Here are this past week’s Yoga Nidra Guided Rest and Relaxation Practices that I conducted for Veterans Yoga Project.
Wednesdays is a 30-minute practice.
Sundays is a 49-minute practice including setting intentions, benefits of Yoga Nidra Practice, along with Richard Miller’s iRest poem.
After doing the practices, I’d appreciate a filling out the survey. The things I’m always interested in are if your pain level is less, and your anxiety or stress levels are lessened.
Thank you, and I hope this is helpful to have additional access to these practices.
30 Minute Practice of Yoga Nidra
48 Minute Practice of Yoga Nidra
I am now teaching a weekly 45 minute Yoga Nidra Class for Veterans Yoga Project. Join me Sunday nights at 8 PM ET, 7 PM CT and 5 PM PT.
Practice Mindful Resilience
There are a lot of yoga teachers and places to take yoga in Jefferson & Orange county Texas. I’m listing the ones that I know about. Please leave me a note if you know of others. Thank you. Sometimes my offerings do not match your schedule or yoga style. I teach yoga for beginners with an emphasis of easing back challenges. Gail Pickens-Barger 409-727-3177
Again, to start off this conversation, I only teach three public classes a week. So I try to keep in the know of what is also out there besides what I offer.
Mid-Jefferson County – Yoga
Port Neches: Arata teaches two classes over at the PowerHouse Gym. Check out their schedule for drop-in fees, dates, and times. You might be able to get a guest pass to check out the class. Arata has just recently received his Veterans Yoga Project training and is excited to help our local veterans. Go check him out!
Port Neches Library: Free chair yoga by one of my students, Ms. Carol. Wednesdays at 2 PM.
Port Arthur: YMCA of SETX. Pam teaches three yoga classes during the day at the “Y”. Two are mat yoga classes, and the third one is the Silver Sneakers Yoga Stretch class. There is a new young lady also teaching a meditation class on Saturdays. Check out their online schedule for details.
Port Arthur Library. In the past prior to covid, one of our local yoga Kemetic Yoga Teachers, Tiffany taught this class. Make inquires again to yoga at the library!
Nederland: Gail Pickens-Barger (me) – The third week of March, I am going back to teaching in-person Gentle Yoga for Beginners: 6 PM Tuesdays at Wesley United Methodist Church in Nederland, Texas (no yoga 2nd Tuesdays, Aggie Moms meet then, so I will teach this class online that day). I teach a once-a-month online yoga class through Veterans Yoga Project on Second Tuesdays. Online I teach every Wednesday, a free yoga class for the Veterans Yoga Project, and Friday’s teaching in Beaumont at LakeSide Event Center.
Nederland: HotWorks: Behind the Schooner restaurant. Go check out their website for details.
Nederland/Port Neches: We have several new instructors, who have received their teacher training that lives in Mid-County. Be on the lookout for their classes at the CrossFit locations here in Mid-County
Nederland – Exygon Health and Wellness Center. Mike and Doneene teach yoga on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Additionally, there is choreographed yoga, BodyFlow that Lori teaches Mondays & Wednesdays. Additionally, there are several BodyFlow classes during the day. BodyFlow is also offered at the Beaumont Exygon. Again, go to their website to find out class times. BRING a YOGA MAT!. You can also get a three-day guest pass, or go check out their classes during launch week.
Hampshire-Fannett – Jessica teaches classes at her home studio. Jessica has been famous for bringing in great teachers to the area, in addition to providing some of the first teacher training for yoga in the area. Go check out her stuff!
Hampshire-Fannett – Erin Barrows occasionally has some pop-up yoga classes, but is now teaching in Beaumont for Fe-SIO Relax & Stretch facility.
Orangefield, Texas – YogaVibe Studio – Lauren Cowart has this great yoga studio offering a variety of yoga classes and varied instructors.
Beaumont: Wow lots of instructors and venues.
Events: Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Texas. Saturday Yoga. Check the Facebook page for registration.
Events: Barefoot Yoga. A twice-three times a year yoga festival is held on the lawn at the Event Center, Downtown Beaumont. Look this one up on Facebook.
Events: 5 Under Golf Center Yoga. On Saturdays once a month, various yoga teachers teach on the driving range over on Hwy 90/College Street. Look at SETX Events for dates/times/prices
Events: Goat Yoga. Held as a fundraiser in the late fall. Put on by the Nederland Recreation Center.
Events: International Kids Yoga Day – with Gail Pickens-Barger. First Fridays in April.
Events: Veterans Gratitude Week during two weeks in November. Fundraiser yoga for the Veterans Yoga Project
Events: Yoga at the Port Neches Brewery
Events: No Longer Limited Duty Yoga provided by Veterans Yoga Project local instructors. Free for participants. Gail and Arata teach these classes.
Events: Country Club Yoga. Yoga at the Brentwood Country club in Beaumont. Again, look thoroughly at the Facebook page to find events.
Events: SouthEast Texas Yoga Festival – put on by Celeste Robles. A yearly event of an intense three days of yoga.
Beyond Triangle Therapeutic Fitness – in Beaumont, Texas with a couple of yoga classes on their group exercise schedule.
Beaumont Power Yoga – Nicole runs this studio with a lot of class times and teachers. Again, go check them out! When I first moved to the area it was American Power Yoga.
Exygon in Beaumont with their BodyFlow choreographed classes.
Fe-SIO Relax and Stretch Studio in Beaumont, Texas. Go check out Erin, Sara, Melissa and more with their yoga classes and events!
Health and Wellness Center in Beaumont, both pilates, body focus, and yoga.
LakeSide Event Center – Best Years Senior Citizen Center. Both Celeste, Trisha, and I teach yoga/stretching classes for the City of Beaumont. Plus there is Tai Chi here, in addition to Zumba Gold! You’ll find the activity schedule on the Facebook page.
Lamar University – Yoga classes are regularly held at the Shelia Umphrey Rec Center!
Love Yoga Beaumont Studio – great teachers, great selection of classes.
Sound of Soul Yoga – with Ellen Aldrich – Check out her studio
Worlds Gym in Beaumont
Church Yoga at Unity Church, Trinity Methodist Church – Beaumont Texas.
And for a bit of travel, yoga in Sulfer, Lake Charles. Some great teachers and studios!
