Picture a serene room full of calm smiles, deep breaths, and mindful movements and you have an idyllic yoga setting. Peaceful instrumental music strums in the background as the sunlight peaks through the windows. Sounds perfect, right? Like just the place for tranquility and happiness! So why do some yoga sessions make you feel more stressed out afterward? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the setting. And it’s all about you. Here are 5 things you may be doing to sabotage the success of your yoga class, and easy fixes for each.
1. You Arrive Late
Nothing disrupts the first sun salutation like rushing in a few minutes late, squishing in between the rows to find a spot for your mat, and attempting to collect yourself after class has already begun. The first and last few minutes of class are arguably the most important and beneficial for your mental and physical health: crucial moments to slow down and check in with your mind and body.
Instead? Shoot for setting up your mat 10-15 minutes BEFORE the class is set to start. Use this time as much deserved “me-time” to stretch, close your eyes, do whatever you need to do to set your day aside and focus on what your yoga practice may bring you that day.
2. You Compete with Your Neighbor
Your yoga practice should be just that: yoga PRACTICE. This means there is no good or bad, right or wrong way to do it. As long as your alignment is safe, and you are not bringing harm to yourself or others, all is fair game. It might be tempting to check out the skinny-mini with her designer tank top in the front row (…how is her Warrior II lunge that low?!), but you’re not doing anyone any favors, especially yourself.
Instead? Keep your eyes closed if you have to, and focus on how your practice feels on the inside, rather than how it looks on the outside.
3. You Add to Your Mental To-Do List
Inhale arms up (“eggs, milk, spinach”), exhale forward fold (“run to the bank, fold my laundry”). Does this sound like your internal monologue during your class? It can be tempting to tune out and let your body to the work while your mind wanders. But the most powerful part of these 60 to 90 minutes are arguably your work on staying present.
Instead? Set your to-do list aside because you can always pick it up the second class ends. But for now, connect your breath and movements together so tightly that there is no room for any other thoughts.
Posted on May 21, 2023 by Katie McGrath
For the most part, we know what causes our own stress: work, family, friends, the usual culprits. But what happens when your stress isn’t caused by a direct influence on your life? Then, unfortunately, you’re suffering from secondhand stress.
It can happen to anyone. For example, if your close friend is going through a rough situation and shares it with you, you may experience stress symptoms even though nothing has changed in your life. Sadly, this is a real thing. Stress is actually contagious.
Alicia Clark, Psy.D. told Shape Magazine this happens because empathy for others is hard-wired into our system. It’s thought that when others around us feel stress, our brain picks up their cues and mimics them, creating stress in us, even without an actual cause.
This is unfortunate news for those who already suffer from stress. Stress can be damaging to your health, including affecting arteries in such a way that may cause heart attacks and strokes. (more…)
Posted on March 31, 2023 by Elizabeth
Republican party candidate E.W. Jackson is not only running for a position as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, he’s running his mouth as a highly conservative Christian who firmly believes yoga is a straight path to hell, not health.
Jackson is not afraid to tell the world what he thinks. As a Christian minister, Jackson wants to save our souls by warning the 15 million Americans who practice that “Doing yoga may leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possession.”
I don’t remember ever coming across any information while researching the benefits of yoga that along with better health, practitioners will start to grow horns and breathe hostility out into the world. In fact, last time I checked, those who practice yoga on a regular basis are happier, less anxious, and more willing to make a positive difference in their community.
Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve’s comment in response to Jackson’s assertions is the best one thus far. Reeve joked, “Behind the ice-cold eyes of Lululemon princesses burn the demonic flames of eternal hell.” Next time you are in your yoga class you better run and hide, because everyone knows the devil wears Prana. (more…)
Posted on June 7, 2023 by Jill
A boost of positive energy, an experience of total pleasure, and a jolt of pure ecstasy are what we all seek. A tranquil mind, a balanced life, and a calm spirit are what we all need. To realize these wants and needs, we must be open to let love quench our senses and assuage our desires. I found my love wrapped up in a pretty little velvet black box.
Derived from the most exotic, aromatic, and luscious blends of herbs, resins, and oils from around the world, myInsens incense sticks have just raised the bar in the incense industry.
Kaivan Dave, creator of myInsens, founded the company in the latter part of 2023. After spending six months developing more than 120 fragrances, he and a team of researchers decided to narrow it down and only select six of the absolute best, most pleasing aromas.
They made excellent choices. Unlike certain brands of incense products, which can have a strong chemical odor, myInsens smells natural and clean. (more…)
Posted on January 12, 2023 by Jill
When we think of alone time, we often picture ourselves shopping without chasing children, having a quiet pedicure, or simply lying in the bathtub uninterrupted. For some truly quality alone time, you don’t have to go much further than inside your own mind. Meditation is a contemplative state where by you silently remove yourself from the physical and the present to reflect, increase clarity, and find a more serene or deeper state of consciousness.
It’s an ancient practice, often associated with yoga, that’s becoming increasingly popular in our scattered, harried, pressure-cooked society. Business professionals use it to decompress after a tough meeting or even find their center before heading in to the bull pen. Men and women alike use meditation to strengthen their minds, reduce stress, and even attain that “me time” that is so necessary.
It’s something Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love grappled with during the pray portion of her journey at an Indian ashram. But in real life, celebrities are embracing it seemingly with ease for a vast many reasons.
For instance, Richard Gere says a meditation practice helps him to stay grounded amongst the excess of Hollywood life. Eva Mendes credits meditation for helping her mine her best creativity, according to Well and Good. And Gisele Bundchen, who delivered her second child at home this month, has called meditation the source for her post-baby weight loss.
