R - Terms

Raga: in Indian music, a series of five or more notes upon which a melody is based; a particular melody. Ragas evoke particular moods in the listener and are often performed to resonate with a season or time of day.

Raja: meaning royal; a king.

Raja Yoga: royal yoga. The Yoga path of meditation. Hatha Yoga is actually a branch of Raja Yoga.

Rajas Ajas: one of the three Gunas which generates passion and restlessness.

Rakta: one of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the red blood cells.

Rama: very popular hero god who is an avatar of Vishnu, whose story is told in one of the most famous in India - The Ramayana. His wife is Sita.

Ramayana: for the past two thousand years the Ramayana has been among the most important literary and oral texts of South Asia. Telling the story of the banishment, wandering and eventual return of Prince Rama, this epic poem continues to influence the politics, religion and art of modern India.

Rasa: one of the seven bodily constituents, mainly the plasma (clear part of the blood).

Rasa Vaha Srotas: those channels or blood vessels, that carry the plasma throughout the body; includes the coronary arteries in the heart.

Rasayana: herbs, foods, or behaviors that support immunity, good health, and long life; that which causes ojas to be produced.

Restorative Yoga: designed to relieve stress; this is a very slow and relaxing kind of Yoga.

Rig Veda: the oldest of the four sections of the Vedas.

Rishi/Rishikesha: literally "seer"; refers to one who sees the reality of life as described in the Veda and Vedic literature.

Roopam: outer beauty.

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Prenatal Yoga for Advanced

During pregnancy it is most important to listen closely to your intuition whenever something in the practice doesn't feel right. But an experienced practitioner can do a pretty normal practice for the first three months. In the vinyasa sequence, some women prefer stepping instead of jumping back into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Since nausea is common during the first trimester, it may be helpful to practice in a well-ventilated room.

During the second trimester your growing belly will require modifying some poses. Use common sense and avoid putting undue pressure on the abdomen in poses like Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana C, Marichyasana B and D, and Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose). You may also choose to reduce the amount of vinyasa if generating heat in the body makes you uncomfortable. When practicing Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), separate the legs to accommodate the belly. In a twist like Prasarita Padottanasana (Intense Spread Leg Stretch), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), and Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide Angle Pose) to open the groins in preparation for delivery. Standing poses like Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), and Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) can help relieve back pain. And a simple inversion such as Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose) can help to relieve swollen ankles.

Exist women who did hour-long Headstands into their ninth month of pregnancy as well as those who were doing Viparita Chakrasana (Handstand to Backbend and back again) up until the end, but they are the exception to the rule. For most women the last trimester is a time to take it easy. So you may want to join a prenatal class for that very reason, even if you feel physically capable of doing more. Through each trimester the most important thing is to tune in to what your body is telling you and alter your practice accordingly. During and after your pregnancy, try not to be attached to your previous abilities. Don't forget that your body will go through enormous changes, positive changes...

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Depression Therapy

Traditionally, the word "depression" refers to a state of melancholia, unhappiness or sadness, or to a relatively minor downturn in mood that may last only a few hours or days. This is generally seen as quite distinct from the diagnosis of clinical depression. However, if the depressed mood lasts at least two weeks, and is accompanied by other symptoms that interfere with daily living, it may be seen as a symptom of clinical depression, dysthymia or some other diagnosable mental illness, or alternatively as sub-syndromal depression. On the other hand, in the field of psychiatry, the word depression can also have this meaning of low mood but more specifically refers to a mental health condition when it has reached a severity and duration to warrant a diagnosis, whether there is an obvious situational cause or not. A typical psychiatric description of depressed mood is "... depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, or 'down in the dumps'." In a clinical setting, a depressed mood can be something a patient reports (a symptom), or something a clinician observes (a sign), or both. A depressed mood is generally situational and reactive, and associated with grief, loss, or a major social transition. A change of residence, marriage, divorce, the break-up of a significant relationship, the death of a loved one, graduation, or job loss are all examples of instances that might trigger a depressed mood.

Many different therapies are available for depression, including anti-depressants and psychotherapy. Studies indicate that regular exercise too, including yoga asanas and breathing, can help some people ease the symptoms of mild to moderate forms of depression. Of course, one major hurdle in using exercise to alleviate depression is motivation, or lack of it. Most depressed people don't really feel much like getting out of bed in the morning, much less exercising. Then too, failure to see the exercise program through can make a depressed person feel even worse. So start off slowly, and be sure to choose an exercise or a sequence that you really enjoy. If possible, exercise with a supportive partner or group. Try to exercise at least three times a week.

Asana sequence for depressed people(40-70 min):

1 - Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): with your back torso supported on a rolled blanket positioned below and parallel to your spine. (Total time 3-5 min.)

2 - Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose): use a strap to hold the raised leg in place. Hold each side for 1 to 2 minutes; total time 2 to 4 minutes.

3 - Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog): use a bolster or block to support the head. (Total time 1-2 min.)

4 - Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): support your head and crossed forearms supported on a padded chair seat. (Total time 1-3 min.)

5 - Sirsasana (Headstand): intermediate students should perform the full pose for a total time of 3 to 5 minutes. Bring your feet back to the floor slowly together if possible, either with straight knees or bent, with an exhalation, and stand in Standing Forward Bend for 30 seconds before coming up. (Total time 3 min.)

6 - Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose): supported on a chair; pad the chair seat either with a sticky mat or folded blanket. Then slide your legs through the space between the chair back and seat, and sit on the back edge of the seat facing the chair back. Grip the chair legs just below the chair back and, with an exhalation, lean into a backbend. The front edge of the seat should cross your back torso just under your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor. Support the back of your head, either on a bolster or a block. You can continue to hold the chair legs, stretch your arms overhead, or slip your arms underneath the seat between the chair legs and grip the back rung. Be sure to breathe smoothly. To come up, grip the chair legs just below the chair back, and pull yourself up with an exhalation. Try to lead to movement of your torso with your chest, not your head. (Total time 3-5 min.)

7 - Seated twist: continue to sit reversed through the chair, twist to the right with an exhalation, hold for 30 seconds, then twist to the left for 30 seconds. Repeat three times to each side, each time holding for 30 seconds. (Total time 3 min.)

8 - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): place a blank under the shoulders for support. Repeat three times, each time for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Total time 2-3 min.)

9 - Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand): follow Shoulderstand with Halasana (Plow Pose). Intermediate students should do full Plow with their feet on the floor, beginners can do Plow with their feet resting on a chair seat. (Total time 3 -5 min.)

10 - Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend): support the head either on a bolster laid across your extended leg, or if you're less flexible, on the front edge of a padded chair seat. Hold each side for 1 to 3 minutes. ( Total time 2-6 min.)

11 - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose): allow the torso supported on a bolster, and shoulders and head resting lightly on the floor. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor. (Total time 3-5 min.)

12 - Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose): pelvis is supported on a bolster or rolled blanket. Be sure to slide off the support before your turn to your side. (Total time 3-5 min.)

13 - Ujjayi Pranayama (Reclining Conqueror): lie on a blanket support to open your chest, with long, smooth, full inhalations and exhalations. (Total time 3-5 min.)

14 - Savasana (Corpse Pose): come off your blanket support and lay your back torso flat on the floor. Support your bent knees on a bolster. (Total time 8-10 min.)

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