March 2022 News – Yoga in Beaumont & Nederland, Port Neches, Texas – Yoga Classes – 409-727-3177
Teaching three public beginners yoga classes a week during the month of March 2022.
- NEW – In Person Tuesday Yoga . Starting Third Tuesday in March. Held at Wesley UMC, 3515 Helena Avenue, Nederland, Texas. $10
- Every Wednesday – Free Beginners Yoga – gentle yoga for healthy backs class – sponsored by Veterans Yoga Project online. To gain access to this free class please visit Veterans Yoga Project website to create a free online studio account to take my Wednesday 12:30 PM Central Time yoga class. Have on hand a strap, block, yoga mat. Optional access to a chair or wall. You can use a long towel and a small pillow instead of a strap/block. Sign up HERE on Veterans Yoga Project.
- Every Friday 10:30 AM – Beaumont Texas – In-Person beginners yoga class, held at the Best Years Lakeside Event Center in Beaumont. Free for Beaumont residents, non-residents pay $4 for this weekly class. Please come early first time to register at front desk and to fill out yoga registration form. If you have a yoga mat please bring it. There is yoga equipment, but it is first come, first served. Poses can also alternatively be done seated on the chair. Click on Lakeside Center and view the many activities provided!
Notes for 1/18/2022 Healthy Backs Beginner Yoga Class with Gail
Thank you for being part of our beginner’s yoga and gentle yoga for the low back community!
Tomorrow 1/18/2022 we’ll experience gentle, beginners yoga practice for healthy backs as we head into this wintery season.
Notes for Tuesday 1/18/2022, please review: FREE CLASS – Third Tuesdays at 6 PM CST.
- Tomorrow 1/18/2022, we will be using a yoga strap, block with some of the yoga postures.
- Scroll on down for example of gear!
- Register today for this free class on Veterans Yoga Project Wellness Living Online Studio.
- First time, look for the Tuesday class (6 PM CST) on the site, and book. The process of booking will have you create a free account, and then allow you to book the class. Please do this today, to allow enough time to get registered and booked for the class.
- Psst. The class will show up as 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT “Gentle Yoga” Gail P-B. The time central is 6:00 PM.
- If you already have an account, then book the class!
Love and Health,
January 2022 Yoga Beginners Classes Near me.
Have three weekly class offerings! See what my clients had to say about my classes
Yoga near me
See what other clients had to say….
Beginning Yoga Classes in Beaumont Texas
What else my students say….
Beginners Yoga in Nederland Texas
Yoga for Back Pain Classes Online
What my back yoga students say….
Contact Gail Pickens-Barger 409-727-3177 for group classes or private lessons, in-person or online!
Get Ready! Last class of 2021. Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care with Gail
Veterans Yoga Project Online Streaming Classes!
How to ease back pain, lessen stress, sleep better. Shh! It’s Yoga!
Sign up for my next class
Held on Zoom. Here’s my tutorial for doing Zoom on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. One’s a tutorial for the desktop, the other for tablet/phone.
Do you have any Questions? Complaints? Comments? Complements? You can look at my Frequently Asked Questions about Yoga, or you may send me a email through my Contact page or call 409-727-3177 (landline, no texting).
Remember to sign up for my next Tuesday Yoga Class https://tinyurl.com/TueYogaGail
As I am getting deeper and deeper into one of the books that we are to read for the YogaTherapy course, I am amazed at all the benefits of a regular yoga practice can do for folks. And I’m a yoga teacher. (The more you teach yoga, it seems the more you want to know….and need to know!)
Please read on for more information about “Yoga as Medicine” book (excellent!)by Timothy McCall, M.D. http://www.drmccall.com/ ~Gail Pickens-Barger
Yoga appears to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of health conditions. In Timothy McCall, M.D. Book, “Yoga As Medicine”, he goes on to say: We’ll be reviewing the scientific evidence later but, for now, let’s see what people who’ve tried therapeutic yoga have to say. In 1983 – 84, the London-based Yoga Biomedical Trust, run by Robin Monro, PhD, surveyed twenty-seven hundred(2,700) people, most between the ages of thirty-one and sixty, who used yoga therapeutically. To be included, participants had to have practiced yoga for at least two hours a week for a year or longer. Though the number of people with some of the conditions in question was small, the results (see the table below, and in Dr. McCall’s book, Table 1.1) were impressive:
- 98 percent of back-pain sufferers found yoga helpful
- 90 percent of cancer patients
- 82 percent of people with insomnia
- and 100 percent of alcoholics
The lowest success rate in the survey was for women with “menstrual problems,” two out of three of whom found that yoga helped.
Table 1.1 Conditions Improved by Yoga, Self-Reported
Medical Condition Number of Percentage Helped People Reporting By Yoga Alcoholism 24 100% Anxiety 838 94% Arthritis & Rheumatic Disorders 589 90% Asthma or Bronchitis 226 88% Back Disorders 1,142 98% Cancer 29 90% Diabetes 10 80% Duodenal Ulcers 40 90% Heart Disease 50 94% Hemorrhoids 391 88% High Blood Pressure 150 84% Insomnia 542 82% Menopausal Disorders 247 83% Menstrual Problems 317 68% Migraine 464 80% Neurological & Neuromuscular Diseases 112 96% Obesity 240 74% Premenstrual Syndrome 848 77% Smoking 219 74%
Source: The Yoga Biomedical Trust, London
Imagine how much you’d be hearing about a new drug that could accomplish even a fraction of this. Nevertheless, (it is Dr. Timothy McCall’s)it’s my experience that few in the medical community or the general public have any conception of what yoga has to offer. Part of the problem, (Dr. McCall) I’m convinced, is that many people who could benefit from yoga shy away due to misconceptions about what it is and isn’t, or who can do it and who shouldn’t.
Those subjects to be addressed in a different post.
Here is a NEW link about the 117 conditions benefited by Yoga by Dr. Timothy McCall!
117 Health Conditions Helped By Yoga!
Enjoy the updated info!
Starting second week of March 2022, Wednesdays mid-week yoga class on Veterans Yoga Projects, shifts to a half hour later. 10:30 AM PT, 12:30 PM CST, 1:30 ET
Interesting Study: New Study Adds Growing Evidence that Yoga and Meditation Can Reduce Chronic Pain. I can attest to that study, as it has helped me with my chronic back pain!
