Posted by: Trudy Prevost | November 25, 2017

Yoga for Stress, Anxiety and Depression

“Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor — such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events — can be stressful.” ~ National Institute of Mental Health; USA

Managing stress is a key factor in a healthy lifestyle; stress can affect you physically, mentally, and psychologically. Part of managing stress is being able to recognize the symptoms.

I have found in all areas of personal wellness that I need to scan my mind; my body; my reactions; my feelings so I can catch any area that is unbalanced and attempt to right it early before things get out of hand.

Catch a fever early and most of the time herbal tea and other natural methods will keep it manageable – ignore it and it can spike to a point medication is needed. When lower back muscles feel tight a few mindful movements daily can take it away  – ignore the tightness and all of a sudden we wake up with a back pain that prevents us from moving. When morning after morning we awake to depressive thoughts – treat them with sunlight; mindfulness programs; gratitude exercises or other techniques that are effective personally – and perhaps a deep depression can be prevented.

Being able to recognize our common stress symptoms and taking the time to ‘treat’ them with stress management techniques can prevent the ramifications physically and mentally that long term stress can have.

According to The Mayo Clinic 

Stress can contribute to:
high blood pressure
heart disease
obesity
diabetes
many other health problems

Stress can cause:
Ailments

Headache
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Fatigue
Change in sex drive
Stomach upset
Sleep problems
Moods
Anxiety
Restlessness
Lack of motivation or focus
Feeling overwhelmed
Irritability or anger
Sadness
Depression

Behaviors
Over eating
Under eating
Angry outbursts
Drug or alcohol abuse
Tobacco use
Social withdrawal
Exercising less often

Many of the techniques recommended by The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical University I learned in the 1970’s in my yoga studies.

I believe part of the reason a Holistic Yoga Practice is so helpful for Stress Management is the blending of many techniques that effect stress in different ways.

The Mindful Movements and Postures release stress by releasing tightness and tension in the body.

Don’t think it has to be a Gentle Yoga Class to manage stress – in fact if you are not injured or a novice – a strong class that challenges your personal levels of fitness and flexibility is at times just what is called for. Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways you may use to manage stress — such as watching television, surfing the Internet or playing video games — may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.

The Mindful Breath Techniques

The Mindful Meditation Techniques

here are so many ways yoga helps us to manage stress A Prananayam Yoga has now in multiple

Yet another study has come forward to concluding that Yoga can release gaba in the brain.

In Australia a small pilot study showed that for University Students experiencing depression solution based counseling and yoga seemed to be more effective than just counselling alone.

Jefferson Medical College and Yoga Research Society in the United
States, found that practitioners experienced a significant drop in
cortisol levels after a single yoga class.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Trudy Prevost | November 18, 2017

A breath that improves memory

This second breathing exercise can be used as a highly effective tool to balance your nervous system. In each of our nostrils, there are nerves that lead into the center of the brain. The brain has two sides. The right side is creative, inspirational, and relaxing. The left side is mechanical and calculating. The yogis have found that there is body rhythm in which every hour and twenty-eight minutes the sides of the brain alternate dominance. The nostrils reflect this. One nostril will also be dominant during this period. If the right side of the brain – the healing, resting side – is dominant, the left nostril will also be dominant. If the left side of the brain – the mechanical calculator – is dominant, the right nostril will be dominant.”  ~ Office for Student Affairs • University of Minnesota

 

THE ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATH

I started doing yoga before yoga was considered worth scientific studies to prove the benefits. Today the basic concepts of the science of yoga and the health benefits of the practice of a yoga lifestyle are being exposed to in depth scientific scrutiny. Study after study is showing that the observations of yoga masters hundreds perhaps thousands of years ago were accurate in many ways.

When I studied this breath in my Yoga Teacher Training Program and I heard that this breath equalized the use of the right and the left side of the brain; improved memory and released stress I asked my teacher how they knew that – she answered through observation.

