Testers wanted for meditation app

You’re invited to test out a stellar new iPhone app I’ve been partnering with, called OpenSit. It’s still in the development and testing stage at the moment, so this is an opportunity to try out the app before it goes public.

It’s different from other meditation apps because it offers daily guided meditations to help you sustain and deepen your practice. A variety of teachers are providing regular meditation sessions that you can use to give your meditation practice more of a sense of clarity and direction.

So far the feedback has been really stellar!

If you’re interested in testing out the app, you can request to become a tester by clicking on this link.

Thanks!

Can meditation improve my self-esteem?

Can meditation improve my self-esteem?

I’m in my fifth month of daily Headspace practice. There’s been a palpable improvement in my mind, mood, and attitude, and I’ve recently been able to add a second daily session.

The recent developments also include a renewed sense of self. I’ve had a low self-esteem for most of my life, and I’ve not been able to improve nor perceive it properly, until now. This has left me wondering: how does meditation generally impact low self-esteem?

*      *      *

Great to hear you’re enjoying Headspace and finding it so useful.

At the very heart of meditation is this idea of loosening the grip we have on our sense of self. At first, this might sound a little scary, or even abstract, but broken down it starts to make a lot of sense.

Imagine experiencing a thought which says “I’m no good,” and believing it, taking it as something real and substantial and spending a good bit of time and effort in thinking and feeling rotten about it. Now imagine experiencing that same thought, knowing it is simply a passing thought, in no way identifying with it or using it to reinforce a storyline in the mind, and instead, letting it go. This is the potential of meditation.

So, when we experience anxiety, rather than getting lost in it and thinking “I feel anxious,” we witness the anxiety and say “oh look, anxiety,” before letting it go. Likewise, when we experience a thought which is unpleasant, or hurtful, or somewhat critical towards ourselves, rather than grasping it and using it to create a new storyline, we simply see it clearly for what it is and let it go. So it is the difference between experiencing something and becoming something, witnessing anxiety and being overwhelmed by anxiety.

Over time, applying this same approach to all parts of life and to all passing phenomena can have a very profound impact on our perspective and experience of life. Of course, we still need to engage the thinking mind, and as human beings, we still experience all types of emotions, but we are no longer controlled by them, swept away by them; instead, we are free. This is what it means to step back and let go.

Somewhat ironically, low self-esteem or low self-worth is actually a result of over-identification. So we may well think that it is because we do not think enough about the self, but it is actually because we give it so much importance, approaching it in a critical way. So, rather than thinking we are the best in the world and brilliant, we instead think we are the worst in the world and not very good. The focus on the self is still the same, it is simply orientated the other way.

So, along with letting go of all the storylines, we also need to make sure we let go of the critical and judgmental aspect of mind. Can we start to treat our own mind as if it was the mind of someone we love? Can we start to be more forgiving of it, more gentle, kinder? Again, these things take practice, but with time they become natural and we do not even need to think about it. Needless to say, it is well worth the effort.

Warm wishes,
Andy


Artwork by KAREN HONG

Your Breath Is a Powerful Ally

The BreathOne of the most common meditation instructions is to “focus on your breath.” Why?

One way of breaking down meditation is into meditation with seed and meditation without seed. Let’s look at how the breath can play into both of these approaches.

Meditation With Seed

In this form of meditation, we give ourselves something to focus on. Examples of things used are a mantra, the smell of incense, the flicker of a candle, or the breath.

When we meditate in this way, we are focusing our awareness on the sensations of a particular experience. In doing so, there becomes a clear connection with idea that life flows.

Watching the pattern of smoke from an incense stick or the flow of the breath can re-wire our vantage point of life. Instead of seeing the smoke or the breath as an object, we see it as an unfolding and evolving process. Is the smoke defined by how it is seen in a particular moment, or rather, how it exists over a length of time?

This practice of meditating with seed ironically gives us both a point of focus (and a place to return to when our minds wander) and also the understanding of the ever-unfolding process that we call now.

Meditation Without Seed

In this form of meditation, there is nothing to focus on. The basic instruction for this type of meditation is “No matter what happens, don’t do anything.”

Without something specific to focus on, our minds will typically attempt to fill the void and introduce thoughts into our experience.