The study echoes previous findings on the benefits of yoga and meditation for chronic pain published in 2016 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.
“The bottom line is that patients are seeking new ways to cope with chronic pain and effective non-pharmaceutical treatments are available,” says Dr. Marske. “Our findings show meditation and yoga can be a viable option for people seeking relief from chronic pain.”
Typatone! Here’s what Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care with Gail, sounds like!
Enjoy this 25 minute seated chair yoga fitness class. A blast from the past year! Enjoy.
Love to use my essential oils to make holiday gifts for my yoga students.
- Lavender Essential Oil – I recommend DoTerra’s brand of oil.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Aromatherapy Inhaler Sticks
- Roller Bottles either 5 ml or 10 ml.
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
Create an aromatherapy inhaler stick! On the go use, of your favorite essential oils.
I like to do separate ones for Lavender, Wild Orange and Peppermint.
Drop 15 drops onto a cotton wick, insert and shut into the aromatherapy tube, label your stick and use!
Need a breathing, mindful movement, meditation, guided rest or gratitude practice? Gotcha covered!
Additionally if you go to:
- My Yoga Nidra on SoundCloud
- Veterans Yoga Project Soundcloud
- Veterans Yoga Project VYP Online Streaming Classes FB page
- Sign up for a FREE Mindbody account to get free access to new yoga classes, breathing practices, Yoga Nidra practices!
- Find yoga nidra class content on my Youtube at Yogawithgaileee
Yoga Near ME in Nederland, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange Texas
Click the link to get the next online yoga class that I teach on Wednesdays at 12:30 PM CST, through the Mindbody App for the Veterans Yoga Project. Yes, it’s free. Veterans, active military, friends and family are welcomed
What type of class is this?
Beginners 60 minute class. Consisting of:
- Breathing techniques
- Guided Rest & Relaxation &
- Gratitude Practice
Check out my Testimonials from my current students
View the Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice
Yoga Helps with Better Sleep – Read on!
117 Health Conditions Helped by Yoga – Read the proven clinical studies.
Note benefits from a Chair Yoga Class too!
Top Gifts Under $50 for the Yoga Person in Your Life
My favorites, that your yoga person in your life, probably does not have and would REALLY appreciate are the following:
- Lavender Essential Oil Roll On for better sleep and great relaxation at the end of the day. Retails for $20. Well worth getting!
- Resistance Loops to add to your yoga practice
- Stretch Out Strap for better grip in yoga postures that use a strap
Here’s my current public schedule of yoga. I do have limited online and in-person private session times available.
Inquire with a phone call 409-727-3177. This is a landline, so no texting ia available on this line.
In-Person Classes held on Friday at 10:30 AM at the Lakeside Event Center – Best Years Senior Citizen Center. Non-Beaumont residents pay $4. Come early to get checked in. Best to bring your own yoga mat, block and strap.
Top Two Reasons People Come To Yoga?
To Increase Flexibility and Reduce Stress.
Come try a free yoga class with me. I teach this class live on Wednesdays at 1 PM Central Time. Click on the above button to claim a free Mindbody online account, then “book” the class that I teach on Wednesdays.
Don’t worry, if you cannot make the live class, you can get a link to our current recorded yoga classes. I have about 10 yoga for healthy back classes in the studio!
Questions? Complaints? Comments? Complements? I want to know!
I am teaching a donation based yoga class to benefit the Veterans Yoga Project during #VetGratitude Week
Secret to easing back pain? Shhh, it’s yoga!
Enjoy these yoga basic poses. In there are some yoga poses for easing back pain, building bones, lessening anxiety, bettering one’s balance and cultivating quality sleep. Curious? Contact Gail
I subscribe to Experience Life Magazine. One of the better overall health and fitness magazines out there. I posted about this article a bit back on my Facebook Newstream.
Exercise: A Promising Factor for Protecting Against COVID
A regular fitness routine may help protect those diagnosed with COVID against hospitalization and even death.
During the pandemic, I turned to YouTube and walking outdoors for that little extra push of getting my 150 minutes in each week.
Here’s my list of favorite YouTubers, plus a sample of their workouts.
My top indoor cardio workouts
- Reps to the Rhythm #repstotherhythm
- Brand Fitness #brandfitness
- Get Fit with Rick #getfitwithrick
- growwithjo #growwithjo
- yes2next #yes2next
- Sharon’s Hill #sharonashill
- Up to the BEat Fit #uptothebeatfit
- Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone #walkathome #lesliesansone
Course I love me some yoga too!
A new report by Kaiser Permanente and UC San Diego says people who exercise regularly have less severe outcomes of COVID-19 infections.
Here’s the video links to try for yourself!
Veterans Yoga Project – Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care with Gail
Enjoy this 45-minute video to assist in lessening your back pain with Gail Pickens-Barger, VYP Ambassador.
Welcome friends! Join me for this 45 minute yoga class with Gail P-B. Geared for beginners and those of us with back challenges.
Just remember, you don’t have to be able to touch your toes, or bend like a pretzel to do yoga!
Thank you for joining me here on FB Live this past year. Next week, new schedule, new Online Virtual format for bringing yoga to you.
Please indicate in the comments below where you’re from & your military status and/or any military affiliations, or First Responder, Health Care Worker status
Ex: Active duty, Reserves, Veteran, Retired, Military. Spouse, Family Member, Civilian, etc.
Thank you for joining this yoga class and I hope you enjoy the class!🤗
Back PAIN info:
- Back pain is the 2nd most sited reason people go to the doctor
- Back pain has a high occurance in veterans for a number of reasons
- And they are prescribed pills but it doesn’t really help.
- Then comes fatigue, depression & quality of life goes down.
- Yoga can actually help the back pain
- 45% of veterans have military-connected disability
- 8% of adults in the US have back pain at some part of their life &
- 30% of people in the US in the next 3 months will have a short course of back pain
So this effects everyone.
