Bikram Yoga – Your Guide to 26 Postures, Benefits & Risks

Bikram Yoga

You might have heard of Bikram yoga before, either at a class or even in pop culture references. In this article, we’ll go over and cover all the benefits and risk of Bikram Yoga.

The Bikram Yoga system was founded by Bikram Choudhury who also happens to be the founder of the “The Yoga College” in India. Choudhury has played major roles in the development of Yoga including devising the 26 postures sequences. The Bikram Yoga system produced by Choudhury comes from traditional Hatha yoga techniques he developed in the early 1970s.

Often, all Bikram Yoga beginning-series classes tend to run for 90-minutes; they entail a series of 26 postures as well as two breathing exercises. Apparently, Bikram Yoga is quite unique and different from other types of Yoga; it’s practised in a heated room of 35-42 degree Celsius with a room-humidity of 40%. The hot room obviously causes sweating, and the hope is that the heat will loosen your muscles and joints, and the sweat will cleanse your body.

You will definitely enjoy your Bikram Yoga since all official Bikram classes are always taught by certified-Bikram teachers so you will be guided by a professional. For any person to be declared a Bikram Yoga teacher, they have to complete the 9-weeks of training that was endorsed by Choudhury. Through this training the teachers are taught a standardized-dialogue in which they use to run the class though are encouraged to also develop their own teaching skills as they continue to teach to enable them to develop varying deliveries as well as distinct teaching styles.

Let’s look at a quick introductory video to Bikram Yoga:


The famous 26 postures of Bikram Yoga

The 26 postures of Bikram Yoga systematically works on every part of your body to provide all the veins, internal organs, as well as all the muscles everything that they need in order to maintain optimum health as well as maximum function.

In addition, by doing the sequence of asanas in a heated-room keeps your muscles loose and flexible so that in-turn encourages you to sweat-out impurities during class.

Lastly, Bikram yoga can often be referred to as hot yoga. However, it’s important to note that not all Hot Yoga classes follow the Bikram sequence. Many regular yoga classes will run in a hot room for the health benefits it provides.


The Risks of Bikram Yoga

According to 2013 review of adverse effects that resulted from Yoga, it was found that Bikram and Pranayama yoga was the most commonly used styles and it was also found that people experienced injuries primarily when instructors who happened to practice intensely over a long period of time and most when using advanced positions such as handstands.

In references to Bikram Yoga – most of the adverse events result from the heat as well as including low salt levels that are caused by sweating and excessive water-drinking.

Bikram Yoga enables you to build strength, improve in both physical as well as mental health and alleviate chronic pains or even injuries. However, this type of yoga can be an intense and somehow controversial method since on instances dizziness and weakness during and after classes have been reported.

Based on doctors advice; people who suffer from heart-diseases or rather other existing health-conditions and pregnant women should not engage in Bikram Yoga since this type of yoga style is not suitable for everyone.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of trying Bikram as a newbie or for the first-time or rather you have already started attending classes regularly, it is necessary to be aware of both the risk and benefits involved.

If you do decide to undertake Bikram Yoga, make sure that you’re well-hydrated and you only go at a pace that is comfortable and safe for your skill level.


How does Bikram Yoga work

For you to understand how Bikram Yoga works it’s important to first understand how it affects various parts of the body and the benefits involved during the whole process.

Understanding how it affects blood flow

Since, we use blood to transport various things through our bodies such as oxygen, medicine, and water; it is essential to ensure that our veins and arteries (tubes that transport blood) are always clean as well as healthy.

Through the exercises involved in this style of yoga, you’ll be able to burn excess fats accumulated in these tubes that tend to limit the pressure and free-flow of blood through your body system.

In addition, making these tubes e wider and in-turn enhances fast and free blood flow through your veins and artery thus making them work better, making you healthier as a result.

Understanding Bikram Yoga with the Tourniquet effect

Tourniquet effects entail what happens to a garden hose when it’s pinched. often, there
are two effects involves that include; pressure mounts behind the blockage or pinches and when the blockage or rather pinch is released, water-rushes through with added pressure and this is how various postures in the Bikram-Yoga series work. They work in this principal
in-order to cleanse your arteries and veins.

This Yoga style entails systematically manipulating blood pressure into certain targeted areas around your body; optimal circulation is restored thus not exclusively to your vital organs but rather to the endocrine as well as lymphatic-systems; therefore, proper blood circulation to these systems are imperative to their functioning optimally.

Understanding the effect of heat; Sweating and detoxification

Bikram Yoga is often practised in heated-room of 105 degrees Celsius with a humidity rate of 40%. the main aim is to enable your body muscles to stretch easily without straining or tearing.

In addition, the heat changes your blood velocity thus making it run thinner as well as become more efficient in transporting blood while enhances the effect of Tourniquet.

The most amazing benefits caused by heat is that, due to the heating effect, your body reacts by sweating in order to regulate temperature and through sweating, you’re able to remove waste by secreting sodium salts, water as well as nitrogenous waste like urea onto your skin surface. Therefore, multiple sweating sessions, is one major efficient method for detoxification.

Understanding how it affects the Nervous system

The nervous system involves billions of sensors as we; as neurons that are spread out through your body system, they are routed starting from your spine and concentrated within the brain in which all the information received are processed.

The nervous systems tell the brain what your eyes see, what your ears hear as well as when your feet touches the ground. Therefore, when it comes to physical movement; the spine is a vital instrument. Hence, any feelings that are sensed by your brain; below the chin and every-instruction that’s given by the brain in order to move any muscle that is below the chin are all electrical signals which respectively run up and down the spine thus the spine is the coordinator of everything.


Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Helps in stress relief

Bikram yoga involves challenging exercise, stretching as well as breathing meditation.

Through this combination, your body will be able to feel the effect of the workout session for various hours afterwards. Basically, in response; the physiological changes experienced that include controlled breathing, regulated hear-beat, reduction of anxiety as well as reduction of stress hormones such as adrenalin after the workout sessions greatly help in stress reduction

Enhances weight loss

Bikram yoga helps in burning calories due to the exercises involved in it. With about 5 sessions of Bikram yoga, you’re likely to lose a pound though it depends on both your weight as well as the intensity of practice.

Other benefits of exercising Bikram Yoga include; improves flexibility due to the exercise involved of stretching muscles in the 26 posses thus in turn your muscles gain greater elasticity as well as a range of motions and lastly, increases strength as a result of regular workout thus as your body thrives to keep up with the exercise involved in the Bikram Yoga in order to sustain the muscle stretching and in turn, your body strength also increases.


You can also read about the other types of Yoga in our main article.

How to Select the Right Yoga Mat

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT YOGA MAT

Today we’ll be going over how to select the right Yoga Mat for your needs. Fifteen years ago, there was only one basic type of yoga mat — made of PVC and noted for its stickiness — and your only choice was whether to buy purple or blue. Now, there’s a yoga mat to suit every priority and preference.

Use this guide to help you find a yoga mat you can be blissfully happy with — one that suits your practice, priorities, lifestyle, values, and budget.

Beyond just the colour and the pattern that suits your personal style, your yoga mat needs to keep you stable in your poses; it needs to be storable and portable, yet comfy and cushy. You may also want your mat to be environmentally friendly!

These aspects of your mat’s personality are all affected by how the mat is made: how thick it is, what it’s made of and its surface texture.


Yoga Mat Material

Why it’s important: The material your yoga mat is made of dictates its texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, and sponginess (how much it yields to pressure), and how it wears over time.

