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The Secret of Yoga and Weight Loss

The Secret of Yoga and Weight Loss

Yoga Weight Loss

Helathy Mind Healthy Body

Good yoga teachers and other health professionals will let you in on a foundational truth of what it takes to gain a truly healthy body and mind. That is, whatever exercise and nutrition you incorporate into your life must be a sustainable long-term, lifestyle. That foundational truth is important to keep in mind while you read about the secret of Yoga and weight loss below.

We all know that gyms are packed at the beginning of the year with people making weight loss “resolutions”. But where are they come February? The many people that fall away have chosen routes that are not sustainable.  Yes, high-intensity, sweat drenched, aerobic based Yoga will burn calories. So will high intensity interval training (HIIT), running, Pilates, jazzercise, cycling and may other fitness activities. Not to mention the confusing maze of crazy fad diets! Results are possible with numerous fitness and diet plans out there, but for many people they are not practical in the long run, and quite often not very enjoyable.

With this in mind, yes, the physical activity of Yoga is absolutely important, but not so much the sweat, and especially not the stress. With Yoga it’s more of the conscious stretching and specific postures that promote flexibility, circulation and even the release of important synovial fluid that helps to keep the joints and muscles healthy, to name just a few of the subtle physical benefits. But, just as important is what unifies the mind body experience, and is critical for the success of a long term Yoga practice, that is incorporating breathing techniques that promote deep relaxation.

Incorporating breathing techniques into a yoga practice turns it into a meditative experience that calms the mind, eventually building new subconscious patterns that help us to make healthier choices. Today, there is no denying the benefits of meditation for improved health and well being as there are countless clinical and peer-reviewed medical studies to prove it. Just imagine what is possible for anyone that undertakes an enjoyable, sustainable Yoga practice that incorporates these aspects and continues to develop it over a period of time!

To make this concept even more apparent, most everyone has “stressed ate” potato chips, pizza and other comfort food at one time or another, only afterwards to feel guilty or confused. Well, the opposite happens with the shift over time to a relaxed state of being that Yoga provides and your body and lifestyle gradually transform. Instead of burgers and fries you’ll find yourself naturally and effortlessly choosing greens and fruits. No joke, this happens all the time within a few months of people starting a regular Yoga practice.

So I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now. Yes, the secret to Yoga and weight loss is that with the mind calm and the body performing enjoyable, breath-guided Yoga postures on a consistent basis, people begin making healthy lifestyle choices, even subconsciously. This leads to better nutrition and other habits which promote natural weight loss.

Here’s something even more interesting about Yoga. Over time, it changes with you. No matter what your reason(s) for first starting a yoga practice, your reasons for continuing will change. Things that you first thought were important may drift off and a new focus will begin. Perhaps you began yoga for weight loss, but then without realizing it found that you could be happy exactly as you are, deciding you prefer the meditative style of classes with little or no physical exertion, which in turn leads you to an even happier life and better relationships.  Perhaps you may even find that in fact, you no longer care if you do have a few extra pounds! Maybe even like so many others before you that stick with Yoga as part of your lifestyle find that, “hey, I’m happy… just where I am and how I am right here and now”.

Interested in learning more about yoga? Check out the schedule at Ozark Mountain Yoga Studio. Every teacher is selected and trained to answer your questions and help you individually anytime, every time.

“It’s That Time of Year!”

“It’s That Time of Year!”

It’s Yoga Festival time! Five years ago when the Ozark Mountain Yoga Festival began, more about that below, there was nothing similar for hundreds of miles! Those types of events were reserved for the coasts and the hipsters of Boulder. But now they have sprung up everywhere, many of which are within a comfortable driving distance. The article presented below has a good list of them and there are several other sites such as where you can find even more related events.

“Attending a yoga festival can invoke a deep sense of connection and community, and you will find yogis attending the same festival year after year. Many festivals are expanding into offering different platforms to continue to connect, educate, and inspire their festival-goers throughout the year. If you want a more in-depth experience of connection and community, look for festivals that offer day-long intensives, retreats, or online courses before or after the festival.” –…/yog…/summer-yoga-festivals-2018/

Just like a yoga class they are all different but with similarities of things you can expect. To differing degrees most offer yoga classes, demonstrations, presentations by professionals in related fields, vendors including those serving food and music. Some, like the Ozark Mountain Yoga Festival even include outdoor activities like camping, hiking and nature presentations. Also just like a Yoga class, you should attend a festival or retreat with no real expectations other than to relax, be in the moment and allow yourself to become inspired through the beauty of the experience.

This year’s Ozark Mountain Yoga Festival is being held at Echo Bluff State Park, nestled in Mark Twain National Forest. It has a lodge with conference areas, deluxe rooms, cabins and a 62 site campground. It also features a full-service restaurant and snack/gift shop. The grounds include several uniquely designed pavilions, an amphitheater, trail system and a large spring that creates “Sinking Creek” which flows into the Current River. Numerous other public and private campgrounds, lodging options and recreational opportunities are very nearby.

