Morning Ritual

YogaWhat if you “wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” but still have a way to start the day off right? Gaia.com believes that practicing yoga in the morning is a beautiful way to sync up with the rhythmic wisdom of nature, transitioning mindfully from sleep to wake.

Taking some time for yourself after waking up and creating the perfect morning routine can set (or re-set) the tone for your whole day – and possibly your whole life.

Gaia’s Morning Ritual Collection offers everyone an easy way to make yoga part of their new morning ritual and the opportunity to start the day with a practice crafted to awaken the body and mind, by offering:

-          A full range of  levels from beginner to advanced

-          A variety of instructors such as Rodney Yee, Gina Caputo, Faith Hunter, and more!

-          Styles including: Vinyasa, Hatha, and Kundalini

-          A choice between 15-minute and 30-minute practices

 Make a yoga practice part of their morning ritual.

Yoga and Meditation Improve Brain Function and Energy Levels

YogaPracticing brief sessions of Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation can significantly improve brain function and energy levels, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

The study found that practicing just 25 minutes of Hatha Yoga or mindfulness meditation per day can boost the brain’s executive functions, cognitive abilities linked to goal-directed behavior and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions.

“Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing and posing, and also reduce processing of nonessential information,” said Peter Hall, associate professor in the School of Public Health & Health Systems. "These two functions might have some positive carryover effect in the near- term following the session, such that people are able to focus more easily on what they choose to attend to in everyday life.”

Thirty-one study participants completed 25 minutes of Hatha yoga, 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation, and 25 minutes of quiet reading (a control task) in randomized order. Following both the yoga and meditation activities, participants performed significantly better on executive function tasks compared to the reading task.

“This finding suggests that there may be something special about meditation— as opposed to the physical posing— that carries a lot of the cognitive benefits of yoga,” said Kimberley Luu, lead author on the paper.

The study also found that mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga were both effective for improving energy levels, but Hatha yoga had significantly more powerful effects than meditation alone.

“There are a number of theories about why physical exercises like yoga improve energy levels and cognitive test performance,” said Luu. “These include the release of endorphins, increased blood flow to the brain, and reduced focus on ruminative thoughts. Though ultimately, it is still an open question.”

Hatha yoga is one of the most common styles of yoga practiced in Western countries.

It involves physical postures and breathing exercises combined with meditation. Mindfulness mediation involves observing thoughts, emotions and body sensations with openness and acceptance.

“Although the meditative aspect might be even more important than the physical posing for improving executive functions, there are additional benefits to Hatha yoga including improvements in flexibility and strength,” said Hall.  “These benefits may make Hatha yoga superior to meditation alone, in terms of overall health benefits.”

The study is published in the August 2017 issue Mindfulness.

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca.

Finding Presence

The dawn of a new solstice is the perfect time to review and resolve. Can we reduce stress in ourlives? Can we better face challenges so they don't eat away at us?

PSFK is a think tank that offers insights into all aspects of life. Back in 2015 they invited Sasha Lewis, the founder of Flavorpill to talk about The ROI of Finding Presence. This message is as timely today as it was back then.


Mindfulness and Presence Should Be at the Core of Work and Play [PSFK 2015] from PSFK on Vimeo.

In his talk, Lewis asks the audience to think about what being more present looks like in their every day, whether that outlet be meditation, yoga, running or spin class. Whatever it looks like, we need to make the conscious decision to step away from the screen and slow down. As the founder of a major media company, Lewis encourages his employees to exercise these habits with daily digital detoxes.

At Flavorpill, teams participate in group meditations or exercise mid-afternoon: “We basically get out of our heads and away from our screens—and get into our bodies. We’re immediately struck by how much energy we have, or how calmed or focused we are following that.”

Mindful business practices stem beyond the media industry, as seen in the instance of sports teams, hollywood celebrities and global CEOs who meditate. Lewis highlights the uptake of tech-related meditation apps and mindful gatherings that demonstrate people “seeking out experiences where mindfulness and presence are at the core.”

Do you want to slow down and find presence in your daily life? Find practices where mindfulness and presence are at the core that fit your lifestyle and inspire you through a modality of exciting experiences.




Shocking News About Yoga's Impact on Glaucoma

Yoga pose of the weekI received shocking news regarding yoga, an activity which I love. But first let me say that I am glaucoma suspect with eye pressure that is in the upper range of normal. So I am very concerned about the possibility of getting glaucoma.

I just went to the opthamologist for for a full examination and he told me something that certain yoga positions increase eye pressure and should NOT be done by people who have the possibility of getting glaucoma.

The full article on the subject is here but what you need to know is that a new study says that certain poses increase eye pressure and present risks for individuals with glaucoma. Those position are any ones that place the head below the rest of the body. The greatest pressure increase was found during downward dog!

So ....

Downward Dog is not good

Head Stands are not good

Bending over for the sun salutations are not good

Bridge pose is not good

So where does that leave me? I am thinking of concentrating on Yin Yoga which is stretching that tends to be on the mat.

I also found out that sleep apnea and snoring increases the possibility of a stroke to the eye. Sleeping on one of your sides puts more pressure on the eye closest to the pillow.


What is glaucoma ---

Dr. Robert Ritch, from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) in New York, NY, notes that glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the US. He focuses on elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), which is the most common risk factor for glaucomatous damage and the only modifiable factor that has been proven to prevent or slow glaucoma progression.



Powerful Age-Defying Benefits of Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness

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