Yoga Provides Multiple Benefits for Cancer Survivors

Yoga has long been a form of relaxation, meditation and exercise, dating back to several thousand years B.C. Originating out of India, yoga teaches us to focus on the self: mind, body, spirit. Which is exactly what cancer survivors need to do to heal. So it makes sense that a new study found that yoga can aid survivors with sleep, energy and vitality.

Researchers studied 410 cancer survivors who had difficulty sleeping. Half of the subjects participated in two 75-minute yoga sessions per week, in addition to post-cancer care that the whole group received. The sessions consisted of 18 poses that incorporated breathing exercises and meditation. At the end of a month, sleeplessness improved in the yoga group by 100 percent.


Before the study started, only 15 percent of participants in both groups were sleeping soundly. At the end of the study, 16 percent of the control group were able to sleep soundly—an increase of only 1 percent—whereas the yoga group doubled their stats to 31 percent. Given the fact that the yoga group had decreased their sleep medication by 20 percent, while the control group increased theirs by 5 percent, there is a strong link between the practice of Yoga and improved sleep ability.

The yoga group also reported an improvement in fatigue. “If you break down the program into its basics—breathing exercises, postures, mindfulness—it’s not entirely clear which component … is most important,” lead researcher Karen Mustian said. “It could be they all work together to improve sleep, fatigue and quality of life … or it could be that one of them is really the most important piece.”

Very little is required to begin practicing yoga:

Attire: loose-fitting pants or shorts that have some give so that you can move freely, along a tank top, t-shirt and/or a sports bra depending on coverage you are comfortable with. No special shoes are required. In fact, most classes are taught barefoot.

Accessories: the only real accessory you should have is a yoga mat, which can be purchased inexpensively at your local Target or fitness store. The mat provides a comfortable, stable surface for movement, and provides traction so you don’t slip during poses. It also protects feet and hands from the harsh, hard nature of the floor. If you find it difficult to stand for any length of time but still want to get a workout in, consider purchasing a yoga ball. Available in a variety of sizes, you can sit and stabilize your body as you go through poses. An added bonus is a core workout while on the ball, as you do need to balance as you sit.

Source: Health news

Yoga and meditation in early life cut health care cost

Strengthening your resilience with mindful meditation or yoga can help keep the doctors away, thereby reducing your health care cost, says a new study.

Resilience can be enhanced with practice, starting with the relaxation response — a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as rhythmic breathing, mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi or prayer, the study said.


The researchers found that people who graduated from a resiliency-boosting programme used considerably less health care services in the year following the course compared with the year before.

“We have shown in the past that it works in the laboratory and on the level of individual physiology, and now we can see that when you make people well, they do not want to use health care so much,” said study leader James Stahl from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre in New Hampshire, US.

For the study, the researchers tested the efficacy of eight-week course developed by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

To measure the effect of this programme called Relaxation Response Resiliency Programme (3RP) on health care utilisation, the study compared health care used by more than 4,400 3RP graduates to that of 13,150 patients who did not take the 3RP course.

In the year after training, use of health care services by the resiliency programme graduates dropped by 43 percent.

The researchers noted that it is possible to build resilience without any formal training.

Resilience comes in part from making meaningful connections with other people, such as through volunteer work, care-taking for aging relatives, and other service work.

In addition, positive psychology research shows that having an optimistic outlook and a sense of connectedness, meaning, and purpose in your life contributes to resilience.

This includes learning how to identify and challenge day-to-day negative attitudes that can undermine health.

“Just like fluorinating your water or vaccinating yourself, these are ways of keeping you healthy with, from a public health perspective, minimal investment,” Stahl said.

The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

Source Zee News

5 Yoga Poses You Can Do at Your Desk

The mere thought of sneaking out for a lunchtime yoga class may be laughable, especially now that we’re all asked to do more and more on the job. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay stagnant for hours. There are effective moves you can do right at your desk, ones that will help you get a mental breather and make sure your neck, back, arms, hips and wrists remain in good working order.

1.Scale Pose

Sit at the edge of your chair, press your hands down on either side of your hips and raise your legs and butt up off the seat. Engage your deep abdominal muscles and keep the tops of your shoulders down; hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Lower and repeat 2 more times

scale pose

2. High Altar Pose
Inhale and lift your arms; clasp your hands and invert your palms. Lean to your left. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths, then switch sides.


