A Breathing Practice to Calm, Soothe, & Relax

By AOLRC
December 20, 2018



For the last 35 years, the Art of Living has taught over 30 million people how to use breathing exercises to quiet the mind, reduce stress and make meditation easier – and Alternate Nostril Breathing is one of our favorites.

In Sanskrit, Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translates to “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”, and it has many benefits. Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body. It also relaxes the mind in preparation for meditation, which can be helpful for those struggling to settle down before meditating. When performed for just a few minutes, Alternate Nostril Breathing can instantly reduce stress and fatigue, and is a quick and efficient practice to do before high-stress situations such as job interviews and public speaking engagements.

How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward, or in the Chin Mudra by pressing the index finger and thumb together.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows with the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use the ring finger and little finger to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  • On an exhalation, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  • Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
  • Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
  • These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
  • Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

The Nadi Shodhana Pranayama will relax the mind and prepare it for meditation, making it a great technique to perform before meditating.

The Benefits

  • Calms and centers the mind
  • Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
  • Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
  • Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
  • Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
  • Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
  • Maintains body temperature.

3 Things to Remember

  • The breathing pattern is breath out, breathe in, switch sides.
  • Do not force the breath – keep it gentle and natural. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure. Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Ujjayi breath.
  • Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.

Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Watch Art of Living faculty member, Jim Larsen, guide Alternate Nostril Breathing.

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , breathing , experiences , health , meditation , pranayama , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

Too Busy to Breathe? 5 Easy Tips to Incorporate Yoga into a Busy Day

By AOLRC
November 22, 2018



Regular contemporary life is quite hectic, and the mind, body, and spirit go through various spins just trying to keep up. While we’re running amuck, tending to chores, and fulfilling our duties, we have a tendency to fall out of sync with ourselves, which eventually results in a deterioration of our health and well-being.

The truth is that we all need a support system in the form of something that can help us keep running and remain healthy even on our busiest days. Yoga has been helping people for centuries to achieve complete balance in the body, mind, and spirit. The science of yoga is universal and does not require a specific time, place, or schedule in order for practitioners to benefit. You can make it your most reliable companion, even on the busiest of days. All yoga needs is the right mindset. Here are five ways you can incorporate yoga into your hectic schedule and achieve greater balance, harmony, and wellness.

1. Begin the Morning with Sun Salutations

If you snooze in the morning, then you shall lose the day! True to these words, yoga demands commitment, but in return, it will be your constant supporter, even through your worst days. The first step to incorporating yoga into a busy lifestyle is adjusting your body clock so that it is in line with the daily cycle. As a yogi, it is essential to function in harmony with the energy cycle of the sun. This means getting 6-8 hours of sleep, along with ensuring that the wake-up time is at or before the sunrise. Turn off the lights and put away your electronics by 11pm, so you can wake up feeling fresh and active just before the sun begins to shine its first rays. Begin your day with 10 minutes of Sun Salutations, which can have the same effect as a 45-minute workout. Through Surya Namaskar, you not only pay homage to the ultimate source of power (the Sun) but also start your day off prioritizing your mind, body, and spirit.

2. Practice Yogic Breaths On-the-Go

Breath is the source of life. Yoga explains how breath is directly linked to the health and wellness of the entire body and mind – this pranayama breathing technique can be performed anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is breathe into the full capacity of the lungs, retain the breath for a few seconds, and gently breathe out through the nostrils. This is recognized as Simple Relaxation Yoga Breathing. This process of breathwork not only clears any channel blockages in the body and mind, but also ensures that impurities are flushed out from the body in the form of carbon dioxide. If you want to kick it up a notch, there are a few other yogic breathing techniques that you can try, such as Alternate Nostril Breathing, Sudarshan Kriya, Sheetali Breath, or Kapalbhati.