Over the years I have met Medical Students; Musicians; Public Speakers and Entrepreneurs who have been taught this breath in their training programs and found it very helpful.

Look at the studies below – the elders were right on!

In February 2016 Santosh University in India 51 subjects (age 18-25 years) were divided into three groups. Each group was taught one of three different types of nostril breathing practices: Right Nostril Breathing (RNB), Left Nostril Breathing (LNB) and Alternate Nostril Breathing (ANB) for 1 week for 45 minutes daily. Subjects were given the memory test, before and after 45 minutes of intervention for three consecutive days. Memory tests were performed by using Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale. Results showed that there was increase in recall of digit span-forward, digit-span backward, associate learning and spatial memory scores with RNB, LNB and ANB, which were statistically highly significant.

 

In January 2011 Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center in India 30 subjects of both genders were tested for three types of Nostril breathing practices and Breath Awareness (BA) effects. The interventions included Right Nostril Breathing (RNB), Left Nostril Breathing (LNB), Alternate Nostril Breathing (ANB) and Breathe Awareness for 30 minutes daily, four consecutive days. This study concludes that the RNB enhances numerical data retrieval mostly as a result of left brain activation.Yoga breathing through a particular nostril increases spatial memory scores.

As early as 1989 the Department of Psychology, Montana State University

Recently scientists at a university in the US and in proved the stress management and memory benefits of this breath.

In preparation for learning this breath spend a few minutes breathing in an aware manner; looking from within at the expansion and contraction; the path; the flow.

 

Physical Benefits

  • Concentrates and directs the breath.
  • Lowers heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety
  • Extends the length of time for the inhale and exhale.
  • Scientifically proven to enhance spatial memory
  • One study from India showed both spatial and verbal memory improved
  • Recent research shows that it reduces blood pressure and lowers heart rate; as you practice it, you will find that it instills peace of mind and a sense of ease in the body.
  • Right nostril breath – facilitates and intensifies the activity of body and mind. Provides    to    left side of brain or the area that is thought to control……
  • Left nostril breath – cooling and receptive influence.
  • Provides     to the right side of the brain or the area that is thought to………

 

Preventative

  • It is great for establishing control over the breath
  • Stress Management

 

Psychological

  • It helps to concentrate and calm down

 

Therapeutic

  • Asthma
  • Stress
  • Memory


Life Stages

  • Menopause

 

Traditional

  • Opens energy channels
  • Equalizes the use of right and left sides of the brain; Said to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain
  • Said to purify the subtle energy channels (nadis) of the body so the prana flows more easily during pranayama practice

Traditionally thought to: Calm, balance, regulate energy levels. Helps to balance the natural dominance cycle. Good for headaches and stress management. Mental clarity is enhanced. Mucous membranes. This will lead to a balance between a person’s creative and logical thinking.

 

Approach the practice of all bandhas and body mudras cautiously, especially without the direct guidance of an experienced teacher 

 

BREATH TECHNIQUE

Pre Discussion:
There is a shifting in dominance between nostrils naturally as you breathe. In other words the air flows more smoothly on one side at a time. This shift usually occurs every 60 to 90 minutes. It is called nasal channelling. Ancient yoga experts believed this breath enhanced memory, focus and concentration while releasing stress.

Start: Seated or lying down; R hand near face. Middle and index finger on eyebrow centre or curled towards palm. Close right nostril with thumb; left nostril with ring finger and/or little finger

I – through both nostrils;

Close R nostril with thumb

E – through L nostril

I – through L nostril

Close L nostril with thumb

E – through R nostril

I – through R nostril

E – through both nostrils when done

16 to 20 times on each side starting with left nostril

Breathing deeply.

FINE TUNING POINTS

Inhalation and exhalation are both done through passive nostrils.

Expand the lower, central and upper lung as in the 3 part yoga breath.

 

VARIATIONS

Once you are familiar with the basic technique start to control length of breath by evening up inhale and exhale by adding in the counted breath.

