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From the NY Times:

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.
Just as we were all settling in front of the television to watch the baseball playoffs, two new studies about the perils of sitting have spoiled our viewing pleasure.

The research, published in separate medical journals this month, adds to a growing scientific consensus that the more time someone spends sitting, especially in front of the television, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be.

To reach that conclusion, the authors of one of the studies, published in the October issue of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, turned to data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, a large, continuing survey of the health habits of almost 12,000 Australian adults.

Along with questions about general health, disease status, exercise regimens, smoking, diet and so on, the survey asked respondents how many hours per day in the previous week they had spent sitting in front of the television.

Watching television is not, of course, in and of itself hazardous, unless you doze off and accidentally slip from the couch onto a hard floor. But television viewing time is a useful, if somewhat imprecise, marker of how much someone is engaging in so-called sedentary behavior.

“People can answer a question like, ‘How much time did you spend watching TV yesterday?’ much better than a question like ‘How much time did you spend sitting yesterday?’ ” says Dr. J. Lennert Veerman, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, who led the new study.

Australians, as it turns out, watch lots of telly. According to the survey data, in 2008, the year that the researchers chose as their benchmark, Australian adults viewed a collective 9.8 billion hours of television.

Using complex actuarial tables and adjusting for smoking, waist circumference, dietary quality, exercise habits and other variables, the scientists were next able to isolate the specific effect that the hours of sitting seemed to be having on people’s life spans.

And the findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.

By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said.

Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV.

Those results hold true, the authors point out, even for people who exercise regularly. It appears, Dr. Veerman says, that “a person who does a lot of exercise but watches six hours of TV” every night “might have a similar mortality risk as someone who does not exercise and watches no TV.”

These rather unnerving results jibe with those of another new study of sitting. Published on Monday in the journal Diabetologia, its authors reviewed data from 18 studies involving 794,577 people. Many of the studies measured full-day sitting time, covering not only hours whiled away in front of the television, but also time spent in a chair at work.

Together, those hours consumed a majority of a person’s life. “The average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting,” the authors report.

The researchers then cross-referenced sitting time with health outcomes, and found that those people with the “highest sedentary behavior,” meaning those who sat the most, had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely — even if they regularly exercised.

“Many of us in modern society have jobs which involve sitting at a computer all day,” says Dr. Emma Wilmot, a research fellow at the University of Leicester in England, who led the study. “We might convince ourselves that we are not at risk of disease because we manage the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.”

But, she says, we “are still at risk if we sit all day.”

Why a seemingly blameless activity like sitting should be detrimental to health, even for those of us who work out, is not fully understood, although it is assiduously being studied at many labs.

One partial explanation, however, is obvious. “The most striking feature of prolonged sitting is the absence of skeletal muscle contractions, particularly in the very large muscles of the lower limbs,” says David W. Dunstan, a professor at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia, senior author of the Australian study, and a pioneer in the study of sedentary behavior.

When muscles don’t contract, they require less fuel, and the surplus, in the form of blood sugar, accumulates in the bloodstream, contributing to diabetes risk and other health concerns.

Thankfully, excessive sitting is theoretically easy to combat. First, cut TV time. “The evidence indicates that four hours per day is in the ‘risky’ category,” Dr. Dunstan says, “while less than two hours per day is in the lower-risk group.”

Then look to the rest of your day. When Dr. Wilmot asked a group of volunteers recently to reduce their daily sitting time by an hour, “they came up with lots of ideas,” she says, including “putting the garbage bin on the other side of the office, standing during coffee breaks and telephone calls, having standing meetings, standing on the bus.”

But don’t, she emphasizes, cease exercising. “There is absolutely no doubt that exercise is beneficial for health,” she says. It just may not, by itself, be sufficient for health.

If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, she says, “take time to reflect on your activity levels for the remaining 23.5 hours,” and aim to “be active, sit less.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 10/23/2012, on page D5 of the NewYork edition with the headline: You May Want to Stand Up for This: Sitting Is Bad.

Phys Ed
Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.


Posted by: By lifespa | December 26, 2012 Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 Do you find yourself holding on to old protective and destructive mental patterns?