3. Embrace an Ayurvedic Diet Regimen

Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, has a significant role to play in sustaining a yogic lifestyle. Our body is composed of different doshas (constitutions) that directly influence our physical and mental behavioral patterns. Maintaining a dietary discipline according to the body constitution is crucial for gaining the maximum results from your yoga practice. If you are unsure about your dosha, then seek the help of an Ayurveda expert, and begin to incorporate the suggested personalized diet that they will recommend.

4. Take Yoga Breaks

If you’re too busy to roll out the yoga mat and perform a full routine, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga! If you are devoted and in need, then the science shall accompany you wherever you go. Take a few minutes in the car, at work, at your desk, or in the kitchen to practice some Chair Yoga. Try the Seated Spinal Twist, Cat/Cow Pose, Seated Camel Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Seated Tree Pose, or any other poses that you can perform comfortably and in the space of a few minutes. These poses are simple, restorative, and highly effective in keeping the circulation of energy up and running through the entire body from head to toe.

5. Conclude the Day with a 10-Minute Meditation

Now that you are all set to doze off, invest in a few minutes of guided meditation and self-reflection. This can be done by lying down in a supine position, and gently reminiscing about the gifts of life with gratitude while embracing any disparity with positivity. This will help you sleep better, as the practice puts both the mind and the body in a peaceful state.

The first step to welcoming yoga into your life is a resolution. The rest will follow.

By Manmohan Singh. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , experiences , health , healthy lifestyle , meditation , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

8 Yoga Poses that Kindle Gratitude on Thanksgiving

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018


Start your Thanksgiving day with 8 yoga poses that inspire gratitude.

For the best results, hold each pose for five to ten breaths.

1. Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Urdva Hasta Tadasana)

This welcoming, powerful pose kindles gratitude as you open your heart and stand grounded in receptivity. Feel hopeful and grateful for all your dreams and the unknown adventures of the future that give you a sense of purpose and openness respectively.

2. Standing Forward Fold (Hastapadasana)

This releases the spine and invokes gratitude as you learn to trust your feet to hold you and allow fresh, oxygen-rich blood to move towards your brain for mental clarity. Allow your worries and negativity from the day to roll down your spine and pour onto the floor, and feel renewed with gratitude for the positivity in your life.

3. Child’s Pose (Shishuasana)

This gentle hip-opener inspires gratitude as you fold forward into yourself, get closer to the earth as if you are putting a gentle kiss of gratefulness on the forehead of mother earth. Bow down and surrender. Let go of things that are not serving you. Find gratitude for your very breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.

4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This challenging pose inspires gratitude as you practice courage and vulnerability while remaining open. As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.

5. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

This hamstring stretch inspires gratitude as you focus your attention inward. As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.

6. Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Supta Baddhakonasana)

This relaxing chest opener softens and opens up your heart chakra and inspires gratitude as you allow the props to support you. Think of a friend, family member or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of being nurtured and loved. Feel the gratitude for yourself and those around you radiating out from your heart center.

7. Knees-to-Chest (Pavanmutasana)

Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are.

8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This “ahhhhh”-inducing pose inspires gratitude as you rest completely and let go of all tension. Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles. Finally feel compassion and gratitude for all beings everywhere, wishing them health, happiness, and ease on their journeys as well.

On this Thanksgiving day, I encourage you reflect on what your yoga practice has done for you over the years. Not only will this get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but it will also give your practice new meaning and purpose.

Celebrate gratitude for a month

Studies prove that giving thanks can make you happier, and gratitude increases a sense of well-being by 10%. Try it and find out for yourself!

Starting from Thanksgiving day, maintain a gratitude journal. Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude meditation about 3-10 things you are grateful for, both big and small. Simply jot down the little moments of grace that comes effortlessly into your life. You will be amazed at how these small blessings cultivate a beautiful “just right” abundance of love and joy. Make the whole month about giving thanks, not just one day. And you will see that it will become your lifetime habit.

Finally let us remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. This year find gratitude not only for your blessings but also in the challenges that have shaped who you are today.

