You can beat diabetes by doing yoga

Relax, you can beat diabetes… by doing yoga: Ancient practice can lower blood sugar levels

  • Some patients may even be able to cut down on the medication after yoga
  • Study found one session of yoga led to a reduction in blood glucose levels
  • Visible changes could be seen within ten days of continuous practice

People with diabetes should be encouraged to take up yoga to keep the condition under control, say experts.

Doing 45 minutes of the ancient relaxation practice for just ten days can have a dramatic impact on lowering blood sugar levels.

Some patients may even be able to cut down on the medication they take to treat their condition after regular sessions.

Dr Venugopal Vijayakumar of the S-VYASA yoga university, who carried out the study, said: ‘Even one session of yoga has led to a reduction in blood glucose levels.

‘In the current study, visible changes could be seen within ten days of continuous practice.

‘However, we recommend regular practice of yoga at least for three months to show an improvement in the glycaemic control of people with diabetes.’

The new study, published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, looked at 1,292 people diagnosed with either type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is when someone has abnormally high blood sugars, but is not yet in the diabetic range.

The findings suggest that yoga could be used to help treat the condition and even prevent it from developing in those at risk.

Blood sugar levels of participants were measured both before they started yoga and after the sessions.

The results showed that fasting plasma glucose (FPG) – blood sugar levels – decreased by ten per cent in people who completed ten days of practical yoga sessions and lectures on diabetes and yogic concepts.

Dr Venugopal said: ‘Our research showed that yoga helps with better glycaemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

‘This was a large-scale community-based study performed with more than 1,000 diabetes patients from different socio-economic statuses, education, cultural backgrounds and age groups.’

It is thought the blood sugar reduction induced by yoga is not just down to the physical movement. Dr Venugopal said: ‘Yoga has been shown to bring about a reduction in stress hormones, inflammation and oxidative stress, so reducing insulin resistance.’

According to Diabetes UK, there are more than 4.5 million people in Britain with the debilitating disease. Of these, more than a million have type 2 without realising because they have yet to be diagnosed.

A further 11.9 million are at increased risk of developing the condition.

It is thought that a ten per cent reduction in FPG levels would help reduce the risk of complications for diabetes patients.

Dr Venugopal advises that yoga should be practised every day as a way of life rather than just for exercise. But even doing a 45-minute session five times a week could have a huge impact.

Dr Emily Burns, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, said: ‘We know that exercise can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition better.

‘While some research suggests that yoga may help people lower their blood glucose levels, this study doesn’t tell us whether yoga is more beneficial than other types of physical activity.

‘We suggest people choose exercise they most enjoy, be it walking, cycling to work, yoga classes or any other type.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4525318/Relax-beat-diabetes-doing

Silent Meditation and Yoga Retreat

A Weekend Workshop offered at Prama Institute & Wellness Center

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
It is amazing how only a couple days of silence can create a sense of self discovery and camaraderie. Our Slient Meditation and Yoga Retreats give participants the opportunity to connect with themselves and others at a deeper level beyond the usual discourse.
This weekend retreat will give you the opportunity to revitalize yourself, unclutter your mind, deepen your understanding of yourself and others, and discover sources of strength you may have only glimpsed but now can come to own. Silence allows you the time you always wanted to put things into perspective, find the balance, and recognize what the signs of your life are trying to tell you.
Silent Meditation and Yoga retreats at the Prama Institute are unique:

  • We combine open periods of personal reflection with powerful meditations, both sitting and moving.
  • Yoga classes that combine flow and restorative poses.
  • The nature walks along the scenic trails of our land are ideal for experiencing the beauty and peace around you and within.
  • The visualization exercises help you reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.
  • Journaling lets you express your discoveries and remember them whenever you want to review them.
  • And, of course, our legendary gourmet meals keep it all in perspective.

