Things You Need To Know Before Your First Yoga Class

Thinking of starting yoga? Bet your body has been yearning for this for some time now. Everyone has their reasons for doing yoga; losing weight, release stress, maintaining good health both mind and body. Whatever your reason is for starting yoga, have fun with it. It is also important to know a few things before undertaking this new activity that will improve your health and here are some:

It is all about you: Even if you are in a class of ten people, this is your time to discover your body and mind. It involves making somewhat awkward body movements, such as being upside down or curving your back! Let yourself go and just explore your inner strength.

Notify your instructor if you need special attention: This is basically if you are pregnant, have terminal illnesses, injury or a condition that may be affected by the type of exercises that yoga involves. Yoga does not have a particular way of how it is done; there are different techniques and poses for different bodies. Therefore, your instructor will know what suits you best.

Follow instructions: Some of the postures you will be required to do might be challenging, actually they are quite tough. You may find it easier to twist or modify the posture to be more comfortable, but this should be avoided because you are risking getting injury that could take a sometime to heel.

Beware, it is addictive: Compared to other exercises, yoga is special. From the technique it uses to the several health benefits it has to your body, your body is left feeling incredible. This makes you want it even more and cannot afford to miss any session!

Go on an empty stomach: It will almost be impossible for you to do yoga on a full tummy. Remember most of the time you will be stretching into postures, which can be very uncomfortable for you if your stomach is full. If you think you cannot make it till the end of the session, take a snack at least half an hour before the class; a light snack.

Do not compete, enjoy! Have fun during yoga class, even if it may take some time to grasp those postures. Take one posture at a time and you can even practice it when you are idle, during your lunch break and before you sleep. You will be a pro in no time!

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Religion And Yoga

A religious rights leader in the US recently sparked off a debate with his comments on the inappropriateness of Yoga for those of the Christian faith. Arguments have since flown fast and thick on all sides over the linking of Yoga with specific religions.

As a proponent of Yoga as the ultimate challenge for the attainment of holistic wellness, I have been extremely pained to read all things related to the matter. For one, I havent been able to fathom the reasons as to why this should even be thrown on the table.

It is true that Yoga originated in India, the same country which produced great religious systems such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Indeed, India is one of the two regions of the world which has been the cradle of religious thought, the other being the Middle East which produced Christianity, Islam, Judaism et al.

However, Yoga at its best is a philosophical system which is thought to lead to self-realization. For as long as it has existed, there have been no religious incantations associated with the practice, nor does it propagate the worship of any one supreme figure. It is infact philosophical and not iconic in any way.

The Yogic systems prevalent today are a fragment of an entire pristine system, and are mostly only corporeal; they strive to keep the body healthy through various poses and breathing techniques. The only Hindu connotation I have found evidence of, is the sounding of the syllable Om while breathing, which is also equally construable as a shortening of Amen. Interestingly, Om and Amen have similar meanings and origins as well.

I personally know scores of people of various religious beliefs following Yoga, and who have found no conflict between their religion and the practice. Yoga, which is devoid of any religious connotations is even widely practiced by atheists who would have otherwise shunned it in the name of religious circumvention.

My personal experience tells me that one neednt even go deep into research, because a quick online search will point to the fact that Yoga is linked with environmentalism, healthy food habits, exercise, fitness and mostly good health, but definitely not with any strong religious associations. Even specifically searching for a link did not yield any results to indicate the gentlemans concerns that Yoga is a symptom of postmodern spiritual confusion.

I came across an interesting and relevant blog here which I understand to be a product of a mature and analytical mind.

I would be happy to understand just how practicing Yoga is a shameful act as the US Baptist has claimed. Looking forward to your thoughts, as usual.

Stop Sliding In Yoga With A Non-slip Yoga Mat

If you’re still using a regular yoga mat, your hands and feet may slide out from under you once you start to sweat.

There are many mats on the market now that can help keep you from slipping and sliding.

These non-slip yoga mats are more expensive, but can make your yoga experience much more enjoyable.

Your investment in a more expensive mat will pay off over time, especially if yoga is an everyday part of your life and not a passing fancy.

These upscale yoga mats rely on superior materials and textures that grip to prevent sliding, slipping, and skidding.

