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Breathing, Meditation, Yoga & More / How do I get out of my head?

Mindfulness Meditation & Yoga Tools to help during COVID-19

Yoga

In Sanskrit, yoga means to yoke or bind.  It is  interpreted as union of mind, body, and spirit.  There are a number of different styles of yoga.  I have included some of the most popular styles found in the west. 


According to yoga philosophy, there are 7 main chakra centers:  

1. Root Chakra (Muladhara) base of the spine / feelings of being grounded. Color red. Sound: Lam

2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana) lower abdomen (below the naval) / relate to our emotions and the emotions of others, creativity, and sexual energy. Color orange. Sound: Vam

3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) upper abdomen (stomach area) / self-confidence, self-esteem and ability to control, ability to express true self. Color yellow. Sound: Ram

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata) bridge between the lower chakras (associated with materiality) and the upper chakras (associated with spirituality) / ability to give and receive love. Color green. Sound: Yam

5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) gives voice to the heart chakra / communication, self-expression, and truth. Color light blue/turquoise. Sound: Ham

6. Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna) forehead between the eyes / intuition, imagination, and wisdom. Color dark blue/purple. Sound: Aum/Om

7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) crown of the head and represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually - higher consciousness Color violet/white. Sound: silence, just listen.

1. Increases flexibility in mind and body

2. Decreases stress and relieves anxiety

3. Improves posture & improves bone health

4. Protects your spine (you are only as old as your spine)

5. Increases blood flow (put your legs up the wall to reverse the blood flow)

6. Increases heart rate

7. Increases positive outlook

8. Helps you focus & become more mindful

9. Improves balance
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10. Increases lung capacity

11. Creates inner strength

12. Builds awareness & encourages self-care 

13. May improve heart health

14. Improves quality of life

15. May fight depression

16. May improve sleep quality

17. Improves eating habits

18. Increases strength

 

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Traditionally, Hatha referred to the physical style of yoga. Now it usually refers to a slow-paced and gentle practice. Hatha is a great way to begin practicing yoga. A typical hatha class will include breathing, meditation and basic postures. 

undefinedVinyasa yoga involves a sequence of poses that flow from one to the other using rhythmic breath, usually involving a number of sun salutations. There are a number of variations within the vinyasa style of yoga including ashtanga and power flow which are physically demanding.  Oftentimes, vinyasa is used to describe a sequence of poses including chaturanga to upward-facing dog to downward-facing dog.  Vinyasa may be the most popular style of yoga in the U.S.

undefinedKundalini involves postures, dynamic breathing techniques, and chanting and meditating on mantras.  The focus of this yoga is awakening the energy starting at the base of the spine through the 7 chakras.  This is a great a practice for those wishing to explore the spiritual side of yoga and connect with their inner self. Sequences (called kriyas) are done rapidly and for a long period of time.  Kundalini is a spiritual, mental and physical practice.

undefinedBikram yoga is practiced in a heated sauna-like room from 95 to 100 degrees.  The heat loosens tightness in muscles and causes profuse sweating which is thought to be cleansing.  There are 26 traditional hatha postures. Not all hot yoga is Bikram but Bikram is always hot.  Founded by Bikram Choudhury who has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and racial discrimination. He fled the U.S. in 2016 to avoid persecution. However, many people continue to practice this form of yoga. 

 

 

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Yin yoga focuses on getting into the body's connective tissue in the joint area.  Poses are held for a longer period of time (usually 3 to 5 minutes).  Yin is counter to vinyasa or yang style yoga. Yin is a practice of relaxation and patience.

 

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Iyengar focuses on the correct alignment of the spine to improve posture. It is a popular practice for those who have suffered an injury, the elderly, and beginners.  Postures are executed slowly and held for a minute.  Props are used to help align the body.