DETAILS

When:  April 7 – 9, 2017

Location:  Prama Institute

Program: Silent Yoga & Meditation Retreat

Faculty:  Howard Nemon, Sid Jordan

 

COST & REGISTRATION

Shared Accommodation

$350 (Till March 15), $395 (After March 15)

Private Accommodation

$450 (Till March 15), $495 (After March 15)

REGISTER HERE

Subtle Solutions to Soothe Anxiety and Stress Kit

I’ll bet you have a best friend, a mother-in-law, a client, or someone in your life who you know would benefit so much from yoga practice but who doesn’t think he or she has the right…(fill in the blank – body, clothes, etc.) to do yoga.

salutationSo I created the Subtle Solutions to Soothe Anxiety and Stress Kit  for your doubting, anxious, but really-in-need-of-yoga friend, relative, or client – but it’s also for you on those days when you need some stress relief but don’t feel like doing a strong practice.

Actually I’ve been working on this project for a few months. I shot the video with a professional videographer last summer, and it took a while for us to edit them and figure out what music to use (or not use!), and do the voiceover. And then I spent some time thinking about how the information in this video is so helpful and how could I best get it out to people who need it. So I asked a friend and she said, “Why not make a kit?”

A fine idea! So then I wrote an ebook and recorded a Yoga Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) script. And I’ve wrapped it all up in a nice package for you, your clients, and your stressed out relatives! Here’s a link to more information about the kit.

Please check it out!

I’m still posting, almost daily, short videos of breath centric asana variations on Instagram and Facebook. Lots of people have written to tell me how much these posts are helping them personally and several teachers have let me know how much the videos are helping them enliven their classes.

So check them out! Follow @subtleyoga on Instagram to access them. My 12 year old son is the director, producer (and occasional critic) of my Instagram career. 😉

Feeling a little stressed this season? Here’s a blog I wrote today about the necessity of utilizing yoga during times of increased stress. Hope it helps!

Happy Holidays!
Hug everyone you love!

kristinek_subtleyogaxoxo
Kristine Kaoverii

High levels of magnesium help to reduce risk of strokes, diabetes and heart disease

The chemical secrets of the Mediterranean diet: High levels of magnesium help to reduce risk of strokes, diabetes and heart disease

  • Scientists have found magnesium reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes
  • This can be found in stalwarts of the Med diet such as leafy greens, nuts, fish
  • The key is not eating just one of the above but a wide range of foods containing the mineral, the Chinese researchers say

Scientists have found magnesium reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes This can be found in stalwarts of the Mediterranean diet such as leafy greens, nuts, fishA Mediterranean diet is famously good for you because it is high in fruit and vegetables, while keeping red meat and dairy to a minimum.

But scientists have found another reason why it is so beneficial – it is rich in magnesium.

This is found in leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, meats and fish, which help reduce the risk of preventable diseases. Spices, beans and cocoa are also rich sources of magnesium.

The key is not eating just one of the above but a wide range of foods containing the mineral, the researchers say.

Scientists have found magnesium reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes This can be found in stalwarts of the Mediterranean diet such as leafy greens, nuts, fish

A magnesium-rich diet produced a 10 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease, 12 per cent lower risk of stroke and a 26 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

The NHS recommends 300mg of magnesium a day for men and 270mg a day for women.

Yet 11 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men are magnesium deficient, while nearly half of teenagers do not have enough.

Dr Fudi Wang, lead author of the study at Zhejiang University in China, said: ‘Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks.

Data show that even in developed countries such as the United States, many adults fail to meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium, Dr Wang explains.

That is despite the fact that studies have already demonstrated low levels of serum magnesium can increase the risk of a wide range of diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.

It is therefore crucial to raise awareness about magnesium’s precise affect on the human body, he says.

‘Importantly, although these foods contain relatively high levels of magnesium, the daily requirement for magnesium is difficult to achieve through a single serving of any one food item,’ Dr Wang added.

‘Therefore, consuming a wide variety of magnesium-rich foods will help ensure adequate daily intake of magnesium.

‘Here, we focused our analysis on the association between dietary magnesium intake and the incidence of highly prevalent chronic diseases and all-cause mortality.’

The research, involving data from 40 studies covering 1999 to 2016, was published in BMC Medicine.

