CHANGE-YOGA For the food

exercises that bring hormones into balance.
Panta rei, everything flows, even our lives. But to let ourselves be carried by this natural rhythm, we must be prepared to let go of the old. The children who grow up and leave home. Parents who get sick and die. Perhaps a partnership that has long since ceased to be one. And of course, our youthful body, which changes due to hormonal changes. "But as the years go by, a certain mental rigidity and immobility often comes along, which makes people get stuck and become routine," says Lucia Nirmala Schmidt, internationally recognized yoga teacher, breathing therapist, and health educator from Zurich. "Then the free flow of vital energy is hindered". Dissatisfaction, physical and mental problems can be the consequences. It becomes difficult to dare new things. Stagnation instead of growth.

Physical and mental agility through Change-Yoga
Especially in transitional phases, such as menopause, the flow of life often comes to a halt. "In these times it is more difficult than usual for us to find our own center and stay centered," says the holistically oriented expert. On the other hand, it is precisely then that we need inner strength to accept external changes and to be able to take new paths. A great challenge. Yoga can help to master it. That's why Lucia Nirmala Schmidt has developed a yoga program, especially for  Change Yoga. The effect: more physical and mental flexibility and greater openness to new perspectives.

More serenity and calmness, but also more vitality and liveliness. And incidentally, the exercises that the yoga teacher herself demonstrated for our photo production also bring the hormones back into balance. This effect is mainly achieved by stretching and rotating the spine, which in yoga is considered the "source of eternal youth". "It is said that a person's age is not determined by the number of years they have lived," explains Lucia Nirmala Schmidt. "What is decisive is rather the flexibility of the spine." If it can move harmoniously over its entire length, this not only has a positive effect on the muscles and muscle tone; the internal organs also work better, breathing is deeper and the body is better supplied with oxygen. And last but not least, according to yoga teachings, the most important "nadis", subtle energy paths, and "chakras", energy concentration centers that influence all physical, mental, and emotional areas of our being, are located in direct proximity to the spine. "These energy channels are purified by the conscious breathing, pranayama, during all exercises, literally 'blown through'. Tension and stress are reduced", says Lucia Nirmala Schmidt.
Change the perspective
The main goal of Change Yoga, however, is to mobilize the spine through smooth movements in all directions, to align it optimally, to make it longer so that space is created between the vertebrae, and to keep it elastic. If the spine is in balance, body, mind, and soul are also in balance. And we gain a completely new (movement) scope as a result. To really make use of this, however, something else is often necessary: a new perspective on life, insights that make changes possible. A second important element of Change Yoga is therefore reversal exercises. "They turn the world upside down. Matters of the heart and gut feeling are no longer controlled by the mind. This alone makes them perfect anti-authoritarian postures," says yoga expert Schmidt.

At first, these reversal postures - the most well-known is the headstand - can be uncomfortable (when caution is required is written on page 10). They can certainly lead to dizziness and slight discomfort when you stand upright again. This is a sign of how effective it is to keep your head on the ground and your feet in the air. Over time, however, the circulation gets used to it. And: "Those who manage to change their point of view and perspective more often", says Lucia Nirmala Schmidt, "will face their fears more calmly and courageously tread new paths".

CHANGE-YOGA: eight exercises for the middle years
Strong wing beat
Sit comfortably and upright and put your hands on your shoulders. Alternately rotate your elbows far out from the shoulder joint, upfront, then down the side to the back. Breathe in and out deeply. Repeat this exercise as often as you like.

Dancing hands
While sitting, put your hands together in front of your chest, at heart level. Now turn your hands so that the backs of your hands touch each other and your fingertips point towards your body. Stretch your arms far up over your head and breathe in.

As you exhale, move your arms and hands in a wide arc backward, downwards, and in front of the body until the hands meet again. Then a new round begins. Repeat ten times.

Fresh wind
Sit down again comfortably and upright. The arms are angled and raised so that the hands come together in front of the chest, the fingers of the right-hand interlock with those of the left (Ganesha mudra). Now rotate the upper body dynamically and quickly back and forth around the inner axis of your spine. Concentrate on straightening your spine and breathing: inhale to the left, exhale to the right.

As you exhale, push the air out through your nose with a strong snorting motion, rhythmically pulling the abdominal wall inwards. This fast "fire breath" is a bit of an adjustment and exhausting. Take breaks if you get tired or dizzy. Repeat a total of three rounds with ten back and forth movements at the beginning if possible, later you can practice up to three minutes in a row.

Stimulating view
Sit up straight, legs stretched long forward, hands resting on the floor next to the buttocks. Feel your ischial tuberosity and consciously straighten your spine. Now place the left foot first close to the body, then over the right leg on the outside of the body. Grasp your left knee with your right arm and support yourself with your left hand behind your buttocks. Breathe in and make the back deliberately long again. As you exhale go into the rotation a little more. Hold ten breaths. Then with the exhalation dissolve the position and practice the other side.

Relaxed peace
Finally, lie on your back and relax. Close your eyes and let the breath flow in and out calmly through your nose. Gradually extend the exhalation phase until it lasts twice as long as the inhalation. This calms body and mind. Feel what has changed through the exercises and enjoy the relaxation.

Caution with reverse postures Exercises such as the "Gentle Wave", the "Liberating Bridge" or the "Upside-down World" have a strong effect. They should not be done with: 

high blood pressure 
increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, or retinal detachment 
Inflammations in the headspace
severe tinnitus
acute complaints of the cervical spine (e.g. herniated disc)
arterial occlusive diseases where there is a risk of embolism
a migraine attack
clogged sinuses when pressure pain occurs
If you are unsure, you should definitely ask a doctor in advance. If symptoms occur or worsen already existing symptoms, temporarily suspend exercises. If the symptoms reoccur, also consult a doctor.


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