Yoga For Dummies book cover

Yoga For Dummies

By: Larry Payne and Georg Feuerstein Published: 06-03-2014

Sharing the benefits of yoga in a way that everyone can enjoy and understand

Practicing yoga has many health benefits, including improving your overall fitness, flexibility, and strength. It has also been known to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. And if you're suffering from chronic lower back pain, yoga is a perfect choice for you. Yoga For Dummies, 3rd Edition will show you how to get up to speed on the fundamentals of Yoga, whether you're participating in a class, teaching a class, or practicing it on your own. This new edition features over 20% new and updated content plus 12 companion videos featuring the hottest and most popular poses. Inside, you will find:

  • Do-it-yourself yoga programs for you to practice
  • The latest techniques for breathing properly
  • Photos on key poses that can improve front sides and backsides
  • New coverage on yoga against the wall, the use of props in yoga, couples yoga, and more

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, yoga can be a wonderfully relaxing exercise for you. Whether you decide to persist in a traditional do-it-yourself yoga practice or experiment with the use of props in a new yoga routine, this book can help. Children, pregnant women, mid-lifers, and seniors can all enjoy the benefits of yoga simply explained in this comprehensive, fun guide.

Articles From Yoga For Dummies

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Yoga For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-02-2022

Yoga is an ancient practice that still provides numerous benefits today to the people who practice it regularly. Some people are scared off by certain myths they’ve heard about Yoga, but in truth, there’s no reason why anyone can’t and shouldn’t practice it. If you’re new to Yoga, finding a class and a teacher that fits your needs is crucial. After that, you need to make sure you’re doing all you can to make your Yoga practice as successful and beneficial as it can be.

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Yoga Benefits in Midlife and Beyond

Article / Updated 02-18-2020

Midlife, as the word suggests, refers to the middle of life. With a little extra help from Yoga, it’s not, as some people think, “The End,” but rather a new beginning. Yoga helps you navigate the physical and emotional changes associated with midlife and allows you to age gracefully, healthfully, and actively. Working through menopause Menopause signals a major biochemical change in a woman, marked most obviously by the disappearance of her monthly flow. Her body’s sexual glands go into relative retirement, and she can no longer bear children. The hormonal shifts that lead up to actual menopause can take up to a decade. Perimenopause, the term given to the longer process, can bring with it a host of undesirable side effects: hot flashes, palpitations, dizzy spells, insomnia, vaginal dryness, urinary problems, and irritability. This time of life can make women prone to depression, but with an attitude of acceptance for the change and the possibilities yet to come, it can actually be a satisfying time of life. Yoga comes into play here. Regular Yoga practice can help alleviate the physiological side effects of menopause, especially if you start a few years before its onset, and help you cultivate a forgiving, accepting, and positive attitude important for your emotional well-being. Inversions, which have a profound effect on the glands and inner organs and (both literally and figuratively) allow you to view things from a new perspective, are especially helpful. For soothing rest and whole-person recovery, cultivate the corpse posture. Just give your body a chance to rebalance its chemistry. Not just a “woman thing”: Navigating andropause Men experience something similar to menopause, called andropause. Although changes in their sexual glands may lessen their sex drives, men can continue to sire children into old age. But when they see their vitality and hairline recede a little, men are often thrown into an existential crisis. Midlife offers a great opportunity to discover life’s possibilities beyond sexual reproduction and raising children. Regular Yoga practice can buffer the unpleasant physiological side effects of andropause and stabilize the emotions triggered when you realize you’re no longer quite so dashing — unless, of course, you have practiced Yoga all along. Developing bones of steel With regular exercise, you can prevent the bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with midlife and old age. Regular weight-bearing exercises strengthen your bones, but stress causes acidity, which leaches the calcium from your bones. Many people don’t realize that osteoporosis actually starts in your mid- to late 20s. Therefore, you can’t begin Yoga too early — and it’s never too late to take it up!

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How to Do a Safe, Quick Prenatal Yoga Routine

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

This short Yoga routine focuses on the areas of the body that you want to strengthen as you prepare your body for giving birth. Make sure you have consulted your physician to be sure you have no special circumstances before beginning any prenatal exercise routines.