There are a wide variety of breathing counts that can be used as seen below:

 

From Yoga for Life

4:4:8 breath

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 4

E R nostril – 8

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 4

E L nostril – 8

4:8:8 breath

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 8

E R nostril – 8

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 8

E L nostril – 8

4:16:8 breath

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 16

E R nostril – 8

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 16

E L nostril – 8

4:16:8: 8 breath

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 16

E R nostril – 8

Hold for 8

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 16

E L nostril – 8

Hold for 8

4:16:8:16 breath

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 16

E R nostril – 8

Hold for 16

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 16

E L nostril – 8

Hold for 16

Length of cycle can be increased

5:20:10:20; 8:32:16:32

Other cycles on net:

Ratio: 2:8:4

From Richard Hiddleman’s Introduction to Yoga

Beginners:

8:4:8:4 breath count

I L nostril – 8

Hold for – 4

E R nostril – 8

I R nostril – 8

Hold for 4

E L nostril – 8

Intermediate:

4:16:8:4 breath count

I L nostril – 4

Hold for – 16

E R nostril – 4

Hold for –

I R nostril – 4

Hold for 16

E L nostril – 4

Hold for – 4

From Richard Hiddleman’s Yoga for Health

I L nostril for 8

Hold for 8

E R nostril for 8

I R nostril for 8

E L nostril

 

ANATOMICAL FOCUS     The nostrils; the lungs

 

_____________________________________________________________________________TEACHER TIPS

Breaths are often best first practiced lying down.

Children’s Yoga Concepts

Fitness: helping brain;  

Science: the body – nostrils, brain; the respiratory system; stress management; brain function.

Math: counting; addition; multiplication; division; fractions.

Language Arts: sight words; spelling; story writing.

Social Studies: this breath is from India.

Geography: India; – explore other countries this is practiced in .

Computer:    

 

Holistic Class

Include a wide range of breaths

 

Visualizations

Visualizing Breaths and Yoga Asanas is amazing.

Close your eyes and imagine alternate nostril breathing. Keep your mind and body relaxed. Imagine inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling left. Imagine inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling right. Continue in this way, connecting the feeling of the flow of breath.

Stay with the right side of the body. Imagine inhaling and exhaling through the right nostril only. Inhale and exhale through the right nostril. Now imagine the breath flowing into and out of the whole right side of the body. As you inhale, imagine the breath flowing into the right side of your core, your right shoulder, arm, hand; your right hip, leg, and foot. Imagine the breath flowing back out from the whole right side of the body. Connect to the sensation of the whole right side of the body breathing. This can also be an effective technique in the practice of alternate nostril breath.

Switch to the left side. Imagine inhaling and exhaling through the left nostril only. Inhale and exhale through the left nostril. Imagine the breath flowing into and out of the whole left side of the body. As you inhale, imagine the breath flowing into the left side of your core, your left shoulder, arm, hand; your left hip, leg, and foot. Imagine the breath flowing back out from the whole left side of the body. Connect to the sensation of the whole left side of the body breathing. Stay with this for several more breaths. This can also be an effective technique in the practice of alternate nostril breath.

Now, switch back and forth between right and left sides. For one breath, imagine breathing into and out of the whole right side of the body. For the next breath, imagine breathing into and out of the whole left side of the body. Now, breathe into and out of the right side. Now, breathe into and out of the left side. Repeat several more rounds.

Now inhale and exhale through both nostrils, and into the whole body. Feel the whole body breathing. Feel the whole body inhale. Feel the whole body exhale. Continue breathing in this way.

Hatha yoga is the practicing of uniting opposites through breath, body and mind. According to yogic tradition, the right and left sides of the body represent the masculine and the feminine; the opposing strengths of will and surrender; the opposing powers of action and reflection; and the opposing energies of the sun and moon. Uniting these opposing forces within yourself through the breath, body, and mind, allows you to find balance and wholeness.

