New Yoga Teacher Tips: What to do when you’ve lost your center

new yoga teacher tips

Erik Brolin @ Unsplash

I recently moved to Santa Barbara, CA and have started teaching at some studios in the area. YAY! It feels great to be back in the studio teaching again… but I have to laugh because I feel like I’m starting over from scratch. Teaching in a new space, especially after a break from teaching tends to throw me off… even though I have been teaching for what feels like a bazillion years. So I thought I would share my go-to practices for recentering. There are a handful of tips for new yoga teachers I would love to share, but today I will focus on tackling just this one issue. Here are my favorite ways to teach a great class after I’ve lost my focus or center.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #1: What to do when you’re anxious before teaching your yoga class.

first yoga class jitters

Joe Gardner @ Unsplash

As a new yoga teacher, you could be anxious for a ton of different reasons. Maybe it’s your first class in a new space, maybe it’s your demo class or the studio owner is taking your class or a million other reasons… and that’s okay. We all get anxious sometimes. New yoga teacher tip #1 for centering when you’re anxious: DON’T start your yoga class with everyone sitting or standing there looking at you. Invite them into child’s pose or down into supta baddha konasana or even just to close their eyes. With their eyes off of you, start guiding them through some three-part belly breath (deerga swasaam) or alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana). And do it yourself. A few minutes of either of these pranayama exercises will get you and your students grounded and centered for class.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #2: What to do when your music stops working randomly.

Santa Barbara Roll and Restore yoga teacher training

Okay, this honestly happened to me this morning. On a system that I don’t know how to troubleshoot (yet). Sigh. New yoga teacher tip #2: have your students hold a pose like downward facing dog, child’s pose, or forward fold while you troubleshoot your music. If possible, keep teaching the breath and they won’t even notice, or they’ll at least think it was part of the plan.

  • Check your auxiliary cord and make sure the connection is secure.
  • Check the settings on your sound system.
  • Check your bluetooth (sometimes if another teacher has their phone in the same room and it also connects to the same sound system then it can override your connection… *sometimes*)
  • If none of the above work… restart your phone. And try again.
  • If that doesn’t work, roll with no music.

This morning my Spotify account was being buggy. The songs would play for ten seconds and quit. Not so cool, but restarting my phone did the trick.

Keep teaching the breath. If you need to ground, join your class for a downward facing dog or a partial sun salutation.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #3: What to do when you forget the sequence on one side.

center your class new yoga teacher tips

rawpixel @ unsplash

Oops! You’ve linked together too many poses and can’t remember the other side!!! Eek! Okay, but seriously don’t freak out about this one. Once again, have them hold a pose for a few breaths while you try to remember… and if you can’t? New yoga teacher tip #3: OWN IT! You’re human, it happens. Ask your students! Laugh it off! Thank them! What would you do without them? Also, your students are your best teachers, often times they will go into the next pose without you even teaching it… a blessing in disguise!

That being said, if this happens a lot… you need to create shorter sequences or spend more time prepping for your classes. If it happens once in a blue moon, it will endear you to your students. If it happens every other class, it will drive them nuts.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #4: What to do when you fall out of a demo.

vinyasa-yoga-greece-retreat

Autumn Adams @ Ambuja Yoga

You might not be teaching advanced asana when you’re a brand new teacher, but also you might be and if you are, there is a good chance that one of these days you’ll fall out of an asana… perhaps you’ll fall on your bum or perhaps you’ll fall on your face. New yoga teacher tip #4: this is a great teaching moment. It teaches your students that it’s okay to fall. It’s okay to not be perfect. And you better get up and try again. Laugh it off. Keep it light. Smile. Have fun. And keep going.

