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Ayurveda and Yoga: Seeing the Connection

Ayurveda and Yoga: Seeing the Connection

Some might say that there is no yoga without Ayurveda and that there is no Ayurveda without yoga; and they are most probably right.

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda refers to a holistic mind-body natural health system that was developed by Indian sages thousands of years ago. With its Sanskrit words Ayur, meaning life and Veda, standing for science or knowledge; this method is not only useful to cure and overcome physical illnesses, but it is also a practice that gives you access to leading a vigorous balanced life by taking into account these two basic principles:

The Mind and Body are Inherently Connected

There is nothing more powerful than the mind, when it comes to healing and transforming the body

Ayurveda’s goal is to remove the root cause of disease and the imbalance of the doshas. Doshas are different types of mind, body and emotional combinations that show predominant characteristics in an individual. An individual’s predominant dosha will fall into one of the three categories of Vata, Pitta or Kapha; each one being related to two of the five elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth. Suitable and effective diet and remedies will entirely depend on a person’s corresponding dosha. This system is all about purification of the mind and body, through leading a healthy lifestyle in all facets of your daily routines and life; from eating to thinking and from resting to carrying out any given activity.

Ok… So How Is Ayurveda Related to Yoga?

Just as Pattabhi Jois explains in his book Yoga Mala, the goal of yoga is “to finally come to the realization of one’s true self or universal self; freeing the mind and sense organs and thus making it possible for us to control them.” This is not achieved only by carrying out the practice of the many Asanas or postures, but by simultaneously following what is recommended in the Eight Limbs of yoga. It is in these eight foundations that we are capable of finding the connection in between these two Indian wisdom philosophies.

The first limb Yama, for example, is composed of Ahimsa which is basically the principle of not causing harm to anyone, in any form and at any time including animals and all sentient beings; a principle that is quite linked to Ayurveda prescribing mostly vegetarian diets, with meat being suggested only under certain specific conditions and in small amounts. Aparigraha, on the other hand, mentions how what we eat should be pure (sattvic), untainted (nirmala) food that is acquired through righteousness, thaking into account that the amount of food being ingested is that one necessary for our body to sustain itself; which means not over eating or not eating less than what we need. This principle is closely connected to the one proposed by Ayurveda that encourages to eat with complete awareness. Finally, the second limb, Niyama, mentions Saucha or purification (inner and outer purification); a goal that is overall sought by Ayurvedic medicine as well.

Meditation, one of the essential components in yoga, was also the main prescription used by Ayurvedic physicians, as it aids with bringing balance back into our minds and because our mind and body are naturally connected, this immediately helps with bringing homeostasis back into our body.

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6 Types of Underwear for Yoga

It’s time for yoga, and you’ve got two pairs of clean underwear: a thong that crawls, or that-time-of-the-month granny pants. You don’t want Visible Panty Lines (VPL), and you don’t want to have visible thong either. You could go commando, but you’ve heard stories about ripped yoga pants, and that would be far worse than a thong riding up above the top of your waistline.

What’s the best underwear for yoga? Some women say thongs are uncomfortable, but they don’t want to wear regular underwear because the lines will show. How to deal with this problem? Here are a handful of the solutions women have devised to deal with the yoga underwear dilemma.

Regular Underwear

These women wear whatever underwear they want and have no time for your nonsense. I salute these women.

No Underwear

These women wear no underwear and have no time for underwear. I am a little afraid of these women, but I respect their right to eschew undergarments.

Low-rise, Thick Banded Thongs

This is the option I choose. It is a popular solution. A thong with a wide, soft and stretchy band (usually lace) that sits low on the hip and doesn’t cut into it is about as comfortable as you can hope for without having a VPL in yoga. The most well-known maker of this kind of thong is Hanky Panky. These kinds of thongs have been wildly popular for about fifteen years now, and I believe there are other brands at different price points making this style as well. The main concern is to ensure you buy the low-rise style so that it does not stick up above the top of your pants during class.

Brazillian Style Panty

The Brazillian panty is like a thong but with more coverage. It is slightly more comfortable than a thong but might have more VPL potential.

G-string

Less coverage, even, than a thong, but probably not going to show in class, because there’s not much to show.

Pants with VPL-Camouflaging Seams

If you want to hide your VPL but really dislike wearing thongs, G-strings, Brazilian panties, or going commando, you can find a pair of pants that allow you to wear your regular style underwear underneath without detection. The key to this is looking for yoga pants with visible seams running down the legs and around the backside, especially in the general areas where your underwear lines would be. These lines serve to hide the VPL and distract from anybody noticing your underwear lines. Champion makes a pair of yoga pants that have a seam running down the sides of both legs, the crack of the butt, and around the side of the hips that camouflages panty-lines pretty well.

Skirt Over Yoga Pants

A trend that may or may not catch on. Recent advertisements for some yoga brands feature models wearing yoga pants with skirts on over them. If you like this look, it clearly would solve the problem with panty lines.

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My Go-to Yoga Pose: Plank Pose

Plank Pose high variation of Chaturanga Dandasana, in Sanskrit, is great for when you don’t have a lot of time and you want to challenge yourself physically. This pose develops a strong foundation just like a wooden plank. Because you have to hold up your entire body in this pose, it helps develop your sense of power. At the same time, as you coordinate your whole body and transition in and out of this pose, you also develop a graceful quality.

Chaturanga Dandasana, in Sanskrit, means four-limbed staff pose. The staff refers to your central support system, your spine. In this pose you press the floor away with all of your limbs and create a parallel position to the floor. This pose is performed two ways:

1.In the Sun Salutation A and B, Yoga Vinyasa Sequences

2. It can be held for a period of time, 30 seconds for example, with deep breathing staying constant.

Plank pose works your whole body.

The beauty of yoga poses is that they build strength using your own body weight and plank pose is a perfect example of this component. Plank pose strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles while increasing flexibility in the feet. As you bear your weight it builds arm and wrist strength.

Integrates your body

As you begin to integrate your whole body, keeping your body straight, this integration sets you up for vinyasa flow jumps. When you incorporate Vinyasa flow transition jumps, you begin at your core and dramatically move your energy upward through your chakras!

In addition to body integration, you improve your circulatory and respiratory benefits. It also develops a more stable spinal posture. It seems to build a very balanced and strong foundation for your body to thrive and prepare for more yoga benefits.

It builds self-confidence and sense of stability.

As you feel your weight evenly distributed, hold yourself through the sheer strength of your muscles, you instantly remember that you are innately strong and powerful. As you continue to increase the amount of time you spend in this pose (anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes) you build self confidence and perseverance.

Plank Pose is a good foundation for wrist-bearing poses, including inversions.

By engaging these upper body muscles, you are preparing yourself for intermediate yoga poses. You will be able to hold side plank, jump through transitions using your wrists and lift into handstands. Slowly work up to these poses, however, because it is easy to develop wrist injuries if you haven’t built up enough strength. That is why plank pose is a great foundational skill!

It is perfect for morning yoga routines.

Get your plank practice in by doing sun salutations, which are found in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga flows. In this sequence, you will exhale as you jump into plank and lower down into upperward facing dog pose. Focus your gaze, or drishti, on the tip of your nose with your face looking forward.

Due to plank pose’s ability to create true strength, coordination, and self-confidence, I rely on this pose to prepare me to handle anything that will come my way during the day!