Yoga Exercise Mats for The True Yoga

Hollywood stars, famous sportsmen, judges in the highest courts and the rest of us - busy executives - seek and find the true refreshment in yoga techniques. May be because you need to choose from a variery of yoga exercise mats to start experiencing its unique techniques, but may be just because it works. A unique path to enlightenment winds back 5,000 years in its native India. Yoga is steadily becoming World's most popular way to relieve the stress and ease pain. This happens because while you are doing yoga exercises you create mental imagery wich give an opprtunity to sort out all you ideas and solve problems. And mainly that's the reason of the huge amount of Yoga exercise mats in the market.

Yoga now conquers the continent — from the hills of Hollywood, where $20 million-a-picture actors queue for a session with their teacher in youga, to New York, where so many people find the refreshment in the rush day while doing yoga classes. We rush from our high-pressure jobs and routine in to the authoritatively mellow voice of an instructor, gently urging us to solder a union between mind and spirit.

Millions of people all over the World try to include some form of yoga in their fitness regimen. And the amount is steadily rising. Research says, that more than 80% of all U.S. health clubs offer yoga classes. Many in those classes are looking not inward but behind. We come to yoga for the discipline to restore our troubled bodies, and yoga makes us feel better: our mind, soul and spirit.

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Keeping medical scare stories in perspective

There are many stories on the internet (and elsewhere) about people who take ambien expecting a good night's sleep, and then wake up to discover that they have been eating peanut-butter sandwiches during the night - personally, the only way I'd ever eat a peanut-butter sandwich is if I was asleep and then had no memory of it afterwards.

Taste is personal. But back to the urban myths. It seems that people have been sleepwaking their way through routine tasks and putting themselves in danger by trying to cook or, worse, driving a car. The FDA, never a body to be panicked into anything, last year required all drugs that are classed as "sedative hypnotics" to carry a warning. It's a strange kind of warning. It goes, "If you take this drug, don't walk around when you're alseep." But you get the idea.

Anyway, because sleep-aid medications are a part of this broad class of sedative hypnotics, I thought I'd better say a few words about it. By the way, did you know that the number of prescriptions for sleep-aids grew by 10% in 2007? That millions more prescrptions than in 2006 and does not include all the internet sales that avoid the need for a prescrption. So a vast number of people, not just in the US, but around the world, are knocking back sleep-aids like ambien (the brand leader).

So, what is the real scale of this sleepwalking phenom? Well, the World Health Organization (WHO?) has just woken up to the potential problem and has been gathering evidence. The use of sedative hypnotics for insomnia has been around for decades. In the good old days of the last century, people were happily swallowing benzodiazepines and then experiencing minor disorientations. Some found their memory was affected or they were more likely to get confused. With the more modern varieties of drugs (which are nonbenzodiazepines - that makes you feel better does it not?), we now have reports of some behavioral disturbances (fancy words including confusion, agitation and, of course, sleepwalking).

To find out exactly what level of crisis the world is facing, the WHO instructed its Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring to spread its net wide. It draws its data from twenty-four countries which gives us a good snapshot of what is going on around the world. The latest news is just in. You'd better prepare yourselves for a shock. In 2006/7, there were 867 reports of adverse reactions following the use of nonbenzodiazepines. That is 36 reports per country over a 365 day period. Now go back to the fact that millions of people around the world are taking sedative hypnotics and you have a true measure of the scale of the problem.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that experts around the world are not entirely sure why people sleepwalk. The cause could be anything (including an adverse reaction to a drug). So before internet gurus and newspaper journalists get all excited about the latest story about a driver running a defense in a criminal trial for dangerous driving, let's remember that defendants will seize on any possibility to avoid a conviction. Personally, I'd blame the lawyers before I'd blame ambien for sleepwalking.

Enhanced Breathing Exercises Help Attain Better Life (2/2)


  • Pranayamas cause rhythmic expansion of the lungs, creating better circulation within the kidneys, liver, stomach, spleen, intestines, skin and other organs of the body
  • Oxygen is essential for efficient functioning of every body cell. It purifies the blood stream and therefore there is improvement in the quality of blood
  • The mind is calm and able to concentrate better.
  • Deep, slow breathing results in a stronger and more efficient working of the heart and lungs.