I was teaching a private yoga teacher training for a student and we were taking a class together and practicing side-by-side and we were transitioning from eka pada koundinyasana up to chin stand and I hadn’t done it in a while and I used WAY too much force to lift up and I ended up skidding across the floor on my chin. It hurt, but I was fine and we had a good laugh. And my student now uses it as a teaching story in his own community.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #5: What to do when someone walks out of your yoga class.

new yoga teacher tips

Mitchell Griest @ Unsplash

Whatever you do, don’t take it personally when someone walks out of your class. It will happen eventually. Yes, it throws you off. Yes, it makes you doubt yourself. Yes, it makes you want to run after them and make sure everything is okay. Consider that a good thing because it shows that you care. You want people to enjoy your class. I get that. New yoga teacher tip #5: people leave classes for all kinds of reasons… smells, temperature, they don’t feel well, the level of the class, the music… honestly it is rarely because of something you’ve done. Personally, I like to let the yoga studio owner know… and that’s just so they can follow up with them if they want to. Keep going. When you’re distracted by your student leaving you might want to make your next sequence simpler, likely you will not be present as you were before they walked out. Get yourself grounded again… teach the breath, get everyone into a grounding pose, join your class for a pose or two. Give a simple *feel good* assist and move on.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #6: What to do when someone does their own flow.

effects of yoga on the body

Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It is so distracting! Not only is it distracting, but if you’re not careful you can get sucked into questioning your teaching ability… is my sequencing good enough? Is my pacing okay? Etc. Etc. Etc. New yoga teacher tip #6: Don’t go down the rabbit hole! If they’re doing mostly the same sequence and modifying to make it more challenging or more accessible let them be (this doesn’t bother me at all). If they’re doing warrior 2 to reverse warrior and the rest of the class is doing a crescent lunge sequence it’s going to be obvious and distracting. If you’re up for it, you can bring the class down into child’s pose/down dog and quietly check in with the student… they could have an injury or something else going on. If you’re not confident enough to address the issue right away, check in after class. If you do check in with them, make sure it is from a place of care not from a place of ego, doubt, anger, frustration, etc. And be prepared for any kind of answer.

Remember that it is their practice and it might be the only chance they have all week to get on their mat. Maybe ask them to set their yoga mat up toward the back of the room the next time they come in, simply so they aren’t distracting the other students. For me personally, I partially ignore these people. I will still have an eye on them, but my main priority is going to be keeping the students that are participating safe and engaged.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #7: What to do when you’re hungry/hangry.

new yoga teacher class ritual

Erol Ahmed @ Unsplash

Oh boy, this definitely happens. You accidentally skip a meal and now you’re irritable, light-headed, spacey. New yoga teacher tip #7. Keep a snack in your bag… something simple like a bar or a handful of almonds and eat it before class starts. If you don’t have a snack available, make some tea. If you don’t have tea available, drink lots of water. Also, do yourself a favor and keep your sequencing simple. Teach your go-to sequence. Maybe don’t demo your forward folds… you might get light headed when you stand up to tadasana.

 

New Yoga Teacher Tip #8: What to do when you’re exhausted.

new yoga teacher tips essential oil

Christin Hume @ Unsplash

Keep it simple. Simple sequence. Simple theme (or just use the breath as your theme). Personally, when I’m tired and I have to teach I get inverted! A couple of handstands at the wall will usually give me the little boost I need. And if I don’t have time for a short inversion practice I will center class using pran mudra… it’s a mudra for vitality and reducing fatigue. Another favorite is shaking… it sounds weird, but it really helps. I will shake my right hand/arm above my head for a count of seven, followed by my left hand followed by my right leg followed by my left leg. Then I repeat the sequence from six and then five… all the way down to one! You can even do this with your class if the energy is low.

When things don’t go as planned, go back to the basics. Keep it simple. Recite a grounding mantra or hold a mudra for a few moments. Keep a couple of your favorite essential oils in your bag so they’re there when you need them. Try to come up with a pre-class ritual that helps you ground and center. Follow these tips and you will be able to handle anything that comes your way with grace and ease!

Do you have a favorite tip that you would like to share? Comment below!

