Yang vs. Yin Asana: What’s The Difference?

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Asanas are the postures adopted during a yoga sequence or class. One of the eight limbs of yoga, asana has long been considered a vital component of overall well-being. Helping to strengthen the physical body (aka our “earthly vessel”), asana also supports mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Buddhist philosophy sees the body as a temporary vehicle for the soul - alluding to the idea that the better we take care of it, the better our quality of life will be.

While there are many types of yoga today, Hatha yoga is often referred to as the original style of yoga. Most people agree that the original ‘manual’ for Hatha yoga was written in Sanskrit around 400 AD by Patanjali Maharishi; it included asanas as well as sutras (rules or aphorisms) designed to guide one towards enlightenment on earth. While Hatha yoga traditionally includes pranayama techniques (also known as “breathwork”), lifestyle philosophies and more, today it’s mostly known for the physical postures or asanas. In fact, most Hatha yoga today leans more towards what would actually be considered Yang or Vinyasa yoga (described below under Yang asana).

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Yang Asana

Vinyasa yoga is a style of asana designed to mimic the results of a traditional workout. A fast-paced flow often including reps for strength and set to loud music… vinyasa is especially loved in the west - likely because it mirrors our busy way of life. Vinyasa is what could be considered Yang Asana - it includes a lot of movement, and often a lot of sweat. Benefits include improved circulation, reduced stress, greater strength and more.

Yin Asana

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the often overlooked yin yoga. Yin yoga is a slow-paced, restorative practice where each pose or asana is held for 3 to 7 minutes or more. Luxuriating in each pose for longer not only allows one's mind to settle into stillness, it also facilitates a deep stretch of the connective tissue (called fascia) that blankets your bones and internal organs. Benefits include feelings of groundedness, improved flexibility, reduced tension, emotional release and more.

What’s your experience with yoga?
Do you like yang or yin asana more? Why?

We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


In Los Angeles & interested in experiencing a yin yoga class?

Join us in Santa Monica on Tuesday, September 3rd for a restorative evening of yin yoga and sound healing. We’ll be joined by International Yin Yoga Teacher, Kali Basman, who will guide us through a deeply nourishing asana sequence set to a multi-vibrational sound bath.

Learn more & RSVP by clicking here.


YIN YOGA FLOW TO REDUCE BACK PAIN

Begin standing.

With your right hand on your heart, and your left hand on your stomach, take 3 deep breaths.

On your next inhale, sweep your hands down and out to the side - as if spreading your wings. Continue moving your hands upwards to meet together in prayer pose, centered above your head. On the exhale, lower your hands down to rest in front of your heart. Repeat two more times. 

On an exhale, hinge at the hips, slowly folding forward allowing your upper body to hang in front of your legs. Hold your elbows with opposite hands, if it feels comfortable.

Continue through the following sequence*:

1-3 minutes: Standing Forward Fold

1-3 minutes: 1/2 Standing Forward Fold

1-3 minutes: Downward-facing Dog

1-3 minutes: Cat Pose / Cow Pose

1-3 minutes: Child’s Pose

1-3 minutes: Rabbit

1-3 minutes: Wide-legged Child’s Pose

1 minute: Transition to seated - Walk your hands towards your knees, bring yourself into a seated position. Cross your ankles, shifting your weight onto your seat. Take a moment to shake your legs out.

1-3 minutes: Reclined Supine Twist (left side)

1-3 minutes: Reclined Supine Twist (right side)

1 minute: Hug knees into chest and roll back and forth, if desired

1-3 minutes: Happy Baby

1-3 minutes: Corpose Pose


*We haven’t yet taken pictures and written pose descriptions, so if you’re new to yoga or not familiar with the poses included in this sequence, I’ve linked out explanations curated by Yoga Journal and Yoga Basics.

5 Wellness Tools You Want In Your Toolbox (& Why)

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If you're like us and prone to overanalyzing, it’s tempting to focus on the never-ending possibilities, not to mention the many lists of things that have to get done. Caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern day life, it can be easy to forget - it's not all the stuff you accomplish that matters, but how you show up while you're doing it.

Since we committed to a daily mindfulness practice back in 2016, our resilience, energy, and impact has expanded tremendously.

We are more productive, attracting (and keeping!) deeper connections, enjoying a continuous state of flow, aren’t as stressed (regardless of how things are going), the list goes on... if you haven’t already, we highly recommend incorporating mindfulness into your daily life - the benefits are truly limitless!

