Category Archives: Harmony & Balance

5 Great Books on Yoga & Meditation

One of the many advantages of practicing yoga on the Muuyu platform is the ‘live and interactive’ element.  As classes are relatively small (usually between 6 and 12 in each session) students have the chance to query their yoga instructor on all aspects of their practice,  hear anecdotal details of their teachers’ own yoga journeys and generally engage in a way that quite quickly allows them to deepen their practice through personal guidance and insights from their instructors.

Sometimes this is enough.  Other times it leads students on a quest to find further information on the theory of yoga and mindful living and to learn from the great yogis of our past and present.

Of course there is no substitute for practice but widening your knowledge of yoga is a lovely gift to give yourself if you are eager to embrace a more conscious lifestyle.

With that in mind, here are 5 great books on yoga and meditation:

AutobiographyOfAYogiThe Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Paramahansa Yogananda.

Autobiography of a Yogi introduces the reader to the life of Paramahansa Yogananda.  Swami Paramahansa was born in 1893 in India but moved to the US in 1920 where he taught yoga and meditation for over 30 years.

This book is a beautiful story of his remarkable life and a fascinating introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and the art of spiritual living.

Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Every Day Life by Judith Lasater

Judith Lasater guides you into moving your yoga off the mat and into your real, every day life.  Calling on the wisdom of the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita,  Lasater takes yoga beyond the breathing exercises and positions and helps you to find more meaning in your relationships and the world around you.

The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras by Joy Devi

As over 80% of all yoga practitioners in the West are female,  this book will be of great interest to those who want to know what is the link between femaleness and yoga.  Author and world-class yogini Nischala Joy Devi, writes from the perspective of the feminine to discuss the health, emotional and spiritual benefits of this ancient art.

YogaBooks02Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is considered one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and in this warm, down-to-earth book, she teaches how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness can help everyone discover a way to maintain loving relationships.   Great for anyone interested in learning about Buddhism, meditation …or how to be kind to yourself.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

A gorgeous introduction to the skills of mindfulness from Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh.  He uses, anecdotes, stories and offers practical exercises so show how to achieve a fully present and mindfully conscious mind throughout your daily life, whether washing dishes or peeling fruit (I should give this to my partner whose peeling of an orange is like an extreme sport!)

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

yoga, yoga asanas, Yoga to the people, yoga works, pure yoga, yoga tree, yoga instructor, easy yoga, yoga and meditation, yoga lifestyle, lifestyle, yoga classes, free yoga, home yoga, online classes, streaming yoga, yoga at home, yoga online, yoga class free, yoga online free, online yoga, online yoga classes, yoga classes near me, hatha yoga, yoga meditation, bikram yoga, hot yoga, prenatal yoga, kundalini yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga, yin yoga, power yoga, types of yoga, restorative yoga, pranayama, pregnancy yoga, yoga types, yoga for pregnant women, relaxation yoga, iyengar yoga, hot yoga classes, Yoga for beginners, beginners yoga, yoga poses for beginners, how to do yoga, basic yoga poses

5 New Year’s Resolutions for New Yogis & Yoginis   

Beautiful Woman Practicing Yoga Outside In Nature

  How Your Words Can Prevent Injury

Why Meditation Is Good For Your Gut

You may have remembered to have green smoothies during the holidays.  You may have learned not to neglect your yoga practice. Yet even with the best of intentions, chances are you ate more and moved less in December.  Although Buddha rocked his distended belly with a sly smile, you aren’t so certain the look is one that you want to maintain.

You may assume that the best way to get your optimal digestion back is with a kick-butt fitness sequence that has you miserable.  In fact,  sitting intentionally might be just what the yogi ordered.  Not sitting with a big bowl of dessert,  mind you,  but meditatively.

This may be the part of the article where you become absolutely certain that life is harder work than that.  However, don’t discount how difficult it can be to meditate on a consistent basis.  It is a challenge and one that can help heal your gut and balance your body.

