Namaste

photo copyright Dancing Mind Yoga

The following post is by guest blogger, Kia Guarino.

Yesterday morning I woke up pleasantly sore, feeling it in muscles I had forgotten about, and thanked our newest discovery, a local hot yoga studio! On Tuesday, we tried out a Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga studio located in downtown Falls Church and were thoroughly impressed. Dancing Mind Yoga uses a heated (90-95 degrees) yoga studio and the Baptiste style of flow yoga, a relatively fast-paced class that works to create stamina and improve overall health and wellbeing. The high temperatures are designed to increase the benefits of yoga, and to improve circulation and eliminate toxins from the body. It also reduces the chance of injury during the class by keeping your muscles loose. The difference is undeniable – I have found that practicing power vinyasa without heat does not leave me feeling as strengthened and healthy.

I really enjoyed the class, and the studio itself was very pretty and relaxing. The walls are a beautiful, serene turquoise color and their lotus flower symbol captures the feeling that yoga inspires. The instructor was attentive about correcting mistakes, which I enjoyed. There are a lot of benefits lost if the poses are done incorrectly, and she was very good about making sure my arms, legs, and back were positioned for the best results. I really felt good in the morning, enjoying the soreness in my lower back from the Locust pose. We bought an unlimited pass for this month so I will be going as much as possible!

Bikram yoga is a different form of hot yoga in temperature and in structure. Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses that are very demanding, the first half standing and the rest on the ground, in an intensely heated studio. Bikram yoga was designed for the Western yogi and aims to release stress and help with chronic diseases and injuries. It helps increase focus, stamina and clarity while adding the benefits of exercising (weight loss, increased energy, etc.).

In Connecticut, about 6 years ago, we discovered a Bikram studio in South Norwalk and regularly took classes. Our favorite teacher was Dan Markowitz, who would sing James Taylor songs to us during savasana 🙂 I have attended a number of classes over the years, including in New Haven, Norwalk, and Danbury, CT, as well as in the Boston area. I have learned that the temperature ranges from about 100-105 (usually) to 115 at one studio (which was VERY intense). When I was able to take Bikram classes a few times a week, I felt great overall and found that I had toned muscles that would have been very difficult to get even with strenuous gym workouts. However, if you are not prepared, it can leave you with a pretty intense headache. As they mention online, it is very important to drink a lot of water before entering a Bikram studio and not to eat for a few hours prior.

While the poses and flow of the classes differ, I find that hot vinyasa does have many similar benefits. There is something extremely relaxing about yoga, even in high temperatures. I am very excited to be getting back into it.

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2009 NIH Mind-Body Week Cancelled

recovery.gov

Yesterday, I received the following email from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mind-Body Week directors:

Dear Yoga Week Listserv, I am writing to inform you that the NIH has decided to cancel the proposed NIH Mind-Body Week (MBW), scheduled for Sept 8-11, 2009.  Subsequent to initial discussions among planners about a MBW event, the NIH was given the enormous opportunity and attendant responsibility of funding an unprecedented $8.2 billion to support scientific research priorities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The period proposed for holding the MBW is exactly when much of the NIH will be focused on ensuring that all of the successful ARRA applicants receive their awards prior to the end of the NIH fiscal year on September 30, 2009.  We appreciate your efforts in developing MBW and regret any inconvenience caused by the change in plans.

While it is disappointing that this much anticipated event is being cancelled for this year, it is also heartening to know that health research is being supported on such a large scale. The funding will go toward things like the financial support of grant-funded positions for students and educators, biomedical research and development, as well as research into effective public health initiatives and health care delivery.

This infusion of research funds has important implications for health care delivery and illness prevention efforts. For example, there are many great cancer prevention programs that have been created by our nation’s top academic researchers, and have been shown to be effective in their trials at a local level. However, they often don’t have the funding to develop these programs into packages that can easily be used by others (e.g., schools, hospitals, municipalities) on a national scale. Some of the NIH-designated ARRA funds will go toward the development of these important programs.

Update on NIH Mind-Body Week: The Science and Practice of Stress Management Modalities

Image ©NIH Mind-Body Week

Image ©NIH Mind-Body Week

Heart disease and cancer may be our top killers, but it’s a lack of stress management that is really hurting our nation’s health. In response to this epidemic, the National Institutes of Health will be holding the first annual Mind-Body Week from September 8-11, 2009. This event is dedicated to the science and exploration of stress management topic, and all events are FREE and open to the public.

There will be four days of stimulating lectures, workshops and classes covering topics such as Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mindful Parenting, the Science of Yoga and Yoga Therapy, Meditation for Stress Management and much more.

There will be over 100 featured teachers and lecturers (details will be on the official website in July 2009!). Some of the keynote speakers include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Myla Kabat-Zinn, James S. Gordon, M.D., Tara Brach, Ph.D., Timothy McCall, M.D., Roger Jahnke, Ph.D., Sat Bir Khalsa, Ph.D, Dan Siegel, M.D. and Josie Briggs, M.D. And yours truly will be presenting a talk on “Striving Toward that Elusive Work-Life Balance” on September 9.

