Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yoga And Cardiovascular Health

While reading through some current studies pertaining to yoga and mainstream fitness, I stumbled upon this amazing article written by B Grace Bullock, PhD, E-RYT 500.  In this study, she sites research showing how a regular yoga practice not only has an effect on cardiovasular health but improves it.  Check it out!

Yoga Boosts Cardiovascular Fitness and Psychological Health Study Shows

By Grace Bullock, PhD, E-RYT 500

There has been an ongoing debate regarding yoga’s ability to improve cardiovascular and physical fitness. A new study suggests that, for sedentary college students, regular Vinyasa yoga practice may boost both fitness and mental health, and reduce stress.

In the study, researchers tested the hypothesis that yogis who performed sun salutations that increased their heart rate into cardiac endurance zones, would demonstrate physical and heart health benefits. They randomly assigned twenty-five, sedentary college students to either 8-weeks of Vinyasa yoga, 1 hour per day, 3 days per week (11 students), or a no-treatment control group (14 students). They measured change along a number of dimensions of health before and after the intervention in both groups.

Following 8 weeks, sedentary students in the yoga group showed significant physical gains compared to the control group. These included decreased cardiac output, and increased cardiac efficiency, and decreased plasma control. In addition, yoga group members had a significantly reduced body fat percentage, and greater upper and lower body muscle strength. Collectively, this suggests that yoga group participants experienced significant physical and heart health benefits after only 8 weeks of consistent yoga practice.

Yoga group members also demonstrated improved psychological wellbeing at the end of the Vinyasa yoga intervention. This included significantly lower ratings of perceived stress, greater self-acceptance, and better relationships with others. In addition, plasma cortisol levels, a biomarker of stress, were significantly lower in yoga group participants than controls.

Taken together, these findings suggest that Vinyasa yoga may promote physical and psychological health and well-being in sedentary college students, and also provide the important function of stress relief. This may be particularly important for those who are reluctant to take up other forms of vigorous aerobic exercise like running or cycling.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Vedanta: The Science of Spirituality

Check out this informative and inspiring article from Adam Brady at the Chopra Center!

Vedanta is one of the world’s oldest and most comprehensive spiritual philosophies. It is based upon the Vedas, or sacred scriptures of India and underlies the principles of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Hinduism. The word “Vedanta” has two parts, Veda, which means knowledge, and anta, which means the end or goal of.

Therefore Vedanta means the end of all knowledge and where it concludes. This knowledge was “cognized” or perceived by sages and seers in higher states of consciousness, none of whom take credit for the information. It is eternal, universal knowledge that everyone has a right to and is not something that you believe in, read about, or simply understand intellectually, but something that you experience.

Vedanta is also known as the Science of Spirituality. It’s not a belief system, an ideology, dogma, or a religion; It is a method for exploring the nature of reality. Many may find this definition to be contradictory or even absurd in that science and spirituality seem to be mutually exclusive terms that can’t coexist together. However, when you look at Vedanta through the lens of the modern scientific model, the reasons for this definition become clear.

The Scientific Method

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years the scientific method has been the most effective and reliable means we have for understanding the world in which we live. All science follows these specific steps when exploring the observable universe:
  1. Observe some aspect or behavior of the universe.
  2. Collect information and make an educated prediction of what is taking place, known as a hypothesis.
  3. Test the hypothesis with an experiment.
  4. Record the results of the experiment which will either support or disprove the hypothesis.
  5. Draw conclusions, publish your findings, and ask your peers (fellow scientists) to validate and test your hypothesis by repeating your experiment.
If the results of your peers agree with your findings, then the hypothesis or theory is considered to be scientifically valid. If they cannot replicate your results, the hypothesis is considered suspect and not an accurate description of how the universe behaves. When this happens, the scientist heads back to the drawing board to determine if there was a flaw in the experiment or possibly the hypothesis itself. If necessary, a new hypothesis may be formed and subsequent testing takes place until a consensus is reached by the larger scientific community. This unprejudiced and self-correcting process of hypothesis testing is at the heart of all forms of all scientific endeavor.
Now, let’s see how Vedanta aligns itself with these steps.

