Yoga

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

For controlling your hypertension, there are two effective yoga exercises that helps lower the blood pressure:

Inverted Yoga

Inverted yoga reverses the action of gravity on the body. The most profound changes brought about by Inverted Yoga is in circulation. In inverted poses, legs and abdomen are placed higher than the heart.

Lengthening up through the legs and keep them very active so your spine opens and the entire body actively involved in the pose.

One of the reasons for this is simply because the force of gravity is reversed and venous return becomes significantly greater.

Normally, the muscles of the calf and other skeletal muscles in the lower extremities must contract in order to pump unoxygenated blood and waste back to the heart through the veins.

In inverted poses, gravity causes the blood to flow easily back through the veins and this brings the blood pressure in the feet to a minimum. This in effect gives skeletal muscles a chance to rest.

In Inverted poses, drainage of blood and waste from the lower body back to the heart is increased and disorders such as varicose veins and swollen ankles are relieved.

Rhythmic Breathing

It’s time to learn about breathing, because inhaling and exhaling has the power to nourish the body and calm the mind.

Not just any old breathing will do. If you’re like most people, you take shallow breaths, pull in your stomach when you inhale and never empty your lungs of carbon dioxide when you exhale.

Here’s the physiological explanation: Long, slow breaths are more efficient than short, fast ones.

To take in a good breath, your lungs must first be basically empty. Thus the key to efficient breathing lies in exhaling completely. A full exhalation begins with the upper chest, proceeds to the middle chest and finishes with tightening the abdominal muscles.

Only after a good exhalation can you draw in a good lungful of the oxygen-rich air your blood needs for nourishing cells.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is an ancient hindu system of working with the human nervous system. Because it releases tension and endows one with renewed energy, far too many 20th century people, yoga teachers included, have come to look upon the venerable Indian physical science as solely an exercise for health and vitality of mind and body. It is that, but it is also much more. Hatha yoga practices are more spiritual than physical, more subtle than gross, more a means of understanding than an exotic way to relieve stress or limber up the body.

The sages who developed hatha yoga designed it as a way to gain conscious control of our life energies, a way to go within, to harmonize the external so the innermost Self could be encountered. To them, it was about states of consciousness, about living a divine life, and it was a preparation for meditation.

As you perform the asanas, concentrate on feeling the energies within the nerve currents. Sensitize yourself to knowing when the body has been in each position long enough to tune the nerve currents involved. Then shift smoothly into the next asana. It’s like a dance, a deliberate, fluid dance. During all postures, inhale using the diaphragm, not the chest muscles. Do not stretch unduly or force the body. Relax into the poses. Don’t worry if you can’t perform them all perfectly. In time, you will find the body becoming more flexible and supple. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions. You will be more aware, more alive, more serene.

While there are many more complex hatha yoga routines, these twenty-four asanas provide a balanced system for daily use. For the simple purpose of quieting the mind in preparation for meditation, this is all you will ever need. For best results, hatha yoga should be taught personally by a qualified teacher. These instructions and drawings are meant only as a rudimentary aid. For more elaborate regimens, inquire at a recognized school specializing in hatha yoga.

The scene of hatha yoga has a spiritual purpose – to balance physical and physic energies in preparation for meditation. It is not only meant to make us young, beautiful or creative, but to aid us in quieting the mind, body and emotions that we may awaken enlightened consciousness & know the Self within.

Got a Few Minutes

Ina Mirx is 68, looks 35, and can do things with her body that a 16-year-old farm hand can’t do, but she wasn’t always fit-as-a-fiddle.

At the age of 30, while pregnant, she was forced to jump from the third story of a burning hotel. She landed on concrete, fractured her spine and pelvis, broke several ribs — and lost her child.

Over the next 10 years Marx tried nearly every kind of regimen to rescue herself from this state. Nothing worked, and she eventually reached such desperation that she attempted suicide, twice. Then she discovered yoga — her salvation.

With new confidence and a new lease on life, she began teaching yoga and has also written two books,  »Yoga and Common Sense » and  »Fitness for the Unfit. »

With her special yoga program, she combines the physical aspects of Hatha Yoga with Raja Yoga, the meditative side.

Her method is specially designed to reach out to all those who have been left in the dust of the high-energy, high-impact state of modern fitness programs, and those who need to relax and unwind in a short amount of time to relieve a lot of stress quickly.

What’s more, the best thing about Marx’s form of yoga is that a few stretches a day, for a few minutes a day — at home or in the office — can lead couch potatoes and grouches to a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Ina Mirx is 68, looks 35, and can do things with her body that a 16-year-old farm hand can’t do, but she wasn’t always fit-as-a-fiddle.

At the age of 30, while pregnant, she was forced to jump from the third story of a burning hotel. She landed on concrete, fractured her spine and pelvis, broke several ribs — and lost her child.

