Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body

Senior Exercises: Overhead Press

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Toning Balls by Harmony on May 21, 2010

Sometimes exercises or yoga practices labeled for “seniors” isn’t totally accurate. These exercises can also be used by individuals who are caring for an injury or for those who want to start out slow and gentle. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of gentle, “senior” exercises like these…no matter what age you are. Honor your body.

To perform these Overhead Presses, you could use a 2lb Soft Weighted Toning Ball or select a hand weight from our Neoprene Dumbbell Set.


Pilates Bands in 100's and Spine Twist

Posted in Dumbells/Grip Weights,How-To,Pilates,Pilates Bands by Harmony on May 20, 2010

Just a short 3-minute video on using Pilates Bands or hand weights in the Pilates 100’s and Spine Twists. This version of 100’s with the bands is different than last week – just to show you the variety of ways to use this great Pilates tool!  This video shows three models performing the same exercise with slight modifications done by each.

For Energy: Breathe of Fire

Posted in Meditation,Pranayama / Breathing Exercises,Yoga by Harmony on May 18, 2010

Whenever you feel like you could use a burst of energy, take a few moments practicing Breathe of Fire. Here’s a short introduction explaining how to perform this pranayama technique. Click on the image to start the video.

Breathe of Fire

Breathe of Fire

Vibrations of Mantras

Posted in Meditation by Harmony on May 17, 2010

The Vibrational Science of Mantra

An Interview with Jonathan Goldman

An internationally acknowledged master teacher, Jonathan Goldman has studied with masters of sound from both the scientific and spiritual traditions, including the Dalai Lama’s Chanting Gyuto and Gyume Monks. In this interview he gives an overview of some of the research that has been done to document the science behind the healing and transformative power of chanting.

Integral Yoga Magazine (IYM): What is the science of mantra?

Jonathan Goldman (JG): There are a number of different sciences behind mantras. Some of are the “hard” sciences—physics, psychoacoustics, etc. Some are spiritual sciences like the different yogic practices that work with sound. One can see that chanting mantras, as observed years ago by Dr. Herbert Benson, helps induce the “relaxation response,” causing reduction of heartbeat, brain waves and respiration. On another level, as Dr. David Shananoff-Khalsa believes, recitation of mantras enables the tongue to stimulate the acupuncture meridians inside the mouth, particularly on the roof. Dr. Ranjie Singe found that chanting specific mantras caused the release of melatonin and that, because of this, there are many benefits, including shrinkage of tumors and enhanced sleep. It’s also been found that self-created sounds such as chanting will cause the left and right hemispheres of the brain to synchronize. Even just listening to certain chants has beneficial effects.

IYM: Is this what is referred to as “vibrational medicine?”

JG: Yes, vibrational medicine is the basis of many healing modalities, including homeopathy, acupuncture polarity therapy and Reiki. The basic principle is that the entire universe, including all the parts of our bodies, is simply made of vibration. This concept is supported by the new superstring theory of physics. When we are in a natural, resonant vibration, we are in a state of health, but if some part of the body begins to vibrate at a counter frequency, the energy becomes stuck and disease sets in. Vibrational medicine says that it is possible to use sound to project the correct resonant frequency back into that part of the body, causing it to return to a state of health. This can be done through electronic instrumentation or through using the human voice. Since sound can potentially rearrange molecular structure, the possible healing applications of sound are limitless.

IYM: In the film, What the Bleep Do We Know there was a Japanese scientist who demonstrated the effect of sound on water.

JG: Yes, Masuru Emoto demonstrated that water molecules are actually affected by sound and our intention. Intention involves our thoughts and feelings—it is the energy behind the sounds that we create. Emoto found that a molecule of clean water looked like a snowflake—very geometric. He had photographs of polluted water molecules, which at first looked like mud. After a priest chanted over the polluted water, it was photographed again and the water looked like a snowflake—the sound and intentionality had restored it to its pristine shape.

Fabian Maman, a French acupuncturist and sound healer took Kirlian photographs of hemoglobin blood cells that were exposed to different sounds. He took photos of blood cells exposed to an ascending chromatic scale—C, C#, D, etc. created on a xylophone. Each note affected the cell differently, creating a different shape and different Kirlian color. This demonstrated clearly that cellular structure and energy are affected by sound.

This was just an excerpt of an article from Integral Yoga Magazine.   Visit their site to read other excerpts or to subscribe to their magazine.