By Sejal Shah. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , gratitude , health , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training

I’m a Neurologist. Here’s why I trained as a yoga teacher.

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018
 

Roople Unia is a practicing neurologist and fellowship trained in movement disorders and cerebral vascular disorders, and now a yoga teacher too. Why? Following the recent Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training we had the opportunity to ask this very question.

Roople is passionate about practicing medicine but realised in order to support her patients further, in areas beyond the realms of medicine, she needed a new tool. Roople wanted to provide her patients with something extra – freedom from pain, not just physical pain but the emotional stresses of everyday life.

“I wanted to be able to provide patients freedom

from pain, not just physical but the emotional

stresses of everyday life.”

Roople shares her story in her own words…

A Yogic Education with a Foundation in Science

I chose the Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training because it has a very practical approach to yoga. It has a foundation in science, anatomy, and physiology but it also just brings that joy to practicing yoga. So this program in particular appealed to me because it’s so simple and yet so practical.

The Real Wow Moments For Me

For me, the thing the training really brought to me was confidence, a sense of I can really do this, anyone can really do this so that’s one of the real wow moments for me. On the training there was a wide range of people from all walks of life, all ages, cultural backgrounds and it’s for everybody.

“I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited.
I have experienced the feeling of being

my most authentic self”

I’ve super charged my batteries here. After week one, my classmates looked at me and said you look refreshed. I said yes I do feel that way, I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited. I did this to share this knowledge with other people and to invite them here to experience what I have experienced, that opening up, the feeling of being your most authentic self.

“This has been a transformative experience for me.”

 

Giving Back To My Community

I’m planning to not only provide opportunities for my patients to take Sri Sri Yoga but also for the health care workers. There is a huge problem in health care right now, there is a high rate of burnout and people really need this now. So this is the time for me to take this to my coworkers and say we need to be there for our patients and in order for us to do that we have to take care of ourselves.

“We need to be there for our patients

and in order for us to do that we have to

take care of ourselves.”

 

Life After Yoga Teacher Training

Roople is now back working in ER and sharing the gifts of yoga with her patients and co-workers. In an already exceptionally busy role, Roople has shown us that by using the yogic tools gained on the training program to support her well-being she is able to continue with her profession and share yoga.

We are grateful to Roople for sharing her inspiring story, one that reflects how the integration of East and West can bring about true health within communities.

One question remains. How will you share yoga within your community?

Teach and inspire, or simply deepen your yoga practice.

The Sri Sri School of Yoga Teacher Training Program captures the true essence of yoga through the outer study of the ancient discipline and the inner study of the self. At the same time provides a very practical approach to the physiological and anatomical aspects of teaching asanas.

Join us for an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , integrative medicine , living yoga , pain management , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training
Life is a Journey - The Art of Living Retreat Center

Life is a Journey

By Dara Kurtz
October 6, 2018

Life is a Journey - The Art of Living Retreat Center

The path of life doesn’t always take us where we want to go. Sometimes, circumstances force us to deal with things we don’t want to have to deal with. Other times, where life takes us is so much better than our grandest dreams.

 

Life is a journey.

I was reminded of this the other day, when I was taking a walk. It was just a normal walk, but it was a good lesson to me, and maybe to you, to keep moving forward. Whatever season of life you’re in. Whatever you’re facing. Whatever is going on in your life.

 

I walked down the path. I’d been on this path, many times, and love it there. Walking in the woods is one of my favorite things to do, and I walk the same path many times each week. Sometimes, with a friend, other times, alone.

 

Life is a journey.

 

A new path, a new discovery

As I began to turn, taking my normal route, something caused me to pause. I’m not sure what it was, but instead of turning the way I usually go, I stopped. I hesitated. I wondered, “What would happen if I went another way?”

I found myself thinking, “What’s down there?”

