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12 Jewels of Wisdom from Yoga Experts that will Benefit Your Practice

The experts we interviewed in recent podcasts have shared some great insights that will help new and seasoned yoga practitioners get more out of yoga. We highlight 12 jewels of wisdom that will benefit your practice. One or two of these ideas should add an insight or a clarification to benefit your practice.

Listen to the 12 Jewels here as a short podcast or read below

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The links will take you to the specific podcast summary page. On the podcast summary page, scroll to the podcast player and fast forward to the time indicated in the link to hear the expert at a certain point in the podcast..

1. Yoga and Weight Loss

Dr. Loren Fishman, a forty year yoga practitioner who studied with Iyengar, also a Harvard trained brilliant practicing physician shares insights from his new book, Healing Yoga, about yoga postures that help to curb appetite and build a greater awareness of what a person eats. Go to 34 minutes in the podcast.

Dr. Rick Hecht is a long time practitioner of Yoga and also a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Hecht is finishing groundbreaking work on mindfulness meditation and weight loss. In this podcast interview, Dr. Hecht describes the clinical studies he has been working on, the results and offers some clear, straightforward advice about how mindfulness meditation can be applied to losing weight. Go to 11 minutes, 30 seconds in this podcast.

Yogapilots has an article, Yoga and Weight Loss, with a calorie burn chart comparing yoga to other forms of exercise. The bottom line is that Ashtanga, Bikram and Vinyasa styles of yoga are comparable to jogging, intermediate pilates and moderate spinning. Calorie burn is not the main component of weight loss, weight loss is primarily a function of diet. One “Happy Meal” and your 1000 calorie interval training class is toast! Yoga wins big here compared to other exercises because of the benefits of better awareness and mindfulness about what you eat!

2. Alignment for Better Bone Health

When the body is aligned properly in a yoga posture force can be applied without risk of injury. Appling force to your bones, for example, in Tree Posture stimulates bone density growth. Dr. Fishman has completed the clinical research to support this, and yoga can be considered an effective therapy and preventative measure for osteoporosis. Go to 4 minutes in the podcast to listen.

3. Joint Pain Relief and Arthritis

Ellen Saltonstall, an accomplished yoga instructor and author, teaching yoga for 30 years, originally trained in the Iyengar and Anasura styles of yoga. Ellen is also the co-author of a book with Dr. Fishman, Yoga for Arthritis and explains how yoga is a remedy. Go to 16min, 40 seconds in this podcast.

Yogapilots has a great practical explanation for why yoga is great for aches and pains here.

4. Back Pain Relief

Some of the best clinical studies on the physical benefits of yoga surround back pain relief. Yogapilots has compiled some of the better research on the physical benefits of yoga here.  Dr. Loren Fishman, the eminent physician discusses the importance of getting the diagnose right when treating back pain because simple forward bends or back bends can aggravate certain ailments. Dr. Fishman has a large section about back pain in his new book, Healing Yoga. He discusses yoga as a remedy for back pain with us. Go to 23 minutes, 30 seconds in the podcast.

5. Backbends

Gordon Kaplan is a well-schooled and accomplished yoga teacher and yoga therapist. Gordon is certified at 2000 hours. His primary yoga training is in the Purna style of yoga that is derived from B.K.S. Iyengar’s teachings. Gordon worked as an athletic trainer in collegiate basketball coaching with Bobby Knight, for the Orlando Magic and various Olympic athletes. Gordon has some great insight into the biomechanics of backbends. He discusses the importance of symmetry and that there should be expansion, with vertebrae moving away from one another, not crunching!  Go to 30 minutes, 10 seconds in this podcast.

6. The Biomechanics of Inversions

Mel Robin is a 30 year Iyengar teacher and the author of a 1500 page handbook for yoga teachers describing the western medical effects of yoga postures. Mel discusses the biomechanical triggers in an inversion, and why an inversion can be relaxing, or not!  Go to 37 minutes 10 seconds  in this podcast.

7. A Western Medical Explanation for Savasana

Mel Robin (mentioned above) talks about how a consistent yoga practice conditions the nervous system and explains the biomechanical reasons to take an extra few minutes and rest, in savasana, at the end of a yoga class.  Go to 32 minutes and 10 seconds in this podcast.

Millard Roper, one of our accomplished local teachers, who trained with Ana Forrest and Raghunath Cappo,  offers his insights on resting at the end of a yoga class and why it could be applied usefully in other forms of exercise. Go to 27 minutes in this podcast.

8. Curious about the History of Yoga?

Eric Shaw, Yoga Historian and Yoga Teacher, studied and trained in yoga for more than twenty years. He has five academic degrees. Eric talks about how yoga came to the United States. Did you know Bikram was in a yoga competition judged by Iyengar! Podcast is here.

9. Yogic Breathing – Pranayama

Leslie Kaminoff, a yoga teacher for 37 years and the co-author of the best-selling book Yoga Anatomy, offers some great insights the surprising individual effects of yogic breathing.  Abdominal breathing often described as relaxing, does not always have that effect. Go to 10 minutes and 45 seconds in this podcast.

Ellen Saltonstall, an accomplished yoga instructor and author, teaching yoga for 30 years, originally trained in the Iyengar and Anasura styles of yoga, talks about yogic breathing (pranayama) as an integral part of restorative yoga. Go to 32 minutes in this podcast.

10. “Lengthen the Spine,” as a Universal Cue, Can Lead to Repetitive Stress Injuries

“Lengthen your spine,” is often a universal cue in a yoga class. Leslie Kaminoff, a yoga teacher for 37 years and the co-author of the best-selling book Yoga Anatomy says, “not necessarily true for certain postures.” In axial extension your spine is less able to articulate in movements and spreads the stress of movement to other body parts. Axial extension deflects movements into places like you hip joints. Leslie talks about the need be aware of repetitive stress injuries. Go to 22 minutes in this podcast.

11. What “Surrender” Means in Yoga

Leslie Kaminoff, a yoga teacher for 37 years and the co-author of the best-selling book Yoga Anatomy uses the Serenity Prayer, by American theologist, Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr, to expain the concept of “surrender” in yoga. Go to 6 minutes, 25 seconds in this podcast.

12. Yoga Nidra in Action – Did you realize the U.S. Government has Endorsed Yoga!

Dan Libby, the Executive Director and Founder of the Veterans Yoga Project tells us that yoga Nidra is one of our veterans favorite styles of yoga, and used quite often to sleep better and reduce stress. Dan talks about it at 26 minutes, 50 seconds in this podcast.  The great work that the Veterans Yoga Project is doing, with veterans and in yoga,  is very meaningful to veterans and toward the broader acceptance of yoga.

There are two free yoga Nidras on their website that anyone can try.  Both the Surgeon General and the Veterans Administration have endorsed yoga as a complementary practice for the treatment of PTSD, and for the management of chronic pain in military and veteran settings.  The success of yoga with veterans is truly amazing, read about recent success stories here.


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