According to Ayurveda, toxic emotions, known as mental ama, are created in the mind as a means of self-preservation. Such emotions can create destructive behavioral patterns that can linger for a lifetime.
We spend years of our life trying to change our minds, to free ourselves from emotional pain, often times with little success. The reason changing the mind is so difficult is because these emotions, while created in the mind, have actually taken up permanent residence in the cells – not just in the mind but all over the body!
So, to change your mind and break out of old destructive patterns of behavior, you must first dig these emotions out of the body on a cellular level.
Research at the National Institute of Health has now proven the existence of mental ama (toxins), in the form of emotional chemicals trapped deep in the cells throughout the body.
Read on to find out how to root out old emotional pain!
How Do Emotions Get Stored?
Childhood traumas, as well as pent-up emotions like anger, jealousy and grief, are often repressed because the child may not feel safe expressing them. We often judge these emotions as “bad,” and we do our best to stuff these so-called negative emotions while making every effort to express only the positive sentiments.
When we choose not to express emotions like anger, resentment, emotional pain or sorrow, they store deep within the cells as old memories, also known as mental ama or “molecules of emotions,” a term coined by the renowned researcher Candace Pert.* According to her research, these repressed emotions alter the flow of the body’s information network, compromising immunity, mood and energy.*
Pent up emotions also block blood flow to parts of the brain, says Pert,* since this blood flow is regulated by small information (emotion) carrying peptides.
Pent-up childhood emotions like anger, jealousy and grief often get repressed and then store deep within the cells as “molecules of emotion.”
s-mak &utm
Hug and Cuddle Away the Emotional Pain
In one study, a group of monkeys were raised without the natural nursing, cuddling and touch of their mothers. Not surprisingly, they all quickly showed signs of trauma and depression.
They were cured when researchers brought in what they called a “monkey hug therapist,” an older monkey who constantly held and cuddled with the stressed out and depressed baby monkeys.*
The Cortisol Connection
Any type of trauma, whether it be physical or emotional, will surge cortisol into the blood from the adrenals. If the trauma is repeated or chronic—as it often is with emotional stress—the receptors for handling the stress become overwhelmed. The receptors break down, and thus fail to function or send feedback to the brain that there is enough stress hormones and to turn them off!*
As a result, the levels of stress hormone releasing factors rise to dangerous levels. In one study, cortisol releasing factor was tenfold higher in severely depressed or traumatized individuals’ brains compared to those not stressed nor depressed.* Excess cortisol has been linked to most every type of chronic disease.
Decreased Blood Flow = Mental Fogginess and Poor Decision-Making
The blood flow to the brain is also regulated by these emotional peptides. We know that people become white as a ghost when they are frightened and red as a beet when angered. But, research has shown that if this emotional charge is caused by a repressed emotion, denial or trauma, blood flow can become chronically constricted.*
This can shut down blood to the frontal lobes, which is where most of the emotional peptides are found. This lack of blood flow to the frontal lobes as well as other parts of the body can affect mental clarity and the ability to handle stress and make decisions well.
A Vicious Cycle
When emotions are felt and not expressed, they can block the flow of chemical information through the cellular receptors. When these information systems break down, emotions get stuffed and traumatic molecules of emotion cannot be released or processed. This blocks the natural processing of emotions and the free flow of hormones, neurotransmitters and other information-carrying chemicals found in the immune and endocrine (hormone) systems, as well as the brain.
Rooting Out Old Emotions
Based on this research, the only “bad” emotion is the one that is not
Safe and supportive touch like hugging and snuggling with loved ones has been shown to support healing of the signs of trauma and depression.
Based on this research, the only “bad” emotion is the one that is not
expressed. Does that mean we should scream and yell while throwing pots and pans? While that might help and be healthier than suppressing those feelings, it rarely completely solves our problems.
That’s because anger is rarely a core emotion – it typically is a reaction to a deeper underlying issue. For this, Ayurveda prescribes a process of “critical analysis” or “self-inquiry” to root out the underlying issue.
To achieve the same result, Dr. Pert has discovered the value of touch therapies to gain access to these emotional issues. Dr. Pert found that the entry points for repairing these emotionally-damaged receptors are found in the skin, spine and organs. The skin is accessed through touch – including hugs, cuddling and massage. The spine is accessed most directly through massage, chiropractic, craniosacral therapies, and other touch therapies.
So, while being a little touchy-feely might rub you the wrong way, a life without it just might deny you access to a healthy body and mind.
Touch and Other Therapies
Throughout Dr. Pert’s research, she makes constant reference to “touch therapies” as a critical piece of the emotional repair puzzle. She also discusses meditation, breathing, diet, yoga, exercise, and many other modalities also taught as a part of Ayurveda.
Remember: the only reason Ayurveda exists is to help balance the body in order to increase the mental clarity needed to free oneself from old repressed and harmful emotions. It is the key to unlock both perfect health as well as spiritual wellbeing.
Ayurvedic Touch Therapy
Perhaps the most popular and effective touch therapy in Ayurveda is a daily self-massage called Abhyanga. This can be a quick oil massage in the shower, or a more elaborate and classical Daily Ayurvedic Massage.
>>> Find instructions for Abhyanga self-massage
The most elaborate of Ayurvedic touch therapies is called Panchakarma, which was originally reserved only for the royalty.
>>> Learn more about Panchakarma
* Source – Pert, C. Molecules of Emotion. 1997 Simon and Schuster
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Self-massage is one great way to get the benefits of “touch therapy,” an entry point for repairing emo tio nally- damaged receptors found in the skin.
and coupon codes.


