This is for information only, and is not medical advice. The informtion is not intended to replace medical advice offered by medical physicians.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Yoga Breathing Exercise Fundamentals

Yoga Breathing Exercise Fundamentals by Jeff Smith

One of the most common comments I hear from others within my yoga class and yoga beginners alike is that they find yoga breathing exercises the most beneficial, but also the hardest set of asanas to master.

It's true when many traditional and alternative medicines describe breathing as the very essence of existing. Breathing is one of the primary rhythms we see in life which include sleep awake, birth and death, light and dark.

With this in mind, it's no wonder that significant studies have been done to examine the role breathing has on aspects of our life such as health, emotional well being, relationships and the state of society in general.

In yoga, the breath is known as a rather unifying principle called prana, a wide-reaching energy that can bridge body, mind and spirit together in a harmony that is the basis of yoga and meditation. Yoga breathing exercise then becomes the set of yoga breathing techniques seeking to maximize this universal energy that exists inherently in all of us.

Those who practice yoga believe that this state of harmony is natural and that there are many aspects of life that pull apart our inner harmony. Yoga breathing exercise is one of the basic fundamental techniques we can use to control and even eliminate the impact external forces have on our overall health and well-being.

Take our fight or flight response as one example. The instinctual fight or flight response served our ancestors well, arising infrequently to keep our ancestors out of danger and harm. Today, most of us suffer from an almost chronic, permanent fight or flight response triggering symptoms that lead to digestive problems, high blood pressure, deterioration of the arteries and many other stress-related illnesses.

Yoga breathing exercises tackle this chronic stress response by breaking through the mind-body response and re-focusing us on our natural state of internal harmony.


The good news is that we don't have to master yoga breathing exercises to realize the benefits, but it is important that yoga breathing techniques follow a few basic guidelines.

1. Practice Breathing. First and foremost is that we must give ourselves the permission, time and motivation to improve our breathing through exercise. Yoga breathing techniques are proven to help master control over our mind and bodies, but it can only work if you commit to a disciplined program over a period of several months.

2. Understand the Physiology of Breathing. A large part of advanced yoga breathing techniques involves altering the inhale and exhalation speed as well as controlling the depth of breathing exercise. The goal of yoga breathing (pranayama) is to ease the mind and heart, but also increase the oxygenation of the cells within your body - otherwise known as the process of respiration. To master pranayama, your mind pictures the exhalation of toxicity and gas while on inhale, your mind envisions clean, pure oxygen feeding your body.

3. Become Aware of your body as it breathes. Yoga breathing techniques stress the role of your body, your abdomen, your ribs, your thorax and chest as well as your lungs in the yoga breathing process. For example, when you practice deep breathing, the puffing out of the abdomen is a critical indicator that you are taking in enough breath to accomplish adequate oxygenation. Truly mastering pranayama (yoga breathing) is only possible when you become aware of your breathing rhythms in any activity at any time of day.

4. Focus on both inhalation and exhalation. When I first started yoga breathing techniques, I focused almost entirely on the inhalation, making sure I was taking a truly deep breath, without focusing at all on how I was letting the air out of my body. In fact, exhalation is just as important to the success of yoga breathing exercises. Focus on a consistent, controlled release rather than a jerky, uncontrolled release.

The long-term health benefits of yoga breathing exercise are thought to be significant, but I can tell you that the short-term increase in energy, focus, peace and brain power you gain from just a 5-minute yoga breathing technique are incredibly powerful to your overall well being, productivity and happiness.

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Article Source: ArticleBazaar.net

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Acupuncture Questions and Answers

Acupuncture Questions and Answers by Alex Rider

Acupuncture is gaining in popularity, and with it the intrigue into what it is all about. This short and concise article answers some of the more common questions associated with this 'alternative' practice.

Q: Is there anything I need to do before undergoing acupuncture?

A: Large meals should not be consumed within one hour of your acupuncture session since digestion changes your pulse rate. Additionally, food and drink that colors your tongue, e.g. coffee, and alcohol should be avoided prior to treatment.

Q: Does my GP need to know?

A: Only if you are receiving any treatments from your doctor. In some circumstances the fact that you are receiving acupuncture may negate the continuation of some prescriptions/ treatments. Similarly, acupuncturists must be informed of any treatments being provided by your doctor as they may reduce the effects of the acupuncture.

Q: What are the after effects of acupuncture?

A: Typically you will feel calm and relaxed, at ease with yourself and everyone around you. On occasion particularly strong treatment may make you feel drowsy or tired for a few hours. Problematic symptoms that were targeted with the treatment may return in a short burst as your Qi drifts away and resettles.

Q: What are the things I should seek in an acupuncturist?

A: The acupuncture practitioner must be registered through a professional organization and have insurance cover that is appropriate. When speaking to them you should be able to engage well, feel comfortable and know that they have a clear idea of what it is that you want from them. Similarly, the practitioner should be able to confer what they believe the acupuncture will achieve.

Q: How much does acupuncture cost?

A: As such no fixed rates are used. Overheads vary from practice to practice. The best way to get an idea of costs is to phone a few practices nearby, asking how much they charge for their various treatments.

Q: What can the practice of acupuncture achieve for me?

A: This is dependant on whether your problematic symptoms you wish to reduce are specific and current, or rather, that you are looking for preventative treatment. What is generally done is to contact your local acupuncture practitioner and discuss your requirements with them. Specific questions can then be answered by the very people that will be carrying out and monitoring your acupuncture sessions.

Q: What number of acupuncture treatments will I require?

A: The number of treatments you may need varies depending upon the patient. Courses of treatments are common as one-time cures are rare. 4-6 treatments tend to produce noticeable results with regards to improving your condition.

Q: Are acupuncture machines that enable self treatment a good idea?

A: These gadgets and gizmo's are not recommended. Experienced and qualified acupuncturists are who you should turn to. These people are able to diagnose your specific wants objectively and then act appropriately for your particular situation.

Q: Is the practice of acupuncture painful?

A: Some very mild tingling can sometimes result. What is should never be is painful. Many people imagine how they felt when surgical needles were placed in themselves. Acupuncture uses far finer needles with little similarity to injection needles, being solid rather than hollow.

Q: If I'm currently on prescribed medications whilst undergoing sessions of acupuncture should I continue with the prescriptions?

A: Indeed you should, until you have proper discussions with your GP that suggest otherwise. Albeit that many people decide to undergo acupuncture because medical treatments are seemingly failing them, it is very important that you should not cease taking your medication without first consulting with your doctor.

Q: In what way are acupuncture needles used?

A: One-use pre-sterilized disposable acupuncture specific needles are used. Stringent codes of sterilization and hygiene are always adhered to.

Q: How safe is acupuncture?

A: The transmission of diseases or improper use of needles are almost non-existent due to very thorough hygiene and safety practices vetted by the local health authorities and acupuncture bodies alike.

Q: Are there different types of acupuncture?

A: Yes, other forms exist that focus entirely on specific parts of your anatomy, e.g. hand or foot. Electrical stimulation via the needles is also practiced. A form of acupuncture uses no needles at all, instead pressure is applied to various points on the body, usually by the practitioners hands. Consult the internet, libraries and local practitioners for more advice.

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Article Source: ArticleBazaar.net