This method of exericise
** reduces intensity of pain, depression, fatigue & medication use.
** pain interference with daily life. Quality of life & self-efficacy both went up with regular yoga practice.
Steve Ross of Maha Yoga, formerly of the Oxygen Channel show Inhale, a bud of Dr Oz. Showing in 10 minute segments Basic, Energizing, Strength and Balance and Relaxation Yoga. Go Check it out on the Dr Oz Website!!!
Four different videos on Dr. Oz’s website to enjoy!
1. Basic Flow Yoga with Steve Ross from Maha Yoga.
My music playlist from when Steve Ross did the Oprah’s Oxygen TV Channel – Inhale – Enjoy the list!
Yoga Clothing, Gear and Prop Sewing Patterns
Great Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial. It is like a large long tote bag! Scroll down a bit, since it is on the Archive website.
So here are the Yoga Clothing/Props patterns that I have…there may be more…
McCall’s MP260 or M4606- including yoga mat bag & Blanket. Two tops, two length jackets, and yoga pant. Still for sale on Ebay.
McCall’s M5664 – Halter Yoga Top, Cap, Sleeveless Shell, Yoga Jacket, Crop and Long Yoga Pant. On McCall’s website, out of print, but you probably can find it in the stores still.
McCall’s 4261 – Sports Bra Top, Long Sleeved Top, Long Skirt (?), Mat Bag, Crop and Long Yoga Pant and Yoga Jacket. (Girl standing in Tree pose.)
New place for yoga clothes ==> Little Rag A Muffin Site
Kwik Sew – Known for a lot of dancer type clothing, and now Yoga/Pilates patterns.
Kwik Sew 3497 – Variations on yoga tops.
Kwik Sew 3115 – Spaghetti Strap Yoga Top, Shell Top, Capri, and Long Yoga Pant.
Kwik Sew 2722 – Unitard with either spaghetti straps or keyhole back. Short or Pant Length.
Oh, yeah, the only thing I’ve made is a large and small bolster, yoga mat bag, eye pillow, blanket and lots of zafu’s!!!
117 Health Conditions Helped by Yoga
Permission granted by Dr. Timothy McCall to share this pdf.
I teach weekly gentle yoga for low back care classes for the Veterans Yoga Project. Book my class on Wednesdays to get some sweet relief of easing back pain.
I’ve got a short list of the Top 5 things you can do – to ease back pain – It’s Yoga.
Contact Me to help you find a solution to easing your back pain. It’s Yoga! Gail Pickens-Barger 409-727-3177.
Sign up for a Free Yoga Class for Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care on Mindbody Online through the Veterans Yoga Project. It’s Free!
Wednesdays at 1 PM CST Time.
StarFruit ZaZen Zafu ZaButton Meditation Cushion! Cool.
Look what my mom made me after I took a photo of one at Lex Gillan’s Advance Yoga training in 2013. Cool!
Sew your own yoga accessories, mat wrap, mat bag, zafu meditation pillow, yoga bolsters and more.
You know Simplicity pattern company (which you can find at Hobby Lobby, JoAnns Fabrics and online) has come out with patterns for making bolsters, cushions, yoga mat bags and such, but there is a wealth of info out there on the web to help you make your own yoga props.
I made my yoga mat bag out of upholstery material. I didn’t need to use any lining material because my upholstery fabric was very thick.
Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial, like a long tote bag. I made this one.
- From Archive.org Love this mat bag. A Sling Over the Shoulder Tube Mat Bag
- From Archive.org Another one with decorative ribbons
Make those meditation pillows (zafu’s)
Some of the websites that listed how to make the seated meditation pillows are no longer on the web, so I’ve included the instructions onto this page. Here’s a little PDF I created based on these long ago lost internet instructions. Sewing a Meditation Cushion
How to Make a Zafu and Zabuton
Whether you’re looking for some comfortable, casual seating or you want to make your meditation sessions more pleasant, a zafu and zabuton are wonderful things to have around the house. Zafu and zabuton are traditional Japanese cushions used for meditation; the zafu is a circular pillow with pleated sides, and the zabuton is pretty much just a large, flat pillow. You can order them online for $40+ each, but it’s cheaper and more satisfying to make your own at home.
(I don’t have the best meditation posture, but you get the idea of how the cushions work. The zabuton is a little small for me, because this is one I made for a friend who’s shorter than I am.)
The zafu elevates and cushions the pelvis, and the zabuton cushions the knees and ankles. This position facilitates better posture, eases joint and back pain, and may help one achieve deeper longer meditation sessions. As long as you’re making one set, why not make two? Keep the extra set for guests, give it to a friend who meditates or has back problems, or donate it to your local Zen center or Buddhist temple.
About the materials: I chose to use a cotton/polyester blend for these because it’s cheap and easy to clean with a wet rag; these aren’t something you can just throw in the washing machine. When I’m more settled in my meditation practice, I’ll probably make another set out of some heavy silk, perhaps adding some colorful embroidery or sashiko stitching.
As for filler, I used organic pillow-grade buckwheat hulls for the zafu and plain ol’ polyester stuffing for the zabuton. Kapok would be a better choice for both, but it’s fairly expensive.
Click below for full instructions on how to make the zafu and zabuton.
- Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 2 yards (note: 2 yards is enough for two zafu)
- Pillow-grade buckwheat hulls, 5 lbs.
- Sewing thread
- Sewing machine
- Hand-sewing needle, pins, scissors
- Iron, ironing board, and water spray bottle
Sewing a Meditation Cushion. That’s what I started with, but I had to tweak it a little for my own use. I recommend downloading it even if you’re going to use my instructions, as the illustrations in the PDF are quite helpful.
Cut a strip of fabric 65″ x 7″ (there are a few extra inches in the length for fudging purposes.) Cut two circles 13″ in diameter – I used a 13″ round serving plate for my template, but you could also make from cardboard using a compass and a pencil.
Pleat the long strip of fabric: measure 4.5″ inches from one end and mark. Make two more marks 3/4″ from the first. Measuring from your center mark, repeat the process every 4″ until you have 14 pleats marked. Fold, iron, and pin the pleats (since the iron setting for polyester blends usually isn’t high enough for steam, use a water spray bottle for best results.)
