restorative yoga online

  • Gigi Yogini on Restorative Yoga for Deep Relaxation

    Are you on sensory overload? Chronically stressed? Wigging out? If you’ve been feeling like a spazz lately, I recommend you hit your mat to dose up on some R&R immediately.

    Why is relaxation and restoration so essential?

    Reclincing Bound Angle

    Let’s turn it over to Gigi Yogini...

    Most of us are bombarded by stimuli these days. Whether it’s our phones buzzing, the influx of emails, sounds of traffic, or constant commercials, our nervous system is dealing with an incredible amount of input from the outside world.

    Do you ever notice how you rush to pick up the phone, even if you’re otherwise busy? Or how you jump in your seat when someone honks their horn? Perhaps your heart starts to race when you find yourself in an uncomfortable sales situation?

    These responses are natural. They reflect the functions of our body’s Sympathetic Nervous System.

    The general action of the SNS is to mobilize the body’s “fight or flight” response system. This increases blood pressure, breathing rate, and muscle blood flow through the body.

    When we are in this stress response state, our digestion is impaired and we start releasing hormones, which put the body into alert mode. It’s as if there’s a constant red light flashing inside, warning us to rescue ourselves from danger.

    The truth is, while certain stress can help us strengthen and grow in particular instances, one of the greatest threats against our health is chronic stress.

    When this high level of anxiety becomes regular, it can lead to hypertension, adult oneself of diabetes, immune suppression, osteoporosis, memory decline, and many other illnesses. Many of us don't realize how taxing our busy lifestyles can be.

    Luckily, we also have the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for the maintenance of the body when it’s at rest. Conscious Relaxation is the best way to counteract and reverse the physiological effects of stress in our lives.

    The PNS unconsciously regulates the internal organs and glands in what is often called the “rest and digest” system as opposed to “fight or flight.” The breathing rate slows down, alpha waves are generated, metabolism increases and muscular tension releases allowing the body to better use oxygen. Without needing to go to sleep, the nervous system calms down and the body begins to replenish and repair itself.

    So even if you love your cardiovascular classes and Vinyasa style yoga, trying to take a little time to practice Restorative Yoga. Especially if you lead a busy life with little time to relax, give yourself a chance to repair and restore. Either way, regardless of your lifestyle, everyone's body deserves an opportunity to restore in order to heal from, and prevent, stress and illness.

    Remedy your spazz-syndrome, recover from stress, and replenish your system with some Restorative Yoga online. Start with Gigi’s Restorative Yoga practice, appropriate for all levels. Settle into stillness to uncover deep relaxation.

    Gigi Yogini Yoga ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Restore via Sabriya Simon Photography 

  • Weekend Challenge: Direct Your Focus Within

    All this wintry, windy weather has got me all scatterbrained and imbalanced. The winds of the mind – the thoughts – have been whipping and whirling around in my head just like the snowflakes outside my window. To resolve this craziness, I have been giving myself some serious doses of yoga to remain sane.

    Lately, when I hit my mat, my intention is to direct my focus inward to find refuge from all the distractions of my external environment. I have discovered that a really sweet way to turn the focus inside is to practice forward folds.

    Uttanasana

    Forward folds are not only calming and grounding. They also present an awesome opportunity to go deep within yourself and temporarily detach from the outside. I have found it super settling to just dangle in a standing forward fold (Uttanasana). I close my eyes. I cultivate deep Ujjayi breathing. I allow my breath to take me deeper and deeper into the pose. As I go deeper, I experience a reconnection with myself. A wave of calmness infiltrates my system.

    To infiltrate your system with serenity, take a moment this weekend to explore some delicious forward folds. Re-establish an intimate connection with yourself and experience refuge from any craziness surrounding you. Send your focus inside.

    To direct your attention within, turn to these free online yoga videos exploring forward folding poses and sequences.

    First, enjoy this short online yoga video with Sage Rountree – Forward Folds to Stretch All 3 Parts of Hamstrings. Explore a standing forward fold and wide-legged forward fold. Hold both of these postures for up to 2 minutes to really experience their soothing benefits.

    Standing Forward Folds with Sage Rountree

    Next, enjoy Uttanasana variations with some sweet shoulder opening options. Create flexibility and experience a satisfying release in this online yoga video with Tingting Peng.

    Standing Forward Fold Variations

    Lastly, take it to the floor with Sage Rountree in this online yoga video exploring a seated forward folding sequence. Experience a lovely stretch in the hips and hammies.

    seated forward folding sequence

    Take a forward fold. Go deep within yourself.