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Finding the Right Yoga Class for You

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Starting anything new can feel overwhelming, but choosing the Yoga class that fits you is easy when you take time to evaluate your Yoga needs. So how do you know the right class when you see it? When you visit a Yoga center or classroom, pay attention to your intuitive feelings about the place. Consider how the staff treats you and how you respond to the people attending class. Stroll around the facility and feel its overall energy. First impressions are often (although not always) accurate. When checking out a potential class to join, ask yourself the following questions: Is the classroom's atmosphere calming and inviting? What's my gut response to the teacher? Do I want a male or female teacher? Does the teacher have at least 200 hours of training from an accredited school, or the equivalent from a well-respected master teacher? Does the teacher inspire trust for students' safety as they practice? Does the class provide an appropriate amount of intensity and challenge for my fitness level? Does the teacher or school have a good reputation? How do I respond to other students? How big are the classes, and can I get proper individual attention from the teacher? Would I be happy coming here regularly? Do I feel better after the class than I did before the class? Can I afford the classes?

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Debunking Yoga Myths

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Many myths and misconceptions surround Yoga and Yoga practice, scaring off many would-be practitioners. The following list debunks some of those myths and gives you the real story so you can confidently add Yoga to your day. Yoga is only for double-jointed people. Yoga is for everyone, and you can tailor it to your individual needs. Yoga doesn't require you to turn into a pretzel. Yoga is a religion. Yoga is a philosophy with a toolkit of various practices that, when implemented, can calm the fluctuations of the mind. Yoga philosophy stems from a system that predates Hinduism and also influenced Hinduism, thus the similarities. But whereas Hinduism is a religion, Yoga is not; it's practiced by people of many religions and others who are fully secular. Yoga is only for South Asian people. Yoga originated in the East (India, to be precise), but it's universally applicable. Besides, many of its practices have been modified to suit contemporary Western needs and tastes. Yoga even comes recommended by knowledgeable physicians around the world because of its great restorative power. Yoga is just a bunch of mindless exercises. The popular image of Yoga as gymnastics is wrong. The physical exercises form only a part of its comprehensive approach. And the exercises are far from mindless — they call for both focus and mindfulness. Yoga is only for weaklings. Yoga favors a gentle approach, but its advanced postures call for considerable strength and stamina. Many athletes complement their other forms of exercise with Yoga. You can't gain muscle strength through Yoga. Yoga has a whole range of postures that help strengthen your chest, back, stomach, arm, and leg muscles. Take a look at advanced practitioners; their muscular strength and development may surprise you. In addition to improving your strength, Yoga can help you combat stress and keep you generally fit. You need a guru to do Yoga. If you couldn't try out some basic Yoga exercises by yourself, Yoga publishers wouldn't do the business they do. Consulting with a Yoga teacher or instructor can be helpful, but a guru is necessary only when you want to engage in Yoga as a full-fledged spiritual practice. Yoga requires you to believe in all kinds of strange ideas. Yoga is based on universal principles shared by many other systems that have a holistic orientation to life. The fundamental approach of Yoga is for you to test those principles and find out for yourself whether they work for you. You either find them useful or you don't, but no belief in bizarre ideas is necessary. People older than 50 can't learn Yoga. Yoga is for people of all ages. Some people start in their 70s and 80s. It's never too late — or early — to start practicing Yoga. Yoga can offer only a handful of exercises. Yoga has a vast repertoire of postures, and Yoga teachers are constantly adding new variations to refine the system and make it suitable for the widest range of people possible. You can practice Yoga once a month and achieve good results. As with any other exercise system, you get out of Yoga what you put into it. Regular daily Yoga practice gives the best results, but rest assured that a little effort does go a long way.

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Examining Keys to a Successful Yoga Practice