On the end, you started pleating at, fold back the fabric 1/2″ and iron. Begin pinning the strip of fabric around one of the fabric circles. When you get to the end, you’ll have a few extra inches of fabric. Fold back and iron. Pin your zipper in place on the folded ends of the fabric, making sure to cut and secure the zipper at least 1″ away from the top and bottom of the fabric to allow room for sewing. Use the sewing machine and a zipper foot to sew the zipper in place; hand-stitch the remaining seam of the side strip width. Trim the extra fabric behind the zipper.
Using the sewing machine, stitch the side fabric strip to the first circle of fabric with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Then pin and sew to the second circle. Trim the extra thread, remove any remaining pins, and turn the pillow.
Stuff as much buckwheat hull as you can into the pillow. This is a little tricky, as buckwheat hulls are tiny and quite devious. Also, they really hurt under bare feet. Fill it as much as you can, shake it down, and fill some more. I used almost all of the 5 lbs. of buckwheat hulls I purchased. Once it’s full, try it out. You may find that you’d be more comfortable with more or less filling – hence the zipper. (And, I’ll admit, I’m terrible at blindstitching. The zipper is my way of cheating.)
If you want to make your circles a different diameter, here is how you calculate where to place your pleats and how long a strip of fabric you need: Multiply the diameter of your fabric circle by pi (3.14159.) This will give you the circumference; for a 13″ diameter, I got a 40.84″ circumference. Add 1″ for the zipper seams (=41.84″.) For 14 pleats, each 3/4″ and using 1 1/2″ of fabric, add 21″ (=62.84″.) Add a couple of inches for fudging purposes, so you’ll be sure not to run out of fabric and have to start all over again (=65″.)
To determine where to put your pleats, take the length of your fabric strip, minus the 1″ of seam allowance and 2″ or so for fudging allowance (in my case, 62″.) Divide by 15 (=4.13″.) Round off as best as you can (=4″.) Remember to add your 1/2″ seam allowance for the measurement before the first pleat (=4 1/2″.)
- Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 1 1/2 yards
- Polyester, cotton, or kapok stuffing, ~2 lbs.
- Sewing thread, machine, etc.
Cut two rectangles of fabric, 32 1/2″ x 27 1/2″ (if you’re over 6′ tall, add a few inches to both dimensions. You need it to be big enough to accommodate you when sitting cross legged with your knees comfortably cushioned on the zabuton.) Note: Cutting a straight line that long can be difficult. In order to make sure that my cuts are indeed straight, and that I end up with 90o angles, I use the pulled thread method for cutting straight lines in the fabric.
Pin the rectangles together and stitch around the edges with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving an opening about 4″ wide on one side for turning and stuffing. Make sure to backstitch at the corners and on both sides of the opening. If you like, you can stitch a small curve on the edges or add a rise, but it’s not necessary.
Turn and stuff. A word about polyester stuffing: it’s tempting to just grab wads of stuffing and jam it in there without a care in the world, but you’ll end up with a lumpy, unusable pillow. Take the time to do it right. Grab a handful of stuffing and pinch off little pieces. You can make a big pile of pinched stuffing and then stuff the pillow by the handful. You’ll use a lot less stuffing this way, and your zabuton will be nice and fluffy – not lumpy.
Once the zabuton is stuffed to your liking (I stuffed to about a 2″ rise,) stitch the opening shut. To keep the stuffing from shifting about too much, tuft the zabuton. I added four tufts, each about 8″ from the corners toward the center of the pillow. To tuft, take a sewing needle and an 18″ length of thread. Double your thread and pierce both layers of the pillow; pull the needle through, but leave a few inches of thread on top. Bring the needle back through both layers of pillow near the first stitch. Pull both ends of the thread tight and tie it off carefully. Clip the extra thread. And you’re done!
Other links for sewing up your yoga props
Props and Gear for your Yoga practice.
Sew if you have any sewing ability, you can make these items for your Yoga practice.
- PDF of Sewing a Meditation Cushion Here are the instructions.
How to make a Zafu
First, what is a zafu? It’s a cushion to sit on during sitting meditation.
Do I need one? Nope.
Having said that, here are some instructions which I borrowed from a wonderful web site called No Zendo. Unfortunately they are no longer online.
The following information was originally published by the Zen Center of Los Angeles and was found in one of their fine books, entitled “To Forget the Self: An Illustrated Guide to Zen Meditation” by John Daishin Buksbazen. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print. It is gratefully presented here as a help for those getting started on their own.
A sturdy material such as a cotton/polyester blend
Kapok fiber, although buckwheat hulls can be used for those who prefer a firmer seat
- Length of cloth 59 inches long, 6 inches to 9 inches wide (depending on how high you would like your cushion to be).
- Two circles of cloth, each with a diameter of 11 inches to 13 inches (depending on how large around you would like your cushion to be.)
Pleat the length of cloth. There should be fourteen 3/4 inch pleats, 3 inches apart. To pleat:
a) Beginning 6-1 /2 inches from the left edge of the length, make three marks, 3/4 inch apart, thus marking out the first pleat:
Three inches after the first set of pleat markings, make the second set, as indicated above. Continue doing this till you have 14 pleats. When you finish, the last pleat marking should be 3 inches from the right edge. (If you wish to have narrower pleats, of course, simply increase the number of pleats.)
b) Next, iron the pleats and pin them. They should all be folded and ironed in toward the left-hand side. For each set of pleat markings, fold the third in toward the first as shown, and then pin as shown at below:
Now, having completed the first step, take the right edge of the pleated strip cloth and pin it to the left end of the strip, 3-1/4 inches from the left edge:
Mark each circle of cloth at four equidistant points. Turn pleated length of cloth inside out. Pin each circle to the pleated strip, one circle to the top edge and one to the bottom edge, at each of the four points:
Next, ease (pin) all the pleats in to the circles, top and bottom. Sew the circles to the length of cloth:
Turn inside out and stuff with kapok or buckwheat hulls (through opening in the side that the zafu will have) It’s best to use a lot of stuffing material. Kapok will slowly compress with use and buckwheat hulls eventually breakdown:
You could sew a zipper in the opening or simply sew it closed. Sewing a Meditation Cushion
Instructables instructions on making your own meditation pillow.
I used some cotton material that I had around the house. I used this same concept, to cover a neck roll that I had so that I could also use this in restorative yoga poses.
