Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bikram yoga and pregnancy

Can I do Bikram Yoga if I am pregnant?

Absolutely!  Yoga has been reported to help pregnant women thoughout pregnancy, labor and delivery.  There are some important notes to consider before starting or continuing your practice.

Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, fewer complications, greater ease and less duration of delivery and calm, happy babies.  You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer.

If you are currently a practitioner of Bikram Yoga, feel free to continue your practice as long as possible, under the advice of your doctor or midwife.  Many women have practiced right up until delivery.  Once you complete your 13th week, your teacher can instruct you in the modifications for pregnant women. To see photographs and descriptions, ask at the front desk.  You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to hormones and increased blood volume.

If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until you have entered your second trimester before beginning classes.  From the beginning, you will practice the pregnancy modifications.

Many women may feel intimidated by the heat of the room.  Doctors often caution women from saunas and jacuzzis.  Unlike a jacuzzi or a sauna, the body temperature rises minimally during a Bikram Yoga class, on average 0.6 degrees, because of all of the sweating and liberal use of fans.  You have nothing to worry about.  Do the best that you can.  You may even want to bring a thermometer to class to prove to yourself that you and your baby are okay.

Important notes for pregnant women:
  • Practice at about 50% of your capacity and never to exhaustion.
  • Be sure to stay well-hydrated.
  • Feel free to bring a sports drink or snack into class if you find you are light-headed or hungry during class.
  • Practice in a cooler area of the room or by the door.  Feel free to leave class anytime to cool down.
  • From the second trimester on, practice standing postures with your feet six inches apart for stability.
  • Do not push your hips forward in the backward bends.  The cartilage in your hips is preparing for birth by loosening and is less stable than it was before you were pregnant.
  • No forward compressions or belly-down postures after the first trimester.  Ask your teacher for modifications
Enjoy yourself.  You are preparing for the SuperBowl of your life!

There is a great article with proven literature at Bikram Yoga Vancouver site Pregnancy and Bikram Yoga
Here is another one from Bikram Yoga Portsmouth Pregnancy Blog
And a very useful article with pose modification photos from Lower East Side Bikram Yoga Pose Modifications

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Baked apples

Do you still have a ton of apples at home and need a easy recipe? here it is - oven baked apples. SO easy to make!

·         4 large good baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold 1/4 cup brown sugar
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         1/4 cup chopped pecans
·         1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
·         1 Tbsp butter
·         3/4 cup boiling water

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corerDescription: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=elisecom&l=as2&o=1&a=B00004OCIQ, but if not, you can use a paring knife to cut out first the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to an inch wide.
2 In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top with a dot of butter (1/4 of the Tbps).
3 Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.
Serve warm with vanilla icecream on the side.

Makes 4 servings

Bikram yoga and skiing

We have talked about all kinds of others sports and how they benefit from Bikram yoga. It is almost winter sport time!. How nice would it be to have a day outside skiing and finish it in a hot room doing yoga. You should sleep like a baby after that!

It is incredible what yoga does for skiing. People can ski all day long and much better.

Conditioning before hitting the slopes can increase the safety and enjoyment of the sport. Most ski injuries occur early in the day when muscles are tight and enthusiasm is high, and late in the day when muscles are weakened and technique is poor.

A simple yoga exercise called the awkward pose, can increase your strength, balance and concentration which will make the ski season more rewarding. It consists of three variations which are done sequentially.

To begin, stand with the feet apart, about shoulder width, an even distance (approximately six inches) between your heels and toes. Extend the arms out in front of you parallel to the floor with the shoulders pressed down and away from the head. Keep the upper body strong and firm in this position.
Bend your knees and shift the weight back into the heels, pushing the buttocks out behind you. When the top of the thighs are parallel to the floor and arms, hold your pose. The feet should be held parallel and the knees should only be shoulder width apart.

One good way to think of getting into this pose is to imagine that you are sitting in an invisible chair leaning back to bring the spine and shoulders against the back of the chair. The arm muscles are contracted, the abdomen is held tight and your breathing should be normal. Hold the pose for 20 seconds. Stand up.