So what options are out there? Well, most standard yoga mats are made of PVC, otherwise known as vinyl.

Newer, more earth-friendly options include natural and recycled rubber, jute, and organic cotton or natural cotton (which means the fabric is not treated with synthetic finishes during manufacturing).

Basic buying guidelines: If you’re allergic to latex, avoid yoga mats made of natural rubber. If you want to stick with the tried and true sticky mat, choose a yoga mat made out of PVC, which can endure your use and abuse for more than a decade. Sponginess can vary widely with different blends of materials, but in general, PVC has the most “give” of any yoga mat material; jute and cotton have the least. The sponginess of your mat is more of a personal preference for the type of yoga that you’re doing, so being able to test one out isnt a bad idea before purchasing.

Beyond these fundamentals, read on and let your other priorities — texture, stickiness, and eco-friendliness — be your guides.


Yoga Mat Thickness

So what’s so important about the thickness of your yoga mat? It’s just a mat to stand on right? Well, the thickness of your yoga mat has a lot to do with how comfortable it is — too thin, and your knee may get banged up during crescent lunge. The tradeoff is that thick yoga mats (some as thick as 1/4 inch) can make it harder for you to feel a strong connection to the floor, making you more wobbly in Tree Pose, for example. So understanding the types of asanas that you’ll be doing can be a factor in how thick you might want a mat.

The options: A standard yoga mat is about 1/8 inch thick, while the thickest is about 1/4 inch. There are also wafer-thin yoga mats, often billed as “travel yoga mats,” that are a mere 1/16 inch thick. They fold easily and don’t weigh much, making them a cinch to fit in a suitcase.

What else should you consider when buying a yoga mat? Consider how much room you have to stow your yoga mat, how important portability is, and where your sweet spot is on comfort versus being able to feel a direct connection to the floor. If you’re short on storage space, have a long schlep to the studio, and like the feel of just a little padding, opt for a standard-depth mat, in the 1/8 inch range.

If you don’t mind carrying and storing a little more heft for the sake of more cushioning, consider a premium yoga mat that’s about 1/4 inch thick. And if you absolutely must be able to pack your yoga mat in a suitcase or carry-on, get yourself a foldable travel yoga mat in the 1/16 inch range.


Yoga Mat Stickiness

Why it’s important: A sticky yoga mat keeps you from sliding all over the place and helps you maintain your alignment as you move from one pose to another, as well as when you hold poses for several seconds. Holding an intricate pose and then slipping on a smooth wooden floor can cause some serious injuries if not careful.

So, things you should consider include whether you need help staying put in your poses but you bristle at the thought of practising on a yoga mat with a raised texture, a PVC yoga mat is probably your best bet.

Just remember that these yoga mats are only sticky when they are clean, so make sure you care for your yoga mat properly. If you buy a PVC yoga mat, wash it before you use it and use a yoga wash cleaner whenever you notice your hands sliding forward in downward dog. You can also purchase some sprays that add a tacky spray to the surface, helping with grip.


Yoga Mat Eco-Friendliness

What’s so important about being eco-friendly? The straight forward answer is being good to the earth is a good thing to do! As yogis, we hold dear the tenet of ahimsa or non-violence. That makes practising on a yoga mat that will ultimately end up clogging a landfill for decades to come troublesome.

So what are your options? Well, Earth-friendly yoga mats are typically made from natural or recycled rubber. These yoga mats may also include natural materials, such as jute or organic cotton, so if you’re looking to be really serious about being eco-friendly, try one of those.

Basic buying guide: If eco-friendliness is important to you, avoid yoga mats made of PVC (the traditional sticky mat), which does not break down in landfills and is difficult and costly to recycle. Rubber, jute and, cotton yoga mats, while available in a range of thicknesses, tend to be thicker and slicker than PVC mats. You can get a yoga mat that’s eco-friendly, has a thickness that meets your needs for comfort and portability, and has a texture (such as a raised geometric pattern) that prevents slippage. If you do end up with a classic PVC yoga mat, just make sure that you take good care of it, and you’ll get tons of years of use out of it, to hopefully offset some of its environmental impacts.


Yoga Mat Price Range

Typically, a basic 1/8 inch thick, plain solid-colour PVC sticky yoga mat will skew towards the low end of the price range. From there you may pay more for patterns, designs or logos; premium thickness; antimicrobial treatments; and cool textures, especially raised tactile patterns. Eco-friendly yoga mats tend to be toward the high end of the price range.


Yoga Mat Styles

Once you’ve narrowed your choices down by thickness, material, texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness, and price, there’s only one factor left: style! So go ahead and pick your favourite colour, pattern, or print. After all, you’ll be seeing a lot of it in downward dog. Happy shopping!


Yoga Mat Textures

Mat textures are really important; the texture of your yoga mat dictates how much traction it provides. Like stickiness, texture affects how much slipping and sliding you do. It provides physical barriers to sliding (whereas stickiness relies on suction). And because texture affects the way a yoga mat feels, it’s also a component of overall comfort.

If you’re a Princess-and-the-Pea type, any bumpy texture will likely aggravate you in savasana. Texture can be either man-made (a pattern of raised bumps, for example) or dictated by the materials — jute yoga mats have an organic roughness to them, while PVC yoga mats, though slightly textured, have a softer feel.

Options: There’s a yoga mat texture to suit every whim — from completely smooth to downright rough, so it doesn’t hurt to know what kind you like before ordering from online.

Basic buying guidelines: If you’re looking for a yoga mat that prevents slipping and you’d like to avoid PVC mats (the traditional sticky yoga mats), look for a rubber, jute, or cotton yoga mat that has a raised, tactile pattern. The added grip the raised texture provides can help you stay put no matter how sweaty or vigorous your practise gets.

If smoothness is of prime importance to you, a PVC yoga mat is the way to go. And if you relish stickiness but are curious about the newer, more earth-friendly options, test drive a few before you buy. Some eco-friendly yoga mats may surprise you with how much traction they provide even though they don’t have the traditional “sticky” feel.

How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn in 60 Minutes?

How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn in 60 Minutes

Taking part in regular yoga classes has many profound benefits. Among others, it helps to keep the body flexible, increase strength and tone body muscles. Although not one of the primaries focuses, burning calories and thus losing weight is one of the resulting benefits.

So the question is; how many calories does yoga burn in 60 minutes? Well, the short answer to the question is; it depends. It can be as little as 100 and as high as above 460 calories.

For example, did you know that a person weighing 160 pounds and taking a basic hath yoga exercise can burn 183 calories in one hour?


So what determines the exact amount of calories yoga burns?

The calorie burned by yoga is mainly pegged on the following factors;

  1. The duration of the yoga session
  2. The type of yoga involved
  3. The intensity of the yoga class
  4. Your sex; male or female

Generally, the basal metabolic rate of males and females are different. Consequently, men by default burn more calories than females. On the same note the pace set in each type of yoga class is also different as portrayed below;

Hatha yoga

This presents a simple style of yoga. Usually, it is slow-paced compared to other styles. It forms one of the building blocks of demanding yoga styles. Hatha yoga is very common in western countries. Normally it involves constant movements and maintaining a balanced posture in some instances. Although considered basic, but a 60-minute hatha yoga session can burn 189 calories out of your body. When looking for a relaxing exercise, then this is the yoga to go for.