Here are our top 5 suggested tools for increasing productivity and overall well-being:⁣

1 - HYDRATION

We know this sounds basic, but our bodies are made of over 70% water. The modern world is full of toxins, that wreak havoc on our bodies if we don't nourish and support them properly. Drinking enough water helps us flush out the bad stuff so our bodies can heal and repair, as they're naturally programmed to do.⁣

2 - MEDITATION

Even if you just do 3 minutes a day, meditation will have a positive impact on your life. Don’t know where to start? Check out some meditations Catherine made for you: https://www.soundcloud.com/thisaquarianlife. If you haven’t already, you can also register to receive a free 40-minute guided meditation at the bottom of this page.

More so than quieting the thoughts, think of this as your time to make peace with your feelings, and ideas. Spending this time in silence with yourself will help you connect with your truest desires, brings you into the present moment, and almost seems to expand time. You might even come to enjoy it (;

3 - MOVEMENT

Moving your body doesn't need to mean spending hours at the gym, or spending hundreds of dollars a month on fancy, hip fitness classes. It's as simple as taking the time to go for a walk, or putting on a song (or two) and dancing like no ones watching. There's also tons of great free apps that offer short yoga flows, or fitness workouts.⁣

4 - JOURNALING

Writing (by hand) is one of the most underrated activities in modern day life. Constantly glued to our phones and devices, we forget the numerous therapeutic benefits of writing out our thoughts, feelings, and visions with good old pen and paper.

Try writing for 5-10 straight minutes first thing in the morning (or at night), anything and everything that comes to mind. Or try out using prompts - you can check out Catherine’s Instagram for some ideas.

5 - CBD

Last but not least is one of our go-to tools for increasing flow, presence, and creative output, CBD. The non-psychoactive sister of mary jane, CBD offers all the highs of the cannabis plant without getting you stoned. Think: nervous system regulation, more focus, feelings of well-being, pain relief, stress alleviating, and more. Check out Catherine’s highlights and stories on Instagram for more about some of our favorite products. Interested in trying CBD? Visit www.hellomd.com for a marketplace of high-quality CBD products that can be shipped to your door, anywhere in the United States. Enter the code ‘catherine20’ at checkout (available to use every time you place an order) for $20 off any order of $40 or more!

Do you use mindfulness tools? If so, what's your favorite?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


Interested In exploring further?

Upcoming Events & Retreats |

You can also hire us for private or group wellness sessions and/or on-going coaching. Learn more by clicking here.

What Is Reiki?

Originally channeled by Mikao Usui, Reiki is therapeutic energy work based in Japanese tradition. It has been practiced since the mid-1800s, and has been shown to calm the nervous system, decrease healing time, promote feelings of well-being, and much more.

Photo credit: Catherine Ezor

Photo credit: Catherine Ezor

Note: Reiki is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice.

The word Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “universal life” and (Ki) which means “energy”. It is a subtle and effective form of harnessing the life energy that flows through all living things.

Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level of the energy field in and around the physical body where the negative thoughts, feelings, and patterns are attached. This causes the negative or low vibrational energy to break apart and fall away. In so doing, Reiki clears, restores and recharges the energy pathways, thus allowing the life force to flow in a healthy, natural and beneficial way.

Reiki practitioners believe everyone has the ability to connect with this healing energy, and use it to strengthen health and vitality in themselves and others. While anyone can tap into life force energy or Ki, Reiki is a specific kind of energy that you must be attuned to practice.

How A Session Works

Reiki is a healing modality without physical or spacial limitations. Sessions may be done in person, where the recipient lies down while the practitioner gives Reiki by placing their hands lightly on or directly above the recipient’s body. Additional forms of energy healing such as aroma and sound are often included. Sessions may also be conducted over distance. During these sessions, the recipient is encouraged to relax while the practitioner simply visualizes sending energy or sometimes uses a surrogate.

A Reiki session is calming and relaxing, and integrates well into a holistic, long-term personal wellness plan. Recipients report reduced anxiety, increased vitality, stress relief, mental shifts, emotional release, decreased pain, feelings of well-being, improved concentration, and more.

Healing is a process, not a spontaneous event.

Reiki is not a cure for a disease or illness; it assists the body in creating an environment conducive to healing. It works to soothe and relax the body, activating the parasympathetic nervous system aka our body’s natural system for rest and repair. Reiki is a powerful complement to traditional western medicine; it is practiced in many medical settings including hospitals and rehab facilities.