We are so accustomed to engaging with thought that much of the training of meditating without seed is about learning not to react to thought and instead to experience the fullness of this moment without attachment to any particular sensation.

The Breath as an Anchor

Given that our minds will tend to wander, the breath can be used as an anchor in the present moment during meditation. The breath is always there and is always changing.

Though our hearts continue to beat and our digestion continues to move, the breath is the most easily noticeable body sensation.

When we are engaged in internal conversation, we lose presence. Our awareness gets sucked into one dimension of our experience and we lose awareness of the rest of what’s happening within and around us.

When we have noticed that we are lost in thought, from that moment of noticing, we are free to redirect our awareness back to a broader sense of presence. This is where the breath comes in.

Given that the breath provides us a source of clear and constantly changing sensation, as we reconnect with it, several things happen.

1) We are reminded of the flow of all sensation.
Thought rarely flows, it’s usually a rigid and herky-jerky experience, and one that goes hand-in-hand with tension and anxiety. We quickly and easily lose grounded traction of the now as we get lost in our heads. Breathing is hardly ever herky-jerky (especially when meditating!), and tuning into the breath viscerally reminds us of the flow of all of life.

2) We return to our bodies.
Existing in thought brings our energy into our minds. Our minds are incredibly powerful, but they are just one dimension of who we are. The more we exist in our bodies, the more we are able to experience the fullness of life.

3) We are free to let go.
The breath provides the most constant physical release of energy of our bodies. Exhalation is the most regular way we let go of energy, both emotional and physical. The breath reminds us of the freedom that letting go provides, returning us to a more natural state of being.

When meditating without seed, the breath can serve as an anchor for us, reconnecting us to the flow of life. Once we have reestablished that connection to the flow of the breath, we are then welcome to let go of it and settle back in to noticing the flow of all sensation.

The breath is a powerful ally for us in meditation.

Regardless of the style of meditation you are engaged in, it can greatly aid your practice and transform your relationship to all experience.

The post Your Breath Is a Powerful Ally appeared first on About Meditation.

How I Learned to Embrace the Special Language of Yoga

Have you ever noticed the special language of yoga (and I don’t mean Sanskrit!)? If not, next time you’re at class, just listen to the conversations that are going on. Better yet, just listen to the teachers. They use phrases and words that mean one thing outside the studio but something so very different when […]

The post How I Learned to Embrace the Special Language of Yoga appeared first on Bad Yogi Magazine.


How I Learned to Embrace the Special Language of Yoga was first posted on August 20, 2017 at 5:00 am.
©2016 “Bad Yogi Blog“. Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at adrien@badyogiofficial.com

The Extraordinary Benefits of Astragalus Root: The Ancient Herb of Longevity and Strength

The Extraordinary Benefits of
Astragalus Root: The Ancient Herb of Longevity and Strength

BY JUSTIN FAERMAN

The Incredible Benefits of Astragalus Root: Herb of Longevityin the ancient, highly sophisticated system of chinese medicine, astragalus is considered one of the top herbal tonics of all time, prized for its ability to restore health and extend life. photo: gail edwards

In the world of herbal medicines, not all are created equal. Most offer a handful of minor health benefits, but nothing that could profoundly change your life. However, there are a select few that are considered legendary by both modern scientists and ancient cultures alike—a special class of herbs that have truly extraordinary health-boosting properties that make them a borderline must for those seeking greater wellness, happiness, longevity and healing. Astragalus is widely considered to be one of those plants—a prized herbal medicine in many traditions that has stood the test of time and continues to be validated as researchers study the medicinal compounds that are active within the plant.

The Health Benefits of Astragalus

For over 2,000 years, Astragalus (also known as Astragalus membranaceus and huang qi in Chinese) has been one of the 50 elite Chinese tonic herbs that are most frequently used in the Traditional Chinese Medicine pharmacopeia due to its remarkable ability to restore health on virtually every level—mentally, emotionally, physically, energetically and spiritually. It is one of the few herbs mentioned in multiple ancient Chinese medical texts as a “Heaven Class” premier herbal medicine for restoring health and rejuvenating the body and mind at the deepest levels. But just what exactly makes it such an extraordinary tonic that has been sought by emperors and medicine men alike for thousands of years? Let’s explore…

1. Promotes Longevity, Reverses Aging and Enhances DNA Repair

A number of fascinating studies on human cells and animals have shown that certain compounds in Astragalus root have measurable telomerase-stimulating and enhancing effects, which have been linked to increased longevity, anti-aging and DNA repair. Telomerase is a special kind of protein that repairs damaged DNA sequences in our cells.