Types of Pranayama exercises

(1) Yogic breathing (the complete breath)
This breathing exercise uses the lower, mid and upper part of the respiratory muscles. Start with abdominal breathing, followed by thoracic breathing and finally clavicle breathing. Reverse the order when you exhale.

  • Increases lung capacity
  • Slows respiration rate
  • Calms the mind.

(2) Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)
This is a simple form of alternate nostril breathing. Nadi means ‘channel’ and refers to the energy pathways through which the prana flows. Shodhana means ‘cleansing’. Nadi shodhana means purification of nadis or channels. Inhale through the left nostril, exhale through the right; inhale through the right and exhale through the left. This is one round of breathing.

  • Strengthens the nervous system
  • Helps conditions such as anxiety, depression, hypertension, and hypotension.

(3) Kapalabhati (cleansing breath)
Kapala means skull and bhati means to purify. In this pranayama, through quick, rapid expulsions of the breath, the nasal passages are cleansed and purified. Inhale deeply. Exhale partially with rapid movements of the abdomen.

  • Increases oxygen and blood circulation to the head region
  • Tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles
  • Improves digestion and prevents constipation.

(4) Bhramari (humming bee)

Brahmari means bee. The exhalation sound in this exercise is similar to a female bee. Place the thumb on your ears; and inhale, then exhale making the sound of the humming bee.
  • Nourishes and calms the brain cells
  • Soothes the nerves
  • Helps in treating insomnia

Enhanced Breathing Exercises Help Attain Better Life (1/2)

Pranayama or breath control is an important bridge between the outward practices of yoga asanas, and the inward surrendering yogic practices. By focusing on the breath the mind becomes calm and balanced.

What it means
Prana means life force and anayama means control. Pranayama means mastering the life force within. When consciously controlled, it has a powerful vitalising effect on the body, mind and spirit.

Pranayama helps to connect the body to its battery, the solar plexus, where tremendous potential energy is stored. When tapped through specific techniques this vital energy, or prana, is released for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. Regular practice removes obstructions, which impede the flow of vital energy. When the cells work in unison, they bring back harmony and health to the system. Everything we do uses life force or prana — notice how fatiguing it is when an argument leaves you feeling drained. For most of us, this vital energy is constantly depleted and never recharged.

Fast, shallow breathing
Pollution, bad posture and faulty living habits enable us to use only a fraction of our potential respiratory capacity. Our lifestyle and unhealthy habits cause restriction in our breathing pattern. Poor posture (hunching, slouching) reduces lung capacity. This results in fatigue caused by the decrease in blood circulation and insufficient supply of oxygen to blood cells. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient in our bodies. It helps to maintain the flow of oxygenated blood to the nerves, brain, spinal cord and cardiac muscles, maintaining their efficiency.

The link between the mind and breathing is most significant. The Yogic sutras encourage practice of pranayama to calm the mind, especially before practising meditation. The first step is to create breath awareness. Here, awareness of the breath means keeping the mind alert, still and free of clutter.

During the practice the mind concentrates on inhalation, exhalation or retention of the breath. Different pranayamas emphasise different techniques. Inhalation supplies abundance of oxygen to the entire body. Exhalation expels waste products and toxins from the body. Retention is holding of the breath to gain control and prevent dissipation of energy.

To be continued...

Yoga for drooping shoulders — II

Exercises to increase flexibility and remove stiffness

Today we focus on postures that increase the range of movement of your shoulders. As your flexibility improves and your movement increases, you will feel lighter on your shoulders and feel them moving backwards. Remember to hold the postures for some time as the longer you hold them, the more results you will get.

Caution: Those with cervical problems should practice the following exercises with care. Those with severe back and shoulder conditions, should avoid exercise three.

Exercise 1

• Lie on your stomach, your legs straight, your feet together, your soles pointing upward and your forehead on the floor
• Place your palms below and to side of the shoulders, your elbows tucked in close to the body
• Inhale, slowly raise your head and upper body, straighten your arms and curve your back backward to maximum as shown
• Hold, breathing normally
• Exhale as you slowly come down to start position.