Over the next 10 years Marx tried nearly every kind of regimen to rescue herself from this state. Nothing worked, and she eventually reached such desperation that she attempted suicide, twice. Then she discovered yoga — her salvation.

With new confidence and a new lease on life, she began teaching yoga and has also written two books,  »Yoga and Common Sense » and  »Fitness for the Unfit. »

With her special yoga program, she combines the physical aspects of Hatha Yoga with Raja Yoga, the meditative side.

Her method is specially designed to reach out to all those who have been left in the dust of the high-energy, high-impact state of modern fitness programs, and those who need to relax and unwind in a short amount of time to relieve a lot of stress quickly.

What’s more, the best thing about Marx’s form of yoga is that a few stretches a day, for a few minutes a day — at home or in the office — can lead couch potatoes and grouches to a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Go Straight to Video for Yoga Training

The various postures of yoga have long been used as a basis for the stretching moves that are prescribed for athletes or used in other forms of exercise. It’s no surprise, then, that a flood of yoga tapes is hitting the market.

There are tapes for Olympic-level athletes and tapes for rank beginners. There are tapes that will challenge your strength and endurance, and tapes that will lull you into blissful relaxation.

Here’s a look at four yoga tapes, from the most difficult to the most basic. The only thing you need to get started is comfortable clothes and a non-skid surface like a sticky mat.

Embracing Power Yoga
This tape, led by Los Angeles instructor-to-the-stars Mark Blanchard, is the yoga version of boot camp. It’s 85 challenging minutes of constant movement designed to build strength and endurance, with Blanchard leading a class of 13 men and women.

The tape is billed as appropriate for all levels, and there’s a 5-minute segment at the beginning that offers a quick summary of how to do many of the basic yoga poses in the tape.

But that’s not enough for novices, and the rest of the tape is far too strenuous for those who aren’t extremely fit. You can tell that Blanchard isn’t very interested in newcomers to yoga because he ignores the poor, fumbling fellow in the back row who has little flexibility.

Despite these deficiencies, this tape is wonderfully challenging and effective workout, judging by the sweat that pours off the members of the class. But unless you’re already in good shape — and by the standards of this tape, that means you can do push-ups, balance easily on one leg and have abs of steel — you’ll be better off with an easier tape.

Yoga Zone: Power Yoga for Strength and Endurance
This routine provides a great introduction to the strength-building postures of power yoga. It’s taught by Lisa Bennett, who leads two exercisers through the 55-minute class.

One exerciser is a beginner; the other is more advanced. Beginners will be heartened to see that Bennett devotes plenty of time to helping Gina, the beginner, find modified versions of the postures that allow her to complete every segment of the routine. And veterans can learn much from her work with Charles as she guides him into more challenging moves.

One of Bennett’s major strengths is her ability to provide clear, detailed descriptions of proper form, from the angle of a bent knee to the direction of an extended arm.

Though there’s hard work to be done in this routine, Bennett’s comforting tone and understanding demeanor make it pleasurable.

For Some People, Learning Yoga on CD-ROM is a Stretch

As if to lend weight to my contention that your computer can, in theory, teach you anything, along comes a pair of CD-ROMs called Wellness Yoga and Shiatsu Relaxation.

Lithe young women demonstrate these ancient Eastern techniques while mellow-voiced narrators speak over somnambulant music, the better to relax you and make you all well.

Most of us are familiar at least with the concepts of yoga, its slow stretching exercises and its often almost unattainable physical positions. Wellness Yoga is a nicely designed program that packages 74 asanas, or positions, into several packages such as the Quick and Easy Course, the Beauty Course and the Health Course.

The program consists largely of what it calls procedure screens, in which each position is demonstrated in one window while described textually in another. A narrator reads that same text aloud. In addition to the usual tape-recorder buttons to pause, stop and restart the action, there is a graph that displays the approximate duration of each segment of the routine.

The practical difficulties of using this CD-ROM are fairly obvious. The manual, dragged kicking and screaming into English from its Japanese roots, advises the user to First practice forming the pose while watching the screen and try memorizing the whole procedure. » This, unless you have a 24-inch monitor or keep your monitor on the floor, is likely to be difficult. Clearly the actual learning of the poses could be more readily done with a videotape.

On the other hand, you can hunt around in the CD-ROM, choose from the positions you want to learn, and collect them into personal groups. And maybe you’ve got a really big monitor, and a cordless, long-distance mouse.

This is a nice program, well-made and instructive. My only complaint is that it does not emphasize clearly enough that unless you are as slender as the model executing the poses, you are not going to be able to do many of them — the Crow, the Heron and the Frog, for instance — correctly. On the other hand, we can all do the Corpse.

Shiatsu Relaxation, which teaches a massage technique clearly related to acupuncture, is another kettle of fish.

