Yoga by YOGAnniston
Aug 29, 2010 | 265 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Meditation for Everyone
by YOGAnniston
Feb 04, 2011 | 710 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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By Mariya Bullock      ANNISTON YOGA CENTER

“The Heavens themselves, the Planets, and this centre, observe degree, priority, and place.” …William Shakespeare
 We have all had times when life challenges us… Sometimes we have to resolve our  problems which can be as difficult to solve as any trigonometric equation. How to get rid of anxiety, depression, and fatigue? How to improve family relationships or a relationship with a loved one? Or even how to build back self-esteem after we are divorced or the loss of a job, overcome addiction, recover from an illness? How to improve focus and sleep, decrease chronic pain? Don’t give up on yourself until you try meditation.

    Meditation can be performed alone or as a part of another mind-body practice such as yoga. In our class meditation, we start with Pranayama or breathing practice. It helps to center your body and mind, also focuses on the sensation of the breathing, preventing a drifting away with thoughts about the future or memories from the past.  At Anniston Yoga Center, each class starts with a short meditation to restore harmony to our often unbalanced lifestyles and reduce the pressures of modern living. According to CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), meditation is a good tool for complementary care for numerous diseases.

    “The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Some recent NCCAM-supported studies have been investigating meditation for relieving stress in caregivers for elderly patients with dementia and for relieving asthma symptoms. A study published in the April 2009 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease researched use of meditation and other complementary and alternative practices in patients suffering from arthritis.” (Meditation and Health; [CDC official website])

    Studies have shown that meditation has an anti-aging effect. Dr. Robert Keith Wallace pioneer researcher on meditation found that people who meditate have a biological age five to twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts. Even short term practitioners were physiologically 5 years younger than their chronological age. “There’s a reason why experienced meditators live so long and look so young. If we can affect the stress response, we can affect the aging process,” says Eva Selhub, MD, medical director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. Meditation and relaxation transform the way we perceive stress.

    Anybody can practice meditation, take a few breaths and clean your consciousness of all distractions. So, the word meditation comes from the Latin “meditation” which  means to think or reflect on. There are many forms of meditation such as Zen meditation, Candle meditation, Mandala or Symbolic meditation, Visualization, Walking meditation and Transcendental (focus on mantra) meditation. An interesting fact is that  Kripalu yoga classes are often called a Meditation in Motion. Senior Teacher of  Kripalu Center of Yoga & Health Richard Faulds  describes meditation as “a state of deep inner absorption that can occur in either the flow of yoga postures or in moments of physical stillness.”

    In my opinion, which is based on my experience and some research I did on the subject, meditation as yoga supports the body-mind connection to health, happiness and well-being. Writer J. Krishnamurti , speaker on fundamental philosophical subjects, described meditation as a process when one “observes the observer”. The mind remains awake while the body goes into a deeply relaxed state. A common misconception is that meditation take years to perfect, keeping people away from a wonderful tool which may help them to encourage healings in  body and mind or may even emerge from times of difficulties. With regular practice you will see benefits of meditation very quickly; you may also be wondering or recognize that you already have been practicing meditation time to time… Surprised? But when you focus on the solution of some kind of situation at work , or staring all day at your new car, or maybe all day long trying to figure out why everything  turn so …awful… this is one of many forms of meditation. Just let’s make sure, that beginning today all your meditation would be absolutely positive.

    Once you recognize how easy it is, you can meditate on your own.  Allow yourself to be open because each time I practice  meditation, my experience is different.        Here is an example of simple meditation for a busy… complicated life. Let’s call it “Give Yourself a Smile”; find a quiet place to sit comfortably on the floor or chair and begin by taking a few “let go” breaths , close your eyes and fill the sensations in your body… your  body works all day, fill yourself  with appreciation for all of the hard work your body does for you. When you feel the smile on your face… allow the smile to be your guide into your meditation. As you are sitting quietly, breathe through your smile until you feel the smile in your heart and then once again send a blessing to yourself and appreciation for all of your hard work that you did today and then finish your meditation with a smile and peace.

