What is yoga and why has it become so popular in today's world? Does it really help relieve stress, increase stamina, improve mental health and lead to 'enlightenment'? In 2016 more than 36 million people in the U.S. were practicing some form of Yoga. Has this ancient practice been watered down, and sold out? Is there a dark side that practitioners and teachers alike experience? On this episode of the Health and Wellness show we will discuss the science and research that draws many to the practice. Yoga is not just about flexibility or the ability to do difficult postures, but rather it is about developing awareness of the body, mind and spirit. Join us as we demystify the practice and touch on many misconceptions about what it really means to 'do yoga'.

And stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health Segment!

Running Time: 01:36:43

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the Health and Wellness Show everybody! My name is Jonathan and I'll be your host for today; today is Friday, April 21st. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet we have Doug, Erica, Tiffany and Gaby, hey guys.


Jonathan: Today we are talking about yoga: yoga demystified. We have discussed yoga during shows but we have never done a show on yoga so we wanted to talk about it a little bit. Especially considering one of our hosts, Erica, is a resident expert in yoga and has been teaching for some time. This will be kind of a pseudo interview/discussion and we will see how it goes.

Let's start by asking what is yoga? Because I think everybody knows the word yoga but when they think about it they think about going on your back on a mat in some sort of commercial retail space downtown where there is a class going on; and stretching and maybe a little bit of mindfulness where you have to pay attention to your body.

I think a lot of people don't really know the intricacies of yoga, I certainly don't, I'm learning now. I have recently just started doing some very, very basic yoga. Like super basic, initial poses where I'm trying to stretch. To try to tie this together, when we were talking before the show I had told Erica that my goal was to try to learn how to do the splits because I figured if you could do the splits then that would be a good marker for being really flexible.

She told me that that is not the way that you should approach it because then when you are doing it you are thinking about the future and you are out of your space. You want to be present when you are doing it so it's kind of a misnomer or a mistake to have a goal in yoga while you are actually doing it. I thought that was interesting.

So, Erica based around that, can you tell us what yoga is and what does it mean to you?

Erica: I Just want to clarify that I'm not necessarily an expert, I'm just a practitioner.

Tiffany: You're a teacher!

Erica: This a pretty in-depth topic and I will say that I feel a bit of anxiety over the responsibility to be a spokesperson so I'm just going to share from a personal experience and what we shared in the show description: what is it? Does it really improve mental health and stamina and relieve stress? And the whole question of enlightenment.

It's an ancient practice and it has definitely been watered down, it's definitely been sold-out but what would we expect with something that was created back in 200 AD. That was when Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras which is a book about, I think, being a decent human being; obviously it's not that simplistic.

For me, the art of yoga is a science dedicated to creating a union in the body between the body and the mind and the spirit and so the objective of the practitioner is to use the body and the breath in generating awareness. Being present, which for Americans is obviously really hard - people from outside America too but I'm speaking from purely subjective experience here. The Yoga Sutra was written by Patanjali in 200 AD and it's a "sacred text" that describes the inner workings of the mind and they provide what's called a 8-step blueprint for controlling restlessness in the mind and the body and reaching that but also how to obtain enlightenment - whatever that means.

It's called the 8 Limbs of Yoga and I'm going to run over what those are and today we are hoping to focus on 2 aspects. The first one is Yama and that is a universal morality, Niyama which is personal observances, basically keeping a watchful eye on yourself. Asanas - those are the body-postures which is what most people do as yoga. Pranayama, which are breathing exercises and control of Prana which is your life-force or energy or Qi, as the Asians would say.

Pratyahara, which is the controlling of the senses, your desires and your obsessions, Dharana, which is concentration and cultivating of inner perceptual awareness,
Dhyana, which is devotion, meditation and the Divine, and then Samadhi, which is union with the Divine.

Those are basically the 8 limbs of yoga and again, just as somebody who has been practising, I can't give you an in-depth description of each of those things. I'm just going with experience and I never had the intention to be a yoga teacher; that was not something I was thinking about. Several years ago I did the training to be an EE teacher. I learned about breath-work and for most of our listeners I'm sure they've done the EE program.

Alongside that I was going to a yoga class once a week because I was having back pain and I knew I needed to get rid of tension and tightness in my body. I chose to do training with a male teacher who taught Ashtanga which is a very intense form of yoga. It is all taught very traditionally meaning everything is taught in Sanskrit. It's not about teaching you to become a teacher at all, it's about basically creating your own practice.

You practise 6 days a week at 6am for an hour and a half and you spend what could be years learning what's called a primary sequence and you do the same thing every single day for years and you do not have a teacher teaching you, you basically memorise the poses.

The most important part of the Ashtanga practice is the breathing; what they call Ujjayi Pranayama: Victorious Breath.

Very similar to the EE breathing in the sense that you inhale through the nose, but instead of exhaling through the mouth with the mouth open saying "haaaa" you close your mouth. It's almost like you are saying "haaaa" with the lips closed - if that makes sense. That is the hardest part of the practice. You are doing all these very strenuous postures over and over and over again and you are breathing in and out through the nose with the mouth closed.

I'll tell you what, that is like the most disciplined part of the whole experience for me and you really start to notice what my teacher used to call the "inner brat" coming out. Everything was like "I hate this! I don't want to do this". For whatever reason, at that time in my life it was exactly what I needed. It was basically discipline.

I was forcing myself to go. I started going once a week, then I was going 3 times a week, then I was practicing 6 times a week. For me, it changed my life in the sense that it really helped me ground into my own body. I was all over the place and stressed and had a lot of leaky energy - that's how I explained it. This taught me how to actually physically ground in my body and even though everything in me was saying "don't go to this class, I hate this, I don't want to do it" I pushed forward.

It was an amazing complement to doing the EE practice twice the week in addition. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. [Laughter]

Gaby: That sound great!

Tiffany: But it sounds hard!

Erica: Yeah, it was hard and I wasn't 20 when I started. [Laughter]

Jonathan: Do you think that doing yoga without the mindfulness aspect of it - basically just stretching for lack of a better word - is a corruption of the practice? Do you think that should not be done? It doesn't have to be like a super spiritual thing I guess? What I'm saying is, do you think the two are intertwined? Like if you do the practice you are going to end up at the mindfulness anyway?

Erica: I think you'll get more out of it. For many years I was into dance, I did modern dance and we did stretching and that's a big part of any dance class to go to; you stretch in the beginning. I think that as you get older, and for people who are over 30 who start doing this kind of stuff, you are going to hurt yourself if you are not paying attention to what you are doing. And now, as a teacher I do not teach Ashtanga yoga, I do not teach power yoga.

I am a really firm believer that you are going to hurt yourself if you do that. I always liken it to running a marathon without training. You have got to start small, you have got to start crawling before you start walking. I teach classes now and that's where I start: basics, basics.

Tiffany: People have injured themselves, like ruptured their discs trying to do handstands and contort themselves in all these weird shapes; you can't do that. You can't do a split Jonathan. [Laughter]

Erica: When Jonathan said that, I was like aaaargh! I don't even like to call myself a yoga teacher because people look at you and they are like "mmmmhhmmmm, you are one of those right? You must be vegan."

Jonathan: To clarify, I wasn't like thinking I could just do the splits right now. I understand that it's something that you would work towards. What I thought was really interesting about what you said was that you may not be able to do the splits. Genetically and physically some people just can't do that. I was like oooh, but I really wanna!