Exercise 2

• Lie flat on your stomach, your legs together, your arms beside the body, your chin on the floor
• Bend both your knees
• Reach for your toes or ankles and grip them firmly
• Inhale and raise your upper body while tensing the leg muscles and pushing your feet backwards
• Hold for 10-20 seconds
• Exhale and slowly release the legs and come down.

Exercise 3

• Stand on your knees, keeping them a little apart, your feet stretched out
• Lean back; catch hold of your right heel with your right hand
• Take your left arm back over your head, push the abdomen forward, drop the head back and arch backward as far as you can
• Hold as long as comfortable, breathe normally
• Slowly raise your head, bring your arm forward, come up, release your right hand and resume starting position
• Repeat with the other side.

Exercise 4

• Go down on your hands and knees, your hands placed below the shoulders, your feet together
• Inhale, exhale and slowly drop your head down and arch the back as shown
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Inhale as you raise the head and lower back to the start position.

Yoga for Women - Pamper your beautiful body

Every organ in the body is a muscle performing a specific function; be it digestion or secretion of hormones or detoxification of the body. The reproductive organs are muscles that need some form of massage. These exercises do just that. It works your reproductive organs so that they function smoothly and optimally.

CAUTION: Those with heart disease or high blood pressure and pregnant women should avoid Exercise 1. People with severe lower back conditions and stiff knee-joints should do Exercise 2 - 4 with care which will stabilise the breath.


• Sit with your legs stretched out, and your back straight
• Bend one leg; place your ankle on the opposite thigh, close to the groin
• Bend the other leg and place the ankle on the thigh of the bent leg, close to the groin. Place your hands on your knees
• Exhale completely, pull up the genital space and close the anal space. Keep abdominal muscles tight
• Relax the lock and inhale
• Repeat thrice.

• Sit with your legs stretched out, and your back straight
• Place your palms slightly behind you
• Bend one knee and place below your other knee
• Lower your bent knee to the floor as shown
• Look in the opposite direction
• Hold for 10-30 seconds
• Repeat with the other leg.


• Lie flat on your back with arms stretched out and palms down
• Bend one leg, place foot on your other knee
• Gently twisting the spine, drop upright knee towards the floor Keep both your shoulders on the floor and look in the opposite direction
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Repeat for the other side.


• Bend your right leg to bring your knee in front of the body and stretch the other behind
• Place your palms in front, place your front heel away from the groin
• Inhale slowly, cup your fingers and stretch your upper body backwards and look at the sky
• Hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat.

Yoga for drooping shoulders — I

As a person grows old his/her age reflects in their shoulders. They tend to droop and hang forward creating an unattractive look. Even a young person sometimes develops this problem due to lack of exercise, low self -confidence or depression. These simple exercises done over a period of time will slowly straighten your shoulders and give you a much more positive feeling about your self.

Caution: Those with cervical problems should practice the following exercises with care. Those suffering from sciatica, slipped disc or serious back conditions, should avoid exercise four.

Exercise 1

• Sit with your legs together and stretched out in front of you and your back erect
• Place your hands behind you and below your shoulders as shown
• Inhale as you slowly drop your head back, push your chest out and bend your foot forward
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Slowly lower your chest, raise your head and come back to the start position.

Exercise 2

• Lie on your stomach, your legs straight and your feet together, your soles pointing upward and your forehead on the floor
• Place your palms below and to the side of the shoulders, your elbows tucked in close to the body
• Inhale, slowly raise your head and upper chest as shown
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Exhale as you slowly come down to the start position.

Exercise 3

• Lie on your stomach, your legs straight, your feet together, your soles pointing upward and your forehead on the floor
• Interlock your hands behind your back as shown
• Inhale, slowly pull your arms back and raise your head and upper chest as shown
• Hold for 10-30 seconds, breathing normally
• Exhale as you slowly come down to the start position.

Exercise 4

• Sit back on your heels, your knees together, your toes overlapping, your back straight and your palms on your knees
• Inhale, slowly raise both your arms straight above your head
• Exhale and slowly bend your arms forward — straight and in line with your ears. Rest your forehead on the floor and bring your palms together
• Hold for 30 seconds, your body relaxed, breathing normally
• Inhale, slowly raise your arms and upper body, exhale and lower your arms to the start position.

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