What are the Benefits of Doing Yoga with Animals ?

The latest trend sweeping the internet makes yoga look cuter than ever before. Many prominent classes are now being taught in the presence of animals. Some yogis may practice in an arena filled with mellow horses, a field filled with exuberant baby goats, or a studio overwhelmed with kittens. Yogis are willing to pay top dollar for one of these unique yoga experiences, but is it really worth the price?

Doing yoga with animals certainly would be an experience that most people would love. After all, animals are cute and cuddly creatures that make you feel more comfortable. If they are freely roaming around while you move through your sequence, many yogis are now wondering whether it could actually enhance their mental health.

Is there any real benefit to doing yoga with animals? Take a look at what some yogis are saying about this new trend.

Animals make you feel less alone.

If you deal with anxiety or depression, you may often be overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness. Even the average individual feels isolated from time to time. Practicing yoga with animals nearby can be a great cure to the feeling of loneliness that overpowers some individuals.

Animals are naturally attuned to our emotions, and they may offer a friendly and nonjudgmental nudge of encouragement while you’re moving through the sequence. This is a great way to incorporate more touch into your daily life. After all, touch is an important item that is essential to your psychological wellbeing.

Practicing with animals can actually lower your blood pressure.

It’s no secret that a regular yoga routine can lower your blood pressure and help you achieve a healthier lifestyle overall. Many yogis don’t realize that regular interactions with animals can actually do the same thing. Petting a puppy or even a goat for a few minutes each day can relax you, ease your anxiety, and ultimately lower your blood pressure. When you combine animals and yoga, you get a practice that is very heart-healthy.


(Get dressed in your cute yoga leggings and enjoy a relaxing practice with your puppies)

Your mood will likely improve.

Do you feel super stressed out on a regular basis? Maybe you need some time to just have a lighthearted practice instead of an intense sequence. Doing yoga with animals is a great way to give you a few laughs and take some of the seriousness out of the practice. Your mood is bound to improve when you watch the antics of playful animals surrounding you.

Animal yoga is also a great opportunity to remember not to take yourself so seriously. It’s difficult not to laugh a little when you feel tiny goat hooves on your back during the downward-facing dog. It can bring a spark of joy back into a practice that seems to have grown stale over the years.

Animal yoga may have started off as a photogenic trend on social media, but it definitely has some worthwhile benefits. Yogis may want to consider checking out a local class in their area to see what benefits it could bring to their regular practice.

Yoga for Your Arms

We may be approaching the season where many parts of the country are plunged into icy, wintry weather and most of us are trying to find more layers to put on rather than show off our tanned arms from summer, but it’s never too late or early to focus on getting your arms toned. A great way to add some strength and tone to your arms without getting them too bulky is through yoga. There are many poses you can do that help build up your strength.

I know arms for me are something I forget about often just because I’m not required to do a lot of heavy lifting in my daily life, but it is important to build strength over your whole body and having awesome, toned arms doesn’t hurt either!

1. Chaturanga

Chaturanga is probably one of the best poses or movements for building up arm strength. If you do a few of these in a yoga sequence your arms will be burning!

  1. To perform, start in either downward dog and move into a plank pose.
  2. From there, shift your body forward a little to make sure your shoulders are directly over your hands and bend your elbows like you’re doing a push-up.
  3. If you’d like, you can do chaturanga push-ups and repeat that movement several times, or hold the pose then move into cobra or upward facing dog.

2. Inclined Plane Pose

Inclined Plane Pose is another great pose for building up your arm muscles, and also areas of your core. It’s sort of like a backwards plank.

  1. To perform, start sitting on your mat with your hands at your hips and your feet out in staff pose.
  2. You’re going to straighten your arms and push your body upwards.
  3. You should be making a diagonal line with your body.
  4. Allow your head to fall back slightly and hold the pose for several breaths.

3. Downward Facing Dog

When done correctly downward facing dog helps you to develop upper arm strength.

  1. To perform, begin in tabletop position.
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up in the air.
  3. To engage your arms, make sure you are pressing into all four corners of your hands.
  4. Rotate your arms outward to help take pressure off of your wrists.

4. Cobra Pose

Cobra pose tones your shoulders in addition to increasing flexibility in your spine. It also helps to reduce stress and fatigue. To perform, start by lying on your stomach with your palms pressed into the ground next to your shoulders. Press upwards with your arms and raise your torso. There are two variations, a low cobra and just a cobra pose. In low cobra your elbows are still bent.


These four poses are great for building up your arm strength without getting too bulky. Working on poses that build up your arm strength will help build your endurance and help you to hold poses longer. It’s important to get variety into your workouts so make sure to vary things up and work your whole body so even if you want to focus on your arms, give them a break and work on the rest of your body.

