Yoga Trends: Laughter Yoga

 

Laughter Yoga, also called Hasyayoga, was created in 1995 by Indian doctor Madan Kataria and his wife Madhuri, a yoga instructor. The Katarias created laughter clubs that met in the parks of Mumbai, and soon the concept grew into a worldwide phenomenon. Today there are thousands of groups in dozens of countries!

The practice of Laughter Yoga combines yogic breathing, stretching and laughing as a form of exercise. It has many benefits, such as relieving stress, reducing depression, improving cardiovascular health, and enhancing the immune system. When practicing, it’s not necessary for participants to have something funny to chuckle at; even simulated laughter has the same benefits as a genuine belly laugh. And as practitioners quickly find out, with good eye contact and an open mindset, even self-generated laughter quickly turns into the real thing when you’re practicing with a group.

To participate in Laughter Yoga near you, you can check out a number of websites including Dr. Kataria’s website LaughterYoga.org and Meetup.com. And for all your yoga needs, visit barefootyoga.com!

“We are paying very high price for taking life seriously. Now it’s time to take laughter seriously.”

– Dr. Madan Kataria

 

Posted under Health and Fitness, Styles of Yoga, Yoga News

This post was written by Lauren on July 24, 2015

Coming Back to Yoga: Vacation Mode and Natural Yoga Props

Day 26

On vacation. Ahhh, sweet summertime in my East Coast homelands of Connecticut and New York.

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I’m happy to say – more than halfway into week 4 of my commitment to “regular” yoga – I am still committed. I will admit, week 2 I did yoga 5 days instead of 6, between travel days, and celebrating my daughter’s 8th birthday on the Fourth of July. But I managed 6 days of yoga during week 3, with a little added time to compensate for my missed day in week 2.

In the name of traveling light, I did not bring such luxurious props as my Barefoot Yoga Zafu meditation pillow. A couple of evenings I found myself full of dinner, and still with no practice under my belt. I stacked a bunch of pillows which squashed down when I sat on them. Although this did not provide the comfort I’m used to from my mediation throne at home (a Zafu on top of a zabuton) – it definitely sufficed.

 

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At this point in my “yoga revival” I have become much better about getting up early, and doing a morning asana practice – which is sometimes still difficult to motivate myself for – but seems to be getting easier. I have found rolling out a mat, setting my watch to 30 or 35 minutes, and just starting it without thinking too much about it works best. Also, I have done many of these practices outdoors, and have reconnected to the joy of yoga in nature. In a few instances, when I took my almost 90 year-old mother to her 3 day a week work out at the hospital, I walked to a small park/playground a few minutes away, and practiced on a nice flat patch of grass. I am looking forward to visiting this spot for a final time tomorrow.

I have also enjoyed yoga on the beach for the past two days. One of my favorite spots to meditate is where the water hits the beach, and creates a shelf. As one who has always been stiff in the hip and groins – a lift for my seat is a necessity for comfortable meditation, and the natural lift I get on the side of a hill, or the shelf on the beach works perfectly. I believe the roar of the ocean is as good a background sound for yoga/meditation as I have found, although birds chirping the sound of breeze in the trees is pretty darn nice too.

During some of these asana and meditation practices I have felt elation. I have felt increasing strength, and uplift. At other times, I have had to push myself to keep going. But in every case, I have felt better, more balanced, more even-keeled as a result of my almost daily practice.

Normally I accompany my words with pictures of various yoga tools our 17 year-old company Barefoot Yoga offers. Today, I’m providing a picture of me meditating on the naturally formed cushion that is without question one of my favorite for meditation. As we at Barefoot Yoga have said from the start, we offer these products as tools to help achieve more peace and stillness through the practice of yoga when there is restlessness of the mind, intellect and spirit. These tools are only external props that we have personally enjoyed in our experiences. The true pathway is within yourself.

 

Posted under Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga

This post was written by David on July 17, 2015

Featured Studio: Yoga Center of Minneapolis

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Founded in 2000, Yoga Center of Minneapolis has become an important fixture in the city’s yoga community. Their mission is “to make yoga accessible to everyone at every stage of life,” and they truly deliver on this goal by offering classes ranging from their Absolute Beginner Class to advanced teacher training.

They have a number of specialty programs, including a class for plus-size men and women which was created by Yoga Center’s founder, Jennifer Gray. The class promotes the idea that “Every Body is a Yoga Body,” and helps students to gain confidence and reduce anxiety. Another fun and popular class is Happy Hour Yoga, a one hour slow flow Vinyasa class for only $8.00!

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Yoga Center of Minneapolis gives back to their community through the Karma Yoga Fund, which raises money via weekly donation-based classes. These funds go towards providing yoga classes to those facing life-threatening illness and economic disadvantage. They also encourage their teacher trainees to make it a priority to donate their time and energy to bring yoga to those who need it.

Barefoot Yoga has been proud to call Yoga Center of Minneapolis a valued customer for over a decade, and you can find a number of our products at Yoga Center’s boutique, including our Hybrid Eco Mats, Yoga Mat Bags and Zafus.

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Posted under Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Mats, Yoga News, Yoga Studios, Yoga Supplies, Yoga Teachers

This post was written by Lauren on July 14, 2015