Posts Tagged ‘fitness’
BY DEEPAK CHOPRA, M.D.
In the past two decades, yoga has moved from relative anonymity in the West to a well-recognized practice offered in thousands of studios, community centers, hospitals, gyms, and health clubs. Although yoga is commonly portrayed as a popular fitness trend, it’s actually the core of the Vedic science that developed in the Indus Valley more than 5,000 years ago.
Yoga began as a philosophy rather than as a physical discipline. The term yoga is first mentioned in the sacred Indian text the Rig Veda, which dates to roughly 500 B.C. The Rig Veda defines yoga as a union or “yoking” of the material and spiritual worlds, and it doesn’t describe any physical postures other than the traditional cross-legged meditation pose.
Another 300 years passed before the legendary sage Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras, where he systematically describes the eight “limbs” of yoga. The Yoga Sutras offers a clear roadmap for the evolution of consciousness from ordinary states of awareness such as waking, dreaming, and sleeping, to higher states of consciousness.
Although there are standard interpretations of the eight limbs, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing has developed more contemporary perspectives that are in alignment with our philosophy of spiritual evolution.
BY TRACY HOUSE
Or what about going to the roller rink on Friday nights? The music blared and the strobe lights flashed as you and your friends skated around and around the rink, dancing to the beat and trying not to get knocked over.
Today, roller rinks still blare and flash for Friday night skate parties, but now the skates have eight wheels and are inline.
BY TISHIN DONKERSLEY, M.A.
Known for making the inflexible flexible, having trained over 12,000 clients including celebrities Nicole Kidman, Rebecca Romijn, Jennifer Aniston, Liz Hurley, and the current Mayor of Los Angeles, Sebastien Lagree’s fitness program blends resistance training with slow and steady movements to provide a complete workout that will get you fit and fabulous.
Growing up in France, Lagree had a passion for fitness starting from when he was 14 years old and idolizing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. “I grew up in the ‘80s watching Arnold and Jean-Claude, and I started to emulate what they did, and do as many weights as possible. I became obsessed with working out – so much so that I had insomnia, and at one time anorexia, because I obsessed about the last 6 percent of body fat and worked out 40 hours a week. What happened is that I ended up gaining weight, but thought I was doing the right thing.”
Lagree said that the mindset at the time (and oftentimes still today) was the more weights, the better – that was considered fitness. It wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 24 and began working in a chiropractor’s office that he began to witness the aftermath of this traditional fitness mindset. “I saw tons of men, regular good-looking muscular guys that you would consider ‘healthy,’ and they all had back problems, neck degeneration, and low mobility – some even had back surgery,” Lagree recalls. “They had been lifting the ‘traditional way,’ lifting for the larger muscle groups, not for the smaller muscles, and now they were all messed up. I started to envision myself in the doctor’s office 15 years later with these problems and didn’t want to end up like that. I wanted to look good and feel good, and started to recognize that high-intensity is important but it has to be effective.”
BY DAVID SIMON, M.D.
When people hear the word “yoga,” they usually think of physical postures or asanas that offer so many profound benefits for our body’s flexibility, strength and balance. But yoga offers much more than just a way to exercise the body; it also helps us experience emotional well-being and connect to our essential self.
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old wisdom tradition that helps us move from constriction to expansion, from fear to love, and from separation to unity. At its core, “yoga” means “union” – the union of body, mind, and soul; the union of the ego and the spirit; the union of the mundane and the divine.
The intention of consciousness-based yoga practices such as Chopra Yoga is to integrate and balance all layers of our life so that our body, mind, heart, intellect and spirit flow in harmony. As we expand our awareness through the practice of yoga, we become more capable of perceiving the richness life offers.
Over time, yoga becomes something we live, not just something we “practice.” The inevitable pressures of life have less of an impact on us as we respond in a more conscious manner. As we become balanced and harmonious, our interactions with people and situations become more deliberate, calm and relaxed. We bring union and harmony to every encounter, whether it’s a random meeting on the street, a talk with our child or a family reunion. When our inner world begins to change, our outer world shifts to reflect our new perspective.
Here are a few suggestions for cultivating mindful, yogic awareness in your life:
1. Daily Yoga Practice
Establish a regular yoga practice. Keep in mind that it is more powerful to practice each day for 10 to 20 minutes than to do much longer sessions only once or twice a week. If you’ve never tried yoga, explore a variety of styles and teachers to find one that feels right for your own unique needs.
If you practice at home, create a sacred space for yourself. Find a time when you won’t be interrupted, turn off your phone, and move through your practice, focusing on the inhalation and exhalation of each breath. “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga Guidebook” by the Chopra Center offers more information about the practices.