Here’s another link for making a stuff sack, or a cover for your cylinder shaped bolster…
p.s. Update, a sewing pattern from Simplicity 3583 – Bolsters, Meditation cushion, neck roll, eye pillow, yoga strap. Wait till Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s have their sales and snatch this pattern!
Sewing your own yoga gear, yoga mat bag and meditation pillow
Here are some of the things I’ve used my Singer Featherweight 221 and my Pfaff Sewing Machine for yoga gear.
I used the tutorials listed on my site for making these #zafu #meditationpillows
- Click Here==> Meditation Pillow – Zafu sewing instructions.
- Click Here==> Yoga Mat Bag – sewing instructions
- Click Here==> Singer Sewing Machine 221 Website
- Click Here==> Make your own face mask for all things airborne!
Yoga Mat Bag – Sewing instructions
This project uses Amy Butler’s Love fabric collection and knew it would be perfect for our yoga tote. Updated: I’ve taken off the instructions on this post as the original instructions here as it is finally back out there on the web.
Our generously-sized bag will hold your mat, towel, yoga chimes and more. We recommend choosing a heavier weight fabric for the bag so it’s sturdier and wears well. Amy Butler’s Love collection has several home decor weights from which to choose. Your lining can be regular weight. I used upholstery fabric, and I didn’t have to use a liner fabric when I made this bag.
Contributors Project Design: Alicia Thommas and Sample Creation: Jacqueline Smerek
Love this pattern. Had to find it off of Archive.org to get the instructions!
Like my little Singer Featherweight 221? Go on over to my Featherweight Site at:
Sara Varona, of BuildYourYogaBusiness.com created this sequence to assist in easing your lower and upper back pain. She gave me permission to post it on my display at my recent Yoga Booth at a Health Fair.
She also shows on her website, the different things that she does in helping a client in their private yoga practice. Here is her video listed at the end of this specific ezine going through the poses pictured on the right.
I took lots of notes, taught these sequences to my various yoga classes, and people noticed how much better their backs felt after going through the sequences. It is a 40 minute google video, to get your pen an pencil ready, take notes, practice and come back and back to this wonderful sequence of yoga poses.
The model in the photos is one of my daughters. She is in the process of training to be a yoga teacher. She is already a wonderful Ballet teacher. She has also taught tap, modern, jazz and creative dance.
Here’s your top DIYs, tutorials for:
- Face Mask Lanyards DIY Tutorials
- Face Coverings, face masks, Buff, Gaiters or Gators or Neck & Face covering – DIY Tutorials
- My DIY Tutorial for Face mask and Buff’s from Leggings or Yoga pants.
- Links to other DIY’s on making your own Yoga props on my site.
Face Mask Lanyards DIY Tutorials
You might have something already around the house to help you keep track of your face mask. Especially when those kiddos are going back to school. You know kids, right?
This one is easy peasy! Dug through my junk drawer, and found these! Just attached it to my face mask….good to go!
DIY for lanyard for your face mask
- https://www.annemariechany.com/blog//2013/03/10-minute-sewing-project-how-to-sew.html from Anne Marie Chany – 2013
- https://www.skiptomylou.org/fabric-lanyard-pattern-teacher-gift-printable/ from Skip to My Lou – 2015
- https://www.craftaholicsanonymous.net/easy-key-lanyard-tutorial from Craft Aholics Anonymous – 2014
- http://orangebettie.com/2018/12/19/diy-leather-lanyard-tutorial/ a lanyard made out of leather! – 2018
- https://www.peekaboopages.com/2019/09/back-to-school-how-to-sew-a-lanyard.html– 2019
- Use a lanyard that you already have at the house. Help keep up with your face mask with your lanyard cute video! ==> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5vVUzNaTRY
- Sew Your Own https://www.heatherhandmade.com/diy-face-mask-holder/
- Easy Ribbon Lanyard https://craftyforhome.com/2018/08/27/easy-ribbon-lanyard/
- DIY Neck Strap for homemade face coverings https://thesavvyage.com/diy-neck-strap-for-homemade-face-masks/
- Kids Face Mask with Neckband a DIY Sewing Tutorial https://sewing.craftgossip.com/kids-face-mask-with-neckband-diy-sewing-tutorial/2020/08/01/
- Good with knots and paracording or safety pins and ribbon? Try these! https://www.instructables.com/id/Paracord-Lanyard-1/
- And a DIY Face Mask Chain https://www.smartfamilymoney.com/diy-face-mask-chain/
- Just need to purchase one? https://factorydirectcraft.com/factorydirectcraft_blog/diy-lanyard-face-mask-holder/
Face Coverings, face masks, Buff, Gaiters or Gators or Neck & Face covering – DIY Tutorials
The list of DIY tutorials for making the buff, face mask coverings.
Goodness! Look at this creative way to use your Gelitan Plate and making your own
decorator fabric for your cloth facemask ==> How to Make a Gel Printed Fabric Face Covering
- From the My Sewing Machine Obsession site – another great tutorial, with the emphasis of summer fabrics. I like how this one is configured and updated.
- https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Stylish-Neck-Gator/ Also known as “Gator” good use transform into a buff/face mask
- http://giveitgrace.blogspot.com/2011/10/keeping-warm-and-staying-cheap.html Give it Grace Keeping warm and staying cheap: A DIY Head wrap/face mask. Oct 2011
- https://jennabrand.com/2014/05/01/tubular-bandana-buff-tutorial/ Tubular Bandana Buff Tutorial – May 2014
- Gaiter Style Mask Tutorial by Sew Can She
- DIY Breathable Face Mask at Hello Sewing
- http://blog.fehrtrade.com/gallery/883/sewing-indie-month-a-buff-tutorial/Buff – Sew your own active wear – May 2014
- https://lotsafreshair.com/2017/05/19/howto-make-a-buff/ Lots a Fresh Air Sewing your own Buff from a T-shirt May 2017
- Sewing your own Gator – Oct 2008
My DIY Tutorial for Face mask and Buff’s from Leggings or Yoga pants.
- Here is Gail and her original Buff from when she went to Mongolia. Taught yoga in Mongolia, when visiting her oldest in the Peace Corps.
- I selected the OSU colors for my LuLaRoe Leggings. Go Pokes!