I had recently read an article discussing how sound affects water molecules.  It mentioned the “snowflake” like designs when soft music was played versus the “jagged-edge” patterns that arose when heavy metal music was played.  The article went on to discuss how (since we are made of water and blood) the sounds we hear, or the sounds a child in a womb hears, can be affected.  Interesting thoughts.

Exercises for AnyBody

Posted in Core/Fitness,Dumbells/Grip Weights,How-To by Harmony on May 14, 2010

Some nice standing exercises to work your legs and arms “for anybody”. Gently guided instructions using light hand weights in a squat against the wall.  We offer a neoprene dumbell set in weights varying from 2 – 5 lbs.  Great for these exercises.  Start with the two-pounders, and then as you get stronger, and IF you desire, move up to the higher weights for an added challenge.

Pilates Bands in Roll Ups and 100's

Posted in How-To,Pilates,Pilates Bands by Harmony on May 13, 2010

This video teaches a variety of ways to do Pilates Roll Ups and 100’s with a Pilates Band. Great exercises for your abs and your arms. This video is just about 5 1/2 minutes long.

Supported Bridge Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Block,Yoga Pose by Harmony on May 11, 2010

Adding props to your yoga poses will help you to stay in poses for a longer period of time to achieve their benefits. In this example, you’ll be shown how to practice Bridge Pose supported by either a yoga block or a yoga blanket(s). When setting up the block, play with the different heights to see which is most comfortable for you. Sometimes you’ll find you can raise the height after being at a lower level for a few breaths.  Same with the blankets – some days you might want two, other days one blanket may be right for you.

Office Workout with Stability Ball: Standing

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Stability Ball / Yoga Ball by Harmony on May 7, 2010

Part II of Office Workouts with a Stability Exercise Ball. This short video shows some standing exercises, while last week’s video showed some exercises you could do seated on your stability ball.

Toning Arms with Pilates and Weights

Posted in Dumbells/Grip Weights,How-To,Pilates,Toning Balls by Harmony on May 6, 2010

More tips on toning those arms! It’s springtime…which means strapless dresses and swimsuits are just around the corner, right ladies?  In this video, you’ll learn a number of Pilates exercises using hand weights to help tone those arms.  Check out our new neoprene dumbell set which offers weights in 2lb, 3lb and 5lb pairs.  Great to have a selection for different exercises or to grow into as you get stronger.  And, it comes in a convenient carry/storage case.  You could also use the 2lb Pilates Toning Balls in these exercises as well.

Yoga Poses Using Sandbags

Posted in How-To,SandBags,Yoga,Yoga Pose by Harmony on May 4, 2010

Yoga Sandbags can be used for a variety of reasons:  to assist you in deepening your stretch; to help bring awareness to a particular part of your body or your breath; or as weights to improve your strength.

We offer Yoga Sandbags that are shipped empty to save on shipping costs and to allow you to fill to any weight desired (up to 10 pounds).  They can be filled with any dry item such as sand, grains, beans, corn or rice.  Our sandbags offer convenient handles and a zipper to keep those dry goods secured.   Several colors to choose from.  Studios may wish to buy different colors to use to fill to different weights that are then easily identified by their colors.

What can you do with a sandbag?  Here are just a few ways to add a sandbag to your yoga practice:

  • In seated poses, such as Easy Pose or Baddha Konasana:  place a sandbag on each knee to help press the knee firmly to the ground and stretches the inner thighs
  • In kneeling poses, such as Hero Pose or Half Hero Pose: lay a sandbag on the bent leg(s) to help press the thigh closer to the ground
  • In supine poses, such as Savasana: lay the sandbag across your belly to become more aware of your breath
  • In reclining poses, such as Supta Baddh Konasana:  place a sandbag on your feet to keep them firmly on the ground
  • When standing in Tall Mountain:  hold the handle of the sandbag(s) and slowly bend your arms at the elbows, lowering the sandbag behind your back for a great arm & shoulder stretch and strengthener.
  • In Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall):  drape a sandbag across the soles of your feet.  The weight grounds your legs and reduces any tension in your lower back.
  • In Savasana – to deepen the pose: take a block and a 10-pound sand bag. After reclining on the floor, position the block on the floor above your head. The block should sit on one of its sides (the height of the block should be about 5 inches), with one of its ends lightly touching your crown. Then lay the sand bag half on the block and half on your forehead. Scrub the forehead skin down, toward your eyebrows. Then let the brain sink away from this weight.
  • In Staff Pose:  lay a sandbag at the top of each thigh near the hip crease to help ground upper legs
  • In Warrior II:  hold a sandbag in each hand and challenge yourself
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