During the festival there will be three conference rooms busy with Yoga workshops. There will be presentations in and outside of the main lodge and at surrounding pavilions with interesting venders, musicians, guided hikes and children’s activities all available.

Click this link for more info ( and we’ll see you there!


“Yoga Teacher Wanted for Remote Surf Beach”

“Yoga Teacher Wanted for Remote Surf Beach”

Yes that’s right. People and companies are advertising for Yoga teachers in exotic locations, on cruise ships and eco-farms all over the world, for real ( However, for some of us opportunities like this are just not practical as our dharma has us helping others where we are in our lives right now with family, jobs and commitments that don’t allow us to take our flip flops across the beaches of Nicaragua looking for the next kombucha. But that doesn’t mean we should not stop looking for places to share our skill and love of teaching yoga. Yoga teachers have incredible opportunity today to be adventurers of another sort. Healthcare is finally beginning to recognize the benefits of Yoga with more and more doctors prescribing the practice to their patients. With this will come more opportunities in and around the healthcare industry, with many niches yet to be discovered. Teachers will begin developing and leading school programs, corporate and non-profit initiatives more and more. Not to mention the impact of the internet, new learning platforms and classes, which by the way is the top money maker of all internet commerce. I know, now we’re edging close to the money versus Yoga topic. But the reality is, how are you going to afford that plane ticket to the “remote surf beach” anyway, right? We’ll be discussing this and more Sunday afternoon at Ozark Mountain Yoga. You don’t have to be a teacher! If you’re even slightly interested in the roles of Yoga in our ever changing world, this free event will be worth your time. Read more about this event below and we’ll see you there…

A free afternoon of professional development for yoga teachers, trainees or anyone interested learning more about opportunities and resources available for careers in or related to Yoga. As we approach graduation for this round of teacher training at OMY we are focusing on developing our niche, continued opportunities to learn, teach and developing resources for those looking for our services. This includes open discussions, the role of the Yoga Alliance and other professional organizations, insurance and contracts, opportunities abroad, and even social media.

With all of this in mind we’re going to poke a little fun at the yoga industry and finish up the afternoon with a “Yoga Poser Party!” Come and get a free picture of you in a yoga pose or maybe just a good headshot for your bio or social media profile. I know, I know, many people really don’t like this necessary aspect of the yoga business and admittedly many have taken it to extremes and made yoga appear inaccessible to a lot of people. Yup, those are the real “Yoga Posers” and not what we’re doing here. We’re going to have fun and let our genuine selves show with the support and encouragement of our peers. As you can easily imagine, a casual smile or a pic of you interacting with someone in a discussion can often have more impact on a potential student than you doing a wildly advanced yoga pose, right? So let’s have some fun!


Gabri’s Teacher Training Notes II

Gabriella’s Notes II

The following is presented by permission from Gabri, a current trainee in the Ozark Mountain Yoga Teacher Training Program. Trainees are required to journal their experiences from each weekend and use these notes for a final paper. Although there are corrections and clarifications to be discussed within her notes, it provides a good idea of the depth of the program and scope of study. Also something to consider is the Teaching, Training and Technique hours, largely classes, learning adjustments/anatomy and practicing teaching remain the largest parts of each intensive…

We began the weekend on Friday with learning the teaching mantrum or the Sahana Vavatu Mantra. This is a good way to begin the class because it asks for peace between the student and teacher. We then were educated on the purpose of Dharma talks and their purpose in yoga classes. It can help theme the class or set a focus to the practice or meditation. Dharma talks help bring awareness into yogis lives and bring a feeling of community. Dharma talks can set a theme to the class. We then kicked off with a Dharma talk about upekshaanaam which can be translated in english to neutrality. This means to have the duality understanding of good/bad, happy/sad, death/living etc, that all things have opposites, and by acknowledging them we can have balance. Upekshaanaam allows awareness and reality because the yogi can better understand that the feeling or status will not last. The feelings or situation will change. After this we practiced energy cleansing, or Nadi Shodana Pranayama followed by Chandra Krama.

On Saturday we began with discussing truthfulness (Satya), which also accompanies being honest with ourselves. As being yogis we need to evaluate our true self and perceptions and be able to uncover the truth of our actions and thoughts to give rise to a full consciousness. By being honest we can grow into our paths and understand limitations within the self. We then dissected sutra 1.33 and 1.34

We translated 1.33 to english with the students and came to a conclusion that it means “Balance leads to harmony with you and the others” (maitree-love, karunaa-helpfulness, mudita-cheerful, upekshaanaam- neutrality, suka-good, dukah-bad/discomfort, punya-reward, apunya-failure, vishayaanaam-situation, bhaavanatah-nurturing, citta-thoughts, prasaadanam- clarity)

We translated 1.34 to english to mean exhale with control, without harm, you can control the breath suspension which brings energy. (Pracchardana-exhale, vidhaaranaabhyaam-with control/without harm, vaa- you, praanasya-breath suspension) another way we said it was energy through breathing with control.

