Currently viewing the tag: "yoga"

The key teaching in the first book of the Yoga Sutras is the verse: “Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ.” While a number of different translations for this Sanskrit (the primary holy language of Hinduism) line exist, they all essentially mean the same thing: “Yoga is a quieting of the mind.”Another interpretation which I love is:

“Yoga is the neutralization of the waves of feeling.”

Yes! If you can visualize thoughts as vibratory waves, propagating as concentric rings from the mind outward into the world, then you get a good representation of the manifesting powers of waking consciousness.

Propagation of a Mirage - DrNickCampos

By envisioning these propagating waves of feeling, we can see how our desires and fears, likes and dislikes, attachments and repulsions drive our perceptible experiences, and ultimately become manifest in the world. So yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ is a neutralizing (I love this term) of the thought waves of feeling, which is the goal of yoga—to be thought-less (without thought), to quiet the mind. It is within this quieting that meditation—and ultimately samadhi, or union—takes place. ~ Dr. Nick Campos, Seeking The Self Through Meditation

This excerpt from my upcoming book illustrates the final goal of yoga—union—along with its means: quieting the mind. Silence and union are the hallmarks of a complete yoga practice, which according to the Yoga Sutras includes eight limbs, or observances, that lead to the ultimate state of samadhi. While Patanjali (author of the Sutras) outlines one clear path to union, by no means does it stand alone; in fact, within the Hindu based philosophies, a number of equally viable alternative paths exist. The eight limbed yoga of Patanjali, however, is an excellent foundation for beginners, of which asanas or poses (what we typically refer to as yoga here in the west) are an essential limb. A weakened, tight, restricted and painful body is not really conducive to yoking, so if one cannot sit comfortably in silence (meditation), samadhi is rather unlikely.

While asanas are essential to yoga, true yoga comes from quieting the mind. Regular silencing has massive effects on the body (backed by extraordinary research), mind (more studies), and character (yup, studies even here). But the most valuable benefits which come from silence cannot be understood by mere words—they must be experienced.

Seeking The Self Through MeditationI believe every serious yoga student deserves to have this experience, and that is why I have created Seeking The Self Through Meditation, a twelve-hour comprehensive course on the meditative components of yoga.  The course covers technique, philosophy, movement and silence, the necessary foundations for a powerful yoga practice. This course is as much experiential as it is theoretical. While history and philosophy lay the ground work, this course uncovers tested and proven techniques for entering and maintaining  a state of “mindlessness,” along with multiple opportunities to practice during guided meditations. Additionally, this course addresses some of the physical obstacles to maintaining a long-term sitting posture, and the specific corrections to removing them.

I am offering this course to yoga, fitness and dance studios as a way for their instructors or members to deepen an already existing asana practice. It means little if your current asanas are traditional, gym training or dance, your practice/workout/sport/art will all benefit from the principles emphasized in this course. Further, you will learn ancient secrets to a complete body, mind and spirit vibrancy—timeless teachings of Self-awareness that are the spark of immortality.

For bookings: contact drnick@drnickcampos.com

If you own a company but are not on social media, then you are hurting your business. If you are in health care but not on social media, or on social media but not very active, then you, too, are hurting your business. The world is changing and doing so rapidly. Social media, review sites and smartphones are all part of the new technology shaping the world today. And if you are not on that train, then…well, you are being left behind.

Mass marketing through advertising is the old way, and if you don’t have a few million bucks to spend, then you are just not reaching people with that medium. And even for big companies that have that kind of money—the Coca Colas, Fords, and Starbucks of the world—social media is a HUGE part of their marketing plan. Why? Because social media is where the people be hangin’.

As a result, today’s marketing requires person-to-person interaction. People want to engage with companies, professionals and artists—they want personal attention, as personal attention builds trust. Why would anybody today want to do business with you, or listen to what you have to say, if you don’t give them personal attention, but your competitor does? Listen, economics are tight all over and people want to spend their money most effectively. The way people, today, feel most confident in doing so is through personal attention and interaction.

