Restorative Yoga After Long Flights

Our friends at Movement for Modern Life sent me an email today letting me know that they had a video to help you with restoring and reenergizing your body after a long flight. Even if you have practiced your inflight exercises, your body (and especially your legs), are going to need a little extra help to recover from the lack of circulation due sitting for long periods of time and the effects of high altitude.

Their description of the video states, “This supine yoga class, mostly with the legs up the wall will help the body recover from flights by reducing swelling in the legs and feet. This class encourages deep release from tension inducing flights, draining of the fluid and restoration of the circulation for the legs and hips. The poses and relaxation will help you feel fully ‘landed’ in your new destination. You will need to be near a wall and keep a block or a book and a strap handy.”

Of course when you are traveling, you probably won’t have a yoga strap and a yoga block to aid in your hotel room yoga adventures…

TIP: To replace the yoga block try an in-room phone book or multiple pillows. To replace a yoga strap, you can use the belt from your complimentary bathrobe or simply use a  towel.

 

 

Check out all of Movement for Modern Life’s beautifully made videos for yoga on the go!

 

 

Traveling to Practice Yoga Can Boost Physical Well-being

If you suffer from a chronic health problem, whether it is asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, depression or MS, you will have learnt to manage the effects that this condition may have upon your life. However, coping with the physical and emotional effects of chronic illness is not easy. Finding activities that promote relaxation and mental well-being is therefore essential. Although exercise may be more difficult with certain health problems, yoga is compatible in many instances, even if certain poses need to be avoided. Besides offering a means for relaxation, yoga may itself benefit a range of medical conditions. What might prove even more beneficial is taking a vacation to practice yoga. A change of scene doesn’t only offer a boost to the way you feel in yourself, but a more favorable climate may even help the management of your health complaint.

Physical benefits of yoga on vacation

If you are planning to practice yoga while on your travels, certain health problems will specifically benefit. For instance, there is good evidence that yoga can help in the management of chronic low back pain, with practicing yoga shown to reduce both pain and disability. Although results have not been quite so promising with regards to arthritis, anyone suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia may still benefit from yoga as part of their treatment. Looking beyond the positive impact that yoga may have on the joints, this activity can benefit your breathing too. Not only do yogic breathing techniques aid relaxation, but they help to improve lung function among people with asthma and may also be useful in the management of other respiratory conditions such as COPD. It’s not just lung function that may improve, but cardiac function may also be enhanced through yoga. Blood pressure, pulse rate and cholesterol levels have all been shown to be lowered as a result, which will be welcome news for anyone suffering from a heart condition. Fatigue is also commonly experienced by people with a range of long-term conditions, including cancer, MS, chronic infections and mental health problems, and yoga may additionally help to reduce feelings of tiredness. However, despite these many benefits of yoga, it is important that you advise your teacher of your ailments before you begin a session, as they need to be familiar with your health to ensure that you get most out of the classes while preserving your well-being.

You may be aware that your medical condition is affected by the weather, temperature and season. With this knowledge you can choose where and when you travel to a yoga retreat accordingly. For instance, if you suffer from asthma, cold and windy weather, as well as a humid environment can trigger attacks. However, a sudden change in temperature can also bring on an attack, as may pollen and air pollution. That’s a lot of factors to consider, but in this instance, visiting an area with a warmer climate with more settled weather would be a good idea, as would visiting outside of the pollen season and avoiding any built-up areas. Weather is also known to have an impact on the symptoms of rheumatic diseases, with low pressure conditions increasing joint pain among those with osteoarthritis, while a fall in temperature triggers pain in rheumatoid arthritis. If you are unsure which climate would be most favorable for your existing health problems, discuss these with your doctor before booking your vacation.

Preparing to travel

Although those of us without any health issues needn’t do much more than book a yoga retreat, ensure we have the necessary travel documents and pack our yoga kit, when you have a chronic condition, a little more preparation is required. It pays to visit your doctor for a health check before you travel, particularly if you are venturing abroad in pursuit of yoga and your journey involves air travel; indeed, you may need a fitness to fly certificate. Your physician will also be able to provide you with a letter outlining your health problems and the treatments you need for these; not only will this be useful to show your yoga instructor, but is essential in case you fall ill while away. Ensuring you have an adequate supply of medications – and some spare just in case – will reduce the risk of any issues on vacation. However, it is vital to have the necessary travel cover for your health problems just in case the worst should happen and you suffer a relapse when on holiday. Lastly, always wear a medical alert bracelet when away so that you can quickly receive the care that you need in an emergency.