We practiced the Ashtanga primary sequence and learned how to correct prasarita padottanasana (a,b,c,d), parshvottanasana, uttigita hasta padangushtansana, and adha baddha padmottanasana.

After lunch Dr. James Hacknet taught us activated and non-activated muscle groups during asanas. During tadasana (mountain pose) flexing through the gluteus maximus causes external rotation of the femur which causes the pelvis to posteriorly tilt. This also causes the upper leg to come into alignment with the lower shin. Then this also causes the arches in the feet to shift weight to the outside of the foot. Activation is good for short periods of time. Synovial fluid in joints relies on compression and decompression therefore a balance of both is needed, too much compression or decompression will cause the metabolism of synovial fluid to be decreased and can injur the joints. In tadasana the hips are turned out by the gluteus maximus flexion. The trunk and pelvis can be turned under with the lower abs and the shoulder girdle is back and down with stretches the peck minor.

IIn triangle pose the shoulders should not over extend past the neck because it is hard on the shoulders. The shoulders should be pinched to stretch the chest open wide. Hyper extending the arm behind the neck causes stretched ligaments. In warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) the hips and low back need to be turned under by the gluteus maximus and the femor should be turned out to insure it is over the foot. The Front knee should be sharing equal weight with the back foot being grounded. In warrior 2 (Virbhadrasana 2) the back needs to be pinched together but not over extending the arms behind the chest.

In tree pose (Vrksasana) the foot can rest on the knee because the knee joint is durable and will not be injured. Therefore you do not always have to place the foot above or below the opposite legs knee joint. The hips should be turned under by the gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus can be strengthened by balancing one leg and letting the flexion go and coming back up. When the gluteus is not firing the IT band will contract and lead to a hip dip. Both hips must be in alignment. The foot helps so much with balance and feeling the floor barefoot makes balancing easier. When placed on a thick mat or ground that is bouyant, balancing becomes harder because it is more difficult to feel the senses the foot is sending through the nervous system. Vision is also important and helps balance tremendously. If someone is touching your skin on a section you are flexing the neurmuscular connection is much stronger. The same thing works if you are looking in a mirror.

In plank you can push through the arms to get rid of winging of the scapula. By dropping the chest into the arms and pushing to come back up is a good exercise to get rid of winged scapula.

Sunday, we started with Ashtanga yoga primary series and then had a discussion on stealing other than material items such as stealing time from the self, stealing health by partaking in unhealthy eating or habits, stealing away from the practice by not being focused during class, there can be stealing of others ideas such as sequences or themes, there can be stealing happinees from the self by not giving reward to good behavior. We then made up a 15-minute sequence and taught it to the class. Then after the class we were critiqued by the teacher. After we learned how to make corrections appropriately as a teacher and how to cue.

Sutra 1.35 and 1.36 were learned. Sutra 1.35 was teaching us how to have extraordinary powers to lead us to complete concentration because with a clear and steady mind anything can be accomplished. To be mindful and not mindless (scattered). 1.36 teaches us to rid the mind of useless thoughts, worrying or grief, and by repeatedly thinking of these thoughts causes attachments, damaging our memory and losing discrimination, ultimately causing anger. By becoming vigilant we can detect useless thoughts.

Interested in learning more about the Ozark Mountain Yoga Teacher Training program? Visit Ozark Mountain Yoga Studio.

Gabri’s Teacher Training Notes

Gabriella’s Notes

The following is presented by permission from Gabri, a current trainee in the Ozark Mountain Yoga Teacher Training Program. Trainees are required to journal their experiences from each weekend and use these notes for a final paper. Although there are corrections and clarifications to be discussed within her notes, it provides a good idea of the depth of the program and scope of study. Also something to consider is the Teaching, Training and Technique hours, largely classes, learning adjustments/anatomy and practicing teaching remain the largest parts of each intensive…

We began talking about Yoga philosophy. Dualism and Non-Dualism is important to understand because many yogic schools are dualism or non-dualism. Deciding between the two philosophies will help to formulate relationships, understand the purpose of life and make sense of the world around you. Dualism is the philosophy that believes in a higher being or power in the universe; that the spirit and the soul can be separated and perhaps another life exists beyond the realm of the body after death. And that the observer and the one being observed is different. The other philosophy, known as non- dualism practices that all are one, no power being higher than the other but equal and shared amongst everything in the universe. That the cosmos after the big bang gave rise to all atoms and compounds from the same mass, therefore all are one. Everything in the universe can be reduced down to one shared reality, arriving at a unity of life. They believe the soul, mind and body are all to become one through spirituality and education one can reach a level of consciousness where all merge together. These concepts are extremely important in a yogi’s path because the practices have vast differences and focus. A yogi does not have to pick between dualism or nondualism. It is my belief to learn and practice dualism and nondualist before deciding which to practice. And/or by practicing a both, may not pick either and simple pick and pull philosophies to incorporate that are consistent. It is very important to be tolerable to differences and accept different viewpoints of yogic teaching and not put walls between other yogis that follow different traditions; all should respect each other.