Power yoga (Ashtanga yoga)

The power yoga involves breathing techniques punctuated with a series of postures. To the body, it results in improved arterial health and a relaxed mind. The postures follow a specific rigid form that creates internal heat which eventually burns up waste products and toxins. Taking part in a 60-minute power yoga body workout burns around 351 calories.

Bikram yoga

If you are looking for a weight loss exercise, then Bikram yoga is the way to go.  Usually, a typical Bikram yoga session stretches up to 90 minutes. The yoga is carried out in a preheated room to a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Such a prevailing temperature helps to boost muscle flexibility. A full session is marked by a set of 26 postures plus two breathing exercises. The hot yoga results in profuse sweating thus purifying the body.  One hour of hot yoga results in the burning of more than 460 calories from the body, a study revealed.

Vinyasa yoga

This style of yoga is characterized by fluid poses.  The continual movement gives rise to more calories burning. Unlike other styles that follow a rigid set of routine movements, vinyasa can take a different routine every day. This yoga can help you burn over 500 calories in one hour.


So as you have seen, the amount of calories yoga burns out in one hour differs greatly from one style to the next. When you supplement yoga practice with other forms of exercise, you stand to gain weight loss, a holistic mind, and body.

So when do you wish to begin a 60-minute yoga workout?

Best Yoga Towels for Sweaty Hands

Best Yoga Towels for Sweaty Hands

Do you often sweat when it comes to some exercise? It may ruin your yoga exercise routine if you start slipping on the yoga mat. You definitely need the best yoga towels that will help your sweaty hands stick in position.

During hot yoga, sweat is inevitable. But when you spread an ordinary towel on top of the yoga mat it will be overwhelmed by the sweat produced. That results in constant slipping, sliding, and constant adjustment of the yoga towel. The best yoga towel for sweaty hands, however, provides a good grip on your delicate balancing moves.
Below are some of the tested yoga towels by instructors to provide the best performances:


1. Manduka eQua Yoga Mat Towel, Absorbent, Quick Drying, Non-Slip for Yoga, Gym, Pilates, Outdoor Fitness

The Manduka eQua yoga mat towel employs the fine detailing of the renewable material. As a result, it mimics the soft suede feeling with unmatched lightweight and durability. Using the split microfiber technology this yoga towel produces maximum absorption of sweat, increased wet grip and evaporation.

Therefore the Manduka towel is ideal for those persons that produce light to medium perspiration during hot yoga practices.

You can find a quick review of the towel from its creators in the video below:

Although it is made from the tightly woven fibers, it feels ultra-light and doesn’t fray. Therefore it’s the towel that you can easily roll and pack in your bag to use in the studio, beach or at the gymnasium. As you sweat profusely, this Manduka towel also increases its sweat absorption capacity. While in that state it stops the sweat from reaching the yoga mat thus cutting off the chances of slipping.

Whether you have the standard or extra-large yoga mat, you can still benefit from this yoga towel. That’s because it comes in two sizes; the standard that measures 72 x 26.5 and the extra-large model that measures 86 x 26.5 inches.

Surprisingly this towel has also versatile use; it finds the usage on the face, hands, and body too. Its high sweat absorption feature makes it finds usage as a work out towel. And when you kneel on this towel, it’s suede soft texture isn’t rough to the delicate skins.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Has the high ultra-absorbent ability
  • Fits both the standard and extra-large mat
  • Has longer life
  • Features versatile use
  • Suitable for all types of yoga
  • Available in many attractive colors

Cons

  • Fades a little

2. The Perfect Yoga Towel – Super Soft, Sweat Absorbent, Non-Slip Bikram Hot Yoga Towels | Perfect Size for Mat – Ideal for Hot Yoga & Pilates!

This Yoga Mate towel has one unique feature that suits it for its purpose; its 100 percent microfiber. Furthermore, it is made from the finest stitching of the premier microfiber. As such it feels extra strong and produces extra sweat absorption ability. Making delicate poses on a wet mat is not only difficult but risky too. It’s very easy to slip and sustain an injury. But that is not so when you spread the Yoga Mate towel on your mat.

Its ultra-soft feature and absorbent quality not only fit it for the sweaty session but also makes it comfortable to the skin. Besides to increase its nonslip feature right from the beginning of your Pilates exercises or yoga poses simply sprinkle some water on it.

This towel is wide enough to fit both the ordinary and extra-large mat size. Its 68 x 24 inches size is adequate enough. Despite its large size, it’s still light enough (11.7 ounces) to carry from your house to an exercise class, gym, and studio.

Even though it absorbs sweats, it has been crafted from the quality materials and therefore emits no foul odor. Besides when it gets dirty, simply machine wash and spread it out to dry quickly, awaiting the next Pilate class.

Apart from its primary function as a yoga towel, it has other alternative uses. It will similarly help to wick away moisture during weightlifting, and indoor cycling. Other yoga towels rely on rubber or plastic to increase their grip. The yoga mate towel uses no such technology.

Pros

  • Completely microfiber; uses no plastic or rubber gripping
  • Has multipurpose use
  • Extra-long
  • Ultra absorbent

Cons

  • Sticks to the skin

3. Shandali Hot Yoga Towel – Stickyfiber Yoga Towel – Mat-Sized, Microfiber, Super Absorbent, Anti-Slip, Injury-Free, 24″ x 72″ – Best Bikram Yoga Towel – Exercise, Fitness, Pilates, and Yoga Gear


The Shandali Hot Yoga Towel allows you to make those moves that you could otherwise have feared. That is because it provides 5 times the ordinary yoga towel slip protection. Do you know why? It uses the eco silicone web grip bottom design for enhanced nonslip performances. Owing to the inclusion of the silicon, you can thus perform the otherwise slippery positions with confidence.

When you have the Shandali Hot Yoga Towel, you don’t have to look for a special surface to carry out your yoga practices. Owing to the superior grip provided by the silicon threading at the bottom you can spread this towel on almost any surface. You can even spread it directly on your floor when you don’t have your yoga mat with you.

With its 5 times the ordinary towel’s protection, you have less to worry about. Consequently, you are able to achieve a deeper level of meditation and exercising. Furthermore, it is also designed with extra cushioned support. Besides it also doesn’t lag behind in its versatile use. You can roll the towel and sit on it during meditation. Similarly, you can place it under your neck or knees for more aided support.

Pros

  • Durable; doesn’t wear and tear easily
  • Provides enhanced grip protection owing to the silicon web grip
  • Extra thin and light

Cons

  • Can’t use it alone on a hard surface without a mat
  • Needs to sprinkle some water on before beginning your yoga poses

Conclusion

Are you a regular yogi who is also sweaty? Your sweaty nature and hot yoga don’t have to put you at risk of accidents.
And that’s what will happen if you spread a regular towel on your yoga mat. Go for the towels that are designed to match hot or Bikram yoga. Go through the above towels and pick what suits your lifestyle. Don’t endanger your health.

If you are looking for the best yoga mat for bad knees, you should read our article in the link too.

History of Yoga – Your Quick Guide to Demystify Yoga

History of Yoga - Your Quick Reference Guide to Demystify Yoga

Have you ever stopped during your Yoga class and wondered, “Where did this all begin?” or “What does Yoga actually mean?”.

The practice of Yoga is very simple and sometimes so complicated. As a practicing yoga enthusiast, it helps to understand the history of Yoga.

In this article, I will help you figure out the background of Yoga and how it came to be.