    ~TJ

  • 3 Flows for Headache, Stress & Tension Relief

    We hold on to a lot of stress and tension in the head, neck, and shoulder regions of our bodies. Chronic tension and tightness in these areas, especially the neck region, can cause headaches. Overtime, tightness of the neck and shoulder muscles can shorten the ligaments of these muscles, restricting your range of motion (ROM). No bueno.

    Neck stretch What a pain in the neck...

    To ward off headaches and stress caused by tension and tightness of the head, neck, and shoulders and to maintain (even expand) your range of motion, it is important to regularly stretch and move.

    Get a move on and practice this new online yoga class with Gigi Yogini – a Shoulders, Neck and Head Practice to Relieve Tension. Practice the simple exercises instructed in this online yoga flow to open up and relax your shoulders, neck, and head. Experience stress relief. Combat potential headaches.

    Gigi Yogini

    Another sure way to outsmart headaches, stress and tension is to take on a detox practice. Toxins are all around you – in your food, in the air, in the water, etc. While your body is equipped with its own detox system, it can become rundown after repeated exposure to toxins and chronic stress. When shut down occurs, the toxins stay put in your body. Rather than release, they find refuge in adipose tissue (fat cells). Once they reside in your fat cells, they become a nuisance, running down your body’s natural defense system. Headaches (among other unfortunate conditions) may result.

    The solution? Practice cleansing and detoxifying flows to cleanse out all the crap, reset your body’s defense system, and ease any mental stress caused by the physical pangs. Upon the release of all this toxic waste, you will feel revitalized, vigorous, and wholesome. Ahhhh...

    To sweat out and let loose all of the toxic junk, try this detox class with Ashley Turner – an Invigorating Morning Flow. In this online yoga practice, you will wring out every corner of your body. Leave the practice feeling energized, cleansed, clear, and awake for your day ahead.

    Ashley Turner

    A final way to ease headaches, tension, and stress is through deep relaxation and calming breathing exercises. Try this amazingly rejuvenating online yoga class with yoga master, Sri Dharma Mittra: Yoga Nidra - Psychic Sleep Relaxation Method. Dharma Mittra teaches that stress is the number one cause of injury and illness, and that we must explore methods to keep balanced and joyful in the thick of everyday life. Guided Relaxation removes tension and fatigue in the physical body, relieves depression and anxiety, relieves headaches, reduces cravings and desires, rejuvenates and energizes the entire system, bolsters the body's natural healing capacities, and normalizes the circulatory system's functioning. You will be guided into a state of deep relaxation where the breathing and the thoughts are slowed almost to the point of stopping, which can be as restorative as a full night's sleep.

    Sri Dharma Mittra

    Move about. Stretch. Sweat. Chill. Breathe in, breathe out. Seems like the perfect curative cocktail for headaches, stress, and tension to me!

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: http://classicalguitarnstuff.com

  • Yoga for Depression

    We’ve all experienced it to some extent. And it sucks. For some, its severity hits harder. And for those people, I’m sorry. Depression, be it chronic or fleeting, is a b*tch. It’s so tempting to give into it and let it own you. Sometimes it’s damn near impossible to ward it off. Sometimes all you can do is wait it out until the darkness lifts. Because eventually, it will lift. Pain and suffering are only temporary. You won’t remain stuck. Remember: This too shall pass.

    Quote

    Sure, it will pass. Sure, you’ll eventually emerge. But is that good enough? Is that the best you can do? At points in my life, I thought it was the best I could do. I surrendered to depression. I figured it would be a reoccurring, severe storm that I’d repeatedly and consistently battle. I thought that this was my life. So, I gave into depression. I let it own me. I threw in the towel and let the beast obtain victory. I figured that happiness just wasn’t in the cards for me. I believed I was one of the unlucky, unfit ones.

    Now, I just thank my lucky stars that I found yoga and yoga found me. Don’t get me wrong. My life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies now that I do yoga. I’m not happy every second of every day. And yes, depression is something I will always have to deal with. Yoga, however, provided me with powerful resources and tools to battle the beast more effectively. Yoga gave me perspective. Yoga gave me an escape. Yoga gave me light.

    In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita (a super important text on yogic philosophy – perhaps the most important), Krishna imparts to Arjuna that the real meaning of yoga is “a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.” That’s why I do yoga. That’s why I think that everyone should do yoga. Yoga is a system designed to free us all from suffering. I can’t imagine a greater goal. I can’t imagine a greater meaning. Freedom from all suffering! When I first discovered this, I knew that yoga was the path to which I would commit.

