Remember To Breathe

The scenes in this video are so breathtaking that you have to remember to breathe! Worth watching and sharing.

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Yoga’s Virtuous Cycles

Yogas Virtuous Cycles

Many people report miraculous improvements in health as a result of doing yoga. It’s common to have stories of weight reduction, better emotional health, improved sleep, and overall improvement in quality of life. How does all this come about as a result of yoga?

The key to understand this is that yoga sets in motion many virtuous cycles. These virtuous cycles are self-reinforcing and can spiral us upwards into a vastly improved health:

1. Yoga and Sleep

Yoga causes reduction in overall stress levels. This sets in motion a virtuous cycle where reduced stress leads to improved sleep and improved sleep leads to reduced stress:

Improved Sleep and yoga

2. Yoga and Emotional health

Reduced stress levels as a result of yoga leads to improvement in emotional health. When this happens there are fewer emotional outbursts causing stress levels to plummet further:

Improved Emotions due to Yoga

3. Yoga and Weight loss

Weight loss is a common result of doing yoga. This happens because yoga causes stress levels to come down which in turn causes pounds to be shed. In addition when we lose weight in a healthy manner there is further reduction in stress:

Reduced Weight and Yoga

4. Additive cycles

All these different virtuous cycles not only reinforce themselves but also reinforce each other. Reduced weight helps improving sleep due to reduction in snoring. It leads to better emotional health because of better self-image. Improved sleep allows our mind-body system to get fully rested and improves hormone balance. Harmful hormones are depleted and useful hormones are replenished. This leads to both a reduction in weight and improved emotional health. And finally when we look at the impact of improved emotional health we see that this causes reduction in binge eating and better self-control. This leads to reduction in weight. In addition there is improvement in sleep quality due to reduction in stress.

Additive Virtuous Cycles Of Yoga

We have taken up just three virtuous cycles as examples that are set in motion due to yoga. We have also shown how these virtuous cycles reinforce each other. It is for this reason yoga can stop the downward spiral into illness and bring about an overall improvement of both health and well-being. Physical and emotional health is the first step for a spiritual awakening. When this happens we realize the truth in the words of Herman Hess when he said:

“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”

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Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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Five Ways To Have A Ridiculously Amazing Life!

Richelle Morgan

I used to dream, wish and hope for an amazing life—not just an okay life, but a ridiculously amazing life.

When I was younger, that dream had me rolling in style, of course, with fabulous clothes, a big house and a fast car.

As I grew older and wiser, the material wants and needs of my dreams changed—I simply wanted to be inspired and excited to get out of bed.

But that wasn’t happening…I was living within a shell of myself.

Sleep, wake, crawl out of bed, work, eat, sleep and repeat. And repeat. And repeat again. Snooze alert.

I found myself caught in a vortex of boredom with my dreams of a different life on hold. I was stuck. Not unhappy, just stuck, like a pot of overcooked pasta, heavy, uninspired and pasty.

That heaviness was not only settling on my ass, it was finding its way into my heart. And, all I wanted to do was sleep. And eat. And then sleep some more.

The problem was that this wasn’t the first time I experienced this; it was not a new story I was creating where I could put the blame on all the supporting characters. This was my own fault; I had built a decently successful business, had wonderful clients, friends, family and all that fun stuff. I was living in suburbia heaven with a nice car, good home and it was killing me.

Slowly and surely, I was dying inside.

I had worked myself into exhaustion and the stress I put on myself to succeed gifted me with a lovely autoimmune disorder—which was ironic, considering my business was teaching others how to create healthy lifestyles.

I was unmotivated, uninspired and unfulfilled; a walking, talking empty shell. Like a pretty puppet, I moved, acted, responded, but if you had taken the time to knock on my shell, you would have heard a resounding echoing emptiness inside.

So what did I do?

I woke up, took a hard look at my life and told myself to snap out of it. I made the decision to step back into my life, to take the bull by the horns and take charge of myself. No more excuses. No more blame.

It was time to start living from the heart…and it was then that my life started to become a bit more amazing.

It was then that I started to become a bit more amazing.

And, yes, it was that simple. The decision, that is.

I realized that the only way out of my spiraling vortex of un-fulfillment was through me. In order to create the life I dreamed of, I had to be the one to change. I couldn’t blame anyone for my choices, my dissatisfaction or my growing ass. I had to turn the mirror around and face myself.

And at first I peeked, not wanting to face myself. But, as time went on and I did the work needed, that mirror started to shine and reflect a happier me. And now, I can proudly say that I have fully and completely stepped into my life. And I try to do at least one thing to make my life ridiculously amazing each and every day.