Today, over 300 million people worldwide practice yoga. It is a window into the ancient world and a gateway into modern global culture. As yoga continues to take the world by storm, it has become more than a way of life. Yoga stands as a symbol of unity. It has connected people from different nations, cultures, and beliefs. In looking at the history of this tradition, we find a vast and rich background.

The first human record of yoga can be traced to 5,000 years ago. A clay tablet from the Harappan Civilization was found by excavators. This Northern Indian relic depicted imagery of humans sitting in lotus position.

2,000 years later the next traces of yoga emerged. These were found in the form of a written collection penned by Indian sages.

The earliest known teachings of yoga are assembled in these sacred texts. They present rituals, stories, meditation instructions, songs, and mantras. These books were called the Rig Veda and the Upanishads. The scriptures are a predecessor to contemporary yoga. These books were the first texts to connect the practice of yoga to a higher spiritual being. These philosophies were largely unorganized though.

It was not until 200 B.C. that the texts would be properly codified. The sage Patanjali was credited with this grand achievement. While previous records of yoga practices existed, this was the first cohesive and uniform philosophy of yoga recorded. His writings would later be known as the yoga sutras. In modern-day, Patanjali teachings remain a major influence on all major branches of yoga.


Defining the Practice of Yoga:

So we know a little about the history of yoga, but how do we define it?

Yoga is composed of two main components.

The first component is physical practice. This deals with poses, stretches, controlled movements, and exercises. Also included in this category are relaxation techniques. Meditation and breathing techniques are two prominent examples.

The second component of yoga is concerned with spirituality and consciousness. Yoga is not merely an act of physical presence and movement. Our inner world plays a major role in this ancient tradition. Through acts of mindfulness, in both body and mind, practitioners gain an awareness of the self and connect more deeply to their being.

The duality of yoga is what distinguishes it from other spiritual traditions. It is the connection between the body and the mind that is central to yoga. The word Yoga itself means connection or unity. While yoga is primarily a spiritual discipline it is compatible with religious and non-religious people. In other words, it can be practiced by people of any belief system.

Ultimately, yoga utilizes the body’s senses, breathing techniques, physical activity, and mantras to shift the focus of the mind from the outer world to the inner world. Practitioners use these techniques to quiet the mind, still the body, and find peace and happiness in the present moment. By bringing awareness to the body and the minds of many workings, it is believed that the spirit finds rest, and a more centered self can be found. Regulation of emotion thought, and behavior also becomes possible through yoga.


What is Yoga in a Sentence?

Yoga is a collection of physicalmental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India.


What is the History of Yoga?

The exact origins of yoga are still unclear. This is a result of the early secrecy of yoga practices, and the difficulty in transcribing yoga from the oral tradition into written form.

In addition, many of the earliest yoga texts were destroyed or damaged. This is due to the flimsy materials used to write down the practices. Thus, while the first official record of yoga is marked at 5,000 years ago, many historians believe yoga can be traced as far back as 10,000 years.

Much remains uncertain, especially in concerns to the predecessor of yoga.

Yet, hints of its origins can be found in mythology. Some believe the practice has godly beginnings.

History of Yoga - Lord ShivaLord Shiva, a god known as the destroyer of worlds, is proclaimed by some yogis as the first official yoga guru. He was said to have had seven disciples who spread the practice of yoga to the rest of the world. No true evidence of this can be found, but it makes for a fascinating story.


The Spread of Yoga to America

Yoga is well known in eastern countries, especially in its home country of India. Its rich history in eastern civilization has been well documented. Recently, however, yoga has spread worldwide. In the process, it has become a global phenomenon. In particular, westerns countries like America have adopted this ancient practice of mindfulness.

The advent of this cultural exchange first started in the 19th and 20th centuries. At this time yoga gurus began their journey to the west and brought their foreign teachings over to States. These yoga masters attracted sizable followings.

The most famous of these teachers was Swami Vivekananda.

History of Yoga - Swami Vivekananda

He is often credited as the founder of western yoga movements. When he presented the teachings of yoga to a world religion fair in Chicago, he changed the future of yoga forever. By showing poses and translating the texts of yoga he shared his knowledge with the public. Swami took on many disciples during his time in America. His disciples used his teachings to continue the spread of yoga in America.

This would lead to the branch of Hatha yoga, which is still popular today. While interest was generated, yoga would not achieve mainstream popularity until the mid 20th century. Nowadays people all over America practice yoga.


The Original Purpose of Yoga:

So what is yoga used for?

At the core of yoga is a focus on the inner self and the discovery of our true nature.

Yoga calls on each of us to explore the intangible parts of our existence. This is done through a shift in perception, from outer to inner awareness. In yoga, you take time away from the external world, and our identity in that world, and look inward. We put into question everything we thought we were and search for who we could be.

In this sense, yoga is used as a tool to understand ourselves. It is thought that the better we understand ourselves, the better we know how to operate ourselves. In essence, we gain a higher sense of self and spiritual being through yoga.

Yoga isn’t about standing in fancy poses or staying still for hours on end. You can learn to still the body and perform acrobatic feats. That alone will not bring you into line with the teachings of yoga. The true purpose of yoga is to find our authentic selves. This is a self separate from what the outer world thinks we are supposed to be, and separate from our preconceived notions of ourselves. We stop identifying with the external. Instead, yogis dig down into the untapped parts of themselves. With this intent in mind, and with the addition of physical and mental practices, we tread down the path of enlightenment.

Mantras, meditation, and poses, are the technologies of yoga used to connect the physical body to our inner spiritual selves. In practicing these techniques we gain unity within our being. This connection allows practitioners to refine the mind and bring awareness to their inner and outer world. In short, the traditions of yoga ask us to open ourselves up and seek spiritual enlightenment.


How is Yoga Evolving?

In modern times, yoga has become more multifaceted. Many still practice more traditional forms of yoga, forms focusing on spirituality in connection to the physical. However, yoga has recently expanded into other realms. This can be seen in the evolution of yoga in the West. The health benefits of yoga have become a prominent focus in western practice. This new type of yoga tends to hone in on the physical aspects of the tradition, but still keeps in mind some of its spiritual tenants.

Yoga poses, stretches, breathing techniques, and mindfulness are seen as a way to treat several health ailments. Science has played a major role in shaping this side of yoga. Through the research conducted by scientists around the world, the positive effects of yoga on the body have become widely accepted.

Due to this, western health experts have started recommending yoga for the treatment of

  • chronic pain,
  • stress,
  • mental illness,
  • high blood pressure,
  • weight loss, and
  • many other health complications.

Stress reduction seems to be a leading factor in the influx of new yoga practitioners.

History of Yoga - Moves to America

On the less serious side, yoga is also being viewed as a way to get the body into physical shape. As a fitness activity, yoga can be used to build up physical strength and flexibility. Gyms across the country offer yoga classes as a form of trendy fitness and a fun way to relax.


Why You Should Try Yoga:

While the practice of yoga has changed and morphed over the years, it still works as an effective cultural vehicle, promoting the importance of mental and physical health. As a movement, it acts as a tool to collectively heal the mind and the body. Modern life had become more hectic and fast-paced over the years. Yoga, in any of its iterations, works to detach us from the trappings of a global society that shows no signs of slowing down. So whether you are looking for a new way to work out, a way to become more spiritual, or a way to improve your health, yoga is a must-try.


Let me know what you think of this brief reference guide to the history of Yoga in the comments section below.