The second part of this series is similar to the first. Keep the upper body the same as before and stand straight up onto the balls of the feet, standing as high as possible with the arches pressed forward. To keep the ankles strong and straight, press down with each big toe. Now, bend the knees again keeping the spine straight and stop when the quadriceps are parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for 20 seconds. Stand up. You will find this second pose a bit more difficult.

Third, assume the same basic pose with upper body firm and strong. Again, slowly bend the knees and this time sit all the way down lightly onto the heels. Now press the knees together and hold the body still. The quadriceps are again level with the floor and the spine is straight. Hold again for 20 seconds. Stand up out of the pose slowly, bring the heels down and relax. Don’t forget to do a second set of all three poses.

Written by: Iyoganow

Friday, 11 November 2011

New Clothes are in!

This time Shakti surprised us with great patterns! Come in, check them out! Going on a week trip to a warm country?  They are great beach clothes also! Shakti active-wear is designed using the highest quality Lycra and Air-fit Microfiber fabrics that cling to the body and absorb excess moisture. Their tops and bottoms are perfect for yoga, Pilates, biking, surfing, running and other fitness activities. Shakti Active-wear is clothing for the modern yogi and yogini. Value yourself, do yoga, live healthy and enjoy life!

Dandayamana-Janushirasana - Standing Head to Knee

Standing head-to-knee builds great concentration and determination. As the knee locks, the contraction of the thigh creates a “suspension” of the knee joint, pulling bone away from bone. By maintaining the pose, the soft tissues surrounding the knee are strengthened helping to protect the cartilage of the knee. As you bend over, the proximity of the heart to the floor, puts pressure on the muscle, exercising the heart through elevating the heart rate. The completion of all four stages of the pose profoundly strengthens the body and mind, improving confidence, focus, patience and determination. When you fall out of this posture at any point – you must start all over again, at the very first part.
  • Quadriceps muscles
  • Trapezius
  • Biceps
  • Latissmus Dorsi
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Hamstrings
  • Pancreas
  • Thyroid, Para-Thyroid (in 4th stage)
  • Thymus (in 4th stage)
  • Digestive organs
  • Reproductive organs
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Builds strength through the body
  • Improves flexibility of sciatic nerve
  • Strengthens tendons
  • Prevents wear and tear of knee cartilage though strengthening of soft tissues around the knee
  • Helps clear and prevent problems with digestion, including flatulence
  • Helps to develop balance
  • Helps maintain sugar levels through compression of the pancreas
  • Improves blood circulation throughout the body
  • Tones abdominal muscles and thighs
  • Improves your sex life through the massage of your reproductive organs
  • Helps to decrease varicose veins by exercising the long vein (great saphenous vein) running from the leg to the heart
  • Helps to build patience, determination and concentration
  • Helps to improve confidence and self-worth
  • Helps to calm and clear the mind

Standing Head-to-Knee from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Garurasana - Eagle Pose

Eagle pose opens the major joints through stretching during the pose. As the arms and legs twist, pressure is created that irrigates the circulatory system. Blood is reserved in the muscles of the thighs, calves, arms and fore-arms. When the arms and legs release this blood flow flushes the joints helping to relieve joint problems and maintaining synovial fluid. The deep compression of this posture also massages organs and glands. Eagle pose particularity stimulates the reproductive system making this a great pose for sexual vitality and fertility.
  • Muscles of the legs
  • Rectum and Pineal Muscles
  • 12 major joints of the body: shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.
  • Kidneys
  • Reproductive Organs
  • Lymphatic system
  • Improves and maintains joint lubrication
  • Improves the mobility of the hip joint
  • Improves immune system through stimulation of the lymphatic system
  • Helps to regulate menstruation
  • Helps improve fertility
  • Good for cellulite
  • Good for varicose veins
  • Balances sexual energy
  • Good for urinary tract infections in women
  • Good for prostate health in men
  • Helps with spondylisis

Eagle from Sara Curry on Vimeo.