Much love,

Autumn

 

 

Simple and Nutritious Vegan Pea Soup

I was recently in Portugal and I had the most amazing pea soup in Lisbon at the TimeOut Market. I had never tasted a pea soup that was so fresh, simple and flavorful. I came back from Portugal with a mission to recreate it! I really wanted the full sweetness of fresh peas to come through, so this recipe is again… super simple and nutritious. Vegan pea soup for the win!!!

I love fresh peas but I don’t care for shelling them. So much work for so few peas! I recommend using the Trader Joes fresh English peas… the only bummer is they’re not organic. Obviously organic is preferred, so feel free to swap out fresh for frozen. Peas are a great source of vitamins and minerals. According to the WHfoods, “Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, and choline.” Also, just one cup of peas has 8 grams of protein! So many reasons to eat your peas. I guess mom was right. LOL.

ayurveda plant based pea soup

 

Ingredients for Fresh Vegan Pea Soup

  • 1 10 oz. package of fresh English Peas from Trader Joes (you could also use frozen peas– but IMO fresh is best)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium-sized shallots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • micro greens (optional)
  • croutons (optional)

Vegan Pea Soup Cooking Instructions

  1. In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, add your oil and shallots. Saute the shallots until soft.
  2. Add vegetable broth and peas. Bring to a boil and then drop back down to a simmer. Cook until peas are just soft, but not mushy.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend away. Transfer back to your pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top your soup with your favorite toppings. I like to add microgreens and croutons… my husband likes to add pancetta.

 

 

Delicious Spinach and Broccoli Soup

I love the Autumn and Winter seasons because I love slurping on a delicious bowl of warm soup. Last week I was craving broccoli soup, but it seems most of the broccoli soups out there are dairy-rich. In lieu of destroying my gut, I made this super nourishing vegan spinach and broccoli soup. The spinach lends a bit of sweetness to the soup, while the broccoli lends a bit more body. This soup turned out so great that I have to share it!

Soups are one of my “go-to” meals year round. They’re one-pot wonders. And now that we have upgraded our blender to a Vitamix, I love making soups even more… lol. This spinach and broccoli soup is particularly vitamin packed with all kinds of goodies. According to Healtheating.org, “A cup of cooked broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange and is a good source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc too. It also provides fiber and is low in calories.” And according to the Vegetarian Times, “When you eat spinach that has been heated, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.”

 

vegan broccoli soup recipe

 

Vegan Spinach Broccoli Soup Ingredients

  • 2-3 heads of broccoli, thick stalks removed, cut the heads into small-medium size pieces
  • 4 large handfuls of spinach
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 leek, sliced, whites and light green parts only (if you don’t have any leeks substitute 1/2 of a medium yellow onion)
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • microgreens

Spinach and Broccoli Soup Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, add a splash of oil and leeks. Saute leeks for 2-3 minutes, add celery and garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add your vegetable broth and broccoli. Bring to a boil and then drop down to low heat and simmer until the broccoli is tender.
  3. When your broccoli is tender add your spinach and stir.
  4. Transfer the soup to your blender and blend until desired consistency. Add more broth or warm water if it is too thick.
  5. Garnish with the micro greens.

This soup is ready to eat in under a half an hour… from prep to finished product, so it’s perfect for a nourishing weeknight dinner.

vegan broccoli soup recipe

The Yogis Guide to Lisbon

yoga in lisbon

Hey beautiful yogis. I’ve just returned from an amazing work/yoga holiday in Portugal and I wanted to share a bit more about my trip to Lisbon in what will hopefully be an awesome and useful guide to help you enjoy your trip. Topics included will be: yoga in Lisbon, awesome vegan restaurants in Lisbon (and some seriously delicious regular restaurants), and where to find yoga clothes while you’re in the city. I only spent a few days in Lisbon and I can’t wait to go back and visit again after our June 2019 yoga retreat in Portugal.