 

I’d never asked this question before. Never thought to even wonder what was down the other path. But, in that moment, for some reason, I wanted to know. I wanted to discover what was there.

 

Instead of turning the way I’ve always gone, I turned the other way. I went down the opposite path. I took a chance.

I walked for a little while, taking in all my surroundings, admiring the beautiful woods. There were new things to see, to discover, and I was glad I had ventured down this different path.

 

It was a good lesson for me.

 

I’ve been struggling with several things in my life, and wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go. I’ve been consumed with thinking about which decision would be “best,” not even considering taking a different approach. Going down a different path.

 

Your takeaway

Don’t be afraid to walk down another path. To take a risk. To go where you haven’t been before. Sure, there’s a risk when we walk into the unknown. We don’t know what we’ll find. We don’t know what we’ll see. We don’t know how it will turn out.

 

But, that’s OK.

 

Sometimes, we need to push ourselves down a new path. Don’t ignore the feeling in your heart that tells you you’re ready for something new. Maybe it’s a new hobby. Maybe it’s a new job. Maybe it’s something you haven’t even thought about yet.

 

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easy to get used to walking down the same path, day after day. It’s easy to accept “this is the way it is.” However, don’t forget, each day, you have a choice.

 

A new day ahead of you, on life’s journey.
To explore the world.

To notice all the amazing things life has to offer.

To challenge yourself to walk down a new path.

 

That doesn’t mean you aren’t happy with what you have or don’t appreciate the blessings in your life. It just means, for whatever reason, you want more. Maybe a new challenge. Maybe a new friend. Maybe just the excitement something new can bring.

 

Focus your attention

Listen to your heart. Listen to that pull you might feel inside yourself, and be willing to go down a new path. You never know what you’ll discover or find. That’s the wonderful thing about life, there’s always something new to learn, something new to experience, something new to discover.

 

Savor all your experiences. Take it all in.

 

Sure, sometimes the journey of life takes a turn we don’t want to be on.

When that happens, push through it. Soldier on. Lean on your friends and family and find the inner strength you possess to get passed it. You will.

 

On the same walk, several days later, I paused at the spot where I had taken the new turn. I hesitated again, trying to decide which way to go. I smiled at myself, as I turned down my “normal” route.

 

It’s always nice to come back to what’s familiar, especially after trying something new. The good news, most of the time it’s still there. This time, as I walked the usual path, I saw it with a renewed sense of appreciation.

 

Find meaning each day.

 

Do you want more from life? Do you feel a lack of fun, joy, passion or success? Whether you’ve been through a tough time, or are dusting yourself off after a percieved failure, or whether you’ve simply fallen into a rut which you’re struggling to get out of–this is the transformative pick-me-up for you. Dara Kurtz and Garth Callaghan host You Deserve to Thrive at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 2-4, 2018.

 

Dara Kurtz is a cancer survivor, inspirational author, and speaker who shares her life-changing work with people all over the world through workshops, media, and as a coach. She has learned first-hand how to get through difficult times and create the life she truly desires.

 

This article first appeared on Crazy Perfect Life, and is reposted with permission from the author.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , attention , dara kurtz , wellness , wisdom
Basics of Ayurveda - Art of Living Retreat Center

Ayurveda 101: The Very Basics

By Paige Reist
October 2, 2018

Basics of Ayurveda - Art of Living Retreat Center

We are passionate about the power of Ayurveda.

Our bodies, minds, and spirits are intimately interconnected. When the body is in good health, the mind and spirit thrive. We’ve seen the incredible ways in which practicing Ayurveda has changed lives over the years, and that’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves at Art of Living not only to nurturing your spiritual and emotional wellness, but your physical wellness, too.

 

Ayurveda isn’t as esoteric as it might seem at first glance. It’s actually a simple, logical system of health that you can easily incorporate into your day to day life. In this article, we’ll be exploring the basics of Ayurveda, demystifying this ancient way of life and bringing it home to the modern world. We want you to live your happiest, healthiest life, and through Ayurveda, you can!

