Meg’s Meditation


LOL!
March 21, 2009, 1:01 am
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Laughter is the best medicine, so why not combine the power of yoga with laughter? That’s exactly what laughter yoga does. According to laughteryoga.ca laughter yoga is “a series of movement and breathing exercises designed to stimulate laughter and cultivate an inner spirit of joy. It is a technique that invites laughter without using jokes or humor. Laughter Yoga is a blend of yoga-based deep breathing, gentle stretching, simulated laughter exercises and playful games and activities.” The practice of laughter yoga was created by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995. Kataria found that humor and jokes can be exclusionary and wanted to find a way to stimulate laughter without relying on jokes. Kataria had researched Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and remembered that the body and brain doesn’t know the difference between what it imagines and what is real so he devised the technique of using simulated laughter to stimulate laughter. Now since this practice is relatively new, I haven’t heard much about it, it sounds interesting. The closest thing I have experienced to this is a meditation my yoga teacher did last semester, we had to close our eyes and we had to pretend we were a middle aged man in different scenarios and with each scenario we had to laugh more whole heartedly. It was hilarious, my yoga teacher’s man laugh was so funny and by the end she said “I don’t care if you are laughing at me or laughing with me as long as you are laughing.” I love to laugh and I do believe there are major health benefits to laughing. I don’t believe laughter yoga classes are available in the Niagara region, but I ‘googled it’ and there are some in Toronto. Give it a try or just remember to LAUGH!!!

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no yoga=cold?
March 18, 2009, 10:43 pm
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I was supposed to have my regular yoga class on Monday night, but it was cancelled because the class takes place in a high school and it was March break.  I suppose I could have done my own yoga class in my living room, but I didn’t and now I am sick! I am not sure if the two are related, but I started getting a sore throat Monday and it has been downhill ever since – I have a full blown cold.  I know the role that exercise plays in stress relief and a healthy immune system.  I usually exercise five days a week including my yoga class on Monday, but I have been skipping out because I have been tired and bogged down with my part-time job and school. This cold is teaching me a valuable lesson; I should definitely try to fit in my exercise routine to relieve some stress and therefore help my immune system. Oh and I know this is random and not related to yoga at all, but I have been checking out other blogs and I have found one that I love – – it is called http://www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com/ it is a blog about street fashion.  A man takes pictures of people who he thinks have cool street style and then blogs about it – very cool – check it out!



Quiet Please :)
March 11, 2009, 11:03 pm
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yoga71

 

As most of you know I am taking a weekly yoga class. Last semester I also took a yoga class with the same teacher, but different students. The major difference between this class and my class last semester is the people. Last semester the students were very quiet, but it is quite the opposite this time around. I am all for socializing, but when it comes to class the only person I really want to hear is the teacher. The people in my class whisper to each other, sometimes they laugh and sometimes they speak out about how difficult the pose we are trying to do is. I know I am taking the class at Westlane high school, but sometimes I feel like I am literally in a high school class. I think people should enjoy the class and the odd laugh or chat when appropriate is ok, but I do have a problem with it when people are disrupting the class and making it difficult for me to hear the teacher or even relax. There are so few places in this world where people feel the need to stay quiet. People aren’t even quiet in church anymore, so I guess I should not be surprised when people talk or have their cell phone go off during a yoga class. But for one hour a week all I want to do is listen to the soothing voice of my yoga teacher …so please if you do go to a class enjoy the serenity and don’t speak.



It’s so hot right now!
March 2, 2009, 1:00 am
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     I have yet to try hot yoga, but my cousin has and she says it’s AMAZING! So, I thought I would post some info about it for those of you who don’t know what it is all about. Birkram or “hot yoga” is one of the most popular types of yoga right now.Birkram yoga takes place in a studio that is heated to a minimum of 105 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity around 40%. The yoga class starts and ends with breathing exercises and consists of 24 poses. Each pose is held for thirty seconds and repeated twice. The class usually lasts 90 minutes.
     The Birkram yoga system was developed by Bikram Choudhury from Calcutta, India. 
          Birkram yoga is goal-oriented and lacks meditation, so some may not enjoy it as much as traditional yoga classes that have more of a community feel. For those who covet the perfect “yoga body,” hot yoga may be the way to go as the system has been known to aid in weight loss and increase muscle tone.  Many people have found that hot yoga has helped them to de-stress and feel more energized. Physiologically, hot yoga can improve the immune systemand increase cardiovascular abilities.  
      The extreme heat in the studio promotes excessive sweating, which is said to help rid the body of toxins. The heat also makes the body very warm and therefore more flexible.
      Bikram has over 500 studios throughout the world, and there are still new studios opening up regularly. But, before you step into a hot yoga studio make sure your local studio uses fresh pre-heated air as opposed to recycled air because this depletes oxygen levels and increases air toxicity (the exact opposite of what yoga is meant to do). 
    I am going to hopefully try yoga on oxygen this week, so I will let you know what that is like 🙂