Telomerase Activator

Here’s how it relates to DNA repair and longevity: as we age, our cells are continually replicating and dividing. Each time that happens, new copies of our cellular DNA must be made for the new cell to be able to function properly. However, due to environmental factors like chronic stress, improper nutrition, exposure to toxins in the food and air, as well as exposure to low level radiation, and other things that are simply part of modern daily life on this planet, our DNA can and does become damaged, altered and degraded. When new cells are made, they often copy these genetic errors over into the new cells. Furthermore, there is a small percentage of genetic transcription errors that naturally occur each time a cell is replicated. While typically minimal, over time these minor changes compound and add up into bigger problems. This degradation of cellular DNA over time is what most scientists agree causes aging.

However, this is where telomerase and Astragalus benefits come into play. Telomerase is our body’s natural mechanism to fight DNA damage and aging. The telomerase enzyme works to repair the genetic errors in damaged DNA and restore it back to its healthy, original blueprint. On this front, Astragalus root contains special compounds called cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV that have been shown in human and animal studies to powerfully stimulate the activity of telomerase. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Historical Use as a Longevity Tonic

What is interesting about these modern findings is that Astragalus has long been prized as a longevity herb by the Daoists in China and was a core part of the daily herbal regimen consumed by Li Ching Yuen who was reported to have lived to be around 256 years old, according to government records and newspapers at the turn of the 19th century. [6]

While research is ongoing into Astragalus’s anti-aging properties, the preliminary findings suggest that in order to consume enough cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV to stimulate telomerase, a larger dose of a high-quality extract of the herb is needed to provide significant amounts (see the recommended products at the end of the article for our top picks on the best quality Astragalus root supplements available).

2. Boosts Immunity and Helps to Fight Bacteria, Viruses and More

Another benefit of Astragalus that it has become famous for over the years is its powerful immune-boosting properties. So much so, in fact, that it has become somewhat of a staple for people with AIDS, chronic fatigue and other debilitating immune system disorders who prefer natural treatments. However, it works equally well for those simply seeking to fortify their immune system during cold and flu season or long term as a general preventative and health-boosting measure. Human studies have shown that regular use of Astragalus root leads to an increase in disease-fighting immune antibodies, stimulation of T-cells (which are powerful immune-regulating white blood cells) and an increase in levels of the anti-viral compound interferon. [7, 8, 9, 10]

3. Reduces Stress and Promotes Organic Energy and Vitality

Astragalus belongs to a special class of herbs known as adaptogens, which have unique effects that work to bring the body and mind into greater balance, depending on what is needed. For example, if someone is stressed out and anxious, they will likely find Astragalus benefits to be centering and calming whereas if they are depleted and fatigued, the plant will tend to have more uplifting, rejuvenating and energizing properties. As such, Astragalus has been shown to help the body deal with stress more effectively and has been used for this purpose for thousands of years. Most notice that it has a subtle energizing effect without being stimulating. It’s more of an increase in organic vitality and aliveness that increases the more often you take the herb.

Ron Teeguarden, a master Chinese herbalist, adds that, “As an energizer, Astragalus is famed for its strengthening effects on the outside of the body, in particular to the musculature. It is therefore beneficial to… [those] who tend to be physically active and require abundant external energy. Astragalus root extract is used to strengthen the legs and arms, and is commonly used by people who work outdoors, especially in the cold, because of its strengthening and warming nature.”

4. Supports the Health of the Heart, Lungs and Blood

In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system, Astragalus is said to protect lung Qi or lung energy, and modern research into the plant has also found it to have a protective and healing effect on the lungs. Astragalus is one of the rare herbs that has beneficial effects on issues related to breathing like asthma [11], allergies, shallow breathing and respiratory illnesses and infections. Over time it tends to clear congestion and improve fullness of breath.