Taking the necessary precautions before you travel will give you the best chance of reaping the benefits that a yoga retreat has to offer. You will then be able to come back feeling refreshed and in a better condition, both physically and emotionally, to cope with the trials of everyday life.

Marketing Your Business, Yoga or Otherwise

My marketing philosophy in my design business for the past several years is to foster relationships to procure continually repeating clients for long term scalable growth. This keeps me from having to spend time looking for leads and gives me more time to make money doing what I love so that I can afford to travel and enjoy life. Though I certainly need to establish new lead channels for my client’s marketing goals, ultimately my focus for their business is the same philosophy as well. On going clients/customers first. New leads second. If they are just starting a business, of course this will be different, but I find this helpful as a general rule thumb.

This is a philosophy that works especially well in a community based industry such as yoga where a feeling of connection is held in high value within the service itself. Focus on your students who are there, give them your best.

A Yoga Retreat to Help You on the Road to Recovery

If you’re struggling with an addiction, you’re not alone. In the US around 22 million people are believed to be dependent on alcohol or drugs, but, encouragingly, a similar number have managed to overcome these problems. Although traditionally addiction was managed in a medical manner, it’s now known that a holistic approach that encompasses a range of therapies is more effective. The benefits of yoga to help in the recovery process have been acknowledged and taking part in a yoga retreat could be just what you need to support your rehabilitation; particularly as the 12 Steps program to recovery encourages a spiritual approach, including meditation. As an activity that can be maintained once you’re home, something that most people can take part in even if they have other medical problems and one that offers a range of additional health gains, yoga offers great promise.

Benefits to mental well-being

Yoga has been shown to be an effective adjunct to treatment for the management of addiction to tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Participation in yoga encourages mindfulness which increases self-awareness allowing you to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. This is helpful as if not managed appropriately negative feelings can contribute to substance abuse; when the mind and body work together it provides you with the discipline you need to be strong to resist a relapse. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Yoga is well-known for its ability to induce a state of calm and encourage relaxation, helping to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is otherwise associated with anxiety; drug and alcohol use are frequently used as a means to manage stress, so this offers a natural release for stress. Practicing yoga is also linked to increased production of serotonin, one of the body’s feel-good chemicals and may explain why participants report improved mood. When you have a brighter outlook, this helps to boost your self-esteem and belief in yourself so you are more likely to be successful in your recovery. Continuing with yoga once you have beaten your addiction may also reduce the likelihood of relapse or turning to other addictions owing to its ability to keep anxiety and low mood at bay.

A means of coping

Yoga can additionally be seen as a positive activity and one that you can turn to during your journey of recovery and even once this is complete. One of the themes of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that you find new hobbies and activities to engage in – those that you don’t associate with substance abuse. Not only can this help to fill your spare time, when you might be tempted to relapse if you have a lot of time on your hands, it can help you to form new friendships with people not connected to your old habits. Particularly owing to yoga’s ability to boost your mental well-being, it is the perfect activity to take part in when cravings set in. Usually if you can distract yourself with an activity this will help your alcohol or drug cravings pass without you feeling the need to act on them. This helps to offer you life-long coping strategies.

Specific benefits of a yoga retreat

A yoga retreat offers additional advantages with regards to addiction recovery above and beyond attending yoga classes in your local area.

Firstly, a change of scenery helps to remove you from the factors that may have led to your drug or alcohol abuse. While problems at home, your social circle or money worries will still be there on your return, having developed your focus and with a greater commitment to recovery you will be better prepared to develop strategies to manage these.

Retreats are more often than not located amidst beautiful surroundings, which in themselves can have a positive impact on how you feel and your outlook, particularly if you live in a built up area with limited access to green open spaces.

You will also have the chance to meet others, possibly forming close relationships, and this will provide an additional source of support; they may not be in the same situation as you, but will be able to draw on their own experiences.

Besides practicing yoga when on retreat you can develop other healthy strategies such as eating well, which will hopefully help to spur you on to adopting an all-round healthier lifestyle once you have returned home. This will support your recovery efforts as nourishing your body is important for your mental well-being as well.