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Yoga enthusiasts come to the mat seeking a variety of rewards: to gain strength, increase flexibility, manage stress, or adopt a more peaceful way of life. Whatever your reasons for turning to Yoga, you want keep a few considerations in mind to get off to a good start. Set clear goals for yourself. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish (flexibility, fitness, better health, inner peace, and so on). Make a realistic commitment. Promising yourself you'll practice for an hour every day sounds great, but it doesn't do you any good if you can't reasonably maintain that schedule. Just 15 minutes a day is a great start. Get your physician's approval. If you have a health challenge or are pregnant, be sure to consult a physician before embarking on a Yoga practice program. Familiarize your physician with the specific kind of Yoga you intend to practice. He may caution you away from certain forms of practice and steer you toward others. If your physician is unfamiliar with Yoga, consider showing him a copy of this book. Enjoy gentle Yoga. You don't need to compete with yourself or anyone else. Allow Yoga to gently unfold the potential of your body and your mind. Don't overdo the physical part of the practice. Keep the enjoyment factor high. Keep a practice journal. Chronicle your experience with Yoga, and periodically read through your journal to see the progress you've made. Progress is the best motivator. Create a support system for yourself. Most people find immediate rewards when they get on the Yoga mat and start moving and breathing, but getting themselves to the mat or the class can be challenging. Allow yourself to feel motivated and inspired by fellow practitioners. If you prefer to practice on your own at home, you may still want to consider participating in a Yoga class occasionally, if only to get feedback or find encouragement. Vary your program periodically. Even the best program can get boring. Prevent your enthusiasm from flagging by changing your routine occasionally. Trying out different teachers is a great way to learn new postures and sequences. Educate yourself. Continue to learn about Yoga, to make your Yoga practice more meaningful. Books, magazines, and websites on Yoga abound. With the Internet, getting access to the great Yoga teachers and thinkers is even easier. Take the time to read and study, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the depth you can discover in Yoga. Have a role model to inspire you. Everyone needs ideals. You don't need to worship a hero, but having someone to look up to who, in your eyes, has succeeded and whom you find inspiring is always a good idea. Be a Yoga enthusiast, but not a bore. By all means, be enthusiastic about your Yoga practice, but know that not everyone shares your enthusiasm, including the dearest members of your family. Yoga's positive effect on your body and mind is the best advertising; let those effects speak for themselves instead of annoying your family and friends with constant talk of Yoga.

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Resources to Boost Your Yoga Practice