    I hope that this simple practice will help you reconnect with you inner resources and gain a fresh perspective on life in general. Namaste

Yoga for Healthy Living
by YOGAnniston
Nov 15, 2010 | 238 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Anniston Yoga Center
Anniston Yoga Center

Yoga means union, union between body and mind, connection between breath and movement, connection between all of us... and the divine universe. Yoga is one of the ancient systems of Indian philosophy. Literally in Sanskrit, the language of the yoga tradition, yoga means union.

Yoga works its magic by bringing body and mind into a state of harmony and balance. People come to yoga for different reasons, some to improve health, others to manage stress. In reality, yoga is both proventive and therapeutic.

Yoga one of the very few exercisesthat offer benefits for your body and mind. To begin with, yoga offers a lot of physical benefits as it strengthens, tones,and builds muscles, increases flexibility, stimulates the endocrine system, improves digestion, increases circulation, relaxes the nervous system, improves immune response, decreases cholesterol and blood sugar levels, invites balance and grace, increases body awareness, encourages weight loss, prevents aging, and energizes the body.

Also, yoga has been shown to offer the following mental benefits or mind benefits: relieves chronic stress patterns, quiets the mind, centers attention, sharpens concentration and frees the mind. In addition, yoga helps overcome addictions such as nicotine, alcohol and even eating disorders.

Although there are many styles of yoga, such as Kripalu, Bikram, Kundalini, Iyengar, and Ashtanga; the basic Asana(yoga postures)and Pranayama(breathing practice) remain the same. How they are done, in what order and where attention is focused while practicing them represent the main difference between the yoga schools.

Therefore, varieties of yoga are not a panacea, but support the mind-body connection to health and well-being.


Anniston Yoga Center  (

Mariya Bullock


Men and Yoga: What's the Biggest Misconception?
by YOGAnniston
Oct 13, 2010 | 235 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

By Jason Wachob

I can't even touch my toes. Don't you have to be flexible to practice yoga? I grew up competing as an athlete and training several hours a day in a gym. Does yoga even count as a real workout or is it just stretching and breathing? Do I have to wear spandex to class?

There are several misconceptions that can keep men on the wrong side of the perpetual yoga fence. Today, our yogis tackle some of the biggest misconceptions about what deters men from hitting the mat.

MindBodyGreen: What's the biggest misconception about men doing yoga that you'd like to clear up?

David Swenson
: There is a perception that it is just some kind of fluffy stretching when in reality it is that yoga practice can be have a strong physical component that carries with it a deep internal sense of calm. To be efficient on a high level we need to develop the ability to remain calm in the midst of the storm. Yoga provides that center.

Brock Cahill
: The biggest misconception about yoga is that it is for chicks. Not even close grasshopper! Yoga is the most challenging discipline on the planet, not only because there is absolutely no limit to the physical challenges, (I have had severely athletic dudes in my class so challenged, butthurt, and frustrated that they threw their mat against the wall!) ...but the true challenge lies in yoga's ability to become training for the mind, and freedom for the spirit. These are not easy things to attain, but once you glimpse them, you have to keep coming back for more. That is human, and it has nothing to do with gender.

Vinnie Marino:
Because they are not flexible or they think it's going to be this easy new age experience and they're just not interested. When they come to my class a lot of them say to me "dude that kicked my ass, one of the hardest things I've ever done!"

Michael Taylor: Can I pick two? One is that yoga is weird -- for odd-balls!  The other is that yoga might give a good stretch, but we need to get strength and fitness elsewhere. For the first -- yoga is a health system, designed at a time when health meant our Whole health, and when we couldn't turn to surgeons or pharmaceutical dispensaries as a last resort. So there's nothing intrinsically weird about a system that gives us self-reliance and control over our physical and psychological well-being. No doctors required. True, some of yoga's teachers over the past few decades have been a bit strange, but the system itself is very straightforward and uncomplicated. My wife (and yoga teacher!) Tara Stiles is making this very clear -- and her approach is vastly expanding yoga's reach and impact now. It's not about adopting new languages, or anyone else's religions or philosophies -- it's simply up to your own direct experience.

Rusty Wells
: The guys who think that yoga is a walk in the park are the first ones to drop like flies in my classes.  It requires a perfect balance between building and stretching muscle and staying fully focused.

