Yoga – Improving Physical and Mental Health

A Nebraska native, Scott Brittenham cofounded Clean Energy Capital, LLC, in 2004 and currently leads as president and chief executive officer. Spending his days managing the firm’s investments in ethanol refineries, Scott Brittenham makes time away from work to cycle and practice yoga.

A harmony between the body and mind, yoga consists of breathing, posture, and meditation exercises. Regular practice is known to reduce chronic pain related to conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Likewise, yoga practitioners can see improvement in insomnia and blood pressure, according to an interview with a board-certified osteopathic family physician by the American Osteopathic Association. Other health benefits of yoga include weight reduction, enhanced cardiovascular and circulatory health, and increased stress management skills.

The latter, if not cared for appropriately, can induce physical complications, ranging from headaches to concentration difficulties. Yoga teaches anxiety coping methods that create mental clarity and relax the mind. Encouraging mental well-being, yoga also relieves chronic stress patterns that often result in physical ailments.

Practicing Ashtanga Yoga

Based in Tucson, Arizona, Scott Brittenham serves as the president and CEO of Clean Energy Capital, LLC, which he also co-founded. As an investor with more than 30 years of experience in the field, Mr. Brittenham offers his talents to the company through the evaluation, structuring, and execution of major financial transactions. When he is not focused on his career, Scott Brittenham enjoys a variety of hobbies and interests that include practicing ashtanga yoga, a specific style of yoga steeped in ancient tradition.

Ashtanga was introduced to the West by Sri Pattabhi Jois, who taught it for decades until his death in 2009. Ashtanga yoga, which translates to mean “eight-limbed yoga,” is performed in conjunction with eight practices of spiritual cleansing, half of which are internally cleansing. The other half are externally cleansing. The ashtanga system incorporates control over the body with control over the mind.

Vinyasa and tristhana are two performance techniques employed in ashtanga yoga. Vinyasa refers to the system of coordinating breathing and movement, while tristhana references three places of attention: posture, breathing, and a place to look while performing poses, which coordinate with the yoga style’s three levels of purification that include the body, nervous system and mind. Asana refers to posture, whereby the body is aligned and detoxified, while ujjayi is the breathing technique employed during ashtanga yoga. Dristhl refers to the place to look, meaning a person finds a spot to gaze at and focus on during asanas.

An Asthanga Yoga Primer

A seasoned financial services professional, Scott Brittenham currently serves as co-founder and CEO of Clean Energy Capital, LLC, where he has raised more than $140 million in investment capital for the biofuels industry. Outside his professional responsibilities, Scott Brittenham enjoys staying fit through a combination of cycling, ice hockey, and Ashtanga yoga.

Ashtanga yoga, or “eight-limbed yoga,” is a system that involves spiritual practices such as breath control, meditation, concentration, self-purification, and asana, or postures. Ashtanga postures aim to combine movement with breath, synchronizing the two to build heat in the body and to cleanse internal organs.

Popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga yoga differs from many other styles of yoga in the West in that the order of postures is completely predefined. After performing an opening sequence to warm the flow of blood in the body, practitioners will move on to one of six main series, followed by a back-bending sequence and a set of inverted postures. Each practice ends with savasana, a period of deep breathing and relaxation.