The Kleshas: Conquering the Fear of Death (Abhinivesha)

BY AADIL PALKHIVALA  | originally posted here in Yoga Journal

It was a cold night in the Pacific Northwest and my beloved wife, Savitri, was dying. All her systems were failing and doctors had given up all hope. I sat beside her bed, holding her head in my hands.

aadil-and-savitri-hawaii-croppedI met Savitri when I was 18 and was instantly captured by her haunting beauty and kind heart. I loved her beyond measure. I was calm on the surface, but deeply shaken inside. She was the only woman I had ever been with. My whole life was her, and it was about to end. So on that evening over 25 years ago when I thought I was about to watch her die, a deep inner fear started to seize me. I prayed. I prayed hard. She could barely speak a word, her breath was failing, her skin was turning blue, and her limbs were as limp as wet rags. Her eyelids were fluttering. I gazed at the beautiful woman who had experienced the death of her entire family before she was 22. Now, was she really going to meet them at 30, in the prime of her youth?

No, I thought, and redoubled my efforts to hold on to her tightly. I was convinced I could save her. Then, she took a sharp breath and groaned in a labored whisper. I bent close to her mouth to hear her soft words. In an agonizing attempt to speak, to communicate, she moaned, “Let … me … go. Love … me …, let … me … go.”

Let her go? Wasn’t I the one keeping her alive? My ego was suffering. I was completely averse to the idea of letting go of control. Would she die if I let her go? Did I really know what I was doing? Did I have the correct knowledge? Doubt crept in. I had to replace it with faith. But faith in what? A God who could allow her to suffer so much?

I slowly realized that I had no control. Conquering death was beyond my grasp. So, I let go of my ego that held on to her so tightly. Savitri was right. If I loved her, I had to let her go. With a heavy heart, I took some deep breaths and gently pulled away from her. She was right. I had to let go of my arrogance, my attachment to her.

Still sitting beside Savitri’s bed, I waited into the night. Seconds turned to minutes and minutes to hours. With a semi-detached gaze I waited into the night. A slight flicker of her hand, a twitch of her head — it all prompted me to wonder if this was the moment she would leave this world. I watched her lungs carefully to make sure that the breath was moving. Now time stood still and all I could do was wait. And wait.

After a tangible eternity, her breath jerked. She was coming back! It was not in a glorious rush, but rather slow and painstaking, one movement after painstaking movement. It took weeks for Savitri to fully return, but she did. It was a marvelous miracle.

A Deep and Personal Lesson About the Kleshas

The obstacles to the path of yoga (kleshas) were taught to me by Savitri during that one night. Avidyā (my ignorance), asmitā (my ego), rāga (my attachment to her), dvesha (my aversion to letting go of her), and abhinivesha (the fear of her death). Since then Savitri has clinically “died” three more times. She has endured the ultimate fear of humans again and again. She has been to the other side. She understands its workings. Over 30 years she has gained incredible awareness of the spiritual worlds.

Savitri has been my greatest teacher, and that night she taught me a deep and personal lesson about the kleshas. The lesson she taught me was that I had to learn to surrender the desire of my ego to make things happen my way. It had to be surrendered to the true owner of the body, the Spirit. Savitri explains that the way to bring the Spirit into the body is to connect with the Pillar of Light, the sushumna. Using Heartfull™ Meditation techniques that she had created, such as Mental Centering, she saved her life. Indeed, after I let go, she said that she could connect more freely with her Pillar of Light and her Spirit chose to return to the body. But it had to be her decision. It could not be me deciding for her through my attachment. Powerful lesson.

When I asked her about her experience of nearly dying that night, she told me that the only thing that could keep her alive was her light. What’s more, not only did all of my attachment, fear, and worry do nothing to help the situation, it actually blocked Savitri from uniting with her light, preventing her soul from deciding its story. “The energy of the room needed to be filled with true, genuine love—not with fear and attachment,” she told me.

Of course, when it comes to those we love the most, feeling no attachment can be so very difficult to do. My lesson was to love her enough to let her go. In yoga we call it vairagya. But what was her lesson? She explained: “My lesson was to have no aversion for my body, to have no aversion for life, no aversion for death, no aversion for my sicknesses (dvesha). I had to go into to a place of light and love. To a place of complete surrender where the prayer was, ‘Thy will be done.’ Then only could the Divine and my soul decide whether to keep me alive or to die. I could not have fear of death. I could not have fear of life. Only then could the decision be made. And the decision was: return to your body.” She continued, “Both of us had lessons: to learn what true love is and witness its amazing wisdom.”

