A forum for all of those open to balancing their Chakras, enhancing their yoga practice and ensuring optimum holistic health

Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Calling All Macho Men to #Yoga Class


Reposted from http://www.Chopra.com:

man doing yoga outdoors

Yoga is popular these days. Very popular. According to a recent Yoga Journal survey, over 20 million Americans practice yoga on a regular basis, up from 15.8 million in 2004. Yoga practice has clearly found its stride and is attracting more followers every day. Yet, while many people are reaping the benefits of yoga, there are countless others who are unfortunately scared off due to ill-founded myths and misconceptions about what yoga is. Like any other popular activity, yoga can fall victim to stereotyping and sweeping generalizations if you’re unwilling to look below the surface to really experience the essence of the practice. Once you dig a little deeper, however, you soon discover a simple and profound truth: yoga is for everyone.

The following are some of the most popular myths and misconceptions surrounding yoga and its practice. If you are a yogi, perhaps you once held one or more of these mistaken beliefs before experience changed your mind. If you’re new to yoga or sitting on the fence and unsure about taking the plunge, explore these myths and see if they may be holding you back from finding your place on the mat.

Myth 1: Yoga Is Just About Stretching

While on the surface, yoga may appear to be a simple stretching or calisthenics routine, it is far, far more. The yoga poses or asanas that most people associate with stretching only make up a small portion of a very thoroughgoing philosophy, science, and way of life. The word yoga means union—the union of body, mind, spirit, breath, and environment. It forms an all-inclusive and comprehensive worldview.

The vast storehouse of Vedic and yogic thought comprises a body of knowledge that espouses yoga as a complete and total path of liberation. The classical eight limbs of yoga enumerated by the great yogic sage Patanjali include rules for:

  1. Social behavior
  2. Personal observances
  3. Mind-body integration exercises
  4. Breathing techniques
  5. Focusing of the senses
  6. Mastery of attention and intention
  7. Meditation
  8. Experience of pure awareness

Myth 2: Yoga Is Only for Women

There’s no doubt that yoga is more popular with women than men. Most yoga classes have far more female than male participants. However, this wasn’t always the case. In the records of time, yoga was traditionally practiced almost exclusively by men in ancient India. With its arrival in the West however, yoga began to draw a large female following. Regardless, yoga is not a gender-specific activity. Men and women alike can practice and benefit from a regular yoga practice.

Myth 3: You Have to Be Flexible and in Shape to Practice Yoga

Many potential yogis get scared off from yoga practice by images of very flexible or fit yogis gracing the covers of magazines or website articles. They see someone in an asana and mistakenly assume that flexibility and strength are prerequisites for the practice. In actuality, flexibility and fitness come as byproducts of yoga, not as requirements.

While it’s true that yoga poses can build strength, flexibility, and balance, you can practice yoga without having those skills or attributes and still receive all the wonderful mind and body benefits. Yoga is for every body, no matter what body you bring to the practice. Tall or short, thick or thin, young or old, yoga is meant to adapt to you, not the other way around.

Myth 4: You Need Fancy Clothing and Mat to Practice Yoga

The popularity of yoga worldwide has created a unique and unexpected offshoot–yoga gear. Entire companies now exist to provide yogis with specialized clothing, mats, gear bags, and sweat towels. While these add-ons can be nice, they are in no way required to practice yoga. Consider that the ancient yogis once performed yoga on beds of leaves in a forest wearing nothing but loincloths. Although you don’t need to be that minimal in your practice, it’s important to remember that yoga is an “inward stroke”—taking your awareness within.

External appearances like that flashy new mat or those trendy new yoga pants exist on the material-level of your awareness, while the actual practice of yoga coaxes you to go deeper. Yoga can be practiced in whatever feels comfortable for you, with or without a mat, with just a few feet of empty space in which to move.

Myth 5: Yoga Is a Religion

Because of its ancient Indian roots and ties to Hinduism, yoga often gets misidentified as a religion. However, it is actually much more like a science (In India, yoga is often thought of as a science of Self-Realization). As such, yoga practice is likened to a laboratory in which you are both the subject and the object of your experiment, the goal of which is to awaken your own inner potential and the divinity within.

The archetypal concepts sometimes invoked through mantras, chants, or images of a specific deity are meant to awaken the dormant potential of those states of consciousness that reside within you. But those practices are not required to benefit from yoga practice, nor does their use carry a religious connotation. Yoga is not about outer worship; it’s about inner exploration.