Vedanta & Step 1: Observations
First, Vedanta makes the following observation: There seems to be a deeper reality beyond the material world and what the five senses report back to you. The inner world of thoughts, emotions, and perceptions feel as if they are somehow connected to the outer world of objects, time, space, cause, and effect.

Vedanta & Step 2: Hypothesis

Second, Vedanta hypothesizes that the separation you feel from the rest of the world is an illusion and that there is actually only one reality of pure consciousness, and your true nature is that of oneness with the immeasurable potential for all that exists, for all that was, and for all that will be. This one reality is eternal, was never born, and will never die. Vedanta also recognizes that your experience of the world comes to you in one of four ways:  a feeling, a thought, an action, or a sense of being.

Vedanta & Step 3: Experiment

Third, to test the hypothesis of one reality, Vedanta provides the experimental protocol for which you can validate this theory. It states that in accordance with the four types of experiences you can have, there are four corresponding ways of discovering the true nature of reality and yourself. These methods are known as Yogas, or paths back to union. They are:
  1. Bhakti Yoga – the path of feeling. This is the yoga of love in a human relationship or love for God; the relationship of the human soul to the universal spirit in all its aspects.
  2. Gyana Yoga – the path of thinking. This is the yoga of intellectual understanding and science; using the intellect to go beyond the intellect.
  3. Karma Yoga – the path of action. The yoga of selfless service, or service without attachment to the result or need for ego gratification.
  4. Raja Yoga – the path of being. The yoga of meditation and all its allied disciplines.
In essence, Vedanta says: Here are the paths to self-realization and enlightenment, each of which is appropriate to the nature of the individual seeker. Choose the path that is best suited to your temperament and run the experiment.

Vedanta & Step 4: Results

Fourth, while following the path of one of the four yogas, you can do the following:
  • Measure the effects of your practice, assessing your subjective experience, documenting the changes in your mind, body, perceptions, understandings, intuitions, and creative insights.
  • Take note of changes in your awareness and look for clues that the gap between the inner world and outer world is growing smaller.
  • Accumulate evidence of the evolution of your spirit in moments of lightheartedness, joy, and bliss along with the ease in which your desires are being fulfilled.
  • Record experiences that indicate the transformation of the personal self into the universal self.
  • Notice any signs that point to progress through the seven states of consciousness as described by Vedanta.

Vedanta & Step 5: Conclusion

Lastly, having performed the experiment, you are able to conclude whether or not the hypothesis of one reality is valid. If you have experienced it directly and have accumulated the evidence to support your findings, then you will know it to be true. You can publish or share your findings with your peers of fellow seekers in the form of writing or teaching that details your experience and encourages others to test the hypothesis as well.
If, however, your experiment fails to produce results, if it fails to confirm the existence of the one reality Vedanta describes, then you are under no obligation to believe it and it should be discarded. Nothing should be taken on belief or faith. A philosophy should only be accepted if it has been tested and confirmed through direct experience.
A similar reminder is echoed in the Buddha’s words when he said:
Do not believe in what you have heard.
Do not believe in tradition because it is handed down many generations.
Do not believe in anything that has been spoken many times.
Do not believe because the written statements come from some old sage.
Do not believe in conjecture.
Do not believe in authority or teachers or elders.
But after careful observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and it will benefit one and all, then accept it and live by it.
These guiding principles at the heart of Vedanta are what set it apart from other spiritual philosophies or religions. It applies the principles of scientific exploration to the realm of your own world of inner experience. It reminds you that the nature of reality is unity and encourages you to explore it directly and test the hypothesis using one of the four yogas. It puts the responsibility of self-realization in your own hands and encourages you to follow in the path of countless seekers over the centuries as they have made their way across the ocean of illusion … and back to the experience oneness.
About The Author:
Adam Brady Vedic Educator
Yoga teacher, author, and martial artist Adam Brady has been associated with the Chopra Center for nearly 20 years. He is a certified Vedic Educator trained in Primordial Sound Meditation, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yogaand Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle, and regularly teaches in the Orlando, Florida, area. Over the last several years, Adam has worked to introduce corporate mind-body wellness programs into the workplace within a large, Fortune 100 company.  Adam is dedicated to helping people transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to living. He is the author of Warrior of Light, a story that explores the path to higher awareness through the martial arts. Learn more about Adam, and follow his blog, at

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Your Body On Summer

Every wonder what you should eat to lose weight during these long hot summer days?  Or how summer affects your mind and body?  Watch this short video with our very own Manas Kshirsagar!



