There are many benefits of yoga that are not necessarily common knowledge, one being that yoga can help maintain a healthy spine. By incorporating specific yoga stretches and movements into a daily exercise regimen, yogis can improve the health of the spine and prevent potential spinal injuries as well. 
Physical and Spiritual Benefits
For persons with existing injuries, yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles in the lower back and legs, which helps to ease back pain. Yoga movements also increase blood circulation which prompts healing nutrients to be delivered to injured tissues. While there are specific poses that are best for those with spinal issues, many of the yoga postures will gently strengthen back and abdominal muscles and help reduce or even eliminate back pain all together.
Aside from the physical benefits to your body, including your spine, there are also incredible spiritual benefits to practicing yoga. Yogic tradition tells us that each person has seven energy centers that serve as portals between matter and mind. These energy centers are known as chakras and each corresponds to a different area of the body. The first chakra, called “the root chakra,” is located at the base of the spine. This chakra grounds us and connects us to the earth.
A healthy spine creates feelings of stability, contentment and clarity. While physically a strong back is essential for our general wellbeing, a healthy spine is the back bone of spiritual health.
Breathe, Stretch, Move
In order to maintain a healthy back and spine, your yoga practice needs to include certain movements that stretch, rotate, lengthen and strengthen the spine and its surrounding muscles and connective tissue. Try some of these simple moves to start off.
Roll down and back up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your knees and tuck the pelvis under while contracting the abdominal muscles. Relax the neck, drop chin to chest and roll down through the spine. Your arms should remain completely relaxed. Do this slowly and then gradually roll back up once your hands have reached about the level of your knees. This will stretch your spine and hamstrings while improving posture and relaxing the mind.
Downward-Facing Dog: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands slightly farther forward than your shoulders. Press your hands into the ground and raise your knees away from the floor, lifting your tailbone up toward the ceiling. To make the move a little more advanced, gently push on your heels to give your hamstrings and extra stretch. This targets the muscles in your lower back that support your spine when you stand and lift objects.
Child’s Pose: Start on all fours. Stretch your arms out in front of you and then sit back on your glutes so that they come to rest just before touching your heels. (see below) This stretch may seem easy, but it is a very active stretch for strengthening the spine.
Crescent Moon: Kneel with a straight back and step forward with one foot until it is a little in front of your other knee and your upper leg is parallel with the floor. Leave your back leg resting on the floor with your toes on the mat. Raise both arms and hook your thumbs together. As you stretch your arms upward, pull your thumbs slightly apart. As you exhale, bend sideways to each side while maintaining the lift in your spine. Hold to each side for several breaths. This stretch is great for your back as well as legs and shoulders.

 

There are many benefits of yoga that are not necessarily common knowledge, one being that yoga can help maintain a healthy spine. By incorporating specific yoga stretches and movements into a daily exercise regimen, yogis can improve the health of the spine and prevent potential spinal injuries as well. 

Physical and Spiritual Benefits

For persons with existing injuries, yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles in the lower back and legs, which helps to ease back pain. Yoga movements also increase blood circulation which prompts healing nutrients to be delivered to injured tissues. While there are specific poses that are best for those with spinal issues, many of the yoga postures will gently strengthen back and abdominal muscles and help reduce or even eliminate back pain all together.

Aside from the physical benefits to your body, including your spine, there are also incredible spiritual benefits to practicing yoga. Yogic tradition tells us that each person has seven energy centers that serve as portals between matter and mind. These energy centers are known as chakras and each corresponds to a different area of the body. The first chakra, called “the root chakra,” is located at the base of the spine. This chakra grounds us and connects us to the earth.

A healthy spine creates feelings of stability, contentment and clarity. While physically a strong back is essential for our general wellbeing, a healthy spine is the back bone of spiritual health.

Breathe, Stretch, Move

In order to maintain a healthy back and spine, your yoga practice needs to include certain movements that stretch, rotate, lengthen and strengthen the spine and its surrounding muscles and connective tissue. Try some of these simple moves to start off.

