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Today, millions of people practice yoga, from young to old, from the hyper-athletic to those dealing with chronic diseases. The 12 half-hour lectures of Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body, taught by acclaimed yoga teacher Dr. Heidi Sormaz, are the ideal first step for a newcomer and a fascinating journey of discovery for those who already practice.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 12 Episodes
June 27, 2014
Cast: Heidi Sormaz
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Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body Full Episode Guide

  • Draw on the poses and routines presented in the course to develop a personalized yoga routine that will work for you in the everyday realities of 21st-century life. Keep sight of three principles: Breathe deliberately, move in non-habitual ways, and pursue mindful awareness.

  • Developed by American yoga teacher Ana Forrest, Forrest yoga is known for helping people deal with emotional issues, trauma, and addiction by creating a calm and untroubled internal state. Discover a new way of tuning into your feelings, using many techniques and postures you have already learned.

  • Explore the spiritual dimension of yoga through an Anusara practice, which combines the Iyengar system of alignment with elements of Hindu spirituality. After a Sanskrit invocation, follow a sequence of asanas that emphasizes awareness of energy flow and muscle action in your body.

  • Yin yoga is a complementary practice to a yang form, such as power yoga. The goal is very simple: Assume a shape with your body, relax with gravity, and rest in stillness. Unwind with yin poses that gently stretch your connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments, and fascia.

  • Transition to a more aerobic form of yoga--power vinyasa--in which a sequence of poses is strung together at an energetic pace. This is the form of yoga taught in many health clubs and gyms. Try a challenging flow, modifying the poses where appropriate for your level of fitness.

  • In the first of five lectures on different styles of yoga, experience a beginner sequence of Iyengar yoga. Named for pioneer yoga teacher B. K. S. Iyengar, this practice makes extensive use of props. Practice nine essential asanas, with optional props such as a wall, chair, strap, and blocks.

  • Examine how mindful, moving yoga can help interrupt the physical and psychological habits that lead to depression. Focus on sun salutations, a series of movements and poses linked by one breath per move. Perform the classic sun salutation, and then Surya namaskar A and B.

  • Discover how yoga and attention to the body's sensations can aid in breaking the vicious cycle of addictive behaviors. Perform patterned breathing, side bends, cat/cow, downward dog, lunges, forward fold, and reclined twist. End with savasana, the traditional closing posture in a yoga practice.

  • Yoga can lead to a healthier heart by providing a transition from a more sedentary lifestyle to a more active one. Trace the steps that will help you gradually build your yoga practice. Learn two new breathing exercises together with asanas that include warrior 1, knee-to-chest, and bridge.

  • Consider some key tools used in yoga to address physical pain: attention to breath and sensation, release of chronic muscle contractions, and healthier movement patterns. Practice asanas for each of these pain reduction techniques--including a chest opener, yoga pushup, plank, and staff pose.

  • The tension we accumulate every day tightens the muscles in the upper body, making it hard to breathe. Practice a mini yoga class that highlights mindful breathing to relieve this stress. Then add three new asanas to your yoga routine: warrior 2, bound angle, and downward facing dog.

  • Explore the roots of hatha yoga, the form of yoga widely practiced in the West. Focus on the three principles of hatha yoga--breath exercises, physical postures (called asanas), and meditation--which promote a healthy mind and body. Get started with some simple yoga exercises.

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