Some Inspriational yoga
quotes to remind you why you do yoga
teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what
cannot be cured.” -
is an endurance sport, and you have to learn to control your
breath; that's the essence of yoga, too. So, I consciously
began using yoga techniques in my practice and playing. I
think yoga helped reduce the number and severity of injuries
I suffered. As preventative medicine, it's unequaled."
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your
practice, the brighter the flame." -B.K.S.
are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."
reversing the aging process. I can do things with my body
now that I wouldn’t even have thought of doing when I was an
athlete, a teenager. So that keeps me going. –
"Yoga is about clearing away
whatever is in us that prevents’ our living in the most full
and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where
we are restricted -- in body, mind, and heart -- and how
gradually to open and release these blockages. As these
blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel
more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin
to flow -- or we begin to flow more in our lives."
- Cybele Tomlinson.
your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they
become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your
character; for it becomes your destiny." –
Pilates or Yoga:
Which one is right for you?
Depending on your fitness goals,
you may choose to practice yoga or Pilates exclusively, or
include them both in your workout regimen. While there are
certainly differences between yoga and Pilates, they
complement each other well and are both low impact workouts.
Simply put, the difference between yoga and Pilates is that
between East and West. Both systems build strength and
flexibility; the difference between them is not so much
physical as it is philosophical.
What is yoga?
The aim of yoga is to unite the
mind, the body, and the spirit. Yoga views the mind and the
body as one. Given the right tools, one can find harmony and
While some people think of yoga
simply as physical exercise, it is actually a complete,
holistic system for overall health and well-being. Having
been practiced for thousands of years, yoga includes
everything from physical postures (asanas), to meditation,
breathing (pranayama), and relaxation techniques. The most
advanced forms of meditation and self-realization are also a
part of yoga.
Why practice yoga?
When it comes to achieving both
physical and mental well-being, yoga exercises are by far
the most effective and time-tested practices known to
mankind. Yoga asanas effectively strengthen and tone the
body, increase flexibility, improve balance, and relieve
stress. However, the most significant benefits of yoga
asanas come from their profound effects on the internal
systems of the body.
By bending, stretching, twisting,
and flexing in the various postures, you bathe your internal
organs with oxygenated blood. You also are massaging the
organs leading to better function. Yoga asanas soothe and
tone the nerves and regulate the endocrine system, which is
responsible for the production of hormones—one of the keys
to both physical and mental health. They also improve
digestion and elimination, strengthen the respiratory
system, and tone the reproductive organs.
Yoga is a
wonderful complimentary system to all other forms of
exercise and sports training. It helps the body to work more
efficiently through flexibility and keeps the body healthy.
It has become a staple in the training of pro sports teams
including Hockey, Basketball,
Football and Soccer.
When you spend an hour in a yoga
class, you stress seems to melt away and you emerge
wonderfully relaxed and refreshed.
What is Pilates?
Derived from ancient yoga asanas,
the Pilates exercise system was developed by Joseph Pilates
over 80 years ago. Like yoga, Pilates is a mind/body
exercise utilizing synchronized breathing coordinated with
movement. Practiced for decades by dancers for strengthening
and rehabilitation, Pilates has become very popular in
recent years. Although Pilates works the entire body, the
primary focus is on the core muscles (think torso - abs,
back, hips, glutes and stabilizing muscles).
Why practice Pilates?
Pilates workouts promote strength
and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and
increased range of motion for the joints. Pilates is very
beneficial for strengthening muscles without shortening them
or bulking up. Joseph Pilates believed that a strong “power
house” (core) was the energetic center of the body. If your
power house is strong your body will be strong. Pilates
improves balance and overall strength, stabilizes and
lengthens the spine, improves posture, and can help prevent
injuries and aid in injury rehabilitation.
People recognize seasoned Pilates
practitioners by their perfect posture coupled with a lean
long look and amazing abs!
Do you ever wonder why you are asked to hold your hands
or fingers in a certain way during yoga postures or in
reason is you are performing a mudra.
The translation of the Sanskrit word mudra is
Mudras are a combination of subtle physical
movements which can alter your mood, attitude and
perception and can lead to a deepened awareness and
A mudra can involve the whole body in a
combination of posture, pranayama (breathing), bandha
(locking actions), and visualization, or it can be a
simple hand position as shown to the left in baivara
The reason why mudras are effective is they manipulate
prana (energy) in the body. Our body is made up of
energy, and performing a mudra helps to redirect the
energy within rather than have it leak out of the body.
A brain research paper
published in the National Academy of Sciences in
November 2009, demonstrated that hand gestures stimulate
the same regions of the brain as language.