The Vedas were the first written yoga, and predates religion. Vedic tradition is to have moksha. Moksha is the liberation of consciousness (ego) and means to find release from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). The cycle involves cleansing of ignorance leading to self-realization and knowledge. Moksha is the main concept of Hindu tradition. Amaya is an illusion or dream like state; for example, to say I am angry is not the same as I am feeling angry. The Amaya is the anger or illusion of the reality blinding us to focus on the true content of reality. Yoga practices to shed Amaya and moksha. Yoga also involves Atha, which means now or beginning not later and builds the concept of being in the present.

In India during the 12th century most yogi teachers were called gurus. They taught mostly only nobles and people of higher power by making it less accessible to the public, the cast system was still very active. Gurus taught mostly Tantra. Tantra is the study of self-empowerment. The Tantra is to gain strength and power over natural being.

The concepts behind dualism begins with two main concepts, one) pakritti- are atoms and two) purusha is the energy that binds.

A brief of Yoga history we could say would be the division at vedic and the shramana time. The Vedic tradition follows hinduism closely and is more religious and is meant to draw on a collective society where all is one. The Shramana is more “alone in the study” and learns of ones own experiences.

The Hatha Yoga Project is a five year research project. This is taking place at the University of London. By collecting 20 of the most well renowned yoga philosophers, teachers, and researchers, will work together to edit and translate 10 Sanskrit texts of Hatha Yoga and other critical documents. This is groundbreaking research in the Yoga industry because it will rid ambiguity in translation. Some of them were Dr. Camillo Farmagatti, Professory Alexis Sanderson, Mark Singleton, Jason Birch, Domminic Goodall, Seth Powell, Debra Diamond, and Ruth Westob.

This project is supposed to give clarity to the yoga traditions and rid ambiguity. It can also answer many questions; Why did they put their foot there? Or Why do you inhale during this rotation? Etc. think the project is magical for those that are interested in history but also, Yoga teachers. These poses being explained will help me to better grasp what the initial reason for the pose was and how to instructor it to myself and to my students. However, I also believe that the evolution of yoga is just as important as the history. If you look at the future of yoga and how it has evolved even in the past 20 years, it has already changed so much from traditional views that it might not have a huge impact on all yoga; especially in the West, on yogis who don’t follow strong traditional/historic paths. Or especially the yogis that only use yoga as physical exercise. Yoga will need to evolve because people and technology also evolve. Now with better science and technology, looking for new poses or how to fix poses could be something we change from traditional. I hope that uncovering the texts will allow us to understand the past to allow a forward motion instead of create arguments amongst traditional vs. nontraditional yoga.

Hatha yoga is a forceful binding yoga and most yoga is some form of Hatha yoga. Asana yoga is considered energy gathering. Jnana is yoga of knowledge. We learned the history of yoga and the different branches that yoga took. We also practiced corrections of warrior stances and other commonly mistaken corrections. We learned how to be professional yet personable to the yogis. We practiced public speaking. We were given advice to video ourselves and talk out the sequences to ourselves. We were given many books to begin to look deeper into the 8 limbs and branches of yoga that history took. We learned about Patanjali’s yoga sutras, the eight limbs of yoga and some history of Buddhism and Hinduism.


Speaking from experience Bill gave us some helpful tips in creating our yoga classes and potentially stuidos.

  1. Teach what you know; it is helpful to have a peak pose in mind and relate all poses to build up to the peak pose
  2. Its nice to start seated, move to standing, and then end with seated
  3. You should do 10% of Shavastana for however long the class lasts
  4. Develop a home practice (try teaching to a camera to practice speaking)
  5. Develop a community
  6. Understand that yoga means to have discipline
  7. Take notes and videotape your home practice so you can create efficient classes
  8. Only demonstrate when you have to
  9. Always acknowledge the yogis during practice and at the door, be sure to ask them before you

    start correcting their poses.

  10. It is good to organize your class with a chant, breathing exercise, Asanya, and then meditation

11. The primary sequence is a good goal to have
12. It is helpful to have a facebook yoga acount (hoots weet – posts for you on days selected)

The book light on law by Mr. Ganyar will have all contracts yoga teachers need and explain legality behind teaching yoga or opening a studio. The owner of a studio can hire everyone as independent contractors but it is the responsibility of the owner to handle insurance. If you are an independent contractor you must do your own taxes. For playing music one must be responsible and purchase a music license or for $29.00/ month you can play yogi tunes. Yoga Alliance now offers a $69.00/ year for music alliance.

In class we were told to have some short and long term goals. My goals are to pursue a 300 and 500 ERYT. I also plan to conquor the primary sequence this year, connect my breath better and find more peace during my meditation.

