The 8 Limbs of Yoga

While many think yoga starts and finishes on the mat, the truth is yoga extends far beyond the classroom – it expands into your entire day, throughout your lifestyle choices, and deep into your mentality, morals and spirit. The physical expression of yoga, also known as Asana in sanskrit, is what you do for 90minutes when you visit the studio to do class. You’ll also do some breathing techniques, which is another integral component of yoga, called Pranayama. However, there are indeed 6 other limbs or components which together unite to be the system or science of living and being that we call Yoga. The eight limbs are –

  • YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
  • NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances
  • ASANA – Posture
  • PRANAYAMA – Breathing techniques
  • PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
  • DHARANA – Focused concentration
  • DHYANA – Meditative absorption 
  • SAMADHI – Bliss or enlightenment

1 Yama: The first limb yama refers to our interaction with the external world, and specifically the disciplines or practices we use to ensure peace within ourselves and with the environment around us. There are five yamas – Ahisma (non-violence), Satya (truthfullness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (right use of energy), and Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding). These yamas are unconditioned by time or place – which is to say, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practiced, we can still all aim to instil the yamas within us.

2 Niyama: The second limb, Niyama, are primarily our personal disciplines towards ourselves, but they still have meaning for our interactions with the outside world as well. There are five niyamas – Saucha (cleanliness), Santocha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study and study of spiritual texts), and Isvarapranidaha (surrender to a higher power). These disciplines are intended for us to explore ourselves beyond the layers, to discover our essence, and to (re)build our character,

3 Asana: The third limb explores the physical aspect of yoga – perhaps the one we are most familiar with. Yet, something we may not realise is that asana doesn’t refer to someone’s ability to do a handstand or an aesthetically impressive backbend; rather it means ‘seat’ in english, or more specifically, the seat you would take for the practice of meditation. You move through the sequence of postures to heal and harmonise your body from injury and illness, so as to sit steadily, comfortably and in stillness during meditation, without complaint.

4 Pranayama: The fourth limb can be broken down in two parts – Prana means breath, energy, or life force – it is the very essence the keeps us alive, as well as being the energy in the universe around us. The Chinese call it ‘Chi’ or ‘Qi’, and the Japanese, ‘Ki’. Yama refers to control and thus by breathing in a very specific way, or controlling our breath, we can improve our state of being.

5 Pratyahara: Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means to ‘withdraw’ or ‘draw back’, and ahara refers to the information we receive from our senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It’s useful to practice withdrawal from our senses when we sit down to meditate, want to achieve deep concentration, without distraction, or really be in the present moment. This can be achieved through focus on the breath (or pranayama).

6 Dharana: The sixth limb, Dharana, refers to ‘focused concentration’. Dha means ‘holding or maintaining’, and Ana means ‘other’ or ‘something else’. It’s closely linked to the previous limbs; In order to focus on something, the senses must withdraw so that all attention is put on that point of concentration, and in order to draw our senses in, we must focus and concentrate intently. Tratak or candle gazing, visualisation, and pranayama (focusing on the breath) are all practices of Dharana.

7 Dhyana: The seventh limb is ‘meditative absorption’ – when we become completely absorbed in the focus of our meditation and free of engagement with the activity of the mind.

8 Samadhi: The eighth limb Samadhi (Sama, same or equal, and Dhi, to see) refers to ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment’. This doesn’t mean to float away on cloud nine in a state of happiness; Rather, to have the ability to see equally, and realise the truth or reality that lies in front of us without any disturbance from the mind or pain in the body fluctuating and governing it. There is observation rather than attachment, and this is freedom.

While our attachments, aversions, desires and habits may creep back in and pull us out of Samadhi, continually practicing the 8 limbs of yoga will help to purify our mind and body until we can maintain Samadhi in a permanent state. This is when we attain Moksha, also known as Mukti, meaning a permanent state of being liberated, released and free. 

Do you practice the eight limbs of yoga already? What benefits and changes have you noticed in your own life since following these yogic principles? Please leave us a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear!