- Taking my original Buff and measuring how much to cut, I may have added an inch to the length.
- I can get two Buffs from a pair of LuLaRoe Leggings.
- I then pin the fabric sides together to prepare to either sew by the machine or hand sew.
- Using my Pfaff Sewing Machine, pin right sides of fabric together, then sew down the seam to make a tube shape. In this case I used the serged seam as a guideline to where I’d sew. Optional to trim off that seam.
- Turn the finished tube with the fabric to the outside and try on. If need be, you could take in more if the buff slips. I found that I did not need to take in the side seam any, and the face covering/buff stayed up nicely.
DIY on making from the ends of Lularoe leggings or yoga pants into a face mask. Now Sewing required.
So I had a lot of left over leg ends, after I made the “Buffs and Gators” from the top of the Lularoe Leggings….
I saw on my statistics someone typed in DIY Lularoe leggings into a face mask. Looked at it and thought, well I could make it simpler… Here’s the PDF ==> Upcycle your Lularoe Leggings into Face Masks, Buffs and Gators – Gail Pickens-Barger Yoga Teacher
Other DIY Linked on my site.
Sew or hand sew your own Buff or Gator to use as a face mask – Gail Pickens-Barger
Gail and her original Buff from when she went to Mongolia. Taught yoga in Mongolia, when visiting her oldest in the Peace Corps.
Thanks for following along.
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Another Tutorial of using Legging/yoga pants/LuLaRoe material ==> Tutorial #2 of using then ends of the Lularoe Leggings or Yoga Pants into No Sew Face Masks
face shield mask diy
diy face mask shield
make your own face shield from fabric
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- Retired Information Technology Computer Scientist DuPont/Conoco
Teaching now 20 years! Yoga with Gail
Where did the time go by?
I had retired from the IT department at DuPont, and continued to take computer classes at the University of Houston – Victoria, plus take all the PE classes at Victoria College.
I took the first offered yoga class at the university.
After my final exam in that class, which was a teach-back yoga class, along with my team, my yoga teacher told me that she liked my sequences and should become a yoga teacher.
The following month in my hometown at that time, YogaFit International Training Systems came to town and presented their Level 1 training. Soon afterwards I was teaching and taking additional training to get my 200 hours.
I was the first graduate of YogaFit’s 200-hour teacher training program (other than their trainers).
I remember one day, back in Victoria, I taught 5 classes in one day.
I soon racked up the teaching hours to get to the experienced level, then after moving to the Nederland/Port Neches, Texas area, took additional training from Lex Gillan at the Yoga Institute in Houston, to complete my 500-hour training.
I’ve enjoyed teaching for so many different places and studios and independently. Thank you.
- Citizens HealthPlex
- DeTar Healthcare System
- GymX24 hour
- Lotus Yoga Studio of Victoria
- Victoria Ballet Theatre @ Debbe Busby School of Dance
- Chandler Elementary School in Victoria, Texas
- University of Houston-Victoria
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Christus HWC
- YMCA of Southeast Texas, Port Arthur Branch
- Nederland High School in Nederland, Texas
- Exygon Health and Fitness Club
- Golden Triangle Yoga
- Yoga Vibe TX
- Yoga at Wesley UMC in Nederland, Texas
- Friday Gentle Yoga at the Lakeside Best Years Center Beaumont Texas
- 12NewsNow and more!
- Now teaching online and in-person for the Veterans Yoga Project and No Longer Limited Duty
20 years of teaching yoga! Yoga with Gail Pickens-Barger
Beginners Yoga for easing back pain
•Yoga mat•Block or two rolled up hand towels
•Strap or dog/cat leash or long bath towel
•Optional access to a wall or chair
Gentle postures for easing back pain. The Veterans that I teach regularly on Wednesdays on the Mindbody app, through the Veterans Yoga Project had this to say about the Beginners Back Yoga class that I teach.
•”My pain levels were at the top at level 10. After class, my pain levels were at a level 6, which is so much easier for me to handle. Thank you.”
•Another Veteran shared this, “I came into the class at a level of 6. Near the end of the class, I could feel the easing of pain and I’d say I was at a level of 2. I will be repeating this class!”
•Sign up for a Mindbody account, through the VYP portal at:
•Then “Book” the Wednesday class at 1 PM CST to gain access to this gentle yoga class. #freeyoga
Gentle Yoga for low back pain 45 minute classes hosted by the Veterans Yoga Project folks!
Thank you for joining this yoga class and I hope you enjoy the class!
Remember, you don’t have to be able to touch your toes, or bend like a pretzel to do yoga!
Back PAIN info:
- Back pain is the 2nd most sited reason people go to the doctor
- Back pain has a high occurrence in veterans for a number of reasons
- And they are prescribed pills but it doesn’t really help
- Then comes fatigue, depression & quality of life goes down
- Yoga can actually help the back pain
- 45% of veterans have a military-connected disability
- 8% of adults in the US have back pain at some part of their life
- 30% of people in the US in the next 3 months will have a short course of back pain
- So this affects everyone
- This method of practices and yoga poses
- Reduces the intensity of pain, depression, fatigue & medication use
- Pain interference with daily life.
- Quality of life & self-efficacy both went up with regular yoga practice
#VYPFamily, #VYPBootsOnTheGround, #VYPLightACandle and #NamasteMemorialDay
Since the formative years of the United States, more than one million American Soldiers have given and lost their lives protecting our freedoms and defending our nation’s liberties. Those Americans made the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans Yoga Project recognizes their sacrifice by annually gathering on Memorial Day to light candles in their honor.
We stand where they once stood.
We bow to them with gratitude.
We speak of their valor.
All of us at Veterans Yoga Project
Gail Pickens-Barger, Veterans Yoga Project Ambassador
Here’s my teaching schedule for Fall 2021
- Tuesday 6:00 PM @Wesley UMC/Clifton Museum in Beaumont/Bridge Point Fellowship church in Bridge City, Texas – Free for Veterans & families – Call for location 409-727-3177 https://tinyurl.com/TueYogaGail
- Wednesday 1 PM CST on MINDBODY Online. Sign up for a free account at least 1 hour prior, to book and verify your email the first time. Free – Gentle Yoga for Beginners and for Low Back Pain https://tinyurl.com/vyp-classes
- Fridays at LakeSide Best Years Senior Citizen Center – 10:30 AM
- Private Yoga upon request.
