Jul 12

During July, do your ki energy techniques indoors (and drink plenty of water)

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.

Jun 12

Ki energy techniques for men include drinking tea after doing yoga

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.

Mar 12

Study: Ki energy techniques help improve mood

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.

Jan 12

Chicago-area wrestlers use yoga, ki energy techniques to get flexible

Wrestling is one of the few activities in which athletes utilize almost every muscle group in the body. Others include swimming and yoga, the latter of which has been taken up by a Chicago-area wrestling team as a way to get fit and flexible through the use of ki energy techniques.

According to the Chicago Tribune, wrestlers at Glenbard West High School take weekly yoga classes in order to stay loose and limber. The trend began when assistant coach Pat McCluskey tried a beginner's Chicago yoga class at a friend's suggestion.

"I thought, man, this is so difficult, it really mimics a wrestling match," he told the news source "There's no one judging you except yourself, and [it's] the same thing with wrestling: You're the only one that knows if you're really giving your all."

McCluskey's wrestlers added that even though yoga classes initially felt like torture, the team now looks forward to coming to its weekly sessions. Reportedly, several other Chicago-area wrestling teams have taken up yoga and ki energy techniques too, as a way to get a competitive edge.

Nov 11

Ki energy healing can be used for body and mind

Though it might sound a little far-fetched at first, many healthcare professionals are encouraging their patients to look into complementary and alternative therapies (CATs) like ki energy healing. Such techniques are quite popular, in no small part because they appear to offer relief and relaxation.

The rise of physician-recommended yoga- and ki-based CATs has been meteoric. A survey published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine estimated that about 3 percent of Americans have used a mind-body therapy at the suggestion of a primary care physician.

Based on the current U.S. population, that figure is the equivalent of roughly 6.3 million adults!

Can ki energy techniques really improve well-being? Several research teams seem to think so. A group of Korean scientists from Wonkwang University, for instance, found that just one hour of ki energy training helped a group of volunteers reduce their anxiety and lower their blood levels of cortisol.

Likewise, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine announced that fibromyalgia patients who used qigong to harness their ki reported improvements in their pain levels and ranges of motion.

No wonder Dahn Yoga enthusiasts swear by their ki energy techniques!

Oct 11

Chicago yoga classes get heart disease patients moving

Having a cardiovascular condition is no joke, since heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women alike, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently, a study found that ki energy techniques may help people with heart conditions stay active.

Published as a dissertation, the investigation determined that participants with cardiovascular health problems tended to be more physically active when offered yoga for health problems.

In fact, increased levels of low-impact exercise may even improve the flexibility of the carotid artery, said author Courtney Duren. She noted that physical activity appeared to decrease arterial stiffness among participants who used yoga-based therapy or other, similar exercise regimens.

Duren's isn't the only study to conclude that mind-body practices, like those offered in Chicago yoga classes, can help people with heart disease stay active.

A report appearing in the journal Clinical Cardiology found that patients with coronary artery disease who performed yoga experienced a 70 percent improvement in arterial flexibility, compared to those who did not use the holistic regimen.

The authors described significant improvements in patients' blood pressure, body mass index and heart rate, which researchers attributed to yoga's soothing exercises.

Oct 11

Ki energy techniques help Illinois college football players prep for big game

Running drills isn't the only way that college football teams prepare for games these days. For example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Fighting Illini have incorporated ki energy techniques into their summer training regimen with excellent results.

If you see a member of the NCAA Division I team in your Chicago yoga classes, don't be too surprised. After all, the Chicago Tribune reported that the squad's offensive linemen used the holistic health system prior to their win over Arizona State University (ASU), formerly ranked number 22 in the nation.

The news source stated that the Fighting Illini had lost 10 straight games to top-25 schools prior to this match against the Sun Devils. It added that the team adopted yoga as a way to hone their physical skill while keeping them from getting psyched out by their opponents.

"Jumping around, trash talking, they're an emotional group," Graham Pocic, a center for the Illini, said of the Devils. "They like to do extra activities after the whistle. We can't let their emotion affect us on the field."

The Illini went on to edge out ASU 17-14.

This is not the first time the Illinois-based team has used yoga to great effect. Two years ago, their official university website featured a story on the team's adoption of yoga and meditation during the off season.

Sep 11

Can I use Ki energy techniques to relieve my knee pain?