3. Twist
Turn to your left. Use your left hand on the back of the chair to deepen the twist. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths, then twist to the other side.


4. Cow Face Arms
Bring your left arm behind your back and right arm behind your head. Clasp fingers if you can.  Hold for 5 to 8 breaths; switch sides.


5. Ankle to Knee
Place your left foot on your right knee, letting left knee drop open. Keep your back straight;  lean forward to stretch deeper. After 5 to 8 breaths, switch sides



Lose weight the yoga way

Obesity is a medical condition in which your body fat level is so high that it affects your quality of life negatively. Your energy levels drop, it affects your work, your body becomes a breeding ground for illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disorder, osteoarthritis, and you begin to lose confidence due to which your self-esteem drops. As a result your general attitude towards life becomes pessimistic.

Therefore, obesity affects not just your physical health but also but also your mental health and hence the overall quality of life. Good news is that the obesity can be tackled with a proper diet and following a yogic lifestyle. Here are some steps you can take to beat obesity:

Take The Leap:

Practice asanas like Pascimottanasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha-sarvangasana , Ustrasana, Shavasana, Hasthapadanugushthasana and Gomukhasana to shed extra kilos. All these asanas work on every single muscle of your body and help in stretching, strengthening and toning your body.

Yoga asanas like the Uddiyana Bandha , help reduce excess fat around belly and Yogendra Pranayama IV and IX soothe your nervous system and helping you relax.
Make changes gradually. Don’t try to do everything all at once. It will take longer to lose weight when you are following a correct weight loss plan, but you will be able to keep the weight off permanently. Don’t give in to crash diets. They may get you quick results but not lasting ones.

Always set a realistic target. It is better to lose weight gradually rather than drastically. A drastic weight loss program results in loss of water and precious tissues from your body instead of fat. Aim to lose half a kilogram every week and not a drastic five kilograms a week. Success will come more easily and you are motivated to continue your efforts

Do not skip your meals, as you will eventually carve for unhealthy foods and binge on high calorie snacks. Eat your meals regularly while you are relaxed, do not hurry through your meal. This way, your body will absorb more nutrients.

Tips and tricks:

  • Most people have packed schedules at work and this leaves them with no time to exercise. However, there are some very simple tips that you can follow.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car towards the rear of the parking lot to increase the distance you walk.
  • When taking a bus, taxi or subway, exit one stop before your destination and walk the remaining distance.
  • Take your pet for longer walks.
  • Indulge in a hobby like gardening or fix-it-yourself projects that require some amount of physical exercise.

Source: The health site

Yoga, meditation give brain power a boost: study

Yoga and meditation are known for their calming powers, but new research shows these practices could also sharpen your computer skills.

In a study published online in the scientific journal TECHNOLOGY, University of Minnesota researchers studied the learning patterns of two groups: 12 people who practiced yoga or meditation for one year at least two times a week for an hour, and 24 healthy people with little or no yoga or meditation experience.

Yoga, meditation give brain power a boost

Researchers studied the participants’ brain activity as they used left and right hand movements to move a cursor across a computer screen. They found that those who did yoga and meditation learned three times faster than those who had little or no experience with the practices. They were also twice as likely to finish the task after 30 trials compared to the group with little or no experience.

“This comprehensive study shows for the first time that looking closer at the brain side may provide a valuable tool for reducing obstacles for brain-computer interface success in early stages,” lead researcher Bin He, a biomedical engineering professor, said in a news release.

Researchers say the findings could help doctors assist physically disabled and paralyzed individuals, who must rely on their mental muscle to operate devices like wheelchairs and artificial limbs.

“Our ultimate goal is to help people who are paralyzed or have brain diseases regain mobility and independence,” He said. “We need to look at all possibilities to improve the number of people who could benefit from our research.”

Source: fox news

Yoga can help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms

A new study has revealed that symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be reduced with help of “yogic breathing.”

Yoga can help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown that a breathing-based meditation practice called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can be an effective treatment for PTSD, which causes intrusive memories, heightened anxiety, and personality changes.