Where to Practice Yoga in Lisbon, Portugal

Alright yogis, who has practiced yoga in a foreign language? I have! And it’s super fun. Obviously, it has its challenges too. When I’m traveling I usually seek out bilingual classes because it helps me learn the native language… in this case Portuguese, but sometimes I just want to be told what to do without thinking about it. LOL.

yoga studio in Lisbon

Little Yoga Space in Baixa is my favorite spot for yoga in Lisbon. The yoga studio is conveniently located, the space is beautiful, and there are many classes throughout the day. Little Yoga Space offers English & Portuguese classes, English only classes, and Portuguese only classes, which is an absolute win in my book! I also love that they offer everything from Vinyasa to Kundalini to Yin to Laughter Yoga. There is literally something for everyone. The studio has an extensive workshop calendar for yogis that want to deepen their yoga practice or are around a bit longer.

Little Yoga Space Rua da Assunção 42, 1. floor, room 3, 1100-044 Lisboa, Baixa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

yoga studio in Lisbon

Ministry of Yoga is another great option to practice yoga in Lisbon. Ministry of yoga is also conveniently located to many tourist sights and will likely be at least close-ish to where you’re staying. The studio has wonderful, knowledgeable teachers with a wide range of classes including: Rocket Yoga, Ashtanga (led), Vinyasa, Forrest, Yin, and Kundalini. Owner Zoe, is also incredibly responsive to inquiries and questions.

Ministry of Yoga Rua das Portas San Antao 27 Level 1 Lisboa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

And there are even more yoga options in Lisbon. Yogana Lisboa offers rooftop yoga and yoga in the park. The amazing and delicious Foodprintz Vegan Cafe offers Jivamukti and Hatha Yoga. And there is a rumor that there is an occasional pop-up yoga class at one of the museums. There seem to be a large number of yoga meetups in Lisbon as well. There are many ways to get your yoga on!

Where to Eat in Lisbon (Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, and More)

Many of you know that I am more flexitarian than strictly vegetarian or vegan or any other label. At home I eat 95% vegetarian, in Bali I eat nearly 100% vegan, and in Europe and Central America I’m a bit more flexible. We ate some amazing food in Lisbon… and after a yoga class or afternoon of sightseeing, I’m usually pretty hungry!

best pea soup lisbon

One of my favorite meals of the entire trip was a gorgeous pea soup from the TimeOut Market. So fresh, so wholesome and nutritious. I’d honestly never had pea soup like it. The TimeOut Market is essentially a fancy food court near the water. There were so many great looking things to eat.

TimeOut Market, Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa, Portugal

We also tried to eat at Ramiro a famous family-owned seafood restaurant and cerveceria, but we didn’t have a reservation… nor did they pick up their phone earlier when we tried to call and make a reservation. Anyway, when we arrived the wait was so massively long… I think there were 50+ people milling about outside the restaurant. We didn’t want to wait, so we searched out another seafood restaurant and we found a gem! We ended up at Marisqueira do Lis (no website) which to our surprise was full of locals instead of tourists. The prices were fair and portions large. We had an octopus salad and a platter of mussels. Both dishes were fresh and flavorful.

A Marisqueira do Lis, Av. Alm. Reis 27B, 1150-019 Lisboa, Portugal

Ao 26 Vegan Restaurant in Lisbon was conveniently located right next to where we stayed. The restaurant was busy with both locals and tourists and had a menu that could convert a meat eater into a vegan real quick! Lots of options from curries to burgers to chocolate cake (get the chocolate cake). The vibe is pretty cool too. I will definitely be dropping in again before next summer’s yoga retreat in Columbeira.

Ao 26 Vegan Food Project, R. Vítor Cordon 26, 1200-484 Lisboa, Portugal

Where to Buy Yoga Clothes and A Yoga Mat in Lisbon

where to buy yoga clothes in LisbonDid you forget to bring your yoga mat or leggings? No worries. There are a handful of Oysho shops in Lisbon. Oysho is a lingerie company, but they also sell activewear… and it’s actually cute. The quality seems pretty decent and it’s definitely on trend. When I was there last month they had some gorgeous leggings and super cute sports bras in beautiful Autumn colors.

