Some of the benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy include: 1. Develops stamina and strength As baby grows within our body, more energy and strength is needed to be able to carry the weight.  Yoga poses strengthen our hips, back, arms and shoulders. Prenatal Yoga: Sun Salutation >> 2. Balance Our balance is challenged physically as the fetus grows withinour body. Emotionally we are drained due to the increases in progesterone and estrogen. As we try to focus on holding and breathing through each yoga pose, we are able to fine tune our balance, physically and emotionally. Prenatal Yoga: Tree Pose >> 3. Relieves tension of lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders As baby grows, more stress is put upon these specific muscle groups in our bodies.  We tend to have more of a lordotic/lower back curve due to the increased size of our bellies. Our hips get tighter due to the added pressure of baby’s weight in our bellies. As our breasts increase in size, our upper back and chest have more tension, along with our neck and shoulders. Prenatal Yoga: Goddess Pose >> 4. Calms the nervous system Through deep breathing, the nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode, […] read more

Om Namaste Challenge

Om Namaste Challenge Did you miss out on the ALS Challenge? Or participated and are now ready for the next one? Hummingbird Yoga NJ is bringing you the OM NAMASTE CHALLENGE. The purpose here is just to spread a moment of peace and goodwill across social media. Everyone is invited to participate.   Here are the rules:   1. Record a video of yourself. Introduce who nominated you and who you are now nominating to do the video next.   2. In the video, begin the challenge by saying “Om” and ending with a “Namaste” blessing.   3. Post the video to social media sites. Be sure to tag the individuals that you are nominating and the studio so that we can see and share your video! Also, hashtag: #HummingbirdYogaNJ and #OmNamasteChallenge.   Remember– you have 24 hours to complete the challenge once you are nominated! This challenge is for everyone-those who practice yoga and even those who do not! Let’s share love and serenity. No money or donation is involved with this.   read more

Yoga and the Ego

Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer Remember that time during yoga class when you wanted to see just how far you could go? Your body may have been telling you to stay put, but your mind wanted you to push just a bit farther to prove that you could. When you do, you feel a pull and then some kind of pain that takes you out of class for the next week or so to recover. What is the problem here? Of course, it is great to have strong drive and motivation when it comes to your wellbeing and fitness level. As poses become easier, not only will you want new stimuli, but your body will actually need it in order to change and grow. However, where is the line? Can this ambition lead you too far?   In yoga, the goal is to abandon the ego. Every time you come to class, you are not supposed to compare yourself to others. In fact, you should not even compare your present performance to the past ones. Each and every time you come to the mat, it will be different. It should be different. What many yogis preach is the idea of […] read more

Yoga Paws: A Worthwhile Accessory

Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer   Remember that time you were attempting to stabilize yourself in triangle pose, but your back foot kept slipping, forcing you to constantly readjust? Or try as you might to push back into downward facing dog, your hands kept inching more and more forward? These unexpected and unplanned obstacles are distracting, but also can be unsafe. Imagine accidentally going deeper into a pose than you intended. Not only do you lose a bit of control, but you put yourself at risk for injury. Coincidentally, there have been various forms of merchandise invented to help circumvent this problem. One of them is a product called Yoga Paws, which hit the market in 2001 and since, has grown in popularity.   The company’s motto for the paws is “The Yoga Mat You Wear.” In other words, the yoga paws can actually replace a mat. They go on the hands and the feet and will keep you stable on any surface, even in the sweatiest conditions. As a result, they are great to pack when you are traveling. They are lightweight, small, and will take up significantly less room than a mat would. This is particularly great for […] read more

Yoga or The Latest Trend?

Heidi Farber, Hummingbird Yoga Studio Owner What is yoga?  Or should I ask, “What has it become?”  Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another popular yoga fad.   Over the past 20 years, yoga has become more mainstream.  People jump on the yoga bandwagon.  What are they looking for?  Maybe one wants to lose weight or you are seeking  a way to “cleanse.” Certain yoga studios offer extreme forms of yoga to rid the body of unnecessary toxins.  Turn up the heat! Perhaps you are in need of an exercise program that will tone your body, as well as increase your stamina.  Many yoga programs boast of this as well.  Some places will even suspend you from the ceiling and create a sense of weightlessness, like you are flying! Got a gimmick?  Yoga will help transform it into a practice.  Who follows these trends?  People want to look fashionable, zen, and even intellectual.  They may follow famous Hollywood stars in their desire to be a yogi. Some even elevate themselves to a higher status.   Call me a purest.  But where has yoga gone?  It certainly is not what the ancient yogis intended for their students.  Old yogic traditions […] read more

