Find The Right Yoga Teacher

August 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners

Though there are most likely at least half a dozen yoga studios and gyms that offer yoga classes in your neighborhood, finding the one class and the right teacher to suit your needs is not always easy. Start at the beginning with these steps and when you have completed all of them you are sure to have located the best yoga class and teacher combination for your schedule, location, interest, and temperament.

* What are your choices? The telephone book, the internet, community newspapers, ad boards at your local health food store or organic grocery store – all of these are great ways to find out what is available to you. Spread the word that you’re looking for a good class. Your dental hygienist may turn you onto a class you’ve never heard of or your librarian may moonlight as an instructor on the weekends. You never know until you start looking.

* When would you like to take your yoga class? Some people prefer to start their day very early with an energizing yoga class. Others like to wind down after work with a long, relaxing class and still others prefer to pop in a 20 minute yoga class every day during lunch or once a week on Saturday mornings. Determining when a class will best fit into your schedule will help you narrow down your choices.

* Which yoga classes are most convenient to you? After you have chosen the best time for you to take your class, consider where you will be just before then. Are you coming from home or work? Do you need something to fill the time while your youngest takes his gymnastics class and therefore need a class near there? Finding one that is close to where you are at the time that you want to take the class will help you maintain an effective, consistent practice.

* What type of yoga is taught at the schools that are close to where you want to be when you want to take your class? If you’re a beginner, you may not want to jump into a dynamic Ashtanga yoga class. If you’re more advanced, then a mild Kripalu yoga course may not be what you’re looking for to push your limits. Call the schools and centers that are left on your list and ask them to send you a list of classes they have available. From these, you will be able to see what is available during the time slots you have open.

* Try them out! Most yoga schools and centers allow you to take one class without signing up for 10 weeks worth of practice. Experiment and try out all the classes that interest you. If you find more than one that appeals to you, maybe you can switch back and forth. If none are what you’re looking for, then go back to your original list and expand your parameters or see if there are any yoga schools that you’ve overlooked. Soon you’ll find the perfect class and the perfect teacher for your yoga practice.

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The Five Things You Should Know About Yoga

April 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners

Yoga, an exotic form of exercise, is now the new trend in the fitness world. Just like any other form of exercise, it is based on basic philosophies in order to attain a healthy body and mind for its practitioners.

The following details will discuss the five yoga principles and how they may be of help to our exercise.

1. Relaxation – this yoga principle involves proper relaxation that can help release muscle tensions. This works by putting the mind and body in a tranquil state, which is the goal of yoga. This revitalizes the nervous system and lets us achieve inner peace. This makes each day of our life feels so complete and peaceful. The relaxed feeling is carried into all our activities that help us conserve energy in our body.

2. Proper diet – the food we eat greatly affects the way we think. Improper nutrition can sometimes cause mental inefficiency and hinder our capabilities to achieve self-awareness. A healthy diet should be able to nourish both the mind and the body. However, this does not necessarily mean that we have to eat all the healthy foods we come across every day. We should also learn to eat in moderations to prevent any food related ailments. Eat only when you are hungry.

3. Correct breathing – this next yoga principle involves can be achieved though deep, slow and regular breathing. Correct breathing utilizes all part of the lungs to increase oxygen intake. To achieve this we need to regulate the duration and length of inhaling, exhaling and retaining air in our lungs. In yoga practice, each breath is known to contain our life force and that through proper breathing; we can maintain our over-all wellness.

4. Proper exercise – this yoga principle is based upon the idea that our physical body is designed to move and exercise. The correct form of exercise in yoga is achieved through different form of postures and stretches. These exercises tone our muscles, regulate blood flow and enhance the flexibility of our spine. Yoga poses, also known as Asnas, works in partner with correct breathing. Each pose and stretch should be coordinated with a correct form of breathing allowing us to feel one with our body and spirit.

5. Meditation and positive thinking – meditation can relax the mind and the body. It also helps remove negative thoughts from our mind. Thus, purifying us from stress and other worldly thoughts that we might have.

For those who want to begin the yoga practice, just keep in mind these yoga principles so that you will not be mislead from your true goal. That is to attain a healthy mind and body.

Cindy Heller is a professional writer. To learn more about yoga teacher training, please visit Free Yoga Exercises.

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Yoga: It’s Not Just Stretching

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners

Yoga postures or stretches are one part of a hundred types of Yoga. The psychophysical branch, named Hatha Yoga, comprises the yoga stretches or postures. Well-trained, experienced Yoga teachers do not teach the techniques of Yoga without fi rst covering some basic behaviors like non-violence and purity of mind and body. Teaching a student to treat others with respect, eat well, rest and exercise are all prerequisites to the practice of authentic Yoga.

