Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body

Office Workout with Stability Ball: Seated

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Stability Ball / Yoga Ball by Harmony on April 30, 2010

A quick introduction to how you can use a Stability Exercise Ball at your office. This first video shows some seated exercises. Next week we’ll show the standing exercises.


Pilates: Toning your Arms

Posted in How-To,Pilates,Pilates Bands,Pilates Ring,Toning Balls by Harmony on April 29, 2010

A brief video on toning your arms in Pilates.  Being mindful of your movements and activating those muscles is a sure way to get results.  Adding a Pilates Ring, Pilates Bands, or soft-weight toning balls will also help you achieve your desired results…and quick!  These Pilates tools add weight and resistance to your routine and will help you to focus on engaging those muscles.

Benefits of Pilates Equipment

Posted in How-To,Pilates,Pilates Bands,Pilates Ring by Harmony on April 29, 2010

Some quick benefits of using Pilates equipment – such as the Pilates Ring or Pilates Bands in home use, or studio-style equipment.

Yoga for Kids

Posted in Yoga by Harmony on April 27, 2010

With the increasing interest in Yoga by our younger ones, we will be adding more yoga products just for them!  We’ve always carried the DVD:  Yoga Kids:  Ages 3-6, but we’ve just recently added Yoga Mats sized perfectly for our little friends.  Check out our store for our new Harmony Mats for Kids.  These mats are made from the same environmentally friendly, natural rubber that our larger sized mats are made from.  They are just smaller – 48″ long – making them easy for kids to carry to the studio without any added, unnecessary weight.

Keep your eyes on our store for any future additions.

Not sure if yoga is right for your kids?  Read this article for some more insight:

Interested In Yoga For Kids?

by Darvin J. Hooey

Yoga for kids? Certainly! A centuries old practice, yoga has earned the designation as an essential practice for physical and mental health. The benefits of yoga are numerous. Why shouldn’t our children experience these benefits too? Your kids can immediately adopt this practice which leads to improved flexibility, coordination, improved strength, enhanced concentration and stress relief, which would provide a lifetime of benefits for your children! Kids are NOT just small adults, contrary to what many may think. You have to use a different approach… a different environment.

Yoga – Kid Style

Your kids may have difficulty doing the normal yoga poses the way they’re supposed to, but they can still reap many of the benefits. Yoga for kids has to be fun and entertaining simultaneously! Yes, the traditional asanas are the framework, but to ensure your kids engaged the resulting postures are more improvisational in nature. There are programs starting up for kids across the nation. They deal with this entertainment requirement by building in music, storytelling, games, animal references, arts and crafts. Classes are offered for kids as young as toddlers! Just be sure the teacher has the required certification to instruct children.

Special Benefits To Kids

As mentioned above, the benefits of yoga for adults are well documented, but the benefits of yoga for kids go far beyond those that adults realize. Yes, it can support weight loss, concentration, flexibility and strength, but yoga also helps with more kid specific issues. For example, research has shown that yoga can help with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders in kids. Yoga satisfies the sensory and motor stimulation that kids desire. Practicing yoga at an early age helps kids to develop confidence and improved coordination. Since yoga is noncompetitive, it fosters a sense of compassion and cooperation, instead of competition. This creates a more caring and giving child.

Yoga For Kids at Home

The benefits of yoga can definitely be brought home for your kids to experience, as with adults! The main obstacle, as with most child activities, is keeping their attention. However, as previously mentioned, if you integrate animal sounds and movements, songs and games, they will stay   will keep their attention! Because kids love to move and make sounds, and yoga satisfies both needs. You should not be too critical as they find their way through the series of poses. Don’t get mad, if they aren’t performing them exactly right. Instead, allow this to be an experience in self discovery with your direction.

Yoga for kids is in many ways superior to yoga for adults. Why not begin your kids walk down this lifetime road of self-discovery and self-improvement now versus later, and the benefits they gain will grow exponentially!