Best Yoga Challenge Poses for 2

Best Yoga Challenge Poses for 2

Keen to take on some Yoga Challenges for 2? There are plenty of yoga challenge poses that you can try for 2 people.

In this article, you will find the best videos on Youtube to guide your challenge session. So lets dive right in!


Top 3 Yoga Challenge Poses for 2 Videos

Yoga Challenge for 2

The first video in the list comes from Zeke & Lydia. They are two siblings from New Zealand. They love making videos related to gymnastics. The athletic duo also love producing Yoga Challenge videos.

Zeke & Lydia try out 8 challenging poses in this 5-minute video. You can see the poses for 2 that they’re attempting in the top right corner of the video along with their attempts.


Extreme Yoga Challenge – Twins

This extreme yoga challenge video comes from Squared. It is a channel that features videos from twins. Given that twins mean two, this Yoga Challenge video has posed for two individuals.

This is an extremely fun video. You can see the different poses and you can try to recreate them with your partner.

Watch as Teagan & Sam attempt 11 different poses with some good background music too. The video also shows some unsuccessful attempts, so you can learn not to be too disappointed.


Yoga Twin Challenge Poses for 2 by Nina & Randa

Another video from twins for the Yoga Challenge Poses for 2. This one comes from Nina and Randa, who are identical twins, who love music.

It appears that they also love making Youtube videos on Yoga. Nina & Randa go through a few challenges poses in their own unique style. Some very successful, some not so much.


How many of these challenges poses can you complete from the video?

If you are looking for some unique gifts for your yogi, do read our article: https://www.the-yoga-c.com/best-yoga-gifts-for-her-your-yogi/

You can read more about yoga poses at https://www.yogajournal.com/.

Also, feel free to share this link on your social media channels.

Drop a comment in the box below, so that I can know which video you preferred.

How to Prevent the 5 Most Common Yoga Injuries for Seniors

Prevent 5 Common Yoga Injuries for Seniors

As someone who’s starting to get a little bit older, are you worried about common yoga injuries?

Yoga can be a helpful method to counteract your health issues and lead a healthier life. While there are no age restrictions for taking up yoga, there has been an increased number of seniors, just like you, who are keen to take up yoga. Maybe its because you have some additional free time after retirement, or you’re just looking to keep up mobility and decrease joint pain in your day to day life.

There are different postures and yoga practices that are suitable for senior beginners. The only concern that needs to be taken into account is the risk of injury due to certain yoga poses.

Based on a medical study performed in the US, it was identified that the people over 65 suffered the most injuries.

In this article, you will find details about the common injuries that may arise due to yoga. But, even better, you will find tips to avoid or deal with yoga injuries and how yoga can greatly improve your life.


Common Tips to Avoid Yoga Injuries

Seniors who are interested to start yoga often fear injuring themselves in the process. Although the risk of injury is a genuine concern, the benefits of yoga for seniors cannot be ignored. Here are some common yoga tips that seniors should follow to avoid injuring themselves.

  1. Focus on comfort – In yoga, you must focus on doing a pose comfortably and with ease instead of doing it quickly or repetitively. Yoga is different from other exercise regimes in this way. There is no need to become anxious to learn a new pose quickly or do it vigorously. Balancing yourself and remaining comfortable during the duration of the session is most important in yoga. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain while doing a pose, it means that you are doing it incorrectly.
  2. Instructions – Seniors should follow the yoga teacher’s instructions carefully to do the pose slowly to avoid injuries. For each pose, there are different requirements for balancing your body and arranging your limbs. Always join a class that is being led by a good and experienced yoga teacher who knows how to handle the seniors well. Take support from the yoga teacher while trying difficult positions. If you face any pain or discomfort, discuss the same with your yoga teacher so that they can help you to rectify your wrong position in the pose.
  3. Beginner’s class – Seniors who want to start yoga for improving their health should look for beginner’s classes. Joining a beginner’s class will ensure that the poses being practiced in the class are not of an advanced level. The entire class will be learning easy poses that are suitable for beginners and seniors. By starting with easy poses and taking a slow pace to learn them, seniors can avoid injuring or straining themselves.
  4. Yoga accessories – Seniors should take extra care to understand and learn about what accessories or support devices they need to start yoga. Apart from carrying a yoga mat, seniors might need extra accessories like towels or support blocks. These accessories will help seniors to try out different poses without straining their muscles and causing pain. Wearing loose and comfortable clothing is also an important requirement for seniors so that they can enjoy yoga.

5 Common Yoga Injuries in Older People

There are some common injuries that seniors and beginners experience when they start practicing yoga. These injuries might cause pain and discomfort. In some rare cases, medical rest is recommended to give time for recuperation. Seniors should remember the many health benefits they can enjoy if they start a yoga practice.

Some common yoga injuries are:

Lower back problems

Lower back problems are caused when doing bending forward and backward postures incorrectly. Beginners often keep their legs too straight and firm while doing the bending poses. Rounding of the spine is also another reason that contributes to lower back pain. Rounding of the spine makes it flex awkwardly and puts pressure on the disk and lower back muscles.

Overstretching also causes lower back irritation and disc problems. The forced elongation of the spine without bending your knees also causes irritation to the lower back and hips. It is advisable to avoid doing the bending poses with too much vigor as it may strain your back.

Handy Tips:

  1. Remember to lengthen your spine when you inhale and fold it with each exhale while doing the pose.
  2. Don’t force yourself to do back-bends as it will create unnecessary strain on your back muscles.
  3. Do all the bending yoga poses slowly and maintain your balance throughout the pose.
  4. Use a yoga block to support your knees while doing the wheel pose.
  5. To avoid straining your back, first try to master the back strengthening yoga poses and then start the bending poses.
  6. While trying the bending poses:
  • Remember to spread your toes out and draw your leg muscles towards your toes.
  • Bend your knees forward to take the pressure off your lower back and to avoid injuring it.
  • Actively engage the lower belly muscles while doing the bending poses.
  • Soften your knees, do not keep them stiff. Contract the upper thigh to stabilize your body during the bending pose.

Knee Tears

Pain in the knees during yoga practice is quite common among practitioners. Knee tears usually occur when the person has tight hips or preexisting injuries. It also happens when you twist your knee out of alignment from your body. Seniors who have weak knees or had tears in the past should be careful.

While practicing different poses, seniors should remember to not let their knees go over their toes. This should be observed especially while doing lunges as a part of the yoga pose. Seniors should also micro bend their knees to keep them in line with their toes. Always remember to check if your toes and knees are pointing in the same direction to avoid knee tears or knee pain.

Handy Tips:

  1. Bend your knee over your middle toe while doing lunges to avoid straining your knees.
  2. Keep your knee relaxed and soft. Keeping your knees stiff and locking them will build pressure on the knees and cause pain.
  3. Avoid caving your knee inwards as it builds pressure on your lower back and hips.
  4. Do not cave your knees outside as this will exert force on the ACL of the knee.
  5. Moving your body weight from the hip while keeping the knee bend helps to avoid knee injury.
  6. Consider using a good yoga mat for bad knees.

Hamstring pulls

The stretching exercises in yoga often cause hamstring pulls in seniors and young beginners alike. For a majority of people, the hamstring muscles are weak from leading a sedentary life. Such people often have tight hamstring muscles and they cannot touch their toes easily. Hamstring pulls are caused when the bending over poses are practiced without contracting the lower abdomen.