Bikram Yoga Helps Improve Bone Mineral Density

In our last post, we looked at how Bikram Yoga (BY) helps with physical fitness. This week, we will discuss how BY improve bone mineral density, which is important all through out our lives, but especially as we age.

Maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) reflects the strength of bones, and is important in reducing instances of osteoporosis and falls-related fractures. Healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, regular exercise – especially resistance training, and impact based activities, help minimize BMD loss and reduce the risk of fractures later in life.

Yoga can be an excellent tool in helping maintain peak bone mass and slow down bone loss. We know some of the main components of the BY practice is balance, flexibility, lubrication of joints, increased range of motion, spinal alignment and a significant improvement in lower-limb strength. It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, where students use their own body weight to create resistance in the postures and torque on the bones to build bone density, much in the same way you build muscle strength (through Wolffs Law). Bones get stronger and stay strong when they are called upon to do more. Given all of this, your yoga practice helps keep you more stable and sturdy, helps reduce the risk of falls and fractures, and helps maintain BMD, especially for those who cannot engage in high-impact or more dynamic activity such as running.

A study in 2010, “Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women“, clearly shows this link between BY and a higher BMD – saying that BY practitioners had above average bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, hip and in total body scores. Even more impressive, each of the subjects had a total body calcium Z-score one standard deviation above the norm for their age and ethnic cohort. Please click on the highlighted title to read the article yourself.

If you have a story you’d like to share on how BY has helped with your own body, we’d love to hear, and if possible, feature you in our newsletter or on social media! Please talk to Sherry at reception, or send your story to info@bikramyoganorthbrisbane.com.au . You can follow us on Instagram @bikrambrisbane

How Bikram Yoga helps with your Physical Fitness

Over the next weeks, we are going to explore the benefits of the Bikram Yoga series, and will begin with how Bikram Yoga helps with your physical fitness.

Physical fitness consists of five fields of health (cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition), and six skill-related fields (balance, reaction time, speed, agility, power and coordination). The health related fields are particular interesting as they are associated with better overall health and lower risk of chronic disease, disability and mortality.

After reading through some research performed on a group of Bikram students over an eight week period in Colorado, USA (link is at bottom of this blog), the observed recordings and data proved what we all experience in our bodies from a consistent Bikram practice. The research results showed significant increase in both upper and lower body range of motion, balance, muscular endurance and strength, coordination, and reductions in back pain, adipose tissue (body fat), inflammation, and BMI due to the increased energy expenditure. Lastly, they did note a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals who were otherwise more sedentary, asthmatics and older. There were also recordings of improvements in hormonal-imbalances.

Of course how your nourish your body with food and lifestyle choices will influence your physical fitness as well, we cannot ignore that. However, the benefits of a regular Bikram practice will put you in good stead towards feeling your best and moving confidently as you age. The twenty-six postures and 2 breathing exercises systematically moves fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, stimulating each of the body’s system to perform optimally, it boosts detoxification, enhances coordination, flexibility and balance, and requires you to both use and improve your own body strength.

We love hearing from our students how their health and lives have changed since including Bikram into their routine. If you have story to share, please let us know at the studio, on our blog, or any of our social media pages. We are on instagram – @bikrambrisbane and facebook – Bikram Yoga Nundah.

We look forward to seeing you at the studio xx

You can look further at the studies here:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201303000-00035

Not a creative person? Meditation will change that

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  – Pablo Picasso.

Creative people. They’re the rock stars, authors, and artists of the world. They’re the ones we look up to for their imagination and their talent.

They’re special, aren’t they? Those creative artists who create the music, books, and art we turn to when we want to dream.

People flock to La Louvre in Paris, one of the most impressive art galleries in the world, oggling the works of artists like Gericault and Da Vinci. They were people born to create works of creative genius. Many dream that one day they may create works that would be one hundredth the creative brilliance of those paintings adorning the walls of France’s most important gallery.

Yet many think that only those alike to Da Vinci and Gericault were born for creative brilliance,  the rest of us are not. Right? If we were born with creative talent we would surely know about it, wouldn’t we? Talent like that couldn’t be hiding somewhere, unbeknownst to us. Could it?