Oysho does sell yoga mats too… although they might not have much of a selection. Your best bet is to bring a yoga mat from home or borrow one from a studio. If you’re attending a yoga retreat in Portugal and you need to buy a yoga mat in Lisbon I would check Oysho first. There is an Oysho shop on Rua Garret, which is not too far from Rossio Square. There is a Nike store nearby too.

There is a big sports chain in Lisbon called Sport Zone. The most central location is at the Amoreiras Shopping Center, but there are many locations throughout the city. They also sell activewear and yoga mats.

Oysho, 14-18 Rua Garret, Lisbon

Sport Zone, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, Lisbon

Yoga Events in Lisbon

And finally, we’re to yoga events. I recently found out that Wanderlust Festivals hosts a Wanderlust 108 festival in Lisbon. I still haven’t been to a Wanderlust festival… sigh. Anyway, they had one at the end of September in Lisbon and I’m sure they will host another one next year. Lisbon has a great yoga community.

yoga event in Lisbon, Portugal Wanderlust 108

Wanderlust 108 Lisbon, Portugal

The Lisbon Yoga Festival takes place in November. This affordable festival has been going on for over 6 years! If you’re in Lisbon in November I recommend checking it out.

yoga and surf retreat portugal

Back to Nature Yoga Retreat is an affordable yoga, surf, and hiking retreat offered just 45 minutes outside of Lisbon. The next scheduled dates are June 15-22, 2019. This is a great opportunity for yogis ready to deepen their yoga practice and learn more about the chakras.

Portugal Spirit Festival, although not in Lisbon, is another event that is taking off in Portugal. This yoga, dance, spirit, music, and healing festival is held in Cascais in September.

Yogis, let me know your favorite place to practice yoga in Lisbon. Don’t be afraid to share your favorite restaurants, sights, etc. too. I’d be happy to add them to the list. Comment below or just send me an email!

Love and Light,

Autumn

Your Body On Yoga

Yoga has gained a lot of popularity worldwide because of what the majority says. Most people would say, including me that “I feel so calm and relax after the class”. For those who haven’t tried it and heard this comment, it would sound so intriguing right? Yes, it has been proved that yoga can help you relax but what does it do to your body? What goes on inside the human system? How does yoga affect the human body?

effects of yoga on the body

How Does Yoga Affect The Human Body?

Effects of Yoga on the Skeletal System:

effects of yoga on the musculoskeletal systemThe skeletal system is the hard framework that is mainly composed of the bones, associated cartilages, and joints. It plays an important role in protecting the organs inside our bodies. Imagine the human body without the skeletal system? We’d for sure look like jellyfish.

Recent studies had shown that some yoga poses had improved the health of joints by stimulating the release of synovial fluids. Synovial fluid is responsible for reducing friction between articular cartilages. It helps joints flow smoothly during movements. The synovial fluid is significant for delivering oxygen and nutrients to hyaline cartilages that don’t have any sort of oxygen. Regular yoga practice can make practitioners move around more smoothly and easily.

Even though Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise like running, weight lifting, walking, etc. It is less risky than other exercises because it creates tension on the bones and helps them lengthen and align.

According to a study conducted by California State University in Los Angeles, they said that yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol (known as the “stress” hormone) which in result may help retain calcium in the bones.

It is a fact that as we age, our bones start to weaken or even deteriorate and a consistent yoga practice can help improve our strength and coordination.