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You can find a wealth of Yoga resources for further study and practice. This list recommends a few yoga-related books, DVDs, and more worth taking a look at. Get a Leg up with Yoga Props Your own forgiving limbs and the walls of your house are props enough for Yoga practice. Still, a little help from a block, bolster, cushion, strap, or blanket can provide additional ease, and props are essentials for certain restorative practices. Some of the props the recommended vendors list here are way beyond what's recommended for a gentle Yoga practice, especially for beginners. Nonetheless, you may enjoy window shopping. Here are some Yoga suppliers you may want to look into: Gaiam: In addition to props, you can find Yoga clothing, DVDs, and other Yoga goodies here. Hugger Mugger: This site is easily navigable, to help you find an array of options for the basic props. Yoga Accessories: If you need to buy in bulk, this vendor offers quantity discounts. Yoga Props: The Yoga Equipment Specialist: In addition to common props, this vendor carries specialty items for a wide variety of Yoga styles. Amazon: Of course, you can find almost everything on Amazon. Access master teachers through DVDs and audio Many Yoga teachers have produced their own DVDs and audios of varying quality. Here's a small selection that come recommended. To take a closer look at any of the resources, visit the teacher's own website, or do an Internet search for other vendors. DVDs for Hatha Yoga and meditation Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection, by Gaiam Kripalu Yoga/Dynamic, starring Stephen Cope Kripalu Yoga Gentle, starring Sudha Carolyn Lundeen Lilias! AM & PM Yoga Workouts for Seniors, starring Lilias Folan Meditation for Beginners, starring Maritza Relaxation & Breathing for Meditation, starring Rodney Yee Total Yoga: Original, starring Ganga White and Tracey Rich Total Yoga: The Flow Series — Water, by Ganga White and Tracey Rich (series also features Earth and Fire DVDs) Yoga in Motion, by Radiant Child Yoga (includes a Spanish option) Yoga for Beginners, starring Barbara Benagh Yoga for Families: Connect with Your Kids, starring Gerardo Diego Yoga for Stress Relief (with the Dalai Lama), starring Barbara Benagh General conditioning and Yoga therapy DVDs by Yoga For Dummies coauthor Larry Payne Available at Larry's site, Samata International: Classic Beginners' Yoga for Men and Women Common Lower Back Problems Common Upper Neck and Back Problems Immune Booster & General Conditioning, Levels One and Two Restorative Health for Women Weight Management for People with Curves Audio resources iRest at Ease/Yoga Nidra, with Richard Miller The Lost Teachings of Yoga, by Georg Feuerstein Yoga: A Basic Daily Routine, by John Schumacher The Yoga Matrix: The Body as a Gateway to Freedom, by Richard Freeman Yoga Nidra/Yoga Sleep, by Brenda Feuerstein Yoga Wisdom, by Georg Feuerstein Further reading The following resources provide further reading on Yoga and Yoga-related topics. They represent a small but quality selection from a huge body of literature. Other reference works by Yoga For Dummies coauthor Georg Feuerstein The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga (Shambhala Publications) The Shambhala Guide to Yoga (Shambhala Publications) The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice, 3rd Edition (Hohm Press) Hatha Yoga (beginners and advanced) The Awakened Union of Breath, Body and Mind, by Frank Jude Boccio (Shambhala Publications) The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga, by Georg Feuerstein (Shambhala Publications) Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language, by Swami Sivananda Radha (Timeless Books) The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, by T.K.V. Desikachar (Inner Traditions) Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing, by B.K.S. Iyengar (Crossroad) Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar (Schocken Books) The New Yoga for People over 50, by Suza Francina (Health Communications) Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout, by Beryl Bender Birch (Fireside Books) Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times, by Judith Lasater (Rodmell Press) A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Bihar School of Yoga) The Tree of Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar (Shambhala Publications) Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind: A Guide to Personal Reintegration, by A.G. Mohan (Rudra Press) Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffman (Pocket Books) Raja (classical), Jnana, Bhakti, and Karma Yoga The Essence of Yoga, by Bernard Bouanchaud (Rudra Press) Jnana-Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda (Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center) Karma-Yoga and Bhakti-Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda (Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center) Raja-Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda (Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center) Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, by Arthur Osborne (Red Wheel/Weiser) The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras, by Prem Prakash (Inner Traditions International) The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation and Commentary, by Georg Feuerstein (Inner Traditions) Tantra and Kundalini Yoga Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process, by Bonnie Greenwell (Shakti River Press) Kundalini Yoga for the West, by Swami Sivananda Radha (Timeless Books) Layayoga: An Advanced Method of Concentration, by Shyam Sundar Goswami (Inner Traditions International) Living with Kundalini: The Autobiography of Gopi Krishna, edited by Leslie Shepard (Shambhala Publications) The Serpent Power, by John Woodroffe (Ganesh & Co.) Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, by Georg Feuerstein (Shambhala Publications) Meditation, mantras, and prayer Healing Words, by Larry Dossey (HarperSanFrancisco) Mantra & Meditation, by Usharbudh Arya (Himalayan International Institute) Meditation For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Stephan Bodian (Wiley) Yoga for pregnancy and children Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (St. Martin's Press) Yogakids: Educating the Whole Child through Yoga, by Marsha Wenig Yoga therapy Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy: A Bridge from Body to Soul, by Michael Lee (Health Communications) Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing, by Yoga Journal and Timothy McCall (Bantam Books) Yoga for Common Ailments, by Robin Munro, R. Nagarathna, and H.R. Nagendra (Simon & Schuster) Yoga RX: A Step-by-Step Program to Promote Health, Wellness, and Healing for Common Ailments, by Larry Payne and Richard Usatine (Broadway Books) Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda for Health and Fitness, by A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan (Shambhala) Yoga Therapy and Integrative Medicine: Where Ancient Science Meets Modern Medicine, by Larry Payne, Terra Gold, and Eden Goldman General Yoga topics The Art of Positive Feeling, by Swami Jyotirmayananda (Yoga Research Foundation) Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Himalayan Academy) The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature, by Michael Murphy (Jeremy Tarcher) Golden Rules for Everyday Life, by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (Prosveta) Green Dharma, by Georg Feuerstein and Brenda Feuerstein (Traditional Yoga Studies) Green Yoga, by Georg Feuerstein and Brenda Feuerstein (Traditional Yoga Studies) Health, Healing and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of Krishnamacharya, by T.K.V. Desikachar with R.H. Cravens (Aperture) Lucid Dreaming, by Stephen LaBerge (Ballentine) Lucid Waking: Mindfulness and the Spiritual Potential of Humanity, by Georg Feuerstein (Inner Traditions International) The Nine Stages of Spiritual Apprenticeship: Understanding the Student–Teacher Relationship, by Greg Bogart (Dawn Mountain Press) The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson (Avon Books) The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche (HarperSanFrancisco) A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last, by Stephen Levine (Bell Tower) Yoga & Health: A monthly Yoga magazine. Yoga and Total Health: A monthly magazine on practical matters. Yoga Morality, by Georg Feuerstein (Hohm Press) Electronic Yoga magazines Yoga International Yoga Journal