Here are the three points that we think are absolutely fascinating and even more reason to carve out regular quiet time in 2015:

  • Tension can be everywhere.  If you are stressed (even the “good” stress that stokes your ambitious fire) it is likely your gut will be stressed as well.  Our body needs a little parasympathetic action to rest and digest.  Meditation can help the whole body to function more optimally as you re-learn how to relax and recover. Your digestive health will have no option but to follow suit.
  • You can control more than you think. You certainly can breathe without thinking about it (thank goodness!).  However, by taking the reigns every once in awhile and breathing deeply into the pit of your belly,  you can start to affect your own physiology.  Deep breaths with a straight spine will massage the internal organs, helping with peristalsis.  Let your belly be soft.  Most of us don’t take a deep breath all day long, so this may be one of your healthiest new habits.
  • Stress eating starts in the mind.  Sure, there are moments when it makes sense to eat a piece of chocolate rather than another head of kale.  But if the first thing that you are grabbing tends to supply quick energy that burns out quickly, you need to slow down.  Without slowing down,  you won’t be as able to control your cravings.  Some time in quiet can make your realize that your 3pm sweet craving is related to an emotion,  making it have a lot less hold on you.

There are many theories as to how long you should maintain a habit to make it stick. Give 30 days a try with tuja wellness and their absolutely free meditation challenge.  Every day, you will get a guided meditation sent to your inbox to bring you peace and pause. Sign up here and see if this calm lifestyle leads to a happier gut.

 

CourtneySunday

Courtney Sunday wanted to write her first book by the age of 10.  Although she has not lived up to her own expectations, she now happily works as a freelance writer.  She is particularly pleased to be one of the writers for the Canadian healthy living website tuja wellness.   She also teaches yoga and Pilates and leads yoga teacher trainings and retreats around the world.  Visit her at her website or contact her through muuyu.

Meditation,Muuyu, Health, Wellness

 

Photo credit: Meaghan Eady

5 New Year Resolutions for New Yogis & Yoginis To Make

So 2014 was the year that you began your yoga journey in earnest.  And now, with 2015 almost here and happening,  perhaps you’re wondering how you can continue to develop your life on a yoga path, possibly without too many radical changes that might have you giving up by mid-year or earlier!   Well, here are 5 New Year Resolutions to make which will lead the way to a happier and healthier yogic life!

  • Regular Practice: This may seem pretty obvious but if you want to ensure yoga remains not just a relevant but an effective part of your life it is necessary to maintain a regular practice.   Yoga has immense benefits but as many people first turn to yoga with a physical need (i.e. wishing to increase their body flexibility, weight loss, etc) it can take a while to bring postures,  pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation together to reach that true harmony of a unified body, mind and spirit, which is,  of course,  the greatest benefit of yoga.    Of course, ‘regular’ may mean anything from 10 to 60 minutes daily for some folk or twice a week for others.  You yourself will know what’s best for you.  The point is, that in developing a good ‘yoga practice’,  the second part of that phrase is equally as important as the first!
  • Live the Simple Life:  In western society there is,  unfortunately,  a constant incitement to consume.   It is great to have the things that we need, no doubt about that,  but can we say that we truly need all that we have?   One of the primary principles of living a yogic life is ‘greedlessness’ (aparigraha).   So if 2015 is your year of moving towards a more yogic lifestyle then you could begin by removing – slowly,  if you need time – all the things around you that are unnecessary to living a more modest life.   Part of this journey is also to refrain from coveting what others have and learning to see the real riches in your life, which may include the friends and family that love you regardless of whether you have loads of gadgets or the time to pursue interests that got lost in the maelstrom of making and spending money.
  • Eat Your Greens:  Adding more veggies to your daily diet (and eliminating processed foods in addition) is one very easy way to resolve to live a more yogic lifestyle.   Outside of any moral reasons to develop a more plant-based diet,  there are huge health benefits to be had by increasing your consumption of vegetables.  These not only include increased energy levels and healthier skin, but a vegetable-rich diet is known to lower the incidences of many diseases  including obesity,  hypertension, diabetes and many heart-related illnesses.   Living a healthful life and making conscious decisions as to what you put into your body are all steps on the yogic path.
  • Take New Steps on Your Healthy Path:  Oil pulling,  herb infusions, keeping a gratitude journal, doing daily mediation?  Often when you begin a yoga practice and find yourself becoming more attuned to your body, mind and spirit you naturally want to start taking better care of yourself.   There are so many healthful ways that you can increase your well-being on a daily basis from the moment you wake to the minutes before you retire to bed.  This can include starting your day with 5 or 10 minutes of mindful meditation to taking up the ancient Ayurvedic technique of oil pulling (specifically, that means rinsing your mouth with a tablespoon of oil on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes).   This former practice can establish a positive mindset for the day ahead while the latter practice of oil pulling not only promotes oral hygiene but helps cleanse the skin and increase energy levels.
  • Put Yoga into Words and Actions:  The philosophy of yoga is one that promotes peaceful living (ahimsaor), respect for natural life,  being true to yourself and living with honesty and integrity.  That doesn’t mean turning yourself into a modern day Pollyanna, but by trying to be wise with your words, kind in heart and joyful in spirit you may just find that living the yogic lifestyle is more gratifying and personally gainful than you’d ever dreamed it could be.

