Online Yoga Videos

  • 5 Yoga-Inspired Ways to Relax Throughout Your Day

    Feelin’ about ready to snap? Tense? Impatient? Frustrated? On edge? Eh, it happens. Unfortunately, it will just keep happening until you integrate some effective coping tools into your life toolbox. Fortunately, there’s yoga. Yoga provides many techniques to calm an unsettled, flustered mind – to weather those inevitable mental storms that roll in throughout your busy day.

    Relaxation via Meditation

    1. Breathe. Pranayama is super powerful. Try Nadi Sodhana or alternate nostril breathing. Nadi Sodhana means “clearing the channels of circulation.” It has a very quieting and cooling effect, reducing mental turmoil, anxiety, and insomnia. If Nadi Sodhana requires a bit too much hand-breath coordination for you, a simple 10, deep Ujjayi breaths can be just as powerful. Ujjayi breathing settles the mind and body, eases irritation, frustration and stress, and promotes balance. Last, but definitely not least, Breath of Fire is a very invigorating way to burn off anxiety and nerves. Breathe away all that tension!
    2. Meditate. Meditation quiets the mind and sends out peaceful and harmonious vibes to all the cells of your body. Enjoy a short morning and/or evening session. Strive for 20 minutes per meditation. If your day is extra stress/anxiety filled, take a 5 to 10-minute meditation on your lunch break. Focus your attention on music, the sound/movement of your breath, a mantra, or a visualization tool to expand your consciousness and experience calm. If you need some direction for your meditation practice, check out our wide selection of free online yoga videos featuring various meditation methods.
    3. Take Yoga Breaks. It’s a good idea to get off your feet every few hours, especially if you are a slave to your desk. Stand up to stretch it out and promote the movement of energy. Check out these short and sweet online yoga work flows to practice while on break:
    4. Repeat Affirmations/Mantras – You can silently, softly, or audibly repeat mantra whenever/wherever - walking, in the car, at home, etc. A mantra means “vehicle of the mind.” So, you use a mantra as a tool to take your mind elsewhere, beyond the incessant chatter of all the activity surrounding you. There are plenty of mantras and affirmations out there, but here are a few to play with while you are out and about. You may also use these mantras during meditation as well: Let go, So hum, I am, and Just breathe.
    5. Chant or Sing. Chanting, singing, and humming are very soothing to the nerves. You've experienced it. Your favorite song sounds on the radio and suddenly you light up! Chanting and singing elevated music will release tension, open your heart, and just make you feel good! While you are in the car or at home, put on your favorite elevated tunes and sing along loud and proud.

    Liberate your mind from its overly sensitive, stormy mess with a bit of yoga heaven. Enter a calm, undisturbed state.

    Speaking of stormy messes, I hope all you East Coast residents remained safe and dry in the face of Hurricane Sandy. If your local studio is still closed due to the aftermath of storm, enjoy our selection of online yoga videos (that is, if you have power!). Where there’s a will to practice yoga, there’s a way!

    ~TJ

  • On the Happiness Formula

    Being that it is Halloween, I find it appropriate to give you all a little (actually not-so-little!) treat. This treat is inspired by Deepak Chopra and was handed down to me last week in a workshop on happiness with my teacher, Dhyana, of Dhyana Yoga.

    The workshop was entitled the Happiness Formula. I was immediately attracted to this workshop on happiness because that’s the goal right? Happiness? By happiness, I don’t mean that temporary, fleeting happiness – the everything-is-fairies-and-butterflies sort of happiness. I’m talking about the real deal – the sustained, ever-prevailing happiness.

    Online Yoga & Meditation Happiness via www.theminimalists.com

    Amazingly enough, there exists a formula that confers happiness. Really? Yes, really. Many of you may find this formula surprising. The thing is, our modern world has such a warped idea of happiness, especially in the United States. Here, we believe, that if we do all the conventional things right and follow that highly structured and arbitrary linear path, that we’ll emerge at the end of it all happy. False. Sure, things may unfold like that. Maybe. Fat chance.

    The truth is, all those things that we desire – the great job, the fitting, loving mate, and the blissful life – follow true happiness. It’s not the other way around. Find happiness, and all you desire will fall beautifully into place. It really will.

    The Happiness Formula

    Let’s dive right in...

    10% of happiness comes from the “things” – your hybrid vehicles, lululemon wardrobe, top-notch yoga mat, Vitamix, Eco-friendly house, societal status, money, and all those other material, ego-centric things. Just 10%! Surprised?

    For many, this percentage is shocking because we live in a society that places so much emphasis and importance on things. Sure, things are nice. Nice things are even nicer. Yet, at the end of the day, they’re just things! If you base your happiness on the possession of mere materials, you’ll be in bad shape my friend.

    40% of happiness comes from your brain set point. Your brain set point is half conditioned and half genetic. This set point predicts your way of viewing the world. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? When something “bad” goes down, do you consider it a catastrophe or an opportunity?

    Before yoga, I viewed the world pessimistically. Through yoga, I began to realize that a pessimistic perspective didn’t serve me at all. Trust me, it’s not serving you either. It holds you back. It clouds and constricts your pure, unlimited potential. It relentlessly paints the world dark.

    If you are wired a pessimist, I have good news: You and your brain set point can change. How? Easy. Yoga and Meditation. Through these practices, you can train your brain to alter its perspective. Yoga and Meditation will lead you down a path of self-development, awakening your potential and ultimate purpose.

    50% of happiness (a big chunk!) comes from your actions. What do you do in life? How do you contribute? When you wake up in the morning and carry on with your day, what are you checking off your list? Are these check points contributing to your happiness or are they bringing you down? See, this is why people always spout off the “love what you do” advice. It’s because it’s true: If you love what you do and live passionately, how could you not be happy?