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Life would be really easy if we were just given a handbook to understand it.

According to the claims of the masters of yoga, we have been gifted a literature that can be labeled- Life’s Guidebook. This guidebook is known as the Bhagavad Gita. Put simply, it is a dialogue between a gentleman named Arjuna who is frustrated and confused about life and God directly. Arjuna asks all the pertinent questions we might ask in a similar state of despair and God listens. During the conversation God who is known as Krishna, provides Arjuna with knowledge about life- what comprises it and what to do with it. Nothing pushy, just Krishna sharing his opinion and perspective. Arjuna is permitted to do as he pleases with the knowledge provided.

There are great questions answered like:

Who am I? What am I doing here? Who is God? What’s my relationship with God? Why do I have to deal with all these other people? I hate my job- can I quit? How do I get more time off? Will I become a dog in my next life? I hate winter- can I move to Florida? Should I invest in sandcastles? Can I meditate if I can’t do padmasana?

So if we read Bhagavad Gita will we solve all of life’s problems? Yes, but first you need to know what life’s real problems are. That you get to learn about in the Bhagavad Gita.

So if we read Bhagavad Gita will we get to enjoy life to the fullest? Yes, but first you need to know what life’s real joys are. That you get to learn about in the Bhagavad Gita.

Winter is the time of the year to personally slow down, introspect, and nourish. Bhagavad Gita will support you in your time of rest, your time of personal inquiry, and it will nourish you with food for thought. Pick it up and read it. There is a lot in there. It’s packed with stuff to think about. For the month of December as individuals let’s pick it up and read it, as a community we will all have it on our minds, let’s talk about it.

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Ayurvedic Thai Yoga Massage with Balarama Chandra Das
$108 for 90 minutes(recommended); $80 for 1 hour
Ayurvedic Thai Body Massage: Full bodywork individualized for your mind-body constitution. Focuses on awakening and directing energy flow by working energy lines and marma points. In this totally passive experience, your body is placed in a variety of postures to achieve the desired result of ultimate relaxation and energetic expression. It is a perfect compliment to a regular asana practice. This massage uses no oil and is performed fully clothed.
Thai Massage dates Dec 11th through Jan 3rd
Call 215-923-9642 or email larry@shantiyogashala.org to schedule