Eating for Yoga

Eating for Yoga Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer Diet and exercise go hand in hand when striving for optimal health. They are equally important when it comes to helping you reach your goals. With various fitness regimes, what you eat and how much of it must shift slightly in order to provide sufficient energy to sustain the workout. How does that tie into yoga? Yoga is no different. The various yoga practices all require the body to be fueled in the proper way in order to get the most out of the practice. There are two basic principles that are shared amongst all branches. The first: hydration. It is incredibly important to drink clean, pure water throughout the day, before class, after class, and even during class if it is strenuous. Not only do you want to avoid dehydration, but drinking water has numerous benefits ranging from aiding digestion to energizing the muscles.  The second: never skip a meal! You must eat normal meals, 3x a day. If you come to class and have not had a bite to eat because you were busy and forgot or you thought missing lunch would help you drop weight, you are putting yourself in a precarious […] read more

Yoga at Home?

Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer We have all been in that situation when we just do not feel like leaving the house, making it more and more tempting not to go to class. Or perhaps, our personal schedule conflicts with the class schedule. The choice then is to either practice yoga at home or not at all. Of course, doing something is always better than nothing, right? Right?!   The answer to this question is complicated. Sedentary behavior leads to health issues. As a result, we are programmed to believe that whatever we can do to stay active throughout the day will keep us fit. Cue the FitBit craze, exercise dvd onset, and the ongoing transportable equipment inventions. However, taking the learned yoga postures and attempting to do them at home is not the safest alternative when getting to class is not an option. Yoga is a very precise practice. The poses are all done in a specific way, so that every inch of the body has correct placement that must be observed. Without an instructor present, there is no way to monitor ourselves, and looking in a mirror would take us out of proper alignment.   If you are […] read more

Let Your Yoga Dance

Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer Yoga itself stands alone as a great practice for the body and mind, healing both physical and spiritual aches and pains. Yet, it does so much more. Yoga helps develop certain abilities that can be applied in other areas of life. The meditation and focus of yoga may help a person deal with the stresses of life off the mat. While the achieved flexibility and strength of a yogi could aid in other athletic mediums. For instance, many pro-athletes, specifically football players, have begun to practice yoga regularly in order to improve their balance on the field. Dancers also tend to incorporate yoga into their routine as both dancing and yoga require many similar skills.   It makes sense then that someone would think to fuse the two styles of movement together, allowing them to complement and inform one another. Megha-Nancy Buttenheim founded “Let Your Yoga Dance,” which is a yoga class that integrates dance elements to upbeat music from across the world. It focuses on the use of breath and the seven energy centers. The class awakens the soul and is supposed to be for those of any and all backgrounds. Buttenheim is insistent […] read more

The Mind-Body Connection

Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer   In yoga and other fitness regimens, there is constant reference to the “mind-body connection.” In a literal sense, it is easy to understand that the phrase alludes to the mind and body working in sync with one another. What does it really mean though? Since the mind is part of the body and vice-verse, aren’t the two already and irreversibly connected? The answer to that question is yes. Physically, the mind and body are conjoined during life. The two are perpetually sending signals to one another every second. However, over time, it is easy to start tuning out the body’s messages, especially the ones that are sent repetitively. That is partly why new stimuli tend to capture our attention. Therefore, when your instructor discusses this relationship between the mind and body, he or she is asking you to focus on the signals that are already present, to acknowledge them and to respond appropriately.   The mind-body connection is very important in both yoga and in life. Being aware of your body allows you to prevent injury as you settle into various poses. When listening to the body, it tells you not to push further […] read more

Top 5 Reasons to Do Yoga

Top 5 Reasons to Do Yoga Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer We all have heard about how yoga is a healthy and great way to exercise, but do we know why exactly? These are just a few reasons that yoga is an amazing outlet for the body, mind, and spirit.   1. It will help build strength. Most yoga classes are structured with a series of postures, or asanas. Some of these postures require practitioners to stand, sit, or lie down, to be upright or in an inversion, twist, or bend. The muscles must be engaged to facilitate the poses. While there are many branches of yoga, all in varying levels of difficulty, every one challenges the body in an unique way. If yoga is done regularly, muscle strength will start to build, resulting in long, lean muscle development.   2. It will improve flexibility. Have you seen advanced yogis contort themselves into seemingly crazy poses? That takes flexibility, not only in the muscles, but in the joints as well. Yoga poses work by causing certain muscles to contract at the same time that other muscles are lengthening. After, another pose is done that targets the same muscles in reverse. The previous muscles that were contracting are […] read more

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