Yoga for Arms and Shoulders

May 31, 2018

Yoga for Arms and Shoulders

Yoga for Arms and Shoulders

yoga for arms and shoulder strengthI was at work the other day and a co-worker of mine who takes Yoga classes suddenly started pumping a 20 pound dumbbell he had nestled in his cubicle.
Being that he does this rather frequently, I asked why and his response was “Oh, my yoga classes don’t do anything for my arms.”

I looked at him puzzled and luckily for me, I had a draft of a book with photos of some yoga balancing poses and asked him if he had tried or even knew of them. Surprisingly, he said no and was now eager for me to demonstrate them to him.

This made me wonder, just how many other yoga enthusiasts are of the mindset that Yoga may be inadequate for building arm strength.

If you are one of them, nothing could be further from the truth.

Yoga is fantastic for building strength in the arms and shoulders and although you may never see your biceps bulge through your T-shirt sleeves, I will say you will see an increase in arm strength and endurance that may not occur in perhaps other forms of exercise.

Moreover, some basic Calisthenics like Push-ups, the Plank and the Dive-bombers do borrow heavily from Yoga.

In my opinion, if you are looking to increase strength in the arms through Yoga, the best exercises to focus on will be the one and only Sun Salutations first.

From experience, when I was having difficulty holding endurance building poses such as the Wheel, Bow, Peacock and Crow Poses-with their variations-for a good enough length of time (say an average of 90 seconds and beyond), I discovered by sheer chance that in increasing the number of rounds of the Sun-Salutations (Exercises) mentioned earlier to at least 24 straight rounds, I could hold any of the poses above for a quite a while.

It is safe to say that this is because the muscles are warmed up by this powerful combination of systematic poses for the otherwise moderate to strenuous demands put on them.

In addition, when I started adding Hindu-push ups (a straight yoga derivative as it’s basically Downward Facing dog meets Cobra Pose repeated in sequence) for an occasional source of variety in working out, these same Sun Salutations increase my endurance to be able to perform a good amount of this Yoga-esque

In addition to the Sun Salutations (24+ rounds) the other poses you should focus on for increasing strength in the arms would be the following:

1. The Wheel Pose
2. The Inclined Plane Pose
3. The Bow Pose
4. The several variations of the Peacock Pose
5. The several variation of Crow Pose
6. The Side and Regular Plank pose

In addition, to some degree, even the simple shoulder-stand when performed in conjunction with it counter poses – The Bridge and Fish pose, can definitely come in handy for using Yoga for increasing arm strength.

You know what else, each of these poses also come in extremely useful for toning up the abs and offering in some cases a deep tissue massage to your visceral organs. Bet you free-weights can’t do that eh?

So next time you, like my co-worker, think or run into someone who thinks Yoga can’t do much for their arms, be sure to tell them to try the poses above, along with the wonderful Sun Salutations.

This will be a classic case of ‘trying is believing”, so give this suggestion a shot and you will be almost guaranteed increase in the strength of your arms using Yoga in no time.

May 30, 2018

The 8 Limbs of Yoga and How They Help With Addiction Recovery

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If my friends and family members met me for the first time around a decade ago, they wouldn’t recognize me. In fact, some of them are still awestruck at the changes I have gone through these past 10 years. You see, I used to be an addict.

The term is thrown around loosely nowadays, yet people forget about the seriousness of addiction as a mental health issue. That’s what it is, in reality. Addiction is an uncontrollable urge which was recognized as a disease by The American Medical Association in 1956.

