We all are aware of the personal journey our practice leads us through. From knowing our physical limits at a given time to the mental and emotional high we often feel once stepping off the mat, we root our drive in intentions. Our practice becomes a personal exercise of externalizing our internal desires and wishes. We leave the mat, studio or beach, with hopefully a clearer view of the world and a lifted spirit. With all these deep reflections, it's the teacher guiding the practice that greatly impacts the lasting effect!
Some yogis prefer a "workout" approach to their practice, feeling a hard day's work after the hour. Others enjoy a mellow practice. The style of the teacher may reflect a fast-paced flow, or detailed, systematic scaffolding. Whatever the approach, we find what works for us! What is it that you're drawn to in a teacher, a guiding light? Who have been your most influential teachers and what about them deepens your practice?
Tips for preventing heat stroke, heat exhaution, heat rash and dehydration
By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide
Updated August 14, 2011
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
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Athletes are especially susceptible to heat-related illness such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke while exercising in hot weather. Most serious heat illness in athletes can be prevented by following some basic guidelines and heeding the warning signs and symptoms. However, if these warning signs are ignored, they may progress into a life-threatening heat emergency.Common Heat-Related IllnessHeat Illness - Symptoms and SeverityNormally, our body temperature is regulated by sweating. A number of factors can limit the sweat response, including intense exercise in high temperatures or high humidity, age, obesity, fever, dehydration, illness, medications and alcohol. When an athlete develops a heat illness, it usually occurs after several hours of exertion and excessive sweating that leads, first to to dehydration, and then toelectrolyte imbalances.
To prevent heat-related illness, follow these precautions:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety, 2006.
Recognize the signs, symptoms and severity of common types of heat illness
By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide
Updated August 15, 2011
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Athletes are particularly susceptible to developing heat-related illness while exercising in hot weather. Heat illness in athletes can be mild, or may turn into a life-threatening emergency.
Many types of heat illness can be avoided by following some basic guidelines and by knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a problem. Each condition along the continuum of heat illness has it's own unique warning signs and symptoms--here's how to tell them apart.
Mild Heat IllnessConditions that are considered mild heat illness include the following:1. Heat Edema
Heat edema is a mild heat illness characterized by the swelling of hands and feet after prolonged exercise in heat. The core body temperature is usually normal.
2. Heat Rash
Heat rash (sometimes called prickly heat) is a skin irritation that occurs when the sweat ducts become clogged and prevent the release of sweat onto the skin. Once trapped, the sweat causes a mild inflammation and an itchy rash that is generally seen in sweaty areas underneath clothing. Core body is usually not affected by heat rash.
3. Heat Syncope
The signs and symptoms of heat syncope include dizziness and/or fainting; an athlete may also experience weakness. Heat syncope is a posture-related event, and athletes recover immediately after lying down with his or her feet elevated. Heat syncope is seen in athletes who are insufficiently acclimated to heat, and who become dehydrated. Unlike other serious heat illness, athletes with heat syncope have a normal core body temperature and recover quickly once they are fully hydrated.
4. Heat Cramps
The signs and symptoms of heat cramps include painful muscle contractions that are associated with dehydration and electrolyte loss after exercising in the heat. An athlete's core body temperature will likely be elevated, but will not be over 104°F (40°C).
Moderate Heat Illness5. Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is considered a moderate heat illness that requires immediate attention. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include an elevated core body temperature in the range of 98.6°F - 104°F (37°C – 40°C). An athlete will complain of dizziness, fatigue, headache and occasionally will experience nausea or vomiting. The skin is usually flushed and sweaty but it may be cold or clammy.
Severe Heat Illness6. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is considered the most severe heat illness. An athlete with heat stroke has a core body temperature over 104°F (40°C) and appears confused and disoriented. As heat stroke progresses loss of consciousness may occur. With heat stroke, many patients will stop sweating. Athletes, however, generally suffer from exertional heat stroke, in which they continue to sweat. This is a medical emergency.
The Heat Stroke Symptom Checker helps you learn more about heat stroke symptoms and treatment steps.
The Hughston Foundation. Severity Levels of Heat Illness. 2010. [http://www.hughston.com] Last Accessed August, 2011.
Our first sunrise yoga session of the year led by the amazing Kara Schmidt. Make sure to sign up for her Acro-Yoga Workshop.
Here are a few beach yoga videos - join us on North Avenue Beach Chicago to enjoy your slice of heaven!
Practicing yoga at home has never been easier. If you are a beginner to yoga or relatively new and want to establish an at home yoga practice, it is important to do some groundwork before jumping into the fray. To prevent injury and maximize the power of your yogic experience, careful preparation and modest investments can make learning yoga at home viable, efficient, and fun.
Here are ten tips to help you establish an at-home yoga practice.
1) Create a space
Set aside a space dedicated to your yoga practice. Make sure it is free from furniture that could create a hazard to you as you do various yoga asana. Your yoga space should be clean and serene. Decorate it with images and objects that create a peaceful and sacred feeling in your heart.
2) Invest in tools of the trade
If you do not already have a yoga sticky mat, purchase one. There are yoga mats for every budget and taste. A mat cleaner will keep your mat smelling fresh after tough workouts. Make sure you have two blocks and a strap for modifications and consider getting a yoga blanket. Not only will they keep you warm when you relax in savasana but they can also be rolled up to help you modify poses. You may need two bolsters for under your knees, and you will probably want at least one style of zafu or meditation cushion.
