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Yoga Has a Rich History in The US

»Posted by on Apr 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It might surprise many people to learn that yoga has a long history in the United States. For a lot of Americans, their knowledge of yoga may only date back to the 1960s, when the concepts of spiritualism and meditation were embraced by the country’s counterculture. But it might surprise you to learn that yoga has a far longer history in the U.S., dating back to the late 1800s. In 1883, Swami Vivekananda made an appearance at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago where he greeted his “sisters and brothers of America”, a salutation that brought a standing ovation from the large audience in attendance. His idea that all of the religions of the world are merely separate parts of a larger religion was a new concept to those hearing him speak about the mind, body and spirit.

Shortly after the arrival of Swami Vivekananda, Yogendra Mastamani also traveled to the U.S. from India and set up a base in Long Island, N.Y. in 1919 and created the American branch of Kaivalyadhama, which is an India-based group that was a leader in the exploration of yoga from a scientific perspective. Mastamani introduced Hatha Yoga to the United States. One year later, one of the most popular yogis of all time, Paramahansa Yogananda, arrived in Boston to introduce kriya yoga to the U.S. He created the Self-Realization Fellowship, which now has its headquarters in Los Angeles. Yogananda also wrote the world-famous best seller, “Autobiography of a Yogi,” a book that is still an inspirational resource for many yoga instructors and students.

Beginning in the 1930s, Jiddu Krishnamurti achieved a new level of notoriety for a yogi when he began giving well-received, eloquent seminars on Jnana-Yoga, or the yoga of discernment. His enlightening talks brought him attention from a number of celebrities, including actors Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo and writers Aldous Huxley and George Bernard Shaw. In 1924, the U.S. imposed a restriction on the number of Indians it would allow to move to the U.S., meaning students who sought the teachings of yogis had to travel to India. One of these students was Theos Bernard, who traveled to India and came back in 1947 to write the book “Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience,” an influential book which is still widely today. In that same year, yogi Indra Devi, born in Russia, opened one of the original Hatha Yoga studios in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area and was given the title of “The First Lady of Yoga.” Devi was admired by housewives across the U.S., as well as Hollywood stars such as Gloria Swanson, Jennifer Jones and Robert Ryan. Devi passed away in her Buenos Ares home in 2002.

But there is one man who is credited with bringing yoga into the mainstream of America and, ironically, he is not a native of India. While Richard Hittleman did study in India for several years, he came back to the U.S. in 1950 and worked as a yoga instructor in New York, introducing a non-spiritual version of yoga to the country and altered the way yoga is perceived in the U.S. Hittleman emphasized the physical aspects of yoga to a Western audience used to focusing on the body rather than the mind. Hittleman’s goal was to teach American students to gradually embrace the spiritual side of yoga, which many people have.

As Hittleman worked to expand yoga on the East, Walt and Magana Baptiste were working to increase yoga’s scope on the West Coast when they open a studio in San Francisco in the 1950s. Both of the Baptistes were students of Yogananda and Walt brought the influence of Vivekananda to the practice, creating an entirely new approach to yoga. Their yoga legacy is continuing with their son and daughter, Baron and Sherri.

Also in San Francisco, Swami Vishnu-devananda, arrived from India in 1958 and, with sponsorship from famed artist Peter Max, created the landmark book, “The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga.” It became an essential guide for yoga instructors and practitioners. Vishu-devananga would later go on to create the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta yoga centers, which has become one of most prominent yoga school franchises in the entire world.

As the 1960s embrace of counterculture got into full swing, more and more people began to investigate the spirituality of yoga and possibly the most famous group of yoga practitioners were The Beatles, whose association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi made him one of the most famous yogis in the world. He created the Meditation school of yoga that today employs more than 40,000 instructors and approximately 4 million followers worldwide.

In the late 1960, Harvard professor Richard Alpert left on a journey through India and returned as Ram Dass, who captured the imagination of the young people of America and sparked their interest in the potential of yoga with his 1970 college tour to support his book, “Be Here Now.” It implanted the idea of taking a spiritual quest as a dream of many young people.

As the 1970s progressed, yoga studios began appearing all over the country. Mount Madonna, founded by Baba Hari Dass, brought residential yoga instruction to Santa Cruz, California. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, begun by Shrila Prabhubada, created the international spiritual practice of Bhakti Yoga. Ashtanga-vinyasa Yoga was brought to the U.S. by Pattabhi Jois in the mid ’70s and made yoga popular with new groups of people. Swami Satchitananda was probably the most famous non-musician to appear at Woodstock. Female yogi Swami Sivananda Radha is credited with probing the link between the psychology and spirituality of yoga. And Swami Chidananda, a student of yoga master Swami Sivananda, produced one of America’s most famous and familiar yoga instructors, Lilias Folan, whose PBS series, “Lilias, Yoga and You,” which aired from 1970 to 1979, brought into nearly every home in America.