Suggestions

The number of treatments needed for each person and each issue will vary. Chronic health issues often take longer to heal than acute ones.

If your problem is chronic or long standing, it may require multiple treatments over a longer period of time. We may also recommend additional healing modalities (such as a personal practice, akashic record reading, etc.) to expedite your healing time.

For chronic health concerns, we have seen best results with a past life regression (or akashic record reading) in tandem with a number of treatments over time, often 5-13 treatments on consecutive days. Please decide when and how frequently to schedule your sessions based on what feels right for you. You are responsible for your own health and well-being.


Working With LAGL

Catherine is a certified reiki master, and has been practicing multi-vibrational energy healing since 2014. She offers reiki 1:1 and to groups, both in person and over distance; and personally trains all LAGL practitioners. LAGL offers reiki as part of our multi-vibrational healing sessions that additionally include modalities such as meditation, breathwork, aromatherapy, sound healing, and more.

Catherine gives gratitude and reverence to her teachers, Gwen Gaydos and Cassandra Vitale.

Book A Session Today

Learn more about 1:1 and group sessions by clicking here.


http://lagrowthlabs.com/upcoming-events/2019/8/16/reiki-share

In the greater Los Angeles area?

We’d love to have you join us for a free community event this Friday, 8/16 from 7:00 - 8:30pm in Long Beach, CA.

For those new to energy healing, this even is an opportunity to experience and learn about Reiki energy. For those attuned, it’s an opportunity to practice, learn and grow with other Reiki practitioners in community. Come hang out with us as we heal, learn, transform, and expand with Reiki!



5 Ways Stress Hurts Employee Productivity (And How To Fight Back!)

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94% of workers report feeling stress at work, and almost a third say their stress level is high to unsustainably high.¹ 25% say their current level of stress will lead them to burnout in less than a year.¹ 60% of people say they’ll still go to work, even when they know they won’t be their most productive self.³

The truth is… as a society, we glorify “the hustle.” Being busy and constantly on-the-go has become almost a moral badge of honor; especially for Millenials who have been repeatedly chastised for their entitlement and laziness. As a business and employer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of squeezing the most time and energy you can out of each employee. After all, you have an ROI to prove - right?

Below are 5 ways an all work, no play mentality might be causing your employees stress and hindering your profitability:

  1. Lower employee engagement levels

    Almost 50% of workers say workplace stress is making them “check out” ceasing to care about work. ¹ This greatly reduces their productivity and output. According to a recent study by Gallup, checked out employees cost companies $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity every year.²

  2. Degradation of team cohesion & company morale:

    About 30% of employees at <1000 employee companies, and 40% of 1000+ employee companies cite “Team members not pulling their weight on projects” as a top stressor at work.

    41% of employees cite poor internal communication as a top stressor at work. 29% of employees report having yelled at a co-worker because they’re stressed. 14% of employees report wanting to punch their co-workers! ¹

  3. Absenteeism & Presenteeism:

    Absenteeism: employees that miss work due to stress costs companies an average of 4 working days per employee per year in terms of productivity lost. ²

    Presenteeism: employees who show up (not at their peak) when they should take a “mental health day” cost companies an average of 57.5 working days (almost 2 full months) per employee per year in terms of productivity lost. ²

  4. Employee health is suffering:

    Mental health, which has long been a stigma in the workplace, is now becoming something that is more common and accepted by leaders. Now HR is taking on the role of mental health counselors, helping support employees who have all sorts of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar and ADHD. While many of these disorders are hidden, 84% of employees have experienced physical, psychological or behavioral symptoms of poor mental health. ³

  5. Higher Burnout Rates & Increased Turnover

    25% of workers said they will burn out in the next 12 months if they can’t reign in their stress levels1 and 33% of employees will leave their jobs each year by 2020.⁴

    77% of turnover is considered preventable by employers, with about 42% being attributed to a lack of attention from management on factors such as work-life balance, employee mental & physical wellness, poor internal communication, compensation and benefits.⁴

    The cost of replacing an employee averages 20% of their annual salary, and can range up to 216% for highly trained employees, so if a highly trained executive is making $120,000 a year, the true loss could be up to $255,600 to the company!


