Now You Can Hit Things as Part Of Your Spiritual Practice

American ingenuity finds its way into every industry, even yoga. It’s just so hard to leave an ancient spiritual practice alone. Oh, sure, yoga is good—even great—as it is, but just imagine how it could be if we added something to it, combined it with something else, packaged it so we could run specials about it on television? Why accept yoga as yoga, when the possibilities are endless?

We’ve seen innovations in the yoga industry for years. Some of the changes fashion new disciplines out of tweaks of traditional forms. Some changes involve more focused marketing, and approaching different consumers. Then there is Box+Flow. Box+Flow is, at the time of this writing, the only yoga studio of its kind, a New York gym that combines a boxing workout with a power yoga session afterwards. There may not be many boxing yoga studios yet, but Box+Flow appears poised to jump-start a new fitness craze, because here’s the upset: people love it!

I have to admit my first reaction to hearing about the combination of boxing and yoga is to ask if they perhaps could not think of two activities more ill-suited to each other and so—shrug—they went with boxing and yoga? Were the proprietors of Box+Flow really trying? Did anybody in on that brand identity meeting bring up curling?

The idea behind the combination of these two disparate activities is that people work out get their aggressions during the two-thirds of class, and use the yoga portion to strength train and clear their minds.

Classes at Box+Flow meet for just under an hour. The first third of the class is spent shadowboxing with small weights (three pounds or less) as a warm-up. Class participants are assigned to their mats and given instruction for shoulder and arm exercises. A brief explanation of basic punching technique rounds out the phase, at the end of which class participants are warmed up and ready to begin. The second part of class is spent working out with bags. Wearing boxing gloves, participants run through a battery of punches and power punches. They work alone and/or with a partner on the heavy bag. The remainder of class is spent “cooling down” doing a session of power yoga in which stretching and strengthening is emphasized. All of the exercises are performed in the same room, a darkly lit space with décor that echoes some of the popular hip-hop yoga studios. The quotes on the wall veer away from rap lyrics and tend toward the inspirational, Rocky theme, e.g. EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS INSIDE.

The classes are popular. High energy, positive, with plenty of interaction between the instructors and the owner of the gym. It turns out that the boxing/yoga combination has attracted a new market, a mostly “not into yoga” market, people who’ve never had much interest in taking yoga classes. These people heard they could hit stuff and listen to Drake, and they decided maybe yoga was okay. Before they found Box+Flow, they didn’t know yoga was like this. They thought yoga was something different, they say.


Yoga for Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding creates a strong bond between the mother and child. The benefits that go along with nursing your baby are endless. Breast milk alters itself to provide specific nutrients for your baby. It contains antibodies that help fight off harmful viruses and prevent infections. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have health issues such as ear infections and diarrhea. However, these health benefits come at a price. Mothers who breastfeed suffer from aching necks, shoulders, and backs. Luckily, there are several yoga poses that can help combat the aches and pains of breastfeeding.

Most yoga poses that help with breastfeeding pains are heart openers. This is because heart openers relieve tension from the neck, shoulders, and back. There are several heart openers to choose from, but one great one to try is the Sphinx Pose. The Sphinx Pose is done while lying flat on your belly. It can be done on the floor, or on the bed for an added layer of comfort.

  1. Lay down on your stomach with your palms and forearms pressing firmly into the ground below.
  2. Keep your should down and away from your ears.
  3. Make sure not to overly bend the back in this pose, especially if you are still recovering from birth.

A block or bolster can be added to any heart opener for additional relief. Blocks and bolsters are traditionally added to heart openers that are taken on the back. Simply place the block or bolster under your shoulder blades and let your body release completely. This should help release tension that lies deep in the shoulder blades and upper back.

Even though heart openers are great, they aren’t the only poses that help breastfeeding mothers. Chakravakasana (Cat-Cow Stretch) helps to fight that hunched-over-feeling that most breastfeeding mothers suffer from.

  1. To practice Chakravaksana, start on your hands and knees.
  2. Make sure that the spine is straight, the hands are shoulders width apart, and the knees are hips distance apart.
  3. Begin to arch your back and bring your gaze up towards the ceiling.
  4. Hold this arched position for a few seconds and then slowly begin to release.
  5. Now round your back while bringing your gaze down. Hold this rounded position for a few seconds and then release.
  6. Repeat arching and rounding your back until your spine feels mobile and loose.
  7. Make sure to exaggerate the rounding and arching of the back to get the most out of this stretch.

It is important to keep both mama and baby healthy to get the most out of breastfeeding. Newborns feed often and can cause a lot of aches and pains from constant feedings. These pains lessen as your baby grows and as they nurse less often. It’s important for mothers to take care of their own health so that they can provide the proper nourishment for their baby. A happy mama is a happy baby!

Interesting Facts About Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga and Interesting Facts about It

Restorative Yoga is the form of yoga where the main goal is to obtain mental, emotional and physical relaxation through the help of props. Their usage eases up your body and helps you achieve balance within yourself through stimulation and relaxation. Whether the postures target the entire body or only specific parts of it, all of them are beneficial.

Origins of the Restorative Yoga

This branch of yoga was first found by one of the most influential yoga teachers in the world named B.K.S. Iyengar. However, as time evolved, the style deviated somewhat from its original methods. First known as Iyengar Yoga, the style taught methods to strive for perfection of posture. Those teachings are the foundation of the modern day restorative yoga.

Poses in the Restorative Yoga

While most of the poses and postures are similar to other types of yoga, the difference here is that they are done through the support and usage of props. A typical class would begin with a warm up of vinyasa and then proceed with restorative yoga’s poses, each of which is usually held for a few minutes up to 15 minutes. Some instructors recommend the practitioners cover their bodies, to raise the levels of comfort while practicing this style of yoga.

Types of Props Used

There are a wide variety and mixture of different props. The most common ones that are used are blankets, chairs, straps, bolsters, blankets, pillows and others. Their goal is to help you achieve and hold a perfect pose. They provide support while relaxing or stretching. The selection of the props when buying them is important as they must be of proper range and size of the different type of specific poses. Otherwise, the props may cause discomfort instead of serving their actual purpose.

Benefits of the Restorative Yoga

If you feel under a lot of pressure, stress, or your body is just stiff and aches, then restorative yoga is the perfect match for you. It’s known to heal not only the body but also bring relief to the mind. It comes in handy to people that have active lifestyles to help them defuse their gathered fatigue and stress over time. Some cases have shown to help people recover from injuries and illnesses both physical and emotional such as anxiety and depression.

Advanced practitioners are known to have activated and unlocked the parasympathetic nervous system. Simply explained, this is the system that regulates all of your automatic bodily functions that you are not actively controlling when you are at rest. Examples of what is controlled by this system are salivation, lacrimation (tearing) & sexual arousal. The normal nervous system is put at rest which has its hidden, passive benefits. Regular practice of this yoga style would lead to a generally less stressful life, improved overall health and less of a vulnerability to develop mental illnesses.

Compared to other yoga styles, this one is much more demanding in terms of equipment; however, it has proven to be worthy and effective. For the latest yoga fashion trends, visit Namaste.