• Chair Exercises for the Office: Simple Chair Yoga Routine

    Sitting all day can be hard on the body. Knowing some easy chair exercises for the office will help you feel healthy and at your best in your workplace. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a simple chair yoga routine you can do the next time you need a pick-me-up at work.

    The dangers of sitting all day

    The human body is designed to move. Staying in a static position for extended periods of time builds tension in the muscles causing aches and pains.

    A few years ago, medical professionals realized the true dangers of sitting all day. It can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar along with a whole host of other problems.

    Even though we know the dangers of sitting, most still live sedentary lives. In many offices, workers spend eight hours at a desk with little opportunity to move around, but you don’t have to fall into that unhealthy trap.

    Here are a few simple things you can do to stay healthy at work.

    Change position

    Have you ever found yourself so focused on a task that you didn’t even realize you were sitting in the same position for ages until your leg fell asleep?

    When you’re sitting and working on something, it isn’t uncommon for you to hold a static position for an extended period of time. Often that position creates a lot of tension through the neck and shoulders.

    Changing your position every 15 minutes. Try leaning back if you tend to sit forward in your chair when you work. Change the positions of your legs and feet. If you can adjust your chair and desk heights, that will also help. You can even alternate between sitting and standing.

    Take breaks

    Get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. You can wander around the office or just stand beside your chair and move your legs around a bit. Movement keeps the blood flowing and your muscles healthy.

    Try a chair yoga routine

    Doing some easy desk exercises for the office, like chair yoga, releases tension in the muscles and prevents stiff joints. Chair exercises can be done anytime you’re sitting in a chair, and seated exercises give you the benefits of yoga without disrupting your workplace.

    Try this simple chair yoga class with Kristin McGee.

    Do you want more yoga classes like this? Sign up for a free trial with Omstars to get started. 

  • Yoga Is an Excellent Way to Relieve Stress: Here’s Why

    “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.” B.K.S.Iyengar

    Are you feeling stressed out? If so, yoga may be the answer for you! Yoga is a great way to relax and destress after a long day. It can help soothe your nervous system and improve your mental health. Scroll down for a yoga for stress relief practice with Kino MacGregor or keep reading to find out how yoga gets rid of your stress and anxiety.

    Yoga lowers stress hormones

    Studies have shown that yoga lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and calms the nervous system. People who practice regularly are happier, calmer, and able to handle stress more easily. Yoga can also help improve your mood and well-being!

    Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system

    So, why is yoga so effective at reducing stress? For one, yoga involves deep breathing exercises which activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

    This system is responsible for “rest and digest” functions in the body, such as blood flow to the gut and relaxation. When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” response) is activated. This can lead to shallow breathing, increased heart rate, and tension in the body.

    Yoga helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body to relax and feel calmer. Additionally, yoga involves movement and stretching, which can help to release physical tension that has built up in the body.

    Stretching boosts your mood

    Additionally, yoga poses (or asanas) stretch and tone the muscles, which can release tension in the body and make you feel better.

    One theory is that when we stretch our muscles, we release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have pain-relieving and mood-boosting effects. So, not only does yoga help to relieve physical tension, but it can also boost your mood!

    Yoga grounds you in the present

    Yoga is also a form of mindfulness, which can help to focus the mind and ease anxiety. When we focus on our breath and the present moment, it can help to ground us. Anxiety often comes from ruminating on past events or worrying about the future.

    Mindfulness helps us to focus on the present moment and let go of these worries. This can lead to a sense of calm and peace.

    The best types of yoga for stress relief

    There are many different types of yoga, and all of them can help to reduce stress. However, some yoga styles are more focused on relaxation than others.

    If you’re looking for a yoga class that will help you relax and de-stress, look for one that is labeled “gentle,” “restorative,” or “yin.” These classes tend to be slower-paced and use props such as blankets and bolsters to support the body.

    If you’re new to yoga, it’s a good idea to start with a beginner’s class. This will help you learn the basic poses and get a feel for the practice. Once you’re more comfortable, you can try a more advanced class.

    No matter what type of yoga for stress relief you choose, remember to focus on your breath and move at your own pace. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.

    Practice this short yoga for stress relief sequence with Kino to relax and unwind.

    Do you want more yoga in your life? Sign up for Omstars to get access to daily live classes, on-demand streaming classes, and a supportive yoga community.

    By Omstars

    Photo by Adél Grőber on Unsplash

  • What is Yoga?

    Do you feel like you’re constantly under pressure? Are you struggling to find a way to relax and de-stress? If so, yoga may be the perfect solution for you! It’is a practice that has been around for centuries, and it offers a wide range of benefits for both the body and mind.

    One of the most common misconceptions about yoga is that it’s simply a form of exercise. While it’s true that it does involve physical movement, there’s much more to it than that. It is actually a holistic practice that can help to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

    What is the true origin of yoga?