Seniors should engage the front side of their bodies to provide more stability while doing these poses. The focus should be more on alignment control rather than mastering the pose quickly. Seniors should use slow movements and avoid going very deep into forward bends to prevent hamstring injuries.

Handy Tips:

  1. Yoga teachers recommend beginners to build strong legs before trying different stretching poses. This helps to avoid hamstring sprains and injuries.
  2. Engage your glutes and then open your hips while trying the stretching poses. This will help you to balance yourself better and keep you steady.
  3. Seniors should use a strong chair to balance themselves while trying forward bending poses. The chair will help them to keep themselves steady.
  4. Avoid stretching too much as you can sprain your muscles. Remember to try the yoga poses slowly without any rush.
  5. Check your alignment and body control before doing any yoga pose. It is important to feel comfortable and confident before attempting the pose.
  6. Don’t push yourself with your hips while doing lunges. This will lead to pulled muscles which will lead to sprains and cause pain.
  7. Remember to breathe in while stretching your legs and ensure that you feel the entire length of the hamstring along the back of the leg.

Wrist strains

Wrist strains are a common yoga injury as many people report sharp pain while trying balancing poses. This is because the wrists are a delicate joint and balancing your body weight on them causes a strain. Practicing fast-moving yoga poses where people jump from plank to other poses and then back to plank is also a reason for wrist strain. People suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and people having tender wrists due to long keyboard use are easily affected by wrist strains.

In general, people are not accustomed to bearing their body weight on their wrists. Popular poses like the downward dog are repeated frequently and they cause wrist pain. To avoid straining your wrists, make sure that you align your wrist, arm, and shoulder correctly. Beginners and seniors can place their knees on the floor while modifying the pose. Placing the knees on the floor helps to build strength in shoulders and wrists and relieves pain.

Handy Tips:

  1. Place your arms wide, at shoulder-length for better stability and support. Maintaining your balance is crucial to avoid injuries.
  2. Spread out your fingers out to increase their span. This helps you to balance your body weight on your hands easily.
  3. Make sure that your index finger and the heel of your hand are pushing into the mat. This action will help you to get a good grip to keep yourself steady.
  4. Move your weight away from your shoulders by lifting yourself with your hips. This will help to relieve pressure on the wrist.
  5. You can also make a fist and balance your weight on your knuckles to avoid spraining your wrist.
  6. Remember to keep your shoulders close to your spine. Avoid spreading your shoulders out from your body as this will cause stress on your wrists.
  7. Don’t turn your fingers inward, make sure that your wrists and palms are facing forward. A wrong angle of the wrist and fingers can cause serious damage.
  8. Keep your palms flat on the ground without cupping them. Flat palms will help you to balance yourself better and keep you from tipping over.
  9. Use a towel or a rolled-up mat to raise your wrists and help to balance your weight easily.
  10. Having your fingers on a downward tilt also helps to take the pressure off the wrist.
  11. Before trying a handstand, do warm-up poses so that your alignment will be better.

Neck injuries

Neck injuries are one of the most dangerous injuries that are caused by doing yoga poses incorrectly. The neck injuries are difficult as they take a long time to heal. Neck injuries are usually caused when doing inversion poses and headstands. While doing these poses, it is advisable to avoid placing too much weight on your neck.

Seniors and beginners should slowly ease themselves into doing these difficult poses. Proper care should be taken while attempting headstands and shoulder stands to avoid serious injuries. By repeatedly and incorrectly placing pressure on the neck, many people suffer from painful neck injuries. While attempting these difficult balancing poses, you should remember to align your body correctly and try the pose with slow movements.

Handy Tips:

  1. Balance your body weight on your shoulders and arms. Avoid stressing your neck while trying to balance yourself on your hands or shoulders.
  2. Keep your neck free and flexible so that you can do the pose without injuring yourself.
  3. Have a teacher or a friend nearby to assist you with the pose. Having someone around to supervise the headstand or shoulder stand is a good idea as they can provide external support if needed.
  4. Make sure that your shoulder blades are drawn down and back to support your body. This will help you to balance yourself well.
  5. Do not make any sudden movements while attempting the headstand or shoulder stand poses. Sudden movements may cause you to lose balance and will cause injuries.
  6. Don’t jerk your head as it may disturb your balance and cause you to fall.
  7. Use props like towels to elevate your neck to avoid straining it.
  8. If you are fearful of hurting your neck then it is better to avoid these poses.
  9. Avoid going full wheel and placing weight on your neck before doing the pose. Placing your weight on the neck will only strain it and cause pain.

While adopting yoga is a great practice, seniors should remember that yoga practice is vastly different from the other exercise practices. The focus in yoga is on the comfort of the practitioner and not on how quickly you can master the pose.

In yoga, you should always remember that you are not in competition with other practitioners. Some people might master poses faster than you and be more comfortable in trying out difficult poses. But, there will be others who prefer a slow pace and practice only some poses which they are comfortable in.

Appreciating and understanding the difference between both these types of yoga practitioners is essential to feel comfortable at your pace.

3 Yoga Eye Pillows Reviews – For Better Sleep

Yoga Eye Pillows Reviews

Do you suffer from frequent migraines? Or find it difficult to drift off to sleep with the lights on? If so, then you need the yoga eye pillow. Not only will it cut off the visual distractions, but it also relieves a headache too.  

But, only if you land the best yoga eye pillow will you reap those immense benefits.

Many designs make a hefty promise which they don’t live to deliver. Here are in-depth reviews to shed light on the best eye pillows for those of us who take to yoga practices


Top Three Yoga Eye Pillow Reviews

1.    Dream Time Inner Peace Eye Pillow

The dream time eye pillow lets find that inner peace and achieve total concentration during meditation moment.  At times when you are bombarded with stress and seeks refuge in yoga practices, the eye pillow becomes valuable. It blocks all the visual distractions and improves your attentiveness.

With the dimension as 8.5″L x 4″W, you realize it’s small in size and thus easy to carry to your yoga studio.   Being made from the pure and natural aromatherapy herbs, dream time pillow is both skin and eye-friendly.  

Position it on your face and it will drape to your face’s contour and shields the light totally. In addition, it is made from the soft material that’s soothing to the face. With its cool surface resting on your face, it provides the sensory soothing effect.

It’s the natural extracts that give it the unique therapeutic healing. The combination of the lavender seeds, chamomile, and the orange relives the stress and uplift your moods. For that reason, you begin your day with a cheerful spirit

The seeds provide the gentle acupuncture pressure to relieve strain on the facial and sinus muscles.  When it gets dirty after frequent massages, simply transfer the seeds into a separate container and wash the cover.

Pros

  • Has the portable design
  • Drapes easily to the facial contour
  • Relieves a headache, calms the mind and uplifts the moods

Cons

  • It can’t be put in the microwave as the little balls inside the cover will melt
  • Lacks the straps and thus you have to use it lying on your back
  • Has the strong odor

2.    Eye Pillow Lavender+ Flax Seed Filled

Since the face is soft and sensitive, rough clothing easily irritates it. That’s why the Eye pillow lavender employs the fines silk material to feel as comfortable to the face as possible. With the materials that easily assume the facial contour, you won’t worry about any distracting light from the corners of your eyes.