Gaby: Or like the lotus flower.

Jonathan: I did notice when I was doing some very basic stretching on the floor that the inside of my kneecaps were super tight. I thought that I could really hurt myself if I went to far with this and that was just stretching on the floor. I wasn't trying to do any complex poses.

Tiffany: When I was a little kid I used to do stretches. I had no idea what yoga was, I would just get on the floor and contort myself and bend and twist and do all the kind of stuff. I guess you can stretch, there are physical therapists that guide people through stretching exercises for back health and this and that, but I've never done yoga until recently. Under the wise tutelage of Erica I've done it a few times.

I always thought that yoga was some yuppie, bastardised form of an ancient Indian practice and I really didn't know what it was. From everything that I've read about it, and from doing it, it just seems like it's meditating and breathing while stretching.

Erica: Exactly.

Gaby: I confess that i was very badly biased against yoga practitioners because they seemed to all be vegetarians and I thought that there had to be something wrong about it. What's wrong with it? I recently started doing some basic stretching exercises with a book called Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan by Richard Hittleman; this is a very old book actually.

I didn't even think that you could learn yoga with a book. Most people go to class or have somebody there - which I think is maybe ideal. I like doing stuff by-the-book and at my own pace. [Laughter] I seem to have more discipline if I do it from a book "ok, I'm going to do these today".

I was very surprised. I don't have a heavy-duty testimonial like you Erica because you have done this for a long time. I have only been doing it for 2 months and I think I'm finishing today actually. If I have time I'm finishing the 28-days today. I could notice more self awareness in my body, it was easier to meditate. Especially with stretching the muscles, I feel like I've never stretched my whole life and I felt like I had better posture and felt more secure about myself when I go out there. I thought it was pretty great - something that I never expected.

Jonathan: It's an incredible feeling when you get into stretching a muscle that you haven't for a while. You just relax and breathe into it and when you feel like it hurts you back off for a while and then you just gently ease into it. I'm not coming from a point of expertise, it's just how I experience it. The feeling is incredible, your body is just like "holy crap! Why have you been forgetting to do this?"

Erica: Yes. What fascinated me about it, and I think why I stuck with it and I had gone to so many classes and all kinds of teachers and I have read a lot about it, is how we store trauma in our body. From being an EE teacher and doing the EE exercises - we are all traumatised. Studying [yoga] alongside [this], believe me I have seen some crazy stuff.

I feel like the discernment that I have gotten from the SOTT page and the forum helped me have a very healthy scepticism about not getting caught up in what you are talking about Gaby: the whole vegetarian thing.

I talked about this on the show before, I was a vegetarian in the past so I know that mindset for sure. I felt like I was really fortunate because I could be submersed in this whole world, and I was submersed in it for about 7 years - almost daily. So [I was really fortunate] to get something out of it that was beneficial to me and leave all the other stuff on the side; if that makes sense.

Back to the whole trauma aspect. For any of our listeners who have not read In an Unspoken Voice by Peter Levine, that book really brought it all together for me. It was almost like a life-changing book because he talks about how we store trauma in the body and how when you are doing certain stretches, like you spoke about Jonathan, you have these sensations and your muscles are twitching and all these things are happening and if you can breathe through that, and I don't mean panting and dying I mean like deep inhalation/exhalation diaphragmatic breathing, you can let-go of that trauma.

That's basically what happened to me in this Ashtanga practice. As intense as it was, I'm just going to share a little personal analogy here, I would have pain, say, in my right big toe. Why I would have pain there I have no idea but it was this pain and then I would practice and it would move to the middle of my back, or it would move to my right shoulder. Then, all of a sudden the next time it would be gone. It was almost like I imagined - and I am a very visual person- that this was something that was stuck in my body that needed to get out but I wasn't really sure what it was or how to get it out so I just kept going back to the mat. Not even having a focus on it necessarily but just using the breathing and the stretching to get it out of my body if that makes sense.

Doug: There was a really interesting interview that we looked at for preparation for this show; it's on SOTT; it's called An interview with Bessel van der Kolk: How yoga helps treat PTSD. He actually goes into that concept quite a bit, like the same kind of thing that you were talking about Erica, the whole Peter Levine thing: when people have suffered some sort of trauma they don't realise that it's not the end of the story.

It's not just something that happened in the past but there are actual residues and imprints left behind in people's sensory and hormonal systems. Yoga is actually a way where you take on these Asanas, these poses, and it forces your body into this position where it's almost forcing you to deal with it, but because you are doing it in a relaxed environment and you're maintaining the breath of not someone who is panicked and freaking out but somebody who is calm and relaxed it is a way to revisit those traumas and work through them.

Erica: I was fascinated by that article as well because I just recently started teaching again and I'm teaching what is called a "happy back" practice, I don't even like to call it yoga. A lot of the women that I am working with are over 65 and one of the things that as a teacher you really need to do to be a good teacher - and we know this from teaching EE - is you have to ask the person before the class if they have any injuries.

Most people over 65 have some sort of injury - they have a hip replacement, they have a knee replacement, they have disc issues. So, you don't want to re-injure them because that's a big responsibility. I get feedback from them and this trauma article really helped remind me that certain poses put people in a very vulnerable position.

Tiffany: Which ones?

Erica: Childs pose.

Tiffany: What is that?

Erica: That is where you are on your knees and you sit your butt on your heels, if you can, you can always use a pillow or a blanket, and you lay down on the ground like a child with your forehead on the ground. Your arms can be out extended or alongside the body. That is the pose of a child obviously. He talks about how this can be a very vulnerable state for a lot of people because they feel helpless or not in control or afraid.

I teach that pose a lot because it is a grounding posture where you can actually breathe deeply with your belly and open your mouth and do the "haaaa" breath and have a lot of release. There have been people in class who start to cry and in the article he talks about how you have to be able to deal with that and not run away like "oh my god this person is crying! What do I do?"

I don't have a lot of people in my class, I think the most I have had recently is 12. You have got to be able to remind them, and I just quietly walk up to them and say "if this is uncomfortable and you don't feel safe here then don't do this". The feedback I have gotten is that these women are just so thankful to be able to come to a class where they don't have to perform acrobats.

I always thought that yoga was where you had to do the splits, like Jonathan said, or stand on your head. I really secretly teach people how to belly-breathe and do the 3-part breathing. I teach EE essentially - in shapes. I do little shapes. I always remind people to come to class with the body you have today. Some people say that yesterday they could touch their toes and today they cannot. That's ok, it's all just about being with the experience in the moment.

I think that takes a lot of pressure off of the practitioner because they don't feel like they have to complete something. It's not about winning the race, it's enjoying the process.

Tiffany: I think that one of the things that turns a lot of people off about yoga is all of the super svelte yoga teacher stereotype where they are young, good-looking women with fantastic figures wearing their expensive yoga clothes and their expensive yoga accessories and they are vegetarians. There was this one article where the guy was saying the whole yoga crowd promotes exclusivity and division and there is a lot of criticism if you are not a vegetarian or if you don't fit the stereotypical look of what people think of as a yoga teacher or a yoga practitioner.

Gaby: That's why I didn't want to do yoga for the longest time because of that. Then, when I was doing EE classes, every time I had a yoga practitioner it was like "oh my god"! They were vegetarians, they were this and that and "oh, I cannot breathe through my mouth! I have to do it through my nose like the yoga practice!" Then, I tried a posture once and said "oh god, this feels good!"