Yogic Eye Cleansing Exercise

Eye cleansing exercises, also known as Omved Netra Shuddhi, is an ancient Yogic practice in which somebody makes use of eye cups to wash or clean the eyes with a thoroughly researched, time-tested eye tonic prepared with the herbal panacea – Triphala as a foundation. This astonishing yoga cleansing method is 100 percent natural, a chemical-free technique that eliminates the tiredness and burning of the eyes, giving a fresh feeling to the eyes.

In the Ayurvedic technique of healing, the Triphala is one of the most commonly used herbal blends, and it is prepared many years ago. This method of washing the eyes with clean mineral water eliminates toxins build-up and supports the essential moisture for the effective functioning of the eyes. The practice supports the cleansing of the eyes to offer an improvement to our vision as against the use of eye drops that can be harmful if applied in excess.

This yogic eye cleansing exercise rinses out irritants, dirt, and other unwanted pollutants from the eyes and leaves your eyes very sharp. The Yogis practiced Netra Shuddhi for centuries because of its powerful and countless benefits such as the following:

Benefits Of Thorough Cleansing Of The Eyes

  • It counteracts different eye problems like pink eyes (conjunctivitis), blepharitis, and glaucoma
  • Alleviates sore and watery eyes
  • Relieves tension or eyes strain in the eyeballs
  • Functional in treating headache, presbyopia, hypermetropia, and myopia.
  • Improves eyesight thereby helps to manage the boost of spectacle numbers.
  • Enhances blood supply to the optic nerves and the eyes 
  • Enhances blood movement in the region of the eyes, which helps in the reduction of dark circles.
  • Helps in preventing the development of cataract.
  • It is useful for puffy or tired eyes, watering of the eyes, irritation of the eyes, and redness of eyes 

How To Carry Out Eye Cleansing Exercise (Netra Dhauti)

  • Get clean and fresh water inside a small bowl
  • Sit in Utkatasana 
  • Put some clean water in your hands
  • With your eyes, wide opened use the clean water to rinse your eyes. 
  • Spill the water into your eyes. 
  • Rinse your eyes again with the clean water.
  • Repeat this process three times. 

As an alternative, 

  • Form a cup with your hand 
  • Fill it with water. 
  • Bend over your hand filled with water 
  • Open and close your eyes to clean them

Or

  • Carry a big pot with water
  • Dip your face inside it 
  • Open and close your eyes while your mouth is filled with water. 

In this day and age, there are eyecups available on the market that you can buy, and they can also be used for this exercise.

However, you can use rose water to rinse your eyes if you have a burning sensation in your eyes, use rosewater to rinse them or put a little of it in water. On the other hand, you can make use of with Triphala—which is an Ayurvedic medicine —in case you have a burning sensation, sore eyes, or if your eyes are tearing.

3 Key Styles to Wear Yoga Leggings for a Night Out

Maybe you’ve always thought that beauty had to be equated with pain. This adage has certainly held true for ladies who want to take a night off to let loose with their friends downtown. Many of these women opt for painfully high heels, short dresses, and other uncomfortable clothing items. What if there was a better way to prepare for your night out on the town?

Yoga leggings are becoming incredibly versatile, with women donning these items for everything from work to the club. If you’re heading out for a night with your friends, these key styles could help you to dress comfortably and wear your yoga leggings in style.

Look for Edgy Accessories

One of the best ways to make your yoga leggings appear hipper for a night out is to pair them with edgier accessories. Perhaps you like bright silver stud bracelets or a studded belt around your waist. Maybe you have the perfect leather bomber jacket or a top with lots of zipper adornments. These are excellent styles to pair with the usually polished appearance of black yoga leggings.

You may also want to look for tops that feature bright hints of metallic sparkle. It could be from sequins, glitter, or any number of items. A glint of metal on your going-out outfit is sure to be a hit, no matter how you wear it.

Cutouts Can Make Your Leggings Pop

When you’re going out for the night, chances are you want to stand out in the crowd. What if you could show a little skin without making yourself feel uncomfortable while you dance? The new cutout styles on many tops (and even on leggings) can help you to feel comfortable, confident, and sexy on the dance floor.

Look for cutouts that are covered with mesh inserts or strappy crisscross patterns to fully complete the look. These areas may be across the back of your shoulders, over the chest area, or down the side of your leggings for a completely unique style.

Wear Your Leggings With a Short or Sheer Dress

Do you have a few dresses in the back of your closet that never get to see the light of day? You may be able to work them back into your wardrobe with the help of a trusty pair of yoga leggings. You can still wear that dress that’s just a touch too short when you have the added protection of leggings underneath. Similarly, a dress that’s a little too sheer to wear on its own can benefit from these helpful accessories.