The theory is that rubbing, kneading or poking specific points on the body, called acupressure points, will make other parts of the body feel better. I am not prepared to argue that premise, but the entire procedure seems shiatsu yourself is not clear, either; the program initially suggests you find some of your own more accessible pressure points, but they are not all available to your own hands and all the demonstrations show one person ministering to another.

Exercises

Yoga exercises strengthen your body and make it more flexible. Yoga also calms your mind and gives you energy. In active sports or strenuous exercises, you use up energy. In yoga classes, students report that they feel tranquil after a class, yet have more energy. Slow and steady motion is the key to going into or coming out of the postures. You hold a yoga pose for several seconds or even minutes and give attention to full, quiet breath. Your yoga instructor will always encourage you to relax as the exercises are being done.

You gently place your body into yoga postures. Done correctly, there’s very little chance of injury or muscle stress. A particular asana is not repeated dozens of times, nor are you ever encouraged to push yourself too much.

A yoga session is designed for balance. You stretch to the right and then to the left. You bend back and then forward. You learn to recognize when one side is stronger or more flexible than the other. Thus harmony and balance are achieved with yoga practice.

People of all ages can practice yoga exercises. They are easily modified to meet your needs and physical condition. Don’t be put off by the difficult looking postures you may see in a yoga book. A skilled teacher can adapt most asanas by using chairs, cushions, even a wall or other props. A yoga practice can be tailor-made just for you. If something is really impossible for you to do, just forget it. Never compete with yourself or others. Yoga is a stress-free but powerful way to exercise.

Yoga is good for increasing your flexibility and relieving stress, but it doesn’t take the place of aerobic exercise. You should still do regular, aerobic exercise, which increases your cardiovascular fitness, helps you lose weight, and, for people with non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes at least, improves blood glucose control.

Equipment

Yoga is a challenging discipline for the beginning to the advanced person. The asanas, or postures are slow and steady and are not meant to be painful, but this does not mean that they are not challenging. Never extend yourself too much to cause discomfort. With practice, you should see yourself relaxing into the stretches with ease.

Nevertheless, for beginners there are a few tips when practicing yoga. Release all thoughts, good or bad before you begin. Turn off your phone and don’t answer the door, you need peace and quiet. Make sure you take a warm, relaxing shower and that you wear comfortable clothes that will allow you to stretch easily. You can use aromatherapy that will relax and help to clear you thoughts. You will want to purchase a yoga mat so you can rest on the pad and not slip and slide on the floor. Make sure your shoes and socks are off and that your hair is either comfortable pulled back or no, whatever feels better. Turn the lights low (or you can do it in the sunlight), whatever suits you. You may want to turn some relaxing music of nature, perhaps the beach. Belts or ropes are used to grab your legs and pull them into a better stretch, which should feel delicious. Blocks are used to prop yourself up and sit better or for standing postures.

Without the prop support, you may not be able to attain some postures. Just remember that although the postures are important, performing them absolutely perfectly is not the goal. Yoga is not just an exercise; it includes the mind and intelligence and the reflection in action. These tools make it easier for you as a beginner in yoga, but you will find that eventually you will not need them. Some people prefer taking a yoga class so they are guided properly. There is nothing wrong with this, but keep in mind that only you can take your mind and spirit as far as it was meant to go, alone.

Dynamic Yoga – Exercise 3 & 4

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.

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.

Dru Yoga

Dru Yoga is a potent and graceful form on yoga. It is
based on directed breathing, soft flowing movements
and visualization. Its foundations were set in ancient
yogic tradition.

Dru Yoga works on the body, spirit and mind. It
improves flexibility and strength, creates core
stability, builds a heightened sense of positive
thinking, is deeply relaxing and rejuvenates your
entire being.

Dru Yoga was designed to be practiced by people of all
different fitness levels, different abilities and all
age groups. This is a style of yoga that can quickly
be picked up or you can learn more about it over your
lifetime.

Dru Meditation

If it has been one of your goals to learn how to
meditate in order to feel that inner calmness or to be
a stress reliever, then try Dru Meditation! The Dru
approach to meditation will help bring you balance no
matter what or how you are feeling.

If you seem to be agitated, Dru meditation will help
to bring you a feeling of calmness. If you feel
exhausted, this form of meditation will give your
energy.

It will bring peace to your spirit if you are feeling
anxious. The most important thing that Dru meditation
will do for you is to bring you to that still place
within you, with its sense of achievement, fullness
and deep healing properties that only meditation and
yoga can bring.

If you really want to learn Dru meditation, the best
way to do this is to attend a workshop or a meditation
retreat in your area. If you are not able to do that,
you might try a guided Dru meditation that is
available on CD.

You will find that Dru meditation can help alleviate
fatigue and stress and bring you focus and calm. If
only you can do ten minutes daily of meditation, it
will make a great difference.