If you truly wish to succeed at being in the best shape of your life, then you must visit the world’s best resource. Go to Next Level Yoga immediately, to see how easily it can be done with at home workouts!

Article Source:

Why use Mudras

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on April 26, 2010

We hope to provide more detailed information on different Mudras, and their benefits, in future blog posts.  The following article provides some basic information on Mudras to get us started.  If you’ve been taking any yoga classes, you’re probably already familiar with some mudras, such as these two:

* Anjali Mudra – pressing your palms together in prayer position – generally at heart center or held when saying “Namaste” at the end of class.

* Gian Mudra – touching the index finger to tip of thumb, with the other three fingers extended – a common mudra in opening and closing meditations or breathing exercises.

Mudras to De-Stress You

By Shweta U Shah

Understanding Mudras:

Mudras are an integral part of the ancient practice of yoga. Derived from the Sanskrit word which means ‘seal’, Mudras are simple hand gestures and finger positions. They have the capacity to energize and rejuvenate the body, cure diseases, prevent psycho-somatic and life-style disorders, suffuse you with a feeling of serenity, and strengthen your communion with god (the very essence of yoga).

Our body is in a permanent state of reflux and chaos. We receive innumerable sensory inputs and impressions through the day, combat work pressures, family demands, and fight a host of insecurities. Our body tries to strike an optimum balance and maintain equilibrium between the internal and the external. When the balance goes awry, we fall sick.

Mudras can help us achieve this balance in a subtle way and enhance our mental strength.

How will the practice of Mudras benefit you?

  • Mudras strengthen the physical body, driving out toxins and perking up the immune mechanisms.
  • Mudras are very good preventive therapy.
  • Emotionally, these simple hand gestures, calm an over active mind, make you tranquil, and instill a feeling of love and happiness.
  • At the subtle level, the Pranic energy or the vital force within the body is balanced and this practice also allows us to direct the vital force to various parts of the body, where the energy can be harnessed.
  • Mudras balance the entire, body – mind – soul complex, and thwart the onslaught of stress. They soothe frayed nerves, calm the nervous system, and revitalize you.

Dr Shweta Shah is a life style expert with emphasis on alternative medicine and treatment. Her core areas include homoeopathy, diet, nutrition, yoga and acupressure therapy. As a Medical Content Writer she has also been involved in contributing several articles for health and wellness sites on professional basis. She also contributes to other websites with the objective of disseminating essential and healthy life style tips.

Visit zerodisease blog for regular information updates on health and wellness

Article Source:

Balance Board – Side Plank

Posted in Balance Board/Wobble Board,Core/Fitness,How-To,Yoga by Harmony on April 23, 2010

Add a Balance Board to almost any exercise to up the challenge. Here’s another example showing that you can add a Balance Board in a Side Plank pose. My only tip to add on this exercise / yoga pose, is to stack your shoulder over your wrist.  What other balance poses or exercises would a Balance Board work with?  Last week we showed a video doing the Seated “V” / Boat Pose, so you can’t suggest that one!

Pilates with a Pilates Ring

Posted in How-To,Pilates,Pilates Ring by Harmony on April 22, 2010

Exercises to Do With the Pilates Magic Circle

The Pilates Magic Circle is a circular ring that is made of a flexible metal. It is padded on the inside and outside of the ring, so that it can be placed on the inside or outside of the legs for lower body exercise, or held in the hands for upper body work. The Magic Circle provides light resistance to a Pilates exercise program. It can be used four times weekly. Since Pilates exercise emphasizes form and precision, as opposed to repetition, perform one set of no more than eight repetitions.

Bridge With Abduction and Adduction

While the bridge is a butt and core exercise, adding the Magic Circle will work your inner and outer thighs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place the circle between your inner thighs, right above your knees. Engage your core and lift each vertebra from the floor, until you are in a bridge position. Simultaneously squeeze the circle with your inner thighs. Complete one set, and then place the circle over your outer thighs. Perform the same exercise, but press out with your outer thigh muscles.

