Sunday, December 27, 2009

Benefits of Yoga 4

I am continuing to share the wonderful benefits of yoga. The benefits come from Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners.

Blood Pressure - If you've got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) -and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.

The Heart- When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you can lower your risk heart attack and relieve depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don't get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increase endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise --all reflections of improved aerobic conditioning.

Worry- Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn't sound like much, consider these facts. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Plus, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels leads to what researchers call "food-seeking behavior" (the kind that drives you to eat when you're upset, angry or stressed). The body takes those calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

Join me for yoga in the New Year and experience all the awesome benefits of yoga.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Benefits of Yoga 3

There are even more wonderful benefits to yoga practice. Check out these additional benefits from Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners article "Count on Yoga".

Standing -Your head is like a bowling ball- big, round, and heavy. When it's balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for 8 to 12 hours a day and it's no wonder you're tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.

Flow -Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is release. Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can me pumped to the lungs to be fleshly oxygenated. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.

Lymphatic- When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Benefits of Yoga 2

Here are even more reasons to get into a yoga class. More from the Yoga Journal’s Yoga for Beginners article “Count on Yoga”.

Joints- Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected cartilage can eventually wear out like worn-out brake pads, exposing the underlying bone.

Spine- Spinal disks- the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves- crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.

Bones- It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, Like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, helps strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.

Why not increase your joint, spinal and bone health? Dive into a local yoga class and experience it for yourself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Benefits of Yoga

I am all about sharing. I found this wonderful article in Yoga Journal about the vast benefits of yoga so I have to share it with you all.

From Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners

Flexibility- Improved flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you will probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if your stick with it, you'll notice gradually loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That's no coincidence. Tight hips stain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.

Strength- Strong Muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from such conditions as arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.

I have students who come to me all the time that have muscles mass and no range of motion with their muscles. Many can not even touch their toes. But when they have a few sessions and see themselves getting more flexible they are always so grateful and excited. The light bulb goes on and they start to understand why it is important to have flexible muscles and well as strong ones.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga for Weight Loss is a holistic wellness program that incorporates mind/body health, fitness, and wellness into the weight loss regimen. Participants will have weight loss counseling, meal planning, yoga, Pilates and customized cardio. Registration runs Sept 28-Oct 2. Program runs from October 5th-Nov 6th. Payment Plans are available.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Taste of Sweetwater |

A Taste of Sweetwater

Shared via AddThis

Join me @ Sweetwater Wellness Center for free class and lots of fun NOON, Saturday, August 15th. Click link above for more details.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some Like it Hot –The benefits of Hot Yoga-Updated

“I don’t like to sweat” is the response from those who shun the idea of Hot Yoga. However, the benefits of hot yoga far out weight the concerns. Hot yoga increases muscle flexibility, repairs muscles, stimulates weight loss, and helps the heart work more efficiently. The heat is a wonderful form of therapy and has been since man created fire.

Sweat it Out
First and foremost sweating is good for the body. Your skin is one of your largest organs and sweating is one of the best ways to relieve toxins, which can be harmful and create problems within the body systems. Also, the body was designed to sweat. We have been so condition to the air conditioning that we eliminate one of our primary functions needed for not just healthy skin but also a healthy body and mind.

What’s hot?
Hot yoga is a form of yoga more formally known as Bikram Yoga after founder Bikram Choundrey. It is also one of the most popular forms of yoga. It is defined by 2 breathing techniques and 26 postures practiced in a room heated between 95-100 degrees in order to warm the body up from the inside out.

Why heat?
Heat is a great form of therapy. Even with today’s technology you will see in most major gyms a sauna, Jacuzzi, and steam rooms. There are hot patches you can place on your body that stay in place to offer direct heat to certain areas. It is no accident that where there is heat there is an opportunity to heal the body.

Our bodies maintain a certain heat level, which is regulated by the nervous system. In hot yoga we heat the body from the inside out and in turn increase our metabolic activity. When we are heated our body responds by increasing circulation. The heat is then transferred from each cell to the fluid between cells and delivered to the surface as sweat. This is called heat loss evaporation and is the body’s key to regulating internal heat.

How we benefit from this process is wonderful because the heat-loss process stimulates and cleanses on many levels. This passive form of exercise, sweating to cool the body down, strengthens the body’s systems. The increase in blood flow strengthens the heart allowing it to work more efficiently and when that happens you lower your blood pressure.

Hot Yoga detoxifies the body and offers other benefits. With increase in circulation the body’s vital organs and glands get to move toxins, including fat-soluble toxins, out more quickly for elimination. The heat stimulates fat loss by releasing these fat-soluble toxins. Your white blood cells production is increased which boosts your immune system. Heat also speeds up the healing of connective tissue injuries and increases your flexibility.

