Tapas – Burn Off The Heaviness

January 2, 2019 | Yoga

The term tapas is derived from the Sanskrit root “tap” meaning “to burn.” Tapas can mean either cultivating restraint or burning away impurities physically, mentally and emotionally.  It implies a sense of fiery discipline or passion. Tapas also refers to the heat that gets our heart pumping and motivates us toward change. Lois Nesbitt (yoga teacher) described the heat of tapas as coming from “the friction generated by going against the grain of habit, of complacency, of doing what is easiest” (2009, para. 5). The purpose of tapas is to burn off the heaviness in our bodies, energy flow, and mental processes to awaken the dormant energy within.  You can activate tapas during asana, pranayama and meditative yogic practices. Tapas in Yoga PracticeDuring asana (the physical practice of yoga), tapas can be the simple discipline of making time for our personal practice. It can also apply to the type of practice we do – … Continued

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Learning to Breathe

May 11, 2018 | Yoga Philosophy

Pranayama is the yogic practice of breath control. This Sanskrit term is made up of two smaller words; prana and ayama. The term prana refers to the subtle energy that pervades all things. Ayama translated as “to stretch” or to expand. The practice of controlling breath allows us to expand breath capacity and manage subtle energies.Pranayama is also the fourth limb in Patanjali’s 8-Fold path as described in the Yoga Sutras. According to the sutra 2.50 (bahya abhyantara stambha vrittih desha kala sankhyabhih paridrishtah dirgha sukshmah):“Pranayama has three aspects of external or outward flow (exhalation), internal or inward flow (inhalation), and the third, which is the absence of both during the transition between them, and is known as fixedness, retention, or suspension. These are regulated by place, time, and number, with breath becoming slow and subtle.” – translation from SwamiJ.comThe mechanics of breath involve the process of pulling in oxygen … Continued

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4 Breathing Practices for Deep Sleep

November 16, 2017 | Naturopathic Medicine

Our breath is intimately connected to our nervous system in a feedback loop.  In yoga, breath control is known as Pranayama. Pranayama comes from two Sanskrit words: “prana”, meaning breath or life force, and “yama” meaning to control. “Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”~Thích Nhất HạnhThree part breathing (also known as abdominal breath or yogic breathing) is a great place to start with pranayama.  Due to stress and computer work, we tend to breathe shallow which supports the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates “fight, flight, freeze or freak out.”  This may cause more stress or the feeling of “wired but tired.”Three Part Breathing: Inhaling from the bottom up. Deep full slow breath, filling the three parts sequentially. Belly opens forwardRib cage expands in all directionsThe upper chest, shoulders and throat fill. Exhaling smoothly from the top to the bottom:Chest … Continued

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Detoxing with Yoga

October 24, 2017 | Naturopathic Medicine

I’m addicted to yoga.  As a naturopathic doctor, business owner, wife, mother, and friend, my life can be very full of both happiness and pain.  When life gets hectic, stress can cause anxiety and weaken the immune system, and if we aren’t careful, toxins from the environment, our food and stress can overwhelm our bodies.  Yoga is a great way for me to reconnect to my body and slow down.  If you are interested in regular detoxing, a consistent yoga practice is a great way to keep up.What is a toxin and how do they affect you? A toxin is any substance or thought that has harmful effects on the body.  Toxins can come from the environment, lifestyle choices, or from emotional baggage such as chronic stress and negative thought patterns.  Overtime, build up can result in:Digestive IssuesElevated CholesterolWeight GainAllergiesSkin DisordersFatigueMuscle, Joint PainAnger, DepressionDark CirclesHormonal ImbalancesPoor Immune SystemInsomniaand Chemical SensitivitiesBreathing is an often … Continued

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