Its formulation uses the lavender and flax seeds to deliver the astonishing scent with the high therapeutic ability. Do you often suffer the puffy eyes and migraines? Just house the eye pillow in a plastic bag then keep it in the freezer for a while. Remove it, then position it on the face and feel with amazement as the symptoms disappear

Use the eye pillow in conjunction with the sleep time audio and you won’t even notice when you drift to sleep and finally enjoy the lucid dreaming.  On the other hand when you combine it with the meditation audio, then you get the perfect recipe to wellness formula

The lavender and the flax seeds combination have alternative uses. In addition to eyes, it also calms the facial, neck and the shoulder muscles. The eye pillow has the easy to wash cover. During traveling, the carrying bag shields the dust away from the yoga pillow and hence keeps it clean.

Pros 

  • Usable for both cold and hot compresses
  • Has the convenient carrying bag
  • Made of silk, thus soft and skin friendly

Cons

  • Lacks the fastening strap
  • Has the narrow cover zipped slit

3.    IMAK Compression Pain Relief Mask and Eye Pillow

The IMAK compression eye pillow boasts the snug fit strap to hold it in the right position.  When you wear it on your face, it fits nicely to block all the light. Moreover, it’s made of cotton material. So you slip it on with the assurance that it won’t rub roughly against your skin.

After the tiring day and the headache threatens you, just pick the IMAK eye pillow and head to your yoga room. Wear the soft cotton pillow and meditate upon the hours of the day. Owing to the beads incorporated in the pillow, you will achieve the tender massage effect around the eye region. That has the magic effect of sending you deep into relaxation.

The cold therapy pillow soothes the tired and puffy eyes, and then calms down migraines before sleep steal you away. Considering the unique cross-stitching technique employed, you won’t feel any undue pressure on your eyes. To reap its cold therapeutic ability, store it in the freezer for a while prior to use. 

The fabric is easy to wash and dries quickly thus prevent mildew.

Pros

  • It’s simple to adjust to achieve the comfortable fit
  • Brings down a headache, sinus pain, and migraines
  • Relives tired muscles 

Cons

  • Unfortunately, its material attracts the pet’s fur. But you can easily wash off such foreign substances.

Benefits of Yoga Eye Pillows

Picking on the right eye pillow offers you the following benefits;

    Provides the right dosage of acupressure to your eyes hence leaving it revitalized and fresh too

    Blocking light and other visual distractions thus increasing your concentration level for instance during yoga practices or medication. 

    Due to the infused aromatic scents, these pillows calm the nerves and the mind too

    Helps to manage the constant headaches and migraines. That is due to the natural herbs and essential oils used in the pillows.

So What Makes a Good Eye Pillow?

It should bear the following features

    Blocks light completely from hitting your eyes

    Shouldn’t feel too heavy to bear

    Should have a thin lining that doesn’t encourage sweat to develop on your face

    Should fit nicely on the contour on your face. Preferably an adjustable or velcro strap is ideal

Conclusion

So have you made up your mind on the best yoga pillow that fits your need? If not, go through the reviews once more and make an informed choice!

30 Days of Yoga Before and After – 5 Benefits

30 Days of Yoga Before & After - Featured

This is the story of a friend of mine, Rachel. This is the story of her 30 days of yoga. What life was before and after the challenge.

Rachel always had a very interesting relationship with food all of her life. As a kid, she was chubby, and the weight kept piling up the more she grew. By the time she reached her teens, she weighed almost 160 pounds.

As a result, she had few friends and was bullied in school. To make herself feel better, she would indulge her sweet tooth more and more, but this did not help things in any way, and by her thirties, she had long since accepted her status as a plus size girl.

After her first child, whom she got through a C-section, she realised things were slowly getting out of hand, and she needed to make a change if she was to see her son through college, and this is when she was introduced to Yoga.

At first, she was skeptical, because, to say the truth. Rachel had tried very many fad-diets, and none had worked so far, and exercise was just not her thing. She couldn’t see how doing yoga was going to help her in any way.

She believed that it was one of those myths, or “old wives” tales that people hype too much. How was stretching and sitting in funny posses going to help her lose weight? If going to the gym every day did not work, then this was definitely not going to work either.

This is her story from her 30 day yoga challenge.

This is what happened during my 30 days of yoga challenge:

Challenges:

Time:

To start things off, it was not easy finding the time to do yoga on a daily basis. With a small two-year-old child, I had a lot on my hands, and leaving him was even harder for me. But, I decided to try this and made things work. Each day, between 2-4 was my “me” time. 

I decided not to think about the baby, and to focus on making myself better. This worked, in part because I had a support system at home, and everyone wanted me to do this. 

Exercising:

30 days of yoga before & after - excercising

Now, remember my CS incision was just under 2 years old. I had healed, but the closing was still a little bit sensitive and I did not want to re-open it. Or have some other complications happen due to the yoga.

So, I did some consultations and got a go-ahead from my obstetrician, who also advised me to start small. He was very cautious and asked me to only do the exercises that he had approved, but with time, he became confident that all was well, and I could take it up a notch.

Hard times:

Now, you need to understand that I am one of those people that give up easily. I just don’t dwell on anything that does not give me instant results, and so, this was just a bit hard for me to keep going, even if I couldn’t see the changes immediately.

Everyone advised me not to give up, and I did not. 

I would do 30 minutes of yoga, and for someone who had been diagnosed with obesity, this was not easy at all. I hated every minute of it, as I couldn’t do much. But as I kept on going, I discovered an inner peace, and pride that I had not felt before.

I even started watching YouTube videos and added ten more minutes each night before I slept. Pushing through the feelings of giving up has got to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it was worth it.

Next, we look at the benefits and what I was able to achieve in just 30 days.

You are going to love this;

My Before and After – 5 Incredible Changes:

Flexibility:

Imagine me, a 224 pounds woman, with a big tummy due to my CS, trying to touch my toes. It is impossible. I couldn’t even bend, leave alone do a backward flip. 

This is what happens in yoga;

You become flexible. I could not believe it!

In just 4 weeks, I could strike some unbelievable poses, that no one could believe. Today I can do a Sirsa Padasana – this is a head to foot pose easily, but that’s because I have had lots and lots of practice. In my obese days, I could not even twist my body to make half of that pose.

So, yes, my body is much more flexible now.

Muscle strength:

30 Days of Yoga Before & After - Muscle

I felt stronger than ever before. I could lift heavy objects after the 30 days, much more easily than ever before. 

With yoga, I gained muscle strength that I did not even know I needed. Plus, it helped me look good even in the gym, where I now started to lift weights. If you are an older person reading this, you should know that doing yoga can make you strong, which will prevent you from losing your balance and falling.

A better heart rate:

I realized that before I started doing yoga, I was at risk of a heart attack, plus I had shortness of breath. Climbing up a flight of stairs was a big problem for me, as I would feel like my lungs were about to jump out of my chest.

With Yoga, my heartbeat was in the aerobic range, which they tell me is very good at preventing the risk of a heart attack. 

The best classes for boosting your heart rate are the Ashtanga classes, as not all yoga will get you into the aerobic range.

But, even if you do not do the Ashtanga yoga classes, all yoga has the ability to improve your cardiovascular conditioning. This lowers your resting heart rate, improves your intake of oxygen while exercising, and increases your endurance.

Blood pressure:

30 Days of Yoga Before & After - Blood Pressure

Of course, with weight comes the risk of high blood pressure.

At my heaviest, my BP read 140/90mm Hg, and I was on medication to manage this. Not to mention plenty of other medications I had to take for different kinds of problems.

After the 30 days of yoga, I realized that slowly, my blood pressure was normalizing and sooner or later, I would not need to take medication for this anymore.

