Yoga for Stress and Back Pain

Most people who work don’t need anyone to tell them that the environment can be stressful. Having to deal with rude customers and a boss that is breathing behind your neck and constantly critiquing you can certainly raise your anxiety levels. Depending on the environment, work can also be bad for your posture. If you work at an office cubicle and sit behind a desk and pound away at a keyboard all day, then your back is going to ache.

While there are all sorts of recommendations for relieving stress in the workplace, one study found that yoga is a good remedy for reducing anxiety and can also combat back pain. The study consisted of 74 workers between the ages of 25 to 64 who reported on a questionnaire that they experience moderate levels of stress and backaches. The participants were divided into two groups, one of which practiced yoga for eight weeks.

The yoga group took a yoga class during their lunch break or right after work once a week. Every participant was asked about their overall well-being after the study. When the research began, 10 in the yoga group reported back pain, compared to eight for the no yoga group. When the study concluded, only four in the yoga group reported back aches, while the number of those with back pain in the control group increased to 13. The yoga group also reported less stress and anxiety than the control group by the end of the study.

While the study definitely provides strong evidence that yoga is a strong stress and back pain reliever, researchers admit that the yoga group may simply feel less stress due to the placebo effect. The majority of the participants were also women, which means that it may not be applicable to men.

New Yoga Prison Reform Initiative

According to an NGO in the criminal reform business, there may be a new way of using Yoga to reform prisoners and criminals. The claim is that blending together Yoga and Behavior Therapy can bring a change to criminal behavior in society.

Yogic Crime Theory is a fusion of yoga, criminology and behavior therapy — can modify and change human behavior,” Criminologists Society president Rameshwar Singh Jamwal told reporters.

The claim is that filling the brain of the criminal with neurons of positive thought eliminates negative forces in the mind.

“So far our approach has been to treat all sorts of offences and offenders by one yardstick, like treating all patients with one medicine and putting him on medication after he gets the disease, putting him in isolation wards without categorisation and without going into the cause of the disease..”

Kids Love Yoga Too

Kids Love Yoga TooIn today’s modern society, children are often under a lot of stress, both in school and afterwards. Whether it’s due to problems with homework, peer pressure (much of it financial or fashion oriented) or just ordinary everyday stress, many children are discovering an excellent way to cope with life’s problems. And that “discovery” is yoga. Since yoga exercises can often been done in a limited space like in a living room or den, a bedroom, or similar area, practicing yoga for even half an hour per day can help kids relieve a lot of stress, and help develop their bodies at the same time.

Yoga has also been proven to be successful with children who are hyperactive and have learning disabilities as a result of not being able to concentrate on their homework or in the classroom. Yoga exercises involving deep breathing and meditation can help calm them down and improve their concentration. By having children concentrate on a pleasant experience during the exercise, such as walking through a beautiful garden or meadow, the end result can be very calming and will enable them to relax as well as sleep better at night. The calming effect is also very beneficial against certain phobias such as bed wetting and fear of the dark.

In addition to relaxation, Yoga also helps kids with both their posture and the development of muscular motor skills. The exercises can either be taught on an individual or group basis. As children’s limbs are more flexible than those of adults, a number of yoga poses can be taught, and children usually catch on very easily. Yoga can also be taught together with other subjects that kids are interested in, such as care for animals. Since yoga classes are usually conducted with children sitting in a circle, instead of in a row, there is more interaction among them, and kids usually look forward to attending these classes.

All in all, children learn wonderful developmental skills that are useful throughout their entire lives. By enabling them to cope better with physical and mental stress, kids will be more successful in high school and college, as well as during their adult lives. And in addition to developing their physical and mental skills, practicing yoga will help children develop more respect for themselves and others in the world they live in.

Yoga During Pregnancy

Yoga During PregnancyOne of the prime concerns of expectant mothers deals with what kind of exercise program is safe to practice pregnancy. A number of studies have been made concerning the practice of various forms of yoga during various stages of the 36 week gestation period; and the results of these findings indicate that not only is the practice of certain types of yoga acceptable but actually beneficial to an expectant mother. This is especially so in regards to forms such as Yoga Nidra, which deal with deep breathing exercises and stretching of muscles which are used to deliver the baby when it is born. In addition to the sheer physical aspects, yoga’s philosophy of combining the spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological aspects, can better prepare a women emotionally for the process of childbirth. This is especially true for first time pregnancies.

Pregnancy does require women to exercise caution, however, and yoga exercises must be done in a manner that does not cause harm to either the mother or her fetus. Since many yoga exercises deal with breathing, especially deep breathing, practicing breathing control can be very helpful to the mother during labor contractions. The emotional benefits of controlled breathing and meditation can also help prevent feelings of depression before and after childbirth. Practicing Yoga Nidra is especially helpful for relaxation and as an aid to sleeping either during pregnancy or in the period after childbirth when newborn infants require constant attention which can be very tiring to women. And the practice of yoga stretching exercises after pregnancy will help a woman regain the muscle tone she had before the onset of pregnancy.

To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to discuss the practicing of yoga with both an obstetrician as well as a quality yoga instructor. The type of exercises undertaken depend a lot of what period or ‘trimester’ of pregnancy a woman is currently in, as well as a woman’s over-all physical health. While many yoga exercises, such as the “butterfly” stretch, cobra, and triangle pose, are acceptable during pregnancy, others such as back bends, hand and headstands, and balancing poses should be avoided as they can be dangerous to both mother and baby. Avoid exercises that stretch muscles too much and avoid what is known as “hot” yoga, or yoga performed in an overheated room.

All and all, a women should “listen” to her body and stop any exercises that cause pain or discomfort. It is best to coordinate the type of exercise in accordance with the stage of pregnancy a woman is in. A qualified instructor – especially one who works a lot with pregnant women can be invaluable for this purpose.