Magic Circle Chest Press

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold the circle at chest height, and place each hand on the outer pads. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, contract your pectoral muscles and squeeze the circle.

Upper Back Exercise

Good posture depends on correct strength ratios balance between the pectoral and upper back muscles. Most people tend to be significantly stronger in their pectoral muscles, which may account for a hunched forward posture. So, if you perform the chest press, you will also need to perform an exercise for your upper back. Sit in a cross-legged position. Lean forward at the waist. Place the circle on the floor behind your back, and hold the outer pads with each hand. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, engage your upper back muscles to squeeze the circle. Imagine that you are trying to create cleavage in your upper back.

Butt Squeeze

Lie on your stomach with your knees bent. Place the circle between the inside of your ankles. Until you get used to working with it, this may be awkward, so ask a friend to help you place it in position. Place one hand over the other to make a pillow, and rest your forehead on your hands. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, squeeze your glutes and press the circle in with both ankles.

Spring – Wood and Liver Chi

Posted in Yoga by Harmony on April 20, 2010

Springtime.  Walking in the woods.  Living a healthy life.  All of these were reasons why I was drawn to this article posted on  Hope you find it interesting as well.  Be sure to check out the Yoga Poses to help your liver chi…

Spring Fling ~ Healthy Green Livering

by Cora Wen on Mar 14, 2010


Spring in Chinese Seasons
Element – Wood
Colour – Green
Nature – Yang
Organs – Liver/Gall Bladder
Emotion – Anger/Determination
Taste – Sour
Condition – Windy
Direction – East

In Chinese Medicine, there are Five Elements which represent different phases and forces in the universe, nature, and our bodies. These are five forms of energy, constantly moving and changing from one into another throughout the natural world. These elements help us understand the meaning of  our physical, psychological and emotional balance.

Each season in Nature relates to an element and with the changing of seasons into Spring this week, it is interesting to look at the relationship. Metal is Autumn, Water is Winter, Wood is Spring, and Fire and Earth is Summer. Wood-Spring is the first season and is about growth and beginnings and new activity.

Wood supports Fire, is supported by Water, when over active controls Earth and is in turn is controlled by Metal.

Since Spring is Wood; it is represented as a tree, sybolising growth and activity. In Chinese Astrology, Wood is divided into Yin & Yang where Yang Wood (jiǎ) is solid and sturdy like a mature tree , and Yin Wood (yǐ) is light and supple like the new shoots of a plant.

Yoga poses can invigorate Spring Liver Chi!

Wood Chi

The essence of  Wood is beginnings, birth and Spring. It is a bursting forth of new ideas, new vitality and new beginnings. Wood Chi is reflected in spontaneity, flexibility and activity.  Wood is strong and flexible like bamboo, and associated with warmth, generosity and co-operation.  Wood can be wide and outgoing, always seeking to grow and expand.

If you rise early and are at your most creative early in the day, Wood is healthy.  Humour, flexibility, adaptability, creativity or spontaneity is healthy, happy Wood energy. If you have difficulty waking up or getting motivated in the morning, Wood is stressed and needs support. Irritability, impatience, anger, rigidity and over sensitivity to noise, touch and smell could mean Wood needs a boost.

5Elements2Liver & Gall Bladder
The Liver is the most important organ after the heart, because it affects metabolism, detoxification, and blood clotting. The Liver filters, regulates, and stores blood. The Liver is our biggest internal organ (3 lbs/1.4 kg), and sits beneath the diaphragm on the right side of the body.

This amazing organ is the only one that can re-generate itself and function with 85% of its cells destroyed. In Chinese medicine, the Liver is regarded as General of the body, creating order and harmony throughout the system.

It governs muscles and tendons, which brings grace and flexibility, so muscle, knee and elbow issues can indicate weak Liver Chi.

The Gall Bladder emulsifies fats and oils with bile, and assists in digestion and absorption of minerals.