The hallmark of PTSD is hyperarousal, which can be defined as overreacting to innocuous stimuli, and is one aspect of the autonomic nervous system, the system that controls the beating of the heart and other body functions. It governs one’s ability to respond to his or her environment.

Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is a practice of controlled breathing that directly affects the autonomic nervous system. The team was interested in the practice because of its focus on manipulating the breath, and how that in turn may have consequences for the autonomic nervous system and specifically, hyperarousal.

The tests included measuring eye-blink startle magnitude and respiration rates in response to stimuli such as a noise burst in the laboratory. Respiration is one of the functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system; the eye-blink startle rate is an involuntary response that can be used to measure one component of hyperarousal. These two measurements reflect aspects of mental health because they affect how an individual regulates emotion.

The CIHM study included 21 soldiers: an active group of 11 and a control group of 10. Those who received the one-week training in yogic breathing showed lower anxiety, reduced respiration rates and fewer PTSD symptoms.

Sudarshan Kriya Yoga has already been shown to increase optimism in college students, and reduce stress and anxiety in people suffering from depression, and hence it may be an effective way to decrease suffering and, quite possibly, the incidence of suicide among veterans.

Source: zee news

12 Things About Yoga You Probably Don’t Know

Yoga is a beginner friendly exercise that will give you a sharp mind, positive attitude, and calm demeanor. Don’t feel self-conscious about it, because no one was flexible to start with (that takes practice!). If you’re not already taking a class, I bet you’ll want to after you read these 12 things about yoga.


Surprising Benefits

1. Yoga is a break from your stressful day.

We are surrounded by stressful expectations placed on you by your partner, parent, superior, society, or whoever. No matter how upset these things might make you, remember that you can’t do anything about them. Practicing yoga can help you become a less stressed, present-focused person.

2. Yoga is a remedy for anxiety and depression.

We live in an upsetting world. That devastating break-up that left you emotionally drained. A move to a new town where you don’t know anybody. The sadness that follows losing a family member, friend, or pet. No matter how sad you might feel, remember that you deserve to be happy. Practicing yoga can help you improve your mood and mental functioning.

3. Yoga improves your balance and breathing pattern.

We are chained to our desks. That hunched over back from hours of sitting. A closed-off appearance that expresses a lack of esteem. The panic that follows short, rushed breathing. No matter how self-conscious you might feel now, remember that confidence is a skill that you can learn. Practicing yoga can help you develop balance and a calm breathing pattern.

4. Yoga boosts concentration and productivity.

We live in a distracting world. That feeling of dread that comes when a deadline is drawing near. A list of stuff to do that grows and grows. The loud noisy of the phone that never stops ringing. No matter how busy you might feel, remember that a state of overwhelm could be a signal that you are over-committed or impatient. Practicing yoga can help you focus ongetting stuff done.
Common Misconceptions

5. Yoga requires you to stretch yourself into a pretzel.

You don’t have to be an acrobat to go to yoga class. I couldn’t reach my ankles in a forward fold the first time I tried it. My hips were so tight that I needed to tools like blocks for the bent-over poses. I wasn’t very graceful, so I practiced the balance poses at home with my hand placed on a wall. It doesn’t matter where you are starting from. The important thing is where you are going to.

6. Yoga is a religious practice that demands you to say “om.”

Yoga does have spiritual roots, but that doesn’t mean have to chant to spirit gods or anything like that. Most yoga classes in commercial gyms will focus on athletic poses, while yoga studios might offer classes that include meditation. If you want a class that is more (or less) mindful, just ask your gym or yoga studio for details before signing up.

7. Yoga classes are all created equally.

There are more varieties of yoga than I could possibly list here. Hot yoga classes use humid conditions to encourage flexibility. Power yoga classes use a wide variety of athletic poses to keep things interesting. There are yoga classes for special populations like seniors, children, and expecting mothers. If you can’t find something you like, you’re not looking hard enough.

8. Yoga is the only exercise you need to do.

Yoga is a great way to improve your mind and body, but a balanced fitness routine would also include cardio and strength training. You could improve your heart health by walking your dog at the park, running a few blocks in your neighborhood, or going on a hike. Develop your strength by lifting weights, joining a boot-camp class, or doing push-ups during commercial breaks (hands on a wall or counter if needed).