Yoga For The Young at Heart

YogaMany people have a false belief that it is difficult, if not impossible to effectively practice Yoga exercises once they are over 60. While it is true that the human body is not as limber in old age, and is not like it was at age 30, there is no reason that with the right technique and step by step concentration, an older person can not only be successful but even increase their “real age” lifespan by as much as 6 to 10 years.

Older people, especially senior citizens, often feel very neglected and unwanted. They also have a greater fear of death than younger people, which only adds to their frustration. By offering them a healthy exercise discipline, they not only invigorate the body but the mind as well. Although older people require more time and much patience on behalf of the instructor, with the right assistance they can realize a big change in their outlook on life. One of the best Yoga techniques for older persons is one known as Yoga Nidra. This technique is well suited even for geriatrics as it does not require them to lie on the floor, but allows them to perform many exercises while sitting in a chair. The exercises are done at a much slower pace and careful consideration is made for the participant’s physical limitations. By practicing simple breathing exercises, especially from the abdomen, those who have problems such as depression and insomnia often find much needed relief.

For those who are not aware, Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as Yoga of Clear Light is designed to bring people to a spiritual, emotional and physical level of consciousness through trance and meditation. The ultimate aim is bring a person to an ultimate state that is in direct communion with the Devine energy. The state of absolute relaxation is so wonderful that those who practice this technique say that only half and hour of Yoga Nidra meditation is equivalent to three hours of normal sleep. It is for this reason that it is highly recommended for older people who often suffer from sleeping disorders, particularly insomnia.

For this age group, more simple Yoga Nidra techniques are taught in order for participants to be able to get the most benefit and not become discouraged. With patience and proper guidance older people can practice Yoga Nidra exercises until they are 90 – even more.

Stress & Your Health

StressMost people know that being under stress has damaging effects on their health. In fact, studies made by major scientific laboratories have concluded that being under stress is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.

Some of the more common symptoms of being under undue stress include headaches, nervous and muscle tension, high blood pressure, depression and fatigue. Stress is simply the way a person’s body reacts to difficult and challenging circumstances, stemming from personal or marital problems, financial problems, work problems (including being relocated or let go from a position) and problems dealing with health. When a person in under stress his body is automatically reacting by either withdrawing or escaping from the unpleasant situation.

Stress that results in high blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels due to ‘micro-tears’ to their walls due to increased blood flow. The healing of these vessel walls results in the forming of scar tissue that causes restriction on blood flow and subsequent blockage and heart attacks.

More than 40% of all American adults suffer from some form of stress, and between 75 and 90% of all doctor visits result from conditions brought on by stress. A great deal of problems occurring at work, including work accidents originate from being under stress.

As a person gets older, the effects of chronic stress eventually take their toll on other debilitating conditions such as arthritis. This is another reason why some people tend to “age” sooner than others.

There are ways in which a person can cope with the effects of being under stress. These include maintaining a positive attitude, getting enough rest and sleep, eating more healthy and well balanced meals, exercising properly and learning good relaxation techniques (meditation, yoga, etc.), being less aggressive and more assertive, and simply learning to accept things that cannot be changed.

One should try to avoid smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and medications to reduce the effects of stress. These will only help to worsen the overall effects of stress and make one dependent on them as well.

Stress is not something we are forced to live with. It can be managed and controlled if the proper efforts, and resolutions, are made and applied.

The Tulsi Plant: India’s Wonder Herb

Tulsi PlantThe Tulsi plant is a basil-like herb originating in ancient India; and has been used as an integral ingredient in organic medicinal products for thousands of years by holistic and homeopathic health practitioners who understand and appreciate the medicinal qualities of this sacred or holy basil. This amazing herb is now available in a number of quality organic medicinal products and food supplements, enabling you to maintain better health and improved quality of life. Tulsi users swear to the miraculous healing qualities that this “queen of herbs” has given them; and can do the same for you as well.

The most sacred herbs of India include Soma, Tulsi and Lotus, and of these Tulsi, no doubt, inspires the most personal devotion to the Vishnu, or Lord Krishna. Tulsi is considered to be a Goddess connected with Krishna. One legend notes that this Goddess was incarnated after spending a lifetime as a very close devotee of Krishna, becoming the herb Tulsi, which leads to one of Tulsi’s many names, Vishnupriya (the beloved one of Vishnu). There are some followers of Krishna who have such a high regard for Tulsi that they would never dream of actively consuming Tulsi as a medicine, but rather choose to passively receive her healing power from her presence alone, which explains why many temples in India, as well as private homes, are adorned with Tulsi plants.

India is well known for its natural diets, particularly since the majority of its population are Hindu, and as such are not meat eaters. Supplements liker Tulsi and other herbs help Indians to add variety to what would otherwise be very bland and uninteresting foods. Curry, that Indians call the ’spice of life’ also features prominently in their diets as well.

Tulsi has traditionally been used in India as a medicinal herb to treat everything from coughs and bronchitis, to skin diseases and malarial fever. It is also recommended to help increase sexual stamina, and is mentioned in the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian book on love and sexual expertise. It is said that offering a young damsel a mixture of Tulsi leaves and betel nuts, is an expression of deep affection for her.

Modern uses for the Tulsi leaves and flowers include drinking them as a tea to counteract negative environmental effects on the body; and to rid the system of toxins.

The plant itself if rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C (if eaten fresh).

Types of Tulsi plants can differ, due to their natural habitat due to climate and moisture variations, as well as acid or alkaline content of the soil. For this reason, Tulsi plants harvested from different areas have different medicinal and food supplemental uses.

Find out more about Organic Tulsi Teas, Yoga Supplements, Organic Psyllium Husk, Ayurvedic Organics and Stress Relief Tea.