Studies have actually shown that people who have hypertension are able to reduce their systolic blood pressure with up to 26-points, and 15-points of diastolic blood pressure.

In fact, you will be surprised to know that the higher the blood pressure, the lower it will come down as a result of yoga.

Feeling happy:

Most people who are overweight will experience bouts of depression every now and then, and for some, it may even be more frequent. I was no exception, and once in a while, you would find me with a big bowl of ice cream, just trying to eat my troubles away.

What I discovered during yoga is that I was feeling much better about myself, and I was even smiling more often than before. For me, I thought it was due to the fact that I finally had taken matters into my own hands, but there is actually a more accurate explanation as to why you shall stop feeling depressed once to start doing yoga.

According to scientists, yoga can work as an anti-depressant and could help to reduce the issues of depression. This is because, yoga decreases the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that stimulates the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is associated with depression.

Once this is reduced in your body, you begin to feel much better and happier. People who do yoga are also less likely to commit suicide.

Final thoughts:

After 30 days of regular yoga, you will slowly start to realize some, if not all of the above benefits in your body. It is, therefore, safe to say that yoga will definitely do you a world of good. It will keep you sane in an insane world, and help you manage situations much better.

One thing you should note also is that the benefits of yoga are all interconnected to each other.

One benefit leads to the next, and the next, and so on…

You should therefore not go into it to improve one area of your life, use yoga to give you a holistic change.

Persistence:

They say that “persistence pays” it may be a cliché, but trust me, it pays. Now I do not need anyone to beg me to do yoga, I do it daily without any encouragement. It has become my way of life. This is what happens when you persist.

Pushing through the hard first few weeks was hard, but once I got into the habit, it was very easy, and now yoga comes naturally for me. Try first the 30-day challenge and see what you shall be able to achieve in that short period of time.

Thick Yoga Mats for Bad Knees – Top 3 Review

Thick Yoga Mat for Bad Knees

Do you have bad knees or sensitive joints and love yoga, or you’ve been told that yoga might help with some of those problems? Well, that’s true! But a bad yoga mat can be the world of difference between enjoying your yoga experience or making the problem worse.

Yoga classes are normally done on hardwood floors. This requires you to put some excess pressure on your knees. In this article, we take a look at the best Yoga mats for bad knees that will make sure you’re comfortable and unlikely to hurt yourself further.


Should you get a thick yoga mat for bad knees?

You might be led to thinking that the thicker the mat the better for you, but this is not necessarily the case. Some of these thick mats are made of cheap and harmful materials. These are not only bad for your body and the environment as well.

When choosing a yoga mat, don’t consider just thickness only, you should also consider the density of the mat.

A soft thick mat will indent more when you use it, and this will cause pressure to concentrate on your knees. This will make you come into contact with the floor and this will probably be accompanied by painful knees over a period of time.

On the other hand, a mat that has been made using some dense materials such as TPE, Natural Rubber or even PVC can help a lot more. If you get a 5-6 mm thick mat that is made from any of these materials, you should find you minimize contact with the floor.

These materials also don’t indent as a result of pressure, and your balance shouldn’t be interrupted.

Another suggestion for if you have bad knees would be to use a yoga knee pad on top of the yoga mat. This will ensure that you are completely cushioned under your knees, and you will find that you do not feel any discomfort as far as hard floors are concerned.

Thick Yoga Mat for Bad Knees - Three Best


Our top 3 Yoga Mats for People with Bad Knees. 

Aurorae Classic Extra Thick Yoga Mat:

This Yoga mat has a rating of 4.5/5 stars. It is 72″ long, 1/4″ thick, and 24″ wide. It has a rising moon focal point, to help you focus on the challenging poses, and it comes in a wide variety of colors that will help define your inner self.

The mats are lightweight, highly durable, easy to wash and odorless. They are tested and found to be safe and non-toxic. They do not have phenols, silicone, rubber, latex or PAHs, and can be used comfortably by men, women, and kids.

The ¼ inch of thickness has been designed using the highest quality of memory foam, which helps to protect your joints and knees and still allow you to grip the floor with your hands as well as your knees since there is no pressure.

On top of it all, when you purchase an Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat, you will get a free carrying bag.

Pros:

  • Extra-long, which gives you plenty of space around you.
  • Lightweight material, which means it is easy to carry around.
  • Non-slip so it will grip nicely on most floors.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Includes a free carrying bag. Who does not like freebies!

Cons:

  • The ends may curl so take good care of it.

Check the price on Amazon.


Incline Fit Extra Thick and Long Mat:

This is an extra-long and extra-thick yoga mat that provides the ultimate comfort when doing your yoga exercises. It is 72-inches long, 24-inches wide and 5-inches in thickness.

It is made of durable and non-toxic materials that give the perfect amount of squishiness and firmness and it also moulds your body perfectly and will stay flattened, even after you have moved on to the next position.

You can use it for almost everything; yoga, stretching, Pilates or even meditation and physical therapy. This is because it actually holds its own and does not become disfigured. Some people even use it for camping or as a daycare nap mat.

This mat comes with a free strap so you can carry it easily, plus it is very lightweight, so you won’t feel like you have a heavy load on your shoulders. It is very easy to clean and does not contain any latex in it, which means that it is completely safe for use by the whole family.

There is a half-inch of its thickness that is made of an extremely soft and high-density foam material, which is moisture resistant, and with the ribbed patterns, you are stable and well-supported no matter what you do on it.

It does not stay indented for more than a few minutes, so you shall not feel the pressure of the floor which may damage your knees. On top of all that, there are many colors to choose from, so you can be able to express your style.

Pros:

  • Very comfortable and can be used in other exercises as well.
  • Has a ribbed surface to prevent it from slipping.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Made of high-quality material.

Cons:

  • The squishiness may interfere with your balance.

Check the price on Amazon.


Manduka PRO Yoga Mat:

This mat has been in use for many years, and it is a big favourite among the yogis. This is because, it has a lifetime warranty, and is reasonably priced. It is also made of a high-density PVC material that is 6 mm thick, and this provides the perfect cushioning for your knees and joints.

You can also choose between their two options of 85″ and 75″ mats. It is 100% latex-free and has been guaranteed to never wear out as a result of yoga practice. In addition, it is emissions-free and non-toxic.

It has a closed-cell surface which will prevent sweat from seeping into the mat as you practice. You can clean it easily on the surface, but do not submerge it in the water, or soak it, or even use it in the shower as this may damage it.

This mat is considered to be one of the best in the market, and although it looks very thin, it is well-cushioned and thick enough to provide maximum support for your body, and most especially your knees and other joints.

Please note that the 85″ mat weighs at least 9.5lbs, while the 71″ weighs 7.5lbs. making this mat quite heavy to carry around.

Pros:

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty, so you do not have to buy another mat.
  • Nice and long, so even tall people can use it comfortably.
  • Wide enough, making sure you do not go off the mat.
  • Available in a wide variety of colors.
  • It is latex-free and non-toxic meaning it is very safe.

Cons:

  • Very heavy. Carrying it around maybe a pain.
  • It is slightly more expensive than the rest.

Check the price on Amazon.

Conclusion

When it comes to yoga, comfort is key and making sure that you take time to choose the best yoga mat that will ensure you are happy while you exercise and don’t have any discomfort in your knees or joints.

All of the above mats are excellent for people who have bad knees. Our recommendation is that the Manduka PRO Yoga mat is actually the best on the list. It is comfortable enough for your knees as well as your body