    Sure, the perfect job may not be in reach for you at this very second. No worries. There are three actions you have access to right now that will bring happiness.

    The first? Give. Contribute to other causes and lives. It feels so incredibly satisfying to give. In fact, the giver receives more happiness from giving than the receiver from receiving. Why do you think you love giving out Halloween treats so much at your door step?! The second? Discover a creative outlet. Paint. Write. Play music. Carve a pumpkin. Bake a pumpkin pie. Knit. Unleash your dormant creative potential. The third? Do yoga.

    Yoga is a creative outlet, too. At the very least, you are creating shapes with your body. As you continue to practice, you will learn the art of letting go, detachment from outcome, and content in the face of struggle. A spiritual awakening will unfold.

    Bottom line: Allow your actions to serve your happiness and the happiness of others.

    So, what do you think? Does this formula simplify happiness? Perhaps. Maybe, though, happiness is simple. Maybe we complicate our right to it. Maybe we get lost in the things. Maybe we get pulled into that linear path. Maybe we need to let go of all the things and linearity, and make happiness, first and foremost, the goal and not the aftermath.

    If you don't buy into the formula, that’s fine. But please, believe me when I say that Yoga and Meditation will take you on a beautiful journey – one that will surely set you in the right direction toward happiness.

    More Treats!!

    Happy Halloween!

    ~TJ

  • 13 Benefits of Shoulder Stand: The Queen of All Asanas

    Yesterday, we touched on the benefits of Headstand – the designated king of all asanas. As promised, it’s time to explore Headstand’s counterpart: Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana), the dubbed queen of all asanas. Both poses, practiced alone, offer amazing benefits to the practitioner. When practiced together, back to back, the received benefits are only magnified.

    rolling stones yoga Mick Jagger Doing Shoulder Stand via MindBodyGreen.com

    Being queen, Shoulder stand helps us to develop the more feminine qualities of patience and emotional harmony. It is very neutralizing to the nervous system compared to its counterpart Headstand - a very heating and energizing pose. That’s why, in our yoga practice, it makes sense to practice Headstand followed by Shoulder stand. That way, we ease our way out of the practice and emerge in balance. If you practice Headstand solo or last, you may end your practice in a hyper-stimulated state. Depending on what you’re doing next, that might be a good thing. Just keep yourself in check.

    At the onset, this queen bee asana may seem a little less daunting to approach. Of the inversions, I consider Shoulder stand to be a bit more mild. That’s not to say it’s easy. In fact, I know people who have more aversion to Shoulder stand compared to the big boy asana, Headstand. Why? Again, you know why. Fear.

    Different poses bring up different issues for different people. It’s all an opportunity. Yoga is providing you with a chance to work on you and overcome some of your personal fear and struggle. That’s why yoga is so beautiful! It shows you what you need to know. Allow yoga to unravel the fears and issues that are residing right below the surface ready to be unleashed. Sure, it’s a little scary. This is a good thing, though! Trust me. It’s a beautiful, liberating release of all that toxic baggage.

    Iyengar, revered yogi, refers to Shoulder stand as the “mother of all asanas.” Regular practice of this pose promotes harmony and happiness of the mind, body, brain, and spirit. It is considered a remedy for almost, well, everything. If you have some sort of common health concern, Shoulder stand just may function effectively as your drug of choice.

    Shoulder Stand Perks

    1. Eliminates common colds and other nasal issues
    2. Calms the nervous system
    3. Eases irritation, shortness of temper, nervous breakdowns, insomnia, tension, upset, nervousness, and fatigue
    4. Speeds up metabolism
    5. Relieves digestive discomfort and constipation
    6. May help with epilepsy, low vitality, and anemia
    7. May alleviate urinary disorders, uterine displacement, menstrual troubles, and hernias
    8. Strengthens the upper body, legs, and abdomen
    9. Opens the heart/chest
    10. Stretches the neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles
    11. Relieves headaches
    12. Helps relieve breathlessness, palpitations, asthma, bronchitis and throat ailments due to healthy blood circulation around the neck and chest
    13. Helps thyroid and parathyroid glands to function efficiently due to increased blood flow, keeping the body and the brain in harmony

    After that breakdown of benefits, I know you’re ready to sample this drug. Experience a sampling in these two online yoga videos.

    First, rock some Iyengar Hatha yoga online with Kim McNeil. This 49-minute online yoga class takes it up a notch. Build on the key lessons taught by Kim in her Rockin' Iyengar Hatha Yoga I (Beginner) Class on YogaVibes. In this online yoga session, you'll learn how to link back to key alignment points from the beginner yoga video and apply these points to a more advanced asana practice. You'll add twisting to standing poses, go from downward dog to a safe Headstand, and take bridge pose into Shoulder stand. Talk about fun times!

    Desire more soothing Shoulder stand pleasantness?

    Experience an amazing, heart opening online Vinyasa flow with Annie Carpenter. This 91-minute online yoga class explores sustained shoulder opening, leading to Shoulder stand and Shoulder stand drop-backs. After all that shoulder-opening goodness, enjoy some lovely hip stretches to chill way down.

    Don’t brush off this queenly asana in your practice. If you desire happiness, harmony, and peace within, hit the mat to receive the benefits from this lovely asana elixir.

    ~TJ

    Note: There are some legit reasons not to practice Headstand and Shoulder stand. Neck injuries, slipped discs, and high blood pressure are a few reasons. Do your research. Consult a qualified yoga teacher. Approach with caution. Caution; not fear!

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