In the old tradition, a Classical Yoga student followed a strict regimen. To master a posture meant remaining still in a pose for three hours. The goal was not limited to technical mastery however, as Classical Yoga was preparation for further spiritual practice. This lifestyleincorporates all aspects of the personality (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual) with the aim of freeing a student from any blocks that limit him/her from higher pursuits.

Perhaps living a healthy lifestyle in the modern world is today’s posture to master. The integrated
approach to life presented by Classical Yoga helps one cope with stress. The essence of Classical Yoga can be applied to modern life by integrating theory into practices that transform one’s attitude toward interactions.

To begin, the philosophy of Yoga is applied to each part of our lives, but let me apply the fi rst step in
doing a Yoga pose as an example. Each morning when I wake up and feel the normal stiffness after sleep, I think that taking a short walk and performing a few Yoga poses will make me feel great and make the day ahead a good one. While my thoughts are not negative, they are not enlightened Yogic thoughts. “I want” a specific outcome to occur. If I am really honest, I don’t want to hear anyone complain, I don’t want to see anyone suffer and I certainly don’t want to remember any unsolved
problems. This type of attitude, again while optimistic, lacks the spiritual dimension.

If I approach Yoga for guaranteed success, I would say, “Ah, today I will enjoy some stretches and clear my mind so that I might be ashining light in the midst of whatever the day brings”. This spiritual attitude accepts life for what it is. There may be pain, suffering, joy or love, but whatever happens, I
maintain an accepting attitude. This approach can now be applied to everything. If you exercise today and want to feel good, then you are going to be trapped by your “wanting”. If you exercise and just accept life for what it is, you will be successful no matter the outcome.

This one example of how an accepting attitude shows you the power of Yoga when it is taught in its proper manner. Below are the eight main steps that comprise the Classical Yoga system in relation to yoga poses and meditation.

The Eight Steps of Classical Yoga:

  1. Restraints: Non-Violence, Truth, Non-Stealing, Moderation and Non-Greed.
  2. Observance of Virtue: Purity, Contentment, Fortitude, Study, and Recognition of a Higher Reality.
  3. Physical: Yoga Postures, Hygiene, Diet, Exercise, Rest.
  4. Bio-Energy Control utilizes breathing exercises to develop an understanding of the body’s use of life force.
  5. Sensory Awakening: Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste and Hearing.
  6. Concentration focuses the mind on one topic and returns to the topic when the mind jumps. Most meditators are in a stage of concentration during their practice.
  7. Meditation means thinking on only one thought for a prolonged period of time. Traditionally, 28 minutes is distinguished as the time to transform concentration to meditation.
  8. Trance Consciousness is a mystical state of consciousness that occurs to a person but cannot be consciously manifested.

A Yoga Lifestyle is a path that can lead to, a positive belief system, reduction of stressful behaviors,
nutritional awareness, yoga poses and breathing, relaxation, meditation, yoga psychology, a hobby /
creative outlet, group support, and an individualized home program.

A common beginner question is how will Yoga benefit someone who is out of shape. Yoga practices can
be modified for all conditions. Beginner or Gentle Yoga classes are helpful for those who need to move very slowly.

Beginner classes are non-fatiguing and concentrate on learning the fundamentals of Yoga poses. When proper breathing and alignment is learned, the benefits of Yoga poses accrue. Students who are fit will find a vigorous class (vinyasa class) to be a challenge, especially for those who have not patiently learned the basics of Yoga poses. For best results, first study in the slower beginners
class to learn proper breathing and form. Many who are fit but new to Yoga often skip beginner levels and are prone to injure themselves as the mixture of toning, stretching breathing and relaxation needs to be understood first.

Those suffering from a health condition should work together with their health professional’s guidance.
Yoga may support health by reducing stress and motivating the student to practice the principles of
healthy living. However, do not look to the Yoga teacher to know the limits of your activity. Ask your Doctor for your limits and then bring that information to the Yoga teacher.

A Yoga teacher cannot diagnose nor recommend what is best for a particular condition. However, the
teacher should know how to adapt exercises if you tell them your limitations. Conditions that can be improved through healthy living and a thorough Yoga program include, addiction support, anxiety, asthma, back ache, depression, diabetes, emotional integration, high blood pressure, insomnia, life changes, meditation training, pain management, prenatal exercise, preventative health care, stress management, and weight loss.