Myth 6: Yoga Is Too Easy

Those who look at yoga through a purely physical lens may think it’s too gentle or mild to be of any benefit. The “No Pain, No Gain” mentality so common in the modern fitness culture paints a picture of results based on hard work and struggle. While yoga, especially restorative yoga practices such as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, can focus on doing less to accomplish more, it doesn’t mean that yoga is easy or passive.

The mind-body coordination required during yoga practice is unlike many other forms of exercise because your full attention is engaged and present in each movement. Unlike running on a treadmill while watching television, yoga engages all aspects of your being, making it more challenging than it may appear on the surface. Yoga unifies your:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Emotions
  • Senses
  • Breathing
  • Environment

Myth 7: Yoga Is Too Hard

At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who shy away from yoga because they fear it will be too difficult. Fearing that their bodies “don’t go that way,” many will opt out of yoga and miss out on its countless benefits. Granted, some yoga poses can seem intimidating, but the beautiful thing about the practice is that it meets you where you are. The idea is not to force yourself into a yoga pose – it’s about adapting the pose to fit your body where it is today.

There are always alternatives to any given pose. Yoga encourages you to listen to your body’s signals of comfort and discomfort, and choose those poses that feel best for you. Then, as you become more comfortable with yourself in the practice, you can explore more challenging poses, and often, to your surprise, they end up being easier to attain than you once believed.

Myth 8: Yoga Will Make You Self-Conscious

Performing any new activity with people you don’t know can stir up self-doubt and self-consciousness, but potential yogis shouldn’t fear this. Remember that yoga is about deepening the conversation between your mind and body–it’s a personal journey. Worrying about what others think keeps your awareness stuck at the level of the ego and personality.

Yoga is about being fully present and aware of who you are in the moment. The practice encourages genuine authenticity and self-acceptance. The more you begin to accept yourself in the practice, the sooner you’ll notice a deeper bond forming between you and your fellow classmates. Everyone is a wave on the vast ocean of Spirit. Yoga allows you to express yourself with openness, kindness, and self-love.

Myth 9: Your Physical Condition Prevents You from Practicing Yoga

While there are some contraindications for doing yoga, it is on the whole a very accessible practice that nearly anyone, at any age or condition can practice. Once again, it’s important to think of yoga as malleable to your life and who you are. Take what you need, and allow yoga to give you its gifts.

There are numerous styles of yoga, each with a unique focus or interpretation of these ageless teachings, so if one yoga school or class doesn’t work for you, try another until you find the right fit. In addition, consider chair yoga or the use of yoga props such as blocks or straps to aid you in your practice. If you can’t go to a class, try a DVD or online video. The options are countless if you’re willing to try.

Myth 10: Yoga Is Just a Fad

Although yoga may appear to be just another trendy exercise program that will be replaced by the next gimmick to hit the scene, it’s actually far from being a new thing, and it’s not likely to fade out of popularity anytime soon. Yoga has been around for thousands of years. While modern books, classes, videos, and workshops are relatively new methods of communicating its timeless teachings, yoga has been an established and proven means to integrate all the layers of life and awaken human potential for countless generations.

The persistence of yoga’s appeal is quite simple—it works. Whether in the laboratory of scientific research on mind-body and consciousness research or in the subjective framework of an individual’s life, yoga has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

Spend some time reflecting on these myths. If one or more of these misconceptions has been holding you back from trying yoga, embrace the truth behind them and fear no more. Hop off that fence and step onto the mat. You won’t be sorry.

 

Namaste!
Becca Chopra

www.thechakras.org

Which Chakras Need Balancing to Meet your New Year’s Resolutions?


screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-8-02-19-am

I agree with Dr. Abrams, but how do we become bodywise? Look to your chakras. They give you clues where stress is sabotaging your health resolutions (in the past and for the New Year), and where you need to nurture yourself.

To share the best stress-busting techniques I’ve learned over the last 20 years along with the best way to nurture each chakra, I’m offering you a FREE download of The Chakra Energy Diet: The Right Food, Relaxation, Yoga & Exercise To Look and Feel your Best! through Sunday, January 8.