Enter social media—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube—sources anybody can use to connect to companies, celebrities, journalists, athletes, teachers, professionals—you name it. And that includes you. Website magazine recently reported that people who engage with companies on social media spend 20-40% more money with those companies than do other customers. That’s huge!

But not just businesses—anybody with an inspired message can use social media to influence others. Be it a political campaign (just ask President Barack Obama, a Twitter master), a charitable cause, or a world changing idea (like Changing the Way the World Thinks About Health™), nothing has been more important in leveling the playing field for marketing and message-spreading.

Health care providers absolutely need to be on social media, specifically Twitter. There are currently 200 million active users on Twitter—two hundred million! And Twitter is now one of the top ten visited websites on the Internet. Duh! You want to reach people? You want to educate them? You’ve got to be on Twitter. And you’ve got to learn to use it right. There are ways to master Twitter, and then there is just inefficiency. That’s why it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “I don’t like Twitter.” Yeah, you haven’t learned to use it in the most fun and effective way yet. Believe me, learn that and your perceptions will change.

Watch the video below to hear how people are using Twitter to spread their message effectively (don’t let the first 55 seconds fool you…there’s lots of visuals to stimulate your mind). If you are in any health field whatsoever—chiropractic, medicine, psychology, personal training, physical therapy, nutrition, acupuncture, yoga, Reiki, or any other—you absolutely must watch this video. And then check out my book, How to Win Friends and Influence People (on Twitter), and you will learn the ins-and-outs of becoming a Twitter ★SuperStar★.

A common misconception people have about stretching is that it is a passive activity–that is, the muscles should be stretched by using of gravity to pull the muscles. Wrong! In fact, over time passive stretching is the best way to injure yourself.

Active stretching is really the proper way to stretch. An active stretch is contracting the muscles as you stretch, both the muscle being stretched and its antagonist–the muscle doing the opposite action. As an example let’s take the hamstrings: most people, when doing a hamstring stretch, will just bend forward at the waist, passively, letting everything–head, neck and arms included–just hang down.

An active version of the same stretch would be bending forward at the waist, but now maintaining an arch in the back to preserve the discs of the lumbar spine (a common source of severe low back injury). Then while pushing the heels down into the ground and the knees back (which contracts the quadriceps, the antagonists to the hamstrings), the butt is actively lifted upward toward the ceiling, literally pulling the hamstrings from one end (the knees) and oppositely from the other (buttocks). That, my friends, is an active stretch.

Watch the video below to see a demonstration of active stretching. Passive stretching is sometimes warranted, particularly if you have never stretched, or it’s been so long it may as well be considered never…in these cases, a passive stretch will be just fine. But over the long haul, if you want to prevent injury and get the best stretch you can, that comes from active stretching.



One of the most common precursors to injury of the neck, shoulders, chest or upper back are poor shoulder biomechanics during exercise. Biomechanics are related to structure and function; in other words, how the body moves. Therefore, the positioning of the shoulders is extremely important during upper body movements.

Additionally, how the upper body parts move during an exercise will also effect the overall health of that structure. Think of a sliding closet door that no longer moves freely on its tracks–it sticks. You’ll agree that opening and closing said door will be difficult, and ultimately it’ll break down. That’s exactly what happens to the shoulder joints when the biomechanics are altered in any way. But worse, because the neck and chest are so intimately tied to the shoulder girdle, they can also be affected by poor shoulder biomechanics, sometimes earlier than the actual shoulders.

There are two main causes of poor biomechanics: posture (and we’ll include any adapted dysfunction) and poor form. The former is often a result of the latter, and they consequently worsen concurrently over time. Primary proper shoulder positioning is in the retracted state–or pulled back onto the upper back. This position allows the shoulders to move freely in the socket–thus, resolving the stuck sliding door aspect that can occur when the shoulders are allowed to round forward in the protracted position.