Studies

Memory

General

Immediate effect of specific nostril manipulating yoga breathing practices on
autonomic and respiratory variables.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18347974

Physiological measures of right nostril breathing.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395677

Immediate effect of chandra nadi pranayama (left unilateral forced nostril breathing) on cardiovascular parameters in hypertensive patients.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22869993

The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing on the heart.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8132418

Brain Function

EEG changes during forced alternate nostril breathing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7876041

Breathing through a particular nostril can alter metabolism and autonomic activities.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8063359

Yoga breathing through a particular nostril increases spatial memory scores without lateralized effects. on cognitive performance.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9354111

Unilateral nostril breathing influences lateralized cognitive performance.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2923709

 

The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8132419

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | November 18, 2017

Yoga in the Workplace

https://hbr.org/2017/06/why-you-should-tell-your-team-to-take-a-break-and-go-outside

Wellness programs are becoming an integral priority for most human resource managers. After all, research shows that a happier workplace is more productive. To this end, workplaces are adding health-related perks from exercise rooms to yoga classes. Leaders participate in mindfulness and compassion trainings and are coached to learn emotional intelligence. However, there is one important wellness factor that many are forgetting even though it may be the most potent of all: access to green spaces.

Greenery isn’t just an air-freshener that’s pleasant to look at, it can actually significantly boost employee well-being, reduce stress, enhance innovative potential, and boost a sense of connection. Yet most of us don’t spend much time in nature. Richard Louv, author of the Nature Principal, argues that we’re collectively suffering from “nature-deficit disorder,” which hurts us mentally, physically, and even spiritually. Adding a little wilderness to your corporate offices may just be the smartest move you can do this year.

For one, exposure to green spaces profoundly enhances physical and mental well-being which is why corporations like Google prioritize biophilia as a core design principle. Studies are showing these interventions can reduce not just everyday stress but also boost general health. Taking walks in nature lowers anxiety and depression while boosting mood and well-being, a large-scale study showed. Exposure to more light can boost Vitamin D levels that are known to increase mood, especially in colder months.

Scientists are also exploring how exposure to nature might result in lower risk of depression, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The immune system certainly receives a boost from stress-reduction, and even just the sounds of nature trigger a relaxation response in the brain. Exposure to natural environments lowers stress, including its physiological correlates the “stress hormone” cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure. By boosting mood, natural environments may also decrease inflammation at the cellular level.

In short, even a small green intervention like having more plants in the office could significantly boost employee happiness, and we know that happiness is a powerful predictor of an organization’s success. Corporations can significantly reduce organizational health costs by introducing more green spaces and plants into an office space. As Florence Williams has exhaustively reviewed in her recent book The Nature Fix, “forest bathing” have become popular practices in many East Asian countries because the impact of even a few minutes of immersion in nature has measurable benefits not just for our psychological well-being but also our physical health.

Greener office environments can boost employee performance and decision-making. One study found that exposure to greenery through office plants boosted not just employee well-being but also productivity  – by 15%! Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis concludes: “Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.” For one, plants, natural environments and greener offices offer superior air quality which in turn strengthens employee cognitive function – allowing them to perform at their best.

Here’s why this may be the case: Neurosciencist and founder of My Brain Solutions Dr Evian Gordon proposes that “the brain’s attunement to nature has a seminal evolutionary origin, beginning with the earliest species sensing and responding to their environment. Our ancestral hominids (australopithecus, homo habilis, and homo erectus) evolved in response to short-term survival pressures within the rhythms of nature.” Dr Gordon who has published more then 300 scientific papers draws upon insights from the world’s largest standardized brain function database, that shows the immediate and significant extent to which any sensory input creates changes in the brain and body. Stress impacts the heart’s rhythms, for example. Unnatural environments are a subtle form of distraction and stress to optimal brain processing. Natural environments have the opposite effect.

