I am sure you have heard many times in Bikram Yoga - “Touch your chin to your chest, look at your stomach, and touch your forehead to your knee.”
Tucking the chin to the chest creates a double chin called Jalandhara Bandha or (throat lock) in Yoga Sanskrit and known as the “destroyer of old age.”
Jal means throat, jalan means net, and dharan means stream or flow and bandha means lock. Jalandhara Bandha can be considered the throat lock that controls the flow of energy in the nerves and blood vessels of the neck.
The chin-to-chest stretch is immensely powerful because it compresses the sinuses on the main arteries of the neck which helps to regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems and helps to balance the thyroid and metabolism. The neck muscles react to stress strongly, thus stretching the neck muscles has an immediate effect on one’s state of mind and how we express our emotions.
Touching your chin to your chest also affects the only blood vessel that passes through the neck to the brain, known as the ‘Vidyan Nadi’. This blood vessel has two parts the Carotid Sinus and the Carotid Nerve and these are known as Carotid Arteries. The pressure applied here has a positive affect on a person’s health because the blood supply to the brain is reduced and helps to lower blood pressure.
As the spine lifts and rounds, the blood circulation increases in the spine and benefits the whole body.
This is just one of the many ways Bikram Yoga heals and restores vital balance to the body, and why I am so excited to share and teach this wonderful and therapeutic system! Eva
In Half Moon posture, I instruct students to adjust their shoulders so they can ‘open up their chest like a flower petal blooming.’ This tiny adjustment leads to a gradual opening of the upper body where the chest lifts up exposing the heart.
The heart is located in the 4th chakra center in the body and includes the heart, lungs, circulatory system, shoulders and upper back. Chakras centers are interpreted as wheels that move energy up and down the body and run parallel to the spinal column and are depicted as lotus flowers (symbols of creation and self-awareness in individuals).
The heart energy is creative and powerful and stands at the center of all energies and it’s the point around which all the energies turn.
Be patient in your yoga practice! You cannot force a flower to bloom sooner or it will pull apart or wilt. A flower requires time to seed (potential), sprout (resilience, never giving up) and bud (awakening, accomplishment) and eventually open up into something unique and amazing.
Enjoy each moment, including the struggles and the challenges. Be happy with your improvements, no matter how small. Each small step is building a foundation, until naturally you open like a flower petal blooming!
Savasana is not confined to being the final pose. In our Bikram Yoga class, Savasana is interspersed between the floor postures to gain energy and to reduce the chronic exhaustion that many of us suffer.
When used between the postures the mind shifts from high activity to physiological rest and muscular tension switches from being fully engaged to fully relaxed, and the heart rate increases and rapidly slows down. This moving from intense activity to a state of complete inaction becomes interval training for our body’s energy and building cardiovascular resiliency.
Over time, the nervous system adapts to stimulation with less reaction.
Benefits: Regulates stress hormones and restores brain activity.
Tip: Remaining aware and present will greatly improve your energetic stamina
Practice hot yoga at least 3 times a week and feel relaxed and renewed. Sweating is good for you … good for your skin, your body and your stress levels!
The heat reaches into your cells to stimulate sweating and the release of toxins. This deep-down heat is soothing to your joints and muscles and it opens your pores, giving your skin a deep cleanse and a healthy glow.
Your sweat is mostly water that contains salt, ammonia, urea, and trace minerals and metals. Releasing these substances plays a role in helping your body eliminate toxins which is relaxing to the body
The perspiration you lose should be replaced before and after. Keep your electrolytes up and come prepared. Re-hydrate!