 

So what is Ayurveda, anyway?

In the most basic of terms, Ayurveda is an ancient system of health and wellness, developed in India and practiced for thousands upon thousands of years. The word “Ayurveda” means “the knowledge of life”; “ayur” translates to “life,” and “veda” translates to “knowledge.” Unlike classical western medicine, Ayurveda seeks to help the practitioner achieve optimal wellness through balance and integration, and seeks to treat the root cause of illness, rather than the symptoms.

 

Ayurvedic philosophy doesn’t separate us from our environment, but celebrates and recognizes the importance of the cycles of the earth, the seasons, and the time of day. It places great importance on hygiene, plant-based medicine, and physical and mental wellness. Health, in Ayurvedic terms, is a state in which your thoughts, emotions, and body are in a state of thriving harmony with each other and with your environment.

 

The origins of Ayurveda

Ayurveda originated in India, and can be traced back to as early as the 4th century BCE; Ayurvedic wisdom was even included in the Vedas, which are the holy scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest surviving Sanskrit literature. Ayurveda has actually undergone very few changes over the centuries — advancements in medicine and science are often in line with what Ayurveda already knows.

 

How Ayurveda can improve your health

Ayurveda is all about balance. To start with Ayurveda, it’s important to understand what forces are at work within yourself and the world, and to learn how to bring those back into balance. Ayurveda focuses on streamlining treatment to every single individual, rather than prescribing certain things across the board. Through an Ayurvedic diet, living by an Ayurvedic clock, and developing a custom system of health for yourself, you can become the best you ever.

 

Stay tuned for posts on the doshas, elements, and other Ayurvedic wisdom!

 

Immerse yourself in Ayurvedic wisdom in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take a look at our programs and retreats to see which one is right for you!

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , dosha , wellness

5 Benefits of Using Ujjayi Breath in Your Yoga Practice

By Tommi Howard
August 6, 2018

 

Whether you have just started out on your yoga journey or are an advanced practitioner, the Ujjayi breath is a powerful technique that you can use to transform your practice. Ujjayi is unique in that unlike some other forms of pranayama, or breathing exercises, it can be used during your moving asana practice as well as whilst seated – adding a whole new dimension to your yoga.

Breath of Victory

Ujjayi breath means “breath of victory” as it brings a sense of upliftment, power, and confidence to the practitioner as well as soothing and focusing the mind through its ocean sounding movement – giving this pranayama its other name: the ocean breath.

Integrating Ujjayi pranayama into your practice will deepen your experience both on and off the mat. Here we share the top five benefits of Ujjayi:

 

1. Physical Health

The technique builds internal heat which helps release tight areas of the body thus making the body less prone to injury while stretching. At the same time, by expanding the lungs further than usual, circulation increases and toxins are released from the inner organs. Further benefits include a strengthened immune system, improved sleep, assistance in controlling high blood pressure and thyroid problems, and rejuvenates the nervous system.

 

2. Flow of Energy

The Ujjayi breath allows more prana, our vital life-force, to enter the mind-body system, cleansing the channels (nadis), through which it passes, of stagnant energy which helps the body overcome fatigue, stress and negativity. This pranayama further encourages the movement of energy from the root energy center all the way up to the crown.

3. Relieving Stress

When you’re feeling agitated, anxious, or nervous, the slow, concentrated, rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath has been shown to be very effective in calming the nervous system almost immediately. Studies have also shown the breath balances the cardiorespiratory system. Restoring balance to these two systems helps release stress, irritation and frustration and calms the mind and body.

 

4. Focus

The steadiness, sound, and depth of the Ujjayi breath help align the mind, body, and spirit with the present moment. When this happens, mental clarity and focus increase. The flow between asanas is effortless. Stability increases, and it is possible to hold postures for a longer period of time. Maintaining the Ujjayi breath throughout your practice allows you to remain centered, grounded and embodied – keeping thoughts at bay.