These are some poses that can help strengthen the bones:yoga retreats in Greece 2019

  • Vrksasana (Tree)
  • Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
  • Table Top and alternate lifting and extending opposite arms and legs

Effects of Yoga on the Musculoskeletal System:

Yoga helps strengthen the joints and support the muscles. The isometric poses of yoga train the smaller muscles surrounding our joints to endure longer holds for balance or coordination. Over time, with regular stretching, the muscles become more flexible. Flexible muscles are far less susceptible to damage in the future and put less strain on the body’s joints. Less stress on the joints means less damage to the joints which reduces the chance of developing osteoarthritis. Also, because the muscles are warmed and stretched during a yoga practice, yoga improves recovery of muscle tissues.

Muscles function properly because of the increased blood flow.

effects of yoga on the musculoskeletal system

Yoga improves flexibility and strengthens postural muscles. Poor posture can cause a lot of injuries in the future. It can result in discomfort, pain, or degenerative disease like arthritis of the spine.

As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension. It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

Effects of Yoga on the Nervous System:

Alternating sympathetic and parasympathetic activation. Regular practice of yoga, slowly invites the nervous system to shift out of patterns of chronic stress back into the body’s natural rhythm of activation from sympathetic to parasympathetic.

Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve. This is the 10th cranial nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve of the body. It connects to vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, colon, spleen and other parts of the abdomen.

Practicing yoga also increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is commonly known as the “happy” neurotransmitter, serotonin is mainly found in the brain, intestines and blood platelets.

Yoga influences the rate of thyroid hormone secretion. Yoga asana, especially Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), by increasing the protein bound iodine and rehabilitating the thyroid gland it may be effective to treat underproduction of thyroid hormones. Various stretching, twisting and compressing yoga asana provide nourishment to the cells, improve blood circulation, massage the thyroid gland and stimulate it to release thyroid hormones.

effects of yoga on the thyroid

Yoga decreases cortisol hormone. According to a study conducted by Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and the Yoga Research Society, a 50-minute yoga session performed for seven days- which included postures such as Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand), Salabhasana (Locust Pose), Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and Halasana (Plow Pose) – significantly reduced cortisol levels.

Practicing yoga also stimulates growth hormones. The body’s diminishing supply of growth hormone is responsible for the frailty that comes with aging. If you want to increase the level of growth hormone being secreted, consider asanas that are of moderate aerobic exercise. Studies have proved that moderate forms of exercise can increase basal levels of growth hormone in humans.

Stepping on your mat and flowing through class also ups oxytocin, the “LOVE” hormone. It plays a role in sexual reproduction, sexual arousal and is released by the hypothalamus when you have an orgasm.

Yoga also balances Dopamine “the reward” hormone. A clinical research from the J. F. K. Institute in Denmark published in Cognitive Brain Research found that Yoga Nidra– a guided meditation that produces deep relaxation- increases level of dopamine in the brain by 65 % on average.

Practicing yoga also balances melatonin “Rest-Sleep-Heal”. Researchers at Rutgers University discovered that melatonin levels for meditation practitioners were boosted by an average of 98%. Incorporating meditation into your life can be your much needed physiological re-balancing tool.

Performing pranayama or simply breathing deeply activates the prefrontal cortex and that results in an increase in cognitive function.

Yoga also increases endorphin levels. Endorphins are the “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Endorphins are the body’s internal painkillers. Endorphins are known to cause euphoria, produce a feeling of pleasure, reduce stress, increase relaxation and are highly effective in pain modulation and management.

effects of yoga on hormones

Spending time on your yoga mat also improves GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter secretion. GABA is a known major inhibitor neurotransmitter in the brain. This chemical can cause some common problems like: anxiety, nervousness, phobias, restlessness, and insomnia. In 2010, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that a 12-week yoga intervention was linked with greater improvement in mood and anxiety and increased levels of GABA than a metabolically matched walking exercise.

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs.

Effects of Yoga on the Cardiovascular System:

Deep breathing ignites the sympathetic nervous system, causing the heartbeat to slow and reduces blood pressure. Relaxation exercises found in yoga help increase blood flow throughout the body which also improves oxygen circulation in the body.