    Employers will pay $600 billion in turnover costs in 2018 and can expect that number to increase to $680 billion by 20204, unless they make a conscious effort to combat workplace stress and turnover.

A corporate focus on wellness makes dollars and sense...

While it can seem counterintuitive, a more balanced approach to work (as opposed to an “all work & no play” mentality) actually leads to higher productivity and profitability overall to the tune of a 3 to 1 return on investment!⁶

That’s $3 of productivity back for every $1 invested in the health and wellbeing of employees! There’s an opportunity to increase profits and the wages of our teams, all while improving their mental and physical health. But what kind of wellness programming should you invest in?

Here are our suggestions (and their scientifically backed benefits):  

  1. Meditation & Mindfulness Training has been clinically shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain (both physical and psychological). It’s also been linked to increased gray matter in the brain (in the areas associated with logic & reason), improved sleep (off the job of course!), improved memory, increased work efficiency (meditators are faster on all tasks), decreased urges to smoke (aka take extra breaks!), dramatically improved conflict resolution skills, and stronger interpersonal skills (leading to stronger professional and personal relationships). ⁷ ︲ 11

  2. Sound Therapy uses aspects of music to improve your physical and emotional health and well-being. In a session, commonly referred to as a “Sound Bath,” instruments like singing bowls, drums, gongs and chimes are often accompanied by guided meditation, aroma therapy, breathwork & more. Sound Therapy has proven in studies to positively affect our neurochemistry, promote feelings of well-being, and reduce stress, anger, depression, and fatigue.

  3. Aromatherapy is defined by Webster as “inhalation or bodily application (as by massage) of fragrant essential oils (as from flowers and fruits) for therapeutic purposes.” It’s been clinically shown to relieve anxiety and depression, improve quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions, elevated stress, and insomnia. 9

  4. Communal Eating - those who eat socially (or communally) have been shown to feel happier and are more satisfied with life. They’re also more trusting of others, are more engaged with their local communities (both inside and outside the workplace), and have feel they have more people that they can depend on for support. 10

In her book Thrive: The Third Metric, Arianna Huffington wrote,

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

And here at LAGL we agree with her. That’s why we work with companies to co-create wellness programs that fit their needs. From in-office meditations to fully-produced and catered community events, we work with our extended team of wellness specialists to curate experiences that cultivate mindfulness, self confidence, and improve employees overall wellbeing.

For more information, or to partner on your company’s wellness programming…

click here to schedule a call directly into the calendar of our co-founder, Justin.


Resources:

1) Wrike, Brianna Hansen, “Crash and Burnout: Is Workplace Stress the New Normal?” (2018). Link:  
https://www.wrike.com/blog/stress-epidemic-report-announcement/

2) Gallup, “State of the American Workplace” (2017). Link: https://news.gallup.com/reports/178514/state-american-workplace.aspx

3) Deloitte, “At a Tipping Point? Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing” (2017). Link: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/public-sector/deloitte-uk-workplace-mental-health-n-wellbeing.pdf

4) Work Institute, “2018 National Employee Retention Report” (2018), Link: https://workinstitute.com/about-us/news-events/articleid/2259/2018%20retention%20report

5) Center for American Progress, Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn, “There Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees” (2012). Link: https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/CostofTurnover.pdf

6)  PR Newswire, “Poor Health Costs U.S. Economy $576 Billion According to the Integrated Benefits Institute.” (2012). Link: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/poor-health-costs-us-economy-576-billion-according-to-the-integrated-benefits-institute-169460116.html.

7) National Institutes of Health, Hari Sharma “Meditation: Process and effects” (2015) Jul-Sep; 36(3): 233–237. doi:  [10.4103/0974-8520.182756] Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/#ref7


8) Goldsby TL, et al. “Effects of singing bowl sound meditation on mood, tension, and well-being: An observational study” (2016) Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27694559

9) Mayo Clinic Report, Brent A. Bauer, M.D “What are the benefits of aromatherapy?” (2017), Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566

10) Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, Dunbar, R.I.M. “Breaking Bread: the Functions of Social Eating” (2017) 3: 198. Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-017-0061-4


11) Institute for Employment Studies, Andrea Broughton “The Benefits of Using Meditation to Resolve Workplace Conflict” (2014). Link:  https://www.employment-studies.co.uk/news/benefits-using-mediation-resolve-workplace-conflict


Why Every Company Should Consider A Holiday Wellness Event

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94% of workers report feeling stress at work, and almost a third say their stress level is high to unsustainably high.¹ On top of that, 90% of people experience elevated stress around the holiday season.⁷ One of the greatest things we can do for our co-workers and employees during this extra busy time of year is support them in living healthy, balanced lives.