But what if creative talent isn’t reserved for just the lucky few? What if creative talent is actually inside us all?

Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Sure enough, every child is indeed an artist. Give a two-year-old a crayon and they’ll draw you a picture. True, it might be a mangled mess completely uninterpretable until said child tells you it’s a cat, but they will grab that crayon and they will draw to their heart’s content; they will have a go.

Trouble is, most adults will not have a go. Give an adult a crayon and they’ll probably just put it right back in the box and tell you to grow up. It’s like the mere idea of being creative seems absurd to them.

We lose our creativity as we grow old. And no wonder. “Stress is a well-known creativity killer,” says psychologist Robert Epstein, PhD. “Time constraints are another.” As we age we are gradually exposed to both increasing levels of stress and tightening time constraints, and our creativity is stifled.

Stress and time-constraints kill creativity in many ways:

  • Stress prevents the mind from being playful, which is essential to creativity.
  • Stress makes us obsess over worries rather than thinking about possibilities.
  • Stress prevents us from living in the moment, cutting off our main source of inspiration.
  • Stress is tiring, sapping our creative energy.
  • Time constraints mean we’re forced to do things the way we know rather than looking for alternatives.
  • Both time constraints and stress make us hyper-focused on action and results, preventing us from looking outside the box, from considering alternative options, and, ultimately, from being creative.

Put all these factors together and it’s easy to see why the modern world is custom designed to kill the average adult’s creativity.

But that doesn’t mean adults cannot be creative. It just means we have to make a concerted effort to actually use our creative powers.

The key to reclaiming our creativity, perhaps surprisingly, is this: We need to chill out.

Sounds jovial. It’s actually both vital and incredibly accurate.

If we want to be creative we have to let our minds play. We have to stop being so darned focused on the time and on productivity and results. “Chilling out” truly is the answer.

To say we need to “chill out” really means we have to let go of stress so we can be more mentally flexible.

We can liken this to yoga.

Physical stress kills a yoga practice like mental stress kills creativity, and for precisely the same reason.

When we are tense (in other words, physically stressed) our muscles are cramped in one position, making it impossible for them to take up an asana.

Similarly, when we are mentally tense (stressed) the mind is too forced in one position, too focused on one way of looking at things, making it impossible to be creative.

We can solve both these problems in the same way.

When we are tense in yoga we don’t immediately stretch out into full expression of standing bow. We begin by helping the body to relax. Only once the body is relaxed we can then move with more ease and grace into the posture.

It’s the same with creativity.

When we’re mentally stressed we don’t pen A Tale Of Two Cities.  Rather, we have to take steps to relax the mind so that we can start to be more creative.

To relax the mind, we meditate. But in a specific way.

The majority of meditation techniques are focused. These are techniques in which we focus the mind on one thing, such as the breath. This, however, is not conducive to creativity because creativity is not about focusing on one view. It’s about being open to myriad different views.

The opposite of focused meditations is Open Monitoring.

These are meditations in which we do not focus on one thing, but rather we extend awareness to the entirety of our environment. It’s as though consciousness were butter in a warm pan. The butter expands evenly to cover the whole pan. Same with open monitoring meditation. Consciousness spreads evenly so we are aware of our whole environment.

If you have ever found yourself fully absorbed in beautiful scenery you will have experienced open monitoring meditation. It’s the state in which we feel one with our environment, when we seem to breathe with the world, when we are calm and yet aware of the fullness of our environment.

Scientific research proves that open monitoring is an incredibly powerful technique for creativity.

Cognitive psychologist Loenza Colzato studied the affect that open monitoring meditation has on divergent and convergent thinking. These are mental processes that enable us to come up with new ideas and bring those ideas together into one cohesive unit (such as when we conceptualise a story, first brainstorming ideas and then bringing them together into one story).

Colazato’s study showed that open monitoring meditation significantly improved these mental processes. This, Colzato said, showed that open monitoring meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for creativity.