The practice of these ideas is not easy. Bad habits are ingrained from childhood. Society teaches
competition, not balanced living. Stress producing ideals are ingrained in the fabric of our thinking; be a millionaire, be famous, change the world. These materialistic goals do not bring health or happiness.
Classical Yoga can provide expert guidance in proper intention and technique. Then, the practitioner
experiences how the meaning of Yoga relates to the meaning of life. Yoga does not define life; it illustrates ways of creating a balanced state of mind. Clarity of mind allows one to know reality from within and remain unaffected by the stress of society. Slowly, these practices develop into a routine of healthy living.

The Exhileration And Rewards Of Practicing Yoga

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners

An excellent way of keeping your mind and body fit, is to practice yoga and if you’re looking something that’s exhilarating both physically and mentally then the advantages of practicing yoga is for you. Basically to practice yoga all you need is yourself, a yoga mat, a good teacher at a yoga studio to
learn and an open mind.

Various Tools Available For Purchase To Enhance Your Practice Of Yoga Sessions

The yoga mat is a must to begin and is used to provide cushioning for your body and once you become more proficient in your yoga poses you may not choose to use one. At most yoga studios a mat can usually be hired, it’s a good idea to have your own as you don’t want to be bothered with other peoples sweat etc. A good yoga mat will cost approximately twenty Euro and up, this price shouldn’t sway your commitment in deciding to go ahead.

You may want to consider purchasing two yoga mats, if you’re going to do yoga at home you’ll need one there too. Yoga mats do come in various types i.e. thick-mats, sticky-mats, travel-mats, extra-long-mats etc., so make sure to purchase the one that suits you best.

With some yoga poses you may need yoga props such as blocks which are generally made of bamboo or foam and are reasonably priced at under ten Euro or so. If your new to yoga a dvd or cd could be a good idea so you can practice your yoga at home too. These yoga lessons on dvd or cd are priced at anything between fifteen to fifty Euro. Meditation cushions are also available at reasonable prices, but are not essential to start practicing yoga.

The Benefits of Practicing Yoga

One of yoga’s many benefits is that it will help to increase your ability to find your space, harmony, inner peace and ease within your body and mind. But yoga can also help ease aches and pains in all parts of the body – for example; one of the places where we often have tightened tendons is around
the shoulders and neck area, which often causes headaches, practicing yoga can loosen up tight muscles and tendons and alleviate those annoying headache.

Yoga Poses For Beginners

There are many yoga poses, each one being helpful for any number of ailments, aches, pains and stress. No need to be overwhelmed or put off, you’ll learn the poses as you go and as your yoga is hopefully going to be a lifelong pursuit, you’ll have lots of time to learn. As your practice of yoga
progresses, you’ll become less overwhelmed and be comfortable taking on more of the challenging poses, but as a beginner, it’s a good idea to keep your yoga practice simple. However, don’t jump right into any fancy yoga exercises before you’ve been to a few yoga classes. It can take years to
learn the various yoga positions, but there are exercises that are appropriate and helpful for beginner students too.

A few standing yoga poses for beginners – both in English and Sanskrit include the following:

Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha

Downward-Facing Dog is an all-round yoga pose, which is a rejuvenating stretch. A few of the benefits of this pose are that it calms the brain and helps relieve stress, energizing the body as well as it stretches the shoulders, calves, arches, and hands.


1. Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.

2. Curl the toes under and push back raising the hips and straightening the legs.

3. Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips.

4. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones.

5. Let the head hang, move the shoulder blades away from the ears towards the hips.

6. Engage the quadriceps strongly to take the weight off the arms, making this a resting pose.

7. Rotate the thighs inward, keep the tail high and sink your heels to the floor.

8. Check that the distance between your hands and feet is correct by coming forward to a plank position. The distance between the hands and feet should be the same in these two poses. Do not step the feet toward the hands in Down Dog in order the get the heels to the floor. This will happen eventually as the muscles lengthen.

Beginners: Try bending your knees, coming up onto the balls of your feet, bringing the belly to rest on the thighs and the sit bones up high. Then sink your heels, straightening the legs keeping the high upward rotation of the sit bones. Also try bending the arms slightly out to the side, drawing the chest towards the thighs. Then restraighten the arms.

Advanced: If you are very flexible, try not to let the rib cage sink towards the floor creating a sinking spine. Draw the ribs in to maintain a flat back. Try holding the pose for five minutes, placing a block under your head for support.

Extended Sides Angle Pose – Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Sides Angle Pose is used to create a stretch along the top side of the body, from the back heel through the raised arm. The need to match a stretch along the underside of the torso is often neglected.

