Here you'll find posts about deepening your body practices in yoga, Pilates, nutrition, wellness, and nourishment from our master team.
Love and Your Immune System
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University showed that people who exhibit positive emotions are less likely to get sick after exposure to viruses. Those who are in stable long-term relationships and have support have fewer doctors visits, shorter average hospital stays, and wounds that heal nearly twice as fast!
Let's take some inspiration from our First Lady!
For her 50th birthday, longtime wellness advocate Michelle Obama has decided to add some yoga into her life. She wants to start enhancing her balance and flexibilty, she tells People Magazine, "so I'm not falling and breaking a hip one day."
Don't worry Michelle, we don't think that day will come anytime soon...especially now that you have welcomed in the long-term benefits and sustainability of a yoga practice!
Love and Mental Health
A study from Rutgers University found that when participants looked at photos of people they deeply love, they had an increase of dopamine brain activity. Dopamine is a chemical associated with optimism, energy, and a sense of well-being. There was also less activity in the area of the brain that produces anxiety for individuals in successful long-term relationships.
Photo: Jens Langner/Wikimedia Commons
Love and Pain
Fact: the comfort of holding your loved one’s hand can minimize your feelings of pain. In
one study, women subjected to the threat of an electrical shock experienced less pain
when they were holding their husbands’ hands. And these feelings of pain decreased
more where there was higher marital satisfaction. Perceived pain was also reduced when
subjects held the hands of close friends.
February, the “Month of Love,” is upon us. Let’s celebrate. Letting Love in leads to health benefitsgalore. All month, I am going to be posting about some of the many different ways satisfying, long-term relationships help us fare better with our health! Here's the first:
Love and your heart…
People in happy relationships can see improvement in cardiovascular health. In 2008, researchers concluded that happily married people had the best blood pressure. They were followed by singles with a strong social network. Those who were married but unhappy in their relationship fared theworst, emphasizing that when it comes to relationships, it’s quality not quantity that matters.
Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students is a beautiful treatise on the tradition of yoga as it is passed from teacher to student. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the Father of the Ashtanga Yoga System, has passed this tradition onto many, including NYC-based Ashtangis and authors of this book Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern. Donahaye and Stern compiled accounts of many of Jois's students, showing how Ashtanga made its way to the West all the way from Mysore, India, and in turn has created a global community.
David Williams, one of Guruji's first Western students, met Jois back in 1973. When recalling his first impression of Jois, Williams gleamed:
"He had a really nice smile. He was very intense with his focus and concentration, but I liked his smile.He was a very healthy-looking guy. At the time he was 59 years old. He had great skin. He was areally radiant person and I knew whatever he was doing I wanted to do it!"
Love this book? Please join us when Eddie Stern and the Urban Yogis visit PRACTICE on Saturday, March 1 with for a very special event!
I am deeply inspired by the practice of Pilates “Body, Mind & Soul”, or said another way within a yogic, healing context. Reading Joseph Pilates’ manifesto “Return to Life: Through Contrology” and studying his life, it is clear he understood yoga, gymnastics, Zen, ancient Greek & Roman physical fitness models, and naturopathic healing methods. He fully intended a whole-Self experience every session of Pilates and expected people to undertake a lifelong practice or pursuit of development – mind, body and spirit.
To give you an idea, here are some of his famous sayings:
• “The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors”
• “Contrology (Pilates) develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”
• “The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.”
• “Above all, learn how to breathe correctly.”
• “As a heavy rainstorm freshens the water of a sluggish or stagnant stream and whips it into immediate action, so does the Pilates Methods purify the bloodstream.”
• “To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.”
And, here’s a picture of him practicing a handstand (from yoga!).
The complication is that traditional Pilates Teacher Training programs and Pilates Classicists emphasize exact replication of the exercise and continuous correction throughout the lesson. While this method is thought to help achieve maximum quality for clients time after time, it also tends to create a left-brain, analytical, “am I doing it right?”, “is that it yet?” striving for perfection type of focus. This is antithetical, and even undermining to a more yogic pursuit of process, which I, and I think Mr. Pilates would, ascribe to: letting go, working with awareness, focus on breath, cultivating a practice, and being in the moment exactly where you are – right now. Ahh, doesn't that sound nice?
When I work from a yogic frame in my own practice and in teaching clients, I find the possibility of utter joy, the affects of tension/stress and release, inspiration for deliberate practice, a personal window inward and the true union of mind, body and soul. People feel good about themselves and their practice, and they are left in charge of their own experience of the Pilates Method with the classic information available to guide them. They open up for what may never had been imagined, like knowing themselves as strong, capable, peaceful, flexible, grounded and, my personal favorite, courageous in the face of fear. There is a spirit of accomplishment and radiant clearing for health, healing and unimaginable happiness.
Reiki, pronounced ray-kee, is a healing modality originating in Japan. This hands-on healing technique is given by a reiki practitioner who has been attuned to the energy and trained by a Reiki Master Teacher. In a reiki session, the practitioner passes energy to the client with various hand positions. The client then receives energy to balance, relax and stimulate his or her body's self-healing mechanisms. Reiki allows us to live in greater health, well being, harmony and balance. And it is not only for people with serious medical conditions. Everyone can try, even celebrities.
Christina Aguilera reportedly used reiki to lose weight! A source told the National Enquirerer "Christina also credits a low-carb diet and yoga workouts for her new look, but Reiki puts her mind in a good place and gives her the discipline to eat healthy and maintain weight loss. She sees a Reiki mater for private sessions three times a week.'' Since Reiki helps us to feel more balanced, it is a valuable addition to a weight loss program.
Reiki can do a lot of wonderful things; here is a short list of benefits to get you started:
Create a sense of calmness
Reduce stress and encourage a need to take better care of yourself
Bring more clarity to your life and help you make more mindful choices in your life (whether that be about food, love life, career etc.)
Give you more energy (which typically leads to more exercise)
Create better sleep patterns and quality of sleep
Intrigued? Come give it a try! I am a RMT (reiki master teacher), and I invite all of you to sign up for reiki sessions with me by appointment here at PRACTICE.