If you manage to pull yourself out of your addiction abyss (some people never do), you’re confronted with a whole new set of challenges. For me, I had a difficult drug detox period while in prison. Then, one relapse after I got ou… Read More

The Best New Music for Yoga: May 2018 Edition

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Many of the albums in this month’s list of yoga music remind me of the gentle sound of springtime rain. While the energy of spring can be calming and soothing, it’s also buoyant with promises of growth, expansion, and rebirth. We hope this month’s collection of yoga music energizes you, brings you a sense of renewal, and helps your seeds of intention bloom into beautiful blessings. The Ironic Distance by …

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May 25, 2018

The Best Free Yoga Videos for May 2018

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We have organized this month’s collection of yoga videos into three main categories: strength, flexibility, and travel recovery. Our list begins with four videos focusing on yoga for strength, followed by two videos on yoga for flexibility, and ending with two videos that are perfect for recovering from a long day of summertime travel. Whether you have energy to burn or need a way to wind down, there’s something for you …

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May 24, 2018

Yoga For Arthritis In Hips

Yoga For Arthritis In Hips

There are a great many people who are in the unfortunate position of having to live with painful aches and pains caused by severely damaged or inflamed joints. For some people it is a discomfort, and that is bad enough, but for others arthritis can turn them into a virtual cripples. Arthritis has been something that has affected people throughout history since prehistoric times, but it is only recently that we have begun to understand it.

Arthritis is a joint disease that can cause problems in any area of the body where two or more bones intersect. The arthritis itself can affect the joint in a number of different ways, targeting different areas such as the synovium, the muscles or tendons or the cartilage. Cartilage is the soft protective material that protects the ends of the joints from rubbing against each other and the entire joint is encased in a type of capsule that is lined with the tissue synovium.

Arthritis is a broad term which we use to describe a group of over 100 diseases that effect these area of the body. Wherever there is a problem involving inflammation around the joints and associated discomfit in movement we refer to it as arthritis despite the multiple different causes that can lead to this. The other common name that is used in the same broad fashion is rheumatism.

Because it affects so many people arthritis is a very public problem and is discussed openly and frequently. Roughly one in every seven Americans is thought to have arthritis in some form and relieving the pain of Arthritis is a primary concern for all people suffering from it. Some people take medication, but others have found relief from the pain in exercises performed at a gentle pace and intensity. Yoga is the perfect example of this type of exercise.

Yoga is a very old art originating in India up to 4000 years ago. It uses poses or postures along with deeply controlled breathing exercises that lead to benefits to the body mind and spirit. Yoga is a very versatile form of exercise and meditation and it is used, in different forms, to treat a very wide range of medical conditions and injuries including such diverse areas as fibromyalgia, arthritic, migraine headaches, chronic pain, and sports injuries.

The common misconception with using Yoga for arthritis pain is that it will mean contorting and bending the body in unnatural ways in an effort to force the body to accept the pain and develop some level of comfort. The core attributes of a Yoga for Arthritis Program are still going to be breathing and meditation but the exercises are specially catered to the individuals level of movement and comfort. Stretching will still be involved but they are a part of Yoga’s core statement of developing balance and harmony between the body and mind and enhancing the bodies strength and flexibility. Each pose or position assumed during a Yoga workout has a specific purpose and a specific physical benefit. Sometimes the poses will be done in rapid succession to create heat in the body, a style known as Vinyasa Yoga, and sometimes they are performed more slowly to increase the level of stamina, perfection in the pose and core strength through holding the pose. The poses themselves remain the same but how they are entered and approached will vary greatly from discipline to discipline and teacher to teacher.

The Yoga poses can be tailored specially for specific joints or combinations of joints. For instance a common area for arthritis to strike is the hands and knuckles and in this instance there would be a series of poses that straighten and lengthen the fingers, although the level of comfort in the arthritis sufferer always dictates the extent of this. Stretching the hands also feed energy to that area of the body and over time will assist the arthritis in the fingers. The heat generated by these movements is proven to be very beneficial for sufferers of arthritis.


May 24, 2018

What Is The Essence of Yoga?

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Many people these days are looking for the essence of living a yogic lifestyle. There are many definitions of essence, but for the context of this blog essence signifies the best virtues, characteristics, or features of something.

I see more people everyday wanting to empower themselves with the most significant qualities of yoga. To find the essence of yoga you must practice; take time everyday for movement, breath, visualization, meditation, and most importantly savasana. But if you only have time for one yogic practice, it’s breath that is the ultimate link in creating union amongst mind, body, and heart. It is in the union that we find the true essence of yoga.