9. Perform the sunrise salutation every morning.

Sunrise salutations are a feature of vinyasa (flow) yoga. The previous link includes a routine you could do in ten minutes to begin your day feeling relaxed. The video below includes modifications that will make the same routine doable for people of all shapes and sizes.

Source: ideal digest

Yoga can fight off obesity!

Most of us are suffering from health risks due to the sedentary life style and the busy daily routine that allows us to dedicate very less or no time for physical activity. The most common problem that we see today is obesity.

yoga prayer

Obesity refers to weight gain in which excess of body fat has been accumulated to an extent that it may have a negative effect on health. It could also lead to reduced life expectancy or increased health problems. While obesity is most commonly caused by wrong dietary and lifestyle patterns, it can also be caused by endocrine disorders, genes, medications, or psychiatric illness.

It is said that yoga can be very beneficial for obese people as it can help them to lose weight effectively. Exercises of yoga require movements such as stretching, twisting, bending and balancing,
which helps us to lose extra calories.
It also stimulates the heart and lungs, increasing intake of oxygen, which leads to enhanced energy for physical activity and in turn can result in greater weight loss.

Yoga is a tool that helps the body, mind and spirit. It has different types of postures set for individuals that fits all of age groups and health conditions. For better benefits of yoga to full extent, it is suggested to practise it under the guidance of professionals in the initial days until all the postures are known in right manner.Yoga is the best practice to lose weight slowly as losing weight in a short period damages your skin and makes it look saggy. Some of the yoga postures that help in your weight loss regime are sun salutations, dog pose, cobra pose, angle pose, squat and rise pose, the two alterations of bridge pose (face up and face down), spinal twist, tree pose and butterfly pose.

Meditation which is another form of yoga also helps us in losing weight. Practising of yoga regularly helps improve self control and hence, you can easily gain control over your food cravings and reduce your food intake. It also helps to strengthen and tone muscles, leading to greater physical activity.

Pranayama, a set of breathing exercises of yoga, has profound influence on our health.
It is a well known fact that most of the toxic elements which are eliminated from the body during breathing can help maintain good health.

Naturopathic, a treatment which involves the practice of regular yoga postures combined with treatment with things offered by nature. If yoga postures are used daily, correctly and consistently in combination with good food habits, then balance will return to the body and mind and the health of the practitioner will be restored quickly.

Source: zee news

BKS Iyengar: A pioneer who brought yoga to masses

World-renowned yoga guru BKS Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar Yoga, passed away at a hospital in Pune on Wednesday morning. Iyengar was 95 years old.

The internationally-acclaimed yoga guru introduced Iyengar Yoga to the world. It is a form of Hatha Yoga which lays emphasis on physical alignment of the body while one is performing different asanas.

According to Wikipedia, BKS Iyengar has systematised over 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama (with variations of many of them) ranging from the basic to advanced.

BKS Iyengar A pioneer who brought yoga to masses

All about Iyengar Yoga

Yogacharya Iyengar, with his intellect and practices, invented the art of Iyengar Yoga. He opened classes all throughout the world, which help students learn this technique that involves physical unity which will be later reflected in the mind. Iyengar Yoga eventually evolved as a brand.

Iyengar Yoga is different from other forms of yoga mainly because it involves three different elements, namely, technique, sequence and timing.

Technique here refers to alignment of the body while one is performing various pranayamas.

Sequence refers to the order in which asanas and breathing exercises are practised. While, timing refers to the amount of time devoted while performing each pose or pranayama.

Iyengar Yoga makes use of `props` which may be ropes, belts, cushions, blocks, gadgets etc, which
are used to assist the students who are beginners to experience asanas more easily and attain ideal alignment.

Healing effects of Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga has gone a long way in helping patients with back pain, hypertension, depression, menopause and even myocardial infarctions.

Source: Zee news

10 yoga poses to beat stress

7 yoga poses for beauty

If you’re struggling with sky-high stress levels, yoga can be a great way to calm your mind while giving your body the attention it deserves.