Many yoga flows can also increase your heart rate (like Ashtanga Yoga) may lower the risk of heart attack and relieve symptoms of depression. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise—all reflections of improved aerobic conditioning. One study found that subjects who were taught only pranayama could do more exercise with less oxygen.

Effects of Yoga in the Respiratory System:

effects of yoga on the respiratory systemDeep breathing in yoga can increase lung capacity while reducing breaths per minute. It improves the supply of oxygen to the lungs.

With ‘Pranayama’ breathing exercise in yoga, you can increase your intake of oxygen up to five times. The more oxygen-rich blood that flows to the brain, heart, lungs and digestive organs will enable these organs to work better and further bolster one’s health. Moreover, deep breathing can help you to improve the flow of your lymph system thereby helping the body to get rid of toxins. And it is found to strengthen the diaphragm.

Even the use of chanting sounds such as chanting “Om” can even help soothe the sinuses.

Effects of Yoga in the Digestive System:

Yoga encourages the adrenal glands to produce less cortisol which can reduce cravings for fatty foods. Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This effect can reduce the risk of diabetic complications like heart attack, kidney failure and/or blindness.

Having a regular yoga practice also reduces stress, which can alleviate ulcers, IBS, and constipation, and other digestive problems. Yoga may also be a good method to help the movement of waste to move smoothly out of the body. However, there are some conditions for which using asana for exercise may not a good idea, such as severe cases of diarrhea or constipation, or for someone with an acute bout of pain related to their digestive disorders. In such cases, we recommended turning to other yoga tools, including stress management and relaxation.

Twisting poses can serve as an internal massage of the digestive tract. The massage effect ensures more blood and oxygen and strengthens the muscles of organs.

Asanas that affects the gastrointestinal tract:

  • Parivritta Trikonasa
  • Marichyasana
  • Setu Bandha Sarvagasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Utkatasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Balasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Apanasana

Static poses that strengthen and stretch the abdominal area help tone the abdominal muscles that house and support the majority of the organs of digestion and may assist in the movement of material through the system. Dynamic poses that fold, stretch and twist the abdominal area can improve blood and lymph circulation, and create a squeeze and release effect on your organs.

Yoga and its many practices have numerous benefits for the human: body, mind, and soul! What’s keeping you from getting on the mat? And if you already practice, please share in the comments how yoga has influenced your life!

 

Sources:

https://asmy.org.au/yoga/yoga-skeletal-system/

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/good-bone

https://www.fireengineering.com/articles/fire_life/articles/2014/april/the-skeletal-system-the-yoga-way.html

https://www.gaia.com/article/3-ways-yoga-improves-your-joint-system-and-skeletal-structure

http://yogaforhealthyaging.blogspot.com/2016/03/how-yoga-helps-your-digestive-system.html

http://bahiranga.com/yoga-and-the-digestive-system/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/28/body-on-yoga_n_4109595.html

http://donthateyourguts.com/benefits-yoga-part-4-nervous-system-benefits/

https://dutchsmilingyogi.com/effects-yoga-on-respiratory-system/

http://www.organicauthority.com/this-is-how-and-why-a-yoga-practice-strengthens-your-nervous-system-and-brings-balance-back-to-your-body/

http://www.theyogamandala.com.sg/how-yoga-helps-in-the-respiratory-system/

https://www.mokshamantra.com/yoga-impact-on-hormonal-health-and-neurotransmitters/

https://medium.com/@RandoxHealth/what-happens-inside-your-body-during-yoga-practice-6deee1019c4

 

Rosalee Oxford

Rosalee Oxford is a passionate seeker of happiness and adventures. She just finished her 200 hr YTT with Ambuja Yoga as well as her 20 hr AYRx with Jen Healy. She’s on an ongoing quest to discover all the joys life has to offer and is excited to share her love for yoga with others. With this desire, when she’s not practicing yoga she’s either swimming, scuba diving, pole dancing, or chasing her brown goldendoodle around the house. Her classes are a combination of Hatha and Vinyasa flow that accommodates all skill levels."

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