    • Roll down and back up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your knees and tuck the pelvis under while contracting the abdominal muscles. Relax the neck, drop chin to chest and roll down through the spine. Your arms should remain completely relaxed. Do this slowly and then gradually roll back up once your hands have reached about the level of your knees. This will stretch your spine and hamstrings while improving posture and relaxing the mind.
    • Downward-Facing Dog: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands slightly farther forward than your shoulders. Press your hands into the ground and raise your knees away from the floor, lifting your tailbone up toward the ceiling. To make the move a little more advanced, gently push on your heels to give your hamstrings and extra stretch. This targets the muscles in your lower back that support your spine when you stand and lift objects.
    • Child’s Pose: Start on all fours. Stretch your arms out in front of you and then sit back on your glutes so that they come to rest just before touching your heels. (see below) This stretch may seem easy, but it is a very active stretch for strengthening the spine.
    • Crescent Moon: Kneel with a straight back and step forward with one foot until it is a little in front of your other knee and your upper leg is parallel with the floor. Leave your back leg resting on the floor with your toes on the mat. Raise both arms and hook your thumbs together. As you stretch your arms upward, pull your thumbs slightly apart. As you exhale, bend sideways to each side while maintaining the lift in your spine. Hold to each side for several breaths. This stretch is great for your back as well as legs and shoulders.

 

My doctor told me to do yoga after I recovered from a herniated disk from a inherited spine condition. I’ve been taking classes from another teacher for a year, though I recently felt that I could be doing the poses better. I came to your class hoping to receive more instruction and that is exactly what I received. Thank you for helping me understand what I need strengthen and how to do it. It was everything that I had hoped for.
Susan, a student at joyyoga (via merikariu)
Yoga + Meditation Workshop
with Michael PerkolaOf the Eight Limbs of Classical Yoga, physical movement is one-eighth and meditation is three-eighths*. Your yoga practice and daily life will be greatly enhanced by the practice of meditation in cooperation with yoga. Start or strengthen a meditation practice to develop your awareness and willpower.This workshop is an opportunity to begin or deepen a meditation yoga practice. By training to focus your attention within, your awareness will light up your nervous system, giving you a new level of presence and control in the body. By broadening your awareness, you”ll be more grounded and better able to navigate your moods and mind. You”ll learn how to move the attention and sense of self out of the head into the entire body.Workshop OutlineTotal duration: 2 hoursSelf-introductionsPresentation of the teachingsSimple yoga practiceGuided relaxation (10 minutes)Filling the body with attention (20 minutes)Silent meditation (20 minutes)Simple yoga practiceQ&A and discussion* Classical yogic meditation includes Pratyahara (control of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (one-pointed mind)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_yogaAbout Michael PerkolaMichael Perkola is a teacher of meditation and yoga. He has sought self-awareness and self-mastery through meditation and martial arts since his teenage years. Now in his thirties, meditation plus yoga have become his chosen methods of integrating and strengthening the body, mind, and spirit. He finds robust health and deep meaning through these practices. His students can expect to cultivate self-awareness, health, and longevity.Michael earned his Registered Yoga Teacher 200-hour certification in Baptiste Power Yoga in early 2012. He continues to advance his yoga practice and instruction by studying therapeutic yoga (Pralaya Yoga System) and Ashtanga Yoga.WhenSunday April 27, 2014, 12:00 - 2:00 pmWhereJoy Yoga Center, 1415 S. Voss Rd Suite 280, Houston, Texas 77057Price$40Registration & QuestionsFor registration, visit www.joyyogacenter.com or email
leslie@joyyogacenter.com.
 
For questions regarding the content of the class, email Michael at mperkola@merikariu.com.

Yoga + Meditation Workshop

with Michael Perkola

Of the Eight Limbs of Classical Yoga, physical movement is one-eighth and meditation is three-eighths*. Your yoga practice and daily life will be greatly enhanced by the practice of meditation in cooperation with yoga. Start or strengthen a meditation practice to develop your awareness and willpower.