In close proximity to the lungs is the heart and cardiovascular system, which Astragalus also has beneficial effects on. It has been shown in various studies to help prevent the hardening of arteries and the buildup of plaque, reduce elevated blood pressure and improve overall heart function [5, 12]. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine literature, Astragalus root is also said to be a supreme blood tonic, meaning that it has beneficial effects on the hematological systems of the body. TCM doctors often use it to help increase circulation and blood flow, heal wounds and ulcers and generally invigorate the blood. Interestingly, Astragalus extract is known to be rich in highly bioavailable iron, which is a widely acknowledged blood-building essential mineral.

5. Reduces Inflammation and Improves Skin Health and Elasticity

According to Ron Teeguarden, “Astragalus root is said to have an effect on the ‘surface’ of the body—that is, it is used to tonify the ‘protective Qi,’ known as Wei Qi in Chinese. This protective Qi is a special kind of energy that circulates just under the skin and in the muscle. Protective Qi circulates in the subcutaneous tissues, providing suppleness to the flesh and adaptive energy to the skin.” As such, many find that Astragalus taken over time restores a youthful glow to the skin and reduces wrinkles, damage and other signs of aging, which could be in part due to its telomerase-stimulating effects as well. The raw herb powder can be used as an ingredient in face masks and lotions for a more penetrating effect.

However, Astragalus’s beneficial skin effects are also partially related to its ability to reduce inflammation in the body in a number of ways. Various studies have shown that it lowers the inflammatory effects that histamines have in the body by modulating inflammatory markers in the digestive tract, the kidneys and other important body systems [13, 14, 15, 16].

6. Psychospiritual Effects: Deeply Rejuvenating Qi and Life Force Tonic

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Daoist philosophy, Astragalus root is considered to be one of the most powerful Qi tonics on the planet, meaning that it works to restore, cultivate and supply Qi energy in the body, mind and spirit. Qi loosely translates to life-force energy, which is a form of subtle energy on which the body and its energy bodies run. Qi can be depleted in a number of ways through poor diet and lifestyle habits, chronic stress, lack of deep breathing, lack of proper sleep, lack of exercise, overexertion, sexual overindulgence and exposure to chemicals and toxins, among other things.

According to Chinese Medicine and Daoist philosophy, it is this depletion of—or imbalance of—Qi that underlies most all disease and dysfunction in the body. Consequently, abundant, balanced and flowing Qi energy, which Astragalus supplies in spades, is believed to be at the root cause of good health, longevity and even superhuman abilities.

Upright Qi: Keeping the Body Balanced and Strong

An important health benefit of Astragalus is in its ability to strengthen upright Qi, which is the subtle energy used by the body to maintain upright posture and the position of the organs in their proper places within the body. Normally as one gets older, this upright Qi is naturally depleted, which is why many elderly people are often hunched over to some degree. However, daily use of Astragalus works to reverse this trend by supplying upright Qi to the body.

All of these beneficial properties combine to make Astragalus root a premier rejuvenative herb that literally works to restore the body from the inside out. Through a complex series of interactions on all the levels outlined herein, Astragalus benefits, tonifies, strengthens and supports nearly every organ and system in the body, which is why it has earned such a legendary reputation in both modern and ancient times.

How to Choose a Quality Astragalus Supplement

Like all herbal products, organic, wild-harvested and wildcrafted Astragalus supplements are typically the best. As a native herb to China and Asia, much of the world’s supply originates in these regions so it is important to look for quality suppliers who don’t cut corners (see our recommendations that meet these guidelines opposite). While pills work equally well, we recommend taking Astragalus in powder or tea form so that you can adjust the dosage to meet your needs. Astragalus tastes fairly good as herbs go, and as such it is popular in tea form as well. For maximum longevity-boosting effects, it is best to use a high-potency Astragalus extract, which typically contains more of the telomerase-stimulating compounds.