Words I learned:
Atha-now or beginning not later and builds the concept of being in the present Yog-to bind and is said like yoke.
Chirista- therapy
Moksha- liberation from consciousness
Swara- nostrils
Citta- thoughts/ mind stuff
Yog- to yoke to bind
Vritti- to turn
Nirodhah- erode
Amaya- illusion/ dream like state
Jnana- yoga knowledge
Pakritti- atoms
Purusha- energy that binds

Interested in learning more about the Ozark Mountain Yoga Teacher Training program? Visit Ozark Mountain Yoga Studio.

Inhale and Exhale with 7 Benefits Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)

Inhale and Exhale with 7 Benefits of Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)

Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words, where prana means life-force and yama means control. Pranayama combined with yoga postures (asana) and meditation is a way to control and master our breathing, and in turn many aspects of your Yoga practice and life in generalwhich is the foundation of our life force.

There are many types of pranayama used in the practice of yoga. Utilizing the breath while doing the physical postures, such as while seated is the foundation of Hatha Yoga. Combining all three elements of pranayama, postures (asana) and meditation are the corner stones of most other practices of Yoga as well.

A few pranyama techniques that we may touch on here are: Kumbhaka Pranayama (breath retention), Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and Ujjayi Pranayama (victorious breath). IMPORTANT: Athough a familiarity with some pranayama techniques may be gained from reading and perhaps even videos, it is VERY important to find an experienced teacher that can guide your through the subtleties of these practices. All of the teachers at Ozark Mountain Yoga are very happy to spend extra time with you discussing Pranayama. Get informed and stay safe!

Now let’s take a look at some benefits and a few of the most common practices tof pranayama :

1.    Pranayama can help prevent stress

Have you ever been so stressed that you had trouble breathing, or found yourself out of breath? All of us have, at some point in our lives, and the reason is simple. Stressful thoughts can set off your body’s fight or flight response, providing you with a burst of energy to react to the discerned threat. This can cause you to take quick and shallow breaths using your chest for the most part instead of the lower lungs. This leads to shortness of breath and other symptoms like increased blood pressure and pulse rate.

Pranayama offers a proven countermeasure: to take deep and slow breaths to initiate the parasympathetic nervous system to induce calmness in your body as well as in your mind. Deep breathing allows more oxygen to enter your body and can further help relieve the pressure on the neck and upper chest muscles.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique

The 4-7-8 relaxing breath is a technique that helps you relieve stress and is a type of Kumbhaka Pranayama (breath retention). One breath comprises of the 4 simple steps mentioned below, at the end of which you can breathe in and repeat.

  1. Breathe out entirely through your mouth making a whoosh noise.
  2. While counting to four, breathe in without a sound through your nose.
  3. Till the count of seven, hold your breath.
  4. For a count of eight, breathe out entirely through your mouth making a whoosh noise.

Regularly practicing pranayama exercises such as this allows one to gain more control of their breath, and remain in control even during stressful circumstances. Pranayama can also slowly build your focus and create a deeper connection and awareness of your thoughts. By consistently bringing your focus on your breath, a person becomes more aware and in control of their mind.

2.    Keep calm and relax

Try taking deep breaths for the next 30 seconds. You will realize the calming effect deep, controlled breathing has on your nerves, stress, and muscle fatigue. Even the one you hadn’t realized. Pranayama yoga makes you habitual of breathing deeply, and being in control of your breath. As a result, gradually, you become and then remain more aware, calm, and relaxed at all times.

Nadi shodhana

This alternate nose breathing technique can help relax and calm the mind. Whether you had a stressful day at work or have a long week ahead of you, you can try this technique to fill your mind with calmness, peace, and happiness. This technique provides a balance when it comes to breathing through your nose where one nostril can be more blocked than the other. Clearing out the obstructed channels in the body can refine your mental focus as well as improve concentration.

3.    Set fire to those calories

Although the process might be slow and gradual, pranayama yoga can help you lose weight. Recent studies have provided evidence of the dissipation of fat cells through the breath and that deeper, longer controlled breaths facilitate this process. A pranyama technique that may help contribute in burning fat is that of Anuloma Viloma.

Anuloma Viloma

This technique involves inhaling through one nostril, holding your breath, and exhaling through the other nostril keeping in mind the 2:8:4 inhale, hold to exhale ratio. Anuloma viloma practiced with some yoga poses regularly can help you get rid of the fat throughout your body.

4.    Level up your energy

Deep breathing, such as straight spinal, full-body breathing increases the level of oxygen in your body, and prevents shortness of breath in even in stressful situations. Again, Pranayama yoga techniques, coupled with yogic poses (asanas) conducted in concentrated, meditative fashion can also lift your energy levels if performed consistently over a period of time.

5.    Use your lungs to the full capacity

One such type pranayama yoga is that of ujjayi breathing (victorious breath). This technique, which sounds like light snoring both on the inhale and exhale helps you to breathe fully instead of taking shallow breaths which is the typical case.