Doug: I think that that is actually a good indication that yoga has been cut-off from its roots in a lot of ways; like the yoga sutras that Erica was talking about at the beginning of the show. It's like it was introduced into Western culture as a good thing and people started seeing the benefit of it and were going with it but then it just became completely westernised and commercialised. It doesn't have any connection to that past-practice, the tradition that it grew from.

Now it's like another thing for type A personalities to compete over and get cliquey about. Everybody has to be wearing the right kind of outfit and have the right kind of yoga mat. It becomes a very elitist kind of thing.

Tiffany: They do have yoga competitions now.

Doug: Of course they do!

Tiffany: They actually have competitions and of course all the practitioners that compete have the typical yoga "look": the super-buff dudes that are really pretty and the [stereotypical] girls. They go on stage and they compete, like who can do the best poses or contort themselves the best; and they won a prize. Then they actually want to eventually get sponsorship. There was this one guy who was on there who goes all around competing in yoga competitions and he wants to get Nike sponsorship.

He said "if this was some other endeavor I would feel bad about taking sponsorship from Nike because of the way they treat their workers, but since it's yoga and it will be advancing the cause of yoga then I would go ahead and take their money". They want to have yoga competitions in the olympics now!

Doug: Are you serious?

Tiffany: Yes. What was the name of that video? Erica is going to post it.

Erica: I am going to post it in the chat because it's a really good depiction of how far-out it's gone.

Jonathan: It seems like every time you get a bunch of people together and you give them the chance to strut-their-stuff they will and they will corrupt whatever they are doing to that end. Hypothetically, think about going to see music and you are really into a certain style of music and you go and see a show and you might just be there to listen and have a good time, but for a lot of people going to concerts has turned into a way to look cool and socialise and be seen and be a part of this image. It's the same thing anywhere else where you get people together around one topic, like going to the gym.

I know there are a lot of people who really are focused on increasing their strength and working their body and they are focused on that, but there are a lot of people who just go there to get noticed. You have the pants that were $100 as opposed to $60, that kind of thing.

Tiffany: They say that the people who are in these yoga competitions realise that people criticise them and they say that they are completely corrupting what yoga really is by being in a competition about it but they claim that "it's not a competition against other people, I'm competing with myself. I'm trying to be the best person that I can be and really challenge myself." I'm thinking why do you have to get up on stage in front of people to challenge yourself? You can challenge yourself in your living room! [Laughter]

Jonathan: That's how I feel about those Crossfit games too; it's interesting; I watched them last year and the feats of strength that they do are incredible. Something about making it a national televised competition seems weird to me.

Then, there is a fine line too because with other things that are considered sports, like hockey or baseball or basketball or whatever, you compete at that sport and you try to up your skill and you try to get really god and then you compete at a higher and higher level. Eventually, if you keep going, you are going to end up on TV or you are going to end up playing for money or something like that. So, where is the line? Do you think yoga is in that vein of what sports are?

Tiffany: They shouldn't call it yoga, they should call it posing or contorting, but to call it yoga I think [is a stretch].

Erica: Gymnastics.

Doug: America's next top model.

Jonathan: It's true that it's not competitive so it seems silly to make it [competitive]. Hockey is competitive no matter what, there are two teams, but yoga is not.

Tiffany: Not at all! Yoga face-off.

Doug: you could draw a comparison to other olympic things that aren't inherently competitive either, like gymnastics; an individual doing an individual thing. Then, all you have to do is bring judges into it and then suddenly it's a competition. I personally think that anything that requires judges shouldn't be in the olympics; not that I have any investment in the olympics. It just brings politics into it and it's not really about the performance any more. Anyway, I digress.

Tiffany: I think they should have athletic showcases and not necessarily make them competition. If you want to show off how fast you can run or how high you can jump, that's fine.

Erica: Jonathan, coming back to your thing about crossfit, it's interesting because I had a lot of students that were doing crossfit in addition to doing yoga and most of them were injured in some way or another because they were just going whole-hog. They were like "after a year I can't do this anymore, my knees are falling apart" or whatever.

Jonathan: Crossfit is crazy, it's so dangerous.

Erica: You really see that now in the yoga world. They have these events where you have got this headline like in a rock-fest where you have all these superstar teachers and they do all this posing. Then, that part that just kills me is the whole "spiritual" aspect. I am always in the back of the class, right by the door, just so I can run out if i get too overwhelmed by it.

It's like this whole guru mentality of this person in this $200 Lululemon outfit who is going to teach you to be more spiritual? You know what I mean? Ouch. It's painful to watch actually and it really does a major disservice to the whole thing.

They are telling you to breathe and it's all about the breath but really there are so many underlying things happening. Mind you, there are about 150 people in the class and as a teacher I am looking around the room just thinking "how many people are going to blow-out their hamstring today?" or not be able to walk tomorrow.

Again. It's back to that whole idea that you don't want to run the marathon before you start walking.

Doug: It's that kind of North American mentality of "push yourself, push yourself, make yourself better! No pain, no gain!" those sorts of thing. It's really antithetical to what my understanding of what yoga really is, it isn't really about trying to outperform the person on the mat next to you, or trying to get a personal best. "I've got to set my record, I've got to twist my neck 10 degrees more than I did yesterday".

Erica: All the way round! [Laughter]

Doug: It seems like everything that is adopted by mainstream North American culture goes in that direction where suddenly it becomes competitive and suddenly it becomes about pushing yourself too hard. I did crossfit for a while but I never really got into that whole mentality of "I gotta be the best" and really pushing myself and pushing myself until I get injured. I was like no, I don't want to get injured, I'm good with lifting this much and not pushing it way past anything reasonable.

It just seems like that whole mentality where Americans and Western culture seems to push things.

Tiffany: And that fact that they are pushing for this phoney spirituality. What exactly are they trying to obtain? Enlightenment or whatever that means? Kundalini energy?

Erica: Kundaloony! [Laughter]

Tiffany: You can't race towards enlightenment. Meditating while stretching? There are benefits to meditating, you become more compassionate towards other people, you become more self-aware, less judgemental, those kind of things but what does that have to do with the commercialised aspect of yoga that we see today?

Erica: I agree; I was just doing some research on it: in 2016, this organisation called the Yoga Alliance - they certify teachers - [collaborated?] with Yoga Journal - the magazine, it's like the People Magazine of yoga - whenever you see a cover you always see a beautiful thin lady doing some sort of pretzel shape.

Doug: Photoshopped no doubt.

Erica: They did some research and they found that in the US annual spending on classes and clothing and accessories rose to $16 billion last year. It's big money, and as I was saying, these rock-star events cost you anywhere from $150-$250 a day to attend. So, you are spending all this money, you already have this very obviously affluent clientele that can afford to do that, and then you are telling them that if you just do this pose you are going to obtain enlightenment. Which, I'm sorry to say, I've got to call bullshit on that! I really do.

Jonathan: It almost sounds like scientology. You pay a certain amount of money and you get all the good poses that nobody else knows.

Erica: Or the secret knowledge right?

