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Posts Tagged ‘Pranayama’

Tips to Help You Embody Self-Care

Posted on April 28th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Be Your Own Sunshine

Everyday Tips to Help You Embody Self-Care Right at Home

 FullSizeRender

By Sabrina Samedi

Let’s face it, we may strive to nourish our soul with self-love and put ourselves as a priority on our to-do list, but as the perfectly flawed humans we are, we don’t always pass with flying colors on a self-care test. If you are crunched for time or can’t afford a trip to the spa, why not bring the bliss-inspired effects of self-care home with you?! Here are some tips to help you feel renewed and rejuvenated this spring season and hopefully every season.

1. Gratitude is the Best Attitude

  • Symbolizing the bookends to the chapters that fill our days, allow the essence of gratitude to energize and seal your day. Wake up thinking of one thing that you are grateful for and before slipping away into a dream state slumber, again think of one thing you are grateful for and utter those magic words- THANK YOU! I’m sure your gratitude list is pages long, but in case you have writer’s block and a post-it is seemingly the size of a daunting 8’ X 10’ canvas- just repeat any one of these prescribed stress-relieving affirmations that are more than enough to warm up your heart with no ill side effects, we promise!
    • My life is unique and wondrous and for this fact alone, I am thankful.
    • I am grateful for all the health, love, laughter and goodness that my life has revealed to me.
    • Any day I am able to feel the support of the earth beneath me and breathe in the fresh energizing air around me is a good day. I am thankful for these precious moments.
    • I am enough- I am grateful for everything that I am, I love every fiber of my being.

 

2. Breathe

  • Take a few minutes, even two minutes is enough if that’s all the time you have and breathe. Yes, it’s that easy. Breathe. We do it every second of every day, but how often are we actually aware of this magical cycle- mindfully taking in prana, vital force energy and exhaling all that does not serve us- letting go of emotional turmoil, doubting thoughts and replaying negative experiences in our heads. Elongate the inhalation, perhaps to the count of four, expanding your lungs to take in all the radiating positive life energy around you and match your exhale to the count of four as well releasing all that does not serve the growth and balance of our well-being. Take a few rounds of breath just like that- matching the duration of the inhale to that of the exhale. An uplifting sensation travels up your spine, through your heart center and towards the crown of your head as you inhale and on your exhale such an invigorating breath generates soothing effects as it travels out of your physical body as a bright light illuminating the spaces outside of yourself that you hold sacred.

 

3. Good Ol’ cup of Joe

  • The best part of walking up is coffee in your cup or in this case, on your face! You can use a coffee scrub on your face and your entire body. Coffee scrub has several renewing and immediate benefits that include: exfoliating and anti-inflammatory effects thus temporarily reducing cellulite, improving circulation, reducing eye-puffiness and cleansing away dry or dead skin spots; therefore, leaving your skin feeling smooth. Be mindful however, not to use day-old dry coffee grind leftovers as the consistency would be too harsh for the skin. Ideally, to create the coffee face and body scrub mix quality and fresh coffee grounds with natural ingredients such as honey, coconut oil or lemon rinds or peels to create a unique self-mastered blend that will leave your skin feel hydrated, nourished, moisturized and perky-fresh. And an additional goodie- your skin will smell fabulous all day!

 

4. Be Your Own Cup of Tea

  • Oftentimes, an old-fashioned cup of tea not only overwhelms you with serenity but magically and with certainty makes all your problems vanish into thin air– out of sight and out of mind. Served iced or hot, tea is always in season and the benefits are beyond refreshment. In relation to your physical health, tea helps to fight free radicals in the body and contains antioxidants projecting and boosting your immune system as well as your exercise endurance. Despite the caffeine in certain flavors, tea is hydrating to the body. Take a some much-deserved “me-tome” today and match your cup of tea to your mood and needs. For example, if you need help sleeping, a soothing batch of chamomile tea can do the trick, if you need a stress reliever STAT, a mug of herbal honey-lavender tea works like magic and in case you ate something that threw your belly off track and left you feeling nauseous, an herbal ginger tea is a great remedy while peppermint tea aids in digestion.