“The essence of yoga is the breath… Read More

May 23, 2018

Why Yoga is Important For An Office Worker

Yoga and office workers don’t usually mix, but they should. When you work in an office you will usually be spending a lot of time hunched over a keyboard and sitting in a seat. It can also be an environment that is prone to produce a whole heap of stress and very few outlets to release it. In this article we examine how these things are bad for your general health and how Yoga can help.

Let’s start with a little bit about what Yoga is. At it’s simplest level it is a very effective form of exercise. It involves flexing the body into static poses and holding them which is a fantastic method of increasing blood flow and circulation through various choke points in the body.

Yoga also puts a lot of emphasis on the correct patterns of breathing which allows you body to get the most benefit from each breath of air we take. Expanding from this we take care to un-clutter our thoughts when we are performing Yoga and the more advancement someone makes with the discipline the more focussed and calm they will become. Have you ever told someone to take a breath to calm him or her down? With Yoga it is the same principle.

So how does this all help our office worker?

An office environment is usually neither a calm nor a healthy place. Most office workers will spend the majority of their day stuck in a chair and often staring at a computer screen or hunched over paperwork or a keyboard. This causes a lot of tension to well up, particularly in the back and shoulders. The legs are also often denied a supply of fresh blood by the long hours spend sitting down.

Yoga forces the body to move in ways it would not usually do in an office environment. This can be a very effective way of clearing choke points and allowing circulation to resume it’s normal flow. The blood takes valuable supplies of oxygen and nutrients with it wherever it goes and without these supplies the organs cannot operate properly. The more starved the organs become the sicker we will become, so clearly restoring blood flow to the areas that are being deprived of it is an important health priority.

Did you know that most diseases are directly caused or antagonized by stress? It’s true, and it’s a much more serious problem than most people ever know. In an office environment this is even more so. The pressure of deadlines, the constant activity and the need to constantly be on the move are all primary factors in escalating stress levels.

imagine for a moment – stopping. Forget about all the things that you need to get done in the next week. Forget about the rent payment and the assignment you have to finish. Forget about your boss and your family and concentrate on one thing. Breathing. Yoga is as much a mental discipline as it is a physical one and it will teach you to clear your thoughts and focus on the activity at hand. While you will certainly benefit from the health benefits of Yoga, the mental benefits can be truly life changing. People who learn Yoga usually deal with stress better and are able to calm and centre themselves when there is turmoil all around them.

If you think these benefits would make your life easier then you owe it to yourself to start learning Yoga as soon as possible.

May 22, 2018

New Study Finds Yoga Reduces Chronic Inflammation

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Poor diet, excess weight, and stress are three common struggles for Americans, all of which can cause and exacerbate inflammation. While the heat, pain, redness, and swelling caused by acute inflammation is an essential part of our biological response to fighting off disease and healing our body, when inflammation becomes chronic, it becomes harmful rather than helpful. Chronic inflammation can result in eventual cellular destruction and cause inflammatory disorders and non-infectious …

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May 19, 2018

Why Are So Many of Us Living With Unmanageable Stress?

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It was recently reported in The Guardian that three in four Britons have felt overwhelmed by stress in the past year. Over in the USA, there’s a similar picture. The American Psychological Association’s 2015 ‘Stress in America’ snapshot found that 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the month prior to the survey, and nearly half reported that their stress had increased from 2014. But with constantly-improving technology, healthcare and living standards making our lives more comfortable than they have ever been, where is all this stress coming from?

What is Stress?

When conducting surveys, researchers can find the experience of stress hard to measure because there isn’t a universally accepted definition of what stress actually is… Read More


I’ll Meet You at the Door: Accessible Yoga

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At the yoga center where I sometimes teach in New York City, a woman called wanting to register for a four-week introduction to yoga course. She asked to speak to the manager. She wanted to know if it would be okay for her to come to the course because she was blind, and she had […]… Read More