In Praise of Moving More Slowly
Choosing to slow down is a radical decision. And, like most things, slowing down and paying attention takes practice. When it comes to yoga, I wholeheartedly believe that different people need to move at different paces in their flow class to feel satisfied. That said, like every other aspect of modern culture, the trend over the past 15 years in asana practices has been to go faster and faster.
Here’s why slowing down your flow can deepen your practice and benefit your students.
YOU’LL BE ABLE TO SYNC BREATH TO MOVEMENT
If you ask 100 vinyasa teachers to identify the most important component of vinyasa yoga, 100 of them will tell you “breathing.” But, strangely, many classes move at a pace that rushes the breath. I have actually seen students become worse breathers through their vinyasa class because they started taking classes that moved so quickly that their breath was chronically rushed. If breathing is truly the priority in vinyasa yoga—and it is—the pace of class should reflect that. The optimal pace of movement in vinyasa yoga allows your breathing to be full, deep, and unrushed.
YOU’LL BUILD MORE STRENGTH
Try this: Spend 3 or 4 breaths moving from Plank to Chaturanga. Hold Chaturanga for 2 breaths. Finally, take 2 breaths to transition into Upward Facing Dog. Compare this using 1 breath to move from Plank to Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog. It’s obvious that the slower movements and sustained postures create more strength than the faster movements.
YOU CAN FOCUS ON QUALITY OVER QUANITTY
You can do postures extremely well when you move quickly. But, it’s hard. It’s really hard. As a long-time asana practitioner I like working intensely, but I also want to make sure that my postures have physical integrity and provide effective benefits. Although I have limited range of motion in some regions of my body, I consider myself a skillful practitioner. When I move too quickly—and, when I feel the urge to include too many postures in my flows—I notice that the quality of my postures suffers. I see it in my own practice and I see it in my students’ practice. On the other hand, when I allow myself to move more slowly, I pick up details that I otherwise miss. As a student and teacher, I would always choose fewer postures done with clarity than more postures done with urgency.
IT’S EASIER TO SAVOR THE JOURNEY
How many times have you driven for hours to arrive at a destination and realized that you can’t remember anything about the journey? There’s a pacing “sweet spot” where your body gets an intense workout and your mind fully engages with your experience. If you move too quickly, you may have valuable practice, but your body and mind are less likely to learn and engage with the process along the way.
I originally wrote and published this article for yogaglo’s blog. In case you missed the news flash, yogaglo is really awesome and you should practice and train with me on their streaming service. Please check them out!
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Brann-spiller Sivert Heltne Nilsen gjør yoga hver dag
for å bli en bedre fotballspiller og for å finne roen i en hektisk hverdag.Han tror yoga vil forlenge karrieren som fotballspiller! Det tror vi også:-)
Denne Brann-spilleren brukte ferien til å lære seg noe helt spesielt
200 timer med intensivkurs på Bali. Ikke akkurat en typisk fotballferie.
Kanskje går det ikke an å stå lenger fra den stereotypiske oppfatningen om en pubelskende og treningshatende fotballspiller enn tilfellet Sivert Heltne Nilsen.
Du er vant til å se ham bidra til å mure igjen Branns forsvar som anker på lagets midtbane. Men i fotballferien realiserte 25-åringen en drøm han har båret på: Å bli yogainstruktør. Sammen med samboeren dro rett og slett Nilsen til den indonesiske øyen Bali i desember for å gå på yogakurs. 200 timer med kursing ble svelget unna på tre uker.
– Jeg liker ikke å reise på ferie bare for å slappe av. Å ligge på en solseng i flere uker er ikke for meg. Jeg synes det er greit å gjøre noe, sier Nilsen. Fullt klart over at yoga er atypisk for en fotballspiller.
– Det stemmer nok. Men det funker for meg. Jeg gjør alt for å bli en bedre fotballspiller.
