July is Hydration Awareness Month, an observance emphasizing the importance of drinking plenty of fluids during exercise or hot weather. And if you feel that yoga practitioners are exempt from the need to hydrate, think again. At Dahn Yoga, we stress that, even when you don't seem to be sweating very much during ki energy techniques, it is essential to replenish your fluids.
The reason is simple. When you lose water through sweat, your body's natural equilibrium starts to tilt away from your cool ki energy and toward your warm energy. This imbalance goes against the very purpose of ki energy manipulation, which is designed to bring your inner forces into alignment.
Of course, on a more physiological level, dehydration is just plain dangerous. The National Institutes of Health warns that too little fluid in the body can be quite harmful, especially on a hot day. It emphasizes awareness of the signs of dehydration, which include dry mouth, lethargy, dizziness and the absence of the need to urinate.
To treat a mild or moderate lack of fluids, it is best to drink plenty of water, natural juices or sports drinks. Also, to prevent dehydration, consider doing yoga indoors, wearing loose-fitting clothing, drinking water and avoiding coffee, alcohol and salty foods.
In the Dahn Yoga community, there have been plenty of recommendations flying around lately about how men can best supplement their yoga routines. This is mainly because, last week, we celebrated Men's Health Week, a time to get together and reflect on the unique wellness challenges facing American men.
One of the suggestions that we've heard repeatedly is that male yoga practitioners may want to try drinking hot tea after a long, relaxing class. This isn't a bad idea at all, as Yahoo! Sports recently explained.
The news source noted that drinking tea – specifically, a hot brewed green or black herbal tea from a small, handle-less mug – is an excellent way to reinforce the relaxation brought on by a yoga session.
It added that studies have indicated that antioxidants, like the ones found in a piping hot cup of green tea, may help reduce the risk of arthritis, memory problems and heart disease, all of which become bigger problems for men as they age.
So if you're ready to have a post-Father's Day bliss-out session at Dahn Yoga, consider supplementing our ki energy techniques with a warm, steaming cup of tea.
Practicing yoga is something that anyone can do, regardless of age, background or skill level. So why is a prominent newspaper questioning the value of Chicago yoga classes for tweens? Well, it's not questioning so much as weighing the value, and the holistic system ends up being portrayed pretty favorably.
The news organization in question is the Chicago Tribune, and the query it sought to answer was whether yoga might be better than competitive sports for tweens – that is, for pre-teens.
A full panel of staff contributors addressed this issue. Overall, their conclusion was that yoga is at least as good as sports for tweens' physical health, mood, social growth and personal development goals.
One contributor explained that yoga "increases [tweens'] focus and ability to calm themselves, which I've found to be one of the great, lasting benefits of yoga." And if that weren't enticing enough, they added that "while team sports are great, I think it's important to promote physical activities that kids can still be doing at age 80. Like yoga."
Others agreed, pointing out that yoga poses little risk of injury and boosts self-esteem. Both of these benefits are vital for tweens, who face the gauntlet of puberty.
With a baby on the way, are you thinking of doing some prenatal yoga? In the third trimester or the very first week, this holistic healing regimen can be great for expectant moms. However, it's important to keep a few caveats in mind, so that you and your baby can stay safe and healthy right up until you give birth.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine agrees that prenatal yoga is perfectly safe, provided that mothers-to-be exercise a little caution and keep their poses conservative.
Want some tips for keeping your prenatal yoga routine safe? Try avoiding the following poses, at least until you've recovered from childbirth:
1. Deep forward bends or twists. According to FitSugar, these poses can put pressure on your uterus' arteries. If you really feel the urge to bend forward, do it with your legs splayed wide to give your blood vessels room.
2. Crunches. Certain postures tense your abdominal muscles, which could cause your abs to separate.
3. Lying supine. Being on your back can feel good, but this posture may also put pressure on vital arteries.
4. Extreme poses. It should almost go without saying that postures that require amazing flexibility should be put on hold until after your baby arrives.
Yoga is great for soothing joint aches, easing tightened muscles, increasing flexibility, reducing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. But these are all physiological effects. Can yoga's ki energy healing do anything for anxiety, depression or other psychological conditions?
According to a study newly published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, it can.
Conducted by researchers in Massachusetts and New York, the investigation examined the effects that yoga has on the brain's levels of GABA (an important neurotransmitter) and on the autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The team found that, in general, yoga seems to be of benefit to people with mood disorders because it increases the levels of GABA found in brain tissue, as well as balancing the electrical loads placed on the body's nerves and neurons.