Heat Precautions
I have heard other yogis say they do not like the heat because of the possibility of severe dehydration. However, this concern arises because many of our students don’t properly hydrate for none heated classes. It is imperative that you keep the body hydrated for any form of exercise. However, if at anytime you feel overheated or dehydrated simply kneel down on the mat and drink some water. Attendees should never feel pressure to continue if overwhelmed. I say all the time in class that yoga is not a competition.

Let it Burn
Bikram and Hot yoga
The burn: 636 calories per hour
Same as: An hour of jogging

If you are interested in Hot Yoga join me Saturday @ 11am . You can find us online at or email

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Year, New You- Eating, Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about eating and made suggestions on how to track, and improve your eating habits. However, for some people understanding how to eat, what to eat, and even proper portion sizes is still a mystery. So let’s put it all on the table.

Daily requirements.
Our diets should include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads, beans and legumes, seeds and nuts, honey, and milk or milk alternatives. For those of you who eat meat the suggestion is to eat chicken, fish and eggs that are organic or free range. Note: Avoid red meat and processed meat because they sit in the intestines and clog up the elimination process, which also backs up the arteries and causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks. If you just gotta have red or processed meat, the best advice is to eat it in moderation and not as apart of your daily diet.

Portion Sizes
There is such a bigger is better mentality in most of our lives. And our attitudes about portions have gone from way beyond what the body can handle. We have this entitlement mentality that we can eat whatever and however we want. We can super-size our meals and think in most cases that we should. Our sodas are 16 to 24 oz now. Our bagels are bigger and contain 5 times more calories as one piece of toast. Our coffee has gone up to 12oz for a small. Even alcoholic beverages have upped their sizes to keep up with our need for more.

So, if you curious, here is a great way to see and know how much is really too much.

½ Cup is about the size of half a baseball (pudding cup)
1 Cup is roughly the size of a small fist (yogurt container, orange)
1 oz is about the size of your pinky or a 1-inch cube (cheese stick or sandwich slice)
3 oz is roughly the size of a deck of cards (small burger patty or chicken breast)
6 oz looks like a restaurant burger, split chicken breast or a typical lunch portion
4 fl oz is the amount in a kid’s milk carton
12 fl oz is the amount in a standard can of beer or soda (it was 8oz when I was a kid)

Here are some additional tips. These tips are a combination of expert advice and things that work for me and my yoga class attendees.

Water. It is suggested that we drink 8-10 8oz glasses of water a day. Water helps improve your energy level. It helps remove toxins from the body. And our body is 70 percent water so it is important to keep our water intake high to aid our body’s systems.

Chew your food well. Digestion starts in the mouth. If we are gulping down our food we are forcing the stomach to do more work than it is equipped to do.

Eat slowly. If you eat slowly your body digests better and gets the opportunity to use more of your food for fuel. Also, you can avoid problems with digestion.

Eat in moderation. Overeating will leave you feeling bloated and tired. When you overeat it takes about 90-95 percent of your body’s energy to digest your food, which is why you feel so tired. When you eat proper portions it should only take from 15-30 percent of your energy for digestion.

Try not to drink with your meal. This one has been up for debate for a while, but the thought is that you are diluting the stomachs digestive fluids, which will require more time to breakdown foods.

Avoid eating late. The body has a cycle of digestion, assimilation, and elimination. When we eat late, it throws off the cycle. Also, when you eat late and then go to bed your body’s energy is not focused on resting, which can leave you feeling tired in the morning. And when digestion doesn’t happen properly that can have harmful effects like weight gain, and digestive problems.

Focus on what you are doing. Many of us are not mindful when we are eating. We say the same grace and commence to eat. But try paying attention to what you are eating from the textures, the flavors, on to the smell. Is this the best you can offer your body? Try to offer some type of gratitude because you are after all nourishing your body and mind and there are many who don’t have any food to eat.

Fasting. Everything needs a rest, and that includes your digestive system. When you fast you allow the body to focus the energy that is used for digestion (15-30 percent for moderate eaters 90-95 for heavy eaters) on refreshing other areas of the body. There are several types of fasts that include water only, water and juice, fresh juices, and fruit. However, before you choose to fast read up on ways to start and finish so the body can have a smooth transition. See my blog “New Year, New You-Fasting”

Eating is important. Let’s take time to give some of our attention to the way we nourish our body and give ourselves the room we need to make improvements.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Year, New You- Eating, Part 1

“I don’t live to eat, I eat to live,” Martin Payne in “Martin”.