 

5. Aromatherapy Bliss

  • Be your own champion in relation to well-being- seek and promote a state of balance within your body, mind and spirit through aromatherapy! Aromatherapy, also occasionally referred to as Essential Oil therapy (it is ESSENTIAL to your well-being), is the magnificent blend of the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to harmonize your physical, mental and emotional bodies. Benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boos energy levels, induces sleep, strengthen the immune system, boost cognitive performance while helping to eliminate headaches. To get started in your aromatherapy practice, collect a few basic oils of your favorite scents aiming the scent with the perfect purpose. For example, lavender is ideal for relaxation while rosemary is often used to aid in concentration and lemon as a deodorant or to freshen the air. Rub a single drop of two of your desired on the palm of your hand or onto in the inside of your wrist, run your palms together and then gently inhale the scents. If you prefer to avoid oil-to-skin contact, then a diffuser works wonderfully. A ceramic passive diffuser is used to get the essential oil into the air without using heat and scents a small area without irritating those around you whom might be sensitive to such scents.

 

6. Eat the Rainbow

  • Fuel yourself with healthy, delicious treats! Tune in and hear your body’s cravings as a sign of reflective needs. If you have a jam-packed day ahead, make sure you give yourself more protein to keep you running on all cylinders or if you’ll be seizing the great outdoors for a majority of the day, plan mindfully and stay hydrated. Your body is here to stand strong with your, feeling it’s best rather than depleted. The Deep Blue Sea Blend is one of our favorite morning smoothie recipe coming straight from The Plantpower Way. Check out the delicious and healthy blend recipe below:
    • The Deep Blue Sea Blend brims with manganese, thiamin and vitamin C, this sweet, tropical island elixir supports a healthy immune system. The spirulina delivers the ocean within by providing potent detoxifying properties, phytonutrients and a high level of protein from the sea. Drink this blend and immerse yourself in the healing aqua waters of Hawaii. Aloha!deepbluesea blend
    • Ingredients
      • 2 cups chopped pineapple
      • 1 frozen banana
      • 1/2 cup raw coconut
      • 4 cups coconut water
      • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina
    • Preparation
      • In a Vitamix or high-powered blender, add all the ingredients, blend on high for a minute. Drink!

 

7. Catch Up on them Zzz’s

  • Cat naps are even acceptable! Beauty rest is pivotal here as it not only makes you feel better, boosts your mood and banishes those less-than illuminating under-eye circles, but getting the adequate 7-8 hours of REM sleep per night is an intricate part to leading a healthy lifestyle. Adequate sleep improves memory, stabilizes concentration and keeps stress at bay. Thus, go ahead and hit that snooze button.

 

Let your movement throughout the day be mindful. Thus, eliminating the results of burn out and injury by being honest with yourself. As you start the day with gratitude, use those morning minutes to check in with yourself, plan for your day and prepare in body, mind and soul. To keep yourself grounded and focused throughout the day, embody self-love through any one of the self-care tips and remember, your practice is here to support you! To aid in your self-care journey, we offer the timeless wisdom of master yoga teachers such as Gary Kraftsow and Paul Grilley via DVDs and online courses to not only enrich you’re practice, but deepen your yoga and meditation education.

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Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice

Posted on April 13th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Home Yoga

By Sabrina Samedi

For many of us, the time we spend on the mat whether it’s for a sweat-cleansing power flow, a nourishing vinyasa series, a healing yin yoga practice or for meditation, it is considered “me time.” Time to step away from all the hustle and bustle, noise and distractions of everyday life and step into our true self- it’s our dedication to our self: to listen and honor our mind, body, spirit and soul. Hence, self-care is the manifestation of self-love and such compassion should not be jeopardized simply due to the fact that you couldn’t make it to the studio for your meditation or yoga class.

Let’s face it,  we have all been there- starring at the jumbled yoga mat in the corner of our room as it dauntingly seems to whisper- breathe now or forever lose your peace. It takes willpower and commitment to practice yoga whether it’s asana-based, pranayama work or meditation with consistency. Classes at studios can add up and after a steady series of visits it can feel as if our center of zen is in a heated debate with our wallet and our wallet is in the lead as a victor as our zen turns into financial worries. Between work and running errands, time can restrict us to practicing before sunrise or well after sunset; thus, time restrictions are an honest determinant for when we can carve out studio space. It is quite harmonious and healing to share your practice with the gracious breath of community members, but often times it an uplifting challenge to remove and all distractions and simple focus on your breath, your body’s needs, and your strength without any inclination towards judgement nor competition.