With ujayyi there is heat produced in the body in addition to stability. It can also help in lowering the heart rate back to normal which goes up in situations of stress or when you are exercising that can be exhausting.

6.    Do more yoga to balance your heart rate after performing strenuous yoga

Sometimes performing different poses and sequences when it comes to doing yoga can increase your heart rate. What to do? More yoga. The technique of ujjayi breathing (victorious breath) can help your lower the heart rate back to normal that might have gone up while you were performing those demanding poses or sequences.

7.    Improve digestion

Skull shining breathing technique

Known as kapal bhati pranayama, this technique helps rejuvenate brain cells, gives your mind a boost, causes the face to glow, invigorates the nervous system, and improves blood circulation. This breathing technique holds advantages for your muscles and abdominal organs and can improve digestion as well as fuel your appetite.


In the above article, we discussed pranayama, including some practical everyday techniques like 4-7-8 breathing techniques. Benefits were introduced that comprise of stress relief, relaxation, burning fat, and others.

Given the busy and hectic lifestyles we have become used to, it is no wonder that most of us have lost control of our breathing, and hence our mental focus and awareness. Pranayama is a great way of regaining that control.

Interested in learning more about yoga and pranayama? Check out the schedule at Ozark Mountain Yoga Studio.

Ashtanga (Eight Limb) Philosophy within the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali, continued…

The Ashtanga (Eight Limb) Philosophy, continued…

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali; was first compiled 1,700 years ago, by an Indian philosopher, Patanjali, Taking the materials about yoga from older religion. It is the worlds most translated ancient Indian text in the early ages, after it has been translated into about forty different Indian languages and two non-Indian languages known as the old Javanese and Arabic: The text fell into insignificance for over 700 years from the 12th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century, And then gained prominence again in the 20th century. It seeks perspective on the nature of knowing a way to clear the mind of accumulated experiences that binds us to the outside world, to silence one’s mind and come together with that of the divine, the Sutra calls for an alliance to the eight limbs of Yamas, Asana and pranayama. (Niyamas) which is referred to as the (Do’s) and the positive mentality towards other, allow us to realize the prospect of the spiritual world.


It is said that the word ‘Niyamas’ has so many interpretations, In Buddhism, It is the determinations of one’s positive behavior and interprets our positive attitude towards nature, It is also said to be the thought as recommended habits for healthy living and ‘divine occurrence’ that improves your personal growth. It is the second component of patanjalis yoga path; it is practiced concerning our behavior and everyday life. The Niyamas has 10 different ethical components on yoga sutras; the list below indicates 5 of them which are:





Ishvara Pranidhana-(Spiritual Devotion)

Saucha-(purification) is the first principle of Patanjali’s five Niyamas ethical component of yoga. And the aim of many yogic techniques. The yogis discovered that defilement in our environment and body that negatively affects our state of mind, and chase us from wisdom and liberation. The practices of this yoga possess: (asana, pranayama and meditation) purifies the body and mind, and strengthens the capacity to maintain a pure state of being. We should consciously work at our surrounding ourselves with a pure mentality which includes our everyday activities such as (food, drink, friends, entertainment and transportation) to avoid external impurities in our bodies or minds.


Another Niyama is samtosha; it is having the feeling of being contented with what we have. The yogis tell us that when we are perfectly contented with what we have, then we attain true happiness. To be at peace within and content with one’s lifestyle, is finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of situation. Accepting everything we have is called (karma) in yoga, and we bring up an act of contentment ‘to accept what happens’. It means being happy with what we have rather than being sad over the things we don’t have.

Tapas-(Self Discipline)

Tapas refer to the act of keeping the body fit or doing something you do not want to do, those will have a positive effect on your everyday life. Literally it means to heat the body with the desire of our mind where an internal “grudge” arises, which reveals our mental and physical impurities. Behind the notion, tapas lies the idea we can direct our energy to wholeheartedly engage in life activities and achieve our ultimate goal with the Divine. Tapa helps us burn up all the desires that are against our will, awareness and control over our unconscious impulses and poor behavior. Another form of tapas is to take precaution on what we eat, body posture, eating habits, and breathing patterns. And strength us to become more dedicated to our practice of yoga.

Svadhyaya-(The study of ones self)

The fourth niyama is svadhyaya. (Sva) means “self ‘ (adhyaya) means “inquiry”, any activity that improves diffidence is considered as svadhyaya. It means to intentionally know ones-self in all our activities and efforts, Svadhyaya also involves the study of sacred and spiritual texts as a guide to our interior world where our true self resides, even to the point of accepting our limitations. It teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to self-immolation tendencies.