Five ways to step into your life and make it ridiculously amazing:

1. Move.

As in, move, breathe and sweat.

You can’t be ridiculously amazing burrowing a hole into your couch or glued to your computer screen. (I know this because I tried. Massive fail! And what makes matters worse, that decently successful business I ran was a fitness business. How sad is that? I was inspiring others to move but couldn’t get myself on board!)

You have to get up and get your ass moving! Get the blood flowing, muscles fired up and the energy levels inspired. And the million excuses you have will come up, shelf them. If you can walk to the fridge, you can move.

I’m not asking you to hop off the couch and run a marathon, go for a walk, dance, do yoga, something. Just move. While you’re at it, move on to number two.

2. Check in and take notice.

One thing that is consistent is that life is continuously changing—and it will pass you by in the blink of an eye if you don’t take notice of it.

Start by checking in and paying attention to the little things that happen on a daily basis. I take the same route everyday to teach and each time I notice something different; it didn’t used to be that way. I used to drive mindlessly to client’s homes or to appointments and find myself 10 km down the highway with no recollection of what just passed me by. I had created a cozy vacuum of numbness that had me periodically checking out of life.

Now, I pay attention. I check in and stay present. Even when I’m doing something I do everyday, it’s become a mini adventure. I’ve noticed that anything can and will happen, but it’s up to me to take notice. So open your eyes, ears and mind. Rediscover your senses.

When you pause and actually notice the little things, what you see might surprise you.

3. Love.

Sweet, juicy, love.

Get the love juice flowing for your friends, family, partner and pets. Basically, anyone or thing that shares your space. Try to sweeten the pot with some unconditional love. Pets, easy. People; maybe not so much so try to practice first and foremost on yourself. Drown yourself in a giant pot of love juice. Be kind and nourishing to yourself in deliciously healthy ways because when we start to treat ourselves as though we are worthy, we set amazing things in motion.

After all, we can’t tap into love if we don’t love ourselves first.

4. Play.

Remember that four letter word?

If you don’t, seek out a niece, nephew, your child or a friend’s child. Watch, listen and learn. Life has enough serious moments without us purposely adding to the mix.

It’s okay to let loose and let your inner child come out and play once in a while. Be silly, dance, sing and laugh a lot. Don’t let anyone dampen your silliness. I did that and it wasn’t fun.

Now I play, a lot, everyday, with my crazy dogs, in the beautiful sea, on my yoga mat and with my boyfriend. They nourish my quirky side and allow me to be me. Which makes me smile a lot.

As a bonus, they’re helping me develop gorgeous laugh lines… much prettier than the frown lines I was working on before.

5. Leap outside your comfort zone.

Don’t think. Get like Nike and just do it! Leap, jump or dive into something that takes you outside your comfort zone, something that scares you a little or a lot.

I did this when I first arrived in Tulum. Shy, deathly afraid of house parties, I became a bit of a hermit back home. Once my shell started to crack open, I forced myself to do things that took me way outside my comfort zone.

The end result was I became more social, less afraid to attend parties or events solo. And it was so extraordinarily freeing, terrifying at times, but once the sweat stopped pouring, I noticed that I was not alone. And no matter what the outcome, I embraced every experience as an opportunity to spread my wings and grow.

Amazing things happen when we open the door to life and let our senses explore. When you step outside your comfort zone and try new things, visit new places, create new adventures, you give back to yourself ten fold. Embrace what comes up when you take a chance on life.

The good with the bad because it will help you grow as a friend, lover, mother or father.

Take charge of your life.

If you unsatisfied, do something—your life won’t change unless you create the change.

So get things moving, go dance in the rain, kiss your partner deeply, try a new taste, take the road less travelled, open your eyes and drink in the sights.

There’s beauty to be found in simplicity.

Make the choice to step up to the bat and hit a ridiculously amazing home run in this fabulously messy thing we call life.

Credit: This has been authored by Richelle Morgan and has been reposted with permission. Richelle is a wanderlusting yogi, teacher, lifestyle coach and mama to three dogs and a cat. Lover of chocolate, wine, animals and life, she explores with her heart and craves the roads less travelled. She teaches her clients how to leap out of their comfort zones, trust in their inner strength and step into life. In 2011, her wanderlusting soul found it’s way, via motorhome, from Canada to Tulum where she currently lives, plays in the waves and teaches others to follow their hearts. You can find Richelle on Facebook or here.