Therefore, cultivating a home yoga and/or meditation practice is a great compliment to your community studio-based classes as well as a wonderful tool to utilize when traveling or when time and budget act as bumps along the road to tranquility.

Tips on how to create and maintain a home practice:

1. Hold the Space and Honor Yourself

  • Be kind to yourself as you would in any class. When a teacher suggests a modification and you tune in realizing that since your lower back has been aching lately, you decide it’s best to lower down onto your knees during a Chaturanga Dandasana or bend your knees as you lift into Ardha Uttanasana. Thus, you are listen to your body and are taking the instructor’s suggestion. You are your own guru- listen to the teacher within your soul and treat your body with compassion.

 

2. Strengthen Your Willpower

  • Your manipura or solar plexus is engaged here as you dedicate the same adherence to studio etiquette to your self– show up on time, no texting or taking calls while invested in your practice. The e-mails and pile of laundry can wait- there is no where else you need to be than right here, right now. Be present and flow with your breath.

 

3. Find the Right Flow and Style 

  • Getting a little help from our yogi friends is key here; while listening to your inner teacher you may still need guidance from a yoga instructor and rest assured we’ve got you covered. Invest in yoga DVDs and/or online courses that you’d be able to access from any platform (ie tablet, iPad, iPhone, etc) and find as well as explore the diversity of class styles and duration that pike your interest. For a vast and unique selection of classes and lectures taught by our own master teachers click here. Our collection includes: Yin Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Viniyoga, Vinyasa and Meditation.

 

4. Don’t Forget Savasana

  • Savasana or corpse pose is oftentimes considered the most important asana as this is where our bodies truly integrate all of the emotional, physical and mental benefits of the practice to our subtle and conscious bodies. You’ve exerted quite a bit of effort, energy and time. Thus, give yourself the chance to soak in the benefit and recharge your soul. Give yourself permission to let go and simple be- rejoice in the highest form of self-love: self-care.

 

Namaste! Thank you for sharing your practice with me and inviting me into your home. I hope you find this information insightful.

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The Second Dimension: The Vital Body and Pranamaya

Posted on January 20th, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Beautiful sporty fit yogini woman practices pranayama breath control exercise in yoga asana Padmasana - lotus pose with Vishnu mudra in studio

By Gary Kraftsow

According to the ancients, the vital body consists of five identifiable aspects: prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, ākāśa, and pṛthivī. 1 All five of these aspects represent some manifestation of energy, and, although not equivalent, all may be understood in relation to the vital metabolic functions of the physical body.

Today we tend to think of health and vitality in terms of standards of measurement— the ratio of LDL to HDL in our blood serum cholesterol , the level of our PSA, the strength of our bones, for example. These measurements require professional medical tests. At best, most of us have a physical once a year, and many of us avoid doctors altogether.

According to the ancients, however, from the moment of our birth it is prāṇa that organizes, activates, and animates our physical bodies. By paying close attention to certain characteristics that reflect the balanced flow of prāṇa through our physical bodies, we can have a relatively accurate picture of our own health and vitality on a daily basis. These characteristics include how we fall asleep; the quality of our sleep, dreams, and morning energy; the nature of our digestion and bowel movements; and the regularity of our menstrual cycles, to name only a few examples. We can gain an even deeper understanding based on the quality of our respiratory rhythms, once we understand and can apply the science of the breath, called prāṇāyāma.

As with āsana practice, the ancients also suggested that the purpose and methods of prāṇāyāma practice should complement each other and that they should change as we grow. By becoming familiar with our threshold capacity for inhale and exhale, we can better assess our own physiological and emotional stress levels as a basis for improving the general quality of our lives.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Transformation: Ancient Teachings and Practices for Healing the Body, Mind,and Heart by Gary Kraftsow.