Here are the leading non-slip yoga mats currently available:

The Manduka BlackMatPRO has been the most popular premium yoga mat for years, and one reason is because you don’t slide on the mat even when it’s wet with sweat. It is also one of the most expensive mats on the market, but fans say the extra cost is worth it. Though heavy, the dense materials used in contruction of the mat are very supportive, even in standing balancing yoga poses. This Manduka mat stays in place on hard or soft surfaces, like carpet.

Hugger Mugger Tapas Performance Yoga Mat: Once called the Mandara, this top rated yoga mat shares many of the qualities of the Manduka Black Mat Pro. This mat is much cheaper in cost, however.

Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat: This mat is much like the bigger and heavier Black Mat PRO, only it comes in more colors and is the same size as a regular sticky mat. It is a great mat for vinyasa, Bikram Yoga, and hot yoga because it is lighter yet prevents skidding, sliding, and slipping. And it is very affordable.

Jade Fusion Yoga Mat: This thick mat is made of open-cell natural rubber, so it’s very eco-friendly. Having open cells gives the mat a texture that has a lot of grab, which prevents sliding. The thick natural rubber is very cushioning and supportive, and dense enough to support you in standing and balancing poses. This is also a great mat to prevent soreness in the wrists and knees from floor poses.

Jade Harmony Yoga Mat: Also an eco-friendly natural rubber mat, it is 3/16-inch thick. This is one of the most popular yoga mats ever made, and one of the major selling points is that it is non-slip. It is lighter than the Jade Fusion, which makes it easier to carry. Just be aware that some people don’t care for open cell mats because they pick up dirt and can absorb sweat and odor.

I hope this non-slip yoga mats review will help you find the right yoga mat to buy so you can stop sliding in your yoga classes.

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Benefits Of Using A Zafu For Meditation

Zafus – Creating Proper Posture Daily
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in Eastern cultures as a means of finding truth and enlightenment. Today it has been picked up by many westerners as a means of relieving stress and strain in their daily lives. However, many westerners find the traditional lotus sitting position on the bare ground a bit too strenuous on their bottom and legs; therefore, the use of a zafu is recommended to provide greater comfort. A zafu is the name given to a special cushion you can sit on for meditating. They help you maintain the correct posture as well as provide comfort for your bottom during your session.

Filling Meditation Cushions
Zafus are manufactured out of cotton fabrics with natural fiber kapok filling. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and designs to suit personal taste and preference. They also come with removable covers, facilitating the laundering when the exterior becomes soiled. The traditional zafu is round; however, other shapes are coming out on the market to offer variation and levels of comfort. These cushions also vary in size and thickness to adjust to a person’s body and weight level for individualized comfort.

Thickness of the Zafu
There are advantages to using a meditation cushion as opposed to any other type cushion for your sessions. These cushions are especially designed for meditation; the kapok filling provides a firm, yet pliable surface to sit on for comfort and back posture, and the natural fibers are both hygienic and hypoallergenic, making them a perfect selection for those who are prone to allergies. In addition, the diversity in thickness and size can complement the size and weight of your body, customizing your cushion to your exact specifications. Each cushion comes with its own cover (or you can purchase separately) that can be easily removed for washing when the need arises.

Different-Shaped Zafus
New zafu styles include the crescent shape cushion designed to provide additional space for your bottom. Thickness of the cushion can be self adjusted by adding or removing kapok to the desired depth, providing extra padding for heavier set people or less for those who are thinner and smaller boned. For those who desire more height, support cushions are available to place under the zafu, raising your body to a higher level.

Meditation Chairs – The Throne of Meditation
As an alternative to these cushions, some people prefer to use a meditation chair during their sessions. You should feel free to use whatever is most comfortable for you and helps you focus on meditating itself so you can fully benefit from the experience. Meditating offers a number of wonderful mental and physical benefits to the body which can help improve your mental and physical health, regardless of the seating arrangement used.

Meditation Retreat In An Ancient Chinese Buddhist Temple

Meditation Retreats are increasing in popularity throughout the world offering participants the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to a quiet and restful location where one can take an inward journey of self-discovery. At Guang Jue Buddhist Temple in China people come from across the globe for temple stay and meditation retreat.