1. From Downward Facing Dog, bring the right foot forward next to the right hand.

2. Drop the left heel down to the floor.

3. Bend the right knee so the calf and thigh are at a right angle with the thigh parallel to the floor.

4. Bring the right hand inside or outside the right foot and the left arm up toward the ceiling, opening the chest and stacking the left shoulder on top of the right.

5. Bring the gaze up to the right hand.

To keep the body in balance, repeat on the left side.

Beginners: If the right hand does not comfortably reach the floor, take a block under the hand so that you can still open the chest.

Pyramid Pose Intense Stretch Pose – Parsvottanasana

As the name suggests this pose is an intense stretch for the entire body. Our legs secure us firmly to the ground as our spine falls forward calling upon balance and concentration while promoting inner calm.

1. Standing in Tadasana, turn your right foot out slightly. Then, step the left leg forward so that your stance is fairly wide, yet comfortable. If you feel too wide or too close, adjust your stance. You will be looking over your left leg, your hips squared with the left leg.

2. Take the arms behind the back holding onto your forearms. Stand here for a few cycles of breath to gain a sense of balance, root your legs into the ground and to feel the stretch in the legs.

3. Inhale deeply while lifting the chest and looking upward, being careful not to strain the neck. Begin to exhale while bending forward, leading with the chest. Come down toward your left leg and tuck your chin in towards your chest, when you reach your limit. Concentrate and hold, while breathing fluidly.

4. If balance is compromised, release the arms so that your fingertips gently touch the floor on both sides of the foot. If you cannot reach the floor, place them on your leg, without depending on the leg for support. You will need to bring your awareness into the lower back for support.

5. Breathe into the backs of the legs where you feel the stretch. Lengthen the spine, deepening the pose on your exhalation.

6. To come out of the pose, inhale and roll the torso up starting from the base of the spine. When you are upright again, allow the breath to guide your reflection before stepping your feet together. Repeat on the other side.


* Strengthens and stretches entire leg and back
* Strengthens and tones abdomen; improves digestive system
* Massages liver and stomach
* Improves complexion, hair, eyes and cools the brain

Cautionary Notes/Modifications:

* Adjust your back foot to accommodate the rotation toward your forward leg.
* Variation: clasp hands behind the back and extend the arms away from you as you fold forward
* Before descending the torso, open the shoulders, lengthen the spine as you look upward starting at about 45 degrees, (more if your neck is strong and uncompromised) coming into a back bend.
* Do not come down into the final posture if you are suffering from any abdominal illnesses

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

The Mountain Pose is said to be named so as it promotes the experience of stillness, strength, relaxed power, and immovable stability associated with mountains.


1. Come to stand with the big toes touching.

2. Lift up all your toes and let them fan out, then drop them down creating a wide solid base. You can separate your heels slightly if your ankles are knocking together uncomfortably.

3. Bring your weight evenly onto all four corners of both feet.

4. Let the feet and the calves root down into the floor.

5. Engage the quadriceps and draw them upward, causing your knee caps to rise.

6. Rotate both thighs inward, creating a widening of the sit bones, and tuck your tailbone in between the sit bones.

7. Tone the belly, drawing it in slightly.

8. Widen the collar bones and make sure the shoulders are parallel to the pelvis.

9. The neck is long, the crown of the head rises toward the ceiling, and the shoulder blades slide down the back.

It may seem like you are just standing there, but bringing the body into alignment is hard work. The alignment for Tadasana carries in to many of the standing and inverted poses.

Beginners: Practice the pose with your back to the wall so you can feel the alignment. Take a block between the thighs. Squeeze the block and roll it slightly backward to feel the engagement and rotation of the thighs.

Of course there many, many more yoga poses for beginners, these will get you started and you can get the feel of it. Yoga can be invigorating even if using it’s practice just to obtain physical fitness but it can bring more insight into yourself, those around you and a deeper understanding into life itself. A true instrument of learning that anyone can learn and take pleasure in.

Yoga Asanas for beginners

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners, Yoga Tips

What does asana mean? It is a strange word and it is easy to get confuse with all the names when starting yoga. It is fairly simple: asana simply mean various yoga postures. There are good chances that you recently started yoga if you are reading this article, so it will be of great interest for you. The asanas presented in this article are in no way “expert asanas” are are meant to get you accustomed to yoga practices by gaining increased flexibility.

Asana happens to be one of the pillar of yoga practices and it is for a reason: through asanas, you will learn balance, patience, tolerance and perseverance.

