A Beginners Guide to Yoga

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.

Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of the classical eight-limbed path, is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These writings provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga, nor is it necessary to change any of your religious beliefs.

Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyani (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin to refine our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach Samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).

Most gym oriented yoga practices are focused on the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation. For a more in-depth yoga experience consider attending a yoga studio.

Hatha Yoga refers to a set of asanas or postures, and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.

Hatha is translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

Yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.

Namaste. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.” The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.

Not Flexible? You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play golf in order to take golf lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.

All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga pants, or shorts, and a t-shirt that’s not too baggy. No special footgear is required because you will be barefoot. It may be helpful to bring water to class with you, but you should refrain from eating a large meal 2-3 hours before class. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you.

Feel the fear and do it anyway! A great way to start is at Chandor Gardens Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30pm. Or Hiking and Yoga at LG Ranch visit HealthyMeNow.Net for more information.


Loretta Benham
By HealthyMeNow.Net
NASM Certified Trainer | Yoga Instructor/Thai Body Work


Increase happiness through your home!

By HealthyMeNow.Net

Want to infuse your home with a little happiness, without having to go to extremes? There are a few mystical, even if uncommon ways to bring positive energy and personal happiness to flow through out your house.

Crystal Energy Healing
There is just something about shiny rocks that appeals to me. Crystals are a very subtle practice, setting crystals throughout a space is believed to affect the energy of a room, and those who inhabit it. Sure, it sounds a little crazy to think rocks can affect mood, but proponents of crystal therapy believe in the beneficial effects of placing crystals in the home.

Crystal healers recommend trying hematite to protect the home from negative energy and black obsidian to absorb any negativity from others. Want to bring in that loving feeling? Try sticking a rose quartz crystal in the common area, this light pink crystal brings feelings of love and joy wherever it is.

DoTerra Essential Oils
Ever walk into a friend’s home or your favorite yoga studio and immediately felt a sense of belonging? That is probably due in part to the use of essential oils. Essentials oils can be used to create a calm and balanced atmosphere. Diffusing oils at home can purify the air, cleanse the energy and directly affect the mood of anyone who enters. DoTerra offers relatively inexpensive, especially when diffused, pure essential oils in wide range of scents. Play around with different combinations or choose one of their prepackaged blends to clear away negative energy, create a relaxing environment, remove allergens and even purify the air.

A Native American form of clearing energy in a space. Energy can become stagnant after a while. Some believe bad luck happens due to energy getting, figuratively stuck. Smudging requires burning dried and fresh herbs such as sage, cedar, lavender and juniper while allowing the smoke to dissipate into the room to cleanse the energy of the space. This process is deeply rooted in ceremony and should be researched as to how to practice properly.

To increase your personal happiness come join me for a mood boosting yoga session at Chandor Gardens every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 or at a Hiking Yoga session at LG Ranch. For more information go to HealthyMeNow.Net or call me at 817-597-1503.
Hope to see you soon. Loretta


Loretta Benham
By HealthyMeNow.Net
NASM Certified Trainer | Yoga Instructor/Thai Body Work

Sit and Stretch: the way to a happier you at the office

By HealthyMeNow.Net

Your back and neck are screaming; your brain is swimming, you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours and you haven’t moved. It’s crunch time and its you and your computer for the any foreseeable future, so you wiggle in your seat and try to find a more comfortable “sitting” position. Nothing seems to work. The aches persist and you spend the rest of the day cursing your uncomfortable chair for turning on you.

How do you get relief? Try bringing some age-old wisdom into the modern work-place by doing a few yoga stretches. Stretches designed so they can be done anywhere, anytime. Taking a few moments to stretch will do your mind, body and soul some good. Not only can a few targeted poses focus your mind, but they can also help you in opening up your lungs, activating your breath, and in fact stretching your entire body without ever leaving your chair.

“Office Chair Yoga” helps combat the negative impacts of sitting by reducing muscle pain and tension and decreasing mental stress. Get started by incorporating some of these popular poses into your daily routine, right at your desk.

Headache and Eye-Strain: Take minibreaks from your computer screen. Refocus every ten minutes by looking out the window or around the office.

Each hour close your eyes, let your face soften then slowly roll your eyes in a circle while taking a few deep belly breaths then return to action. For a more soothing relief, rub palms together very fast till they get warm, then place them gently over your eyes. Softly hold them there till the heat dissipates.

Neck and Shoulders: Neck Rolls: Drop your head to one side and roll it slowly around in a wide circle, finding the tight spots, hold and breathe deeply, letting your breath release the tightness.
Angel Wings, interlace your fingers behind your head, relax your shoulders, smile, and as you breathe in stretch your elbows back, as you breathe out close your elbows in front of you. Let the tightness release slowly with each breath. Focus on opening your chest as you inhale and opening the back as you exhale. To energize the mind place the hands on the shoulder inhale and exhale at a faster pace while opening and closing the “wings”

Hands and Wrists: Make it a habit: Constantly stretch your hands and wrists. Place your hands in a prayer position; move in all directions pressing palms together gently. Interlace fingers bring arms overhead and rotate the hands, palms up, palms down. Brings arms in front and repeat. Keep your shoulders relaxed and Breathe.

Sore Lower Back: Good posture is the best place to start. Throughout the day, take a moment to align your body properly by sitting up on your sit bones. When sitting properly your spine lifts into a straight line all the way up to your head. Now round the back and slump forward. Notice the difference?

Chair Cat/Cow: Sit so your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands on your knees. As you inhale raise your head up looking at the ceiling, arching your back. As you exhale, lower your chin to the chest and round the back, relaxing the head and neck. Move slowly, mindfully and deeply following the natural rhythm of the breath. Repeat several times.

Chair Twist: Sit tall with your feet on the floor, hips toward the edge of the chair and your back straight. Inhale and reach your arms overhead to press your palms together, keeping shoulders relaxed. As you exhale, drop your arms down as you twist to the left, bringing the right hand to the left knee and the left arm behind you to the top of the chair, look over your shoulder. Inhale back to center, repeat on your right side.

Adding a few chair yoga poses to your day will help you stretch and strengthen your body. In just a few minutes a day, you will feel yourself getting more flexible, more focused, healthier and happier. For even more health benefits take a yoga class or start a daily home practice.

We would love to see you at Yoga at the Gardens and/or for Hiking Yoga at Life’s Good Ranch. For more info on class options go to: www.HealthyMeNow.net Hope to see you soon.


Loretta Benham
NASM Certified Trainer | Yoga Instructor/Thai Body Work