Guang Jue Monastery is situated near the small town of Zaoxi, West of Hangzhou, in Zhejiang Province in China. It is surrounded by scenic bamboo forested mountains and immersed in pure silence apart from the sound of birds during the day and the small bell-like sounds of crickets at night. This is the ideal place for a meditation retreat and temple stay.

It is very early in the morning at 4:30am. A dense fog has descended upon the valley and the deep silence is broken by the sound of the huge temple bell. Within the main cultivation hall the Abbot of the temple pounds the bell with chanting a ceremony that has continued for hundreds of years. Next the large drum has sounded reminding participants of the call of the dharma at the beginning of each day. The morning crisp air is perfumed with the scent of incense. The morning chanting liturgy begins. It is in these special morning hours that the meditation retreat participants start their day in this Chinese temple stay. At the end of the liturgy the lights are dimmed and there is deep silence again during meditation before breakfast.

As the day continues the Retreat Master, Malcolm Hunt, takes participants of the temple stay through a meditation experience which starts with simple mindfulness of breathing. Gradually the meditation retreat takes participants through Pure Land Buddhist meditation and chanting, Tonglen and finally to diminish the hold of the ego, Naikan meditation.

A temple stay in a Qing Dynasty temple in China gives the participant the opportunity to discover themselves and to refresh the spirit and to come away changed even in some small way.

Guang Jue Temple is situated only ten kilometres from the world heritage listed Tianmushan national park which boasts of breathtaking mountain scenery, rushing mountain streams and the oldest Ginko Bilbao trees in the world. Many of the meditation retreat participants take the opportunity to visit this part of China and immerse themselves in nature and history.

A temple stay in an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple is more than a meditation retreat and learning experience. It may also be life changing.

Key Words: meditation retreat, Chinese temple stay, China, temple stay

Brief: A temple stay in a Qing Dynasty temple in China gives the participant the opportunity to discover themselves and to refresh the spirit and to come away changed even in some small way. A meditation retreat in a Chinese Buddhist temple can have a powerful effect on the spirit.

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Manduka Yoga Mats And The Best Yoga Mats In The Market

Just starting out yoga classes or even if you are a yoga expert, buy a yoga mat that is perfectly suited for you. Manduka Yoga mats offer some of the best quality yoga mats that are eco friendly and made of the highest quality with superior technology that is friendly to the environment. Sublime and soulful, let Yoga into your life if not already and buy the perfect yoga mat, whilst reaping the benefits of this wonderful ancient Indian practise.

The Manduka eKO mat is the choice for those who want a high performance and durable mat, and also one that happens to be perfectly eco friendly. Fushi Wellbeing have tried and tested the best in the market and chosen the Manduka yoga mat as one of the finest high performance mats in the market. Whats more is that there is a range of mats suitable at every level of yoga practise. Whether you want a light yoga travel mat or a heavy duty durable mat, Manduka offers something for everyone. With so many yoga accessories in the yoga market it can become confusing to choose one thats best and a good yoga mat should will last you a long time and make your yoga classes enjoyable.

With extreme grip, the eKO Manduka mat helps you perform your postures with ease and makes it much easier to slide from one posture to another without slipping. This natural rubber mat uses a toxic-free softening process and is completely free of foaming agents and plasticizers found in other mats. The Fushi Expert panel love the Manduka mat as it has just the right amount of spring and firmness, a great non slip surface and whats more its so eco friendly which sits perfectly with the spirit of Yoga.

Fushi Wellbeing www.fushi.co.uk offers a range of yoga accessories, yoga mats, yoga blocks, yoga cotton straps, yoga mat towels perfect for Bikram yoga and plenty more yoga equipment that will perfectly complement your practise. Fushi has also selected a range of books on Yoga to help with understanding this amazing discipline and improving your knowledge and daily practise.

Fushi believes that the body shouldnt be overexposed to chemicals and unnatural elements and uses natural and organic ingredients wherever possible. Fushi supports Fair Trade, only buying products from suppliers that do not exploit indigenous populations around the globe. Fushi is a Member if the Ethical Company Organisation and the Good Shopping Guide. Many products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

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How Meditation Can Lead You To Spiritual Enlightenment

Have you ever found yourself struggling in meditation? You sit to meditate expecting bliss or enlightenment but instead all you really experience is frustration?