It is humbling to learn that clinging to another person to keep them alive may actually cause them to die. And, perhaps as importantly, the fear of death, abhinivesha, may actually be its cause.

See also Awaken to Your Potential for Change: The 5 Kleshas

3 Reasons for the Fear of Death

I believe that there are three reasons for the fear of death. The first is the fear of change. Most of us like the status quo. Death certainly is change. We seldom fear change if we are certain it is going to be better than what we have now. So, subconsciously, we fear death because we are not sure it is going to be better. We are justified in such a fear. We subconsciously know, deep within, that what happens after life is a direct consequence of our thoughts, words, and actions while alive. Are we living upright lives of extraordinary honesty and luminous character? The yogic solution: meditation on attachment to stagnation, meditation to explore what in me fears change. Meditation to release the samskāras that have always tried to be normal, ordinary, and feared change.

Next is the fear of the unknown. Perhaps the unknown will be more joyous. Perhaps it will be more miserable. I do not know. Therefore I fear it. For most of us, death is unknown. The yogic solution? Meditate on this fear. Ask yourself why you do not trust. Is it not more likely that if I anticipate joy, I am more liable to receive it? Do I not trust the law of attraction which, in yoga, we call karma? What I put forth, I must receive. What am I putting forth? Am I giving enough? Or, do I practice greed? My translation of an old Sanskrit proverb runs thus:

“Though in life we strive with pride to possess
The many things that give us sway,
All that is left in your cold dead hand
Is what you have given away.”

Third is the fear caused by a memory of pain from a similar experience. This is an amazing realization. Surely not everyone fears change and the unknown. Yet Patanjali holds it true that all of us fear death. If this is true, then could it be that the memory of the pain from a similar experience in the past is creating the fear this time around? Perhaps our past lives have not been so clean that our death was a pleasant experience. Perhaps the fear of death is less in those of us who have lived lofty lives filled with kindness and love.

Let us make three resolutions to reduce this pervasive klesha, abhinivesha or the fear of death: First, to get to know ourselves through meditation and live a lofty, honest, egoless life. Second, to open our hearts and love deeply so that there are no regrets. Third, to explore, discover, and live our mission (dharma) in life so that we feel that we are fulfilling the purpose of our Spirit. After all, our fear of death is never so great as our fear of not having fully lived.

About Our Writer

For nearly 30 years, Aadil Palkhivala has had the reputation of a “teacher of teachers.” Palkhivala began the study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar at the age of 7 and was introduced to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo at the age of 10. When Palkhivala was 20, he embarked on his first teaching tour of Europe and North America. Two years later, Iyengar awarded him the Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate. Palkhivala and his wife, Savitri, are the founders and directors of internationally renowned Alive and Shine Center and Purna Yoga College, both in Bellevue, Washington. Constantly educating himself in his passion for teaching the “whole yoga,” he is the author of the book Fire of Love. He has studied holistic healing and Ayurveda extensively. He holds degrees in law, physics, and mathematics, is a professional speaker and co-hosted the Alive and Shine Radio Show with Savitri.

Tulsi: The Anti-Aging, Stress-Fighting Wonder Herb You Need to Know

BY ORGANIC INDIA (a sponsored post previously posted here in Yoga Journal)

tulsi
Revered in India as “The Queen of Herbs,” Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil or “The Incomparable One”) has been used for centuries to support immunity, stress response, anti-aging, and the body’s natural detoxification process. The herb has been valued for centuries because of its benefits for the mind, body, and spirit.

Tulsi for Stress

Tulsi is a powerful “adaptogen,” an intelligent herb that adapts to physical, emotional and environmental stress, then works to normalize and balance the body. Stress is linked to many aspects of both physical and mental health, and healing and balance can only come about when the underlying stress is identified and addressed. Adaptogens reduce the intensity and negative impact of physical, emotional and environmental stressors.

Tulsi works to help support healthy cortisol levels by mitigating stress. Called “the stress hormone,” cortisol regulates and controls the influence of many of the physical and emotional changes that occur in the body in response to stress. Cortisol plays an important role in the body, releasing a boost of energy and strength in times of “flight or fight.” But the body cannot remain in a constant state of continual stress. Regular use of Tulsi helps to balance the body on all levels and support its response to every day stressors.