    There is no one answer to this question, as yoga has been around for centuries and has been practiced in many different ways. However, the most common belief is that it originated in India over 5000 years ago. The word “yoga” itself comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means to unite or connect, and it is believed to be a way to connect the body, mind, and spirit.

    When you practice, you are working to unite all aspects of yourself. You are using your body to move and stretch, your mind to focus and concentrate, and your spirit to connect with something larger than yourself. It is a way to harmonize all aspects of yourself, and when you achieve this balance, it can lead to greater peace and happiness.

    What are the benefits?

    There are many benefits to be gained from a regular practice, including:

    – improved flexibility

    – increased strength and muscle tone

    – better circulation

    – reduced stress and anxiety

    – improved breathing capacity

    – enhanced focus and concentration

    – greater peace and calmness

    These are just a few of the many health benefits of yoga that scientists and individual practitioners have discovered.

    What are the different types of yoga?

    There are many different types, but here’s a list of some of the most common ones.

    Hatha Yoga

    Hatha yoga focuses on postures or “asanas”. The purpose of these postures is to align the body and mind and to promote relaxation.

    Vinyasa

    Vinyasa links breath with movement. This type of yoga is often referred to as “flow” yoga, because of the continuous flow from one pose to the next. Vinyasa yoga is a great workout, and it can also be very relaxing.

    Ashtanga

    Ashtanga is rigorous form and involves doing a set sequence of poses. It emphasizes the idea of using yoga as a form of moving meditation and a guide to your entire life, not just an exercise program. It may seem difficult at first, but there are modifications for all of the poses in Ashtanga to make the practice accessible to everyone who wants to practice.

    Bikram Yoga

    Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga that is practiced in a room that is heated to approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit. These classes follow a set sequence of strenuous poses. The temperature in the room makes you sweat to detoxify the body and make your muscles looser and easier to stretch.

    Iyengar

    Iyengar emphasizes precision and alignment in the poses. Props like blocks, bolsters, and straps are often used in Iyengar classes to assist students with finding the proper alignment in poses. Iyengar yoga is a great choice for beginners, as the poses are generally simpler than in other forms.

    Kundalini

    Kundalini yoga focuses on awakening the Kundalini energy that is said to be sleeping at the base of the spine. This is done through a series of repetitive movements and breathing exercises. Kundalini yoga is a great choice for beginners, as the poses are generally simpler than in other forms of yoga.

    Restorative

    Restorative focuses on relaxation and stress relief. Poses are generally gentle and supported by props like blankets and bolsters. It is a great choice for people who just want to calm their nerves and chill out.

    Yin

    Yin yoga focuses on stretching the connective tissues around the joints. Poses are held for anywhere from one to five minutes. Bolsters, blocks, and blankets are used to help you relax into the poses and make them more comfortable.

    Power

    Power yoga emphasizes strength and stamina. Poses are often more physically demanding than in other forms of yoga, and the classes are usually faster-paced. Power yoga is a great workout if you want to focus on speeding up your heart rate and getting a good sweat during your practice.

    AcroYoga

    AcroYoga incorporates partner work and acrobatic elements. Poses are often done with the help of a partner, and they can be both physically and mentally challenging. AcroYoga is a great choice for people who want to add an element of fun and playfulness to their practice.

    No matter what type you choose, you are sure to benefit from the practice. Yoga can help to improve your flexibility, strength, stamina, and mental well-being.

    Yoga is a practice that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re looking to improve your physical health, mental well-being, or simply want to find a way to relax, yoga can help.

    So what are you waiting for? Start your yoga practice today. You can sign up for Omstars to get the expert guidance of some of the best yoga instructors teaching online today and start practicing at home.

    Join Omstars today and start your at-home yoga practice!

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

    So, you want to try yoga? As a beginner, it can be both overwhelming and intimidating to start. You don’t know where to begin and all the people practicing seem to fit a particular mold. Well, this beginner’s guide to yoga is designed to help you get started safely and find the tools you need to begin your own journey.

    What Time You Practice.

    Some basic things to think about are what time you practice, how often you practice, and how to choose a teacher. Practice is best done as a daily ritual, much like brushing your teeth. The body also responds to consistency with training. Choose a time that works for your schedule and then commit to that practice time for at least one full week, or ideally, one full month. Tradition yoga texts recommend to practice first thing in the morning, before breakfast and before the mind gets too stimulated.  However, if your best chance at consistency is to practice after work, at the end of the day, do that. In order to increase your likelihood of maintaining your practice, schedule “yoga” in your calendar and set a reminder five minutes before. Put on your yoga clothes as soon as you wake up in the morning. Studies show that just wearing your work-out clothes increases the likelihood of actually working out significantly.