Whether lifting weights or doing yoga, form is everything. Watch the video below to see how to maintain proper shoulder positioning during upper body exercises. Guaranteed you’ll preserve your shoulders that way, and you’ll likely prevent much neck and chest discomfort too. And frankly, you’ll look better, because you’ll develop the way you are supposed to. Give it a try.



A common question patients ask me is whether stretching should be done pre- or post-workout.  My very unsatisfying answer is, “It really doesn’t matter.”  I get the gist of the question, but I think there is a misconception that stretching is a warm-up exercise.  No doubt one could stretch to warm up, but it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice.

I usually tell my Los Angeles chiropractic clients that stretching is better suited as a lifestyle activity; consider it an exercise unto itself.  So in that regard it would be the same as lifting weights to warm up–you could certainly do it, but again, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I think the misconception of stretching as a warm-up started several decades ago, probably well before my youth; but I certainly remember playing sports in PE class and doing forward bending stretches beforehand.  Ah yes, the bouncy toe touch…remember those?

And the best is that a study came out several years ago showing that pre-event stretching has zero benefit in preventing sports injuries.  Sigh.  Yes, tell that to the PE teachers.  For more on why stretching is a poor warm-up, please read this article.

Stretching is best when adopted as a daily routine.  Because it is an eccentric contraction, it takes strength along with flexibility to stretch, so it will require energy.  You will sweat, too–probably why some people consider it a good warm-up.  But frankly, cold stretching could actually lead to injury–something not uncommonly seen in my chiropractic office.  So I actually think stretching warrants a warm-up.  Sure, yoga classes start with some light stretching and movement to warm-up–sun-salutations and such–but understand that most classes ease you into the full-on stretches.  I’d advise you do the same.

If, however, you are looking for a quick warm-up before a sporting event, try jogging in place.  There are many variations, and I’d suggest checking out this article for a great picture showing how.  Light jogging can also be a good warm-up, but leave the sprint for the end of the warm-up.  Make sure your blood is flowing nicely before running vigorously–again, you want to decrease your injury risk.

Stretching is exercise, plain and simple.  I believe that if you would have time for only one exercise, it should be some form of stretching.  Stretching brings flexibility, strength, balance, and if done right, even cardiovascular benefits.

So, in my book, stretching is a lifestyle.  I do it every day and I recommend that for everybody.  Can you use it to warm-up?  Sure, but I’d just as soon jog in place.  And I warm-up a bit before doing any serious stretching, anyway.  It’s your call on the warm-up; but for overall health and fitness, stretching is your best bet.

Have you ever fallen?  Think it can’t happen to you?  Falls are not as uncommon as you might think, and for the elderly they can be deadly.  But new research shows that balance and movement exercises combined with music do more to prevent falls.  This post is not just for seniors. One out of every three adults age 65 and older falls each year; and of these, tens of thousands die from injuries sustained from falls.  Almost two million seniors visit emergency rooms every year as a result of falling.
Because of these staggering numbers, experts in fall prevention are continuously looking for ways to help the elderly (and others) stabilize themselves. There are effective ways of training people of all ages to maintain balance, including proprioceptive exercises like rocker and wobble boards, yoga, and other movements.  But now a recent study shows that adding music to these workouts can increase these already powerful practices.
Swiss researchers looked at 134 Swiss adults, mostly women, average age 75.5 years, who were at increased risk of falling. They were assigned to either an intervention group that did a music-based multitask exercise program or a control group that did normal exercises. The intervention program used an instructor-led one-hour weekly exercise class that featured multitask activities, including movements that were designed to challenge balance and become increasingly difficult over time. These exercises included walking in time to piano music and responding to changes in the music’s rhythm. People in the intervention program showed a greater improvement in balance and had 24 falls (a rate of 0.7 falls per person per year), compared with 54 falls in the control program (a rate of 1.6 falls per person per year).  It increased participants’ walking speed and stride length while performing one task at a time, and increased stride length and decreased stride length variability while performing multiple tasks at the same time.  This improvement in gait (manner or style of walking) and balance helped reduce the risk of falls.

