Nicole DeAvilla: When I look at the yoga postures pictured in your book, they look like regular postures that one might see in any yoga class. If the postures are the same, what makes this practice different?
Gyandev McCord: In Ananda Yoga, the physical positions are seen primarily as the foundation from which a deeper practice can spring. That deeper practice involves working directly with the life-energy that the postures awaken, so as to raise consciousness.
ND: Why did you want to write this book?
GM: More and more people have experienced yoga postures on a physical level, and many of them sense a spiritual potential in the practice, and want to explore that potential. I wrote the book to support those people as well as teachers who want to (or perhaps already) teach the spiritual dimension of yoga.
ND: What is a simple practice that could be done in about 2 Minutes to connect to the spiritual or higher awareness aspect of yoga regardless of a person’s religious beliefs-even if they are an atheist?
GM: Higher awareness may seem esoteric or inherently religious, but it’s simply about finding a happiness that doesn’t depend on external circumstances. When you feel happiness, there’s a lot of energy in the forefront (prefrontal lobes) of the brain. Conversely, when you bring more energy to that location, you naturally feel happier. Here’s a quick exercise that can help you work with your energy to accomplish that. It’s called the Full Yogic Breath Flow:
Stand upright and take a full yogic inhalation: the belly expands first, then the lower ribs, then the chest. As you do a full yogic exhalation (chest relaxes in, then lower ribs, then belly), come into a forward bend. On your next full yogic inhalation, draw your hands up the front of the legs and torso (almost touching the body) as you come upright and stretch the arms overhead, gazing slightly upward. On the ensuing full yogic exhalation, glide your hands down the front of the body (again, almost touching it) as you return to the forward bend. Continue in this way for 5-6 breaths. As you inhale, try to feel the natural magnetism of the hands helping to light energy to the brain. As you exhale, feel that your hands are wiping away any traces of fatigue, restlessness, or discontent.
If you would like to learn more about Gyandev McCord and connect with him through Social Media, please follow him and visit his website which is where you may also purchase his books.
Personal Website: www.waystofreedom.com
(where his products are sold)
Main Website: www.expandinglight.org
Last year the International Association of Yoga Therapists developed Educational Standards for the training of Yoga Therapists. This was the first big step in groundbreaking work to further professionalize the work and training of yoga therapists.
I was honored to join the first Accreditation Committee, this summer, which is charged with the task of implementing the Educational Standards. It’s no easy task as you can imagine!
Fortunately, I work with a dedicated and talented team of experts. Everyone truly wants what is best for the field of yoga therapy. We all respect the rich and varied traditions and emerging new perspectives on Yoga Therapy. We are responsive to the thoughts and input from existing yoga therapy schools and individual yoga therapists.
In June we will be giving presentations and answering questions at the Meeting of Schools and at the Symposium of Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR). Topics will include the process of accrediting yoga therapy schools, grandparenting qualified individuals already working as yoga therapists and future directions.
This is a very exciting time in the field of yoga and yoga therapy. I will be sharing more with you soon. As one of the pioneers in yoga therapy it is wonderful to see these developments.
“Environment is stronger than will power”, is sage advice given by Master Yogi Paramhansa Yogananda, which is now gaining scientific support. What we choose to look at is part of our environment, whether it be physical places or that which we look at on our TV, computers and other screens. Is there any evidence that what you look at can affect your mood?
The expression, “Just Looking”, is often associated with a no harm/no foul attitude.
Great saints and sages of all times have been keenly aware of the trials and tribulations of the people and cultures around them – often even demonstrating an uncanny ability to know what is happening on the other side of the globe – without spending hours of time watching, reading or listening to news, gossip etc.
Still, many ask: What good does it really do to refrain from the average dose of “reality” one supposedly gets from keeping up with all of the news?
The answer: “… It Might Have to Do With What They’re Looking at”*.
Researcher Derek Isaacowitz of Northeastern University: “… compared to younger adults, older adults prefer positive looking patterns and they show the most positive looking when they are in bad moods, even though this is when younger adults show the most negative looking.”
Older adults with good concentration skills were able to regulate their moods by looking at that which was positive.
OK – so maybe “Just Lookin’ ” at the news too much may not be so good for our mood. But if we back off won’t we be missing important information? Apparently not. Research conducted by Isaacowitz and colleagues also showed that “Although older adults prefer to focus on positive stimuli… they aren’t necessarily missing any salient or important information.”
What do you like to look at to improve your mood?
Couldn’t we all use a little boost in brainpower? The prefrontal lobes of our brains – the area in front behind the forehead – is often referred to as the seat of our Executive Function. Think of this part of the brain as the executive that helps us to make good decisions quickly and accurately. It’s responsible for good judgment and our higher thinking skills as well.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a way to think faster, be more accurate and boost our working memory? Well we do and you don’t need a prescription, an operation or a tutor. All you need is Yoga!
A recent study published in J Phys Act Health, July 2012* showed that after just one yoga session participants had superior gains in mental performance compared to aerobic exercise participation.
Yoga practice and in particular meditation practices have been shown in previous studies to increase the size of the prefrontal lobes and other areas of the brain. This new study is one of the first to measure actual brain performance.
The good news is that it only took one session to see positive effects! In other words you don’t need to invest in months or years of training to get benefits. All you need to do is start now. Here are a few ideas from “The 2 Minute Yoga Solution”** book to get you launched toward increased brain performance:
Move – Breathe – Focus
2 Minute Yoga Club Members: Now available is a “Meow-Moo Chair Version” video practice session from which the above tips are taken. Log into 2 Minute Yoga Club and enjoy!
**“The 2 Minute Yoga Solution Fast and Easy Stress and Back Pain Relief for Anyone at Anytime” is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in bookstores. You may also click here to order it from Inner Path now.
|Learn why Nicole started teaching Yoga. Her answer in this guest blog post might surprise you!|
|My first introduction to yoga was a Yoga for Dancers Workshop while I was in college at UCSC. The instructor gave us stick figure illustrations of the routine. Then one of those unexplainable things happened: I began practicing the sequence, every day. I had never set out with the intention of practicing yoga regularly, let alone every day. It just happened. Depending on how much time I had, I would spend anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours practicing. I did this for at least a year.Later, after I had graduated from college, I found myself living in San Francisco. At this time, I was not practicing yoga nor dancing and I found myself in a lot of pain and going into a downward negative spiral…Read full article|