Recommended Astragalus Products

Sun-Potion-Astragalus-Extract

Wildcrafted Astragalus Root Extract Powder

Sun Potion

Sun Potion offers a high-potency, 10:1 cold water extract of Astragalus root, sourced at high elevations in the ‘Di Tao’ native growing regions of China. Their Astragalus extract is ethically and sustainably wildcrafted, which means it is grown in the wild, in its native habitat for maximum strength, potency, qi- boosting effects and freshness.

click here to learn more

Dragon-Herbs-Astragalus-Capsules

Astragalus Root Capsules

Dragon Herbs

Dragon Herbs offers premium grade Astragalus root capsules that are highly concentrated to their precise, world-class standards, yielding a product high in polysaccharides and saponins for maximum medicinal and health-boosting effects.

click here to learn more

Astragalus-Tea-Dragon-Herbs

Astragalus Root Tea

Dragon Herbs

Dragon Herbs also offers a premium grade Astragalus root tea in convenient granule form for brewing and medicinal tonics. Their proprietary extraction technology captures the original phyto-chemical profile of the herbs and transfers it safely into the final extract, preserving the aroma, color and taste of the plant perfectly.

click here to learn more

Astragalus-root-Oregons-Wild-Harvest

Organic Astragalus Root

Oregon’s Wild Harvest

Oregon’s Wild Harvest offers premium grade, sustainably sourced Astragalus root capsules grown on an organic farm in the U.S.A. Oregon’s Wild Harvest only uses the fully developed principal tap root of Astragalus, which Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe provides a much greater health benefit than smaller immature and secondary roots.

click here to learn more

References

1. Hector F. Valenzuela, Thomas Fuller, Jim Edwards, Danielle Finger, Brenda Molgora. Cycloastragenol extends T cell proliferation by increasing telomerase activity. The Journal of Immunology April 1, 2009, 182 (1 Supplement) 90.30;

2. Bernardes de jesus B, Schneeberger K, Vera E, Tejera A, Harley CB, Blasco MA. The telomerase activator TA-65 elongates short telomeres and increases health span of adult/old mice without increasing cancer incidence. Aging Cell. 2011;10(4):604-21.

3. Molgora B, Bateman R, Sweeney G, et al. Functional assessment of pharmacological telomerase activators in human T cells. Cells. 2013;2(1):57-66.

4. Harley CB, Liu W, Blasco M, et al. A Natural Product Telomerase Activator As Part of a Health Maintenance Program. Rejuvenation Research. 2011;14(1):45-56. doi:10.1089/rej.2010.1085.

5. Ren S, Zhang H, Mu Y, Sun M, Liu P. Pharmacological effects of Astragaloside IV: a literature review. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013;33(3):413-6.

6. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Li Ching-Yuen. Accessed August 4, 2017.

7. Chang HM, But PPH, eds. Pharmacology and applications of Chinese material medica, Vol. 2. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 1987.**

8. Hou YD et al. Effect of Radix Astragali seu hedysari on the interferon system. Chinese medical journal, 1981, 94:35-40. **

9. Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Immunity parameters and blood cAMP changes in normal persons after ingestion of Radix Astragali. Chung hua I hsueh t’sa chih, 1979, 59:31-34. **

10. Finter NB. Interferons and interferon-inducers. Amsterdam, North Holland, 1973:363. **

11. Yuan X, Sun S, Wang S, Sun Y. Effects of astragaloside IV on IFN-gamma level and prolonged airway dysfunction in a murine model of chronic asthma. Planta Med. 2011;77(4):328-33.

12. Ren S, Zhang H, Mu Y, Sun M, Liu P. Pharmacological effects of Astragaloside IV: a literature review. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013;33(3):413-6.

13. Al-Snafi, A. E. (2015). Chemical constituents and pharmacological effects of Astragalus hamosus and Astragalus tribuloides grown in Iraq. Asian J of Pharm Sci & Tech, 5(4), 321-328.

14. Ko JK, Chik CW. The protective action of radix Astragalus membranaceus against hapten-induced colitis through modulation of cytokines. Cytokine. 2009;47(2):85-90.

15. Lu J, Chen X, Zhang Y, et al. Astragalus polysaccharide induces anti-inflammatory effects dependent on AMPK activity in palmitate-treated RAW264.7 cells. Int J Mol Med. 2013;31(6):1463-70.

16. Astragalus. (n.d.). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved August 04, 2017, from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/astragalus

Recommended Product Disclaimer

The products recommended in this article may have different formulations than the products used in the studies and research cited in this article. As such, they may have different effects than have been reported by these studies. No claim is made or implied whatsoever as to the effects of any recommended products or their effects on health. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

justin-circle

About The Author

Justin Faerman is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and a sought-after coach and teacher, known for his pioneering work in the area of flow. Learn more about his work at flowconsciousnessinstitute.com

The post The Extraordinary Benefits of Astragalus Root: The Ancient Herb of Longevity and Strength appeared first on .