Yogi Abroad: Pilgrimages to Remember

A guest post by Eve Marsden

Let’s face it; most of us want to come back from our travels feeling renewed and invigorated – like a new person, in fact. You might be splurging in Bali, travelling the hippy route down the west coast of India to Goa or floating off into the marine sunset; but the whole point of getting away is to get away from the stress and monotony of everyday life, right?

In Search of Spiritual Renewal

If you’re healthy and fit enough then go trek the Himalayas. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips unless you are very lucky – or a tour guide! There are some spectacular places to visit around the longitudinal Dun valleys which lay between the Shivaliks (sub-Himalayas) and the Greater Himalayas. For the action yogi there are plenty of adventure sports to indulge in: trekking; river rafting; mountaineering; or para gliding; and more. Spending time in the region just seems to put life into perspective. The clean air, unspoiled terrain and the stunning scenery will leave you feeling cleansed mentally and physically, with a new enthusiasm for life.

Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, is high on the “must visit” list for thousands of people who travel to Dharamsala on a spiritual quest, where the Dalai Lama has his official residence. Every year around February or March, the Dalai Lama gives his spring teachings at the main temple in Dharamsala. These last for 15 days and are given in Tibetan, although an official translation is given into English on FM channel. Shorter teachings are also given at other times during the year, depending on the Dalai Lama’s schedule and all teachings are on a first come, first served basis, following registration. The Dalai Lama’s official website gives details of how and when to register at the Tibetan Branch Security Office. Come away with a new understanding of Buddhism and yourself. Resist temptation to enter a monastery; you don’t have to convert to get something spiritually uplifting and meaningful from your visit.

A Thoroughly Modern Yogi

Whatever our journey in life, something draws us to particular places; a need for spiritual journeying; a cleansing and renewing; perhaps simply the chance to chill in awesome surroundings that we will remember for our entire life or a need to explore the mysteries of life. You don’t have to push yourself to those lengths, or even heights, to wind down though. Heck no, there are so many different options for that vital de-stress that sets you up for another hectic rollercoaster ride through the jungle of modern life. You don’t even have to go back in time, or travel to the ends of the Earth. The yogi looking for serenity, calm and tranquility can set themselves free on a boat. Today, thousands of people every year take to the ocean for cruise holidays to destinations all around the world. Iglu Cruises offer the chance to de-stress completely, taking advantage of: exotic Bali massages; tai chi; yoga; and much, much more; all designed to restore you to your former energetic and glowing self.

Pilgrimage to the Ancients

A long way away from pilates or para gliding, another top flight yogi destination is Machu Picchu in remote Peru. Seeing the still surviving architecture of a people who died out around 500 years ago leaves you understanding just how fleeting modern life is and doubting whether anything we build today would survive to another epoch; or even whether our civilization has anything worth leaving for future generations to pilgrimage to. Achieving the dream of many and climbing those steep, endless steps up to Machu Picchu, to take in the view from what is probably the best known Incan site in the entire South American continent, means travelling to Aguas Calientes, northwest of Cusco, on the Rio Arubamba. A spine-chilling narrow hairpin road zig-zags its way up the side of the mountain to the ticket office; or you can take the original, winding stone track up the mountain: the Camino Inca; which starts at Winay Wayna – another Incan treasure, but far less talked about than Machu Picchu.

Beware of the “Always Be Nice & Positive” Mentality

The people I admire the most are the people in my life who are really open and honest.

You always know what they are thinking without them being rude about what they don’t like.

They don’t sugar coat their bad days, their mistakes or their life challenges.

They laugh wholeheartedly.

They don’t let thoughts of rejection stop them, even though they hate it like everyone else.

They show their love openly.

They don’t cover their anger/fear/disappointment with a smile unless they actually feel like smiling in the moment.

If they want something they ask for it.

If they don’t want to do something they say “no.”

If I am being an asshole they kindly tell me so without being an asshole.

They are genuinely generous with their whole being.

They do not prewash their life in positivity for the sake of appearances.

They are not “nice” people, they are whole people.