Ayurvedic Consultations
$60 for 1 hour
What is an Ayurvedic consultation? Ayurvedic consultations are typically hour-long private sessions which consist of a review of your medical history and current health concerns, followed by a diagnoses of your Ayurvedic constitution and imbalances. We will discuss possible treatments for bringing harmony to your mind and body, so that you can take part in making the most nurturing and healing choices for yourself. Recommendations may include dietary and lifestyle changes, stress management and sleep techniques, herbs, yoga, pranayama and meditation. Anyone seeking greater health, balance, and wellbeing will benefit from a personal consultation. An Ayurvedic consultation helps you gain both practical tools and an in-depth understanding of Ayurveda’s timeless healing principles.
*Larry will be attending the consultations as he works towards his Ayurvedic Practitioner Certification.
To schedule call 215-923-9642 or email larry@shantiyogashala.org
What is an Ayurvedic consultation not? Ayurvedic consultations are not a substitution for care from your primary doctor or healthcare provider. Philadelphia Ayurveda is not a primary healthcare provider and should not be expected to alert you to any serious health concerns or fulfill the functions of your primary healthcare provider. If you choose to act on information offered during or after your consultation, you are doing so by your own choice and with the agreement of your primary and other healthcare providers.

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‎”Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing… Yoga will end in awareness. Yoga is arresting the fluctuations of the mind as said in the Yogasutras of Pantanjali : citta vritti nirodha. When the mind is without any movement, maybe for a quarter of an hour, or even a quarter of a minute, you will realize that Yoga is of the nature of infinite awareness, infinite knowing. There is no other object there.” – Sri Krishnamacharaya in 1988 at 100 years old.

Via A.G Mohan

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NBA legends from Kareem Abdul Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal have practiced yoga, but few as enthusiastically as two-time MVP James. He began practicing two years ago to counter the imbalances in his body resulting from a pro ball career: strong in certain areas and weaker in others. Yoga gave him flexibility and calm. In 2009 James took a vicious fall in which he rolled head over heels. He credited his yoga practice — especially the shoulder-stand pose — with enabling him to avoid serious injury.

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Namaste Yogis,

Just a reminder that tomorrow, Wednesday August 1st there is a full moon. Full moon and new moon days are observed as days of rest in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. Tomorrow there will be NO Mysore Practice. The following classes will still be held: 12noon Lunchtime Vinyasa with Dahvia, 4pm All Levels Vinyasa with Chae, 5:30pm Guided Half-primary series Ashtanga with Larry, 6:15pm All Levels Vinyasa with Chae, 7pm All Levels Vinyasa with Keri

Sutra Wednesdays with Balaram Chandra Das begin tomorrow Wednesday August 1st

Part of our NEW Beyond Asana Program

Join Shanti Yoga Shala in welcoming Balarama Chandra Das for a 6 weeks of Yoga Sutra studies classes.

Wednesdays 7:45-9pm August 1st – September 5th. $12 drop-in or $60 for all 6! Visit www.shantiyogashala.org for more infromation and to register.

Prenatal Yoga Series

Our next 6 week prenatal yoga series begins August 20th!
Mondays 8/20-10/1 with no class on 9/3
Cost: $80, $75 if you register by 8/13. Receive a 25% off coupon for your next prenatal series, mommy and me yoga class card or vinyasa class card.
Visit www.shantiygoashala.org for more information or email shiya@shantiyogashala.org with any questions.

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The Deadly Effects of Chronic Insomnia from Dr. John Douillard

When the body is chronically denied sleep, stress hormones, like cortisol, steadily rise. We evolved to boost stress when being chased by a lion, tiger, or bear, which hopefully ended quickly when one found safety.

Today’s stress levels are 24/7, with little end in sight for many folks. Such chronic stress has a direct impact on sleep. According to a 2001 scientific poll, 38% of Americans received a solid 8 hours of sleep. In 2009, that number was reduced to just 28%.

Sleep is so important for good health that one landmark study linked getting 7-8 hours of regular sleep each night to a reduction in mortality from all causes.

What’s worse is that people suffering from chronic insomnia were also shown to be at risk for numerous health disorders such as:

Anxiety and depression
Impaired cognitive function
Metabolic Syndrome
Cardiovascular disease
Impaired insulin action
Impaired glucose control
Increased body mass index
Elevated C-reactive protein
Elevated cortisol levels
Elevated blood pressure

Ayurveda’s Super Sleep Recipe

Drinking hot milk before bed has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for benefits that reached well beyond sleep. Albeit much different from today’s chronic stress levels, stress was still a health issue even back then.

