Mother And Baby Yoga

It is such a pleasure and a privilege to teach these beautiful babies and mothers.  There are so many smile and giggles of joy, then there are lots of deep breaths and moments of space and calm too.  Stretches, breathing, safe holds, lifts, balances, walking and lying relaxations, it’s all done in this wonderful class.

An enlightening 26-minute film about yoga

Raja Choudhury is an award-winning multimedia producer and filmmaker who has created numerous documentary films, Webby Award winning websites, digital installations and videos since 1993 in the UK, US and India. Trained as an Architect at London’s AA School of Architecture, his first film was titled “Spirituality in the Modern World” in 2006 and since then he has made “I Believe”, “The Modern Mystic” and “The Quantum Indians”. Raja is a TED speaker on “Indian Wisdom in Today’s World” and lives with his wife and daughter between New Delhi and New York.

I would like to invite you all to watch his movie “Yoga: Aligning to the Source” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOt8WT9hn3U

It’s a compelling 26-minute film introducing the vast subject of Yoga that is India’s most important gift to the world. Today, millions practice Yoga around the World. Yoga offers a comprehensive set of tools for living well and realigning one’s mind and body in a state of balance and harmony. This film provides a visually stunning beginners guide to many aspects of Yoga, its myths and origins, the journey of Yoga around the World and its scientific effects on the body and mind. The film includes interviews with BKS Iyengar, Dr. Karan SIngh, Devdutt Pattnaik, Yoga performances by Abhyas Trust, music from Layne Redmond and narration by David Vickery of the BBC. The film was written and directed by Raja Choudhury and produced for PSBT and The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

benefits of yoga for teenagers

Physical benefits of yoga for teenagers

  • Develops and maintains natural teen flexibility
  • Reduces tension in the body through stretching
  • Builds strength and tone throughout the body
  • Strengthens the back and core and opens the heart – developing good posture and a confident stature
  • Improves balance and co-ordination
  • Improves sleep
  • Supports the major systems of the body including hormonal

 

Mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga for teenagers

  • Teaches tools for relaxation which can help reduce anxiety and the effects of stress
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Releases emotions stored in tense muscles
  • Develops a sense of acceptance, individuality and confidence
  • Builds a positive relationship with, and awareness of, the body
  • Creates a deeper sense of self awareness and mindfulness

Exciting University research on the power of yoga

A 20-minute bout of yoga stimulates brain function immediately after

Neha Gothe
Photo by
L. Brian Stauffer


Former University of Illinois graduate student Neha Gothe and colleagues found that 20 minutes of yoga significantly improved participants’ reaction time and accuracy in tests of cognitive function. Gothe is now a professor of kinesiology at Wayne State University.

6/5/2013 | Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor | 217-333-5802; diya@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, lll. — Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time.

Edward McAuley
University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley directs the Exercise Psychology Laboratory, where a new study testing the cognitive effects of yoga was conducted. | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

The 30 study subjects were young, female, undergraduate students. The new findings appear in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

“Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation,” said Neha Gothe, who led the study while a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gothe now is a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. “The practice involves an active attentional or mindfulness component but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored.”

“Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the U.S. and it is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer,” said Illinois kinesiology and community healthprofessor Edward McAuley, who directs the Exercise Psychology Laboratory where the study was conducted.

The yoga intervention involved a 20-minute progression of seated, standing and supine yoga postures that included isometric contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups and regulated breathing. The session concluded with a meditative posture and deep breathing.

Participants also completed an aerobic exercise session where they walked or jogged on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Each subject worked out at a suitable speed and incline of the treadmill, with the goal of maintaining 60 to 70 percent of her maximum heart rate throughout the exercise session.

“This range was chosen to replicate previous findings that have shown improved cognitive performance in response to this intensity,” the researchers reported.

Gothe and her colleagues were surprised to see that participants showed more improvement in their reaction times and accuracy on cognitive tasks after yoga practice than after the aerobic exercise session, which showed no significant improvements on the working memory and inhibitory control scores.

“It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout,” Gothe said. “The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.”

Many factors could explain the results, Gothe said. “Enhanced self-awareness that comes with meditational exercises is just one of the possible mechanisms. Besides, meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn can improve scores on some cognitive tests,” she said.

“We only examined the effects of a 20-minute bout of yoga and aerobic exercise in this study among female undergraduates,” McAuley said. “However, this study is extremely timely and the results will enable yoga researchers to power and design their interventions in the future. We see similar promising findings among older adults as well. Yoga research is in its nascent stages and with its increasing popularity across the globe, researchers need to adopt rigorous systematic approaches to examine not only its cognitive but also physical health benefits across the lifespan.”

The research team included U. of I. kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillmanand Michigan State University kinesiology professor Matthew Pontifex (a U. of I. alumnus).

Editor’s note: To reach Edward McAuley, call 217-333-6487; email emcauley@illinois.edu. To reach Neha Gothe, email gothe1@illinois.edu.

The paper, “The Acute Effects of Yoga on Executive Function,” is available online.

Flitch Green Super Saturday

Yesterday I was invited to take part in Flitch Green’s Super Saturday event.  Money was raised for a local charity and for Patrice Muamba’s heart charity.  He was there having his photo taken with the folk of Flitch Green and generally being very smiley!  Lots of local sports clubs were there, offering free sessions for anyone to join in.  As it was held in the Primary school, there were lots of children, and boy were they enthusiastic about yoga!  Some even came back and did a second yoga session with me in the blazing sun-it reached about 30 degrees-the hottest day of the year so far! I had a wonderful time although I needed a cold shower and a lie-down when I got home!  I’m now considering offering children’s yoga lessons at the school, so, if you know me, please spread the word about my yoga!Flitch Green Day

Summer is here!

This week we have been doing yoga in the garden. Students have thoroughly enjoyed practising to the sound of birdsong. One student thought the birds were part of the music playing in the studio, until we went outside and she realised it was the birds being really loud! It’s so wonderful to do the salutation, reaching up to the blue sky rather than the ceiling. I recommend taking your mat outside, even for 20 minutes, you’ll love it.

the words of a master

“Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

new inspiration

I attended the IYN (Independent Yoga Network) Annual Gathering/Festival at Gaunt’s House in Dorset at the weekend. It was a beautiful occasion and I have new vigour and inspiration for my yoga classes and yoga-based life. I met such beautiful people and went to lots of different classes, all with something new to offer. Ellen Lee’s class was gentle and wonderful, David Sye’s class was uplifting and full of love. It has now been over a year since I resigned from my full-time position in the world of State education. I can say with certainty that I am SO much happier now. I now understand what it means when people say they don’t count their work as work. I feel that it is nothing less than a privilege to be able to share what I have learnt with others. We are always learning, if we keep all our senses open. There are always possibilities and hope.