The reason open monitoring meditation boosts creativity is, essentially, because it is freeing. It undoes the damage that too much stress and time constraints do to us.

As adults, it is far too easy to become hyper-focused on productivity and results, always choosing the trusted way rather than being free to experiment. It’s a self-imposed cage in which we cannot see the infinite possibilities that are always within us.

Open monitoring meditation opens the mind, limbering us up like those warm-up moves in yoga. It creates mental flexibility and freedom with which we can realise our creative potential.

Why not try open monitoring meditation today. It’s easy.

To do open monitoring meditation:

  1. Go somewhere quiet and relaxing, a place you would want to be one with (such as a beautiful countryside).
  2. Sit or lie down.
  3. Count your breaths up to 50 just to relax.
  4. Be aware of your senses. Listen, feel, smell, taste, and see the environment around you.
  5. Let your consciousness rhttp://dailycupofyoga.com/wp-admin/index.phpeach out so that you are aware of everything.
  6. If thoughts and feelings arise, let them come and go while still paying attention to the environment.
  7. Continue for 20 minutes.
  8. Notice how you feel more open, more relaxed, and freer.

Practice this technique whenever you want to get in touch with your creativity. It will open your mind and give you the mental freedom and flexibility with which to be creative.

Yin Yoga: A Yoga Practice Every Athlete Should Adopt

Sore muscles, injuries, over-extension of the body…if you’re an athlete then you’re no stranger to these. From running track to weight lifting, chances are you’ve experienced some type of injury or strain throughout your life. Injuries may be inevitable at one point or another, but what if I told you there is a practice even the most trained of athletes could adopt to prolong and minimize injury?

Enter Yin Yoga. A gentle, yet challenging, yoga practice that allows you to drop into your own body, listen, and be present with anything and everything that comes up, both physically and mentally. Yin is a seated, grounding practice, within which poses are held for 3-5 minutes in order to bring mobility to the joints and ligaments. By practicing this style of yoga, athletes are able to work deeper into the muscles to transform the way the body moves.

In most classes you see in Western yoga, students are working with their yang muscles, or powermuscles, which can be similar to an athlete’s normal routine. When practicing yin yoga, students are asked to relax into postures, taking on a more passive approach to working through deep connective tissue and fascia in the body. Fascia, oh, juicy fascia, connects every part of our body together and by caring for your fascia, you are maximizing athletic performance and muscle flexibility.

Yin Yoga offers athletes a chance to find stillness in the mind and body. Given that poses are being held much longer than a yang-style yoga class, a student will notice everything under the sun come up in their mind and body. From sensation in the hips to thoughts about past experiences, yin allows these physical and mental emotions to rise and be released through the power of passive movement. When intimately working with the body by breaking through connective tissue, students will find themselves breaking through old emotional patterns and coming out of class stronger. Not only in the body, but in the mind as well.

Yin can be practiced at home or in a formal class setting, although it is recommended to start in a class where a teacher can hold space for your body and all that arises. We offer Yin every friday night at North Lakes, at 6:30pm, and every Sunday at Nundah, 6pm.

Carnival Month

Brazil is a place famous for soccer, samba and carnival, a place where joy and energy pervade the air. It’s also a country rich with natural beauty. Brazilians are warm, open people, and they have a unique and powerful connection to the earth. So it’s no surprise that yoga has taken hold in Brazil, and the yoga community is growing strong.

This is especially true in major cities like Rio de Janeiro. Cariocas (people from Rio) live a super-relaxed beach lifestyle, and love outdoor health and fitness. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hop into a handstand on Ipanema Beach, or paddle out for some SUP yoga next to Sugarloaf Mountain? Rio de Janeiro is one giant outdoor playground — or to us, a giant outdoor yoga studio.

When visit Brasil, you’ll understand why. The breathtaking scenery in Brazil is absolutely crying for you to sun-salute it. This month being Carnival, we decided to dedicate our Instagram account to to all things yoga in Brasil! Head over to our page and check it out!

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Is Bikram Yoga The Cure For What Ails You?