 

5. Meditation & Relaxation

The Ujjayi breath promotes calmness in the body and mind. The constriction of the throat causes vibrations in the larynx, stimulating sensory receptors that signal the vagus nerve to relax the mind and body. This contraction also exerts a gentle pressure on the carotid sinuses in the neck, leading to reduced tension. The slow, steady rhythm of the breath also makes it easier to let go during restorative postures and further supports sense withdrawal, helping ease the way into a meditative state.

Ujjayi is a profound pranayama with far-reaching benefits. Introduce Ujjayi into your asana practice and begin experiencing the power of this breath.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , breathing , meditation , yoga
Art of Living Retreat Center - Nature

Articles We Love: A Return to Nature in April

By Paige Reist
April 16, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center - Nature

 

At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we know that one of the most profound pillars of healing and wellness is the natural world. Nature is a wise teacher, a gentle and fierce guide, and a way back into ourselves. We’re incredibly lucky to hold a space nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where our guests can breathe in the cool, sweet mountain air, explore the gorgeous forests, and let the beauty of the wild sink deeply in.

 

In celebration of the Mountains returning to life this spring, our favourite articles this month remind us of the deep medicine available through nature.

 

Recompose and the Conservation Burial Movement

Emma Loewe for MindBodyGreen

Death is a subject that causes many of us in the West intense discomfort. The cultural avoidance and fear of death has even affected our burial practices — we have a tradition of preserving the bodies of our deceased loved ones as best as science knows how. Unfortunately, these burial practices can be harmful to the environment. Recompose founder Katrina Spade aims to provide a more nature-friendly option. Emma Loewe speaks to Katrina for MindBodyGreen.

“In U.S. cemeteries, we bury enough metal each year to build the Golden Gate Bridge all over again, enough wood to build 1,800 single-family homes. Cremation takes its toll too, emitting 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually in the United States. Considering that 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in this country, these figures aren’t likely to go down anytime soon. As Spade puts it, “The awful truth is that the very last thing that most of us will do on this earth is poison it. I want to push back against these defaults that aren’t aligned with our ideals and interests as people.”

 

How to Cure Stress the Old Fashioned Way

Brian Stanton for Elephant Journal

Brian Stanton shares how nature can cure our “addiction to doing”, how it centers us and cures us of our stress, and how it helps us slip into an effortless meditation.

 

“It turns out that when you cure stress, you cure other things too. Researchers from Japan, in fact, have shown that lingering in the woods might even prevent cancer by boosting natural killer cell activity. This Japanese practice, called “forest bathing,” also results in lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.”

 

3 Spiritual Lessons That I Have Learned from the Ocean

Alex Chong Do Thompson for Rebelle Society

Alex Chong Do Thompson writes about his encounters with watery wisdom during his time as a U.S. Marine and beyond.

“The amount of ocean life that exists is fantastic, but what’s even more interesting is why it exists. We must remember that there are no magical incantations or preternatural powers being used to create all of this abundance. Rather, the ocean is simply the perfect container for different forms of life to manifest.

It provides the right salt content for tuna, the right temperatures for jellyfish, the right pH levels for seaweed, etc. And then the Universe takes care of the rest.

Over the years, I’ve learned that this is also true of human interaction. For example, we have no control over what people say to us throughout the day. Conversations may be pleasant, or they may be absolutely dreadful. It’s completely out of our hands. But like the ocean, we can create a container that encourages good things to happen.”

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , articles we love , death , happiness , nature , spirituality , Spring , stress , wellness
Art of Living Retreat Center

Articles We Love: Happiness in March

By Paige Reist
March 19, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center - Happiness

Spring is here, and what better time to refresh your outlook, brush the dust out of the corners of your mind and heart, and refocus yourself and your goals? The UN’s International Day of Happiness falls on March 20th this year, and we think it’s a perfect opportunity to spend some time in reflection on how to become your happiest, healthiest self.