CHAKRA ENERGY FOODS

You increase your energy when you eat food as close to its natural state as possible (not processed with additives you can’t even pronounce). So what should you eat?

First, see where stress is impacting your body and which chakra center needs to be strengthened. Learning more about the chakra system can help you determine what foods YOU personally need to ADD to nourish yourself, banish stress, and help you achieve your optimal weight.

THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET helps you determine where you are lacking balance and how to regain it.

Are your finances in trouble? Are you feeling insecure? Do you need to perform better at work and get that raise or promotion? Strengthen your 1st or Root Chakra.

Do you want to spice up your sex life or feel more passionate and creative? Unblock your Sacral Chakra.

Want to feel more self-confident and powerful in achieving your goals? Strengthen your Solar Plexus Chakra.

Want to feel more love, be able to forgive past grievances, and connect better with your family, friends and co-workers? Work on your Heart Chakra.

Afraid of public speaking? Want to be able to express your truth and be understood? Balance your Throat Chakra.

Want more inspiration on which path you should take in life? Want to increase your intuition and psychic abilities? Open your Third Eye Chakra.

Want to feel at one with all there is? More peace, harmony and connection to spirit? Work on your Crown Chakra.

You can balance all your chakras by eating a rainbow of colors… THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET contains full-color photos of my favorite recipes.

Using instant “stress-busting” techniques shared in the book, combined with eating more real food, will help you feel both more calm and more energized. And when you drop the excess stress, and make more conscious food choices, you’ll drop any excess weight, and feel and look better too.

Don’t wait to improve the health of yourself and your family – download THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET today.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

 

Lose the Stress, Lose the Weight – #FreeKindle Tells You How


The Chakra Energy Diet coverDid you know that stress is screwing with your physical health and body weight?

If you’re blaming yourself for not being your “perfect weight,” stop. It’s not your fault. Rather, the way our bodies are programmed to handle stress is the problem.

In my Summer Book Giveaway this week, I cover what’s stressing you out and affecting your chakra balance that you may not even realize – processed foods and GMOs – and show you how to stop this stress in its tracks…

Download THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, free on Amazon through August 5th, to learn a special Hawaiian breathing technique called Piko-Piko, using shamanic techniques and chakra color visualizations to instantly stop stress.

Once you’re relaxed, choose the foods that will help you reach your perfect body weight, not sabotage your goals.

CHAKRA ENERGY FOODS

So what should you eat? First, see where stress is impacting your body and which chakra center needs to be strengthened. Learning more about the chakra system can help you determine what foods YOU personally need to ADD to nourish yourself, banish stress, and help you achieve your optimal weight. THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET helps you determine where you are lacking balance and how to regain it.

Are your finances in trouble? Are you feeling insecure? Do you need to perform better at work and get that raise or promotion? Strengthen your Root or 1st Chakra.

Do you want to spice up your sex life or feel more passionate and creative? Unblock your Sacral or 2nd Chakra.

Want to feel more self-confident and powerful in achieving your goals? Strengthen your Solar Plexus or 3rd Chakra.

Want to feel more love, be able to forgive past grievances, and connect better with your spouse, kids, friends and co-workers? Work on your 4th or Heart Chakra.

Afraid of public speaking? Want to be able to express your truth and be understood? Balance your 5th or Throat Chakra.

Want more inspiration on which path you should take in life? Want to increase your intuition and psychic abilities? Open your 6th or Third Eye Chakra.

Want to feel at one with all there is? More peace, harmony and connection to spirit? Work on your 7th or Crown Chakra.

The Chakras are the seven basic energy centers in the body. Each chakra is associated with a different color, so eating foods in the color of the chakra you would like to balance, is an easy way to start. For example, a red beet and strawberry drink to ground your Root Chakra, or salmon and orange vegetables or fruit to help balance your Sacral Chakra.

You can balance all your chakras by eating a rainbow of colors… THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET contains full-color photos of my favorite recipes.

Deep breathing when you’re stressed, combined with eating more real food (not processed or packaged foodstuff), will help you feel both more calm and more energized. And when you drop the excess stress, and make more conscious food choices, you’ll feel and look better too.

Don’t wait to improve the health of yourself and your family – download THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET today.

And please take a minute to leave a review when you’re done.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

 

 

 

 

 

International Yoga Day – What’s Your Favorite Pose?


