mindfulness that was encouraged.

In the end I know a little about a lot but each piece of knowledge opens my practice as Pantjali said it would; I hope it does yours too.

For a simple example: as we stand I discuss a 2012 study from Brazil published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.

According to the press release  this study has shown that if you can descend and rise from the floor easily you will live an average of 10 years longer.

Just last Monday at my class at Fort Young we were all seriously and mindfully practicing our yoga. As we rose from the floor I invited everyone to rise without their hands; quoting the scientific study. It was like turning on a light bulb – smiles emerged; faces shone and comments flowed! Some worked on the movement a few times.

Come to my sessions and workshops to study the science of yoga through the Rainbow Yoga Method.

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | September 16, 2016

The History of Yoga Mats

18894_1119158214766051_3937253603860798807_nRainbow Yoga in Calibishi

Anywhere you travel in the world it is hard to picture practicing yoga without a mat.

We can now find yoga mats on the remotest of beaches; amongst the trees of forests and in remote valleys.

exhaulted lungeRainbow Yoga in the Forest

As practitioners yoga mats prevent us from slipping; cushion our bodies and help us find positions and movements. As we walk onto our mat we enter a safe space where we can escape from the busy often hectic pace of our lives.

As yoga teachers we use yoga mats to help our students fine tune positioning; transition to the next move; and keep their practice within a designated space in group classes.

To some teachers a folded or rolled mat is a valuable piece of equipment that can be utilized to assist our students to find the optimum positioning or release more into their poses.

You may find it shocking to learn yoga mats were only invented in the 1970’s!

Yes yoga does predate yoga mats!!!! Yoga was actually practiced for 1000s of years without mats!

In fact practice without a yoga mat is actually a different practice! To promote Functional Fitness we need to add an occasional practice without a mat.

When I started practicing yoga we used a very thin cotton ‘yoga mat’ futon or a small carpet.

Most of the yoga studios I saw in Canada  in those days were covered in wall to wall carpeting and we just put a towel or cloth down.

When I travelled through the Caribbean in 1980/81/82 most of the Caribbean Yoga Studios had wooden floors. We used the distribution of weight into our feet; the muscles in our legs and our core to prevent slippage.

Then in the 1970’s it was Angela Farmer a Yoga Teacher who had a medical condition caused by surgery in her youth that prevented the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands from sweating who first thought of using carpet backing as a yoga mat to prevent slippage.

There was such an immediate demand her father began selling these type of yoga mats but the carpet backing did not last long under vigorous yoga practice.

Gradually longer lasting sticky mats were designed specifically for yoga. These mats were made from PVC’s – they smelled strongly of chemicals and had to be aired for days when new but they provided a grip that had never been experienced by yoga practitioners before.

Over the years much less toxic yoga mats were designed and now even a ‘budget’ mat does not contain PVCs.

To add to their popularity they became much more affordable – in Dominica a yoga mat cost $160 EC in the 1990’s but now they are easily available at a range of places at $30 and $40 dollars EC – in North America a budget yoga mat can be purchased for $10/$20 US.

In the last 20 years many styles of eco mats made totally of natural products have been designed – a natural evolution for a mindful lifestyle if you can afford it as they range in price from $50 US to $100 US.

Personally I believe the evolution of yoga mats has dramatically changed the practice of yoga and I write further on this in my blog post Practice without a Mat.

Oh by the way – if your mat does wear out there are many innovative ways to Recycle Your Mat.

Did you know that at first Iyengar was against the idea of yoga mats but …. he ended up using one …. sometimes we need to just accept change and be aware of how to mitigate the effects of that change.

Do you practice at a gym or studio where mats are used by many? Be aware! Many teachers do not Wash the Mats after every use and this is an invitation for trouble!

childrens-yoga-e2A Rainbow Yoga Session in Dominica in the 1990’s – we used thin foam mats (totally uneco) covered with a cloth or slippery gym mats to lie, sit and kneel on but we used the grip of our feet on the floor and the strength in our legs to practice standing poses.

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | August 5, 2016

Styles of Yoga – Afrikan Yoga

Continuing our series of articles on The Styles of Yoga and Egyptian Kemetic African Yoga.

I have made it a point to study as many different styles of yoga as I can throughout my life. This has added to the depth of my teaching and my practice. My students love to discover a new style or pose with me and many go on to study a style of yoga I introduced them to. My practice is forever challenged with a new pose or variation of a pose.

I love to observe the ebb and flow of yoga as it morphs and transcends over 1000’s of years in the hands of 1000’s of teachers. The lineage of each Style of Yoga is fascinating.

We dedicate this blog post to Afrikan Yoga founded by Pablo Imani.

What is Afrikan Yoga ?

I like his fun flowing style and the explanations to the movements of everyday African life.

According to Pablo Imani‘s website: “Afrikan Yoga  a form of Egyptian Yoga, focuses on energy development and emotional cleansing of the physical and emotional body through the development of movement and postures.

Through the practice of a system of Sayunaats/Postures commonly called Asanas, its use of Hanu movements Raagus African Dance and Hudu African Tai chi aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. This discipline is considered a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life which in turn can help promote total physical and spiritual well-being.

Afrikan Yoga is characterized by its attention to rhythmic movements and precise focus on breath. Menfesawe-Imani pioneered the use of affirmations, drums, stretch-bands, sticks, crystals and stones held in the hands and the elements Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether, which function as aids for combining body and psycho-spiritual awareness allowing beginners to experience movement and postures more easily and  fully than might otherwise be possible without several years of practice.

An emphasis of co-ordinating movement, dance and awareness of muscles, internal organs and emotional effects of movements are emphasized in Afrikan Yoga.  They are said to release emotional blockages, increase vitality, improve circulation, libido coordination and balance, ensuring a strong foundation for meditational poses.

Unlike the Western and Indian approaches where students are fixated to static movements of the body and suppressed emotions an Afrikan Yoga class is verbal and lively with precise instructions and corrections to movements and postures. A typical class encourages freedom of movement in the hips, torso, arms and legs.”

He teaches all over the world – check out his website it seems he has classes in England regularly and he has Yoga Holidays.

Here are a few youtube links of his I love

 

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