There are multiple health benefits of doing “breath hold.” An average healthy person with no special training can hold his (or her) breath for about half a minute. Increasing the hold time gives more opportunity for the inhaled air to pass through the thin lining of the air sacs and into the blood vessels which then improves oxygen saturation and helps the brain to stimulate our breathing. Breath retention has significant health benefits. The eventual goal of Pranayama is “Kevala Kumbhaka”. More details here. With practice you can resist the stimulus to breathe for longer but it remains carbon dioxide…

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Our minds, they are tough to control. I know mine is! And that’s why I’m a yoga practitioner. When I was introduced to the practice in 1996 it was immediately clear that the combination of postures, with attention to breath, gave me a clearer mind, one more able to focus and concentrate. I was able to pay better attention in general (something I’ve always struggled with), to others, to the present moment, and rein in the constant movement of my mind. Ever since, I’ve been a practitioner of the eight-limbed (aṣṭa-anga) path of yoga. For more than a year we’ve…

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Our senses – they are our link to the world outside of ourselves. They guide us, and they distract us. They lead us to what we like, and turn us from what we don’t. They keep us alive, and can also do quite the opposite. We continue our journey through the eight limbs of yoga with Pratyāhāra, the fifth limb. Pratyāhāra is the withdrawal or movement away from the senses. This can happen naturally through the gathering of one’s attention, or through practices such as bhramari breathing, bee’s breath, or shanmukhi mudra, placing one’s fingertips to seal off the senses…

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The power of one breath never ceases to amaze me. I can be tightly wound, worried, or on alert, and one slow, deep breath, especially one into the back of my body, leaning back in my chair, or dropping into my heels, and I am on the path back to presence, moment-to-moment mindfulness, relief. Our bodies want to be on guard and ready for anything; we are wired for survival. And the yogis discovered the most immediate toggle switch for our autonomic nervous system was our ability to control our breath. Breathing is a process that happens without us thinking,…

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3 Reasons to Meditate when the Sh#t Hits the Fan According to the field of complexity science, complex systems all go through periods of chaos, chaos defined as a system that is “difficult to predict.” If we look at history through this lens, what we see are times of Order and Chaos: Dickens began an excellent novel with the line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Weather patterns go through this cycle of order and chaos, and so do human-made systems. Companies can go through periods of exponential growth, then come crashing down. Celebrities…

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Whew! You just made it to your favorite yoga class right before the doors closed! Then you sheepishly squeeze your mat in between two students who, of course, were resting with their eyes closed. You apologize for disturbing their peace, all the while promising yourself like the millionth time to be 10 mins early next time. Somehow in the middle of all the mindless chatter, you hear the chimes and everyone begins chanting ‘AUM’. You join in and by the third round of chanting the entire room seems calmer, not only that your mind is quieter too! So how does…

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I don’t know about you all, but there hasn’t been much in my life lately that has been static. Our planet and are society are experiencing rapid change, while a virus moves swiftly and continuously through our cities and towns. And we are all trying to absorb and process this lightening pace, when our bodies can only move at the speed of the body. The yogis that passed down this practice knew that the one guarantee in life was change. They developed ways to find sthira, the Sanskrit that means steady (its root is sta, sound similar to the English…

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Some of you may think of 8 Limbs as a place to tend to your body and mind, a replacement for a gym or a workout, but you hopefully also know that we are a school, a place to study yoga, and yourself. Our name 8 Limbs Yoga Centers refers to the eight limbs of yoga, only one of which is the postures, the third limbs of yoga, asana. Since we opened twenty four years ago, our commitment has been to practice and teach all of the eight limbs. Every September it feels like it’s time for school. Time to learn…

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We have really missed you all and want to get together in person! Click here for upcoming offerings! It’s FREE, no registration required, but please be sure you’ve completed our Student Waiver. Arrive wearing your mask, bring your mat, and wear an 8 Limbs shirt if you have one! Social distancing required, mats must be at least 6′ apart, first come first served. Is there Sculpture Park Yoga this year?  Yes, it’s back, with a twist. Learn more here.   Posted by: 8 Limbs Yoga Centers

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We all have our patterns. One of mine is to feel an all-encompassing obligation to do everything, for everyone, all the time, which can lead to feeling so overwhelmed that I wind up doing not enough for anyone. Not a winning combo. Thankfully, yoga provides tools to examine our patterns, and while away from work last week I was able to watch that pattern a little closer. I got to see what was under the compulsion (fear, sense of inadequacy, self-critic, to name a few), and give myself the space and care I needed to come back to my commitments…

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