Ishvara Pranidhana-(Spiritual Devotion)

It is the total dedication and surrender of one’s practice to a higher power and the contemplation on God (Ishvara) in order to become attuned to a superior will. Patanjali tells us that to reach the goal of yoga, we must dissolve our self-centered nature and let go of our constant identity within ourselves. To do this, all of the benefits must be seen as an offering to something Greater. Through this simple act of dedication, we become reminded of our connection to a higher power, and our yoga practice becomes holy and filled with inner peace, and considerable love.

Rather than thinking of the and niyamas as a compulsory (“to-dos”), view it as invitations to act of promoting inner and outer peace. It creates harmony within you and your environment, and a better relationship with others.


Ashtanga (Eight Limb) Philosophy within the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali

The Ashtanga (Eight Limb) Philosophy Part I

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali; was first compiled 1,700 years ago, by an Indian philosopher, Patanjali. Taking materials about yoga from older traditions, it is the most translated ancient Indian text of the early ages, after been translated into about forty different Indian languages and two non-Indian languages known as the old Javanese and Arabic: The text fell into insignificance for over 700 years from the 12th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century, And then gained prominence again in the 20th century.

There are many “Sutras”, or stitches of wisdom throughout the text that seek to provide perspective on the nature of knowing a way to clear the mind of accumulated experiences that bind us to the world; it is the will to silence one’s mind and the come together with that of the divine. Of these, the most widely known Sutras in the Yoga world today are those that call for an alliance to the eight limb philosophy; and the first two are the Yama and Niyama’s. Yama, refers to self-regulating behaviors involving others and Niyama, personal practices that relate to inner discipline. It is believed that these practices produce lasting freedom and the ability to separate us from the bonds of suffering in the world.

The Yama

The Yama is said to be the first limbs of the eight limbs of the yoga sutras, it is the sticking to ideas and principles, and is represented by a series of right living ethics that represent the moral backbone of yoga, it also means taking a vow. Its original meanings are, (rein or bridle). And it’s actually about reining in our behaviors motived by, hatred, aversion, and delusion. It is also the (“don’t”) and list of self-restraints, typically represented by the commitments that affect our everyday relationship with others. The Yama has several ethical concepts within the Yoga sutra, which are as follows:

The Ahimsa-(non-violence)

The Satya-(truthfulness)

The Asteya-(non-stealing)

The Brahmacharya-(non-excess)

The Aparigraha-(non-greed)

  1. The Ahimsa-(non-violence)

These are the practices of non-violence, which include physical, mental, and emotional violence towards others and one’s self. We generate violence in our behavior towards others, which consistently generate anger and irritation. The Buddhist practice of understanding to be an exceptional tool to temporarily remove non-violence in life. Understanding is the ability to accept events as they are. It is also a letting go of reacting to a situation in a way of negativity, and put in place the feelings, acceptance and love in the heart. Practicing compassion is circumvent But the key is to have understanding for oneself and not having counterstatements.

  1. The satya-(truthfulness)

This yoga sutra makes us to tell the truth at all times. Telling the truth is a hard one, especially while practicing Patanjali’s first Yama, Which is known as the Ahimsa. Since it has become a must that Ahimsa should be perfectly practiced first, we should be careful of not speaking the truth if we know it can cause damage to another. Truth does not only generates love and understanding, But also provides a clear vision to a higher yogic path.

  1. The Asteya-(non-stealing)

This can be called a (non-stealing) attitude; it is best referred to the act of not taking what is not given. On the other hand it seems very easy to accomplish, This Yama act can be quite challenging to practice. On a personal level the practice of Asteya entails not committing or causing anyone else doing harm–in mind or action. On the level of society, Asteya is indeed in the best position to victimise social injustice and suffering. While not easy, practicing Asteya gives room to kindness and overcomes (Lobha), which is known as greed. Patanjali tells us, when Asteya is firmly carried out in a yogi; all jewels will be present to one’s self or daily life activities

4.The Brahmacharya-(non-excess)

This is self-control, in other words it can also be called (Continence), and is when we have total control over our physical drive of immoderacy; where we acquire knowledge and increase energy, to break the bonds that attach us to our immoderacy and weakness. We need not only courage but zeal to do so. And whenever we overcome these impulses and immoderacy, we become as strong and wiser as we could imagine, One of the main aim yoga possess is to generate and maintain proper balance. And the simplest way to achieving proper balance is by practicing (Brahmacharya), generating self-descipline in our everyday practical activities. Practicing moderation is a way of conserving our energy that can be administered for spiritual motivation.

5. The Aparigraha-(non-greed)

This may also translate to “non-possessiveness” or “non-grasping” and helps us detach from strong feelings such as jealousy, envy or feelings of not being worthy or measuring up. It helps us to remember not to covet what isn’t ours and seek contentment in what we have at the present moment. As is easy to imagine in our society this can be applied to material possessions, but this also relates directly to the practice of Yoga; where we see so many pictures of people in extreme poses or other difficult practices and we may feel that we are less because we are not there instead of enjoying our personal journey.