Tiffany: That's like saying if you are a really super-duper basketball player, like Michael Jordan, if he can do a slam-dunk 10 times in a row he will obtain Nirvana. [Laughter]

Jonathan: The way I think about it is that there is another fine-line scenario. If a certain practice takes somebody who is uptight in the world and who maybe has some emotional issues, and they don't need to necessarily go through a 4th-way practice or meditate on a mountain for a long time or anything like that, if something like yoga takes that person and makes them a little bit more mindful, personally I'm totally cool with that. But you can see it in the results, you get the dude-bro who does yoga and then goes to Wholefoods and they are out of his brand of Pesto and he gets really pissed [Laughter] then it's not working dude!

I think it works for some people even if they are not really doing the practice; it may level them out and that seems cool to me. I agree with where you are coming from Erica, it gets blown out of proportion when people think that they are becoming spiritual yet are so completely mechanical in the world.

Erica: They are really missing the whole point right? That's the frustrating part, that the possibility is there. Even if you read Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, or I recommended to Jonathan to read B. K. S. Iyengar's Light on Yoga; it's an old book; he was one of the first ones that brought yoga to the West; there were many. It's a picture book, and he can tie himself into knots. He's from India, he grew up that way, that was his lifestyle. But really, it's missing the point and from my understanding the postures, the asanas, were just an added benefit and the real focus was the breathing exercises.

You can see why this has caught on so much in the West because people cannot sit still. I know, maybe Doug and Gaby you want to elaborate on this, that when I first started teaching EE I found that 45 minutes of practising breathing exercises was way too long for most people to actually sit still. They couldn't do it, their mind was wandering, they were fidgety and they were thinking about doing the laundry at home or this or that or the other thing.

So, in my own experience, what I found worked is doing this small little micro-movement - kind of like what Levine talks about in An Unspoken Voice - this idea of somatics: really small micro-movements while you are doing the 3-stage pipe breathing. Maybe you are rolling your head or maybe you are lifting your arms up and down. Whatever it is, people have so much energy in their body and they can't relax because they are so driven by this fight-or-flight response or stress. They can't just sit and breathe.

Iyengar talks a lot about that. He calls it a moving meditation but really the goal of the postures was to exhaust the body to the point where you could sit and meditate.

Jonathan: That's interesting.

Tiffany: Don't forget that with the EE - I think a lot of people chop this off - at the very beginning of the video there are stretching exercises that you do in order to get your body ready for the meditation.

Erica: I'm totally giving out my secrets here but I don't care because I'm not trying to patent anything unlike some people we know. I do teach all of the movements in the EE video in my Happy Back class because they are proven to help people get into their body; to actually physically feel your feet.

I know that sounds almost childish and elementary but most people aren't living in their body. A lot of people are living in their head or they are wandering around outside and, getting back to my story, that was me. I had so much nervous energy I could not sit still. I had this really nice couch that I never sat on because I was worried about the cushions being ruffled or whatever it was!

I'm speaking from real experience here, I could not relax. Not that Ashtanga was the answer for me, it just presented itself in that moment and I went with it and, because of the intensity of the practice, by the end half I was so exhausted that I could lay down on the mat and do 5 minutes of meditation and I could actually lie there, and sometimes fall asleep.

Gaby: It surprises me that during the EE classes some people give very positive feedback about the three-stage breathing. At the third stage where you try to air the apex of your lungs you put your hands above your shoulders and most people don't even do that kind of stretching ever and they are surprised that they feel good.

Your experience does resonate with me because, in the end, what I did was I practised pipe-breathing, or EE, during Bajutsu which is a Japanese martial art. It is not high-intensity exercise, it's more like body movements - like a dance sort-of but you do it with breathing and that's the only time when I could finally quiet my head down. I'm still moving but I'm breathing at least! I could describe some of my states - ADHD kind of thing - and it has been until this point where I picked up this book about the yoga exercises and I could sit quietly and feel my body.

Basically, I have more energy. Actually, I was surprised because the other day I did a shift in the emergency room - my last one! Yeah! - and there was a really bad accident in the night. A truck driver with 98 pigs fell asleep going 100km-per-hour and it was a really bad accident so I spent the whole night dealing with that. Normally I would feel like I would collapse at some point if I didn't have some coffee or a smoke outside or something, and this time I felt like my body could resist all the tension [and help with what] was required of me in that situation without many problems. That was a first for me which was good, it didn't matter if I ate, I was able to deal with it.

Tiffany: That's a good testimonial because it shows that yoga is a tool to add to your tool-kit. It's not the one way to spiritual enlightenment, it's something you can use along with meditation by itself and diet and increasing your knowledge by reading, having hobbies, being out in nature - all those things go together to obtain whatever kind of natural human state that you are going for. It's not that yoga is the way to enlightenment: if you do certain poses, after a certain amount of time you are going to become some ultra-spiritual being.

Gaby: Some of our chatters on the chat room are saying that Gurdjieff - our favourite philosopher - says new postures open a potential for a new inner state. He described the work as "the art to see beyond the tip of your nose" and most people doing yoga nowadays get completely self-absorbed and just look into their umbilicus. It should be the other way around.

Erica: I started to see the practice change. When I first started I would be on the mat with all these people in the room and you are looking around and you are watching what everyone is doing and you are back to that whole "maybe I'll be able to do that someday" or maybe you are not even conscious of those thoughts but there are all these people around you doing all these crazy things and then, as you start to go deeper and you get that relationship with the breath and you start to realise that with the breathing the stretching comes and the tension starts to release.

Then I had this experience where everything around me was non-existent. I was in the relationship with myself, if that makes sense, and I was not worried about what my neighbour was doing or how they were behaving and it became that opportunity to connect with something. I don't know what it was but it was something where it was just this moment where I can feel these sensations - good or bad - because it's not always good, for sure.

Especially when you are pushing yourself past a comfort level, and I have definitely hurt myself doing things that I shouldn't have been doing. Now, through that experience, I have realised - and this is what I teach in my class - you want sensation, but you do not want pain, and once you hit that threshold, whether you are bending forward to touch your toes, as long as you are feeling sensation and you are breathing then the breathing is going to do the stretching.

I have really gotten into what is called "yin yoga" or "restorative yoga" where it's much longer staying in each posture so you start to tap into the fascia. We had a show on this in the past; the fascia is much different than stretching muscles and tendons and ligaments and joints; it's getting into that connective tissue. I'm starting to see that that is where the trauma is most likely stored: in that fascia.

It becomes, dare I say it, like a way to self-massage. You have chronic back pain and you do these little small movements - with the breathing being the basis of the practice - to just observe the pain, to breathe through it, to let it go on the exhale, and maybe, after 15 minutes or 20 minutes, you are not suffering as much as you were before.

Tiffany: What about these new faddish-types of yoga? Like hot-yoga or power-yoga?

Jonathan: Or beer-yoga?

Tiffany: Or rage-yoga? We can start with rage-yoga which is a product of Canada; yey to the Canadians. It was started by some woman who, I guess, had just broken up with her boyfriend or husband, and she wanted to go to yoga but she thought it was too uptight and too serious so she opened up her own yoga studio where she plays heavy metal music and she serves beer and liquor and, if the participants want to, they are free to swear and curse while they are doing their yoga poses.

Gaby: Oh God!

Doug: It sounds totally gimmicky.

Tiffany: I don't know how long it will last.

Doug: I don't know either, it does just sound like a stupid gimmick. Maybe there is something to be said about being in a space where you can release anger - adding alcohol to it probably isn't the best idea. I could maybe see how screaming swear-words during yoga might [help] you. If you are releasing old trauma or something then maybe that is something that might have some benefit to it? I don't think the whole beer thing quite works.