According to Ayurveda, chronic or excessive stress would deplete a precious substance in the body called ojas. Ojas is said to be the physiological expression of consciousness, in charge of immunity, reproduction, beauty, and the overall health and wellbeing of the individual.

Ojas takes 30 days to be manufactured in the body, and is the result of numerous enzymatic actions that start with the digesting of food into the body’s lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve and reproductive tissues. Once these tissues are successfully made and deemed healthy by the body, the final product, or essence, of all these tissues—ojas—is produced.

When ojas is depleted, either from stress, lack of sleep, bad food, poor digestion, excessive activity or inactivity, the body breaks down fast. Folks with depleted ojas are exhausted, can’t sleep, have no sexual desire, have dry wrinkled skin, stiff joints and accelerated aging, and are pre-disposed to disease.

In Ayurveda, there are certain foods and herbs that are specific to building ojas, and it all starts with milk. Now, I realize milk is a controversial issue, but nonetheless, it has well-documented properties to mitigate numerous stress markers, support sleep, and build what Ayurveda calls ojas.
The major problem with today’s milk is that it is very difficult to digest. Here’s why:

Added hormones, chemicals and antibiotics
Unnecessary homogenization
The wrong type of pasteurization

Most healthy grocery stores sell non-homogenized, vat pasteurized, chemical-, antibiotic-, and hormone-free milk. While raw milk may be the best, vat pasteurization is a slow and safe heating process of the milk at lower temperatures (135 degrees for 20 minutes) that doesn’t damage the milk proteins.

Many folks who consider themselves lactose intolerant can enjoy milk once again if the milk is not commercially processed and the digestion is strong.

Read more about healthy milk in my article called, Stop Eating Dairy Until You Read This Report.
Enhance the Benefits of Milk with Ojas-Building Foods and Herbs

To boost ojas and gain the predicted benefits of sleep, ojas-producing foods and herbs were cooked into the milk before bed. This is about as yummy of a drink as you will ever have:

1. Add small amounts of these to one cup of milk as you slowly bring it to a boil:

Chopped dates (1 tbsp)Dates and Walnuts
Chopped almonds (2 tsp)
Coconut meat or flakes (1 tbsp)
Saffron (1/2 tsp)
Ghee (1-2 tsp)
Cardamom (1/8 tsp)

2. Add Ojas building herbs to the milk (1/8 tsp or one 500mg capsule of each):

Shatavari (Strength of 100 Husbands, sometimes spelled Shatawari)
Ashwagandha (Strength of Ten Horses, sometimes spelled Ashwaganda)

3. Once the milk, herbs, and ojas-building foods and spices are cooked and off the flame, add 1 tsp of ojas-building raw honey.

Drink one cup of the ojas-building hot milk each night for 3 months to rebuild ojas levels and support sleep patterns.

Don’t drink milk? You may substitute a non-dairy milk such as rice or almond, warmed and with the ojas-building foods and herbs cooked in. Though you won’t get the benefits of the milk peptides, you’ll have a vehicle for the ojas-building foods and herbs, and some calming benefits from the warmth of the milk.

For best results, both men and women may consider supplementing with Shatavari and Ashwagandha (500mg of each 3x/day for 3 months).


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Sutra Wednesdays with Balarama Chandra Das

Part of our NEW Beyond Asana Program
Join Shanti Yoga Shala in welcoming Balarama Chandra Das for a 6 weeks of Yoga Sutra studies classes.

Wednesdays 7:45-9pm August 1st – September 5th. $12 drop-in or $60 for all 6!

Balarama Chandra lives a life dedicated to sharing the beauty of Ayurveda, Yoga, Thai Massage and Conscious food preparation. He currently resides in Philadelphia but can be found traveling abroad humbly sharing these ancient arts through workshops, trainings, and one on one. He is a true pleasure to study with as he has the dynamic ability to make the seemingly complicated – practical and exciting. Although his training and experience is extensive, he regularly studies with masters of his favorite healing arts and enthusiastically considers himself a student and a humble servant of the servant. www.bchandra.com

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Yoga Sutra Wednesdays
8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22, 8/29 and 9/5 @ 7:45pm with Balarama Chandra Das. Please join us for an enlightening experience.

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