Tulsi for Health

Tulsi is also a powerful antioxidant, and has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. It is particularly effective with slow or congested digestion as well as emotional digestion. When the body is continually bombarded by high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, it can lead to increased appetite, weight gain and poor digestion, potentially leading to anxiety, depression or a suppressed immune system.

Tulsi works to lift mood, stamina and endurance with a calming energy. Adaptogenic herbs do not alter mood, but rather, they help the body function optimally. Tulsi creates a general sense of well-being, working to boost energy and enhance focus in order to deal with ongoing conflict and stress.

The anti-aging properties of Tulsi have been revered in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Studies have found that Tulsi is protective against oxidative damage and reduces free radicals, while it balances antioxidant enzymes.

Why ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi?

ORGANIC INDIA has been crafting high quality Tulsi teas and supplements since 1991. Their whole herb Tulsi is lovingly grown by small family farmers using regenerative agriculturepractices, to restore the health of the land and ensure the highest quality harvests.

Regenerative Agriculture is sub-sector of organic farming that regenerates unhealthy soils and builds upon soil fertility, in order to protect and restore the earth. Regenerative agricultural practices go beyond organic and sustainable agriculture, by regenerating the soil, land, and surrounding ecosystem in order to restore vibrant health to the environment. These practices are all about putting in more than they take out. Richer soil creates more powerful herbs, and in addition, these practices have restored microbial diversity to the soil. Microbes help to achieve balance in the digestive tract, so they are an added boost to the health benefits of ORGANIC INDIA’s teas and supplements.

While the current trend is to isolate compounds for their specific therapeutic quality, ORGANIC INDIA utilizes whole herbs in their Tulsi formulas, founded in a belief that the sum of the parts of the whole plant are more balanced than any one main constituent. Part of the restorative properties come from the synergistic quality of plants—they were not meant to be scientifically separated into extracts, they were meant to be offered whole. In honoring the divine intelligence of the earth, and offering the potency and balance of whole herbs, ORGANIC INDIA keeps herbal formulas as close to their original form as possible.

ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi teas and herbal supplements are comprised of three different types of Tulsi—Rama, Vana and Krishna Tulsi. Taken together, this formula is tri-dosha balancing, meaning that it is balancing to all Ayurvedic body types—Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas. While other Tulsi formulas may service a particular body type, ORGANIC INDIA’s Tulsi provides balance to all body types.

ORGANIC INDIA offers 24 flavors of Tulsi Tea, ranging from their wildly popular Tulsi Sweet Roseand Tulsi Turmeric Ginger, to their more therapeutically targeted formulas, such as Tulsi Sleepand Tulsi Tummy. They also offer a Tulsi Supplement for a less romanticized way to get in your daily dose of this powerful adaptogen. For reference, one Tulsi tea bag includes the same amount of Tulsi as one capsule of the Tulsi Supplement.

BY ORGANIC INDIA (a sponsored post previously posted here in Yoga Journal)


This posting is of interest to our health-minded community and not an endorsement of Organic India products.

A Family Affair

Mother and daughter doing yoga

Want to make yoga a family affair? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Find a quiet spot in your home or yard to set up your mats.

Chat with your child about yoga. Let her know that it’s a physical practice and that breathing deeply is important. Listen to her concerns and ideas. As you practice, compliment your child on her efforts. Create a sense of lightheartedness, and convey that yoga is meant to feel good and be fun!

During the practice, remind your child often to breathe deeply through her nose. Hold poses for about 2 to 5 breaths. And check in every so often by asking her how a pose feels or where she is working hardest.

How can parents who want to practice with their kids follow her lead? First, says Roades, know that your child might not be hooked right away. Like adults, kids want to be good at things, and yoga can seem strange at first. “By the third time it’s usually not so foreign,” Roades says. She also encourages incorporating positions that your child already knows (like sitting cross-legged) into each session to build confidence. Once they are in a pose, tell them how many breaths they will stay in it, to help them feel safe. Finally, limit practices to 30 minutes or less and use language they’ll enjoy and understand.

