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Yoga appsThe ancient art of yoga is not something we often think of in conjunction with our modern obsession with portable technologies, such as smart phones and tablets. Yoga promotes mindfulness and deep independent thought: logic dictates that this facets are best achieved away from the glare of the computer screen and our increasing dependence on portable media. However, as technology and our dependence on it grows, app makers are seeing the potential to combine our love of smart technology with our love of yoga, and some of the results are exceptional: both useful, and complementary to traditional yoga. The right app can help you to enhance your home practice, track your daily poses, and even work out how many calories you are burning during each yoga session. Here are some of the best apps currently available on the market that could help to both enhance and improve your yoga:

Daily Yoga (Free)

Suitable for both Apple and Android phones and tablets, the Daily Yoga app is an ideal choice for busy yoga enthusiasts on the go. It offers a selection of relaxing yoga music that you can enjoy as you practice your poses, but the best feature of this app is the HD videos it contains, which will work you through a series of pose sequences and provide both visual and vocal instructions. Whilst there is no substitute for attending a yoga class with a qualified teacher, if you don’t have the time to go to as many classes as you would like, and would like to work out at home too, then this app is the perfect complementary tool to your regular classes.

Daily Yoga Quotes (Free)

The Daily Yoga Quotes App is only available of Apple operating systems, meaning that it only works on iPhone and iPad products, however if you have an Apple phone or tablet then this is the ideal app to nourish the spiritual core of your yogic self. Mindfulness and spirituality play a key part in good yoga practice, and this app taps into that perfectly by providing its users with a thought provoking daily yoga quote. For example: “When you live your life with an appreciation of coincidences, and their meanings, you connect with the underlying field of infinite possibilities.” Whilst the app is very simplistic and doesn’t include any yoga-specific exercises, it is a great way of encouraging mindful thought on a daily basis.

5 Minute Yoga (Free)

If you’re new to yoga and short on time then 5 minute yoga is the one app you should have on your phone: suitable for both apple and android operating systems, this app is perfect for beginners. This app conveniently lays out full 5 minute yoga sessions that users can learn and fit into their lives, anytime, anywhere. Again, the use of this app will be best when used in conjunction with a series of offline classes with a qualified professional, but if you’re looking to learn yoga and allow it to enhance your life but are time-poor then this is the perfect system.

Down Dog (Free)

Are you an experienced yogi that often feels bored completing the same yoga routines over and over? The Down Dog is the perfect app for you! This app is designed to break yoga enthusiasts from their rut by delivering a new routine and series of poses and positions every time you use it. Perfect for both Apple and Android users, this app lets you select a playlist, your mood, and how long you would like your yoga session to last for before delivering a tailor made class to your phone, just for you Best suited to experienced yogis, because of the wide range of poses it includes, this app is considered one of the best on the market for enjoying yoga sessions from the comfort of your own home.

References

 “The best yoga apps of 2016”, Healthlinehttp://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/top-yoga-iphone-android-apps

“10 Mobile apps every yogi should have”, Yoga Londonhttp://www.yogalondon.net/monkey/10-mobile-apps-every-yogi-should-have/

“Cheap insurance for all types of tablets”, Qhttp://www.quotezone.co.uk/tablet-insurance.htm

“6 best apps for yoga and meditation”, Yoga Journalhttp://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/6-best-apps-for-yoga-and-meditation/#1

“Best Yoga apps for iPad and iphone to master Yoga”, iGeeks Bloghttps://www.igeeksblog.com/best-yoga-apps-for-the-iphone-ipad/

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Yoga And Modern Medicine

yogaYoga has been used as a ‘medical’ discipline for centuries [1] – although its original adherents would not have thought of it as such. As a fusion of the physical and the spiritual, yoga was always known to have healing properties, but these were often considered tangential to the discipline’s main aim of enhancing spiritual and personal efficacy. However, in more recent years, the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga have been cruelly separated by a great many sources. Some use yoga as a purely physical exercise, neglecting the spiritual aspects in the name of getting a toned body [2]. Others use it as a purely spiritual discipline, neglecting correct posture etc in favor of higher consciousness. However, despite this, the world of modern medicine is increasingly turning its eyes upon yoga and its potential for healing. And when we look at yoga as a modern healing tool, we begin to see that yoga truly does need to be considered as a holistic – i.e. physical and spiritual – medium in order to achieve its full effects.