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The Paralyzed Rat That Walked

More than fifty thousand people around the world suffer from spinal cord injuries every year. For them and countless others who have already suffered from the ravages of such injuries, this talk by Gregoire Courtine offers hope. Here is a new approach that shows clear results in rats. Instead of trying to focus on the place of break, this new approach seeks to revitalize the healthy but disabled portion of the spine. It then waits for the brain to magically reconnect back! Miraculously this approach seems to be working and could be an entirely new way of dealing with spinal injuries. More work needs to be done to expand this to humans. That is why MyLifeYoga is highlighting it here, and if you are excited about this new development we hope you will take the time to spread the word.

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Eight Ways To Make The Most Of Your Yoga Practice

Make Most Of Yoga

While millions benefit from yoga, it is also true that many do not obtain the full benefit that yoga offers. Here are eight things that will help you make the most of your yoga practice:

1. Practice regularly

The most important factor in unlocking yoga’s benefits is to practice regularly. A seven-days-a-week practice of yoga is most helpful. If you cannot get to that at least aim for a five-days-a-week schedule. Having a short 20 to 40 minute personal practice as a backup can also help. You can use this if you are running short on time on any given day.

2. No food 3 hours before and during your practice

You can make the most of your yoga practice by doing it on an empty stomach. Sometimes you may feel famished before an yoga class and the temptation is high to munch on something. At such times it helps to remember that if you hold off a little longer, the famished feeling will go away quickly once you start your yoga practice.

3. No drink 1 hour before and during practice

Unless you are doing hot yoga or if the risk of dehydration is very high, you should hold off on drinking liquids before or during a yoga class. There are three reasons for this: One is that “Pratyahara” or sensory withdrawal is part of the broader yoga system. This means that at the very least, you must refrain from energizing your taste buds during an yoga practice. The second reason is that if you have liquids sloshing inside, you may find it hard to do inversions. The third reason is that having food or liquids inside can interfere with the deep breathing that is required to be done while practing yoga.

4. Coordinate breath and movement

Practicing slow Ujjayi breath while doing your postures is an important factor in multiplying its benefits. You must get into and out of a posture slowly and while you are doing this you must have full control of your breath. This means that your attention is on the breath and that your breath is not choppy. While getting into a posture you must breathe either in or out, as guided by your yoga teacher. When you attain the posture you may want to hold it for a few rounds of breath. And then as you come out of the posture you should be either breathing in or out, as guided by your yoga teacher.

5. Hold your locks while practicing

There are three locks (Bandha) that you need to keep in mind while practicing most yoga postures. The first lock is the “Mula bandha”. The second lock is “Uddiyana bandha”. And the third one is “Jhalandhar bandha”:

• Mula Bandha – lock to keep pelvic area engaged. (Mula Bandha is the root lock and refers to the region between your anus and genital.)
• Uddiyana Bandha- lock to keep your core engaged. Make sure you have pulled in your stomach along with upper and lower abdomen.
• Jhalandhar Bandha- this is a chin lock. Slide your head back so it is not drooping forward and then move your chin towards your chest.

It is not possible to practice some of these bandhas in some yoga postures. In most cases it is self-evident but an experienced yoga teacher should be able to guide you. Practicing you postures with the proper locks will multiply the benefits of the postures manifold.

6. Do not let mind wander while practicing

The purpose of yoga is to steady the mind. Most benefits of yoga come from calming down and steadying the mind. It is therefore important to prevent your mind from wandering while on the yoga mat. An easy way to do this is to repeat continuously in your mind a short mantra while practicing your postures. A mantra is a short phrase in your own religious tradition. If you are not religious you may come up with a short phrase of your own that expresses humility, joy, and wonder. (“I bow before nature” is an example).

7. Focus on humility and love not calories

The most important thing in yoga is humility and surrender. If yoga is practiced with an attitude of arrogance or pride, it may prove counterproductive. It is therefore important to be completely non-competitive in your practice. Do not worry about how well others are doing. Instead just focus on your breath, your locks, and your mantra while practicing yoga. Do not try to burn calories or treat yoga as a workout. Instead use your breath as your guide. Practice only to that level of intensity where your breath does not become choppy.

8. For best results practice all 8 limbs

The practice of yoga postures is only one limb of the eight limbs of the full yoga system. To multiply your benefits you may want to incorprate as many other limbs as possible. The simultaneous practice of multiple limbs of yoga is very powerful and can lead to an acceleration of benefits.

The benefits of yoga are many and go much beyond its vaunted health benefits. Use the tips in this article to make the most of your yoga practice.

“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” ~B.K.S.Iyengar

You may also like: The Body-Mind Connection: Three Things To Know

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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