Laughter Yoga | Laugh Your Way To Health and Happiness

laughing yoga Laughter Yoga | Laugh Your Way To Health and Happiness

Courtesy of Yoga Journal

As I lie on a wooden floor stretched out in Savasana, my mind is calm after an hour of vigorous exercise and deep breathing. The people around me are still and the room is quiet, save for the sounds of slow, gentle inhalation and exhalation. It could be the final moments of any yoga class. But then the man next to me suddenly lets out a thunderous guffaw. Across the room, a woman giggles in response. Soon the entire room is alive with sound — chortles and chuckles, hearty laughs and howling hoots.

The whole evening has been filled with such eruptions of laughter, some spontaneous, some scripted. In fact, Madan Kataria, the leader of this class, has promised to make us all laugh harder, more deeply, and more fully than we’ve ever laughed before.

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Green Yoga | Everything Linked Together

yoga005 Green Yoga | Everything Linked Together

Yoga is to the nineties as aerobics was to the eighties. There are similarities: both increase flexibility, both build strength, both develop muscle tone and both are a great excuse to wear something cute (if lycra G-strings were ever considered cute).

The big difference, of course, is that yoga offers something intangible. Possibly best classified under the umbrella of spirituality, it’s an innate awareness of our interconnectedness to the environment around us. To ensure that yoga doesn’t get Jane Fonda-rized, the Green Yoga Organization can help us to stay grounded to the true meaning of yoga.

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Lengthen Your Spine Before You Twist

yoga posing 03 Lengthen Your Spine Before You Twist

Yoga postures are often named for mythological figures in the hope that practicing them might help us attain some of their heroic attributes. The story of the fish Matsyendra highlights the virtues of concentration and stillness — and offers a parable for the transformative power of yoga.

According to the ancient tale, the Hindu deity Shiva was on an island, explaining the mysteries of yoga to his consort Parvati. A fish near the shore remained motionless and listened with rapt attention. When Shiva realized that the fish had learned yoga, he blessed it as Matsyendra, Lord of the Fishes. The fish then took a divine form, came on land, and assumed a seated spinal twisting posture that allowed him to fully absorb the teachings. Yogic lore credits this twist, called Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Complete Lord of the Fishes Pose) with such important benefits that it is one of the few asanas described in a seminal 14th-century manual on yoga called the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This classic guide anoints Matsyendra as the first human teacher of hatha yoga and says that the posture dedicated to him fans the gastric fire, cures all diseases, and awakens kundalini shakti, the dormant feminine energy coiled at the base of the spine in the form of a serpent. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) is a milder version of this twist.

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Jade Yoga | Harmony With No PVC

natural rubber yogamat2 Jade Yoga | Harmony With No PVC

There’s nothing like quite like yoga to help you feel connected to Mother Earth… but many yogis may be horrified to discover that between downward dog and terra firma is a nasty sliver of polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

On the whole, yogis are enlightened when it comes to the environment. Take a look around any class and you’ll see a fair smattering of reusable water bottles, organic vegan health bars and bike helmets. All the more ironic that the majority of yoga mats are made from toxic plastic — destined to inhabit the earth long after you and your practice have moved on to a higher spiritual plane.

Now we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief as manufacturers are coming out with earth-friendly alternatives. There are a number of options out there. My new favorite is the Harmony mat from Jade Yoga which is made from natural rubber, a renewable resource.

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