It may seem counterintuitive that twisting yourself into a pretzel can promote relaxation, but it’s true! Studies show that yoga has a whole host of benefits; it can boost immunity, fight food cravings, and can even help relieve stress since most practices dedicate several poses to meditation that brings your thoughts and feelings into awareness.

“The key to de-stressing is realizing how to calm the mind and be present,” says world-renowned yogi and DailyBurn trainer Briohny Smyth. No time for “me” time? To balance family life with the demands of a busy career, Smyth wakes up extra early to dedicate time to her own personal practice.

“It’s really important for me to start the day calm and clearheaded,” she says.

But where’s a new yogi to start? Smyth developed the beginner-friendly sequence of yoga poses above to promote physical and mental awareness and help tame tension. If you’re practicing at night (which can help you sleep better, she recommends you end in savasana (corpse pose) or viparita karani, where your back is pressed on the ground and your legs are up the wall. If you’re practicing in the morning, Smyth suggests beginning and ending with a seated meditation.

Toe Squat: Tuck your toes under your feet. Lean back so your bottom is balanced on your heels. Feel a stretch in the arches of the feet and the toe joints. Focus on lengthening your spine so it’s straight, and bring your attention to your breath. Remain here for 1 minute.


Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): To come out of the toe squat, keep your toes tucked under and put your hands on the floor next to your knees. Lift your knees up so you’re standing on the soles of your feet with your upper body bent over. Grab your opposite elbows and relax the crown of your head towards the floor, using the weight of your upper body to stretch the back of the legs. As you inhale, lengthen the spine away from the pelvis. Stay here for 2 minutes.


Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Inhale to a flat back and step back to downward dog, holding for one minute. Let energy flow through your arms and out through the sit bones. Keep your neck long and draw your shoulders away from the ears. Press down through the heels as you exhale, which will help stretch the hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons. Reach the right leg up and back and let your hip open up.


Low Lunge (Anjanayasana): To transition from down dog with the hip open to low lunge, rise on the ball of your left foot and bring your right knee in towards your chest, assuming a one-legged plank. Point the toe of your left foot and lift your butt up high as you place your right foot next to the right hand. Have your fingertips under your shoulders and inhale to a flat back. Place your left knee down on the mat. Bring your torso back over your pelvis, with hands on your front knee, and hold the stretch. For more sensation, reach back with your left hand and grab your left foot, pulling the heel towards the left glute.


Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): Place both hands on the mat under your shoulders, coming onto your fingertips. Heel-toe your right foot towards your left wrist. Scoot your left leg back to get a proper stretch. If your hip is off the floor, grab a towel or block to help fill that gap. As you exhale, fold your upper body over your shin and lower down on to your forearms. Untuck your toes.


Head to Knee Pose (Janushirasana): Bring your left leg around and place it straight out in front of you. Move the sole of your right foot to the inner left thigh. Reach your arms up for one breath, and on the exhale, bring them down and grab the outer edges of the left foot. Inhale, exhale and lengthen your spine.


Half Bound Ankle Pose (Half Baddha Kosana): Now reach your right hand in the above your head and fold to the left so are grabbing your left calf with your right hand. Bring your forehead as close as you can to the outside of the left knee. Take a few breaths here. Inhale fully, and sit up on the exhale.


Seated Bend (One-Legged Upavistha Koasana): Fold toward the center and keep both feet flexed. Open your right shoulder and extend your arm up as you exhale. Fingertips should reach towards your opposite toes. Inhale, lengthen your spine, and press deeper on the exhalation. Inhale once again come to a seated position as you exhale.


Transition (Vinyasa): Shake your legs out in front of you. Hug your knees to your chest and roll three times on your back so your spine feels a sensation. Rock with momentum so you land crouching on your feet. Next, place your hands down under your shoulders and jump the legs back, then bringing your hips up into down dog. Repeat steps 3 to 8 on the opposite side


Corpse Pose (Savasana): Sit up after the final pose and roll on to your back, hugging your knees to your chest. Close your eyes. Open your legs and arms one at a time. Surrender any tension you have, and relax for 3 minutes. Roll to the right side of your body, then press yourself up to a comfy seated position. Sit tall, take a deep breath through your nose, and open your eyes.

Source: cnn