Does your yoga practice help you deal with a physical disability or other health issue? Sharis’ does. She has a moderate hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It can be very frustrating and physically exhausting. When the tinnitus really flares up, it can be quite debilitating, making it hard to think, and her balance can suffer. It can sometimes lead to feelings of vertigo or extreme dizziness.

Through out her struggle, she turned to the Bikram yoga practice for routine, for solace and for strength. Now, she recommends yoga and meditation to all her friends with an injury or ailment as a way to deal with the frustration, but also to give the body and mind the strength it needs to survive and thrive despite the challenges we face every day. I think this is the case for many people battling physical ailments and infirmities.

One of the things about Bikram yoga is that it is accessible to people of all physical abilities. I have been in classes with people who suffer from Lyme disease and Parkinson’s, people who are recovering from cancer, people who are recuperating from serious knee or back injuries, and students who are dealing with more invisible ailments such as depression or mental illness. In all cases, the yoga practice seems to provide a physical release along with a jolt of mental strength to tackle whatever challenges they have to face that particular day. For me, I know it helps me to blow off the steam of frustration or confusion, teaches me to persevere in the face of discomfort, and to find stillness and calm when things get tough.

Shari’s hearing loss was not something she talked about for many years – trying rather to hide it and ignore it. However, in the past year, she has “come out of her hearing loss closet” and become a hearing health advocate. Check out her blog –  Living With Hearing Loss, where she discusses the challenges and issues related to hearing loss and tinnitus. Her goal for the blog was to share her story in hopes of helping others to live more peacefully with their own hearing loss and tinnitus. She believes the Bikram yoga practice is in part responsible for giving her the personal strength and resilience to acknowledge her disability and to become comfortable in the face of this discomfort.

Readers, does your yoga practice help you cope with a physical or mental challenge?

5 Ways Yoga Transforms a Woman into a Goddess

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Deep down, we all feel that we are goddesses in our own way.

Sometimes we take breaks from our yoga practice –  change of city or job, getting married and next a baby, lots of things to adapt to – yet there is a sense of missing something. 

I believe that each of us carries the powers of Athena (Greek Goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature) and Rati (Hindu Goddess of love, lust and sensuality) locked away in all those beautifully strong and feminine parts of ourselves. Nowadays, we are so quick to forget this as we go through our lives, worrying about groceries, money and rushing to work and caring for others.

When we take the time to come to our mats, a lot can happen in those short moments of solitude and practice. Yoga is so much more than just the postures themselves. It is a powerful and subtle practice that can change our whole perspective on the world.

“When we feel pain, fear or discontent with our self, we feel separated from our self and from our own body, we feel disconnected. In yoga, we’re uncovering what exists inside of us and we learn to see that what’s there is already whole and complete.”

The identification with wholeness and completion that yoga heralds is not only a result of connection to breath and movement of the body, but it dates back to Vedic philosophy and the foundations of yoga. The ancient Sanskrit mantra “Sohum,” or “I am that,” is the affirmation that the individual self can identify with the essence of the universe. The yoga practice brings us closer to this notion and thereby rewires our own perceptions of fear: It’s about becoming aware of our patterns and reworking them.

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In Sanskrit the word yoga means “to yoke”, to join the small individual self with the divine Self. The premise being that each of us is already divine in our own right, having forgotten this through our identification with our body and individuality.

The more attached we become to our lives, our “can’s” and our “can’ts”, the easier it is forget that we are actually all divine beings capable of anything. For most of us, it is only in those rare moments when we really watch our breath or move into a pose that we thought we couldn’t do that we catch a glimpse of her, that goddess that resides within.

Over time those rare glimpses will become more frequent. Over time your yoga practice will make you into even more of a goddess than you ever thought possible.

Here are 5 ways that your yoga practice makes you into a goddess:

1. It creates confidence.

We all started out in the same point: a regular yoga mat, black leggings and an old T-shirt, wondering why we have to pose like a rabbit and why we are the only ones in the class confused when the teacher started speaking in the ‘Yoga language’.