Not bad, not bad.  I do balance or proprioceptive training with many of the clients at my Los Angeles sports chiropractic office.  Not only do these exercises prevent falls, but they improve athletic performance, add grace to the gait, and believe it or not, help reduce low back pain (check out the article here to find out how). So whether you are a chiropractor, physical therapist, or other movement therapist, try adding music to your training program.  If you are just into working out and keeping fit, then do so to the rhythm of your favorite music.  Moving rhythmically to the beat will improve your balance by syncing your proprioceptors, muscles and brain.  Trust me when I say this is the greatest thing you can do for yourself physically.  Balance, in all areas is the name of the game.



Low back pain can have many sources–organic disease, herniated disks, and over-worked muscles can all cause pain in the lower back.  One factor that many people are unaware of are short, tight muscles.  The hamstrings are one such muscle group that can cause low back pain.

The hamstrings attach to the bottom portion of the pelvis, the ischial tubes, or “sit bones” as they are called in yoga.  When the hamstrings get tight, they pull downward on the sit bones, which in turn causes the pelvis to rotate backward.  As a righting compensation, the lumbar spine (low back arch) will decrease its natural arch and flex somewhat forward causing a straightening of the lumbar curve.  This straightening increases the compressive forces of the intervertebral disks, causing stress, pain and risk for disk herniation.

One simple answer is to stretch your hamstrings–but NOT like your PE teacher taught you in the sixth grade.  Reaching down to touch your toes merely increases the pressure on the lumbar spine–this can cause a herniated disk in susceptible people.  If you’ve ever heard somebody say that they’ve “thrown out” his or her back by bending over to pick something up, tight hamstrings was very likely a part of the equation.

This does not have to be you.  The solution is stretching your hamstrings regularly.  When it comes to stretching the hamstrings, there is a right way and a wrong way.  Watch the video above to learn the proper way to stretch your hamstrings.  If you are suffering from low back pain and need a chiropractor in Los Angeles, West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, please visit my sports chiropractic office to get low back pain relief.

Doing yoga helps cancer patients overcome sleep problems.  So says a recent study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to be held in Chicago this June.  According to the study, yoga also improved quality of life, reduced fatigue and reduced the need for sleep medications in cancer survivors.  Now how ’bout that?

The study looked at 410 patients who had finished treatment two to 24 months before and who had reported greater-than-average sleep disruptions (80% of cancer patients have trouble sleeping while undergoing treatment, and about two-thirds say the problems persist after treatment ends). Almost all of the participants were women, and three-quarters had had breast cancer, although the cancer had not spread. None had done any yoga in the past three months.  Participants were randomized to either receive regular follow-up care for cancer survivors or to receive regular care plus two 75-minute sessions of yoga per week for four weeks.

Emphasis was on doing postures (asanas) breathing from the diaphragm rather than the chest (pranayama) and on mindfulness, visualization and guided meditation.
Here are the results:

  • 22% of yoga participants reported improvement in sleep quality, while only 12% of controls reported the same
  • 31% of yoga participants who had started out with clinically impaired sleep quality recovered vs. only 16% of controls
  • 42% in yoga group had reduced fatigue, compared to only 12% in the control group
  • 20% of yoga participants had reduced daytime sleepiness, while only 5% of controls had the same 
  • 6% on average in yoga group reported their quality of life improved, while none in the control group did
  • While the yoga group was able to get by with less sleep medication, people in the control group actually used more.

Pretty amazing, but not surprising.  I know firsthand the multitude of health benefits of practicing yoga, as I have been involved in my own practice for 10 years.  What is remarkable is the degree and rapidity with which cancer survivors respond to yoga practice.

The combined focus on physical activity, mental focus and breathing is a recipe to benefit all people.  Yoga has been around for thousands of years precisely because it has taught people a way of enhancing their life forces.  If yoga has the ability to transform the lives of cancer survivors, then it certainly has the ability to do the same for you and me.  I’m doing yoga daily; I encourage you to do the same.  Yoga will transform you.

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