    How Often You Practice.

    A big part of getting started is about taking the “shoulds and shouldn’ts” out of practice and really connecting to what feels right for your body, what works for your schedule and making conscious decisions that nourish your personal journey. At a minimum, I’d suggest to practice twice a week. But ideally it is recommended to practice six days a week. Five minutes a day six days a week is better than an hour once a week. The daily discipline makes a difference in how the practice integrates with your life.

    How to Choose a Teacher.

    Choosing a teacher or a class can be a big question. If you’re searching for a local teacher, find the most qualified well-trained teacher in your city and see if they offer beginner programs. if you don’t like the style of yoga that they teach after the course is over, try another studio. Remember, yogis are human beings. Don’t expect your teacher to be an enlightened master or a copy of the Buddha. They are people, just like you, who have been practicing and studying yoga for awhile. They have taken a few steps further on the yoga path than you have, but on a human-to-human level you’re equals. That being said, be open and hear what the teacher has to offer and be respectful while maintaining your personal boundaries.

    Joining a Yoga Challenge or Course is Another Way to Get Started.

    If you’re looking to start a beginner yoga program online, there are many offerings. A good way to start is with a program that takes you through a full 30 days of practice. It helps if the online system allows you to track your progress so that you can both hold yourself accountable and give yourself positive reinforcement for practice sessions completed. Just like searching for an in-person teacher, choosing the right online teacher requires a bit of research. Find the most qualified well-trained teacher whose style you connect with and see if they have a beginner yoga program. Joining a yoga challenge is another way to get started. When you’re practicing at home you’ll miss the feeling of community that you get at a yoga studio. But when you join a yoga challenge there is a virtual community of yoga that you connect with as you practice and share the experience together.

    You Don’t Need All the Gear to Start.

    You don’t need all the gear to start, especially if you’re practicing at home. If you have an area rug or carpeted floor you can just put on a pair of old sweatpants and a t-shirt and follow the videos. No one cares what you wear at most authentic yoga studios, but sometimes it just feels safer to start at home when you no know it’s just you and the practice. Try it out for a week or two and then if you fall in love with the practice, buy a mat.

    Allow Yourself to be Where You Are.

    Don’t expect to be good at yoga from your first class or even first 1,000 classes. If you think you need to be flexible and strong from the beginning then yoga will be utterly impossible. Instead, allow yourself to be where you are, which is at the beginning of your journey. In doing so you will learn your first lesson from the yoga practice—that is, how to be humble enough to admit the vulnerable truth that you’re a beginner. It doesn’t feel good to be the person in the room who seems not to know what pose to do, where to put your mat or have to modify all the poses. But, every single yoga practitioner has gone through just that. Even the master teachers whose practice seems to exist in an effortless gravity-free zone started off dazed and confused by even the most basic poses. When I first started the practice I couldn’t touch my toes in a forward bend, lift my body off the ground or say a single word in Sanskrit. Over twenty-years later and things look a lot different.

    You Don’t Need to be Particularly Good At Yoga To Experience the Deep Benefits of the Practice.

    It takes time. If you think yoga will be a panacea for all your life’s problems within your first class, you will be disillusioned. But if you commit to at least a month of consistent practice, somewhere between three to six days per week you will start to experience some small shifts that act like a beacon for the path ahead. You don’t need to be particularly good at yoga to experience the deep benefits of the practice. You just need to show up on your mat and try. It takes at least a year of practice before you will start to notice substantial life changes. Commit to the practice for the long haul and the practice will lead you down the rabbit hole of personal transformation, the end of which brings your life more peace, happiness and joy. That’s the promise that yoga makes to every single practitioner. All you have to do is keep practicing and put in the work.

    Expect to be Sore.

    Expect to be sore. I still remember the morning after my first yoga class. During and immediately after the session I felt amazing. My mind was calm in a way that I hadn’t known possible and my body felt light and free. The next morning, however, I could barely walk. My hamstring muscles were so sore and achy that I could hardly move at first. I started off practicing two days a week. That lasted for about four months before I jumped into a six day a week practice. Each time I increased the frequency, length or intensity of my practice I got sore in new places. A healthy dose of muscular soreness that leads to increased strength and flexibility is part of the practice of yoga. Twenty-years later and I’m still sore!

    There is No End to the Journey.

    Think about yoga as a slow steady progression towards a more mobile body, a happier and more peaceful life. The more you give to the practice, the more it gives back to you. There is no end to the journey, just more steps to lead deeper down to center of yourself. Much more than just a bunch of poses, stretches and power moves, yoga is a true spiritual path that opens the door to deep life learning. At first you may not make the connection between body, mind and soul, but that’s ok, that’s why you’re here on the mat and why you want to start yoga. Whether you’re interested in beginning yoga because you want to heal your body, relieve chronic pain, decrease anxiety, lift depression, manage your temper, or whether you’re on a spiritual quest from the beginning, the practice can be for you. All it takes is that you show up, unroll your mat and practice every day you can.