3) Carefully prevent injury
If your grandmother told you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, she was right. When you practice yoga at home, it is your job to make sure that you don’t injury yourself. Keep your space clear of obstacles like furniture and children’s toys, and if possible, do your yoga in a room with hardwood floors. Soft surfaces can injury joints and thick carpet makes balancing difficult. Lifeboard is a hard surface that you can put on top of carpeting to make a transportable yoga floor if necessary.
Christel Pierron (Seva Simran Kaur), an experienced teacher of Hatha Yoga, YogaDance, and Kundalini Yoga in Cape Cod, cautions, “Never force a posture. If you are going to tip over your edge, it is better to have a teacher who can watch you and help you go further. At home, take it easy. Don’t compete with your body. Love your body, nurture your body, and be present. Be present, warm up, fully get into the poses you know…that is how an at home practice should be. More difficult poses should be in a class, where your teacher can make a safe environment for you.”
4) Choose your yoga style
There are so many styles of yoga to choose from that it can be a little daunting at first. But rather than be overwhelmed, be excited! There are so many forms to choose from that if you don’t like one, you have several others to test out. Hatha yoga is the most common form of yoga, but there are several schools of Hatha yoga to choose from. Pierron recommends that beginners try something like Iyengar yoga or Kripalu yoga to help them learn the mechanics of a pose. If dynamic movement and deep meditation is your true love, Kundalini Yoga might be the perfect style for you. Shop around for teachers and styles that appeal to you, so that you know what will inspire you at home.
5) Get Instruction
Once you find a style and a teacher you like, go to a few yoga classes. Then you can develop yourself privately. You can work with a teacher to find a series appropriate for you to do at home. Says Pierron, “Nothing replaces a teacher giving you personal instruction.”
6) Do further research
If you cannot find a teacher in your area, or if you want to further educate yourself about yoga, invest in some yoga books or flash cards. They are handy references to have while learning about the finer points of asana. Magazines such as Yoga Journal can provide inspiration and a feeling of connection to a larger yoga community.
The internet is a wealth of resources for an at home yoga practice. You can go onto Itunes and find a yoga podcast that works for your level and interests. You can also join an online yoga club such as Gaiam Yoga club, which will give you access to videos, podcasts and guides with master teachers Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman-Yee. You can join Yoga Glo which films their yoga classes and allows you to participate from home. I Yoga Life has many videos that you can watch and participate with that are appropriate for a variety of levels.
Purchasing some yoga DVDs with master instructors can help you take your practice to the next level. Rodney Yee is an excellent source of instruction for Hatha yoga. If you fall in love with Ashtanga yoga and want to create a solid at home practice without having a lot of time, a video such as David Swenson’s Short Forms is a wonderful resource. Vinyasa yoga is a more fluid and often physically demanding form of yoga, but a Shiva Rea video might be just the ticket for your at home practice. If Kundalini Yoga is where your heart is, try a video by Gurmukh.
7) Take your yoga with you
Even when you are not at home, you can be enhancing your home yoga practice. Iphone applications are a great way to study yoga asana on the go, or even practice yourpranayama. Many yoga applications are free and others, such as Long Deep Breathing to help you learn to control your breath, are very affordable. Going for a hike in the summer months? Do some simple yoga and breathwork along the trail to connect more deeply with yourself and with Mother Nature, or learn Breathwalk as a spiritual practice.
8 ) Be gentle
“If you are a beginner to yoga, start as such, whether you are in shape or not,” counsels Christel Pierron. Start with small increments of time. Even 20 minutes of yoga to begin with is stretching areas of your body in a new way. Start slowly when beginning a yoga practice. Yoga was not designed as a fitness routine, but as a way to achieve spiritual union with the divine and purify the body to prepare it for meditation. Respect the discipline and your body enough to give it time to adjust to your practice.
9) Set the mood
For many, good music during yoga is one of the best parts of the practice. Consider keeping ipod speakers and your ipod in your yoga space. Begin collecting music conducive to a beautiful yoga experience or make a playlist just for your practice.
Spirit Voyage has an extensive collection of Yoga Music, including a Yoga Living Series. Decide what style of music will support you in your yoga practice. Love Kundalini music? Try Snatam Kaur. Like groovy Sanskrit mantras? Listen to some Wah! For mellow instrumentals, Deuter is a favorite. Shiva Rea has even compiled a collection of trance music suitable for Vinyasa flow.
The purpose of yoga was to support meditation. In your home yoga practice, do not forget to take the time after your workout to meditate and relax the mind while you are relaxing your body. There are so many forms of meditation. Try something simple, such as sitting with a straight spine, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. The benefits of meditation include everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood.
Remember that yoga is a practice of honoring yourself and your body. Take the time to rediscover your body and soul in a nurturing, self-supportive way. Try to find the time in your busy life to take even ten minutes for yourself in your new sacred space. The stresses of the day and world outside your yoga space might seem pressing and urgent, but ultimately whether the dishes are put away and the laundry is done is not as important as whether or not you feel at home in your body and are in touch with the divinity within you. Start your yoga practice at home slowly, continue steadily and gently, and while you look at your hamstrings stretch, watch your spirit soar.