Erica: Irish yoga - drunken yoga? I think it is a gimmicky thing, it's "how can we attract every last person. Like we said in our description: there's 36 million people in the US doing it. That's a big market share, getting everybody to pay $15-20 to come to your rage yoga class and make a killing in the process.

Tiffany: What about hot-yoga, because I spent some time on vacation once and they had a sauna in the house and you get in there and you are all sweaty after a while and I noticed that I was able to bend over backwards almost all the way back to the floor. Is that a good thing to be doing in a class a few times a week?

Erica: I personally don't think so. I think the problem with these hot-yoga classes, and I don't know if we should touch on Bikram here, is the heat makes you feel more flexible than you are so maybe you can tie yourself in a knot but maybe tomorrow you won't be able to walk as a result. I'm not into the aggressive experience personally and I know people love it; the guy has made millions!

Maybe we will tell his story for people who don't know it. I think again, it's back to that idea, if you have been practicing for years and you know his 26 postures - which he tried to patent -which is foundational to Hatha yoga - he didn't really patent anything, he just chose certain ones - you go into a room that is 104 degrees and you can do it, sure, but the long lasting effects of that? I don't know.

Tiffany: Just imagine the smell with all those people in a hot room sweating!

Jonathan: It's crazy to me that you can make so much money off of something like that. This thing that everybody is already doing - do that in the summer. Then start raking in money. I think it is one of those gimmicky things, but you might feel more flexible than you actually are. Say you injure a tendon or something and you are on anti-inflammatories of some kind that makes you not feel that, so you feel better but you may stress that out because you don't have signals coming back from your body to say don't do this.

Doug: I had a friend who had exactly that experience, she started going to Bikram yoga classes - the hot-yoga - because he had lower back problems and he did notice some improvement but then at one point he was in the class and just all of a sudden his back just blew right out. He said it was probably the worst thing he could have done. He is obviously not a fan of the Bikram yoga at all as a result. He thinks that it promotes over-stretching and overusing muscles that really shouldn't be as flexible as they are in that condition.

Erica: I agree - 100%

Tiffany: About Bikram himself: in that video that some of us watched to prepare for the show he actually filed Cease and Desist orders against other yoga teachers that he knew to stop teaching his patented poses for yoga which I thought was just ridiculous. How can you patent a pose? If I stand a certain way with my arms outstretched or legs spread does it become yoga? Is he going to come after me and say "don't stand that way! I patented that."

Jonathan: If he sees you.

Erica: Well, he won't be seeing you now because I just read some stuff from the beginning of 2017 and apparently a British woman who became the top legal advisor of his organisation - which he made a 60 million dollar fortune from by teaching this over the years. I have to tell you, he had 43 luxury cars which include 12 Rolls-Royces, 3 Bentleys and 2 Ferraris. She sued him for sexual harassment, and she is not the only one that sued him. She inherited his 700 franchise Bikram studios in addition to his 43 cars which mysteriously disappeared when they went to pick them up.

It just speaks volumes about how far out it can go. If you watch the Yoga Inc. video clips of him it is nauseating. I think it's nauseating.

Tiffany: It's no different to these TV evangelical pastors who accrue all of this money and have private jets and 500 cars and all these mansions. They are basically gurus just like these yoga teachers who get people to follow them and give them all their money. It's all just a big scam.

Erica: Most of the people that are doing yoga - and I think it's something like 73% - are women, so when this woman was talking about Bikram - I have to share this because it encapsulates so much - she said that as his fame and wealth increased Choudhury - that's his last name - began to behave, according to Jaffa, like a man drunk on power making lewd pronouncements including boasting that 5000 women were begging to sleep with him and that a single drop of his sperm was worth a million dollars.

Doug: Oh my God! That's so spiritual.

Tiffany: That's ultra-spiritual!

Jonathan: There's too many jokes there. It really sounds like he is a candidate for a beating honestly.

Tiffany: There is another guy who did Anusara Yoga named John Friend and he was accused of mismanaging finances and engaging in tantric sexual abuse with his female students and creating a wiccan coven - whatever that means.

Doug: I wonder what Tantric sexual abuse means?

Tiffany: It's abuse that last for hours and hours and hours.

Jonathan: This is just going to keep happening right? There is always that portion of the population where you could state "if you snort milk with cayenne pepper it clears your liver out" and you can have 20,000 people that are going to do that; there is always that group of people. It's just so unfortunate that there are those out there who would take advantage of that. I don't want to stray too close to a diagnosis but this guy Bikram sounds, at the very least, like a malignant narcissist if he is not some kind of sociopath.

Erica: In the movie it is interesting because, as Tiffany said earlier in the show, he is the one that got into the whole posing for competition thing, that was his organisation that had these competitions and whatnot. To listen to the people defend him, even after all of these things come about, to listen to them say "he's this, that and the other thing but it's really great and I'm going to continue doing it", instead of taking the experience as a learning lesson and maybe building on that and going on a different route so-to-speak - I just shake my head.

Jonathan: Talking about doing yoga and getting into it even if you are not doing the whole 100% practice - to preface, Erica, do you think it's a mistake to look up yoga tutorials on YouTube? Should someone really go to a class or is that ok as long as you are careful.

Erica: I think it really is about finding a teacher that is actually skilled in what they are doing and has a pretty good foundation in anatomy and physiology and is a realist. I personally have never done any videos on YouTube but I have bought lots of videos and watched a lot of different things and I think, again, it comes back to discernment.

If you are watching someone or if a teacher is teaching something and you start to feel that sick, nauseated feeling then it's a good indicator that's not really what you should be pursuing.

Tiffany: Like feeling sick and nauseated because they sound so new-agey and goofy?

Erica: Yeah. Back to the article that Doug posted in the chat earlier about the man that teaches trauma sufferers of PTSD, the littlest amount of talking as possible. To me, there is nothing more annoying than somebody who just talks the entire time and is telling you how to gaze at your navel and that you are going to experience this-that-and-the-other - like shut up!

Tiffany: I'm meditating over here!

Erica: It just becomes like the mosquito in the ear. Again, that's just a personal thing for me. Another thing is the music, I've been to a lot of classes and they play [music] like Tiffany was saying during the Rage-Yoga. I went to this one class, and I love Michael Jackson but I don't need to hear it on 10 decibels while trying to focus on balancing on one leg - you see what I'm saying?

It's trying to incorporate all these things into something that just needs to be really basic. I always say: just stick with the basics, because that's where you are going to start to see improvement.

As I was telling Jonathan with the thing with the splits, a good place to start is to try and bend forward and breathe as you bend forward, and notice your body's sensations - if you have to bend your knees that's fine. There is no destination, it's about being with the experience right? Having those expectations is - I think - hindering. It's hindering of the whole process.

Jonathan: Would you go as granular as to even say my goal is to be more flexible so that I can play hockey better next winter? Is that even a little much?

Erica: No, no! I think that's realistic. It's like people who stretch before they run: you have your little leg stretches that you do and all that. Again, for me, when I teach a class the first thing I do is I have people stand on their feet and just stand there; close their eyes and land in their body; you start with the diaphragmatic belly breathing.

A good thing that I always suggest to people is to just close your eyes and notice your breath. Where are you breathing? Are you breathing in your ribcage? If you notice you are panting try and slow everything down. Take a big inhale through the nose, exhale through your mouth and just observe. Become an objective observer of what's happening in your body.