 

Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Use the PROMO SACREDCOW for 10% off at checkout at www.pranamaya.com

 

 

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What is Prānāyāma?

Posted on December 10th, 2015 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

lungs-linked-to-brain-inside-image-image--2

By Gary Kraftsow

According to theories in neuroscience, the evolutionary origin of the limbic system is linked to the sense of smell and can be traced to that part of the limbic brain known as the olfactory lobe. It is primarily through the sense of smell that animals identify danger, food, or sexual partners; and it was from the olfactory lobe, in its most primitive form, that reflexive messages were sent to the rest of the nervous system, initiating appropriate behavioral responses. The limbic system still forms the “emotional core” of our own vastly more complex brains and, as we have seen, still has the capacity to powerfully influence and even override the   rationality of the cerebral cortex.

The ancient masters specifically developed the practice of prānāyāma (regulation of the breath) to balance the emotions, clarify the mental processes, and ultimately to integrate them into one effectively functioning whole. In light of what we now know about the close connections between the various structures of the limbic brain and the prefrontal lobes of the cerebral cortex, it is interesting to speculate about exactly what the ancients actually did understand concerning the power of prānāyāma.

Though a full treatment of the complex and highly evolved science of prānāyāma is beyond the scope of this work, it is interesting to note that the practice of prānāyāma has a significant impact on the olfactory lobe and, in this way, on the limbic brain. In fact, the ancient masters taught that states of physical and emotional arousal or nonarousal can be regulated via control of the breath at the nostrils. Specifically: inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left (sūrya bhedana) is said to activate or stimulate our system; and inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right (candra bhedana) is said to calm, soothe, and pacify our system. We can also use both inhalation (brahmana) and exhalation (langhana) techniques to stimulate or soothe our systems respectively; and we use different ratios between the various parts of the breathing cycle— i.e., between inhale, retention after inhale, exhale , and suspension of the breath after exhale —to achieve very specific degrees and types of stimulation and pacification.

Excerpt from: Yoga for Wellness: Healing with the Timeless Teachings of Viniyoga by Gary Kraftsow. 

Use the PROMO CODE SACREDCOW FOR 10% OFF any products at www.pranamaya.com

 

KraftsowGary Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, the leading proponent of viniyoga therapy in the US, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for 30 years. After studying in India with T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya, Gary received a special diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga Institute where he is currently director and senior teacher of the Institute’s teacher and therapist trainings.

To learn more about Gary Kraftsow, check out his DVDs here at Pranamaya.

Image is from a great article on onlymyhealth.com

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Yoga Therapy Mini-Workshop -Warrior One

Posted on September 5th, 2015 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Visit our website at www.pranamaya.com to find out more about Gary Kraftsow, Viniyoga and Yoga Therapy. Use the Promo code SACREDCOW for an additional 10% at checkout. From www.viniyoga.com yoga therapy is offers the below as a description of Yoga Therapy and its benefits.

Yoga Therapy, derived from the Yoga tradition of Patanjali and the Ayurvedic system of health, refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition.

The general long-term goals of Yoga Therapy include:

reducing the symptoms of suffering that can be reduced
managing the symptoms that cannot be reduced
rooting out causes wherever possible
improving life function, and
shifting attitude and perspective in relationship to life’s challenges.

Viniyoga ™ is a comprehensive and authentic transmission of the teachings of yoga including asana, pranayama, bandha, sound, chanting, meditation, personal ritual and study of texts. Viniyoga ™ (prefixes vi and ni plus yoga) is an ancient Sanskrit term that implies differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application.

tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ
Sutra 3.6, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The American Viniyoga™ Institute uses the term Viniyoga™ to refer to an approach to Yoga that adapts the various means and methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of each individual – giving each practitioner the tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation.

The practices of Yoga provide the means to bring out the best in each practitioner. This requires an understanding of a person’s present condition, personal potential, appropriate goals and the means available. Just as every person is different, these aspects will vary with each individual.