The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about
the tradition of yoga and ayurveda. This information is not intended
for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any
disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern,
please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess
your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor
before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Yoga And Neck Pain

Sadly, too many people shy away from yoga because of neck (or back) pain.  All too often they think that yoga is the cause or can make their pain worse.  Quite the contrary!  There have been so many studies published lately regarding the benefits on yoga and pain.  Check out this article by
B Grace Bullock, PhD, E-RYT 500 stating just that.  This is a must read!

Chronic neck pain and neck pain-related disability are a major public health problem. In light of escalating rates of opiod addiction, more health care providers are prescribing complementary therapies like yoga to patients seeking pain relief. Now, a new systematic review and analysis of the research in Clinical Rehabilitation shows that yoga may be an effective treatment option.

A team of German researchers examined all of the published randomized controlled studies in which adults with chronic neck pain were assigned to either a yoga intervention or a usual care, exercise, or non-pharmacological treatment control group. Yoga sessions included either physical movement, breath exercises, meditation, yogic lifestyle recommendations, or a combination of these skills. At the end of treatment, yoga and control group participants were compared on neck pain intensity or related neck-pain disability, as well as mood and quality of life.
A total of 3 studies including 188, predominantly female (82.4%) adults (mean age 47.5 years) were included in the analysis. On average, yoga interventions were held weekly for 9-weeks. Sessions were provided by either experienced yoga educators, or offered on audiotape.
Yoga Relieves Chronic Neck Pain
Analyses revealed that yoga provides superior results to usual care in the relief of neck pain intensity and neck pain-related disability. What’s more, yoga group participants reported better quality of life, and improved mood compared to controls. Short-term reductions in pain, disability, and negative mood were found for both movement-based, and meditation-based yoga interventions.
There are a number of potential explanations for these results. First, movement-based yoga practices often emphasize relaxation, isometric muscle strengthening, stretching, and exploring range of motion. This may be particularly useful for those whose pain is based on chronic, stress-related muscle contraction, or for whom relaxation may be beneficial. Yoga postures may also contribute to changing dysfunctional movement patterns or altering a habitual, maladaptive posture that contributes to a person’s neck pain or muscle tension.
In addition to movement, meditation-based yoga practices have the potential change person’s relationship to his or her pain. Specifically, meditation techniques focusing on attention and introspection can draw attention to negative judgements or ruminations about pain or its source that contribute to the intensity of a person’s suffering. In recognizing the role of thoughts in shaping experience, practitioners are empowered to question their significance, and transition to more adaptive beliefs.
Although we have much more to learn about the role of yoga in the treatment of chronic neck pain, results of this review are cause for optimism.
By: B Grace Bullock, PhD, E-RYT 500

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about
the tradition of yoga and ayurveda. This information is not intended
for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any
disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern,
please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess
your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor
before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or

Thursday, June 15, 2017

20 Tips for Enchanting Beauty

 by Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar Originally posted in Health Topics

Sometimes, simply showering ourselves with love is one of the most deeply healing gifts we can offer. Renowned for its practical elegance in balancing the body, mind, and spirit, Ayurveda often emphasizes healing from the inside out. Continue Reading >
What you believe is what you become. Use the affirmation, “I am young and beautiful.” As you say this, know that it is true. Remember that you are alive and beautiful as you meet life smiling and unafraid. You are a woman who welcomes the challenges of life with resilience and spiritual strength. Affirm these things and you will surely be transformed by this practice.
In addition, practice these action items on a daily basis to help you maintain lasting beauty. It’s all about re-training your senses to be filled with good things so that you can start to see all the beauty around and within you.