Going out on the town no longer has to be painful in order for you to show up in style. You can use a few of these very simple style techniques to put together a hot outfit using comfortable pieces you likely already have at home. See what you can do with a classic pair of plain black yoga leggings before you go out with friends this weekend.

Eating Raw Foods

It is in human nature to eat raw food. We were once hunters and gatherers before mass marketing jumped the gun and interrupted the flow we had with nature. Do you ever stop at the store and check what exactly are you buying? How have the foods been processed? And what good do they do for you? Why do you think it is a good idea to add sugars wherever possible? To keep you wanting (and buying) more, obviously.

One type of food that has not been altered in any shape or form is raw food. Foods that are cooked, grilled or heated up lose a lot of vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes beneficial to the body. While raw food retains all of it as well as the minerals which our body needs to function, keep healthy, grow and regenerate. Raw food moreover consists of perfectly balanced water levels, nutrients and minerals and is therefore also light on digestion.

I most certainly don’t follow all the rules to a T, but it is safe to say that 80% of what I eat is raw. It is easy to pull together for snacks and side dishes, but I like to keep some of the bigger meals heat-treated. I also like to stay mindful of where the foods come from and strive to eat them while they are in season. That way, I keep my wave-length with nature in sync as feeling connected to nature is a powerful thing.

At the end of the day, it is not only what we eat, but also what we wear and how we choose to spend our time.

So, it is safe to say that eating raw food is not only a form of diet but rather, holistically, a way of life – simple and straight forward.

Here are some benefits to consider:

  • It leads to better health. In turn, we use less money for medical treatments. Raw food prevents numerous diseases to form as they contain all the necessary nutrients for maintaining good health, for growth and for regeneration.
  • It boasts the perfect ratio of water, nutrients, and fiber, depending on what the body needs.
  • It is easy to digest; thus, your body needs less energy for the process of digestion. In return, you have more energy left for other tasks.
  • It boosts your body with more energy. Less energy is left from the process of bonding toxins that form during the process of digesting cooked food. With raw foods, your body clears toxins right away.
  • It helps your body regulate and maintain weight. Raw food has the capacity of regulating innate appetite levels and prevents us from overeating.
  • It helps with brain function as it strengthens memory and the power to concentrate.
  • It has calming effects as our digestion uses less energy and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • The food cost is generally cheaper and it is easier to prepare; while doing so, you save the environment.

If you like fresh fruit and vegetables, your intake of raw foods might even be much higher than you think it is. To take it a step further here is a recipe for a savory cake:

  1. Mix almonds and coconut chips well together in a blender.
  2. Add seedless dates soaked in water overnight. And a little of the water, too. Mix it all together with almonds and coconut, press on the bottom of the pan in which you want to shape the cake in, and place it into the fridge to cool.
  3. For the topping place avocados into a blender, to which you add vanilla, cocoa powder, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Blend it together until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Top with strawberries and bananas. You can additionally garnish it with coconut shavings. Cool for a couple of hours and serve to enjoy.

How to Get into Yoga: A Guide to Start Your Practice

Yoga has been gaining a steady following for the last several years, and it might have caught your eye. Now you find yourself wondering how to get started. The good news is that yoga is an easy exercise to get into, and there are several ways to get into it. Your comfort level is going to shape the beginning of your practice, and the flexibility of yoga will let you continue to shape into what works best for you. There is not a lot of equipment that you need; when you start, all you need is a set of clothes, like these and a mat. In fact, if you are going to a studio or have a soft carpet, you do not even really need the mat.


In Studio

Many different gyms and yoga studios offer introductory packages. These are a great way to give yoga a try. It lets you test out your practice, and it also helps you find a studio and instructor that fits you. Studios are great resources, and the instructors can be very helpful. Introductory classes are going to be geared towards yoga newbies, like yourself. The poses will be less advanced, with the goal of introducing you to the mindset and feeling of yoga. The instructors of beginner classes are well aware that many of their students are new and are going to provide hands on instruction to make sure you are learning all you can. It can also introduce you to new people, who are also interested in what yoga can add to their lives.

 

At Home Instruction

While the comradery and hands on instruction might be what you are looking for, many other people can find the social aspect intimidating. This is not going to hold you back. There are DVDs, podcasts, and online video all over the internet that can guide you through a beginner practice. With all the content available to you, you can spend some time finding the source that speaks to you the best. This is an important step because yoga practice is such an individual thing and finding a reliable and relatable source will help grow you. Video and podcast led yoga have a very low cost of entry, as most of these are free to watch. With access to these videos you can begin your practice in the comfort of your own home.