Yoga For Mental Health

One of the main points of intersection for modern medicine and yoga is that of mental health. Studies have found that substance abusers going through withdrawal benefit very much from yoga sessions – not only because it helps to ease the discomfort in their suffering bodies, but because it helps them to reconnect with those bodies on a deeper level. This new sense of connection often engenders respect, and enables people who have been abusing their bodies for years to take detoxing seriously [3], and to commit to kicking their damaging habits. Simultaneously, it helps them to relax, and combats feelings of depression, inadequacy, and anxiety which often afflict recovering addicts. Needless to say, these effects are also fantastic for people suffering from other neuroses. Modern doctors are increasingly recommending that their patients undertake a course of yoga for mental health reasons [4]. However, the reason yoga works so well for mental health is that it acts on the mind THROUGH the body, rather than (as many other forms of mental health therapy do) working on the mind from an external source.

Yoga For Pain Relief

Several studies have proven yoga effective in reducing the experience of pain. On a very simple level, the practice of yoga can help to sort out postural issues, and generally strengthens the body. This can reduce or even outright eradicate the symptoms of many muscular and skeletal problems [5]. So far, so obvious. However, yoga can also help with more ephemeral pain – despite having no apparent ‘physical’ action upon the source of the pain. Patients suffering from the pain of chronic pancreatitis were found to consider their pain improved after a course of yoga [6]. What is interesting about this is that the yoga had had no tangible effect upon the condition itself – what had changed, it seems, was the patient’s experience of their pain. Pain is a complicated medical conundrum, but we know that a lot of it originates within the mind. It is this pain that the yoga seemed to be working on. Scientists are not entirely sure how yoga achieves this, but it’s thought that yoga’s power to reduce stress and boost mood also improves the patient’s own perception of the pain they’re experiencing. Yoga’s effects on the mind, therefore, percolate down through the body, altering our experience of physical problems.

Interconnected Yoga

Modern medicine has not been slow to capitalise upon yoga’s painkilling and mental health potential. And the research it’s doing into yoga’s modern medical possibilities reveals the fundamental mind-body interconnectedness of the discipline. This is something which we all once knew, and all took for granted. However, in recent years, many have lost sight of this fact. They’ve ‘separated’ a practice which needs to be considered a holistic ‘whole’ in order to function correctly into component ‘parts’ – the physical and the mental/spiritual. On their own, these aspects are of little use. As modern medical research is showing us, each ‘part’ relies on the other to do its job. This is something we could all do with remembering as we engage in our own yogic disciplines.

[1] “A Brief History Of Yoga: From Ancient Hindu Scriptures To The Modern, Westernized Practice”

[2]  “6-Minute Total-Body Toning Yoga”

[3]  “Your Guide to Holistic Detoxification from Drugs and Alcohol”

[4]  “Yoga for Psychiatry and Mental Health: An Ancient Practice with Modern Relevance”

[5]  “3 Ways Yoga Improves Your Joint System And Skeletal Structure”

[6] “Yoga for rehabilitation in chronic pancreatitis”

Commitment TherapyLeading rehabilitation centres across the globe have been adopting yoga and mindful meditation into their programmes, owing to the unique blend of benefits bestowed by these ancient practices, just one of which involves the lowering of stress hormone levels. In this post we shall discuss gold standard therapies for rehabilitation, highlighting the ways in which mindfulness can enhance their healing abilities:

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): This is a cognitive-behavioural type of treatment developed at the University of Washington by Marsha Linehan, to help clients with self-harming and suicidal tendencies. Since its inception, it has come to be used to treat many challenging mental conditions, including PTSD and addiction. The aim is to gently help the patient realise the connection between how they think, feel and behave, and the way changing just one of these three processes can have beneficial effects on wellbeing. DBT invites the patient and the therapist to accept reality while being open to positive change. Some skills taught by the therapist to the patient include mindfulness (observing, describing and participating in a situation without judging it), interpersonal communication skills, emotional regulation and distress tolerance.