11 Ways to Squeeze More Yoga into Your Life

Last year I was blessed with a lot of time and few responsibilities. I was doing my exchange at a foreign university and life was simply perfect. Therefore, I had both the time and energy to make yoga my number one priority. Don’t get me wrong, my first semester was about my duties as an exchange student – partying all the […]

The post 11 Ways to Squeeze More Yoga into Your Life appeared first on Bad Yogi Magazine.


11 Ways to Squeeze More Yoga into Your Life was first posted on August 19, 2017 at 5:00 am.
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Top 7 post hike yoga poses

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we love our summers. Especially because we wait all year long for the sun and the heat. You may call me biased but I think we have some of the nicest outdoors of the country. Within a few hours, you can see everything from mountains, lakes, beaches, deserts to basically all of it. We are truly lucky to be able to be a part of mother nature up here. And come summer, I notice a lot of my students get distracted from their yoga practice as being outdoors is so tempting. I too go for hikes every summer. This summer I have resolved to hike once or twice every weekend. And so far, it’s going great! But if you feel sore or tired the next day, check out my top 7 post hike yoga poses.

How the body is impacted during a hike?

How the body reacts to a hike is determined by 2 factors. These factors could be intrinsic or extrinsic to us.

  1. Intrinsic factors – your current fitness ability, cardio vascularity,  recovery rate, hydration, and food etc…
  2. Extrinsic factors – temperature, the intensity of the hike, distance, time of the day, state of mind, etc…

When we look at the body, the impact is greater on the lower body muscles and joints. Especially

Pre Hike Rituals:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Hike earlier in the day when energy is higher
  • Fuel your body with slow burning carbs
  • Hydrate
  • Wear appropriate hiking gear
  • Pick a hike you enjoy
  • Make up your mind to finish it!

The practice of Yoga is excellent pre and post-hike. When we look at the body, the impact is greater on the lower body muscles and joints. Especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and feet. This also impacts the hips, lower back, knees, and ankles. But by focusing on stretching out the impacted muscle groups, we help restore circulation, energy and efficient range of motion. And overall increasing the joy of hiking and yoga!

Best time for post hike yoga poses?

The best time is usually right after the hike itself. But if you do not have access to your mat or even ground. Then it should be the first thing you do when you get home and kick off your shoes. If you practice these poses within a few hours of the hike or at least the same day, chances for being stiff or sore the next day are reduced. So let’s get started.

Top 7 post hike yoga poses

Raja Kapotasana or Royal Pigeon

Benefits:

Stretches the quadriceps, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles especially glut medius.

Counters the forward bend or upper back curve enhanced by carrying backpacks during the hike

Level:

Beginners (without the strap)

Intermediate (with the strap or full version with no belt)

Duration:

The longer the hold the better. 45 seconds on each side or more. 2 repetitions

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Kapotasana (Pigeon)

Anjaneyasana or Low Lunge Pose

Benefits:

Similar benefits as above. Helps to go deeper into the hip flexors.

Level:

Beginners (without the strap)

Intermediate (with the strap or full version with no belt)

Duration:

The longer the hold the better. 45 seconds on each side or more. 2 repetitions

Post hike yoga poses - Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Anjaneyasana version 2

Supta Padaangushtasana or Supine Hand to Big Toe Pose

Benefits:

Stretches hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and calves.

Good for the feet (toes and arches)

Improves circulation in the pelvis

Level:

All Levels

Duration:

The longer you hold this yoga pose the better. 1 minute on each side. 2 repetitions

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Supta Padangushtasana 2

Adhomukha Swanasana or Downward Facing Dog

Benefits:

Lengthens the lower back muscles

Helps to recover from fatigue as it’s a semi-inversion

Regulates body temperature

Restores nature pace of breathing

Stretches hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and calves.