50 Ways to Make Your LIfe Even MORE Awesome

1. Start a blog

2. Write a bucket list

3. Keep a journal

4. Look back at last months bank statement and carefully scrutinize where your money is going, then create a new budget

5. Write an “I Am” Statement

6. Start a business (right now!)

7. Volunteer/Be of Service

8. Learn a new skill

9. Write and self publish a book

10. Overcome a fear

11. Make eye contact

12. Smile at strangers

13. Stop complaining for a day (just ONE day…you can do it!)

14. Break a habit for a day

15. Spend a day without your phone (maybe leave a vm for people letting them know you are away so your mom or close friends don’t worry when their call goes straight vm all day!)

16. Take a week off from Facebook

17. Cancel your cable

18. Take control of your email

19. Clear out the accumulated stuff you don’t need, want, or use

20. Stop buying stuff you don’t need and don’t REALLY want

21. Make something you would normally buy

22. Eat more vegetables or become a vegetarian/vegan

23. Start juicing

24. Drink more water

25. Stop putting things into your body that you know are toxic (ie: quit smoking and sugar binging)

26. Make restful sleep a priority

27. Take a cold shower in the morning

28. Ride your bike to work

29. Meditate… even for 5 minutes a day

30. Practice yoga

31. Dance in your living room (or anywhere… or everywhere!)

32. Travel (you can start with your own city!)

33. Spend time in nature

34. Say no to requests that don’t create value

35. Listen more

36. Laugh more

37. Get a physical or get some blood work test (if you don’t have health insurance you can get some comprehensive health screenings done for $100 to $200 at a lab)

38. Use the power of your mind to instantly relax your muscles

39. Breath deeper

40. Cut up your credit cards

41. Contact a well known person who inspires you and ask them one simple question

42. Fix something small around the house or at work that has been annoying the shit out of you

43. Pick one thing you are grateful and write down why you are grateful

44. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and tell yourself how good/healthy/sexy you look

45. Get your adrenaline pumping

46. Give and receive the gift of touch

47. Push your physical limits

48. Break some rules

49. Immediately take action with anything new that you learn

50. Hang out with people who inspire you

Baja, Mexico – The Rough Roads of Travel

This is a very brief and incomplete synopsis of my Baja trip. Oh the stories I could tell, but your are going to have to be a pretty close friend of mine to ever hear them.

Sometimes travel can be a bit rough. As Yogi Bahjan says, “Keep up, and you will be kept up.” After all, going with the flow is all part of the adventure, don’t you agree?

On my first day in Loreto, I walked down this promenade to the beach. Where I fell asleep under a palapa and woke up incredibly ill from dehydration.

So ill in fact, that I spent the rest of the evening and night in this bed at La Daminana Inn…absolutely miserable…

…while my traveling companion sat in this window both comforting me and mocking me. Both of which helped.

The next morning I woke up feeling fabulous, and we went on a drive up to San Javier mission.

Cool huh? We ate lunch up here. Machaca quesadillas. Machaca is a dried, cured beef. 40 minutes later we pulled back into Loreto where it came to my attention that I now had food poisoning.

The next day we had a beautiful drive from Loreto to Mulege, picked up some hitchhikers going to work, had an easy breeze through the Federales check point (glad we weren’t smuggling drugs), and ended up at the Serinidad Hotel.

For the next 24 hours, I swam in the pool, worked by the pool, watched the Hobbit on my laptop, and generally relaxed, because, well you know, I had food poisoning.

The next day, finally feeling somewhat better, I decided I had the energy to camp on a beach along Bahia Conception.

Yeah. Awesome right? The water was the perfect temperature which made for some of the best swimming I have ever experienced.

And there was a “restaurant” there…that did not give me food poisoning.

“I’m on a boat!” Kayaking was pretty cool.

Ok, so this is my favorite part of the whole trip right here. This is where I slept. When I went to bed, the air temperature was perfect, there was some music off in the background and a sky full of stars overhead. I woke up in the middle of the night and the shift of the sky left the milky arms of the galaxy above. The air temperature was even more perfect. Not warm, not cool. It felt surreal. The only sound amongst the silence was the occasional, gentle plopping of fish jumping up out of the water. It was damn near magical. I drifted back to sleep in awe of the universe.

The next day we drove back to Loreto where I then embarked on a drive by myself to Aqua Verde. This is the start of the drive. The 2nd half of the drive was a narrow, rocky “road” along steep ravines that was sometimes eroded partially away into the ethers. I was pretty sure I was going to die for the 3rd time on this trip.