Mindfulness—Based Stress Reduction: This therapy is considered a complement to traditional medical and psychological treatments and is used with a wide variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and fatigue. Patients are taught to “pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” By becoming aware of their thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise, patients can become much more in tune to emotions such as stress, which are an important factor in drug use and relapses. Important studies have shown that mindfulness limits experiential avoidance by promoting nonjudgmental acceptance of the thoughts and emotions one is encountering. Mindfulness also interrupts the tendency to respond to tension via substance abuse. Mindfulness practice has been proven to help with cravings, by teaching us to react with awareness rather than automatically.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy involves accepting that some things have escaped beyond their control, while taking positive steps to make a change. Therapists help patients (and those seeking to overcome addiction) how to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively, using mindfulness skills to find positive outlets for emotions such as stress, without the need to resort to drugs and alcohol. Patients are also taught to discover and stay true to their core values in life; those which alone are capable of inspiring them to embrace real, lasting change.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: The core of this type of therapy is to become acquainted with the states of mind that can lead to drug use, while learning to develop a new relationship to these feelings. Those who seek an escape from stress, conflict and anger through drugs, can learn to control their ‘fight or flight response,’ which is invoked when we are forced to face stressful or traumatic circumstances. Mindfulness invokes the parasympathetic response, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure and enabling us to remain in the present moment. Mindfulness can also be used to deal with the anxiety, pain and depression which ensues when an addict attempts to kick the habit. A study published in the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine has shown that mindfulness meditation in particular can help curb stress and pain to a significant degree, thereby making the practice ideal for individuals facing difficult life situations and persons seeking rehabilitation treatment. Mindfulness is also commonly used in Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention therapy, which focuses on being finely tuned into the circumstances, people, situations and emotions that can lead to a relapse.

Mindfulness, whether used as an independent technique or in meditation and yoga sessions, has been found in numerous studies to have beneficial effects for those undergoing rehabilitation treatment. Additionally, mindfulness based interventions appear safe and are highly satisfying for those relying on them and the positive effects are long-lasting. This has led specialists in the field of drug rehabilitation to rely on mindfulness techniques as part of both inpatient and outpatient programmes. Like yoga, Tai Chi and Nature and horticultural therapy, mindfulness is a natural yet powerful way to curb stress, and give the mind the time it needs to formulate successful ways to face burdens that can sometimes seem insurmountable.

Further Reading:

http://www.rehabs.com/pro-talk-articles/is-mindfulness-an-emerging-treatment-for-addictions/

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/43227935_Mindfulness-Based_Therapies_for_Substance_Use_Disorders_Part_2

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/03/03/JCO.2012.48.2752

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

http://www.mindful.org/the-science-of-mindfulness/

https://nau.edu/research/feature-stories/mindfulness-training-has-positive-health-benefits/

http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/common_college_health_issues/mindfulness.php

shopping fashionConsumerism is at all-time high in India, and selling like hot cakes is nothing but the idea of online shopping. The industry that is barely a few years old has emerged as one of the best options for many budding entrepreneurs for minting money.  No matter what, the consumers dwelling in the materialistic world have loved the idea of easy shopping. That’s the reason why the billions of dollars are being poured into online businesses in India, and nobody is complaining. E-stores are mushrooming to the delight of the customers.

Now, coming to the facts, online shopping in India has seen 128% growth in interest from the consumers in the year 2011 and 2012 while it was only 40% growth in 2010 to 2011. The year 2012 was actually the beginning of new era in terms of retail industry. The e-commerce industry continues to see a rise even when it faces certain roadblocks.

As the studies go, 90% of the online shoppers are planning to purchase more products online. Not that disillusioned with the delivery glitches, more and more buyers have slowly been addicted to the online shopping that also reflects their positive attitude towards e-shops.

But what exactly they prefer to buy? The popularity of e-stores shows that it’s apparels. Yes, apparels and accessories are among the top category for the buyers. 84% of the buyers are keen on shopping for these products, reveal reports. The 71% are more towards electronics. Beauty and personal care is 64%, while books are 62% and household products 61%.