    Sure, yoga won’t solve all of your problems. It’s not magic. It’s not a quick fix. It’s work. It’s a journey. There are bound to be waves of depression and, also, waves of joy. Yoga, however, is about suppressing or ironing out those fluctuations. It’s about finding that sweet spot – a place free from all toxicity and a place of eternal joy that extends beyond this material realm. That is yoga. To reach this place of deliverance, all you can do is keep practicing. Discipline is key.

    The following online yoga videos have a special focus on relieving depression. Try them out. See if they have any positive influences on your mood. It’s worth a shot. All yoga, however, is good for depression. So, hit your mat. Even on those days where you want to hide from the world, hit your mat. Even on those days where you feel defeated and hopeless, hit your mat. Do the work. Do it for for your happiness and your health. Do it for you.

    Tantra Yoga to Clear Stress, Anger and Depression with Psalm Isadora - If you are not fully enlightened yet, you will find this online yoga series very helpful to transform negativity into empowerment. Emotions are energy. Learn to move the energy in order to live in your highest potential. Dynamic movements with sound remove blockages by stirring the energy of the hips. Lift this energy to the core to be expressed through the throat center in this online yoga class. (21 mins.)

    Yoga Nidra: Psychic Sleep Relaxation Method with Sri Dharma Mittra - Sri Dharma Mittra teaches that stress is the number one cause of injury and illness, and that we must explore methods to keep balanced and joyful in the thick of everyday life. Guided Relaxation removes tension and fatigue in the physical body, relieves depression and anxiety, relieves headaches, reduces cravings and desires, rejuvenates and energizes the entire system, bolsters the body's natural healing capacities, and normalizes the circulatory system's functioning. You will be guided into a state of deep relaxation where the breathing and the thoughts are slowed almost to the point of stopping, which can be as restorative as a full night's sleep. When done regularly and with pure intention, one can depart the body and cross over into Psychic Sleep, briefly experiencing the Astral Plane. It is through this deep practice that one can gradually come to recognize that you are so much more than the body or the mind. The benefits of this online yoga class are cumulative - the more you do it, the greater the benefit. No previous experience needed! (45 mins.)

    May we all be happy and free,

    ~TJ

  • 9 Reasons to Use Props

    When I first started practicing yoga, I thought that props were for wussies, cheaters, and newbies. Yeah...I was obviously pretty unaware and inexperienced. It wasn’t until an intense yoga teacher training program that I started appreciating props and their awesomeness.

    Restorative Heart Bench

    After countless hours of sitting during training, I caved. I grabbed a block, stuck it under my seat, and there it rested for the remainder of my training. My spine loved me for it. What’s more, I started experimenting with props in restorative and yin postures and also learned ways to use props to push me deeper in my practice. Now, I am one serious prop enthusiast. I have an entire closet in my apartment dedicated to different sized bolsters, blankets, blocks, and belts. When I practice yoga at home, it's like an explosion of props went off.

    Props are there to help customize the practice to you and your body, to promote ease in the body, and to facilitate relaxation of the mind. They allow any yoga practitioner, regardless of experience, age, and physical condition, access to the practice. The benefits of props cannot be denied.

    Benefits of Props

    1. Facilitate proper alignment
    2. Offer your body support to allow your mind to relax deeply and fully receive the benefits of yoga
    3. Make asanas accessible even if you have physical limitations
    4. Help to adjust or support you so you can practice yoga safely and effectively
    5. Enhance intelligence in a pose by informing you of a specific feature, action, or aspect of a pose
    6. Help you to realize the balance of effort and ease in the poses
    7. Provide support so that you can realize the great benefits of holding a pose for an extended period of time
    8. Enrich the restorative or therapeutic nature of a pose
    9. Allow you to experience asanas (yoga poses) and pranayamas (breathing exercises) more profoundly by minimizing struggle, discomfort, and unsteadiness

    To start your own relationship with props and to complement your home practice, I suggest you go out and purchase a few blankets, two blocks, a strap, and a bolster. Feel free to tack on more prop goodness as you go. Eye pillows and sandbags are both lovely objects to add to a prop collection.

    To learn more about how and why to use yoga props, catch this free online yoga offering with Gigi Yogini. In this free yoga video, learn how to enjoy yoga with the body you have. Use bolsters, blankets and blocks to release tension, open your heart, and deepen your relaxation. Gigi Yogini will show you how to use your yoga props in Sukhasana to make the “easy pose” that much easier. Discover ways to use props to create a nice, long spine and set yourself up for extended periods of meditation or pranayama. Also, learn three prop options for heart bench – an invigorating restorative posture. Lastly, discover ways to relieve tension in the low back during Savasana so that you may sink deeply into this deliciously restorative posture.

    How and Why to Use Props

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Heart Bench via http://yogamamma.tumblr.com

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