Please help! I'm a 63-year-old veteran and retired data manager, and for several years now I've suffered from pretty serious knee pain caused by arthritis. I consider myself a fairly tough person, but lately the pain has become more than I can bear. I still eat right, stay in shape, exercise and take yoga classes. Is there anything I can do, short of taking meds, to relieve my knee aches? Is more yoga an option or not?

-Whit S., Chicago, IL

Well, the good news is, you're not alone. The better news is, yes, you can use yoga-based stretching, deep breathing and Ki energy techniques to reduce your knee pain.

Chronic knee pain is a widespread problem, Whit, so it may help to know that you're not alone. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed thousands of Americans about chronic pain. Ultimately, one in four adults reported suffering from bouts of aches that lasted at least one day.

The most common complaint? Knee pain, the agency said.

This isn't too surprising when you consider that, by the CDC's count, 50 million adults have some kind of arthritis – 8 million of whom have knee osteoarthritis, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes.

Fortunately, you're taking Illinois yoga classes, which is a great start. Unlike running or biking, yoga is great for your knees, since it doesn't subject them to too much downward force. Furthermore, the relaxation- and Ki energy-techniques you learn there can help you channel vital life force to your leg joints, where it's obviously needed.

The CDC points to several studies showing that yoga-based fitness exercises may help in other ways, too. One states that losing as few as 11 pounds may relieve pressure placed on your arthritic knee joint.

Another adds that adults your age who get moderate exercise at least three times a week cut their risk of knee osteoarthritis-related disability in half.

Sep 11

Inpatient facilities adopt yoga-based Ki energy techniques like crazy

Maintaining a healthy mind-body balance is important no matter who you are. If anxiety, stress or depression become overwhelming, yoga-based Ki energy techniques can help, regardless of whether a person seeks treatment. Recently, an article published by United Press International addressed the use of Chicago yoga classes in inpatient care facilities.

The news source stated that Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital has changed much in the last decade or two, not least because its Stone Institute of Psychiatry offers patients access to yoga classes and exercise routines.

The institute's director, Dr. Cathy Stone, told the news source that the movement toward yoga, exercise and physical health is one of the ways that the inpatient care center has contemporized.

"The integration of physical health with mental therapy is extremely important. Patients with mental disorders have a higher chance of developing physical problems," she stated, adding that some mental conditions are known to actually reduce life expectancy.

With such phenomena in mind, Stone and her colleagues gave the Chicago-based facility a makeover, adding yoga and other exercise regimens to patients' daily routines.

Numerous studies have established the benefits of yoga on mental health, even among people with serious disorders.

A paper appearing in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal found that inpatient participants who did yoga experienced improvements in mood, anxiety, tension, depression, confusion and other mental metrics.

Another study, this one in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that a yoga rehabilitation system designed for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder could be repurposed to mitigate the symptoms of all sorts of anxiety-based conditions.

Again and again, scientists have found that yoga can help curb the severity of anxiety and depression. Studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Affective Disorders point to the holistic health system as an effective complementary therapy for people with mood disorders.

Aug 11

How are people using ki energy techniques to treat sleep apnea?

Q: What is sleep apnea (SA), and why should I worry about it?
A: This condition is simply the temporary cessation of breathing during sleep. While it may sound harmless, SA can severely impair the ability to get a good night's rest, and, according to popular Chicago Tribune article, it may increase the risk of far worse.

Q: What causes SA?
A: The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says that the most common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea. If you have this form of SA, then your soft palate tends to hang down while you sleep, getting in the way of good airflow. This can cause you to snore, snort or stop breathing for seconds or even minutes, the organization warns!

Q: Who gets SA?
A: The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) states that anyone can suffer from SA, including children.

Q: What can I do to minimize my nighttime apnea?
A: Several traditional treatments are available, including over-the-counter mouthpieces and, in serious cases, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which keeps the airway open. Unfortunately, CPAP devices are expensive and uncomfortable.

Q: What other options are there?
Multiple alternative treatments exist. Most healthcare professionals recommend losing some weight, since obese people are especially susceptible to SA. Beyond that, a growing number of people are using yoga, meditation, mindfulness exercises and ki energy techniques to mitigate the worst of their SA. Plenty of Chicago yoga classes are available for individuals interested in engaging in holistic self-healing.

Q: What are the potential long-term effects of SA?
A: The article in the Tribune notes that, in a new study, elderly women with SA and other sleep disorders had a higher risk of developing dementia and memory problems.

Q: How many people have SA?
A: The condition affects as many as 18 million Americans, including 10 million who do not know that they have it, the AARC estimates.