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Find Lucidity in Yoga — Even in Sleep

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Lucid waking is the art of being present in the moment, of living with mindfulness throughout the day, which is what Yoga is first and foremost about. When you’re lucid during your waking hours, you’re penetrating the illusions and delusions of ordinary life with the searchlight of full awareness. Lucid dreaming, a special state of consciousness in which you retain a degree of self-awareness while dreaming, is somewhat an extension of lucid waking. While the idea of lucid dreaming may be appealing, consider that, if you’re aware but lacking in understanding or wisdom in the waking state, then you also lack understanding or wisdom in the dream state. So it’s worth first clearing your mind of its inherent misconceptions and biases so you can bring a fresh mind to non-ordinary states of consciousness, including dreaming and deep sleep. Cultivating lucid dreaming With dedication, focus, and practice, you can cultivate your ability to bring on lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming can occur spontaneously, but by priming your mind before going to sleep, you increase the likelihood of becoming self-aware in the midst of a dream. Consider some pointers for programming yourself to dream lucidly: Become generally more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Take an interest in your dreams. Get up a couple hours earlier than usual and go about your regular chores. Slip back into bed, and think about lucid dreaming and what sort of dream you want to create for about 30 minutes. Allow yourself at least 2 hours for dreaming before you finally get up. Induce lucid dreaming by doing the kind of deep relaxation exercise (Yoga Nidra). Clearly form the intention to dream lucidly. You may not succeed the first or second time you try, but then again, pleasant surprises may be just a dream away! Approaching mindfulness in deep sleep Even deep, dreamless sleep offers great opportunities for breaking into higher levels of consciousness. When you’re able to retain mindful awareness during the dream state, you can extend your awareness to those periods when the mind is devoid of content. The great Yoga masters have reported to be continuously aware throughout the day and the night. They’re never unconscious because they’ve realized the spirit or Self, which is pure consciousness. Constant awareness may sound exhausting, but consider the deep peacefulness that the Yoga masters are known to achieve. By comparison, the mind is vastly complicated. Thinking, especially when you’re obsessing over something, can be incredibly exhausting.

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How to Eat Like a Yogi

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The wisdom of Yoga not only brings you inner peace and balance — it also can guide you to eat in a healthful fashion for yourself, your global neighbors, and the planet. This list offers you suggestions to a healthful approach to food and eating, organized by a handful of essential Yoga principles. Do no harm: Ahimsa Ahimsa focuses on nonviolence and nonharming. It also encompasses attitudes of kindness, friendliness, and consideration of other people and things. Green Yoga extends this consideration to the well-being of Earth — and, thus, our food selections. Consider vegetarianism: For many people, eating in a nonharming way means being a vegetarian. Not everyone desires or thrives on a vegetarian diet, though, and you can make other wise food choices while still including animal products. Choose your food wisely: Consider the impact your food choices have on both the planet and your own personal health. For instance, when eating fish, select species that haven’t been overfished, aren’t farmed (farmed fish damage the health of the species and others), and have a high mercury load. Also try to select foods that haven’t been genetically modified — GMOs limit biodiversity, which threatens global food security, and their safety for human consumption hasn’t been established. Don’t take more than your share: Asteya When you practice asteya, you don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. The large environmental footprint of much of our food, as well as wasteful practices and habits, simply means there’s less to go around for all the world’s people. Minimize food waste: The United Nation says that just a quarter of the food wasted globally would be enough to feed the 870 million people who lack enough to eat. Although much of the waste takes place during production and distribution, it’s worthwhile to consider what goes into your grocery cart and onto your plate, as well as what food policies your elected representatives support. Share the wealth: Consider the good you can do by diverting some of what you spend on luxuries (such as your daily latte) to a local food bank. You know the old saying, “Live simply so that others may simply live.” Play fair: Aparigraha Aparigraha refers to taking only what’s necessary. When you’re wasteful with food and water, you’re not practicing aparighaha. You may be putting others in a disadvantaged position, even unintentionally. Acknowledge your membership in the global community. When you eat lower on the food chain, you leave more food and nourishment for others. Specifically, this approach means eating less meat and more plants. (You’ll be healthier for it, too.) If you do eat meat, avoid eating meat from animals that have been factory raised and fed antibiotics; those practices create strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, so these powerful medicines won’t be available to people with life-threatening illness. Factor in the resources required to produce the food you eat. Consider the true cost of a hamburger: It may cost only $4 at the local fast food restaurant, but a Quarter Pounder requires more than 3 pounds of grain to feed the cow that became the burger. How many mouths could those 3 pounds of grain feed? Know yourself and the world you live in: Svadhyaya Svadhyaya means “self-study” and “reflection.” In its literal sense, it refers to studying the ancient texts. In the larger context of living, it’s a reminder that you’re part of the web of life and the world around you. Food choices that take into account our inter-connectedness are healthier all around. Make discerning food choices. Consider how advertising impacts your decisions at the grocery story and in restaurants. Make your food selections based on what’s wholesome and healthful, not based on product placement. Tune in to what your body is telling you. Do you know when you’re hungry and when you’re full? We’re all born with a natural ability to self-regulate our food intake, but many people lose it in childhood when they’re told to “clean your plate because children are starving in [fill in the blank].” Allow yourself to tune in to what your body is telling you: Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Cultivate contentment: Samtosha Samtosha refers to feeling content with what we have. As applied to life, if you wish for things to be different, instead of pining or complaining, learn from the situation and do something different next time. As applied to enjoying a healthy relationship with your food and having a healthy body, focus on savoring each morsel that touches your lips. Truly enjoy your food. When you truly enjoy what you eat and savor the flavors in each bit, you’re likely to eat less because you reap more satisfaction per morsel. And while you’re stopping to smell the roses, slow down to smell your food. Smell is a big part of taste and contributes to our enjoyment of it. If you were unable to smell, you wouldn’t taste much. Bring consciousness to how you eat. Chewing your food more enhances your ability to taste it and also aids the digestion process that starts in your mouth. Wait before you reach for seconds: Your brain needs about 20 minutes to know that your belly is full. Waiting is especially important at buffet-style restaurants, where you have seemingly endless choices and limitless quantities.