Matyasama - Fish
The fish pose is wonderful asana that affects our health
positively in so many ways. This pose stretches the
intestines and helps with all abdominal ailments. It is a
wonderful posture for your lungs. It helps to improve
asthma, and relieve chest ailments such as bronchitis. It
regulates the function of the thyroid gland and stimulates
the thymus boosting the immune response.
Now in her fifties, Madonna is one of the fittest celebrity
females out there. Aside from her physically demanding
shows, she practices yoga daily. "I've been practicing yoga
for a while now, and it's an incredibly powerful and
positive force in my life,"
The LA Lakers
flying basketball club practices yoga as a team a few times
a week, claiming that the practice has helped to increase
balance and coordination and helps them to prevent injuries
sports teams that are using yoga to train include The Miami
Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Chicago
Television and film stars
Sex in the City stars,
Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis do yoga
Angelina Jolie buffed up for Tomb
Raider with yoga!
Oprah is such an ardent believer that she has her staff
doing yoga once a week! She's devoted an entire segment on
her show to yoga with celebrity teacher Rodney Yee and has
the benefits of yoga listed on her website, along with
testimonials from stars and ordinary people.
It’s reverses the
Yoga really purifies your
organs and your blood. The real lesson yoga brings you is
learning to be present-
Bow Pose -
The Bow pose is a very important pose in Hatha Yoga.
The entire alimentary canal (pharynx, esophagus,
stomach, small intestine, and large intestine) is
reconditioned by this posture.
This asana aids in digestion, fights
constipation, and removes gastrointestinal disorders.
The flexion of the spine revitalizes all the spinal
nerves by increasing circulation, and strengthens and
realigns the spine. Bow pose is also beneficial for
diabetes, incontinence, and menstrual disorders, while
improving the functioning of the liver, kidneys and spleen.
Halasana - Plough
We know yoga is great for
flexibility and building and toning muscles, but most
don’t realize the amazing benefits of yoga for the rest
of the body.
The plough pose is a perfect example of a posture that not
only improves the flexibility of the spine, and strengthens
the abdominal muscles but also affects most of the internal
systems of the body.
It is a wonderful pose to massage all the internal organs,
activating digestion, relieving constipation, indigestion or
heart burn, revitalizing the spleen and the adrenal glands,
promoting the production of insulin, and improving liver and
The plough pose also tones the spinal nerves which improve
our nervous system function calming our bodies and minds. It
stimulates the thymus gland which boosts immune function. It
also regulates the Thyroid balancing the body’s metabolic
rate. Think about
that next time you have your legs over your head wondering
what you are doing. Now you know!
Fitness Myth: Strength Training will make
me bulk up.
This myth is mainly a concern for the female population. I
have probably been asked this question by about 80% of my
female clients when they came in to see if weight training
would be right for their goals. Good question though,
because if I was a woman, I don’t think I would want to
train to look like an N.F.L. linebacker. But this myth could
not be further from the truth. Yes, Strength training will
build muscle, and NO, you will not look bulky. In fact
building muscle is necessary to control weight. When you add
lean muscle mass to your body, you are resetting your
metabolism to burn more calories. The general rule is for
every one pound of lean muscle mass that you put on your
body, you will increase your metabolism by 50 calories per
day. Metabolism is the rate at which your body uses energy,
or, burns calories. Metabolism measures the number of
calories required to keep your body functioning. Basically,
if you have a sluggish metabolism you may put on weight if
you are eating too much. If you increase your metabolism,
you will burn more calories and burn more fat.
The average women will put on a little less than one pound
of muscle per month if they are doing intense weight
training 3 to 4 times per week. As they plateau with their
strength gains, they will eventually plateau with their
The main thing you must remember about muscle is this: One
pound of muscle takes up only 1/3 of the space of one pound
As explained, adding muscle will increase your metabolism,
helping to burn off fat stores on your body. If you burn off
one pound of fat, and put on one pound of muscle, that
muscle will only take up 1/3 of the space, a net 2/3 less
space. Adding muscle will have the benefit of giving your
body a toned tight look, not a bulky look. The only way
women can bulk up, is if they are eating to gain weight. As
they gain more fat, they will be putting on more muscle
underneath the fat, and appear more bulky.
Lastly, do not look at men as an indicator of how much
muscle you will put on. Men have vastly higher levels of the
hormone testosterone in their bodies. testosterone is
needed to build muscle. Men are much more predisposed to
build bulky muscles. So don’t worry about bulking up.
Remember those dumb bells are your lean building friend!
written by Roy Gowans - Co-owner at Holistic BodyWorx
Pilates, Yoga & Wellness Studio in Mississauga