New Study Shows That Yoga Eases Back Pain

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Yoga classes were linked to better back-related function and diminished symptoms from chronic low back pain in the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date, published by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Back-related function was better and symptoms were diminished with yoga at 12 weeks; and clinically important benefits, including less use of pain medications, lasted at least six months for both yoga and stretching, with thorough follow-up of more than nine in 10 participants. Meaning that the longer you commit to your yoga practice, the greater the benefits. This is one of the motivations behind our monthly unlimited contracts. If you can commit to showing up for your practice you WILL see results!

As practicing yogis we already knew this, but it is nice to get some double-blind studied proof for those non-believers. So what are you waiting for? Often times beginners are intimidated by the newness of the yoga practice. We have a solution for that! In addition to alignment based yoga classes, Afterglow Yoga also offers a Beginners Yoga Series 3 times per month. You can join per class or come for the monthly yoga series.

Our Wailuku Yoga studio offers classes seven days a week in many modalities including ashtanga yoga, maui hot yoga, kundalini yoga and hath yoga. Each yoga class is designed with the practitioners in mind and can help increase flexibility and improve back-related function. A year from now you will have wished that you started today! xo

How to Be Present in Yoga (And Life!)

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We understand, even though we live in paradise, arriving to your Maui yoga class and letting everything go is sometimes hard to do.  Just know, that you are not alone, it happens to all of us.  Whether your mind is racing with your weekly to-do list, lingering demands from your co-workers, or you just have life in general on your mind, here are a few tips to help you set your focus so you can get the most out of your practice:

  • Arrive to class a few minutes early!  Say your alohas, then set up your mat and take a few minutes to settle in before the class begins.  We have so many props to help you find your comfort! Grab a bolster or a few blocks or blankets, lie down, or find a comfortable seat, or take viparita karani (legs up the wall).  Close your eyes.  Take a few moments to go inward before you start your class.
  • Breathe!  Start to feel your breath in your body.   Make your inhalations and exhalations slow and steady.  Feel the breath fill your belly and lift your chest.  Let the exhalations release anything that is not needed for your practice.

  • See with your Mind.  What?  That sounds crazy.  While you want to look at the instructor to understand the pose they are doing, try to follow their verbal instruction instead of watching every move they do.  Listen to their cues and their guidance.  Sure you can peek at your instructor, but maybe see if you can follow along just by listening.  You’ll be surprised at how much you already know and how the practice comes along naturally!
  • Find your Drishti.  Ever try to get into vrksasana, or Tree Pose, only to check yourself out in the mirror and bam! —  your tree topples over?  Well, first of all, that is OK!  No one is judging your tree except for you.  But to help ground yourself, focus on something that does not move, like a spot on the floor or wall in front of you.  Try not to notice what anyone else is doing, as they are doing the same as you!  Their best!!!
  • Continue to Breathe!  Yes, it’s that important that we need to remind ourselves this all the time.  Without the breath, there is no yoga.   Keep your breath steady; your breath is a good gauge to let you know if you need to take a break.  Take your childs pose to help you slow your breath down, exhale your air out of your mouth — say haaaaaaa to let it all go!
  • Go Slow and Restore.  Have you tried our Slow Flow and Restorative classes on Maui?  These classes are a welcomed departure from our movement classes, where you’ll use bolsters, blankets, blocks, and meditative breathing — allowing your body to release into calming, restful poses, so your mind can let go too.  You’ll walk out of the class feeling luscious and in a state of bliss.  Check out our yoga classes in Wailuku and Lahaina and give yourself this gift of slowing down.

Feel free to talk with your instructor after class and let them know where you are having challenges.  Our yoga instructors at Afterglow are more than happy to help you make the most of your practice.   And next time you find it difficult to find your focus on or off the mat, take a few moments for yourself, close your eyes, find your breath, and you will find your center!