Who could forget the hilarious episode of “Martin” when he got serious about his health and fitness. He transformed into the “black Jack Lalanne” according to Pam, and took on his fitness and health in true Martin fashion, only to be foiled by none other than his mama’s honey butter biscuits.

As a yoga instructor, the most frequent questions I get are about dieting and proper eating habits.
It seems that there is so much mystery and confusion around the proper way to nourish our bodies. Since, I am currently working with folks on yoga and weight loss, I thought this would be a great time to talk about eating.

We cannot just concentrate on ways to improve our physical body and not give thought to what we put inside. Just like our body evolves over time so have our eating habits. However, our diet tends to be the area that causes the most confusion. We try to squeeze meals into our busy schedules. There is very little connection with the food we eat unless we gain weight, or feel a strong cravings like Martin for his mama’s biscuits, or if our food choices have an adverse affect or illness (heartburn, gas, bloating, high blood pressure or diabetes). And then you have tons of fad diets with crazy rules that promise huge results only add to the confusion but deliver nothing in return.

My suggestion is to spend some time and really focus on what your body not just your mind is saying about your diet. One way to do this is to take some time to focus on how you feel not just what you think after your meals. Are you tired, sluggish, nausea, bloated, uncomfortable, etc.? Try not to get caught up in defeat, however, know that you are working on a plan and answer honestly.

The next step is to write it all down. Keep a food journal to help you track your meals and your reaction to them. Write down everything you put into your body, including beverages, even a stick of gum. The important thing here is to be honest with yourself. There is no way to change if you have no idea what you should change, so writing it down gives you a real clear picture of what you are working with. It also gives you a clue to patterns that lead you towards poor food choices.

Then take the emotions out of the equation. I know that it is easy to feel angry, guilty, and so on about your choices but really it gets you no where. Awareness is the start of change and that change won’t happen if you only focus on your feelings and not your plan. You are not going to make a change if you are too embarrassed or feel too guilty to find the true path towards your health.

Once you have a your food journal for a week or two share it with your doctor, wellness provider, nutritionist, or personal trainer you are relying on for your health and wellness plan.

The key thing to remember is that each of us has a unique body with its own set of needs. If you have issues with disease it is important to consult with your doctor or wellness provider for the proper way to go about getting on track to healthy eating habits.

Try this.
Yogis typically suggest a vegetarian diet, however, I know that really extreme for a lot of people. So start with something simple. In class I suggested introducing or reintroducing one new fruit or vegetable into your diet over the next week or two daily. (Add a fresh or organic fruit and/or vegetable because the nutrition is higher.) This fruit or vegetable should be a substitute for just one of your poor food choices like donuts, potato chips, etc. This can be the start of your transition to better eating habits.

If you have a long term plan such as becoming a vegetarian, I suggest cleansing the body first with a fast or detox. A fast will give you a great foundation and help you rebuild your food habits. Again, consult with your health or wellness provider before you begin. For more info on fasting see my previous blog.

Nourishing your body no longer has to be a mystery. Creating your good health is well within your power. Namaste.

I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you are planning to fast or to introduce a new fruit and/or vegetable.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Year, New You –Fasting

Spring is upon us now. This is a wonderful time to transition from winter by cleansing not just your home but also your body through fasting. Fasting will help you get rid of the old (that includes pounds), increase your energy level, and balance the body’s systems.

Everything needs a rest, and that includes your digestive system. When you fast you allow the body to focus energy that is used for digestion (15-30 percent for moderate eaters 90-95 for heavy eaters) on refreshing other areas of the body. There are several types of fasts that include water only, water and juice, fresh juices, and fruit. However, before you choose to fast review these tips on how to start and finish so the body can have a smooth transition.

Preparing to Fast

It is good to fast one day a week. Try to pick a day and stick with it. Choose a day when you can nurture yourself and rest. Don’t schedule anything that you don’t like. Read, watch a movie, go for a relaxing walk, or listen to some music.

Take a bath. Use a rough towel or soft brush to get rid of dead skin cells, clean the pores and encourage the release of toxins. Don’t clog the pores with heavy oils and creams.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the fast. Mark the date in your diary and give yourself time to get used to the idea.

Don’t binge the day before. This puts tremendous strain on the system and will interfere with the positive effects of the fast. You won’t be fasting, you’ll simply be purging from the day before. Make your last meal something light (soup, fruit).

If you have to cook for your family, prepare their meals the day before so you won’t have to spend too much time around food. There is no point in fasting if all you are going to think about is food.

Drinks lots of water. This will help you eliminate toxins and prevent light-headedness. A tablespoon of honey can also help if you start to feel spaced out.

Try some gentle yoga postures, deep relaxation, and breathing practices to help increase your energy and assist with the elimination process.