Moreover, research shows that exposure to a natural environment helps people be less impulsive (while urban settings do the opposite). In this particular study, participants were asked if they’d prefer to make $100 immediately or $150 in 90 days. Those who had either been in a natural environment (or simply looked at photos of a natural environment) were more likely to make the more rational and beneficial decision: wait for the $150. Such was not the case for those exposed to cityscapes. Exposure to nature may therefore foster boost superior decision-making which includes better foresight. Exposure to natural environments also strengthens attention and may even help strengthen memory.

Finally, we know that the #1 trait leaders look for in incoming employees is creativity, and exposure to natural environments dramatically improves our ability to think expansively and make superior decisions. Being in nature is a core element of New York designer Joanne DePalma’s work, inspiring her most iconic designs, including the flagship store for Tiffany in Paris, and leading her to creative breakthroughs, including creating one of the world’s most sustainable carpets with Bently Prince Street. “Nature inspires my design and restores me,” she shares. “Whether I’m feeling stuck or exhausted during a long and grueling project, or just need some new ideas, a visit to the waterfront or Central Park gets me back to the source of my creativity. I find so many complex design solutions are hidden in nature.”

Nature can have a positive influence on workplace culture by strengthening employees’ values and leading to greater harmony and connection. Exposure to nature doesn’t just make you feel and think better, it also makes you behave better. People who’ve just walked out of a park or other natural environment are more likely to notice when others need help – and to provide that help. In line with these findings, researchers at the University of Rochester found that exposure to nature resulted in participants valuing community and connectedness over more superficial concerns like personal gain and fame. Participants also became more generous and willing to share with others.

As the lead author Netta Weinstein observes, “we are influenced by our environment in ways we are not aware of….to the extent that our links with nature are disrupted, we may also lose some connection with each other.” Given that there are fewer and fewer “human moments” in the workplace yet that employee well-being is in large part due to positive social connections with other people, embracing greener environments could be tremendously beneficial for a workplace. Other studies have confirmed that exposure to nature leads to less antisocial behavior and more social connection and harmony.

Even a very small exposure to nature – as little as five minutes – can produce dramatic benefits, especially when coupled with exercise like walking or running. In many of the studies mentioned above, the effect was observed after participants simply looked at pictures of nature (vs urban environments) for a few minutes or worked in an office with (or without) plants — easy touches to add to a work setting.

While creating a “green office” may seem daunting, it really isn’t. Here are some easy ways you can make your officer greener

  • Encourage your staff to have “walking meetings” outside.
  • Encourage your staff to sit outside or in naturally lit areas on breaks or during lunch.
  • Provide outdoor walking, meeting, and sitting spaces.
  • If outdoor spaces are not available or you are in an urban environment, create an indoor garden in an atrium or, if space is at a premium, a vertical “green wall.”
  • Light rooms with natural sunlight as much as possible. Open blinds and, if possible, windows to let in outside air and natural sounds.
  • Display nature photography or artwork.
  • Play nature videos or nature slides on your television or display screens.
  • Place as many plants as you can prominently around the office (making sure a designated person takes good care of them).
  • Move your office closer to a park or natural environment.

An increasing interest at Google and similar companies is to make green spaces that are also respectful of the natural environment as a habitat for local animals and plants. Not only are these companies promoting employee well-being, but also reducing their ecological footprint.

Even if your company’s management is unwilling or unable to do these things, you can try a few out yourself: a walking meeting with a colleague, taping a photo of your favorite nature scene to your cubicle, or listening to ambient nature sounds on your headphones. Remember the words of German poet Rainer Marie Rilke: “If we surrendered / to earth’s intelligence / we could rise up rooted, like trees.”


Emma Seppala, Ph.D., is the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track. She is also founder of  Fulfillment Daily. Follow her on Twitter @emmaseppala or her website www.emmaseppala.com.


Johann Berlin is CEO of TLEX, Transformational Leadership for Excellence. He trains Fortune 500 company leaders to enable excellence in teams and individuals through mind management.


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Posted by: Trudy Prevost | July 2, 2017

93 Year Old Yoga Teacher

 

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.

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