Først demonstrer han en såkalt «Kriger 2» (navn på en yogapositur). Nilsen står med det ene beinet utstrukket og armene så langt ute fra kroppen som de kan komme. Som en langbueskytter klar til å sende en pil mot en angripende hær.
Nilsen vil bytte stilling.
– Skal jeg vise noe kult?
Midtbanespilleren setter seg på en måte ned på huk, før han plasserer håndflatene i bakken og deretter løfter hele kroppen over seg. En demonstrasjon i balanse og styrke. Bevegelsene på styrkeapparat og tredemølle de andre som er til stede på treningsstudioet på idrettsklinikken på Brann Stadion driver med, virker plutselig veldig firkantede.
– Jeg tror yoga kan utvikle meg som fotballspiller og som person, slår Nilsen fast.
Brann-trenerens spesielle spissfilosofi: - Det er ikke så mange som tenker sånn MEDITASJONSSTILLING: På kurset på Bali mediterte Sivert Heltne Nilsen én til to timer hver dag. - Vi fikk et fellesmantra som vi benyttet oss av, forteller Nilsen. Tor Høvik
På kurset på Bali var Nilsen sammen med 28 damer – deriblant hans egen samboer – og tre andre menn. Det gikk i yogatrening, vegetarmat og meditasjon. Yoga har tilknytning til både buddhisme og hinduisme, uten at Nilsen legger for mye i det.
– For meg er ikke dette noe religiøst.
Nå er yoga blitt noe Nilsen gjør fast om morgenen for å våkne opp, og etter Brann-trening for å tøye ut. Og om kvelden mediterer han.
– Jeg prøver å lære meg meditasjon og tar det steg for steg. Om kveldene er det lettere å finne roen, sier Nilsen og utdyper.
– Det kommer veldig mye bra ut av meditasjon. Det er forsket på at noen områder av hjernen blir forsterket når man mediterer, og det gjør at du får koblet helt ut.
Han er ikke alene i familien Nilsen om å satse på asiatiskinspirert medisin. Faren Lars Arne Nilsen er akupunktør.
– Jeg tror nok det er tilfeldig. Dette er ikke noe jeg har med meg hjemmefra, sier Nilsen og smiler.
Det var da 25-åringen gikk til Vålerenga i 2014 at begeistringen for yoga oppsto. I huset der han bodde var det yogatimer i kjelleren, og der endte Nilsen opp.
– Da jeg begynte med yoga var det for å forbedre fysikken og fleksibiliteten. Jeg merket at det var bra for meg. Jeg kan ikke sette fingeren på hva, men det var fascinerende. Det handler veldig mye om å leve i nuet, ikke i fortiden eller fremtiden. Du må være til stede der du er, sier Nilsen.
KRIGER 2: Sivert Heltne Nilsen demonstrerer en yogastilling. Denne kalles Kriger 2, eller Virabhadrasana 2. Tor Høvik
Ryan Giggs holdt fotballkarrieren gående til han var rundt 40 ved hjelp av yoga-øvelser. John Arne Riise har også brukt yoga. Nilsen merker at stivheten i lyskene er blitt bedre etter at han begynte med yoga, og ikke minst, han har funnet roen. Når Nilsen driver med yoga eller mediterer legger han bort hverdagen og dens fremste verktøy: mobiltelefonen.
– Det er ikke slik at jeg har vært urolig, men samfunnet vi lever i er veldig på hele tiden. Vi skal være på sosiale medier og alle lever under forventningen om å være tilgjengelig alltid. Det er ikke tilfeldig at yoga er mer og mer populært. Og at det er mer psykisk sykdom i Norge enn noensinne.
Viser til Zlatan
Branns sportssjef Rune Soltvedt ser positivt på at spillerne tar utdanning og interesserer seg for ting utenom fotballen.
– Treningen og restitusjonen som kreves når man er Brann-spiller tar tid, men det er mye man kan få gjort i løpet av 24 timer om man ønsker det, sier Soltvedt, og kommer med en vennlig advarsel til Nilsen.