Mine is “The Circle of Joy Breath,” which integrates body, mind and spirit:

CIRCLE 1 and 6This sequence opens the heart chakra, which is the bridge between our lower chakras and physical self, and our higher chakras that tune into our mind and spirit. As the bridge from the Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras that are associated with the physical body, to the Throat, Third Eye and Crown Chakras, associated with mind and spirit, the Heart Chakra is the gateway to higher consciousness.

The Heart Chakra needs to be nourished if we are to remain physically strong, capable of giving and receiving love and able to develop spirituality. The Circle of Joy Breath will calm your emotions and prepare you for deeper visualization and meditation. Perfect for when you’ve been sitting too long at work, something has upset you, or as part of your regular yoga practice.

This can be done either standing or sitting. First, place your palms together at your heart.

Circle 2

Inhale, interlacing your fingers.

Exhale, press your palms forward and outward, stretching through your shoulders.

 

CIRCLE 3

Inhale, and circle your hands upward, extending your palms up to the sky and lengthening your spine.

Affirmation: “I am encircled with joy and light to share with the world.”

 

Circle 3

Exhale, releasing your hands and circle them down behind your back.

Inhale, interlace your fingers again and raise the arms backward and upward, opening your chest.

 

Circle 2

 

Exhale, releasing your hands and circle them back in front, clasping the palms and stretching them forward.

 

CIRCLE 1 and 6

 

Inhale, bringing your palms back together at the heart.

 

Now relax in the seated lotus position or lie down in Savasana. This is a good time to do a Chakra meditation or guided visualization.

For more ways to nourish all the chakras, download The Chakra Energy Diet, now available on Amazon Kindle.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

www.theChakras.org

What you have for breakfast can make or break your day.


Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 3.25.17 PMIf you’re like me and most people, a junk food breakfast (say a sweet pastry and mocha coffee) is what I’d most like to grab at Starbucks, but will no doubt put me in a tizzy for the rest of the day. I won’t think straight, I won’t be able to act calm and centered around my clients, or make the right decisions when problems arise… as I would if I had started off with the right breakfast for my Root Chakra.

In order to balance your chakras and promote optimal health and vitality, it’s important to cut out inflammatory foods, such as sugar, simple carbs (like bread and other flour products), and dairy products – which all play havoc with your blood sugar, especially for breakfast, just when you need to get your feet firmly planted on the ground.

The Root Chakra is all about feeling safe and secure – so ground yourself with lean protein sources (choose as many vegetarian options as possible) and lots and lots of root vegetables like beets, carrots and radishes… for breakfast, these are most palatable in vegetable smoothies.

Try this Sample Breakfast:

Detoxifying JuiceTry a smoothie or juice made of beets, carrots and kale followed by scrambled eggs or tofu mixed with veggies like red bell peppers, broccoli and red onion, seasoned with tumeric and Bragg Liquid Aminos (a wheat-free alternative to soy sauce). You’ll be ready to take on the day no matter what challenges come up!

Also, take time every day for at least a few minutes in nature to ground yourself. Do your morning yoga or Tai Chi outdoors or practice a Nalu Meditation (stare at something beautiful in nature for a minute or until you feel relaxed) or do the Circle of Joy Breath, inhaling and exhaling deeply to open your chest, heart and lungs.

For more suggestions, see THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, available on Kindle to any reading device. Or download sample Chakra Energy Menus for FREE at www.theChakras.org.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.TheChakras.org

 

 

 

Stop Stress from Sabotaging your Health – Download a FREE Copy of The Chakra Energy Diet


Weebly photoAs we start the holiday season, take a moment to reflect on how you’re going to celebrate – and get tips on how to stay in balance and keep stress at bay, by reading THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, free for download on Amazon throughout the world this weekend.

If you’re blaming yourself for not being your “perfect weight,” stop. It’s not your fault. Rather, the way our bodies are programmed to handle stress is the problem. Stress is a double whammy for weight – it increases our appetites and leads to overeating or poor food choices, then makes our bodies hold on to the fat. The solution is not extreme dieting, which causes more stress, but knowing how to stop the stress reactions.

STRESS, THE NOT-SO-SILENT SABOTEUR
Stress affects weight both physiologically and psychologically. We’ve all experienced our stomachs do a flip-flop when we’re anxious. Ann Doherty, RN, MS, CDE (certified diabetes educator), explains during her “Art of Stress Management” workshops, just what stress can do to your stomach and the rest of your body.