David Regelin
:Yoga is primarily marketed towards women. Yoga magazines only show women on the cover, and have the glossy colors and overall look of a woman's magazine. Historically, in India, yoga has been a predominantly male practice. How it became known as a woman's practice in the West, I can only guess. I think people picked up on the flexibility aspect and saw it as effeminate. The way that people react to yoga is a curious thing. In the summer I practice outside in an area where people come to do their various exercise routines, alone or with a trainer. I usually start off with sun salutations with press handstands. People are always impressed by press handstands (folding forward from standing and lifting up to a handstand with straight arms and without jumping). Guys doing their old gym class push-up sit-up routines will come over and ask if I am a gymnast. When I tell them its just an improvised yoga warm up they're always surprised. People generally associate yoga with stretching and meditation (both of which are important integral parts of the complete practice). Yoga, as an ever evolving discipline, has over the last 100 or so years included certain techniques from gymnastics, calisthenics, and various other modalities, so accomplished yogis can pull off some pretty bad ass moves. The feats of strength aspect of yoga seems to sell guys on the idea of a yoga practice.

Bryan Kest
: I don’t know of any misconceptions about guys doing yoga.

Derek Beres: Working full-time as an instructor for nearly seven years now, I spend so much time in the studios at Equinox and Pure Yoga that I'm not quite sure what outside conceptions of the practice are. But I have taught an introduction class specifically for men at Pure Yoga, and those guys immediately realized one thing: yoga is not easy! It took me an hour just to help them understand what a lunge entails, and they were dripping with sweat by the end. Yoga forces you to change habits, be they anatomic realities of movement or moral and ethical questions. That's what is so beautiful about this philosophy: there's never an end point like in Western religious systems (which result in a chosen people winning some reward in an imagined afterlife). In yoga, there is never any stop to growth, while at the same time there is plenty of room for santosha (contentment).

Sam Chase
: That there's a kind of guy who does yoga, and a kind of guy who doesn't. I've worked with guys from Wall Street and guys from the Bolshoi ballet, from Olympic athletes to 86 year-olds, and just about every guy in between.

Noah Mazé:I think most men are afraid they won't be good at it, and we naturally compare ourselves to others to gauge success. This challenges the masculine ego, as things requiring strength and athleticism are generally quite accessible to men, and the bendy and strong women all around you seem to be better at it. There are certainly plenty of poses that are suited to the power and weight ratios of men, and those are easier to do, and plenty of poses that require other types and directions of strength and stretch that are typically less suited. There is no way to win at yoga, at least in comparison to everyone else. Trying to gauge your poses compared to the bendy and strong women next to you is not likely to improve your outer or inner form. 

David Romanelli
: I think most would agree that the biggest misconception is dudes think yoga is wimpy. I like to tell a story of Phil Jackson having the Lakers take a yoga class. They couldn't even do child's pose, because their ankles were so tight. Some of the greatest athletes in the world find yoga to be extremely challenging. So before you pass judgment, give it a try...if not just once in your life.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow we talk about obstacles to getting men on the mat!

Published 10.12.10 at 04:00 PM

About Jason Wachob

As Curator and one of the founders of MindBodyGreen, Jason's goal is to promote the idea that wellness (including yoga!) is for everyone -- and that it can be fun and fulfilling. After years of successfully trading equities on Wall Street, Jason decided to make a lifestyle change -- focusing on wellness and building companies that promote it. His companies have been featured everywhere from The Wall Street Journal to Daily Candy. He has a BA in History from Columbia University, where he played Varsity Basketball for four years. Jason lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife.


Facebook: MindBodyGreen

5 Good Reasons To Eat More Raw Foods
by YOGAnniston
Aug 25, 2010 | 534 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Better health and weight loss

Raw Foods And Chewing

Raw Foods, Enzymes and Fiber 

Raw Foods and Vibrant Skin 


This Place Matters
by YOGAnniston
Aug 25, 2010 | 237 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Help Anniston win $25,000 in a national competition! The Spirit of Anniston will be entering one of Anniston’s most historic buildings into a national competition sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Entitled “This Place Matters”, the competition will feature hi...storic landmarks across the nation in hopes of bringing recognition and funding to the landmark that receives the most votes from community members. As one of Anniston’s gateway buildings, the historic Anniston City Land Company building was intended by the city’s founders to be an exhibition of their vision for the progressive city. Vote to help most amazing city "model city" in Alabama.