– Han skal konsentrere seg om fotballen i mange år til, så kan får han satse på yogaen etterpå.
Nå er Nilsen og samboeren yogainstruktører. En gang vil Nilsen praktisere som instruktør, tenker han. Men ikke ennå. Nå handler det om å bli en bedre Brann-spiller.
– Du ser Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). Han sparker over hodet på folk. Og Paul Pogba er utrolig atletisk. Jeg tror ikke de driver med yoga, men de viser hvor viktig det er å være fleksibel, sier Nilsen.
Skrevet av Øystein Vik. Les artikkelen i BT her.
7 Ways Aerial Yoga Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level
Hang tight—this isn't your average yoga flow.
Your first look at the latest fitness trend might have been on Instagram (#AerialYoga), where pics of gorgeous, gravity-defying yoga poses have been proliferating. But you don't need to be an acrobat—far from it—to learn and love aerial, or antigravity, workouts.
The classes really started gaining traction in the form of yoga a few years back (they've since branched out to include hybrids, including aerial barre) and began attracting newbies and devoted yogis alike. The gist: Hop into a silky sling-like hammock, which is draped from the ceiling and supports your full body weight. You'll maneuver the fabric so that you hold poses (like headstands) or perform tricks (swings, back-flips) inside it, or you'll use it as you would a TRX suspension trainer, to support your feet for exercises like push-ups or your palms for triceps dips. (Plus, the pretty poses in silk hammocks make for Instagram gold.)
These out-of-the-box workouts are no gimmick: A new study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that women who did three 50-minute aerial yoga classes a week for six weeks lost an average of two and a half pounds, 2 percent body fat, and about one inch from their waist, all while amping their VO2 max (a measure of fitness) by a whopping 11 percent. In fact, aerial yoga qualifies as a moderate-intensity workout that, at times, can veer into vigorous territory. Classes that are more athletic—like AIR, which incorporates elements of conditioning, Pilates, ballet, and HIIT—"elicit an even more intense physiological response," says study author Lance Dalleck, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise and sport science at Western State Colorado University. Translation: bigger results!
Though aerial fitness may have started as one of those things that you had to live in New York City or Los Angeles to try, its availability has spread. Crunch gyms offer aerial yoga and aerial barre classes nationwide; Unnata Aerial Yoga is featured in studios throughout the country; and boutique clubs like AIR have locations in many cities. You can even buy your own hammock and do an aerial workout at home.
So it's easier than ever to hit a hammock class—and not just for the fat burn and huge boost to your fitness level. Here's what really sets aerial workouts apart from the grounded alternatives.
1. No skills (or shoes!) requiredLet the ACE study test subjects serve as examples: Sixteen randomly selected women, ages 18 to 45, proved you can go into aerial workouts pretty much cold and still get the hang of things. Most aerial yoga studios have classes for first-timers, and AIR offers a "foundation" class for those just starting out.
2. It's one of the best ab workouts around"A benefit of taking your routine off the ground is that you lose your point of stability; you'll start to engage your core immediately without even realizing it," says Lindsey Duggan, the owner of AIR Aerial Fitness–Los Angeles.
"It honestly has been the most effective ab workout I've seen in a while." Indeed, not only did the women in the ACE study trim an inch, but there is also this anecdotal evidence from Dalleck: Almost all of them commented on feeling as if their core strength improved dramatically over six weeks.
3. You'll flip for the thrill of it. Imagine how much fun it is getting to play acrobat for an hour. Suddenly you're doing gymnastic tricks that you might not normally try without an assist from the suspension silk. "The fun factor is what gets our clients to stick with the classes," Duggan says. And you don't need research to tell you that if you enjoy your workout, you'll probably do it more often.
4. Mat poses become easier to masterBeen working on your headstand or forearm stand in yoga? Forget kicking up against a wall and consider this: "The silk wraps around your body and supports you in certain difficult poses like inversions, giving you the experience of how a pose should feel," Duggan says. In other words, taking a few aerial classes might raise your game in your regular yoga classes as well.