That’s because the very attempt to get something out of meditation, blocks you from actually meditating.

Meditation is a bit like gardening.

You plant some carrot seeds and then every day you water it, you pull the weeds, you nourish the carrot plant in every way you can.

You don’t expect a carrot instantly. But out of love for gardening you do the work without expecting anything in return.

And then one day to your surprise,there is the carrot, beautiful, orange and delicious.

Same with meditation.

If you commit yourself to meditation without expecting anything in return; If you give yourself to this moment out of the love of giving.

Because some days meditation will be challenging.

Some days meditation will be blissful and some days meditation will be a challenging surrender to the intensity that is here.

But simply by meditating and by nourishing your awareness in every way you can,one day, without even focusing on it, you could be reading a book or walking in the woods and suddenly there is an opening. Suddenly, bliss is radiating freely from your heart.

Enlightenment will happen without you thinking about it. Without you do anything on your part.

It arises on its own, at its own time, yet it arises also because you planted the seed and helped it grow.

And the best way to help your meditation grow into enlightenment is by sitting in the presence of an enlightened teacher, one who has mastered high states of meditation. Such a teacher naturally radiates a bliss(known as shaktipat) that can be felt by others. And so simply by sitting with them, you easily enter deep states of meditation.

But you can experience this same bliss by listening to a very unique Enlightenment CD.

Simply by listening to beautiful meditation music, you effortlessly attain deep states of meditation and bliss. You can listen to free samples of the music and experience it for yourself by checking out the “Enlightened Spirituality CD” link below.

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Meditation And Yoga In A Personal Development Program – For Spiritual Growth

What is the Difference between Meditation and Yoga? Meditation in yoga program is defined by Patanjali as “Chitta Vriti Nirodhah. It means a personal development program that establishes the harmony of body and mind and considering the development of humans on the physical, mental and spiritual.
Meditation is an element of the yoga program. Yoga Personal Development Program uses meditation to perfection in the physical actions on postures, breathing and the habit of thinking to realize all-round benefits.

Personal development program of yoga for beginners suggests perfection in the practice of meditation in the eight stages of yoga to rely on the pure consciousness inner spiritual growth.

Yoga meditation is said to be a way of life and when you do yoga postures and breathing exercises regularly. The eight-step program of yoga meditation is self-control the actions, self-control on positive thinking, self-control on the physical postures, self-control on breathing, self-control purposes , self control on any topic, self-control over his selfishness and the dissolution of the individual self in itself ..

To achieve spiritual growth, personal development program in yoga offers conscious practice of patience, contentment, non-attachment and non-violence in words, actions and thoughts. Meditation in Yoga is that emphasis on the discipline of thinking with mental relaxation and attention. Here, awareness is focused on thoughts as well as breathing. Yoga meditation program organizes the process of reflection and calm the spirit so perfectly. Finally, the program of yoga meditation is thoughtless state of mind, where consciousness is invoked on consciousness in the inner unit of life itself, called Samadhi.

Attention fixed on thoughts of spiritual object or subject is a physical activity program of meditation. Dissolve the thought processes is a non-physical program of meditation in yoga. Attention fixed on the spiritual thoughts is meditation for beginners for spiritual growth. Dissolve thought attention on internal processes of self meditation is peak of perfection in spiritual growth.
The aim of personal development program in meditation yoga is union with the Absolute, or the development of spiritual growth. .Today, many program of meditation in Yoga are also used for growth of self physical fitness, mental clarity, greater self-understanding, stress management and spiritual growth universal.

All the saints of the world, with the illumination of spiritual growth have been fans of various techniques of meditation based on yoga. We can invoke the growth concentration practicing meditation regularly on the basis of yoga.
Meditation in yoga program is the cure for diseases such as indigestion, constipation, obesity, fatigue. Today, many medical centers offer meditation classes to complement traditional medical treatments for a broad range of mental and physical. Meditation in yoga program aims to gain

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Different Ways Yoga Can Help With Your Back Pain

Certainly, back pain is among the most common complaints in America. The pain may range from moderate to severe. If you are among those suffering from this pain, you will definitely want to try anything possible to make it go away. An excellent idea you may not have thought of before is yoga retreats. Medical experts agree that certain yoga poses do ease back pain. Here are some of the top yoga poses that you will find relieving the next time you are in a yoga center:

Child’s pose – This is the most basic pose in any form of yoga, yet goes a long way in easing your back pain. To get to this pose, get into plank position then slowly go back until your chest is on top of your lap. Stay there for a few minutes. To feel even better, try the pose with the knees open but bring them together at the end. Breathe slowly as you go into these pose.