That is where the beautiful journey usually begins…And over time as you start to feel more physical strength, flexibility and balance in the body, more clarity and determination in the mind, and more light and love in your heart… you realise you can take on the world and you’re more ready to try. Confidence continually builds from the inside out.

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2. It makes you more beautiful.

It’s one thing to look fabulous, but the real beauty comes from the inside, from your energy.

All yoga practices, whether they are based in asana (poses), pranayama (breath) or meditation, teach us something about ourselves. The practice is an avenue towards self-awareness, and true self-awareness is one of the most gorgeous things you can drape onto your body.

When we practice, we can tap into our feminine energies, our masculine energies and our divine light. We can listen to ourselves more fully and appreciate that there is beauty in even our most disliked “flaws” and imperfections.

3. It allows you to drop your labels.

The world has become very tough when it comes to labeling.

Society has no shortage of labels to put on us, and we carry the weight of those labels along with us each day. Just think about how many of these labels have been applied to you: sister, mother, wife, daughter, playful, stoic, selfish, caring, fat, skinny, weak, strong, sexy, tired, bitchy, confident, overactive, shy, cute, … we could go on for pages.

When we take the time to step on our mats, we allow ourselves to leave those labels at the door. We create a safe space for that time, and we tap into that part of ourselves that is divine and unchanging, the part of ourselves that is always beautiful, confident and capable no matter what the world is telling us.

4. It gives you that “glow”.  

Yes, sometimes that glow is most obviously felt as it drips off your chin in second set triangle, but that is not the glow I mean here. I am talking about that “wow” factor, that energy that precedes you as you walk into a room. It is that unidentifiable element that causes people to turn their heads, to smile at you or to listen more intently to what you have to say.

If you been to a great yoga class or been truly inspired by a great speaker, you know what I mean. It is that moment when you’re perfectly balanced and peaceful, ready for anything the world can throw at you. You are confident and beautifully full. At that moment you are unmovable and the goddess within shines forth a light that is intoxicating.

 

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5. It inspires you to sing, dance and move your body.

It has happened to all of us. You’re walking down the footpath, washing dishes or cooking and realize you’re humming. This is a continuation of the ‘energetic melody’ you created in the yoga class – the movement or transformation of dull energy to fresh, continuing to pulse through you.

These positive vibrations feel like joy and bliss in your body! Every goddess is joyful and enjoys immeasurable moments of bliss – sure Durga (Hindu Goddess of motherhood and creation) may find her joy in different ways than Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, beauty and pleasure), but they live fully, embracing those parts of themselves that are the strongest and most awe-inspiring.

 

Keep up the practice. Trust in yourself and remember that each of those goddesses already resides within you too.

 

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namaste

 

Robins 30 Day Challenge

Robin decided to do a 30-Day Challenge early in the summer. We saw her every day, the highs, the lows (there were way more highs) and she had such an enthusiastic attitude the whole 30 days!! We couldn’t help but ask if she would contribute to our blog, Robin wrote an amazingly honest account of her challenge, check it out!

photoWhy did you decide to do a 30-Day Challenge?

I decided to do a 30-day challenge as a birthday gift to myself. I talked about it at dinner one night with my family and with their support, I decided to start on my birthday! What better gift than the gift of health. The reason I did the challenge was to test myself, could I really do yoga everyday for thirty days and live to tell about it??!! Also, to see if hot yoga every day would help my back feel better – and no big surprise – not only did it help my back I’m pretty much pain free, I feel amazing. I’ve been dealing with low back pain for two years, had I known all I had to do was thirty days of Bikram Yoga I would have done this two years ago!  I have learned that I can be very strong one day and very weak the next but it is okay as long as I just keep showing up, that is what really matters. I feel like this is something I can do for the rest of my life, I can’t imagine my life not doing hot yoga. I guess I’m an addict, haha!

What were some of the challenges you faced?

One of the challenges I faced were evening dinners. We take turns cooking and I definitely needed a helping hand there. We also eat at 6:00 most nights and now we are pushing it till 7:00.