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Yin Yoga and the Breath

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

By Sarah Powers

 

Yin YogaUsing our natural intelligence to focus on our breath and mobilize the distribution of prana throughout our body is called pranayama, which is an enhancement discipline that involves three aspects: inhalation (puraka); exhalation (rechaka); and the gap between, or suspension of breath (kumbhaka). By varying our respiration and holding our breath, we enhance the quality and mortality of the prana within. When practiced skillfully, yoga exercises for breathing have physical, energetic, and mental benefits. Physically, they help oxygenate the blood and strengthens our digestive, eliminative, circulatory, and respiratory systems. Energetically, a pranayama practice helps balance, concentrate, and harmonize the flow of prana within us. When our energy is imbalanced, our prana is dissipated and weak, often resulting in unpredictable and dissonant emotions that leak out in uncontrolled, chaotic ways. A yogi, on the other hand, is described as someone whose prana is contained within the center of her body. Her emotional life is rich and her mind is clear.

In pranayama, we attempt to reduce the amount of prana that leaks out and enliven the quality of energy existing within us. This is not possible without concentration. Our mind is closely linked to the quality of our prana, and our breath influences our pranic body. When we concentrate on yoga exercises for breathing to balance the subtle (or energy) body, there is a unifying effect on our overall state of being.

Through aligning our minds with our breath, we can experience relaxed alertness in the energy body and mind, a state that has extremely therapeutic effects on the body. The key ingredient is attention. As we watch our breath, we begin to tune in to our capacity for focus and concentration, qualities that arouse meditative awareness. Pranayama is therefore a wonderful practice to sequence before meditation, because it tethers the mind and prana within our body, amplifying our awareness in the present moment.

The breath can be thought of as the catalyst for inner circulation. When we engage in yoga exercises for breathing, we use our diaphragm in an unhurried and conscious way, we assist in enhancing the distribution of prana throughout our bodies. This style of breathing is called Ujjayi (“victorious”) breath and has a number of benefits. As we slow down the rhythm of each breath, it has a soothing effect on our nervous system. This in turn releases the tensions in our body, helping us to feel more relaxed. As we let go, we tune in to the sound of our breathing, helping to diminish the distractions of the mind and leading to more inner quietude. Focusing on yoga exercises for breathing helps increase our ability to concentrate in an effortless manner, preparing the body and mind for deeper integration.

Excerpt from: Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers.

 

To learn more about Sarah Powers, visit her website at www.sarahpowers.com, and check out her DVD’s and online courses here at Pranamaya.

powers

 SARAH POWERS

An internationally acclaimed master teacher, Sarah Powers weaves the insights and practices of yoga and Buddhist meditation in an integrated practice that seeks to enliven the body, heart, and mind. Her yoga style blends a yin sequence of long-held poses to enhance the meridian and organ systems, with a yang or flow practice influenced by Viniyoga, Ashtanga, and alignment-based vinyasa teachings. – Read more HERE.

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Q&A: Sri Dharma Mittra on Ahimsa and Vegetarianism

Posted on December 27th, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Sri DharmaSri Dharma Mittra has devoted much of his life to service and teaching. In 1967, he founded the Yoga Asana Center in New York City, which is known today as the Dharma Yoga Center, and he’s been teaching weekly classes and offering his wisdom there ever since. The Sacred Cow talked to Dharma this month about ahimsa and vegetarianism. Read More »»

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Does Your Yoga Tradition Matter?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

yoga stylesIn modern culture, choosing a style of yoga is akin to strolling through the ice cream section at the local co-op natural foods grocer. The choices are many and everything looks good. But why are there so many styles of asana these days? And does it truly matter which one you do? Read More »»

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Is Asana Enough?

Posted on August 16th, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

asanasI read an article once in a magazine that had this headline: “Is Asana Enough?” The article was about whether or not practicing yoga was enough for someone to stay in prime physical shape. But that’s not what this piece is about. I’m wondering if asana is all one needs for a yoga practice. Read More »»

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Q&A: Gary Kraftsow On Yoga Therapy and Your Mood

Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

yoga for depression and anxietyGary Kraftsow has been teaching yoga as a practice for healing the body and mind for three decades. He began studying with T.K.V. Desikachar in the 1970s, and has since become a leader in the field of yoga therapy. He talked to The Sacred Cow about the emerging field of yoga therapy, and, in particular, its use for anxiety and depression.

 

Read More »»

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