Then, I remind them to find their feet. Which sounds, again, very elementary but a lot of people are just in their head or they are not even in their body, they are still at home worrying about their kids or something. With awareness, then whatever it is you are going to do, you are in the experience in your body in that moment working with what you have at that moment. Then, [you go] from there. Again, back to the breathing. You inhale - you lift your arms up, you exhale - you fold forward, you inhale - you do this, you exhale - you do that.

The breathing becomes the movement that supports you and then you don't hurt yourself. That's why I was never into Bikram yoga even though they do do all the breathing and they tell you this-that-and-the-other-thing. You start moving and you are doing all these crazy things and before you know it you are tied in a knot and you have no idea how you got there and you can't get yourself out. You fall over or you throw-up or whatever - too intense! Be kind to yourself. Practice ahimsa, as Ghandi said: non-violence towards the self.

Doug: My own experience with yoga is - and this is going back 15 years or something like that - I started doing yoga [and was] going a couple of times a week to classes. I know you said you wouldn't start with ashtanga Erica, but I did. It was a beginners class though, they weren't pushing you too hard or anything like that.

I started with an introductory 4-week course and then moved to the level-1 classes and I was going because I enjoyed it. I wouldn't say I had a goal or anything and I wasn't looking around thinking "I want to be able to do that". I was just like "I'll go and I'll do this stuff" and it was pretty good and I enjoyed the classes. It was always in this class where they would take you to a certain step in the pose and they would say "if you feel you can" or "if you feel you are ready you can try and do this" and they would intensify the pose a little bit.

I had been going for a few months and we had been doing the back-bending one - I forget what it was called - the bridge?

Erica: The full wheel.

Doug: I would always get myself to a certain point where you had your arms linked behind your back and were thrusting the pelvis into the air and they said "if you think you are ready you can put your hands beside your head and try and get up onto your head" which is the next progression of the pose, and I would never go further. Whenever they said "when you feel like you are ready" I would be like no, I'm good where I am.

But this time I thought maybe I'll give it a try and I just did it and I was struggling with it a little bit and the teacher just came over and moved my hand a centimeter to the right and all of a sudden I was there. I was like "oh! Ok." That was the first time that I had thought to myself that you can actually progress in this and you can get better at this, because I guess I just had this beginner mentality where I was just thinking that I was going to be at this beginner level for the rest of my life. Maybe I unintentionally had that attitude of not trying to push myself and not having a goal to be the most bendy guy in the room.

Erica: I think that's a really good teacher too, because in a class like that you are going to have people at varying different levels and some people can do that and others cannot, but to offer the suggestion and then to actually come and assist when they see you are ready. Again, with the ashtanga because it is super intense, I had a really good teacher. He would be like "your breathing is all over the place. Your panting and you are panicking." You can sit in this lotus or whatever but look at how everything within you is telling you not to do this.

So, if you can do this and you can start to do what they call the Oceanic Breath - like you can extend and expand your breathing and then contract it and not be "losing it" - then you can do it, but if you are not doing that then you need to not be there.

Tiffany: Some people might have absolutely no trouble with the poses themselves, but they're really not breathing correctly. I noticed that during some of the time that I have been doing yoga with you that I can do the poses fine but my breathing is just not there at all and I was not really in my body.

That's why it's really important, because you say several times during the class that it's a practice and you have to practice at it, and not just practice to perfect the pose but practice being in your body and concentrating on the breath.

Erica: That's what I really admire about Iyengar, and with all these teachers; they are humans right? He really stresses that you need to be comfortable there, like be like the tortoise; it's a progression; it could take years; it could take 20 years; it may never happen - as I was sharing with Jonathan. I can't do the splits; I don't want to do the splits.

Tiffany: I do [Laughter]

Erica: Some people are super flexible, like ridiculously flexible, and they can do all these things.

Gaby: It's the enzymes in their collagen, it's hyperflexibility. It's also in their genetic composition, orientals can have shorter legs and western people can have longer legs and that makes a difference in some of the postures.

Erica: One thing that I was taught by an Iyengar teacher is - they teach Hatha yoga which I have mentioned here which is basically a very specific set of postures where you spend at least 5-10 breaths in each pose - everything is about foundation.

You have a block, you have a chair, you have all these, what I call, "accoutrements" to support you and you get into the pose and the teacher comes and makes the little adjustments, like she did with you Doug, and then you stay there and you notice all the sensations that are happening and you notice your breathing and you relax into it, and you'll start to notice that as you relax into it it gets a little bit easier.

Then, you may come the next day and it's exactly the opposite. One thing I was told is that the pose that you hate to do the most is the one that you really should do because it is pushing against the boundaries of your comfort level. I don't mean by overstretching, I mean just by "I really don't want to do this right now and I'm feeling like a brat and meeeehhh".

To push through that, that is where the discipline comes in and that is where for me Ashtanga was a very good teacher in the sense that I didn't want to get up and do that, but it was the discipline that, at that time in my life, I needed, to teach me how to be in my body essentially.

Tiffany: There are these fundamentalist Christians and Catholic bishops that say that yoga is moving people to the dark side and that woman should not be doing it.

Gaby: It's satanic!

Tiffany: I wonder if, on a subconscious level, maybe they are rejecting the discipline and the focus and the stress busting effects of yoga when it is practiced the way it should be practiced versus the stress inducing "you are going to burn in hell if you don't follow these rules" aspect of fundamentalist Christianity?

Doug: Maybe.

Jonathan: I grew up in that world and anything that is seen to be tied to the mystical, in any way, is pretty much frowned upon. I really think it's that simple, there is not a lot of "let's think this out, is yoga really that bad?" There's none of that going on it's like "mystical? Ok, bad."

Tiffany: I don't think that they even really know what yoga is. They just see strange Indian dudes with dots on their foreheads bending around and chanting and they think "The Devil!"

Jonathan: There is also that [aestheticism???? 1.10.44] hauled over from old catholicism where anything that makes you feel good is bad. I think that carries through to modern Christianity in a lot of ways, not to digress, but the idea that yoga is a devil inspired distraction for righteous Christian women is just.... I don't even know what to say.

Erica: I do currently have a student who is what would be considered a fundamentalist Christian and I always ask for feedback and she gave me some really good feedback because she is dealing with trauma in her life and she let me know that God is helping her and that Jesus is there, but that she just feels so good after.

She never breathed before, this is what she said to me, and it was so sweet in a sense where I obviously got the message that she has been breathing all her life but that she had never - and this woman had been going to a lot of yoga classes - taken the time to breathe and be with the experience and realise that God is there for her, but that to get rid of this trauma in her body maybe she needed something different.

Doug: Maybe God led her to yoga. It seems like there is a bit of a dissonance here. I don't see why Christians can't incorporate yoga into their lives in a balanced way. To me it just doesn't seem like it's one or the other. Did Jesus say anything about not doing yoga? Does it say anywhere in the Bible "Thou shalt not be flexible"?

Tiffany: That's a very nuanced way of thinking about it Doug.

Jonathan: It comes back to that mysticism thing: plenty of Christian women were doing Jane Fonda exercises when she was putting those videos out and that was pretty hot so that was probably bad for them. [Laughter]

Erica: There is laughing yoga - I forgot to mention that on the show last week. Do we want to go into the science of the breathing? I know we are coming up on our time here but does anyone want to add to that? [pause] no? Not really. [Laughter]

Tiffany: Oxygen is good.

