I just finished reading the article “Is Yoga Safe?” by Shirley Archer, JD, MA (July–August). It is really terrific for students and teachers alike. I am a yoga teacher, trainer and holistic health counselor. Increased awareness regarding yoga safety and its medical benefits, as well as proper training for new teachers, is extremely important to the future of yoga. Thank you so much for the information, as well as for the suggestion that potential students look for a teacher with a background in somatics. Great advice!
In our high-stress, hurried world—filled with financial pressures, information overload and “terror alerts”—many people feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. Add to this emotional tension the physical stress of sedentary lifestyles with long hours spent hunched over computers and, all too often, the result is a serious pain in the neck. Chronic neck pain is linked to a host of related disorders, including headache, jaw soreness, and pain radiating into the shoulders, upper back and arms.
How many times does the staff email blast urge you to “talk up other classes on the schedule?” It’s a good idea, but by the time you get to the studio, cue the music and lead people through your own class, either you forget to mention the vinyasa yoga class or participants leave before the cool-down, which is when you usually share announcements. Why not use the warm-up instead? This dynamic, yoga-inspired warm-up works for a step, dance, boot camp or strength circuit class and serves many purposes:
Among the various mind-body approaches out there, yoga and meditation-based therapies show the most promise for helping people to quit smoking, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s NCCAM Clinical Digest in January 2014. While more studies are needed, a research review of 14 clinical trials by investigators from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland found positive results from the practices of yoga, meditation and breathing exercises for people wanting to kick the smoking habit.
Flexibility, balance, strength and endurance are common components of a yoga class. The poses alone provide an excellent workout, but if you’re ready for something different, consider adding stability balls to your practice. This is a fun way to recruit core musculature, incorporate more balance work, and increase range of motion.
Yoga on the Ball Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS: a basic yoga practice incorporating the stability ball TIME: 45–60 minutes (can be shorter or longer depending on how many reps you do or how long you hold poses)
Even in childhood I had a philosophical bent. I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table with my twin brother and discussing with him why the dog could eat hamburger and it became “dog,” whereas we could eat hamburger and it became “us.” An interesting question for a couple of 9-year-olds to pursue. Sadly, we never figured it out.
By my early 20s I had taken up the study of yoga, and my worrisome won- dering about the big questions of mean- ing and purpose in life was becoming more refined. Now I really wanted to “understand” what life was all about.
Good news to share with clients who worry that if they don’t practice yoga daily, they won’t get results: Attending yoga class just once a week can provide positive, measurable help for people with low-back pain.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/658030) reported that weekly yoga classes were as effective as twice-weekly classes for relieving low-back pain in low-income minority participants.