Category Archives: Wellness

Pursuing Health

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In the pursuit of health, we often begin with a focus on one of the domains of health. In our culture, we often begin by focusing on our physical health. We may need to learn about the other domains of health in our journey to improve our physical health.

When pursuing health, we can use the focus on physical health as a gateway to begin exploring other domains. The graphic above pictures eight other domains of health beyond the physical. Health is multidimensional. As an individual’s pursuit of health progresses, the concept of wellness becomes more accurate to describe what the individual is pursuing.

The official World Health Organization definition of health is as follows: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The etymology of the word health is the Old English word hælþ, which means “wholeness, a being whole, sound, or well”.

 

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Developing a Regular Yoga Practice, Part II

Marilyn Monroe in a yoga photoshoot. Surprise!

Marilyn Monroe in a yoga photoshoot. Surprise!

Good afternoon aspiring yoga practitioners,

How is your Sunday going? Well, I hope.

I had an interesting experience this morning that helps to illustrate the next step to developing a regular yoga practice.

One of my teachers (I have two primary people that I consider teachers, both living in North Carolina) has a program at his small studio on Sunday mornings called Yoga Church. It is a treat to go now that my exams are through.

We do about an hour of physical practice, as well as meditation and reading (Ti Harmony, my teacher, brings in other aspects of yoga in addition to physical postures). In doing postures this morning, I had to do a lot of “variations” for some of the poses. Variations are changes in the alignment or movement in a posture to tailor it to the individual’s body. This is usually done for safety. I do modifications because I have disc degeneration in my lower back. Some of the poses hurt my back, so I have to do them in different ways.

In doing this, I realized that Part II in the process of developing a regular yoga practice has to be learning what postures work for your body, which postures need to be modified, and which postures do not work for your body. This builds upon Part I, which you can see by looking at “Developing A Regular Yoga Practice Part I”. This can be tricky for a beginner, but I believe you can do it.

I will give you an example. I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago, around age 15. I loved it immediately, but I did not do Part II. This contributed to the joint dysfunction in my sacrum and hips which results in back pain. Each person’s body is different, and if we do poses just like the person next to us, we may end up getting injured.

So, Part II: Find out what poses work for your body, and what variations you may need to safely practice yoga. Figure out what your body needs, and what it doesn’t need!

This may require some googling, and reading articles online (or in print). Or, you can have some one-on-one sessions with your yoga teacher, if this is available and affordable. I will be collecting some helpful articles on variations, and will be posting them in the next few weeks.

If you have questions that I may be able to answer, please feel free to send me a message at my email address listed on my profile.

Follow my blog to stay tuned…

Developing A Regular Yoga Practice, Part I

I want to share some of  the wisdom I’ve gained in the process of developing an at-home yoga practice over the past 14 years. I did not do this over night, and it would be helpful for you not to expect this from yourself either.

Most of the tips and ideas in this series of blog posts will pertain to consistent, at-home yoga practice. However, they could also apply to attending class with well-trained teachers. The best advice that I’ve been given is to start your introduction to yoga by taking class with a talented, capable, experienced teacher who will help you learn how to practice safely. This could mean scheduling private yoga sessions with a teacher. Many experienced teachers offer private sessions. Though private sessions can be expensive, you won’t need very many and perhaps only one. A good teacher can impart basic information efficiently, especially in a one-on-one setting.

If you are more inclined to start where you are, without seeking guidance from teachers, here are the steps I would suggest:

Step 1. Get a good yoga book, or an online resource. One option I would recommend ishttps://yogainternational.com/. Here is an example of a high quality video that illustrates how to safely practice Pyramid Pose, from my teacher Kaoverii: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8OL4VefRaY

A book that I highly recommend for developing a regular personal practice is Moving Into Stillness by Erich Schiffman. It provides a thorough description of how to safely practice every pose in the sequences that are offered. However, this is just one of many yoga books, videos, online videos (both free and at-cost), magazines, etc. that offer sequences to get you started with a regular practice. Make sure the material that you are using as of quality.

Start there. To summarize: get recommendations from friends or people in your community about experienced teachers whose class works for your schedule. Take a few classes with a few teachers, and possibly a few private sessions with a teacher who you resonate with. This is a great preliminary step to developing a regular yoga practice. In my opinion, it is necessary for all beginning practitioners. If you prefer to learn alone, start your practice by working with printed material or a video. I began my at-home a’sana practice 14 years ago with one of Rodney Yee’s videos [A lot like this one, if I recall: embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMYSRCCLeGw[/embed].

Step 2. Follow my blog to stay tuned to this series…