Fists forward bend – To get into this position, you need to stand on your yoga mat with your feet hip distance apart. Release the torso over your head as you bend the knees until your thighs are touching with your belly. Make two fists then place them on each elbow. Keep your head, neck and back relaxed. Take 10 breathes before releasing.

Back traction pose – For this move, you will require a yoga block. Lie on your back with your knees bent and the feet under them. Lift your hips from the ground and place your yoga block at the center of the hips. Once your hips are on the block, walk the feet wide and then knock the knees inwards for a minute.

Wall plank – This is among the easiest moves to do. Just stand near your wall and from your shoulders reach forward then plant your palms on the wall. Your fingers should be wide and the middle one should be pointing direct to the ceiling. Slowly walk the legs back until you come to an L position.

Pigeon pose – This is a little complicated but you can do it. Bring your knee behind your right twist from down. Stretch your left leg out behind you while your knee is on top of your foot facing your floor.

Downward-facing dog – If you learn to do this pose correctly, it can be a miracle to your back pain. Start in plank position then lift your arms and hips up until you can do an inverted V-shape position. Stay here for a few minutes.

To know more about Yoga Retreat Ashtanga and Siddhi Yoga Academy, please visit our website.

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Weight Loss Kundalini Yoga-Follow Gurmukh to Experience It

Kundalini Yoga addresses issues, both at the corporeal and the emotional levels on the spiritual plane. As a result, one of the benefits of Kundalini Yoga, at the physical level, is weight reduction. As a matter of fact, practicing a specific set of asanas (exact movements culminating in certain precise postures) along with breathing procedures under the Kundalini Yoga realm will provide people many rewards that include continued sense of tranquility, stronger limbs, better flexibility, and reduced weight. Weight loss Kundalini Yoga is a fabulous program for people concerned with weight loss.

The particular asanas and the breathing that are part of Kundalini Yoga are meant to burn the body fat of the practitioners and increase their metabolism. Such positive changes help the body to optimize the body weight, fitness, and the state of health. Some of the details of these distinct benefits are stiffness-free joints that are more flexible, fewer arthritis flare-ups, and also reduced blood pressure as well as decreased cholesterol levels.

A highly respected teacher of Kundalini Yoga and a pioneer in the field of prenatal yoga is Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. This was the spiritual name was given to Mary May Gibson of Illinois when she was baptized in to Sikhism. The term’s meaning is, “One who helps people across the world ocean.” She has ever since taken that as her responsibility and her life’s mission.

For many years she has been conducting classes in prenatal care and postnatal care, apart from, of course, meditation and Kundalini Yoga, in Los Angeles, now New York too, as well as various parts of the world. Just after the dawn of the New Millennium (2002, to be exact), she co-founded along with Gurutej Kaur, the leading yoga center named Golden Bridge in Los Angeles. She also officiates as its director. Another institution that she founded and which is very close to her heart is Khalsa Way. It is a movement that aims to create proper awareness and provide education on child birth to help mothers.

Over the years, she has authored a series of books and DVDs on Kundalini Yoga. The DVDs include, ‘Kundalini Yoga: Healthy Body Fearless Spirit,’ ‘Kundalini Yoga – Unlock Your Spiritual Energy,’ and, ‘Pre Natal Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Mothers to be.’ All these are available at the web site www.yogatech.com at Yoga Technology.

Irrespective of whether you are looking specifically for weight loss or other benefits of Kundalini Yoga you may bring home her books & DVDs and start learning Kundalini Yoga right in the comfort of your own home!

About Author :-

Maya Fiennes is an avid yoga enthusiast and a yoga practitioner. She follows weight loss kundalini yoga, which brings the spirit and body together as one and she has been researching on it for many years. Gurmukh assist practitioners in maintaining good body condition and help them practice yoga in proper way.

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