Practicing the Yama eradicates the gathering of bad karma as well prevents the reduction of our energy when we live a false life; It also helps us to strive towards having a better and healthier life style. By so doing, we have increased our relationship within our society and made progress in Yoga.

Stay tuned for the Niyamas and subsequent limbs in following blogs.

The Importance of a Plant Based Diet

The Importance of a Plant Based Diet

Do you think you get enough veggies? Well, you may want to think again after reading this article. The benefits of including fibre and micronutrient-rich foods in your diet are impossible to count. Though, I’ve tried to include the biggest and best of them right here to help you optimise your diet for a healthier lifestyle.

Firstly, vegetables and natural foods have a very positive effect on your blood pressure. This is down to the fibre, potassium and B6 content which all contribute to lower blood pressure levels. Having a high blood pressure can lead to strokes and other extremely harmful conditions.

As well as lowering your blood pressure, a plant-based diet can help lower your cholesterol. Plants contain little to no cholesterol whatsoever – even those which contain a high level of fat. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds all contribute to reduced rates of cholesterol and heart disease.

And the lowering benefits don’t just stop there! Blood sugar levels are another aspect of the body which can benefit from some more fruits and vegetables. This is mainly due to the sheer amount of fibre which has been proven to lower blood sugar by slowing the rate of absorption of sugars into the blood stream.

Fibre is a key component of vegetables that you can already see helps your insides in a number of ways. Though, did you know that it can also help lose weight and shed fat? As fibre is so filling it can reduce your cravings and the total amount of calories each day. This is why so many healthy vegans and vegetarians mange to stay lean and fit year round. Their diet simply creates an environment that doesn’t support binge eating, high-calorie snacking or over eating. Thus, making you have more energy, a higher quality of health and a better looking body you can be proud of.

Now, if you’re skeptical or hesitant about going full vegetarian then don’t worry. You don’t need to embrace a fully plant-based diet in order to reap these benefits. Though, there’s a lot that you can learn from them. Simply increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables whilst minimizing your intake of processed or non-natural foods will have a dramatic benefit on how you feel. Start small by taking each day as it comes opposed to jumping in at the deep end. Soon enough you’ll be far healthier and happier than you ever thought.

Visit your local farmers market for the freshest veggies! Ozark Mountain Yoga will be teaching Yoga classes at Farmers Park in Springfield, Missouri all summer long. Visit us there for Yoga Saturday morning and then shop for your dinner. Help support local farmers and get healthy doing it!

Ozark Mountain Yoga | Meditation

Mindful Meditation

Mindful Meditation

Ozark Mountain Yoga | Beginner 960

Meditation and mindfulness go together like peanut butter and jelly – and I bet you can’t resist a bit of PB and J. Regardless of your sandwich preferences, practicing mindfulness throughout your day is a great way to improve your mood and mind. One of the best ways to help you get into mindfulness is through meditation. So, let’s take a look at them both.

Meditation is the practice of concentrating on the mind in order to relieve stress, boost your mood and improve your relationship with yourself. There are several ways you can do this.

The first and most common is to sit alone in silence. This way there are minimal distractions which allows you to focus all your brain power on being present in the moment. Throughout the time you spend with yourself, you’ll go through many different thoughts. In our normal life we may dismiss these or put them to the back of our minds to fester. This creates negativity and is where a lot of our stress comes from. Instead, address these thoughts and sit with them. Work through them until you feel comfortable in yourself before moving onto the next one. Once you work through the problem it’ll be far less likely to crop up at a later date to annoy you.

Now, if you’re not a fan of sitting doing nothing or are a simply a very busy person, then there are other things you can do that are a bit more active. To start with, yoga is a great way to improve your mind body connection and also clear the brain of negativity. As the practice is so calm, it’s a good way to spend some time with your brain actively.

Another way that’s more suited to the busier individual is to practice mindfulness on the move. In simple terms, mindfulness means being present in the moment. Modern life can be extremely hectic which causes our brains to be overloaded with information that clouds us from the right here, right now. We spend so much time thinking about what’s already happened or dreaming/worrying about the future that we’re never fully in the present moment. This creates anxiety and tension – two things nobody wants. Some tips to be more mindful are to take note of what’s going on around you. So, on your commute to/from work try to notice the world around you. Don’t worry about what’s happening later on in the day or what happened last night. Feel the wind on your face or how the chair feels against your back. Take not of your emotions – are you happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? Excited? Whatever it is don’t go against it; accept it and move forward.

You can practice mindfulness wherever you are. In the workplace, watching television or walking the dog are all good examples. You can even practice it when eating by noticing all of the textures, smells and tastes that come with each bite.

There are many ways to make yourself feel better but not many are better than mindfulness and meditation. Meditation has actually been scientifically proven to rewire your brain in order to be happier. Taking care of your mind should take as much importance in your life as taking care of your body. So, the next time you catch yourself slipping out of the moment try to catch yourself and come back in by noticing what’s around you. It’s much easier and more effective than you think.