“A regular meditation practice creates mindfulness. Being mindful helps keep us from feeling distracted and impatient with life when things don’t go our way,” said Jill Lawson, our resident yogi expert. “When we are fully aware of our feelings through the practice of meditation, we can move toward being more proactive, instead of reactive. Taking action versus being frustrated is the first step in living a joyful life.”
We found 20 famous men and women who have dedicated themselves to the art and practice of meditation. If this group can make Power Bracelets, veganism, and the Master Cleanse a storming success, maybe they can serve as models to make us all a bit more mindful out here in the real world. (more…)
Posted on December 27, 2022 by Natalie K
We all know get-rich-quick scams work about as well as weight loss from a pill. While these enticements are tempting for most people in this country, there is another camp of people who always seem to want to make things harder for themselves. Be it working, dieting, or exercising, the old adage “less is more” often takes a back seat to the preferred “no pain, no gain.”
For those of you who are tired of experiencing pain for your gain, an ancient yogic practice called Yoga Nidra may help loosen your fierce grip on your need to achieve your goals.
Yoga Nidra is essentially the yoga of sleep, but it is not the type of sleep we engage in while napping, or at night. It is a relaxation induced, conscious sleep.
The benefits of attaining a super-restful yet fully awake state of mind reach far beyond just putting your feet up and enjoying a cup of tea. Yoga Nidra settles the nervous system and slows brain waves for an overall feeling of euphoria and inner peace.
A typical Yoga Nidra class may involve some guided imagery, body scanning techniques, or gentle pranayama practice. To aid in relaxation, participants are instructed to lie comfortably with their eyes closed and listen to the teacher’s vocal directions. (more…)
Posted on December 4, 2022 by Jill
Kids benefit from yoga as much as, if not more than, adults. With yoga programs for the classroom sprouting up all over the country, the opportunity for school-aged children to get in on this wildly beneficial discipline is growing.
A few days off of school, let alone three full weeks, can really wreak havoc on you and your child’s state of mind. In order to avoid the chaotic days that follow a break in the routine, you must do what you can to maintain some sort of consistency.
If your child has been participating in a regular yoga practice at school, there are a few things you can do to help them maintain their healthy habit during the holiday break. No doubt you both stand a lot to gain!
Yoga in the Morning
Every morning while your child is brushing his or her teeth, practice a few fun balance poses like tree pose, eagle pose, or mountain pose on tippy-toes. Encourage your child to focus on a spot in the mirror or on the wall and keep their attention fixed on that spot for as long as they are brushing their teeth. (more…)
Posted on November 28, 2022 by Jill
When people think of yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of someone doing a yoga pose on a sticky mat. But did you know that only one of the four main branches of yoga involves poses, and poses are just one fraction of that branch? This means that the yoga poses you are familiar with are a very small part of yoga.
If you study the origins of yoga, you will learn that yoga began as a way to reach enlightenment. Of the various methods, only one involved the deliberate and systematized use of the physical body. The others were centered on the path of selfless service (Karma yoga), love and devotion to God (Bhakti yoga), and the study of the intellect (Jnana yoga). In the fourth branch, Raja yoga, steps were taken to prepare the body (and the mind) for long hours of meditation for the purpose of attaining union with the divine.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest recorded books of yoga, these steps consisted of eight parts, or limbs. The first two limbs are comprised of morals and ethics to guide the yogi toward making the proper choices that foster inner peace, purity of mind, and non-violent actions. (more…)
Posted on August 3, 2022 by Jill
If you don’t have the luxury of sitting for hours to contemplate the meaning of life, or the solitude to sneak in an hour or two of quiet time to realign your soul’s intention for being alive, you are not alone. In this day and age, American’s are hard pressed to chill out and enjoy the simple pleasures of being mindful.
We all know meditation offers many health benefits. If it didn’t, Medicare would not cover it under their insurance plan, nor would people like Donna Karan spearhead a movement to offer it to cancer patients in hospitals. The problem most people have is finding the time to practice.
It may not be a full-scale meditative program, but the following three-minute “time-out” can at least help you eliminate some stress and tension from your day at the office. Practice once a day to begin, and then if time permits, add another session when needed. (more…)
Posted on July 27, 2022 by Jill
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, if not deadly. Heart disease, obesity, and depression are just a few consequences of inactivity, and in most cases, these conditions could be prevented if our bodies were a little more active.
It is hard not to wonder what kind of harmful effects sitting in meditation might be doing to our health. If stiff knees and a tight lower back weren’t painful enough, the thought of damaging your health while trying to gain inner peace seems blatantly counterproductive.
For those who have a sedentary job, or are addicted to the television set, practicing a form of active meditation instead of the classic seated meditation might be a better option.
The following suggestions will promote health by getting your body moving while still enjoying the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditation. (more…)
Posted on July 17, 2022 by Jill
Wellness is defined as the state of health that is free from disease. Many people suffer from a lack of health and wellness and as a result they experience a plethora of symptoms that can manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally. Living a well-balanced life with a central source of inspiration is key in maintaining health.
Mary Jo Ricketson, the founder of the Center for Mind-Body Training in the Boston area, believes each and every one of us are equipped with the potential to experience optimal well-being of mind and body. Referring to this state of wellness as the ‘good within,’ Ricketson has compiled a new book of yoga and exercise titled Moving Meditation, complete with quotes, fitness and yoga instruction, and intentions for living an inspired life on and off the yoga mat.
In an effort to aid in the reduction of stress through faith, the pages in Moving Meditation are graced by a God-centered approach to wellness. With the majority of quotes from the Bible, and several references to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the book carries a weighty Christian tone, however the author does include inspiration from other religions and spiritual teachers such as the Buddha, Kahlil Gibran, and Lao Tzu. (more…)
Posted on June 7, 2023 by Jill