Good for the feet (toes and arches)

Level:

All Levels

Duration:

Beginners – shorter holds more repetitions

Intermediate – longer holds with more repetitions

 

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Adhomukha Swanasana

Parsvottanasana

Benefits:

Stretches the hamstrings, calves and gluteal muscles of the front leg

Cooling pose

Level:

Beginners (with blocks)

Intermediate (with or without blocks)

Duration:

The longer the holds the better. 45 seconds on each side or more. 2 repetitions

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Parsvottanasana (ardha)

Baddhakonasana or Bound Angle Pose

Benefits:

Stretches the inner thighs and groins

Improves circulation in pelvis

Good for the lower back

Good to recover from fatigue

Level:

Beginners (sit on height so the pelvis does not roll backward)

Intermediate (sit on height so the pelvis does not roll backward)

Duration:

The longer the hold the better. 45 seconds or more. 2 repetitions

sit on height so the pelvis does not roll backward)

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Baddhakonasana

Vipreeta Karani or Legs Up The Wall Pose

Benefits:

Excellent to recover from fatigue

Level:

All levels (use a wall) 

Duration: 

The longer the hold the better.20 minutes or more at a stretch.

Post hike yoga poses by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Vipreeta Karani

So there you have it! My top 7 post hike yoga poses. Make sure to try them after your next hike. And join us for our hike and yoga event this August. Find all details here.

The post Top 7 post hike yoga poses appeared first on Living Yoga – Aham Yoga Blog.

12 Things That Have Happened to Every Vegan While Dining Out (in GIFs!)

I’ve been vegan for about six years, so I’ve had my fair share of nasty comments and weird looks as I’m quietly eating my plants. I’ve also had my fair share of weird restaurant experiences (not quite as bad as this one, but pretty bad!), especially when I’m out with a large group or people […]

The post 12 Things That Have Happened to Every Vegan While Dining Out (in GIFs!) appeared first on Bad Yogi Magazine.


12 Things That Have Happened to Every Vegan While Dining Out (in GIFs!) was first posted on August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am.
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Celebrate the Solar Eclipse with This Moon Salutation

Monday, August 21 marks the day the first total solar eclipse will grace North America in more than 25 years and a powerful day for yoga.

Mark your calendars now for August 21, the day the first total solar eclipse will grace North America in more than 25 years, and a powerful day for yoga. A few moments of complete darkness during the day reminds us of our place in the cosmos—that we’re part of something much bigger than ourselves—one of the primary lessons of mindfulness practices, explains Kate Russo, a clinical psychologist, eclipse chaser, and phenomenological researcher based in Belfast, Ireland. 

“An eclipse strips away all your worries, and you suddenly have clarity about what you want to do with your life,” Russo says. “You feel connected to other people—regardless of where they are from or their political views. It transforms you.”

To celebrate the eclipse, Blakesley Burkhart, a trained yoga teacher and astronomy postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, recommends a soothing and well-aligned Moon Salutation to coincide with the sun, moon, and Earth being in perfect alignment.

Celebrate with a Moon Salutation

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), then inhale and bring your palms together over your head. Exhale and crescent to your right; inhale back to center. Exhale and crescent to your left; inhale back to center. Exhale to Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose), taking a wide stance and lowering into a squat while keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Inhale and straighten your legs as you transition to Extended Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose). 

On your next exhale, move your hands to the floor or blocks on either side of your front leg for Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch). From here, bend into your front knee and find a High Lunge. Inhale, turn your back toes out, and shift your hips down and over your front ankle, coming into Skandasana (Side Lunge). Inhale back to Goddess Pose and repeat the same poses on the other side, but in reverse order.

See also Watch Shiva Rea’s Moon Salutation

5 Ayurvedic Tricks to Brighten Your Mood

Feeling heavy and unmotivated? Sometimes the best thing you can do is make a momentary shift in what you’re doing. Here are some ideas.

There are many things in life that can contribute to making you feel down. Everyone’s life is full of waves: times when the ride feels smooth and times when the ride feels choppy. One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to learn ways to support yourself so that you can feel a sense of calm and contentment more often, even in the midst of many waves of energy. Of course, seek guidance from your doctors and Ayurvedic specialists so they can help you deal with your specific needs, especially if you are noticing your mood is often low and it’s hard to feel content or at ease.

Adapted from Ayurveda Made Easy: 50 Exercises for Finding Health, Mindfulness, and Balance by Heidi E. Spear. Copyright © 2017 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.