But I didn’t. (I also didn’t take this picture.)

The drive back up wasn’t as terrifying, and the occasional group of horses, cattle, and goats along the way comforted me a bit in knowing that I was not completely alone in the middle of nowhere.

5 hours later, and still alive, I made it back to the hotel in Loreto to my air conditioned room. Ate the best New England clam chowder I have ever had. Which was so awesome after finally getting my appetite back, that I went back for a second round. Did some swimming in the pool right outside of our room, and spent hours luxuriously reading the biography of Che. I slept gratefully in a real bed after the previous night of sleeping on sand, and then left the next day to return home, no worse for wear.

How to NOT Travel Like a Yogi

A very Louisiana vacation, April, 2013 …

Have your travelling companion carry your bag because your endurance is diminished…probably from the two screwdrivers you drank on the plane.

 

Walk around the French Quarter in a thunderstorm early in the morning till you find a place that is open for a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. Do the very same thing again later that day.

 

Drink a bunch of beer on your private balcony while talking about the meaning of life until the rain stops.

 

Bourbon Street. “It is what it is.” Nuff said.

 

Work at coffee shop while on vacation, but make up for it by working with a 9am screwdriver and a 2000 calorie breakfast. Then go next door and get a foot massage.

 

Speaking of food. Eat A LOT of fried food. Seriously, everyday. A lot.

 

…from restaurants that have kitchens like this. (at Coop’s Place)

 

Steal a rock from Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District.

 

Eat more fried food. (at Joey K’s)

 

Drink too many expensive tequilas (white tequila on the rocks with lime) at Fritzel’s jazz club.

 

Disrupt wildlife in their natural habitat out on the bayou.

 

Have a 4 hour champagne picnic by yourself (and 2 bottles) on an old plantation property in St, Francisville.

 

Take this picture and then look down at the garden snake by your foot. Totally over react by screaming and running away.

 

Go to Wal Mart in New Roads (aka the middle of nowhere along the Mississippi river and some oil refineries) because your travelling companion wants to buy a new wireless router for the plantation house you are staying at…which you then install…slightly grudgingly, because you ate some really bad mexican food in New Roads and kinda just want to lay down on the 150 year old bed to watch Game of Thrones before going to sleep.

 

The next morning you sit on the porch while doing absolutely nothing except relishing in the fact that someone served you coffee…in the quaintest way ever.

 

Then do more of nothing. With your feet up. Because you can.

 

Special shout out to the Olivier House where I stayed in New Orleans and the Cottage Plantation where I stayed in St. Francisville. My stay at both of these places was exactly what I was hoping for and more!

 

The Best Travel Yoga Mats

One thing that came out of my fabulous California Spirit Festival experience was how beneficial it really is to have lightweight travel yoga mat.

My travel yoga mat had been through some serious, loving abuse, so I took my regular yoga mat with me to the festival. It was big, chunky, and heavy. At one point late in the day I watched enviously as someone folded up their little travel yoga mat and popped it into their bag while I lumbered around trying to get mine put away. After a long day at the festival I was starting to feel it’s weight.

I love having a big, comfortable yoga mat for my at home practice, but having a portable, small, and lightweight travel yoga mat is a must have for any wandering yogi! There are just too many yoga festivals, yoga retreats, far away beaches, and quiet hotel rooms to not be practicing yoga while journeying around unencumbered!

The Yoga of Travel has some recommendations for your new yoga travel mat:

Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Mat

Exceptional for traveling .

Folds to fit in any travel space or purse

Surface texture offers superior grip, even with light perspiration

Tightly woven scrim resists tearing or stretching

Closed cell design will not absorb bacteria

Made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber – No PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes

 

Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat, Purple

Gaiam’s Travel Mat can be folded or rolled into your carry-on so you’re ready for yoga wherever you land. The surface is a comfortable and slightly sticky blend of microfiber and natural rubber.
On a buget? 

YogaAccessories (TM) Travel Yoga Mat


Want something even MORE portable?

Gaiam Grippy Yoga Sock and Glove Set

 

Yoga Paws: Mini Yoga Mats for Your Hands and Feet


How cool are those? Looks like freedom to me…