    Ready to get started with yoga?

    Learn More About Kino’s NEW 5-Week Online Beginner Course today!!

    Over one full month, you will get fully established in your yoga journey. Build up from the basics of yoga poses and learn healthy anatomical technique to be sure your body is safe. Calm your nervous system with breathing techniques and meditations that you will return to over and over again. Learn the basics of yoga philosophy and be happier and more peaceful right after your first class.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Why do you practice yoga? Kino Macgregor Ashtanga Yoga teacher, OMstars

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone.

  • Once a Yogi, Always a Yogi

    Yoga is not jealous or unforgiving. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Yoga is loving, nurturing, and no matter how far you stray, it will always be there, waiting for you to once again return to the mat. More than likely, for many of us, there will be times in our lives when we fall away from our practice. One moment we are loving it – we notice ourselves getting stronger, more flexible, more peaceful and more conscious – and then the next thing we know, we haven’t practiced in weeks.

    It happens to the best of us. No matter how good our intentions are and no matter how much we love our practice, sometimes we just fall away. And that’s okay. In that case, starting again is just part of the journey. And each time you make the brave decision to return to your mat, there are new lessons to be learned.

    Coming back to the mat can be intimidating, though. The feeling that you may have lost progress is enough to discourage anyone. But the truth is, once a yogi, always a yogi. Although you may have left your practice behind for a time, your practice never once left you. Our practice is with us every time we observe our breath, stand steady on our feet, or connect to anything greater than us; and this will be clear to you the moment you step back onto the mat.

    When it comes to returning to your practice, or even stepping onto a mat for the first time in your life, having a community can be the ultimate key to success. That’s where Omstars comes in.

    If you let us, we will carry the torch of yoga and lead you to the true light. Let us be your community, your support system, and the gentle encouragement you need to find your way back to the mat.

    The new year is just around the corner, and we can’t think of a better time to reconnect with yourself and your practice. Join us for our new 30-day beginner challenge, this January. With this challenge, we’re making it easier than ever to dive into a routine that you can stick to. With practices that are 20 minutes or less, plus a variety of teachers and styles of yoga, finding a system that works for you has never been simpler.

    Join the challenge, and we’ll send a new practice right to your inbox each and every day with words of encouragement to keep you inspired and motivated. Plus, our community is full of seasoned, new, and born-again yogis, just like you.

    We invite you to take this opportunity to humbly begin again, to explore yoga for the first time, or to transform your practice from hopeful and inconsistent to dedicated and daily. Wherever you are, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

    By Alex Wilson

     

    Join The Challenge

     

     

  • 30 Days to Create a Healthy New Habit with Omstars – Join the Challenge

    Get ready to kickstart the New Year with a healthy new habit that’s both lifechanging and sustainable – a daily yoga practice that fits seamlessly into your schedule! The all-new Omstars 30-Day Beginner Challenge is coming to town and it begins on January 1st!

    This challenge is designed to help you embark on the path of yoga as a new practitioner – no experience necessary! Showcasing a variety of classes, teachers, styles of practice and more, this challenge will help you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Plus, every class offered through this challenge can be completed in just 20 minutes or less, so finding time to practice everyday will be simple!

    When you commit to 30-days of yoga with this new challenge, we’ll send you one of our beginner-focused, 15 to 20-minute class every day for 30 days. You’ll practice with a variety of existing Omstars teachers, plus several new teachers, and create a manageable routine that fits easily into your everyday life. You’ll have the opportunity to practice different styles of yoga from Ashtanga to Vinyasa, Yin and more!

    Plus, for every person who joins this challenge, our sponsors, OHMME and Liforme, will be donating $1 to Yoga Gives Back, up to $15,000! Yoga Gives back is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to raising awareness and funds in order to alleviate poverty in India.

    This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to those in need, plus jump into your own yoga practice with a set of amazing teachers, expert guidance, and a supportive community of new and established yogis just like you! Don’t miss this exciting new challenge and your chance to give yoga a try with Omstars – The Yoga Network!

    When you’re ready to join, here’s what you’ll need to do:

    Use the button bellow to sign up. Then log into Instagram and follow each of our sponsors and hosts: @kinoyoga @omstarsofficial @liforme @yogagivesback @ohmmeapparel

    Be sure to practice with us every day for the duration of the challenge, and share your journey with us on IG using our challenge hashtag #30dayyogajourney. Finally, be active in our community. Like and comment on posts from your fellow challenge participants to show your support and let them you know you’re right there with them.

    Remember, the challenge begins January 1st, 2019. We’ll be ready. Will you?

    By Alex Wilson

    Join The Challenge