Category Archives: Yoga
by Sarka-Jonae Miller
(NaturalNews) The five Tibetans are a unique sequence of yoga poses reputed to be the key to longevity. According to legend, the sequence was created by Tibetan monks in a Himalayan monastery and then brought into the world by British Army Colonel Bradford. The colonel was amazed by the monks’ vitality and superior health. They credited their religious observances, simple diet and the five Tibetans.
1. Whirling Dervish
The first of the five Tibetans is a standing exercise. To perform this exercise, stand up straight with your arms held out to your sides at shoulder height. Spin to the right and keep looking forward. Let your vision blur as you spin. Breathe deeply into your abdomen. Slowly work up to 21 spins.
2. Tibetan leg lifts
The second of the five Tibetans is similar to an abdominal exercise called leg lifts. To begin, lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your sides. Touch your legs together. Inhale as you lift your legs until they are perpendicular with the floor. Raise your head off the floor at the same time, bringing your chin toward your chest. Exhale as you lower your head and legs back to the floor. Work up to 21 leg raises.
3. Moving through camel pose
The third of the five Tibetans promotes flexibility of the spine and gently stretches the back, chest, abdomen and neck. The exercise is similar to camel pose used in other styles of yoga but is a less extreme back bend.
To perform the exercise, kneel on the floor and relax your arms against your sides. Your back is straight with your hips, shoulders and knees in line. First, exhale and bend your chin toward your chest. Then, inhale as you bend your head back to look up and you gently arch your lower back. Slide your hands up to your lower back as you bend backwards. Repeat up to 21 times.
4. Staff to upward plank pose
The fourth exercise combines two popular yoga postures, the staff pose and a variation of upward plank pose. The exercise strengthens the wrists, arms, core and legs.
To begin, sit with your legs together and straight in front of you. Place your hands on the floor next to your buttocks with your fingers pointing forward and flex your feet toward your shins. This is staff pose. Inhale as you bend your knees and raise your hips off the floor. Lift up until your spine is parallel to the floor and your knees are in line with your ankles. Look at the ceiling. Exhale as you lower back into staff pose. Perform up to 21 repetitions.
5. Down dog to cobra pose
The fifth exercise moves from downward-facing dog pose to cobra. The Tibetan exercise strengthens the arms, shoulders and chest while also stretching the abdomen, shoulders and legs.
To begin, assume push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Inhale and press your hips up toward the ceiling. Your arms and legs are straight. Push your heels down and align your neck with your spine. This is down dog. Exhale as you lower your hips and arch your back. Lift your chest to face forward as you tilt your head to look up. Your hips are inches from the floor and your arms are straight. Perform up to 21 reps.
Starting off the day with the five Tibetans provides energy and increases alertness. The sequence can also provide a burst of energy in the afternoon or evening, when many people’s energy levels drop.
About the author:
Sarka-Jonae Miller is a former personal trainer and massage therapist. Get more health and wellness tips on Sarka’s blog, www.naturalhealingtipsblog.com
Hate the Gym? How Very French, by Mireille Guiliano
2.) Incorporate simple resistance movements into your daily routine. Use your own body weight as resistance wherever possible. Isometric exercises, discreet but effective, are very French. This can be done before you even leave the house in the morning. For example, while waiting in traffic or on the subway, contract your abs for 12 seconds with your back pressed against the seat (it’s better for you than road rage). When reading a magazine at home, try sitting on the floor with your legs stretched and apart in a V and your hands on each side; this is a great stretch for your inner thigh muscles.
3.) Take care of your core. I’m a firm believer that we need to attend to our abdominals as we age. These are the muscles that hold all our vital organs in place; they support good posture and a healthy spine, something we must take care of as we get older. Do a few sit-ups as part of a little stretch/exercise/yoga routine in the morning — it’s never too early or too late to start this ritual.
4.) Acquaint yourself with small to moderate free weights (3-5 lbs.), especially if you’re over 40. A bit of extremely simple resistance training is an antidote to hours spent on gym machines. Short but focused movement with small weights is a good way to preserve upper body tone and bone density and supplement the cardiovascular benefits of an active lifestyle. A little goes a long way, and that only increases the older you get, so don’t let extremism overtake you.
|You don’t have to torture yourself on those metal contraptions or run a marathon to stay trim. French women reject the notion of ‘no pain, no gain.’|
5.) Get en vélo. Americans tend to see bicycling as recreation, and often either as a child’s pastime or a hobby for only the most serious triathletes. But French and European women see cycling as a mode of transportation. I encourage those who can bike to work or shopping to do so. One of my pleasures in Provence is taking my bike to run errands. Riding my bike is one of my favorite warm weather routines and is, of course, environmentally clean and efficient, so I am happy to see bikes and bike lanes increasing in New York and other cities. Cycling has well-known health benefits: it’s a low-impact, mild aerobic exercise that strengthens your heart and lungs; tones the large (read: fat-burning) muscle groups; keeps joints, tendons and ligaments flexible; builds stamina; and is generally fun, reducing stress and boosting your mood. And the view from a real bicycle ride beats the view from a stationary bike in a white-walled gym any day of the week.
6.) Yoga. If there was ever a fountain of youth, it might be the practice of yoga. Not only does it reduce stress, improve your posture and help to develop longer, leaner limbs, it also speeds up your metabolism, works nearly every muscle group and promotes an overall bodily wellness that no other sport or class can compete with. I practice yoga religiously, usually in the comfort of my own home. I am no yogi; I do not spend hours upon end on my head — I simply have a handful of mastered poses and movements that make me feel good and keep me limber and trim. Most women can find 20-30 minutes a day to practice if they make it a priority. No equipment necessary.
7.) Vive l’escalier! Taking the stairs whenever possible is one of the main tenets of my philosophy. It always astounds me to see people who live no higher than the fourth floor and with nothing more to carry than themselves taking the elevator. In France, walking up and down stairs is a perfunctory part of our day. We rarely spend an hour stair climbing, but you should know that climbing stairs burns a stunning 1100 calories per hour. Climbing a couple flights a day will surely go a long way. A few times a week I choose to walk up the 15 flights of stairs to my apartment for some healthy fun — and yes, I do enjoy it.
In the end, remember that those who overexert themselves inevitably burn out, but those who know how to stay fit while enjoying life come out ahead, mentally and physically.