Fitness fads come and go, but Pilates has persisted worldwide, increasingly gaining popularity, and is favored by many people and fitness fanatics all over the world. It is by no means your only avenue to achieve your fitness goals; but people use it to complement other forms of exercise, and have found that this not only makes you look leaner and fitter, but also strengthens and protects the body.
World of Pilates!
Origin of Pilates
Born in 1883, Joseph Pilates was a sick child. He spent a lot of time researching avenues for fitness and body building and developing exercises to overcome his ailments and become stronger. During World War I, he made exercise equipment from springs of hospital beds and used the exercises he developed to help wounded soldiers get stronger and back on their feet. When the influenza epidemic in 1918 claimed thousands of lives, he noted that none of his trainees had died. He eventually moved to New York in 1928 and started what would be the first Pilates studio, which soon became popular with dancers. Almost 90 years later, Pilates remains an effective form of exercise and is now popular worldwide.
strenghten and stretch your whole body
Pilates is not a magical wand and it certainly needs to be augmented with other exercises. So if you are just looking to lose weight, please remember that you need to complement Pilates with cardio and Continue reading “Pilates: A Complete Workout!” »
Breath – experience the stillness
We can live for weeks without food and days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen. Our life itself is measured from our first breath to our last. Still, most of us don’t give breathing a passing thought except when we have a head cold or visit that friend who lives in a fifth-floor walk up.
In yoga, we learn that the breath is the bridge from body to mind, from outer concerns to inner peace. Yoga is like a four-legged stool – postures, breathing, relaxation and meditation and each “leg” is of equal value. Breathing is used during asanas to assist in reaching our personal best (usually, inhalation accompanies an upward – or backward -bending movement, exhalation a downward – or forward bending move). Pranayama is also an important practice in its own right. Pranayama brings under your control the normally automatic function of breathing in order to regulate the flow of prana, or life energy, throughtout your system.
With the exception of trained singers, elite athletes, and yogis, most people are shallow breathers who seldom completely fill their lungs with air or fully exhale stale air and start fresh. Learning pranayama can help you use your lungs full capacity for breath. The result is greater vitality, clearer eyes, skin, and a better functioning respiratory system. (This may be the reason many people who take up yoga say they get fewer colds than they did before.)
Some basics of pranayama are:
Sit cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion. As an alternative, you can kneel or sit in an accomodating chair. In any case, avoid rigidity, but keep your back straight enough that your Continue reading “Best Breathing Practices!” »
All consciousness is essentially one – Fritjof Capra
On my way to explore the magnificient Himalayas, I met a yogi who claimed to have been meditating for several years. When he told me that meditation would do me good, I had two thoughts in rapid succession – both terrifying. First was, that I will get bored and Second, I will miss something. But accepting his conviction that, in seeking out for the unknown, I was a ripe candidate for meditation too. This is when I started meditating. Sometimes I was bored, but I lived through it, gaining some paitence in the process. And I don’t think I’ve ever missed anything during meditation except a few phone calls I could return later.
We live in a glittery world with lots to attract our attention. Those of us who find the notion of meditation least appealing – we who are especially fond of action, momentum, excitement, and adrenaline-have an even greater need for this quieting practice than those calm people we’ve never understood much. We devotees of the high life tend to approach yoga class with the attitude, “I’ll do the exercise part, but I’ll leave before we have to just sit there or, heaven forbid, chant.”
Like it or not, however, yogis both ancient and modern insist that the raison d’etre of hatha yoga is to prepare the body for meditation, a practice that can still the thoughts, awaken the institution, and lead to peace of mind and freedom of spirit. Even when meditation is done without Continue reading “Meditation – A State of Zen!” »