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.

Results of this study showed that mindfulness techniques lowered relapse rate by 18 percent. Women in the MBCT group achieved 40 percent reduced risk of having a relapse than others.

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.

Though antidepressants are available to manage this condition, many women prefer to keep away from them for their baby’s safety. Several studies in the past have linked antidepressants in pregnancy to obesity, diabetes, cardiac problems, autism or low birth weight in babies.

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

 

Posted by: Trudy Prevost | July 23, 2016

Recycle Your Yoga Mat

Is your yoga mat worn out?

Don’t throw it away – recycle it!

People have thought up a multitude of ways to recycle an old yoga mat even though The History of Yoga Mats is short ….

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The Home

Jar Opening Pads – cut old yoga mat into squares slightly larger than jar lids and use to grip when opening jars.

Floor Protectors – cut the yoga mat into small pads that fit under the foot of furniture legs. Glue on and put an end to scratching floors.

Rug Gripper — place your old mat under an area rug for no-slip gripping. The floors are protected from the dirt and dust that falls through the rug.

Drawer/Shelf Liners – cut the mat to fit and line drawers or shelves to prevent slippage and breakage.

Step Treads – cut the mat into rectangles slightly smaller than the size of the step — glue on for a permanent solution or let the mat’s inherent stickiness hold it in place for easy removal. You can use these on outside or inside stairs.

Baby Bath Mat – cut an old yoga mat to appropriate size and use on the bottom of the sink or tub to prevent slippage or use for water resistant padding when drying and dressing the baby.

Packing Mats – use old yoga mats to protect glassware and furniture while moving or shipping.  Cut into the appropriate sizes, or use whole.

Coasters – cut rounds or squares for coasters. You can also glue laminated pictures on top for prettier coasters.

Hot Pads –  cut pieces of old yoga mat and glue to the bottom of beautiful ceramic tiles to make hot pads that protect tables and prevent sliding.

Entrance Mats – Cut to fit closet floors or place in foyers as a place for muddy shoes.

Dried Flowers Support – cut into pieces for holding artificial or dried flowers in place in vases.

Flower Pot Drainage – Cut into strips and use for drainage in flower pots.

Flower Pot Mats – cut into a slightly larger shape then the saucer of the flower pot. Place under the saucer to protect surface from rust or stains and rugs from compression.

Draft Protectors – cut and roll old yoga mats to plug up drafty places and save energy — windows, doors, under window air conditioners.

Home Equipment Mats – cut the old yoga mat and place under the washing machine, freezer; refrigerator or other equipment to protect floors.

Bedside Mat – lay an old yoga mat next to beds so the weak and infirm don’t slip while getting in and out of bed.

The Pets

Pet Carrier Pad – cut the old yoga mat to line the carrying crate to prevent sliding, provide non slip footing, improve padding and make clean up easier.

Food Dish Pad –  – cut the old yoga mat to fit under the pet’s food and water dishes to make cleanup easier and prevent the dishes from sliding around.

Kitty Litter Box Mat – place the kitty litter box on top of a yoga mat cut to be wider and longer then the box to capture any misses and clean their paws as they exit.

Travel Mat – use an old yoga mat on the car seat when travelling with a pet to protect the seats and give them more traction.

Sleeping Mat – a folded yoga mat is a great sleeping mat for dogs or cats. Easy to travel with.

The Campsite

Sleeping Mat – place an old yoga mat under the sleeping bag or sheets for extra padding when sleeping on the ground. It can double as your practice mat.

Door Mat – lay yoga mat/s just outside the entrance of the tent. It provides a clean padded surface to kneel down on when entering and exiting the tent as well as preventing dirt from entering the tent.

The Playground

Floppy Frisbee – cut circles out and make Floppy Frisbees.

Jungle Gym Padding – shred old yoga mats and use for  jungle gym under the equipment or at the end of the slide for softer landings!

Sports Bases – cut old yoga mats to make bases for baseball or rounders. Easy to carry. put away and clean!

The School/ Home School

Masks – cut into appropriate shape then cut eye holes; decorate; punch holes on each side and attach elastic to create masks.

Costumes – cut old yoga mats for a unique cloth to make into hats and costumes.

Water Toys –  cut into shapes and letters for tub and pool toys.

Shapes Decorations/Mobile – use cookie cutters or scissors to cut old yoga mats into shapes – punch a hole in the top and hang or attach to mobile.

Snowflake Decorations/Mobile – cut old yoga mat into a square then fold and cut it into snowflake ornaments – punch a hole in the top and hang or attach to mobile.

Arts and Craft Pad – make crafting mats for painting; pay dough or science experiments to assist with cleanup and prevent slippage and spills!

Stamps – cut old yoga mats into shapes and use as stamps with non-toxic paint. Glue a couple of layers together to make the stamp thicker and easier to handle.

Decorations – trace and cut out patterns from the unworn areas and make decorations

Educational Equipment – use an exacto-knife to cut out shapes, letters, numbers, etc. Perfect for little fingers.