How to perform asanas

Asanas can be performed in a lot of different positions: seated, standing, turning and twisting posture, balancing posture and supine. There are multiple levels in asanas depending on the level of complexity. These levels are pretty simple and are: beginner, middle and comple.

Which asana for what.

Depending on what you are looking to improve, there are different asanas you will want to consider. For example, if you’d like to make your back or hips stronger, you will have to look into sitting asanas.  For your mental condition, balance postures will be your best bet. To enhance your flexibility you can use twisting and turning asanas and if you are just looking for tranquility and peace then relaxation is for yo.

Popular asanas

  • Shvasana: This asana requires you to lie on your back in a completely rested state. This is why this asana is called the corpse pose
  • Padmasana: This asanas will test your tolerance level because it is a sitting posture with errected back and with legs on opposite thighs
  • Navasana: To perform this asana correctly, you will be required, by being in a sitting posture, to lift your legs with a 45 degrees angle from the surface of the floor.
  • Utkatasna: This one is hard and will require endurance. This is because this pose requires you to be in a sitting position without any chair. While in this position, you will have to raise your handes towards sky.
  • Dhanurasana: This is a hard one and you will have to lie with the help of your stomach and thighs. Then, what you want to ahieve is a “bow” posture by simply taking hold of your legs with your hands.

Being aware of you level of skills is important when practicing yoga. If you are a beginner, concentrate on beginner’s asanas and slowly move to more complex ones.

Beginners Guide to Yoga

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under featured, Yoga for beginners

Yoga has gained a lot of popularity over the past couple of years and will continue to get more in the years to come. You might have already started yoga classes yourself and if you have done so, you are on the right path and it is a great decision you have made. Yoga will not only keep you in good shape, but it will also prevent various complications and improve your mental health.

To practice yoga, you might want to consider subscribing yourself to yoga classes in your area because it is definitely one of the best way to start. In beginner’s classes, you will be taught all of the basics of yoga including postures. If you are willing and interested in learning yoga by yourself, please know that there are some good books and e-books on the subject. There are even beginner’s yoga videos available to assist  you and get you started.  It is important to get the basics right at first when doing yoga, so if you decide to go and learn by yourself you must not go into complex yoga practices at first.

Saluting sun and moon is one of the first thing that will learn as a beginner in yoga.  After that, you will want to learn relaxation exercises and also some interesting and important breathing techniques. Breathing is extremely important in yoga.

You will eventually start learning asanas that can be performed easily and you will also learn yoga postures of crouching and stooping.

You will notice when starting yoga and doing it for the first time that the first movements you will learn have the only goal of enhancing body flexibility. Then, more complex and difficult yoga practices will come as you acquire the required flexibility and tolerance.  It is also important to know the basic body balance postures when doing yoga, so it is also part of the various other basic positions you will learn in beginner’s yoga sessions.

Beginner’s yoga is basically just for people to get comfortable with yoga. Once you feel comfortable enough, you can go ahead with more complex genres of yoga and take classes according to that. It is normal to feel discomfort when doing yoga at first, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep going and you will soon notice all the benefits.

The different types of yoga

November 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga for beginners, Yoga Tips

Today, there are different types of yoga being taught and practiced. For that reason, it is imperative to choose the right type of yoga for you. Each yoga type has its own way of thinking and methods. You will find out that some styles or yoga are much more physical and based on flexibility or poses while some other styles are more meditative.

Here are presented the different types of yoga for you to make a better choice and decide which yoga style is best for you.

Hatha Yoga

This one does involves physical postures and breathing techniques. This style offer good benefits for your health in a physical way, but also in a spiritual way. You won’t necessary achieve a fit body with this technique, but you will definitely be balancing and strengthening your nervous system.

Jnana Yoga

This style of yoga does not focus on physical benefits, but more on knowledge. This is because this technique involves seven stages: involving study, selft-realization, desire, protection of the mind, developing non-attachment to material objects, letting the world appear like a dream, non attachment to the world and finally knowledge of the truth.

Bikram Yoga

If you are looking for body fitness, this is the kind of yoga that will let you achieve it. It will let you develop all components of fitness and that is muscular endurance, strength, flexibility and weight loos.


This technique is often referred as power yoga. That technique is a very intense workout and it is aimed at building strength and endurance. Again, this is for you if you are up to the challenge of a very intense workout!


This one is used more as a therapeutic measure. It is often used by people who have suffered injuries or are recovering from a surgery.


This last type of Yoga will focus on your breath and coordination. It is a form of yoga that will require you to be physically active.