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How to Practice Yoga while Traveling

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

What’s essential to Yoga? Just body, breath, and mind. Yoga is incredibly portable. Wherever you may find yourself, you have your body and your breath. And with those elements present, you can calm your mind and create the union that is Yoga. What follows are simple Yoga practices you can do on the go, without having to pack any props. Lowering your stress when you’re stuck in traffic: When you’re stuck in traffic and you feel your stress level begin to rise, remember that tranquility is as available as your breath. Without taking your eyes and mind off the road, begin to notice your breath. Breathing through your nose, follow your breath as you inhale, and then follow it as you exhale. Try lengthening your exhalations. Continue to breathe with focus, allowing some of your attention to rest on each inhalation and exhalation. Finding ease on a plane: You may not want to think about it, but while you’re en route to your faraway destination, you face a small but real risk of developing deep blood clots in the leg that can then migrate to the lungs or brain (deep vein thrombosis). Yoga offers ways to move about effectively in the confines of the plane, to get the circulation moving and keep you safe. While you’re in your seat: While seated, slowly rotate your ankles a few times in one direction and then in the other. Then point and flex each foot several times. Add some focus breathing, taking note of each inhalation and exhalation. Repeat every hour or so, or as desired. While you’re up and out of your seat: When the captain finally turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign and you’re free to move about the cabin, try doing a modified warrior I walk as you make your way to the restroom. With each step forward, pause with your front knee bent and push your back heel down to the floor. You’ll give the back of the rear leg a good stretch. Not only does this step up circulation in your legs, but it also feels delicious after all that sitting. Using your hotel room as your private Yoga studio: No props? No worries. One or two bath towels can substitute for a Yoga mat. Your forgiving limbs (soft or bent knees) replace the need for a strap or blocks. If the floor isn’t appealing even with a towel atop it, you can use the wall for many postures that you normally do lying face down. The cobra is one of many postures that easily lends itself to practice at a wall. Stand in front of the wall at arm’s distance, with your legs a comfortable and stable hip distance apart. Place both hands at the wall, with your palms up and arms parallel at shoulder height. Soften your knees and then, on an inhalation, lift up from your breastbone and elongate your spine. Begin to arch back, maintaining the length in your spine. Allow your head to be a continuation of your spine instead of throwing it back and compressing your neck. On your exhalation, slowly unwind back to your initial standing position, with soft knees. Repeat three to six times, or more as desired.

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