In Chinese medicine, humour, patience and ability to be in the moment are signs of healthy Gall Bladder Chi. Impatience, irritability and rushing ahead of yourself show weakness.  A balanced diet and chewing slowly help build Gall Bladder Chi

Read more on Yoga poses for Spring Liver Chi!

Tips for Boosting Wood Liver Chi

Green is the colour of Wood.  As spring erupts, it is a symphony of green everywhere you look. As this colour abounds in Nature to remind us of growth and borth, add more greens and sprouts to your diet.

Leafy green veggies are extremely good for balancing Liver and Wood Chi. Eat lots of greens: collard, kale, spinach, mustard, dandelion and other leafy greens. The more greens the better!

Our blood, Chi and essence are ever changing and shifting, and almost half of our blood plasma rebuilds itself every 10 days to maintain good health. Here are some tips to strengthen Wood Chi this Spring!

lemonWalk in nature, breathe the fresh air and connect with Wood Chi by seeing the trees outside

Do Yoga, Chi Gung, Tai Chi and more outdoor activities

Add leafy greens and sprouted food into your diet to help detoxify

Chew slowly and very well

Sour tastes balance Liver energy, so add lemon to your water. Use lemon and olive oil on salad.
In the morning, eat when hungry. Eat light, easy to digest foods like cereal, plain toast or fruit.
Don’t eat when you are distracted: watching TV, standing, walking, talking or reading

Avoid alcohol or eating 2 hours before sleep

When it is warm enough, spend 5 – 10 minutes walking barefoot. Liver Chi enters through the feet and reconnection with Earth is vital

To release stress, anger or impatience from Liver or Gall Bladder, turn up the music, sing, dance and have FUN! Socialise with friends and get a full belly laugh!

Get Acupuncture to move Chi and restore balance. Acupuncture can treat stress, anger and migraines.

Seasonal acupuncture helps strengthen the system and maintain body harmony, before problems occur.

Yoga Poses for Wood Liver

Each Element in Chinese Medicine is linked to organs they support. Wood Chi supports function of the Liver and Gall Bladder. The Liver controls muscles and tendons. In Chinese Medicine, Liver stores blood during rest and releases it to tendons in activity. If you have tight or recurring joint problems this could be signs of an over-stressed liver.

house05Pavritti TriangMukhaPadasana

In the Yoga “bible”, Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar, poses to tonify Liver and Gall Bladder include a balanced approach of inversions, back bends, twists and forward bends.

These poses express a full range of motion in the abdominal area which will stretch, strengthen, enervate, and bring circulation into the entire torso. You will also massage both sides of body, energising Liver and Gall Bladder Chi.

My favourite Yoga poses for Liver and Gall Bladder health are  Sarvangasana, Paschimottanasana, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, Dhanurasana, Salabhasana and Bhujangasana.

Read more on Yoga poses for Spring Liver Chi!


Cora Wen is a self admitted Yoga Crone. A traditionalist who has studied and practiced yoga for two decades and remains curious and uplifted by the endless teachings of Yoga. Cora is certified at the highest levels of ERYT500 and CYT. She specialises in alignment based Yoga, and works with students suffering from chronic injuries and long term illnesses. She travels across the globe sharing an infectious love of Yoga, and would love to to share  Energy and Yoga with You! Connect on or follow Cora on Twitter and Facebook

13 Tips on Mantras

Posted in How-To,Meditate,Meditation by Harmony on April 19, 2010

The following video teaches us 13 tips on how to use a Mantra. The video is 10 minutes long, so do block off some time to listen to Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati.

If you’d prefer to read the transcript of this video, visit his site at:    SwamiJ – How to Use a Mantra

Balance Board – Seated "V"

Posted in Balance Board/Wobble Board,Core/Fitness,How-To,Yoga by Harmony on April 16, 2010

The Seated “V” (which is known as the Boat Pose in Yoga) can be pretty challenging for most folks. If you feel like you’re strong in those pose/exercise, add the challenge of sitting on a Balance Board while doing it:

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