- Zoom Corporate Classes upon request.
WEDNESDAYS at 1 PM CST – Join VYP yoga teacher, Gail Pickens-Barger, for a 60 minute gentle yoga practice for easing back pain. Gail incorporates all five mind-body tools of VYP Mindful Resilience: Breathing, Meditation, Mindful Movement, Guided Rest, and Gratitude.
These tools help us breathe easy, focus clearly, move freely, rest deeply, and remember what is working in our lives. As a result, we become more resilient in the face of both ordinary and extraordinary challenges.
To help ease any regulars into classes, please invite them to
A) create a MindBodyOnline account with us,
B) visit the Classes page on our VYP website to see an integrated look at what we are offering online both daily and weekly, and/or
C) stayed tuned online with us through social media for announcements.
Here is the direct link for the VYP page resource with our classes:
I bend, so I don’t break. Get moving!
I bend so I don’t break.
So true. If you rest, you will tend to rust. When I taught yoga in Victoria Texas, I had 6 people come to my gentle yoga class that had fibromyalgia.
They told me they hurt if they don’t come, they hurt if they do come to yoga. But the hurt coming out of yoga was of a lot of body relief. They craved coming to class. I think that is because yoga not only works on the body, but the mind, and of easing of pain for some, and getting better sleep.
I think about that class that I had in V-town a lot because that was early on in my yoga career, and I just was a bit confused by their comments about different types of pain.
Now after teaching for over 20 years, it makes a lot of sense to me, as I am now inhabiting my body with levels of pain issues. Oh, if I don’t move, move move, it is big time hurt city. I still hurt, but pain levels between 7-9, now regularly sit between 1-3. That is significant to me.
What about you?
I invite you to come to my #freeyoga class held on #mindbody sponsored by the Veterans Yoga Project I’ve got the link below. Be sure to sign up at least an hour maybe two before your first class, so that you get the verification email in time to do class. You’ll get an email link to come into the class 30 minutes prior.
Gentle Yoga for Low Back Pain is what I teach. 60 minutes beginner-level class.
Yeah, you don’t have to bend like a pretzel or touch your toes to get massive health benefits from a regular yoga practice.
Comments? Complaints? Questions? Complements? I want to know!
Here’s the link https://veteransyogaproject.org/vyp-classes/
Free one hour long yoga class for Veterans in Nederland, Texas. Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 6 to 7 PM.
SETX Yoga for Veterans
June 15, 2021
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Held at Wesley United Methodist Church
3515 Helena Avenue
Nederland, Texas 77627
Held in the church’s Foyer area, which is in the sanctuary building.
The sanctuary building is closest to the street.
SETX Yoga for Veterans.
This initial set of classes is geared for beginners.
You don’t have to touch your toes or bend like a pretzel to do yoga!
This class will be held throughout SETX. Wesley UMC, Clifton Steamboat Museum of Beaumont, Texas and Bridgepoint Fellowship of Bridge City, Texas.
It will be a mat yoga class with access to using chairs in the varied yoga postures.
Many veterans and active duty service members will notice a lessening of stress and easing of pain when they participate in a regular yoga class.
SETX Yoga for Veterans is sponsored by No Longer Limited Duty and the Veterans Yoga Project.
Gail Pickens-Barger, is the local ambassador yoga teacher for the Veterans Yoga Project (VYP).
Here is Gail’s bio on the Veterans Yoga Project site == > She has been teaching classes for the past year online on both Facebook Live and on youtube for the VYP during our world’s health crisis.
In teaching for the VYP, they use 5 tools to assist the Veteran.
* Mindful Movement
* Guided Rest
* Gratitude Practice
This is Gail’s 20th year to teach yoga after retiring from the IT field at DuPont/Conoco company.
Count on Yoga. Looking for a reason to start practicing (or restart your practice)?
1. Flex Time.
Improved flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a back bend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissues, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
2. Bone Zone.
It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertrebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
3. Worry Thwarts.
Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider these facts. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Plus, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.
4. Breathing Room.
Yogis tend to take fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient. A 1998 study published in The Lancet taught a yogic technique known as “complete breathing” to people with lung problems due to congestive heart failure. After one month, their average respiratory rate decreased from 13.4 breaths per minute to 7.6. Meanwhile, their exercise capacity increased significantly, as did the oxygen saturation of their blood. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve various measures of lung function, including the maximum volume of the breath and the efficiency of the exhalation.
5. Pain Drain.
Yoga can ease your pain. According to several studies, yoga postures (asana), meditiation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions. When you relieve your pain, your mood improves, you’re more inclined to be active, and you don’t need as much medication.
6. Connective Tissue.
As you read all the ways yoga improves your health, you probably notice a lot of overlap. That’s because they are intensely interwoven. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change you nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of yoga: Everything is connected – your hipbone to your anklebone, you to your community, your community to the world. Such interconnection is vital to yoga. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have self-perpetuating and even multiplicative effects. Synergy may be the most important way of all that yoga heals.
7. Joint Account.
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected cartilage can eventually wear out like worn-out brake pads, exposing the underlying bone.
8. Flow Chart.
Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Down Ward Facing Dog, Standing Straddle Splits, Headstand, Handstand and Shoulderstand, encourages venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.
9. Heart Start.
When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you can lower your risk of heart attack and relieve depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don’t get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise – all reflections of improving aerobic conditioning.
10. Strength Test.
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from such conditions as arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.
11. Spinal Rap.
Spinal disks – the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves – crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plently of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.
12. Standing Orders.
Your head is like a bowling ball – big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it take much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for 8 or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
13. Sugar Show.
Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In people wit diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Get your blood sugar levels down, and you decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure and blindness.
14. Space Place.
Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could mean fewer falls. For the elderly, this translates into more independence and delayed admission to a nursing home or never entering one at all.
15. Loose Limbs.
Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simple tune in and pay more attention to these areas, you may be able to relieve some tension.
To see all 38 ways yoga can improve your health and well-being click on over to the Yoga Journal Website. http://www.yogajournal.com/health/1634
Online Beginners Yoga with Gail — Work with me!