A survey of over 2200 workers revealed that 72% cite work-life balance as the most important factor in a job opportunity.⁸ By providing mindfulness, connection building, and personal development opportunities for our employees we can show them we care about what matters most to them. Not to mention, it’s good for business! When people are more mindful they feel connected to themselves and their co-workers, and as a result, they’re happier and healthier. They also have more energy, are more efficient, resolve conflicts more effectively, and approach their daily tasks with more enthusiasm, and a level head.²︲³

As business owners and managers, holiday season is a perfect (and very popular) time to give back to our teams. Sweet and booze filled parties have long been a norm. But in today’s world, where people are evermore interested in wellness, we have other options. Instead of “gifting” our employees hangovers (of multiple kinds!), we can use holiday season as an opportunity to offer them experiences that cultivate mindfulness, self confidence, and improve their overall wellbeing.

Here are some activities to incorporate into your Holiday wellness event (and the benefits of each):

  • Meditation & Mindfulness Training has been clinically shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain (both physical and psychological). It’s also been linked to increased gray matter in the brain (in the areas associated with logic & reason), improved sleep (off the job of course!), improved memory, increased work efficiency (meditators are faster on all tasks), decreased urges to smoke (aka take extra breaks!), dramatically improved conflict resolution skills, and stronger interpersonal skills (leading to stronger professional and personal relationships).²︲⁶

  • Sound Therapy uses aspects of music to improve your physical and emotional health and well-being. In a session, commonly referred to as a “Sound Bath,” instruments like singing bowls, drums, gongs and chimes are often accompanied by  guided meditation. Sound Therapy has proven in studies to positively affect our neurochemistry, promote feelings of well-being, and reduce stress, anger, depression, and fatigue.³

  • Aromatherapy is defined by Webster as “inhalation or bodily application (as by massage) of fragrant essential oils (as from flowers and fruits) for therapeutic purposes.” It’s been clinically shown to relieve anxiety and depression, improve quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions, elevated stress, and insomnia.⁴  

  • Communal Eating - those who eat socially (or communally) have been shown to feel happier and are more satisfied with life. They’re also more trusting of others, are more engaged with their local communities (both inside and outside the workplace), and have feel they have more people that they can depend on for support.⁵

The benefits of replacing your traditional holiday party with a wellness event are endless. Maybe you even take an ‘and’ approach and do both. The option is yours!

From in-office meditation & sound baths, to fully-produced and catered events, LAGL works with our extended team of wellness experts to custom create a wellness package for your team or community. Designed to provide an energizing & uplifting experience for all, our events have been called “amazing,” “of another world,” “sensational,” “just what I needed” and more.

Want more info?

Click here to schedule a call with our co-founder, Justin.

Resources:
1) Wrike, Brianna Hansen, “Crash and Burnout: Is Workplace Stress the New Normal?” (2018). Link:  
https://www.wrike.com/blog/stress-epidemic-report-announcement/

2) National Institutes of Health, Hari Sharma “Meditation: Process and effects” (2015) Jul-Sep; 36(3): 233–237. doi:  [10.4103/0974-8520.182756] Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/#ref7

3) Goldsby TL, et al. Effects of singing bowl sound meditation on mood, tension, and well-being: An observational study (2016) Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27694559

4) Mayo Clinic Report, Brent A. Bauer, M.D “What are the benefits of aromatherapy?” (2017), Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566

5) Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, Dunbar, R.I.M. “Breaking Bread: the Functions of Social Eating” (2017) 3: 198. Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-017-0061-4

6) Institute for Employment Studies, Andrea Broughton “The Benefits of Using Meditation to Resolve Workplace Conflict” (2014). Link:  https://www.employment-studies.co.uk/news/benefits-using-mediation-resolve-workplace-conflict

7) Healthline, Poll: “What Stresses Us Most at the Holidays” (2015), Link: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-stresses-us-most-at-the-holidays-113015

8) Flexjobs, Rachel Jay, Poll: “FlexJobs Survey Finds People Without Kids Want Work Flexibility, Too” (2017), Link: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/flexjobs-survey-finds-people-without-kids-want-work-flexibility/