The articles we love this month focus on digging into that inner well of happiness within yourself, and opening up the windows of the soul and letting in some fresh air.

Spring Cleaning 101: How to be a Tech Minimalist

Monique Serbu for MindBodyGreen

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be limited to your physical environment. Monique Serbu shares four great tips on how to clear out your digital life so you’re feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to leap into the new season.
“Spring is steadily approaching, and that means spring cleaning is on the horizon. While many of us dread this annual ritual, it doesn’t have to be such a pain. Think of it more like an opportunity to clear any excess from your life—an exercise in releasing that which no longer serves you.”

3 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness

Nicola Albini for Sivana Spirit

With the International Day of Happiness on the horizon, you might be inclined to focus on external ways to find satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. In this article, Nicola Albini details a few ways in which happiness actually comes from within, and shares affirmations and strategies for a pursuit of happiness that is drawn from your own mind, body, and spirit.

“[I] could no longer blame my parents, girlfriend, teachers, friends or anyone else for my own unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Underneath my complaints about what others were “doing to me” was a need to accept myself. I needed to take full responsibility for my experience and change my life from the inside out.

 

A Theory About Finding Real Happiness

Dakota Steyn for Thought Catalog

Real happiness is within your grasp. Dakota Steyn shares her thoughts on why happiness is a choice and a result of your actions, not a carrot on a stick to be chased.
“Let me share with you the secret to life: there is no “dummies guide to life,” there’s no one telling what to do or how to feel- at the end of the day life is made up of choices, the choices that you make. How your whole life goes; that’s up to you. You can choose to be negative about everything or you can make the most out of every second of what you do.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , digital detox , happiness , knowledge , Spring , technology , wellness , wisdom , yoga
Doctor Burnout - Art of Living

Living Well: Decreasing Physician Burnout for a More Fulfilling Practice and Life

By Dr. Bharti Verma, MD
March 14, 2018

Doctor Burnout - Art of Living

Physicians working in the current healthcare environment are under an enormous amount of pressure and stress, and as a result, a condition commonly referred to as ‘physician burnout’ is becoming an ongoing concern in the medical field. Trying to manage the stress of patient cases and administrative tasks, on top of balancing the challenges of everyday life, are among the reasons why physicians are feeling the pressure.

 

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 300-400 physicians die by suicide annually. That’s almost a doctor a day. As mentioned in the April 2016 issue of U.S. News & World Report, physicians have higher rates of depression, divorce, and substance addiction than the general population, and 50-70% of doctors suffer from ‘burnout syndrome’. A growing body of research shows that physician burnout and depression are linked to medical errors and to the kind of depersonalized care that is often both less effective and less palatable.

 

When the praise turns into stress

Health care professionals are inspired to serve their patients and profession. But in the process of caring for their patient’s needs, the care provider is subject to many stressors, and often neglects their own health. While putting their needs last may seem heroic and praiseworthy, this can compromise clinicians’ personal well-being, and may lead to:

  • Burnout
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Moral distress
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Poor clinical decisions
  • Medical errors
  • Depersonalization
  • Loss of sense of self and purpose
  • Lack of a sense of personal achievement
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
 

Health and happiness start with you

By sacrificing their own well-being, health care providers are adversely compromising the quality of care they provide to their patients. As a doctor, you must remember that before you can take care of others, you must take care of yourself first.

 

Dr Susmitha Jasty, a practicing gastroenterologist in Brooklyn, New York, says, “One cannot serve from empty vessel. Historically, physicians are caregivers, but we don’t always take good care of ourselves. When we invest in self-care, we typically become better role models for our patients and our families and experience less stress and burnout. When we overlook these priorities, we might become wealthier, but may do so at the cost of our health and happiness.”