Get Rid of Your Mirrors or Weight Loss with Yoga
by YOGAnniston
Aug 10, 2010 | 348 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

In the very first book I had about yoga, author Gita Iyengar advised students to get rid of the mirrors. WHAT???  I want to see what I am doing… how I look… then after a few years I realized why…         

      To begin with, in the state I am living, Alabama, according to CDC ( Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the state obesity rate is 31.4%. Alabama ranks in the second highest place behind Mississippi. Although Mississippi is a great state, I am more interested in the data of the state I am living in. Let’s look at the statistics with the lowest rate – Colorado, with an obesity rate of 18.5% and the population is not significantly different than Alabama. Alabama has 4,708,708 and the population of Colorado is 5,024,748 as stated by  U.S. Census Bureau Population Division (July 2009). What secret do the people in Colorado have to stay in shape? I did some research to solve the mystery.


    Due to a fact that I am a long time yoga practitioner and yoga instructor in beautiful Anniston, Alabama, I had begun my digging into this familiar area. The largest yoga directory on the internet, Yoga Finder was very handy. First  I calculated how many different cities in Alabama and in Colorado offered yoga services and classes. In Alabama there are 20 cities and in Colorado 69, so Colorado is larger than Alabama, nothing unusual there… then I decided to calculate all of the studios and teachers in both states. The result of this calculation almost threw me of my feet… Colorado has three hundred ten places (310) to practice yoga; however, Alabama only forty four (44) listings including myself. Although the population of the states are almost equal, the fact that Alabama defiantly has much less yoga classes per person is a reality. I am not analyzing and I am not making any conclusions, therefore draw your own.

     Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors… They make us sad, happy, ugly, overweight, old, beautiful…  Is it true? Magazines with beautiful girls on the front page… Is it true? I am looking into this mirror, well I am not flexible and not so strong and I will look funny on this yoga mat, well maybe next year I will be in better shape and kids will be at school and maybe I can prepare myself for yoga…


Before you start a fight with calories, remember what you fight…you become. So don’t fight yourself when your deal with weight. You probably will lose or win temporary. Better to approach this problem with inner peace through meditation and yoga. Yoga will teach you how to take responsibility for every cell in your body, how to connect yourself to the divine and to others, how to balance everything in your life. Isn’t it wonderful to be in balance? You will never be overweight…

    We are taking responsibility for our kids. We want them to be healthy. Why don’t we take that same responsibility for ourselves, in order to provide a good example for our kids? The more I fight myself, the more it is impossible to overcome food addiction. It brings worry about the future and guilt about the past. And here I am with the last can soda in my hand seeking pleasure to make my stress go away.

    I realize why we should get rid of the mirrors in the beginning, because your mind and your body should guide you. It is in human nature to compare yourself  to the gorgeous pictures from a magazine or from a book... then your mind immediately rejects…you are not that…and the fight starts over. So “really“ get rid of the mirrors…   See your progress with different vision. See your progress with your inner eyes which required you to love yourself and all existence around you. Your best teacher is you. Trust and believe in yourself, it is the key to happiness and balance.


   Yoga teaches non-violence toward yourself and others. First Yama or social ethics in yoga is called Ahimsa means non- violence, compassion. “Behave in kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of all beings and things, as well as yourself” Deva Parnell, Director of Discovery Yoga. All of this impossible yoga postures or weight loss programs… all of it starts with inner peace. You can take control with every breath you take. Take this responsibility for every cell in your body and stop the violence within.

    “Action should be based on love not on the ideas, because ideas represent past or future”, Krishnamurti said. Instead of looking at what already exists, be the creator of your own body, take control of your own breath. Everything in this life should be natural…even weight loss.

Namaste… means ” the divine being in me acknowledges and respect the divine being in you”


Mariya Bullock

Yoga Instructor

Anniston, Alabama

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