Erica: Just breathe.

Jonathan: I think the micro-movements that we were talking about are really fascinating and for anybody who is skeptical about that - I know I was a few years ago and thought that correcting yourself by about a centimeter is not going to do that much - but for any of our listeners who work on a computer or at a desk and are not aware of it or haven't tried it, just correct your posture and relax your shoulders and there is a chance that it will blow your mind because you don't really ever do that.

If you just pay attention to that slight correction in your posture and put your awareness into your shoulders and just relax them then you will notice. When you start to realise that there are hundreds and hundreds of those micro-movements throughout your entire body which you are doing wrong most of the time [then you realise that] over the course of 10/20 years that is why you get subluxation and you get cramps and fascia that rolls up on itself and all these problems with your body.

It can be corrected, in a large part, by adjusting the small ways in which you move. So, any practice like yoga that concentrates on that is beneficial. I find the hard part is just the standard - and I feel retarded when I find that I have used this excuse - "it's going to take an hour? I have to do something for an hour?" A lot of people say no "I'm too busy I can't take that time." Yes you can, you can take an hour.

Gaby: It's the discipline aspect that Erica mentioned. Most people have those excuses like "I could do with an hour to do something else" or I find myself sometimes saying "God! I have been doing this for an hour?"

Erica: It goes alongside the whole idea of mediation right? People read about meditating and they think that they have got to sit for an hour and meditate. I am all about the realist approach: 2 minutes? Good place to start. 1 minute, half a minute anything! I don't practice for an hour every day but I do try and do something for 10 minutes or 15 minutes or sometimes I just lay out my may and lie there and I don't do anything.

It's like, I am feeling a little spacey or I need to get grounded or how am I going to pull myself together? I have 15 minutes and I could do this-that-or-the-the-other-thing but maybe I will just lie here and breathe; do the belly breathing; do the pipe breathing; listen to the meditation, the POTS: The Prayer of the Soul. I think you ought to be realistic and start with something that you can obtain because otherwise no one would ever do anything.

Back to that thing about running a marathon: I hate running, I am just not into it and I don't want to do it. I can walk! I like to walk and I find walking is enjoyable. If I had to run from an animal I would but it's not a part of my daily practice or discipline and maybe that is something that I need to work on.

I say start realistic. Start with 5 minutes, start with 10 minutes. With all the classes that I teach, especially with the happy back sequence, I tell the students that this is something that you can do at home. Especially the part in the EE video that shows the cow and cat where you are on your hands and knees and you are belly breathing and you arch your back like a cow and you round your back like a cat. You can do that every day for 5 minutes and you are going to get a healthier spine.

As Jonathan said, if you sit on a computer or you drive all the time there is no shame in having a healthier spine. I was just reading about how at the end of the day we lose 3-quarters of an inch of our spine just from compression from being on this planet, gravity right? When you go to sleep at night your spine regenerates itself and it stretches back to that 3-quarters of an inch and that's why you have to adjust your mirror when you get into the car. I never thought of that! [Exclamations of surprise]

Jonathan: Mind blown!

Tiffany: I thought it was just water weight.

Erica: I never knew that either! I was like "Wow that is so cool!" Another cool fact that is going to blow your mind - unless you guys already know - I that the spine is the first thing that develops an a baby in the womb. From the spine, everything develops from there: the appendages, the limbs, the arms and the legs. Everything comes from the spine so your spine is pretty important. You kind of need it!

Just doing things, like you were saying Jonathan, like if you notice you are slouching or you are doing these bad postures it takes work to have good posture and back to that discipline of just saying ok I'm going to straighten up my spine and I am going to roll my shoulders back and things like that, that is practicing yoga.

Tiffany: I tell you what, I want to do yoga so bad right now.

Erica: Ok everybody, roll out your mat! [Laughter]

Jonathan: There are some small things that I do that I find beneficial, like you were saying Erica, like to find even 30 seconds here and there. On the door frame in between the dining room and the kitchen we have one of those portable chin-up bars that hooks onto the top of the door so when I'm walking back and forth I'll take a second to put my hands up and stretch my arms out or I'll hang to loosen up my shoulders. It's literally for 5 or 10 seconds as I'm going into the kitchen, but I find that to be really beneficial.

Or, if you have a staircase in your house and you go up and down quite a bit, when you hit the bottom of the staircase just raise one foot up one or two steps more than you normally do and just stretch your leg a little bit and then walk up the stairs; those little tiny things throughout the day.

Or, a standing desk; I use a standing desk in my office and I find that to be really beneficial. You can have a stool if you want to take a seat but most of the time you stand and you do your stuff. You would think that if you are standing for 4 hours straight it would get tiring and it is if you are not used to it but once you get into that then it becomes natural.

Erica: Before we go out I wanted to share a few things, just some notes that I jotted down which I think are beneficial. These are things that I remember but that other people can remember too about this whole concept. I'm one of those people who is almost embarrassed to say that I'm a yoga teacher because all of these connotations come up and I wish it could be called something different. So, if one of our chatters has some great thing that we can call it?

Jonathan: One that we said before the show was "integrated body dynamics". [Laughter]

Erica: That's why I used to teach a class called "breath and body movement" which is essentially EE, and now I am doing "happy back". I don't call it "happy back yoga", I call it "happy back" because everyone wants a happy back right?

Tiffany: Yes!

Doug: I do!

Erica: We do have to live in these vehicles and they do have to get around and we do have to function in the world. Why not have a happier body as opposed to an unhappy one?

Tiffany: One of our chatters wants to call it "body dynamics supervisor" [Laughter]; a new word for a yoga teacher.

Erica: So, I just want to share these few things, and these are in a lot of different literature when you read about yoga, but this came from Iyengar, who I mentioned before, and he wrote Light on Yoga, a book. He talks about letting the breathing do the stretching, and I have mentioned that a few times in the show today.

He says "Yoga basically emphasises being comfortable in your body and providing the appropriate opportunity for your breath" so, "when we get into a pose: first, we pay attention to the breath and we begin working on making our breath rhythmic - so connecting with that inhalation/exhalation.

Then, the gentle and rhythmic movement of the breathing eventually relaxes the tension and relieves the tension, and with consistent practice our flexibility increases. Once we relax and let go, when we stop fighting and surrender to the movement of the breath, we achieve the maximum benefit of practicing asanas" - which are poses.

One last thing, "the very moment that you take a mindful breath you begin to practice yoga."

Tiffany: That was pretty good. I want to do yoga this weekend, I want to do yoga and do EE right after each other.

Erica: Just 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes. Come+ on down!

Jonathan: Erica could you repeat the name of that book again for anyone that wants to check it out?

Erica: It's called Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar. If people want to go to a class I would say Iyengar-trained teachers are really good because, as I mentioned earlier, they use all these props: blocks and straps and blankets and pillows and chairs and all these things. They teach you the foundation, the basic foundation so that you are comfortable and you can do it with ease and you can let the breathing and the body adjust and then if you want to do power yoga in 10 years then you won't hurt yourself.

Gaby: Could you repeat the title of the book?

Tiffany: I just posted it in the chat.

Gaby: Good move, thank you.

Erica: It can be a little out there - like anything, but he has all the pictures of the basic foundation of postures if you want to progress into more stuff. For people who are super flexible who can already do all those things, my suggestion is to really start to use your core-strength.