Sitting Mats – cut old mats to sun; moon; star; square shapes just the right size for your students to sit on.

Circle Time/Assembly Mats – Cut old Yoga mats into appropriate size to provide a personal space for the student to remain in yet take up as little space as possible. These are much easier for students to carry and put away then chairs.

The Car/Truck

Dashboard Protector – Use an old yoga mat to protect your car from sun by laying it over the window or the dashboard and steering wheel.

Picnic Mat – keeping an old yoga mat inn the car is great for those spur of the moment picnics,

Truck Back Mat – use an old mat on the floor of the truck back to protect paint. prevent scratches and slippage.

Trunk Mat – cover the floor of the trunk with yoga mats to keep groceries from sliding around in the trunk.

Beach Mat – keep an old yoga mat in the car to use on the beach instead of a towel.

Roof Protector – before putting a rack on the car, cut an old yoga mat down, so that it ends up being under the rack to protect the car roof

Moving Pad – put an old yoga mat between what you carry and the roof of the car  to protect both from abrasion.

Event/Bleecher Mat – use an old yoga mat to protect clothes and provide padding when sitting on the ground or on benches. Provides better protection from wet surfaces than a blanket.

Mechanics Mat – lay an old yoga mat down over the wet, muddy, snowy, dusty, yucky, cold ground or concrete to make work more comfortable. Hose it off afterward to keep it clean.

Sit Upons – cut the mat into equal pieces to make one top and bottom (the size of a newspaper laid flat). Next, punch holes about every 2 inches all the way around (both top and bottom). Then, take a couple of days worth of newspapers and lay them between the top and bottom. Use yarn, ribbon, rawhide, etc. to lace the holes and tie off. To re-stuff, untie and add new newspaper.

The Garden

Knee Pad – use a folded yoga mat as a knee pad.

Weed Killer -lay an old mat over a section of garden and let the mat and the sun’s heat smother the growth of weeds and their seeds. Just remove the mat to another spot in the garden when you are ready to plant.

The Yoga Studio

Yoga Pads – cut the old mats into “baby yoga mats” and use under hands and knees to protect from  hard floor.

Knee Savers – cut an old mat into rectangles, roll tightly, and tape to stay closed. I call them knee-savers, for those in yoga class whose knees are tight – put it behind the knee, then bend the knee to hold in place. It helps the knee open gently.

The Office

Mouse Pads – cut old yoga mats to make mouse pads.

The Workshop/Garage

Workbench Pad – cut the old yoga mat to fit the workbench to prevent slippage and protect surfaces.

Corner/ Sharp Edge Padding – use old yoga mats to cover sharp corners like in a parking garage or school.

Wall Protectors – grommet the corners and suspend the old yoga mat from the ceiling of a garage or workshop to lower noise levels and protect walls.

Sound Proofing – tack old yoga mats against walls for an interesting aesthetic effect while also providing sound-proofing. It can also be tacked to the back of an upright piano for the same purposes.

Donate

homeless shelters

animal  rescue shelter

preschools

nursing homes

primary schools

Wash the Mat Mats recycled in this way are easy to clean. They can be wiped; thrown in with a load of wash on cold temperatures; hosed down; moped with a clean mop or when really dirty scrubbed with a brush.

Most things made from recycled yoga mats are easy  to store, lightweight, washable, reusable, and provide padding.

 I am sure there is a myriad of other uses limited only by our imaginations! I will add your tip if you send it in! 🙂
Posted by: Trudy Prevost | July 23, 2016

Practice without a Yoga Mat

Kneeling Twist

If you have been practicing yoga for almost 50 years like me you remember yoga before yoga mats! The History of Yoga Mats is fascinating but I believe it is important for us to keep in mind our practice was different without mats.

I propose practicing without a mat occasionally to add an interesting slant to your practice and to build functional fitness.

Many postures when practiced without a mat require more strength and mindfulness because without some degree of instability in the practice surface, the tendency is to wedge oneself into postures.

The result is less engagement in the knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders because the mat sticks us in place actually causing an imbalance in the strength and flexibility required in practicing the pose and resulting in wear and tear in the joints.

Looking at Extended Triangle Pose as an example. With a yoga mat the front foot is stuck in position. This tends to make us release our weight straight down into that front leg rather than pulling up and back with the muscles of the leg. Practice Triangle Pose on a blanket and we must engage the front and back leg to prevent the front foot from slipping.

Looking at Down Dog Pose as another example. With a sticky mat we tend to hang out in the hands and feet – we need to make an effort to draw the hands and feet towards each other creating an isometric contraction and balancing the strengthening and stretching effects of the position.

During Balance Poses the mat provides a more stable less shifting surface therefore the muscles holding the pose need to be less active and we sink into the knees more.

This awareness of what the yoga mat is doing is not about using mats or not using mats.It helps us to improve our practice on and off the mat and hopefully encourages us to practice without a mat once in a while!

Remember – Wash your mat and when it wears out there are a multitude of ways to Recycle your mat!

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