Yoga has continued its influence across America with classes and studios in cities all over, from the smallest town to the major metro areas. Meanwhile, the birth of the digital media market has taken yoga CDs, DVDs and Internet websites to even more homes, making it a mainstay in American life.

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Why You Need to Try Yin Yoga

»Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

 

Yin yoga is still a new concept to a lot of people. Depending on where you live, you may not have even heard of it before. There are many benefits to yin yoga and it does seem to finally be making name a for itself. If you are one of the people who are not familiar with this style of yoga quite yet, this article is for you.

Image result for yin yoga

What is Yin Yoga?


Yin yoga is a very bendy yoga. You do not have to be flexible to begin practicing, but it will very quickly get you there. Poses are held for 5-20 minutes and are all based around stretching while still maintaining muscle engagement. This style of yoga is created to stretch the connective tissues in the joints of your body instead of your muscles.
Stretches are typically based on the lower half of the body but some classes will include upper body stretches as well. This yoga can be very challenging mentally because it is rather uncomfortable to remain in the poses for such a great amount of time.

 

Flexibility and Mobility

This is the most obvious reason why you need to try yin yoga. If you are looking for a style of yoga to increase your flexibility and mobility you really will love yin yoga. Yin is the only style that focuses primarily on stretching and you can notice results in as quickly as 3 or 4 classes. If you have ever wondered how to get the type of flexibility you have probably seen yogi’s post on social media, this is the style of yoga you might want to consider. Even if you are just looking to increase or maintain a healthy level of mobility, this style can really benefit you. It isn’t a particularly exciting class but it can be exactly what your body needs.

Meditation


Yin yoga can be a great way to start to peek into the world of meditation. You can quite easily practice mini-meditations while you are in each pose for 5-20 minutes. With the large amount of time you have, you might even start to do this naturally. If your yoga instructor talks throughout the yoga class, you might find it comforting to listen to her/his voice. Holding that level of focus is half of the battle with learning how to meditate. If your yoga instructor allows for more quiet time during your class, you might find yourself focusing on your breathing more or even just focusing on your body; those are both great ways to start meditating as well.

 

Body Awareness


It is incredible to see the things your mind can become interested in when it is “bored”. Just like with meditation, you might find your mind becoming more focused on your body. When this happens, your overall body awareness can increase and you will have more of a connection with your body and have a much better understanding of you body and its needs. With the deep stretching you will also learn more about your body’s limits and capabilities.

There really are some serious benefits to starting up a yin yoga practice. If you are looking to increase your flexibility/mobility, or if you are looking to play with meditation, you really need to give yin yoga a try!

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5 Ways You Can Really Clean Yoga Mats

»Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yoga mats can get covered in oils, dirt, dust, and sweat, which can make your mat smell less than great. If you are not wiping down your yoga mat regularly, you could also be damaging it, and the smell is only going to get worse. There are many ways to wash your yoga mat, and it does not need to be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get your yoga mat really clean.

1. You Should Clean Your Yoga Mat At Least Once a Week

The amount of time that you should wait between washes will depend on where you are using the mat and how much you are sweating into it. Most times, it is recommended that you wash the mat at least once a week. If you use your mat outside or sweat a lot, then you should give the mat a wipe down after each use.

2. Make Your Own Cleaning Solution

There are yoga mat cleaning products that you can buy, but they can be expensive. You really do not need them because you can make your own at home by using a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. You can also add tea tree oil and essential oils to the mixture. However, before adding any essential oils to your cleaning solution, you should check to make sure that your mat can tolerate the oils.

3. Avoid Using a Ton of Soap

You should not be using a lot of soap or water when you are cleaning your mat. Too much soap can make the mat slippery, and too much water can cause the mat to become waterlogged. This can cause more bacteria growth, which leads to more foul odors.

4. Use Mat wipes if you are Busy

There are various types of yoga mat wipes on the market. These are a great option for when you are too lazy to wash your mat or do not have the time to do it. Most mat manufacturers have started to stock these wipes, so they are becoming easier to find.

5. Yoga Mats should Not Sunbathe

Drying your mat using the sun can seem like a great option, but it could overly dry out your mat. Leaving your yoga mat in the sun too often can cause the mat to crumble up, and the mat would need to be replaced. Instead, you should lay out your yoga mat out on the floor inside of your home until it is dry.

6. You Can Use a Washing Machine to Wash Your Mat

Most yoga mats can be washed using a washing machine. Unlike clothing, you need no soap during the washing. You can also use a dryer to dry your mat, using medium to high heat. This should be done about once a month, even if you are wiping the mat down after every use. Make sure to check the mat’s label or package for the washing instructions before washing your mat. This can you avoid damaging your yoga mat during washing.

Cleaning your yoga mat can extend its lifespan, and it can also help reduce the smell. Taking care of your yoga mat does not have to difficult or time-consuming. There are many products that can speed up the process of cleaning your yoga mat.

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