Yoga for Modern City Life: Yoga Helps Ease Modern Stress
For Gail Stuart, who is finishing a beginner’s series, yoga is an antidote to the stress of her job at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she works with psychiatric research. You just walk through the whole process, and you feel yourself slipping away. It’s a different workout, she says, a welcome alternative to aerobics or exercise machines, which remind her of a torture chamber.
Yoga is the most prominent form of the burgeoning mind-body health movement, which includes tai chi, qigong and other meditative forms of exercise.
The practice of yoga should integrate every aspect of human existence. While many of modern Western practitioners focus on the physical asanas, for others, yoga is an all-encompassing way of life and a path to bliss.
Considering yoga’s lofty goals, it’s delightfully simple and can be done anywhere, anytime. Taken to its extreme, yoga encompasses everything from a moral code and dietary practices to deep meditation. Most commonly, though, it’s a combination of asanas, pranayama (breathing exercises) and some meditation.
Yoga would be an effective and relatively cheap substitute for many anxious and stressed patients, although they would probably also need to be motivated to become physically fit.
Perfect Truths about Yoga
Turbaned gurus, sing-song mantras and bodily contortions . . . the promise of true enlightenment and omphaloskepsis (contemplation of the naval) completes the cliche. But don’t knock yoga till you’ve tried it, and then only with respect.
Yoga means to bind together — variously joining sun and moon, left and right, male and female, and any number of yins and yangs — through ascetic techniques of meditation and exercise. The goal is physical and mental balance.
Indian Hatha’ yoga is best known to Westerners. Double-jointedness isn’t a prerequisite, but the classic lotus position, cross-legged on the floor, soles-up on the inner thigh, either comes naturally or doesn’t.
Then there are more magical/mystical varieties of yoga for which people quit jobs and polite society and retreat to the Himalayas. But not everyone follows a spiritual guide beyond the Beltway; they’d rather take up the discipline at a local ashram or the Y.
Committed practitioners claim yoga leads to intuitive awareness, spiritual harmony, perfect concentration. Others use it to lose weight or quit smoking. Some just like the lift they get from yoga asanas (positions) better than breaking into a sweat with pushups. In any case, it can’t hurt, if done in moderation and with proper guidance.
Yoga for Business People: Workplace Implications
Mind-body fitness, which derives from Eastern philosophies and religions, improves physical and emotional well-being, and has implications for workplace performance.
The overall benefits of mind-body exercise are documented in an increasing number of scientific studies. They include everything from reducing cardiac risk factors to enhancing mood.
‘You’re under stress, but you have to be in control all day, and after so many years, what happens is that leads to eating misbehaviors, stress hormone production and cardiac risk factors,. The good news is you can reverse these risk factors non-pharmacologically and develop some habits for a lifetime’ that complement conventional diet and exercise.
The kinder, gentler movements typical of yoga improve flexibility, strength and muscle tone and can be more youth-promoting than the wear-and-tear of daily aerobics, weights and running alone.
Especially with the baby boomer generation getting older, they’re realizing the need for flexibility, the need for good posture, and the desire for the things that are going to help them look and feel young.
Dynamic Yoga – Exercise 1 & 2
SWAYING PALM TREE POSE (Tiryaka Tadasana)
Streamlines the waist and develops balance. Stand with feet 8 inch apart and fix eyes on a point directly in front of you. Interlock fingers and turn palms outward. Inhale deeply as you raise arms over your head. As you breathe out, bend from your waist to your left side, taking care not to reach forwards or backwards. Hold for a few seconds, then inhale deeply and slowly return to the upright position.
Repeat 5 times to each side.
CAT-STRETCH POSE (Marjari-asana)
Kneel and lean forward to place hands on floor below your shoulders, fingers facing forward, hands in line with knees. Arms and thighs should be at right angles to the floor; knees may be slightly separated.
Inhale deeply, raise head and drop spine so your back is concave. Fill your lungs and hold for three seconds. As you exhale, lower your head and stretch your spine upwards. At the end of the breath, pull in your buttocks, contract stomach muscles and place head between arms.
Repeat 5 times.
Instant 10-minute Yoga: New Form of Yoga
Do you drag yourself out of bed on Monday mornings, exhausted before you’ve even begun the week. Or maybe you can’t enjoy your evenings, because work drains you of every ounce of energy.
Don’t worry, you can boost your energy levels and balance your body with a new form of yoga – dynamic yoga.
Its simplicity and almost instantaneous benefits have made it one of the most fashionable alternative exercises of the new Millennium. Normally known for its relaxation benefits, dynamic yoga can boost your energy levels in just 10 minutes.
It includes some of the most basic yoga postures. You can try each of them individually, or in succession, but none of them should be rushed. However, you should feel the benefits after just ten minutes.
The deep stretches and graceful movements help to unblock energy, improve muscle tone and increase your general stamina. When practised regularly, say enthusiasts, you will experience improved energy levels, greater sexual vitality and better self-discipline. In the long-term, the breathing and body exercises will help detoxify your mind of tension and strain, creating calm and an inner peace.
POSE OF THE MOON (Shashankasa)
Sit on your knees with palms on thighs. Close eyes and relax, but keep spine and head straight.
Inhale deeply and lift arms above head, keeping them straight and shoulder-width apart. As you breathe out, bend forward from the hips, keeping arms and head in a straight line. Hands and forehead should eventually rest on the floor in front of your knees. Bend your elbows, so that arms are fully relaxed and hold for five seconds.
Then breathe in and slowly raise arms and body back to the upright position.
Exhale and return your palms to the top of your thighs. Repeat 3-5 times.
MOUNTAIN POSE (Parvatasana)
Strengthens nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, and stimulates the circulation in the upper spine.
Kneel on raised heels and stretch your arms forward so your forehead is on the floor. Breathe deeply and relax for a few seconds. Raise yourself on to your hands and knees, keeping your toes tucked under and your back flat.
Inhale and push up onto your toes. Raise your buttocks and lower your head between your arms. Your back and legs should form two sides of a triangle.
Exhale, rest your feet on the floor and try to touch the floor with the top of your head. Hold the position for 10 seconds.