 

Doctor Burnout - Art of LIving

 

An interesting read in The Wall Street Journal mentions, “There’s a strong link between what doctors do themselves and what they tell their patients to do,” says Erica Frank, a professor of public health at the University of British Columbia who was the principal investigator on the Women Physician’s Health Study (WPHS) which surveyed the health practices of 4,500 women doctors in the 1990s, and has studied U.S. medical students and Canadian doctors as well. “If we pay more attention to physicians’ health, we’ll have a patient population that is healthier.”

 

Another interesting article in New York Times points out, “It has been shown in some studies that if the physician is exercising, if the physician are taking care of themselves, eating well, sleeping better, they have patients who have better clinical outcomes,” said Dr. Hilary McClafferty, a pediatrician who is an associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.

 

In order to be truly effective in their work, physicians need to balance the demands of their work with self-care. This involves taking time off for introspection and self-care to replenish their personal reserve of adequate mental, emotional, and physical energy to stay clinically competent and present.

 

Caring for oneself to care for others: physicians and their self care

The famous Wellness Wheel refers to 6 types of wellness – physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social and occupational – and allows individuals to reflect on current life balance and self-care. Improving physicians’ wellness and implementing self-care strategies is a multifactorial process and includes attention to all these 6 types. Personal self-care refers to strategies for individual physicians to take better care of themselves.

 

According to a research study, strategies for personal self-care include prioritizing close relationships such as those with family; maintaining a healthy lifestyle by ensuring adequate sleep, regular exercise, and time for vacations; fostering recreational activities and hobbies; practicing yoga, deep breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation, as well as pursuing spiritual development.

 

Meditation over medication

According to the American Medical Association, burnout and ignoring the source of problems is not the way to wellness. Meditation can help to protect the mind, which can help healers to heal while they maintain personal well-being.

 

Doctor Burnout - Art of Living

 

According to Psychology Today, 6.3 million Americans, or roughly 1 in 30 Americans, are being referred by doctors to practice activities like meditation. The high number of referrals shows that doctors are recognizing the benefits of meditation and yoga. A Harvard study shows that mind-body practices like yoga and meditation have been shown to reduce your body’s stress response, and to have many health benefits, including improving heart health and helping relieve depression and anxiety.

 

The Living Well: Intensive Retreat for MDs and HCPs

The Art of Living Foundation, a global pioneer in yoga and meditation for more than 35 years, offers the

Living Well: Intensive Retreat for MDs and HCPs” program for busy medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals seeking to build a proficient practice for self-care to enrich their quality of life and patient care. The tools and techniques taught in this retreat have been well researched and backed by many scientific studies at different universities world wide.

  • This retreat provides the health care provider an opportunity to learn yoga and meditation-based, simple hands-on self-care practices that
  • Reduce stress, exhaustion and compassion fatigue
  • Enchance physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being
  • Enrich quality of life
  • Improve ability for intuitive diagnosis, focus, concentration
  • Help to navigate the challenges of personal as well as professional life with more tranquility and dynamism resulting in improved performance
  • The retreat also provides physicians and allied health professionals with an update on the latest research in yoga, breathing practices, and meditation, as well as their therapeutic applications, including benefits and risks.
 

Earn CME/CNE credits while you learn

Recognizing the importance and essentiality of self-care for physicians, the NYU Post-Graduate Medical School designates this program 10-30 CME credits. By attending this program HCP not only learn excellent self-care tools, but also earns 10-30 CME / CNE credits as provided by NYU Post-Graduate Medical School.

This course, which is designed for physicians, medical students, residents, fellows, osteopath practitioners, nurses, nurse practitioners, allied HCPs and complementary and alternative medical practitioners, is offered in various locations in the USA throughout the year by the Art of Living Foundation.


   

— Dr. Bharti Verma, M.D.
This article first appeared on artofliving.org

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , doctors , health care , healthy lifestyle , meditation , nurses , peace , physician burnout , yoga

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