Besides my talk :), I’m especially looking forward to talks by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Karen Soltes and Robin Carnes on how the iRest® Yoga Nidra protocol is being used to help US Military personnel suffering from combat stress, and Esther Sternberg on how stress makes you sick.

The program will be held at the Natcher Building and other buildings around the NIH Main Campus (Building 45), 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892.

A New Way to Do Yoga

DSCN3473This post is by guest blogger, Julia Guarino. 

Yoga is, for me, the ultimate workout. I began my athletic career as a dancer, and later a gymnast and diver, thus it seemed natural that as an adult I would gravitate toward a workout that not only provides strength and stamina, but also balance and flexibility. But, of course, you do not have to be a gymnast to enjoy the practice of Yoga, and over the past 12 years as I have grown as a Yoga practitioner, I have also witnessed the popularity and availability of Yoga practice grow, as it is recognized as an excellent way to increase flexibility and strength, and is actually good for your joints.

For many, the greatest barriers to practicing (as with any other form of excercize), is often time. Additionally, yoga practice tends to be very expensive (often $16 – $20 per class). But for Derik Mills, founder of Yogaglo, this became not a barrier, but inspiration. Yogaglo is a new online studio, where students can take unlimited classes for a membership fee of $18 a month. These classes can be accessed online from anywhere, or can be taken in person in Santa Monica, CA. Classes are offered at varying levels of difficulty, in yoga styles that include Vinyasa Flow, Anusara®, Pre and Post-natal, Ashtanga, Hatha and Meditation. A variety of lectures are additionally offered, and the website, www.yogaglo.com, offers guest speakers, blogs, and information on their nonprofit partners. As a Yogaglo member, you can choose which nonprofit partner 5% of your membership goes to!

As Derek Mills, says, “There is a need for a more accessible, affordable yoga practice that will attract and unify students from around the world who have different experience levels and resonate with different yoga traditions. Under this premise, I built a website and studio that deliver the essential teachings of yoga and a business that makes a social impact by funding non-profits in which we believe.  As we navigate our way financially and spiritually through our current global crises, Yogaglo offers an affordable, time-saving solution and  a much-needed sense of community that is accessible to all.”

 I, personally, find many things about Yogaglo appealing, from its social mission, to the price, to the green nature of the e-commute to the studio. Although I will still often choose to practice in the presence of an instructor – especially important for beginners, I believe – I regularly practice with a DVD, and the chance to practice in my home with a live instructor is a wonderful opportunity!

Mary’s Note 6/16/09: I just heard form Yogaglo that they will be hosting an event along with LA Yoga called “Here Comes the Sun,” a free summer kick-off festival celebrating the yoga community, local businesses and non-profits working together for social change. The event will highlight philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles community by featuring a marketplace of local vendors who share a passion for giving back to the neighborhood and world at large. Here Comes The Sun is truly a party with a purpose so join us to enjoy great music; shop and sample select products, all whilst learning what businesses are doing to give back. Local vendors will offer food and beverages, and the Hypnotic Gurus and DJ Drez will be providing the evening’s musical entertainment. Sponsors include Lululemon Athletica, Tom’s Shoes, Whole Foods Market Santa Monica, and many more businesses that are working toward social change.

The event will be held on Friday, June 26th from 5:00pm-10:00pm at the Yogaglo Studio, 1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404.

2009 NIH Yoga Week: Exploring the Science and Practice of Yoga

yogaweek

my lotus flower candle holder

Mary’s Note: See my new blog post for an update on the schedule and location of NIH Mind Body Week 2009.

The week before last, I was fortunate to be able to attend a day of programming at the National Institute’s of Health’s (NIH) first annual CORE Week, where I heard wonderful speakers on Reiki, stress reduction, excercise and meditation, from the perspective of pracitioners and researchers. 

I was eager to attend after having experienced the first annual NIH Yoga Week last May, which was the first of this type of event to be held by the NIH. It was a truly groundbreaking event in that the NIH, a 120-year-old US government agency, endorsed a practice that 30 years ago, would have been considered very alternative. The first yoga week, in May 2008 received national attention with over 1300 participants – it also resulted in National Yoga Month, a National Health Observance being designated for every September from now on.  

If this sounds good to you, mark your calender from September 8-11, 2009, when the NIH will hold its second annual Yoga Week. Highlighting the science and practice of yoga, this four-day series of events is open to the public. You will not only learn about the benefits of yoga but also experience them first-hand through hands-on instruction. Yoga Week will focus on yoga, yoga therapy, yoga research, and presentations on meditation, stress management, and other mind/body modalities. There will also be an opportunity to gain Continuing Education credits through Yoga Alliance and several other health education partners. And it’s all completely free!

This week of events will take place in Bethesda, MD. I encourage you to be a part of this innovative and enjoyable event. For more information, contact Dr. Rachel Permuth-Levine at levinerac [at] mail [dot] nih [dot] gov.