Your own personal comfort level is going to determine if a studio environment or a home-based environment is the best place to start your practice. A classroom setting can provide a social experience, as well as give you hands on instruction and feedback. However, it can be expensive just to try it out, and the social aspect can be somewhat daunting. Home based practices are an alternative, with low cost and no pressure. Guides on a number of internet platforms can be found to help you through as your practice grows. There are positives to both, and it is recommended that you utilize both as your practice grows.

There is something missing from these, the human connection. However, you may find that as you practice, your confidence rises enough so a studio is not so overwhelming.

 

Trying Yoga in Another Language

Traveling can be a wonderful opportunity to form new experiences and entertain a new perspective on life. However, booking a trip overseas can also pose a threat to a devoted yogi’s practice schedule. While you can practice yoga anywhere that you want to, many yogis enjoy having a teacher to lead them in their practice. Of those travelling yogis who prefer to follow an instructor’s guidance within the structure of a class or group setting, one of the main concerns faced is that they will not be able to follow along in a yoga class that is conducted in another language. Don’t let language scare you away from the nearest studio! Read on to learn some of the benefits.

One of the benefits of taking a yoga class conducted in a foreign language is that it allows you to better focus on your breathing. If you cannot understand all of the instructor’s words, it can quickly push your mind to race to something it can understand: your breath and your body. This is a wonderful opportunity to shut off one of your brain’s running programs, language, and turn to a more focused awareness of your breath.

Practicing yoga with guidance in a foreign language pushes you to rely on your other senses to experience your practice. Instead of listening to your teacher’s instructions, you may need to rely on your eyes to follow along. This shift in sensual engagement can provide a new perspective on your own practice. Perhaps you will notice something new about your practice when you place an emphasis on your sight rather than your hearing.

The opportunity to experience your practice in another way can also provide a valuable lesson: trusting yourself! Yogis who prefer group instruction rather than a solo practice sometimes tend to think they simply cannot practice alone. Of course, following an instructor’s guidance can be extremely beneficial in a person’s yoga journey. However, it is important not to rely solely on the instructor for the growth of your practice. When taking a class in another language, it may surprise you to realize that you can follow along just fine! If you have been practicing yoga for awhile, you probably know more sequences than you are aware of. This can provide a great lesson in trusting yourself.

The essentials of yoga are universal, no matter what language it is experienced in. The core principles of creating an awareness of your breath, your body, and your practice are present. Accepting the healing, positive energy that others express towards you and then sending your own positive, accepting love towards others can be extra special when shared outside of your native language. Yoga is a practice with universal principles that connect us all. Don’t shy away from a yoga studio that may operate in a foreign language! Take the chance to contribute to universal harmony on your next trip overseas.

Three Simple Yoga Flows You Can Practice Anywhere

Three Simple Yoga Flows You Can Practice Anywhere

I used to be a tennis player. I played for a Division I team in college. I was even a team captain my senior year and what that meant to me was that I needed to set a good example for my teammates. But my game had already been great and the things that made a difference were going on in my head rather than on the court.

I was lucky enough that my coach introduced us to yoga and it changed many things beyond my tennis performance for me. Maybe not instantly. But it definitely did looking back on it.

I came up with a few simple flows that instantly improved my performance, let that be on or off the court.

Start from mountain pose and with an inhale bring the shoulders up and back. Lower the shoulders with an exhale and so release all the tension from them (they tend to bear and show stress the most).

Second variation is to lift the your arms above your head, shoulders relaxed. With an exhale bring one of your arms back and the opposite in front, gaze at the back arm and follow its path, with an inhale meet above your head. Repeat on the opposite side and do as many repetitions as you like. Twists release toxins. Just make sure to intake enough water to flush them out of your system too. 

The third is the most intricate of the three. Start from mountain grounding. Root yourself on one leg. Lift the knee of the opposite. Open up the hip and place the sole of the lifted leg either above the ankle, below the knee or on the inside of your thigh (make sure it is not pressing into the knee). Arms in prayer. Tree pose. With an inhale bring the knee back to the front and with the exhale place the knee to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side. If your practice level allows you, you can go into deeper stretches like half-moon or royal dancer. Then use either chair pose or mountain grounding to wrap the sequence.

Obviously, you don’t need to go to a studio to practice these. It is just what I learned from yoga and chose (mindfully or not) to apply to other areas of my life.

You don’t even need to call it yoga, those are just instances during your daily whereabouts where you decide to honor yourself. And boy, there are a lot of things to be proud of each day and accomplishments make us all feel good and give us strength to carry on the good work. Plus focusing on deep breathing and gentle stretching, or as called in yoga Pranayama, are intricately connected to happiness as shown by a study conducted at Oxford University.

Any time is a good time to honor yourself and you can simply do that by bringing the shoulders up and back, opening up the heart and giving yourself more confidence as you’re now leading with your chest.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Namaste.