 

 

 



What label are you wearing?
February 22, 2009, 7:09 pm
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 Within the last ten years yoga wear has become a fashion sensation. Lycra pants seem to be popping up everywhere; I have seen them at Roots, Nike and even Costco. While many companies have delved into the world of yoga wear, there are some companies that make their sole living on the merchandise. The companies who specialize in yoga wear are not just selling a product, but are selling it as way of life.  Yoga pants have become a staple item; some might say a uniform for yogis and the general populous. Lululemon Athletica is one company that specializes in yoga athletic wear. The popular ‘A’ symbol has been spotted on celebrities like Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman, and Lauren Conrad.  Lululemon was established in 1998 by Chip Wilson. The first store opened in 2000 in Vancouver. The items are made from various fabrics specially designed to keep their shape, wick moisture away, stretch well. The yoga pants range in price, but usually full length pants are $90. Lululemon wear has become a status symbol and is synonymous with yoga. In fact, the store holds free yoga sessions in their stores every Sunday.  Tonic is another Canadian yoga wear company (I heard about this one from Andrea B). The company was established in 2004 by Marzena Kiernicka and Cathy Leong. The designers wanted to create a laid back activewear line with a fashion twist that embodies the West Coast style. As it says on their website, “originally designed to meet the needs of yoga, TONIC’s line of workout wear is no longer tied to any one discipline.” (mytonic.ca)The prices range, but the full-length pants are about the same price as Lululemon’s ($90).  The clothing line has been featured in Flare and Fashion magazines proving that yoga wear is relevant in today’s fashion world.    



What to expect
February 15, 2009, 5:42 pm
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So, I guess I should have started last week off by telling you what you need and what to expect when starting yoga. Basically all you need is a yoga mat or an open carpeted area. It is best to do yoga while barefoot to avoid slipping. It is also best to wear fitted clothing, so you can more freely without fighting with your clothing. I usually start out by wearing long pants or Capri pants, a tank top and a long sleeved top. As the class goes on I usually take off the long sleeved top because it gets hot. In terms of what to expect – the class usually starts out slow with a lot of stretching before you get into the poses. Most yoga teachers explain what each pose does for your body (for example “the twist” is used to cleanse your liver). Most teachers also walk throughout the class and help you to do the pose correctly. My teacher is very concerned with making sure that you do not do anything that would hurt yourself or aggravate an injury. At our first class she asked if anyone had any injuries. She modifies poses for those who have injuries or high blood pressure or carpal tunnel syndrome. After the initial stretches, we get into poses (near the end we do a series of poses called Sun Salutations). By the end we lay down with arms and legs stretched out for about 10 minutes (this is the most relaxing point). Throughout the class breathing is very important and the teacher continually reminds you to breathe in at certain points and breathe out at other points (sounds weird, but sometimes you do forget to breath). Trust me after a class you will have a great sleep!

 



Back in the saddle
February 5, 2009, 11:21 pm
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I had my first yoga class since December on Monday night.  It was really great to get back into it. I am taking the class at Westlane high school through continuing education. The price is definitely right, It’s $40 for ten weeks of classes (definitely easier on the wallet than most studios or gyms– being a student this is very important).  The class is in high demand, there are about thirty people in the class and apparently there is a waiting list of fifteen (my sister-in-law and her mother tried to get in, but couldn’t even get on the waiting list).  Last semester I took the class with my mom, she had never tried yoga before, but I encouraged her to give it a try. She enjoyed it so much, she told two of her friends and they are in our class this semester. I am always interested to ask people what they think of yoga. I think most people think of yoga as contorting your body into a pretzel-like position while chanting to music and taking in the aroma of incense. While some of those assumptions are true by no means are they all true.  The class I take is very relaxing and I am amazed by how much my flexibility has improved.  There is a lot of deep breathing and I always feel less stressed when I leave (I feel like I could fall asleep).  There is usually music playing in the background, my teacher has a very soothing voice and talks us through the poses, but there is no incense and only a little chanting (although I have been to classes like that before).  Anyway, just thought I would give you an idea of what my week in yoga has been like….Also, if you are thinking of giving yoga a try in the comfort of your own home before heading to a class, the library has a wide range of videos (best of all they are free!!)…give it a try!