5. It counts as cardio tooThe ACE researchers figured there would be full-body firming. "Study participants increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass all over, so it's likely that aerial yoga provides strength-building benefits," Dalleck says. (Expect to see definition in your shoulders and arms especially, Duggan says.) But the scientists were surprised at just how cardio intensive this form of yoga can be. "At the outset of the study, we didn't necessarily anticipate that the physiological responses to aerial yoga would align with those of other, more traditional forms of cardio exercises, like cycling and swimming," Dalleck says. They found that the calorie burn—320 calories in one 50-minute aerial yoga session—is in fact comparable to that of power walking.
6. It's zero-impactWhether or not you have knee problems, adding some low- or no-impact workouts is great for you ,and aerial classes are exactly that easy on the joints, Dalleck says.
7. You'll walk away feeling ZenResearch shows that mind-body activities can reduce stress, and aerial yoga is no exception. Many classes end with you lying in savasana, cocooned in a hammock as you gently swing from side to side. Talk about blissing out!
By Caitlin Carlson | Jun 29, 2016
Visste du at yoga og meditasjon kan reparere skader i arvestoffet vårt?
Slike skader i arvestoffet kan forårsakes av ulike former for stress og påkjenning, noe som i sin tur øker inflammasjon i kroppen, sykdomsutvikling og aldring. Det er gode nyheter at forskning viser hvordan body-mind aktiviteter som yoga, Tai Chi og meditasjon bidrar til god fysisk og mental helse
Balancing activities like Tai Chi, yoga and meditation are touted for their ability to promote a sense of well-being and reduce stress, but is there more to it than meets the eye? While these exercises are known for being great ways to relax, new research has shown that their benefits extend far past the ephemeral. The relief mind-body interventions can offer isn’t just mental; in fact, these activities can actually bring about physical changes at the molecular level.
A recent study led by scientists from Coventry University and Radboud University have shown that mind-body interventions can turn back molecular reactions within your DNA that cause disease and depression.
The study’s lead researcher Ivana Buric, from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, commented, “These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs [mind-body interventions] cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.”
Buric also noted that millions of people are already reaping the benefits of mind-body exercises like yoga and Tai Chi, without even realizing how truly beneficial these activities are for their bodies. Buric states that while more studies still need to be done to fully ascertain the scope of what mind-body intervention can do, she believes that their research is a key building block for future research efforts.
Published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, their study analyzes more than a decades’ worth of research on how mind-body intervention strategies can impact the behavior of DNA. Genetic expression was a focal point of the team’s research, because the way genes are activated to produce proteins can have a system-wide impact. The biological composition of the brain, body and immune system can all be affected by the way genetic proteins are expressed.
In total, the team reviewed 18 studies with a combined 846 participants. The experts determined that when looked at as a whole, the 11 years of data “reveal a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of MBIS [mind-body interventions], and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health.”
It’s known that when a person undergoes a stressful event, their body goes into what’s often known as the “flight or fight” response. This process also triggers the production of a molecule that regulates gene expression, known as nuclear factor kappa B, or NF-kB.
“NF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation at cellular level,” as Science Daily explains. While this reaction is useful temporarily, when it is consistent over time, it can be quite damaging and increase the risk of diseases like cancer and disorders like depression. It can even accelerate the aging process.
However, the research team found that people who practice mind-body interventions on a regular basis showcase a reduction in the production of NF-kB and related cytokines. In turn, this leads to a decrease and reversal of pro-inflammatory gene expression. Ultimately, this lowers the risk of inflammation-related conditions.
Past research on meditation and other similar activities has also indicated that these exercises can have far-reaching effects on the brain and body. For example, recent research has shown that meditation can help keep your brain youthful and on average, reduce “brain age” by over seven years. Earlier this year, a research team from Harvard University also found that yoga can elicit positive changes in metabolic function.
These mind-body activities are clearly a force to be reckoned with.