Most of all, says Roades, make it fun, and your children will begin to feel stronger and calmer in their daily life. “Giving children the tools to feel confident is priceless,” Roades says. “Teaching kids how to relax and deal with their emotions is incredible.”

Before You Begin

Set Up. Find a quiet spot in your home or yard to set up your mats.

Communicate. Chat with your child about yoga. Let her know that it’s a physical practice and that breathing deeply is important. Listen to her concerns and ideas. As you practice, compliment your child on her efforts. Create a sense of lightheartedness, and convey that yoga is meant to feel good and be fun!

About the sequence.

During the sequence, remind your child often to breathe deeply through her nose. Hold poses for about 2 to 5 breaths. And check in every so often by asking her how a pose feels or where she is working hardest.

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Stand up straight with your feet together. Lift your toes up and spread them. Roll your shoulders back and place your hands on your belly. Take 5 deep breaths and feel your belly move. This pose can be called “home base” in yoga.

2. Crescent Moon Pose

Bring your left arm up toward the sky and spread your fingers wide. Keep reaching your arm long as you tip over to the right. Take 2 to 5 deep breaths and then switch sides. Remember to reach as high as you can before tipping over.

3. Rag Doll Pose

Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Take a big breath, then exhale and bend over, letting your arms and head be loose and hang toward your feet. Shake out your arms and nod your head “yes” and “no.”

4. Ostrich Pose

Step your feet wide apart. Breathe in and reach both arms up. Exhale as you fold over. Place your hands on the floor or on your legs while you look through your legs. Ask your child why this pose is called Ostrich. (Answer: Ostriches sleep with their heads buried in the ground.)

5. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II), with a partner

First try Warrior II individually. Then try it as a partner pose. Stand shoulder to shoulder and to the right of your child. Place the outer edge of your left foot next to the outer edge of her right foot (these are your “inside feet”). Step your outside feet wide and turn them out 90 degrees. Hold each other’s inside wrists, reach your outside arms away from each other, and bend your outside knees to 90 degrees.

6. Partner Frog Pose

Try Frog Pose individually first. Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat. (If necessary, bring your feet farther apart or rest your heels on a rolled blanket.)

Place your elbows inside your knees and press your palms together at the heart. If you are tipping back, bring your head forward; if you are tipping forward, take your head back. After a few breaths, come out of the pose and try it together. Stand face to face, holding each other’s wrists. Take a big breath, then lower into a squat as you breathe out.

Mother and daughter doind exercise

7. Butterfly Pose

Sit face to face, pressing the soles of your own feet together. Scoot your sitting bones close to your feet. Interlace your fingers and place them around your feet. Sit up tall and take 2 to 5 deep breaths. If you want to deepen the pose, stick your chin out and bend forward. Instruct your child to breathe into her hips.

8. Mixing Bowl

Sit facing each other and extend your legs out wide into a V shape. Press the soles of your feet into the soles of your child’s feet (or have your child place her feet higher on your legs, if she needs to). Reach forward and hold each other’s wrists, hands, or fingers. Slowly begin to lean forward and back until you each feel a stretch. After a few breaths, rotate your bodies in a circle like you are mixing something in a bowl. Move one way and then the other, making sure to communicate if you want more or less of a stretch.

9. Mirror Me

Sit comfortably, facing each other. Bring your hands up, fingers spread wide, in front of your chest. Move your palms very close to your child’s, until they are almost touching. Move your hands up, down, and side to side very slowly, while your child mirrors you. Then allow your child to become the leader. Encourage quiet focus and concentration. Practice this exercise as long as you like. Afterward, ask your child if she preferred leading or following.

10. Partner Breathing

Sit back to back and feel your partner’s back move as she breathes naturally. Next, try to both make the in breath and the out breath the same length. Take 5 to 10 breaths together, enjoying the fruits of your hard work.

After You Finish

Rest Lie together in Floating on a Cloud Pose (also known as Savasana, or Corpse Pose). Encourage her to close her eyes, be still and calm, and pretend that her body is floating on a cloud. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes.

Connect Give your child a hug and thank her for practicing with you. Get her feedback by asking her what she enjoyed the most. Be open to your child’s response.