Happy 2015!

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content withMuuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this you might also like the below posts.  Just click on the pictures to go straight to the article.

Angela_Collins001               Green is for Go                 What does Yoga Actually Do?         Go Get Your Dreams in 2015!

 

 

12 Quotes to Encourage You To Go Get Your Dreams in 2015!

In a little over a week we will be welcoming in a brand new year and for many people that means a time for making new plans or starting afresh with old ideas.   It’s the beauty of this stage in the holiday season that most people make their plans with a confidence and conviction that is not always present at other times of the year.

So to help keep that positivity pumped once the festive eagerness has fizzled a little,  here are 12 life-affirming  and reassuring quotes to help you really go after your dreams in 2015.

 “Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want.”  William J. Reilly

“Throw your dreams into space, like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”  Anais Nin

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  Lao Tzu

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  Helen Keller

 “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams”.  Oprah Winfrey

“In order to carry a positive action we must first develop a positive vision.”  Dalai Lama

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”  Benjamin Franklin

“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”  Osho

 “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  Maya Angelou

“Do or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda 

 

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

Photo credit: Eddy Ballardi

8 Inspirational Quotes in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Over the last few years I have found myself facing a lot of challenges in my career and in my relationships.  Some inspiring, some intimidating.  However, each time I am confronted with a tough situation or left wondering if I can weather another change in my life I have learned to stand still, breathe deeply and give thanks for the very place that I find myself in that moment.   For whatever the future holds,  it is by recognizing what is positive about my present that will get me to the next moment with grace and gratitude.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving this year, here are a few helpful quotes to remind us all to feel grateful and to know how to carry that gratitude into the coming moments of our lives.

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.” The Buddha

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

“The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful—great and full—that you are alive, and you enjoy it.” Yogi Bhajan

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”  Oprah Winfrey

 “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” Alphonse Carr

“We think we have to do something to be grateful, or that something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being.” Iyanla Vanzant

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

 

 

 

 

How yoga slows you down (in a good way!)

Slowing Down is Good

As you age you may notice that you are slowing down a bit.  It may take you a little longer to get ready for the day, or you may have some aches and pains that you did not have before.

As you move into yoga asanas, be aware of your posture; shoulders are back and straight.

I have been practicing yoga for many years and recently I had to slow down myself and savor the moments of a deeper kind of mellowness that I get from Yin Yoga.  When you move in and out of Yin poses such as pigeon and shoelace, you benefit your body.

Yin Yoga is a slower, deeper yoga that helps bring your body back in to alignment; working the hips, back and shoulders in a soft way. When you practice, it is like a very slow Hatha type yoga, using assistance with blocks and straps.

Aging and your Health

Remember that aging can be a good thing for you; you slow down and are mellow when you practice modalities such as slow, purposeful breathing and meditation.  And slowing down is a good thing in yoga poses, especially if you stay in the pose for more than a few breaths.

The first thing that comes to mind is the pose pigeon.  This pose is a deep stretching of the hips, and many people as they age begin to have some hip difficulties.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do some prevention work on yourself by staying in pigeon or shoelace until your intuition gives you the nod to come out of the poses?

Yoga and Weight Loss

For weight loss yoga is a good way to slim down.  When you practice the 3 areas of yoga:  Asanas, breathing and meditation, you begin to be so much more mindful of yourself that it travels to your mind’s eye and you also become more mindful of your eating; slowing down, looking at your food and savoring each moment.

Life unfolds and we move along strong, centered and balanced in shoelace.

You may even become more mindful of your meal presentations; using special plates that are colorful and wonderful to look at along with a candle on your table and special tablecloths to brighten your meals.