Researchers added that these effects indicate that yoga may help reduce the severity of conditions like depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, the regimen is also perfectly suited for day-to-day healing. So even if you feel healthy and happy, it's never a bad idea to look into a nice Illinois yoga class.
If you are expecting a child and need a soothing routine to help you prepare for labor and delivery, then yoga may be your best bet. That's because a string of recently published studies all indicate that prenatal yoga classes come with a whole host of benefits.
Consider a paper that appeared in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. In it, a team of researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine found that prenatal yoga poses and massage helped reduce maternal anxiety prior to giving birth.
Not only that, but the holistic therapies were also associated with greater birth weight and a lower risk of premature delivery!
Another study, this one conducted at East Carolina University, found similar (if more emotion-centric) benefits linked to prenatal yoga. To wit: Women who engaged in yoga late in their third trimester appeared to experience occasional improvements in optimism, well-being and their sense of personal power.
Other, similar investigations have turned up results that are almost exactly the same. Clearly, expectant mothers have a lot to gain from doing yoga in any trimester!
Sure, we all know that holistic therapies can help us relax while rejuvenating our minds, but can these techniques measurably reduce stress or improve one's disposition? They can, according to a researcher at the University of York, who recently uncovered the mood-elevating effects of ki energy techniques.
The results, which appeared in the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy, were unmistakable. Health sciences expert Rosie Robson found that yoga – and physical activity in general – has a distinctly positive effect on how you feel.
In the words of the author, "exercise and yoga significantly increase vigor and reduce depression, tension, confusion, anxiety and anger."
Not bad for a mind-body regimen that you'll find just a short walk or drive away, at your nearest Chicago yoga studio.
Robson based her results on questionnaires delivered to participants before and after a 60-minute yoga intervention. She noted that the holistic system appears to be almost perfectly suited to help adults improve low mood.
This may be one reason why so many physicians encourage their patients to try mind-body therapies (MBTs) like yoga. According to a recent poll, more than 6 million Americans have used MBTs at their doctor's suggestion.
Chicago yoga studios are increasingly catering to kids with special needs. In a report appearing in the Chicago Tribune, many parents of children with special needs praised the holistic health regimen for the remarkable effects it's had on their sons and daughters.
Louise Feeney told the newspaper that yoga has helped her daughter, Erin, blow out her first birthday candle.
Before age 19, Erin had trouble doing so because of her cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscles, range of motion, facial expression and diaphragm strength. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 303 American children has the disorder.
However, the Feeneys haven't let it get them down. After learning how to use ki energy and improve her lung capacity, Erin blew out her first birthday candle at her 19th birthday party, and another at her 20th.
"Not two or three, but one, and one is way better than none," her mother told the news source.
The Tribune noted that yoga is currently used as an adjunct therapy for all sorts of pediatric disorders, from autism to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
With the weight of the world bearing down on your shoulders, isn't it about time you took a few moments for yourself in a Chicago yoga class? It'd do you some good. After all, by utilizing meditation, deep breathing and ki energy manipulation, you can radically ease your anxiety and unburden your mind.
That was the thrust of a recent guest post at Chicago Now, written by Elizabeth Rago. An author and mother of three, she explained that attaining true serenity is all about using yoga breathing to cool your head and warm your belly.
"This simple act of purposefully taking extra time during the day to fill my lungs with more oxygen has helped me be patient with my children," she wrote, adding that deep breathing also helps de-stress her at work and in emotionally charged situations.
Mindful breathing has helped humans relax and center themselves for thousands of years. The key lies in the modulation of the air going into and out of the lungs. This vital oxygen supply has a big bearing on how your spiritual energy circulates throughout your system.
So the next time you feel frazzled and frantic, take a deep breath, hold it a moment and then say "Ahhhhhh…"
How did Chicago yoga instructor Susan Ginsberg get started teaching ki energy healing techniques to her students? It all began in 2007, when she met a very special person who was going through some serious health issues.
At the time, Ginsberg was already a yoga teacher, but she had not yet incorporated ki energy manipulation into her regular regimens – that is, until she she met a cancer patient who was in the middle of treatment.
"She wanted me to teach yoga, meditation, relaxation to her and to her close friends and family so they could support her," Ginsberg told the Chicago Sun-Times. "She had said something to me, that I was the angel on her shoulder during all of our treatments, helping her stop and breathe, and it stuck with me."
Today, Ginsberg takes what she taught this one student and instructs all of her pupils on how to breathe deeper and freer.
She told the news source that manipulating your flow of ki is often as easy as inhaling and exhaling in a slower, measured rhythm. In this way, enthusiasts can moderate their anxiety and let their bodies begin to heal.