Start a daily gratitude practice

BY FRANK JUDE BOCCIO  |  Originally published here in Yoga Journal

Count your blessings and you’ll find that even a “bad” day is filled with precious gifts.

At the grocery store, a friend was bowled over by the simplest act of kindness: A stranger let her step ahead of him in the checkout line. It was such a little thing, and yet it swelled her heart with happiness. What she experienced, she ultimately realized, was more than just gratitude for a chance to check out faster—it was an affirmation of her connection to a stranger and, therefore, to all beings.soft_love

What IS Gratitude?

On the surface, gratitude appears to arise from a sense that you’re indebted to another person for taking care of you in some way, but looking deeper, you’ll see that the feeling is actually a heightened awareness of your connection to everything else. Gratitude flows when you break out of the small, self-centered point of view—with its ferocious expectations and demands—and appreciate that through the labors and intentions and even the simple existence of an inconceivably large number of people, weather patterns, chemical reactions, and the like, you have been given the miracle of your life, with all the goodness in it today.

It is easy, as Roger L’Estrange, the 17th-century author and pamphleteer, said, to “mistake the gratuitous blessings of heaven for the fruits of our own industry.” The truth is, you are supported in countless ways through each moment of your life. You awaken on schedule when your alarm clock beeps—thanks to the engineers, designers, assembly workers, salespeople, and others who brought you the clock; by the power-company workers who manage your electricity supply; and many others. Your morning yoga practice is the gift of generations of yogis who observed the truth and shared what they knew; of your local teacher and of her teacher; of the authors of books or videos you use to practice; of your body (for which you could thank your parents, the food that helps you maintain your good health, doctors, healers, and the “you” who cares for that body every day)—the list goes on.

When you awaken to the truth of this incredible interconnectedness, you are spontaneously filled with joy and appreciation. It is for this reason that one of the most transformative practices you can engage in is the cultivation of gratitude. Patanjali wrote that santosha (contentment, or appreciation for what you have) leads to unexcelled joy, while other yogic texts say that this sense of appreciation is the “supreme joy” that naturally leads to the realization of the Absolute. Thankfully, gratitude can be cultivated. It simply takes practice.

Begin to See All Of Life’s Gifts

If you’re like most people, you notice what goes wrong more often than what goes right. Human beings seem hard-wired to notice how reality fails to meet some idea of how they think things should be. How many times a day do you sink into disappointment, frustration, or sadness because others haven’t met your expectations? If you limit your attention to how life lets you down, you blind yourself to the myriad gifts you receive all the time. Continue reading

Mindfulness Walking Meditation

By John Cianciosi  |  Originally posted here in Yoga Journal

Learning to establish awareness during walking meditation helps to develop mindfulness during the activities of your daily life.

In Bodh Gaya, India, there is an old Bodhi tree that shades the very spot where the Buddha is believed to have sat in meditation on the night of his enlightenment. Close by is a raised walking path about 17 steps in length, where the Buddha mindfully paced up and down in walking meditation after becoming enlightened, experiencing the joy of a liberated heart.

In his teachings, the Buddha stressed the importance of developing mindfulness in all postures, including standing, sitting, lying down, and even walking. When reading accounts about the lives of monks and nuns in the time of the Buddha, you find that many attained various stages of enlightenment while doing walking meditation.

The Forest Meditation Tradition of northeast Thailand, with which I am most familiar, puts great emphasis on walking meditation. The monks live in simple single-room dwellings dispersed throughout the forest, and in the area around each hut you always find a well-worn meditation path. At various times of the day or night, monks can be seen pacing up and down these paths, mindfully striving to realize the same liberation of heart attained by the Buddha. Many monks walk for long hours and actually prefer it to sitting meditation. The late Ajahn Singtong, a much admired meditation master, sometimes practiced walking meditation for 10 to 15 hours a day.

While I don’t expect that many will want to walk for such a long time, you may want to try this form of meditation; it’s a valuable method of mental training for furthering awareness, concentration, and serenity. If developed, it can strengthen and broaden your meditation practice to new levels of tranquility and insight.

Also see Guided Mindful Walking Meditation

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