On day thirteen I’m not sure what was going on. I felt like I was never going to make it to thirty and was just tired and sore, I literally felt like I was dragging myself through the 90 minutes but I made it and just didn’t look back.

So why did you come back then after Day 13 what keeps you coming back?

What keeps me coming back, I guess is all the people I’ve talked to about pain and how hot yoga has helped them. How it’s helping me!

What are you struggling with currently in your practice?

I’m currently struggling with depth and strength. In my mind, I think I should be able to go deeper and hold myself stronger. And then I have to remind myself to just relax and be patient. We hear that all the time from the instructors but it’s so hard to implement it.

What is your favorite pose right now and why?
I’m really loving the camel pose when I come out and lay down I feel just awesome, like I’m on a cloud and my body is being supported in all the right spots. It’s kinda weird, but I like it.

What pose is challenging for you right now?

One pose I feel like I’ll never get is Eagle my leg just will not go around to hook my calf maybe one day!

What would you tell someone who is considering a personal challenge for themselves?

If someone is considering a challenge I would say really anyone can do it. Set a goal, then just stick with it –  don’t let anything get in your way. It also helps to look at your personal 10, 20, 30 day calendar to see if any major events are going to happen. I wanted to do a challenge but knew July would never work because we are going on a family vacation, although I’m already thinking of ways to find yoga while away!

Congratulations Robin, a 30-Day Challenge is no easy feat! Thank you for your strong example of strength, courage, and determination! You are an inspiration to all of us!

 

10 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Set aside time in your day and honour where your body is at and the beautiful changes occurring with your pregnancy. Practice loving compassion for yourself and baby. Prenatal yoga is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, as well as your growing baby.

We are looking forward to introducing regular prenatal classes at our studios in Nundah and North Lakes. Classes will go for 60 minutes, in a non-heated room, and will help you to maintain your peace, vitality, flexibility and breath during your pregnancy. However, as always, listen to your body while you practice and do as much as what feels right to you.

Some of the benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy include:

1. Develops stamina and strength

As baby grows within our body, more energy and strength is needed to be able to carry the weight.  Yoga poses strengthen our hips, back, arms and shoulders.

2. Balance

Our balance is challenged physically as the fetus grows within our body. Emotionally we are drained due to the increases in progesterone and estrogen. As we try to focus on holding and breathing through each yoga pose, we are able to fine tune our balance, physically and emotionally.

3. Relieves tension of lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders

As baby grows, more stress is put upon these specific muscle groups in our bodies.  We tend to have more of a lordotic/lower back curve due to the increased size of our bellies. Our hips get tighter due to the added pressure of baby’s weight in our bellies. As our breasts increase in size, our upper back and chest have more tension, along with our neck and shoulders.

4. Calms the nervous system

Through deep breathing, the nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode, which is responsible for relaxation.  When our bodies are in that mode, our digestions operate properly, we tend to sleep better, and our immune system is at its optimal.

5.  Preparation for Labor

You are working with conscious breathing during each yoga pose, which may sometimes be challenging. This transfers into the time of labor, allowing one to practice being “comfortable with the uncomfortable” through our breathwork.  As you inhale, you acknowledge the tension that is felt.  As you deeply exhale, you let go of it more and more with each breath.

6.  Connection with baby

A prenatal yoga practice allows us to slow down and focus attention on what is going on within our bodies. Through working with our breath and doing each pose, you become more aware of what is going on within.

7. Increases circulation

Circulation is enhanced within our joints and our muscles are elongated during practice.  Upon circulation of the blood within our bodies, swelling is decreased and our immunity is enhanced, creating a healthy environment for a thriving baby.

8. Breathwork practice

This is a good tool for labor during contractions.  If we are consciously breathing, our blood pressure and heart rate is regulated keeping us in parasympathetic/relaxation mode.  Calm mama equals calm baby.

9. Sense of community/sisterhood

It can be very comforting to be with a group of women who understand what we are going through.

10. Nurturing time

This time allows us to stop and slow down from our busy days.  Through the practice of yoga, you are setting intention in taking care of not only yourself, but of baby.

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