Physiologically, when you’re under stress, your digestion is impaired and you can’t receive the nourishment from the food you eat. Once the effects of adrenaline wear off, cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” starts signaling the body to replenish your food stores.

Cortisol is a hormone that stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates the release of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. So, when stress causes your cortisol to surge, your appetite will be stimulated as well. Excess cortisol also slows down your metabolism, because your body wants to maintain an adequate supply of glucose to deal with the next “threat.”

The disruption of cortisol secretion during the “fight or flight” response may not only lead to weight gain, but it can also put that weight exactly where you don’t want it – in your belly. Studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposits in the abdominal area, which is strongly related to Syndrome X, the cluster of risk factors associated with heart disease.

Over millennia, our bodies have also been programmed to store up against famine… we’re biologically adapted to want more sugar and fat, which meant survival for our ancestors. But today, there’s no longer feast or famine like the hunter/gatherers encountered. And when they found food, it usually contained a high amount of nutrition and was low in calories. Our modern-day processed foods are often high in empty calories and low in nutrients, so we keep craving more and more.

When under stress, doesn’t your willpower go out the window? Most people are driven to eat comfort foods when stressed out, even if they’re not hungry. And comfort foods are usually high-fat, sugary or salty foods. You may be eating whatever is within reach to fill an emotional need, or cruising to the closest fast food window because you have no time to shop and cook a healthy meal.

Chakra FoodsSo what should you eat? Take the quiz for each chakra in your FREE COPY of  THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET, and learn exactly what foods YOU personally need to ADD to nourish yourself, banish stress, and help you achieve your optimal weight.

You’ll find out which of your chakras is under stress, and learn the best foods, relaxation techniques, yoga and exercise to balance your chakras and have a vibrant, healthy and beautiful holiday season.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

RELIEVE STRESS BY BALANCING THE ROOT CHAKRA


yogaTO START THE CHAKRA DIET, START AT THE ROOT

Located at the base of your spine, the first chakra, the Root Chakra, is the very foundation of our identity, so it’s always wise to start your Chakra Diet with attention there. This chakra is associated with basic survival and security in the world, trust and boundaries, and balancing this chakra will lower your stress level dramatically.

Body weight issues are commonly associated with the Root Chakra. When the Root Chakra is balanced, you feel strong and supported, safe, grounded, and peaceful… no reason to reach for comfort food or to overdo on holiday goodies when you’re not hungry.

Foods, especially that share colors with the chakras, carry vibrations that can activate or balance your chakras.

Root Chakra Healing Foods Carry the Vibration of the Color RED: Animal protein, root vegetables, edible and medicinal mushrooms, and red-colored foods (beets, apples, pomegranates, cranberries, raspberries, etc.) nourish the root chakra, and will help balance it.

Root Chakra Healing Activities: Gardening is the #1 activity I recommend for Root Chakra grounding AND for weight loss. The University of Utah did a study that agreed, showing that burying your hands in the earth can help you bury excess pounds as well. The researchers found that the average body mass index (BMI) of female gardeners was 1.84 lower than that of their non-gardening neighbors, or approximately 10 pounds less for a woman 5’ 5” tall. For men, the difference was even greater, so bend down and dig in the soil, guys. Male gardeners had an average BMI difference of 2.36, which translates to 16 lbs. less for a 5’ 10” physique.

These research results, reported in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that spouses of the gardeners also had lower BMIs, which was attributed to eating more fresh produce and possibly helping with pulling weeds and other gardening activities.

When we balance our chakras, we craft our lives the way we want them to be, rather than living in constant reaction to forces outside of us. These spirals of energy are wheels that heal, feeding the body good energy and profoundly affecting our metabolism, as well as emotions, sensations and behaviors. The way we handle stress depends on our chakra balance… and we can eat our way into balance with healthy whole foods (unhealthy processed foods just cause the body more stress).

Two of my favorite recipes for the Root Chakra are for Borscht (beet soup), Turkey and Bean Chili. Get a complete list of foods, recipes, yoga poses, and meditations for each chakra… in The Chakra Energy Diet, available now on Amazon Kindle.

Namaste,

Becca Chopra, author of Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

www.thechakras.org

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