Yoga Stretching

There is evidence that the yoga stretching, flexing and elongating poses can also help with digestion and weight reduction.  And the good news is that you do not have to stretch and flex in an aerobic way because a passive, slow Yin way can help you in your goal of staying healthy in mind, body and spirit.

yoga, yoga asanas, Yoga to the people, yoga works, pure yoga, yoga tree, yoga instructor, easy yoga, yoga and meditation, yoga lifestyle, benefits of yoga, yoga relaxation, yoga for stress relief, breathing exercises for anxiety, hatha yoga, yoga meditation, yin yoga, restorative yoga, pranayama, relaxation yoga, iyengar yoga

Doris Richardson-Edsell is a a registered nurse, yoga instructor, author, mother and grandmother.  She has worked as a counselor and group therapist at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, New York, for over 25 years.

As an author she has penned a series of books on the topics of health and wellness, including plant based dieting, weight maintenance and vegan cooking.   Her latest e-book, ‘Maintaining Your Weight: Staying in the Center’, is currently available on Amazon.com.

You can connect with Doris on Muuyu here.  Or if you would like to read or hear more of Doris’ expertise, you can check out her other blog posts here and here or visit her webpage, Body Mind Health, where she discusses and advises on all topics concerning holistic healing and health.

Photo credit: Eddy Ballardi

3 Questions to ask when finding yourself… for yourself

Written by Briana Young Roane

It’s been a while since I actually stepped foot in a yoga studio.  I’ve found myself lately just enjoying practicing at home or alone in the studio after teaching.

I couldn’t point to the real reason why I found myself drawn to a solo experience until the other day.  After all my students had left and I started my own playlist I was readying myself for a 30 minute flow down when a huge uncontrollable smile hit my face.  I wanted to be alone!  My body was craving the time to itself.

On an average week I might see six private clients, teach seven classes, record three video classes, and then have my real life to conduct.  There is little time for me to give to myself  like I give to my clients, students, daughters, husband, family and friends.

So instead of going through that funky sweaty flow I had planned, I took to my journal.  I asked myself three questions that I needed to have answers for before I left the mat.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just full of other people’s energy, maybe you should ask yourself these three questions and see what you find out about yourself.

  1. Have I given any personal attention to myself? 

Think about this question hard before answering.  I don’t mean just the car ride through carpool or that pep talk you gave yourself in the bathroom to get through the next 5 hours of work.  I mean did you spend a good amount of time (possibly more than 30 minutes) alone with your own thoughts, decompressing from what life will add to our bodies?  Did you hug yourself physically and emotionally?  Have you sat without uttering a word for close to hour?

Maybe it’s just as simple as disconnecting for a while: no phones, no social media, no emails, just you.

We all need personal attention. It’s pretty corny to think about it but you must be in love with you first to be able to love others. You should want to steal away a few hours a day just to sit with yourself, laugh at yourself, cry with yourself, or just enjoy a good cup of joe by yourself.

So… have you given any personal attention to yourself?

  1. When was the last time you really laughed?

I don’t mean a chuckle, I mean laughed until your stomach hurt. I’m talking about that laughter that can still bring a smile to your face just thinking about it.  Laughing is nature’s tickle – and a must for everyone.  Laughing is free medication, no prescription needed.  Literally laughing speeds up your blood pressure releasing more oxygen into your body tissues.  It’s a full muscle work out for your face, and it gives the same effects to your brain as exercise does.  So… why aren’t you laughing more?

  1. What would make you happy right now?

Life is unpredictable and unscheduled. We never know what’s going to happen and in return we should never take it for granted.  Happiness shouldn’t be a bubble drifting in space, it should be something we all hold and enjoy.  Really think about what would make you happy. What can you actually change at this very moment that would benefit your life in a positive way.

In that thought try not to worry about what others would think or say about your decision, only focus on you! It may seem selfish but it is not.  If you are not happy and right within yourself you cannot be right with anyone else. Choose you!  Decide at this very moment that your happiness is required to live and that really finding yourself is a must to survive.

After these questions you may feel like your mind is working harder than it was when you started but it’s for a very important person: you!  You should work hard for you!  And finding yourself is a beautiful gift, so go un-wrap the magic within.

 briana_pranamYoga teacher and practitioner Briana Young Roane has over 350 hours teacher training and workshop experience. She started her teaching career in 2005 and since then has owned and run two different studios.  Born in Inglewood, California, and now living and working on the East Coast, Briana brings her sunny CA disposition to each and every class that she teaches whether private or group.  You can find more information about Briana and the classes she teaches here or continue to follow her on her own yoga blog.