Wear natural fibers to absorb sweat and toxins. Artificial fabrics won’t let the skin breath and will cause the toxins to reabsorb into the skin.

Breaking the Fast
This is just as important as the fast itself. It will be a waste if you finish by stuffing yourself with high fat high sugar foods.

Prepare in advance. Plan and have ready what you are going to eat and drink to break fast when you start.

If you fast one day, take a whole day to get back to normal eating. If you fast for two days, then take two days to break fast and so on.

Break the fast with something very light that will readily digest. If you were on a water fast drink some fruit juice first. Drink it slowly don’t gulp it down. If you had fruit juice try some vegetable broth to break your fast. Gradually increase your food intake and combinations.

You might break a water fast with herb tea for breakfast, fruit juice mid morning, an apple for lunch, a banana mid afternoon and vegetable soup for dinner.

There is no point in fasting if you are going to be miserable. Fasting for a half day will give the digestive system a good rest and ensure effective assimilation and elimination. However, do still ease back into eating with the tips above.

Types of Fast

Water is the most effective way and the simplest way to cleanse the body of toxins. However, this may be too drastic if you are not used to it.

Fruit juice gives the body something more substantial. Make sure to use fresh juice preferably organic. You don’t want to add anything artificial to the body when you are cleaning it out.

Fruit is a good way to fast if you find it hard to go without food and have to keep working. Try to stick to one fruit at a time to make it easier for the body to digest and get the benefits from the cleansing properties of fruit. Melons and grapes are great to use as well as pineapples, which have great enzymes for cleansing the digestive system.

Arden’s Garden Two-Day Detox
This is a wonderful product that I have used. I love it because I am not hungry and feel wonderful while drinking it. You can purchase the Two-Day Detox already premixed at Arden’s Garden or make it yourself. The info is below. Visit them online at

The Two-Day Detox
For two days enjoy fresh citrus juices which provide the body with over 100% of the U.S. RDI essential vitamins and minerals. Specially formulated, this tested two-day juice program cleanses, detoxifies and rejuvenates the body while allowing you to perhaps also lose a few pounds.

Perfect for slimming down before or after the holidays or just prior to a special event.

What You Will Need For The Two Days:

48 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
32 oz. fresh orange juice
16 oz. fresh lemon juice
160 oz. quality steam-distilled water
Empty 1 gal. jug for mixing
Funnel (optional)

What To Do:

Mix together for each gallon:

24 oz. fresh grapefruit juice,
16 oz. fresh orange juice,
8 oz. fresh lemon juice and
80 oz. distilled water
- the detox mixture -
Drink 8 oz. every hour -til the total 128 oz. have been consumed- and that's it! No food.

Finney, Sumukhi (2003). The Yoga Handbook, A Guide to Enhancing Physical, Mental & Spiritual Well-Being, Barnes & Nobles Books

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Yoga for Creativity and Inspiration

We all have it.  It's a flash of genius, a light bulb idea, a creative talent or breakthrough concept that will change our lives and, ultimately, humanity.

We ll have gift that, if we had more time or more understanding, we could cultivate.  Sometimes they start as little projects, side jobs, even favors we do for others.  Sometimes it is the very thing that fills our daydreams and fantasies of the life we hope could be our own.  Sometimes we start the process and just can't seem to bring the vision into fruition. 

"Yoga for Creativity and Inspiration" is a program custom designed to assist you with your creative passions.  My mission is to stimulate your inspiration and creative gifts, show you how to overcome creative blocks, and teach you tools in order to complete projects. 

In this workshop you will learn how to:
  • Face distraction
  • Prolong concentration
  • Perseverance
  • Face fears
  • Create balance
  • Prioritize schedule
  • Maintain authenticity
  • Enjoy the art of revisions
"Yoga for Creativity and Inspiration" is a three-part series:

Series 1- Awaken Your Senses (Feb 2009)
Series 2-Keep the Fire Burning (TBA)
Series 3- Creative Balance (TBA)

The first series will take place February 2009.  The cost is only $40 per series and each workshop will last for 2 hours. 

The schedule includes:
  • Meditation
  • Discussion of the senses and their centers
  • Sun Salutations
  • Postures for Creativity and Inspiration
  • Breathing
  • Closing
In addition, you will receive a better understanding of the body/mind connection, and how to stimulate your creative centers.  You will also receive a personal posture and breathing guide for home practice in order to support the manifestation with your creative project.  

"Yoga for Creativity and Inspiration" will take place on Feb 28, 2009 at Yoga Hive, 777 Cleveland Ave, Suite 101, Atlanta 30315.

Space is limited.  To reserve your spot please email Make sure you put Yoga Workshop in the subject line.