For people who are very flexible, a lot of times they don't really use their core-strength or that muscle in their belly between the belly button and the pubic bone to make those movements and so that's the next step up with the practice; really developing the core-strength to do those more challenging poses without relying on your flexibility, because what will happen is, after many years, things will start to disintegrate.

Jonathan: Alright, I think we have had a really good discussion around this topic. Shall we go to the pet-health segment for today and then we will wrap it up when we come back?

Tiffany: Sure.

Doug: Sounds good.

[Pet Health Segment Intro]

Zoya: Hello, and welcome to the Pet Health Segment of the Health and Wellness Show. The spring is here, and along with it various issues that arise with melting snow and awakening creatures and allergies. Listen to Dr. Andrew Jones to learn more about top problems you should be aware of when it comes to spring and your dog's health. Have a great weekend and springtime!

Dr. Andrew Jones: This is Dr. Andrew Jones. In this edition of Veterinary Secrets we are going to be discussing 5 common springtime hazards for your dog.

[Intro music]

Hello you guys, welcome back to my channel. For those of you who are new, welcome! Today's video is "Spring", first of all, I'm so happy to see that the snow is finally melting, at least down low, and the sun is out. As the snow melts it brings 4 or 5 pretty common hazards that you should be aware of for your dog.

Today, I have brought over Pippi. She is behind me and there she is there; she is our neighbours dog. Pippi loves to eat stuff and she loves to get into stuff and she is going to be a great example for me to use as far as for me to show you what you need to be aware of because if someone is going to get into something it's going to be Pippi.

The first one I want to discuss is antifreeze, or ethylene-glycol. Right now as the snow melts, this is the time when you are really likely to see it. As you can see in the background there is my car. We have got Pippi sort of sniffing around hoping to see if there is something she can consume and as the snow is melting there is a whole lot of fluid coming behind that vehicle.

If this was an older vehicle, or if someone really wasn't being cautious in putting in the anti-freeze it would be really easy for some of that antifreeze to accumulate under the vehicle on that frozen ground and now is the time that it is melting and it's much easier for your dog to potentially get into. The big thing with antifreeze is for most of the time it is going to be a greenish looking colour so just be really aware looking around for it. Especially when you are walking your dog.

If you suspect that your dog has gotten into antifreeze you need to be seeing your veterinarian as soon as possible; inducing vomiting in a really short window of time before it does pretty serious - and in some cases often permanent - damage to the kidneys.

The second thing I want to have you guys think about are ticks. Right now, as soon as it gets warm, that's when they are awakening after hanging out on those tree branches or stick branches or wherever. They are waiting to attach onto a deer and/or your dog for a blood-feed so they can continue their life-cycle.

Right now, as it's getting warmer, this is the time where you are going to potentially see them. So, with Pippi hanging out underneath those bushes, once again, potentially she is going to give herself a tick. The easiest thing I suggest for ticks is just thoroughly checking your dog after they have been outside. Especially if you are going into areas where it's bushy; ticks are present; those hotter south-facing slopes.

[Make sure you are] thoroughly going over your dog, especially going underneath those ears and those cracks and crevices. They love to go around the head and hide under the flaps of your dog's ears. So, just really thoroughly check them every time they are out before you start thinking about some of those toxic insecticides.

The third thing I want you to think about are parasites. Right now, if you look around you will see all this water running off and there is also dog poop in areas where there probably shouldn't be; I can show you some here. Pippi, who is likened to check stuff out, she will just as soon lick something, some of that water running off or having a little extra sniff of what's on the ground. It's a really easy way for her to then ingest a parasite. Yes, they are very easy things to treat, it's one of the safest conventional medications that is used for treating roundworms.

As you can see there, Pippi is also checking out whatever is hiding under the snow. The other point I wanted to mention was salt. A lot of people were using salt to keep the ice off, especially on our paths and on our walkways. You are getting really high concentrations of salt so there are a couple of issues there. First of all, it can make your dog sick, secondly, it can be really irritating to their paws, especially if we are dealing with some of those chemical de-icers.

If you see what looks like almost a whitish salt-like residue on the path or on the road then really thoroughly wash off your dog's paws after going out for a walk. It's not a bad idea, period, just to do it anyway. Especially this time of the spring. I think Pippi would be pretty good about letting me do it. She is also excited because she knows I have got some treats. Good girl Pippster.

There was actually supposed to be 5 points but there is 5 and 6 things that I want to discuss. In particular, if you have a puppy the big concern I would have would be for a virus called Parvovirus. It's a virus that lives pretty hardily in the soil and it's the one vaccine that I strongly recommend all of you puppy owners get.

There is usually a series of two boosters at 8 weeks and 12 weeks. It causes a pretty serious bloody vomiting and diarrhoea, and some puppies die from it. It is very easily preventable with those two single-dose vaccines. Pippi is an adult dog and she has been fully vaccinated as a pup so she is going to have great immunity. Generally, for most dogs - 95% of dogs - if they are going to get Parvovirus it's in that first year of life. That is when you are going to want to look at getting those vaccines.

After that year of life, either one - they have been exposed to it, it's pretty ubiquitous in the environment, so they have already gotten that natural immunity, or two - you have a series of puppy boosters and your dog is going to have, more than often, lifelong immunity to prevent it from ever getting Parvovirus.

The last thing I wanted to discuss was compost. Once again, you have got this compost that is frozen or under snow in winter, then the snow is melting and sure enough they are in different states of decomposition. Some have had bacteria working on them, some haven't, so you can have a fair amount of mold in some of these composts. This can be quite toxic to our dogs.

A really common reason why I see dogs on an emergency call is because they have been getting into compost and they have been ingesting some type of fungus or mold or something that is not composted properly with bacteria, and this is causing them to seizure.

Thank you guys for watching this station of Veterinary Secrets. If you have yet to do so, I encourage you to like this video, click up there to subscribe and lastly, go ahead and click that link in the box below. I can send you my free books and videos on how to heal your dogs at home with my top natural remedies.

Jonathan: Healthy, healthy dogs. Well, thank you Zoya. That was really informative. Do we have any last words on yoga to encourage people to get into it but be smart and don't get taken in by the new-age mumbo jumbo?

Erica: We do have lots of articles on SOTT about the benefits for your brain and your body. It's being taught to veterans coming back from wars, it's actually gaining acceptance in the military as a way of treating post-traumatic stress syndrome. And do the EE!

Jonathan: For any of our listeners who haven't heard of EE, we are talking about Éiriú Eolas, and it's Éiriú

Gaby: directs you there.

Jonathan: Check it out, it's a great program.

Erica: Do those little exercises in the beginning of the video sequence because that's a really, really great place to start. If you have any sort of exercise regime already it's just an added benefit. I recommend, if you are into writing or journaling, to start a little practice to just write down afterwards what you experienced and keep a journal, like we have talked about in the past, about diet - people do it with what they are eating and what makes them feel good and what doesn't - and I find that's really helpful. Not so much judging your progress but having a documentation of what you are experiencing.

Jonathan: Definitely. Right, well I think we are going to wrap it up for today. Thank you everyone for listening and thank you to our chat participants, we had a pretty busy chat today so that was nice. Be sure to tune into the SOTT radio show on Sunday at noon eastern-time.

If you are not in the eastern time-zone in the US then go to on Sunday and it will show in your local time-zone what the airtime is there. Wishing everybody and awesome weekend. We will be back next week.