  • Do something helpful every day for someone else.
  • Keep good company—maintain good relationships with your partner, children, neighbors, and family.
  • Hydrate yourself properly with room temperature water or herbal teas.
  • Take some time to care for yourself.
Colorful Food
Eat the rainbow everyday— colorful, freshly prepared food.
  • Explore spiritual practices that help you connect and surrender.
  • No matter how old you are, or what the weather is like, walk at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Practice Ayurvedic self-oil massage daily.
  • Cultivate a hobby that brings you joy.
Banyan friend, Farinaz
Learn something new every day— challenge your mind.
  • Be flexible in your life—it won’t always work out the way you want it to and sometimes it’s good just to let go.
  • Seek emotional support from a counselor or confidant.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep so that you wake up fresh and energetic.
  • Find someone or something to be grateful for every day.
Banyan friend, Leah
Laugh! Watch comedy movies or read a humorous book.
  • Spend some time in nature.
  • Do not entertain negative thoughts.
  • Receive blessings from teachers, elders, or healers.
  • Keep your life simple—get rid of unnecessary burdens.
Banyan friend, Tami
Practice mindfulness so you can feel the beauty around you!
Most importantly, find a routine that works for you—on all levels, and define your own beauty! Everyone is unique, so honor your body and your uniqueness, and your radiance and authenticity will be an example for others.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What Are Your Tongue And Heart Trying To Tell You?

Pulse of Life
Have you heard your heartbeat lately? You have one! What is it trying to tell you?

Paying attention to your pulse and heartbeat helps you understand what is going on within. Is it slow? Is it fast? Is it calm? Is it anxious? Is it easy? Or is it working overtime? There are over 20 different qualities that you can use to determine your pulse. Obviously, this goes beyond the typical beats per minute. We want to look at the characteristics of the pulse. Is it hot or cold? Dry and hard or oily and soft? Is it moving or is it localized? And many more. These give us an outlook on the physiology and we can then take measures to increase vitality through out the body!

Stick out your tongue...

Tongue diagnosis is a procedure that has been utilized for thousands of years. The concept behind it is simple, if the opening of your digestive system is clean and clear, so is the rest of the tract. If there is heavy coating or a foul smell, what do you think lines the entire 30 feet of your intestines?!? Scraping our tongue in the morning helps us physically see the amount of gunk that is removed everyday. Through out this challenge, you should hopefully see less and less white or yellow mucus coming off your tongue in the morning and giving rise to a clean and clear pink tongue.

As we dive more in depth, we will talk about how the tongue holds a complete map of the physiology and we can predict different diseases and disorders that might arise.
By Manas S Kshirsagar

What is your pulse telling  you?  What is your tongue saying?  Want to know more?!  Book a consultation with our Ayurvedic Practitioner Manas Kshirsagar!


The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about
the tradition of yoga and ayurveda. This information is not intended
for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any
disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern,
please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess
your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor
before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or


Our breath is the expression of prana…life force.
As Dr. Deepak Chopra so eloquently said”…you aren’t breathing…you are being breathed”.
Our breath IS life!
It is the only autonomic system that we have control over.
Have you ever paused to ask yourself why? Why do we have control over our breath?
As humans, we take our breath for granted.  We don’t even notice our breath let alone have the awareness to consciously control it.  We often breathe shallow, in our chest, or even worse…we’ll hold it many times throughout the day without even realizing it.
Why can we control our breath?  Besides holding our breath in order not to drown…what’s the purpose of being able to manipulate our breath?
As I move through my soul journey, this is what I’ve come to so far.
Our breath not only keeps us alive but it REMINDS us that WE ARE ALIVE!
It is an expression of our spirit.
It is a tool to be used for healing.
We can detoxify the body by using our breath.
We can manipulate our cardiovascular system by using our breath.
We bring the central nervous system into balance and peace by using our breath.
And our breath centers us…grounds us in a place of knowing.
It reminds us…that we are not our bodies but that we are divine spirits having a human experience.
Our breath connects us to all that is and all there ever will be.
Our breath connects us to our SOUL.

So, how will you use your sacred breath today?

In Love & Gratitude,

Instagram @thespiritofjoy