#BeginnersYoga #chairyoga Beginners Yoga with Gail Pickens-Barger Lower Blood Sugar Yoga Managing Your Stress Reduce Stress Relax and Renew Relaxation, iRest, Yoga Nidra, Yogic Sleep Relieve Stress Too Much Stress Veterans Yoga Why Yoga helps the Heart Yoga for Back Pain Yoga for Beginners Yoga for Bone Strength Yoga for Fibromyalgia Yoga lowers cortisol levels

Spinal movements in Veterans Yoga, Beaumont Texas

Spinal movements in Veterans Yoga – Beaumont Texas

One of the things that I have noticed in chair yoga classes are similar yoga pose offerings.

I took LVCYT training at the Open Center in New York City, back in October of 2012.  Laskmi Voelker has this set of yoga poses that I use in almost every class I teach, whether it is Beginners Mat class or Chair Yoga Fitness.

The Six Essential Spinal Movements.  It is lovely!

Side Lateral Flexion

Side Lateral Flexion seated on the floor, or you may on a chair!


Cat, bottom 3rd to the Left, Cow, bottom 1st to the Left

and finally, Seated Twist.

Other Yoga offerings in the Golden Triangle (Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Nederland) area
Seated Twist, on the yoga mat, but may also be done seated on the chair

I use them at the beginning and end of class.  They are great!


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Easy Seated Pose – Private Yoga in Nederland or Beaumont Texas

yogaduoCome explore yoga one on one through private yoga lessons.

To help ease back pain, lessen stress, lose weight, increase flexibility & strength, better balance and build bone mass, through a tailored yoga session in your home for your unique needs.

Keep it between the easy and ouch!

Private Yoga with Gail Pickens-Barger, International Yoga Teacher. 409-727-3177 or through the CONTACT FORM.  Thank you!


Heart Yoga Yoga lowers cortisol levels Yoga Pose Sequences

Yoga, Heart Disease, Lowering Stress Hormones, Cortisol and Yoga

Here is the Heart Disease Yoga Sequence I was referring to last night (and we did a bit of it too).

  1. Chair Neck Movements.  Neck rolls, neck towards side of chest.
  2. Chair Shoulder Shrugs.
  3. Chair Ankle Movements. Point, Flex, Foot on the outside, ball of foot, foot on the inside, foot on the heel. Lift leg parallel to floor.
  4. Chair Knee to Chest.
  5. Relaxation Pose on the floor.  Laying on our backs.
  6. Lying on our Front Side. Side Neck Stretch.
  7. Front Side.  Sphinx Pose – Supported Back Bend.
  8. Childs Pose.
  9. Seated Forward Bend (one leg at a time, used the strap).
  10. Relaxation.
  11. Here’s where we didn’t do something.  Supported Shoulder Stand.
  12. Relaxation
  13. Fish Pose with the small ball at the bottom of our shoulderblades, with optional block, underneath our head.
  14. Half Spinal Twist, with deliberate intention of where our chin/chest placement occurred.
  15. Didn’t Do.  Yogic Seal Pose.  It is a easy sitting with hinged hips toward the floor, but you clasp the hands behind your back, then come back to prayer hands to chest.
  16. Relaxation.
  17. Three Part Breathing.
  18. Alternate Nostril Breathing 
  19. Warrior I pose with hands on hips
  20. Tree Pose with feet on the block, then feet off of the block
  21. Seated Cat / Cow (In Chair, and on the floor).
  22. Final Relaxation with legs on the chair, for a simulated Legs up the wall pose
  23. Upright seated tension tamer with the shoulders, jaw line.
  24. Simple twists, stretches as we end the yoga class.

How Yoga Fits In:
Because the stress response affects the heart in a number of harmful ways, yoga’s proven ability to fight stress is a big part of the explanation for how yoga benefits people with heart disease.  Stress hormones raise the blood pressure and heart rate, putting added strain on the heart and increasing its need for oxygen.  Periods of either physical or mental stress can be particularly dangerous for someone with a heart whose blood supply is compromised by fatty blockages, through evidence suggests that stress can induce a heart attack in the absense of blockages by causing spasm in a coronary artery.  Stress hormones also induce changes that cause the blood to clot more easily.  Doctors now believe that heart attacks often happen when a clot gets lodged in an artery taht is already partially narrowed.  The stress hormone cortisol is known to increase both eating and the laying down of fat in the abdomen, Intra-abdominal fat can increase the body’s resistance to the effects of insulin, raising blood sugar and further increasing the risk of heart disease.

     Yoga’s ability to lessen anger may lower the risk of a heart attack.  “Anger is very strong emotion,” Nischala (creator of this heart disease yoga sequence) says.  “It takes at least three hours physiologically for the body to get back in balance, to the place it was before an angry episode — and many heart attacks happen within three hours of a angry episode,”  She says that anger was very common among the participants in the Ornish program (program to lessen heart problems), and most knew and admitted it.

     The regular practice of yoga seems to lessen anger by fostering greater psychological equanimity, increasing feelings of compassion for others, and increasing the sense of gratitude.  Yoga also helps people achieve a heightened awareness that puts the minor annoyances of life in a larger perspective, so that they are less likely to respond to the traffic jam or the difficult situation at work with the kind of agititation that Ron Gross described (who would yell, stomp out of a room, during a negotiation…great for the negotiation process, not so great for Ron).  And yoga provides specific tools, such as breathing techniques, which can dampen the first sparks of anger and prevent them from being fanned into an inferno.

     Yoga as a form of physical exercise, if done vigorously enough, can raise the heart rate into the aerobic range, potentially lowering the risk of a future heart attack (but there are safety considerations).  Even yogic breathing (pranayama) alone has been shown to improve cardiovascular conditioning.  The improved efficiency of lung function and better heart muscle even in instances where partial blockages  compromise blood flow.  Yoga can help people lose weight not just because of yoga poses burns calories, but because of lower levels of stress hormones lessen appetite, and because yoga practioners bring conscious attention to what and how they eat.

     Yoga is also a good antidote to depressions, which is a major problem after a heart attack, and greatly increases the likelihood of dying.  Doing yoga makes you feel better about yourself and more hopeful about your ability to get better.  The resulting increase in optimism can encourage you to keep up your practice and make other lifestyle changes that contribute to better health. 

     * Yogic Tool?  KARMA YOGA.  “My experience is that nothing opens the heart, whether it’s a sick heart or a healthy heart, quicker than doing service.” Nischala says.  “There is always an opportunity to serve.”  More on that topic at a later email…..just to keep y’all curious!!

This exerpt was taken from the Yoga As Medicine Book, by Dr. Timothy McCall, in the Heart Disease section.

Your thoughts on this?

#BeginnersYoga Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice Weight Bearing Exercise Yoga Yoga Journal Yoga lowers cortisol levels

Start or Re-Start your Yoga Practice — It Does a Body GOOD!

5benefitsofyogalistCount on Yoga.  Looking for a reason to start practicing (or restart your practice)?  Here are a few ways yoga can improve your health and well-being.

  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 vertebrae.  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.

These 3 little reasons as to why yoga is good for you, can be found in a new magazine- Yoga for beginners.  It is written by the editors of Yoga Journal.

So, if you’ve have not come to yoga in a while, and want to join us, with the new time change – 6:15 PM on Mondays at Wesley United Methodist Church, 3515 Helena Avenue, Nederland, Texas.

Class fee is $10.  Part of your fee supports the Back Pack Food Ministries at the church.

Thank you for coming to yoga for whatever reason!