The studies and reports are pointing towards a good rise in the industry. There is no doubt that online retail has been growing at an unprecedented rate. The rise of fashionistas to the advent of techie freaks, the culture of smartphones, tablets and high-street brands is catching up like wild fire. The prime reasons why the generation Y is deviating towards online shopping are the feature like cash on delivery, discount season, cool offers provided by the e-stores. The busy monotony of life has also led people to buy products online as shopping from regular malls and marketplace demands energy and much time.

As the Internet rules the roost, online shopping has turned out to be a great boon for the Indian retail industry. Being an e-shopper is thus cool.

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yoga and SexualityIt can be difficult to keep a centered, grounded, spiritual outlook on life in the modern world. Holding closely to your spiritual center while living a physical life has always been complicated – there’s a reason why spiritual people have traditionally spent time in seclusion – but the deeply conflicted views of today’s society towards even the most basic facts of our humanity have a tendency to creep into our unconscious thoughts without our noticing. The natural sex drive is particularly hard hit, twisted by the dual messages surrounding us: the body is dirty and must be kept covered, yet the most valuable commodity is sex appeal. Yoga can help to bring us into alignment with a healthier, more balanced view of sex, giving us the tools we need to resist the confused messages about sexuality and sensuality we receive simply by existing in our society.

Reconnecting with our physical selves: Most people have an adversarial relationship with their body. It’s too slow, too ill, too fat, too much or too little of something; even healthy activities like exercise are usually promoted in terms of changing your body rather than embracing health. Although spirituality is sometimes seen as separate from the physical world, this is untrue, and when we disconnect from our bodies the spiritual element of our sex drive suffers. Yoga allows us to remember the ways in which our body supports us, and the sheer pleasure that can be found through inhabiting it fully.

Towards a spirituality of the physical: On a related note, yoga is inherently both a physical and a spiritual exercise, one which embodies the possibilities of a spirituality which does not reject our bodies as “less than”. For those who find themselves at a loss when trying to discover how their sex life can have a truly spiritual dimension, yoga practice can teach by example. After all, at its most basic sex is exercise with a partner, and yoga shows us how much meaning can be present in simple “exercise”.

Addressing physical issues: Modern medicine has reduced some of the stigma related to male sexual problems, but the issue still plagues many happy couples and turns spiritual moments into stressful ones. Although all men suffering from sexual problems like erectile dysfunction should speak to their doctor about conventional treatments like medication, yoga can provide a complementary boost in overcoming sexual difficulties. Relaxation of smooth muscle tissue is critical to proper functioning, but this can be interfered with by stress and anxiety; yoga can not only reduce overall anxiety levels, but also provides the tools to relax again during times of heightened stress. Of course, while medication and stress reduction can treat the symptoms, the causes of sexual issues (smoking, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more) can also be addressed through yoga, making it a truly holistic way to treat any sexual issues which may arise.

Increasing flexibility and decreasing pain levels, physically and mentally: It is difficult to open yourself to a spiritual perspective when you’re uncomfortable, in pain, or overly conscious of what you can and cannot do comfortably. As it encourages greater flexibility and may aid in controlling pain levels for those suffering from chronic conditions, yoga clears these concerns from the path towards a more spiritual sex life. In a similar vein, the self-confidence and increased self-esteem built by practicing yoga can help quiet the inner pain of wondering what we look like, if our partner really likes us, or other little voices which can draw us back to ego and away from connecting spiritually.

Holistic spirituality: When we increase our attention to spirituality in one facet of our lives, we will naturally find our spiritual outlook widening to encompass other actions and emotions. Sex, as a natural part of our lives, is not immune to this; it is difficult to find spirituality in our sex lives when we’re not spiritual at other moments, but it is likewise difficult to keep spirituality outside of the bedroom when we begin to integrate it into our worldview. The practice of yoga is one way to introduce greater levels of spiritual awareness into our day-to-day life, allowing us to fully access a life in which the sacred and the physical are truly intertwined.

Sources:

It’s no stretch — Yoga may benefit heart disease (Harvard Health Publications)
Students find peace with yoga (University of Cincinnati)

Wellness: Spiritual Wellness (UC Riverside)

Yoga: Brief History of an Idea (Princeton)
Yoga for Smoking Cessation (ClinicalTrials.gov)
Yoga reduces stress; now it’s known why (University of California)