This workshop is an opportunity to begin or deepen a meditation yoga practice. By training to focus your attention within, your awareness will light up your nervous system, giving you a new level of presence and control in the body. By broadening your awareness, you”ll be more grounded and better able to navigate your moods and mind. You”ll learn how to move the attention and sense of self out of the head into the entire body.

Workshop Outline
Total duration: 2 hours
Self-introductions
Presentation of the teachings
Simple yoga practice
Guided relaxation (10 minutes)
Filling the body with attention (20 minutes)
Silent meditation (20 minutes)
Simple yoga practice
Q&A and discussion

* Classical yogic meditation includes Pratyahara (control of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (one-pointed mind)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_yoga

About Michael Perkola
Michael Perkola is a teacher of meditation and yoga. He has sought self-awareness and self-mastery through meditation and martial arts since his teenage years. Now in his thirties, meditation plus yoga have become his chosen methods of integrating and strengthening the body, mind, and spirit. He finds robust health and deep meaning through these practices. His students can expect to cultivate self-awareness, health, and longevity.

Michael earned his Registered Yoga Teacher 200-hour certification in Baptiste Power Yoga in early 2012. He continues to advance his yoga practice and instruction by studying therapeutic yoga (Pralaya Yoga System) and Ashtanga Yoga.

When
Sunday April 27, 2014, 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Where
Joy Yoga Center, 1415 S. Voss Rd Suite 280, Houston, Texas 77057

Price
$40

Registration & Questions
For registration, visit www.joyyogacenter.com or email
 
For questions regarding the content of the class, email Michael at mperkola@merikariu.com.

So glad I purchased a $40 Groupon for this place (unlimited classes for 1 month) — it has definitely been worth it! I’m pretty brand-new to yoga, and I’ve been impressed by the instructors for the Slow Flow classes I’ve attended. There’s a variety of personalities and styles, but each one clearly has a lot of experience and cares about each attendee’s yoga experience.

The classes I’ve attended are never overcrowded, and their schedule is super flexible, ranging from 6 am to 8:30 pm. I always leave feeling refreshed and relaxed, and I can feel myself having better posture, even after just a few weeks. Love this place and wish I could afford a regular membership after my Groupon expires…still debating whether or not to make the splurge. But I strongly recommend everyone to at least try it for a month—you won’t regret it!

A joyous Joy Yoga student (via Yelp)
Happy Earth Day, everyone! What are you doing to celebrate?

Happy Earth Day, everyone! What are you doing to celebrate?

Memorial Park Conservancy

Tomorrow is Earth Day! We love our awesome city and we want to help keep it green by donating to the Memorial Park Conservancy. We will collect your donations at both studios all day tomorrow!

Through sustained leadership, meaningful investment and strategic efforts, Memorial Park Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, protects, restores and preserves Memorial Park for the enjoyment of all Houstonians, today and tomorrow. We work in collaboration with Houston Parks and Recreation Department. We believe the quality of life in Houston is directly impacted by the quality of its parks.

As a 55 y/o who has never done Yoga in my life, I was a little apprehensive about this whole endeavor, but let me say all my angst was immediately relieved. The front desk attendee at the Voss location (sorry, I forgot her name) was so welcoming and explained where my class would be, gave me a tour and was very complimentary about my instructor.

In the class I was made to feel welcome and told numerous times to work at my own pace and do what I could. Dakota was wonderful, she continually check my posture and was encouraging the entire 75 minutes!

The room was fine at first but as the class progressed I was really getting warm and sweating. Dakota kept on eye on the class and adjusted the thermostat a couple of times during the session.
I had purchased a one month unlimited pass and I will be scheduling my next class this week. I feel very optimistic about surviving my first class and am actually looking forward to my next session.

A joyous Joy Yoga student (via Yelp)
Morning #yoga

Morning #yoga

This video of a llama frolicking to DMX is the best thing we’ve seen all day. If this doesn’t make your Friday, nothing will!

[be sure to click the speaker icon at the top left of the video for sound!]