yoga outside

Creating a Yoga Sanctuary in Your Home

AN ARTICLE BY FREELANCE CONTRIBUTOR SALLY KEYS

Photo by  Form

Photo by Form

One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can be practiced anywhere. Many of the 20 million yoga enthusiasts in the US choose to lay down their mat and practice in the comfort of their own home in addition to attending outside classes with instruction from professionals. Setting up a home studio can help to build up your strength and stamina, allowing you to work your way up to more advanced yoga classes. Here are some tips on how you can transform any space in your home into your own personal sanctuary.

 

Choose Your Space

Whether you live in a studio apartment or a four-bedroom house, it’s easy to carve out a space in your home that’s specifically dedicated to your spiritual well-being. You should aim to look for a space that’s free of distractions such as electronics, pets, or children. Your space should feel like a sanctuary, so it’s a good idea to add scents you find soothing and perhaps even some soft music. It’s also important to look for an area that gets plenty of natural light or that offers views of the great outdoors. Spending time around nature can help to ground us as we practice yoga and enhance our mood. If you have a garden, you may want to consider setting up your yoga sanctuary outside.

 

Gather Your Tools

While there’s no one-size-fits-all idea for a yoga studio, there are a couple of key elements that you should make sure to include. In addition to a yoga mat, you may want to invest in extra props such as a bolster, a set of blocks, or a yoga sandbag to improve posture and balance. A meditation pillow can also come in handy to help improve comfort and focus during your meditation sessions.

 

Create a Calming Atmosphere

Even within the sacred space of your home, it can be difficult to concentrate if you’re surrounded by clutter. Your yoga space should be a reflection of your inner self--peaceful and serene. Decorating your yoga sanctuary may seem like a trivial task, but it can make all the difference on your spiritual journey. Your decor should stimulate all five of your senses to keep you grounded in the present. In addition to artwork, you should also include water fixtures or windchimes to evoke your auditory senses and incense or candles to stimulate your sense of smell. Plants can also create a more balanced space and help you to keep in touch with nature during your yoga sessions.

 

Setting up a home yoga sanctuary makes it easy to practice your routine every day, even when you aren’t able to make it down to your gym or yoga studio. By carving out a special space in your house, you can better concentrate on your spiritual growth. A home yoga studio helps to remove you from the daily distractions of life and allows you to achieve clarity and focus.

How Yoga Can Improve Metabolism And Your Overall Health

AN ARTICLE FROM FREELANCE CONTRIBUTOR SALLY KEYS

Photo by  Gleren Meneghin

A growing number of people all over the planet are discovering the benefits of yoga for their physical and mental health. According to the UN, two billion people around the world practice yoga “because it works.” In the U.S., it is estimated that there are more than 36 million individuals who practice yoga on a regular basis which resulted in the tremendous growth of the yoga industry in recent years. Most people prefer to do yoga than any other form of exercise as it can improve flexibility, strength, and can lower stress levels. But more than being able to perform impressive yoga poses, practicing yoga can also improve keep you at a healthy weight and even strengthen your body’s immunity to fight disease. Here are all the ways yoga can improve your overall health.

 

It improves your metabolism

There’s a reason why people flock to yoga or silent retreats as doing yoga for several days in a tranquil setting can have multiple benefits for one’s health. One way that yoga can benefit your well-being is that it can improve metabolism to help you maintain weight within a healthy range. Though some may argue that doing cardiovascular exercises is the only way to burn fat, doing yoga poses can actually help to improve digestion, boost metabolism, and create lean muscle. Certain yoga poses that focus on the core, such as planks, can help the digestive organs function better. Meanwhile, yoga poses target different muscle groups to create strong and lean muscles. The more muscles you build, the more calories your body can burn, and this eventually results in a leaner and more toned physique.

 

It can boost immunity

Yoga is one of the most natural and effective immunity boosters that you can adopt. Because it fights stress, yoga can help to lower your risk of certain diseases. Stress is one of the common causes of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and fertility problems. As you go meditate and go into different yoga poses, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed as the tension melts away. With continued practice, your stress hormones are lowered, which allows your organs to function better and keep you free from disease.

 

It can lessen pain

Instead of reaching for a pain reliever, try doing yoga regularly as a way to manage pain. The relaxation and breathing techniques that you use in yoga can lessen severe headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, and pain from arthritis.

Aim to practice yoga on a regular basis to keep your body healthy. Doing yoga will not only benefit your health, but it can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life in the long run.

How to Reawaken Your Spirit and Connect with Nature

An article from freelance contributor Sally Keys

Photo by  William Farlow

The Unique Benefits of Teaching Outdoor Yoga

If you are all packed for your journey into the heart of the enlightening Teacher Training Program at Passion School Yoga, then you probably already know of the powerful transformative effects of yoga. This practice is currently in use to battle PTSD, anxiety, depression and many more conditions, but ultimately, yoga is ideal for everyone. As a deeply spiritual practice that enables us to achieve desired equilibrium, it can help us feel stronger, happier, and and more peaceful yet energetic at once. When you return home from your course, you may wonder what the ideal setting is to teach the skills you have learned. If possible, take it to the Great Outdoors, to reap the unique benefits Mother Nature has to offer.

 

Why Outdoor Yoga?

While honing your skills in the midst of breathtakingly beautiful natural landscapes in Costa Rica or India, chances are, you felt more focused and balanced than ever. In part, this is because nature works in similar lines as yoga does, instilling a sense of mindfulness from the moment you step into the lush wilderness. Nature lowers levels of (stress hormone), as does yoga, and can also help battle anxiety and depression. Time spent outdoors also lifts the mood and enhances vitality; interestingly, studies have shown that outdoor exercise is generally more satisfying than the indoor variety. If you could choose between practicing yoga in a crowded gym with music blasting from the speakers, or a silent forest graced only with the sound of rustling leaves and birds in the trees, which do you think you would choose?

 

Nature Enhances Spirituality

From before the times of the ancient Aborigines and Native American Indians, humanity has been aware of the important link between nature and the spiritual world. Carl Jung espoused a fascinating theory about the bond between our psyche and Nature, He said that our psyche comprises various levels, including conscious awareness, unconscious awareness, and collective unconscious. The latter is the deepest level of our psyche; it is made up of images, emotions, behaviors and patterns that are common to all humankind. In order to delve into this level, he noted, we need to spend time in verdant areas, for they are the perfect settings in which our inner world can find fulfillment. Within the arms of Mother Nature, we witness perfection and keenly feel our need for greater spirituality.

Yoga in nature has many benefits that have been documented repeatedly in studies; these include the lowering of our blood pressure and heart rate, stress reduction, and cognitive improvements that enable our brain to work more efficiently. Outdoor yoga is equally powerful in its ability to connect us with a a part of ourselves we are often unaware of: our need to enter a more spiritual frame of mind, one that we have in common with every single human being.

 

*** Also see here a complete guide to Mindfulness from John Parrot, at relaxlikeaboss.com