What do Justin Timberlake and Julia Roberts have in common?
They both love doing yoga! Ever since the Beatles popularized yoga in the West, people from all walks of life have been exploring its benefits. Today, more than ever before, Americans need a holistic way to help relieve pain.
A startling 50 million adults in the United States claim, they’ve had to deal with chronic pain. Consistently practicing yoga can help reduce and even eliminate problems with chronic pain.
Did you know that yoga can also improve your cardiovascular health, metabolism, and sex life? Whether you’re in a sitting pose or standing tall like a tree, you’ll be encouraging your entire bodies health and wellness. Read on to learn more about the different poses, and how to enjoy them for yourself.
Yoga Sitting Pose
When people hear yoga, they often picture a complicated practice with someone twisted up like a pretzel. Yet, many valuable yoga poses, are simple, and easy for beginners to try.
Seated yoga poses are a wonderful place to start if your new to yoga. They are also especially beneficial to anyone who would have trouble maintaining their balance for standing positions.
Let’s review the most basic seated pose, dandasana.
Dandasana means staff pose. The name comes from the straight upright position your back will be in.
As you sit on the floor, have your legs lay in front of you, sticking straight out. Your body will be making the shape of an L.
If it’s your first time trying the pose you can use a wall to support your back. You’ll hold this pose for 60 seconds or longer.
One of our favorite standing poses is the high lunge, using the crescent variation. You’ll begin the high lunge with an inversion pose, downward dog. While you’re in downward dog, slowly exhale and place your right foot between your hands.
As you align yourself, make sure your knee remains over your heel. Take a deep breath in and straighten up your torso.
As your inhaling, you’ll also bring your arms out in a wide sweeping motion by your sides. It’ll almost look like you’re preparing to give someone a very big hug. Yet, instead of leaving your hands and arms stretched out by your sides, you’ll be bringing them over the top of your head.
Both palms should be facing each other, but don’t have to touch. Now you can exhale, guide your hands back to the floor, and resume downward dog. Once your securely back in the downward dog position, go ahead and do the same thing for the other leg.
Core Strengthening Poses
Along with quieting the mind, yoga can also help prevent injuries, by strengthening muscles. A strong core will also help treat any back pain that’s already present.
If you’ve ever heard of a “plank”, you’ll already be familiar with the four-limbed staff pose. Earlier, we had you straighten out your back in a seated position for staff pose.
For the four-limbed staff pose, you’ll be doing a similar straightening technique. Yet, now you’ll be on the ground instead of sitting down.
Start by putting your body in a plank pose, and begin pressing your tailbone towards your pubis (pelvis area). Allow yourself to exhale and lift your torso and legs above the ground.
You only need to lift up a few inches to feel the benefits of this position. Remember, you back need to be straight like a staff.
Don’t allow your tailbone to point up toward the ceiling, or for your lower back to sink towards the floor. Instead, call upon the power of your legs, keeping them active, as you stay parallel to the floor.
Along with reducing stress levels, yoga can also improve your overall emotional health. Our bodies are infamous for holding on to negative feelings and emotions. One of the most popular places for your body to store toxic feelings is in your chest.
Chest openers will help your body free itself of pent up feelings. You can begin by sitting down and starting with a few breathing exercises. Pay attention to the air that’s going into your lungs.
Slightly hold your breath after each inhales and exhales. Doing this will oxygenate your blood, and liven up your nervous system.
After a few minutes of conscious breathing, you can move on to a chest opening pose. If you’re new to yoga, avoid attempting complicated chest openers without the help of an instructor. Instead, stick with a pose that is easy to get into and maintain for one to three minutes.
We suggest your chest opening poses focus on chest expansion. Take a belt and hold it behind your back. Lift your arms gently as you pull them behind you. Allow your chest to reach upwards in an arch.
You’ll begin to feel the pectoral muscles being active as you inhale and exhale. Make sure you’re taking deep breaths into your abdomen.
Another way to help your body get rid of unwanted toxins is through hot yoga. As you cleanse yourself of negative emotions, you’ll also be helping your entire body detox.
Backbends are a fabulous way to start your day off right. After rolling out of bed in the morning, get on your yoga mat and lay flat on your stomach.
Next, place your hands under your shoulders and look out in front of yourself. Inhale, exhale, and begin to arch your back.
If you’ve never done this before, maintain a bend in your arms at all times. Yet, once you’re more comfortable and experienced you can begin straightening your arms for a deeper bend.
Finding What Works Best for You
One of the great things about yoga is its the ability to tailor to your specific needs. Whether you’re in a sitting pose or upside down in an inversion, you’ll be giving your body a chance to speak to you.
You’ll suddenly be more aware of your body, during any activity you’re doing. As your yoga posture improves so will your everyday life postures. Now standing in line at the store, or driving in your car, you’ll become aware of, and know how to correct poor posture positions.
Monica’s Hard Yoga is here to help you nurture your body and soul, in a way that works best for you. Our class schedule has a wide assortment of times, and class types for you to choose from.
If you’re not sure what type of yoga will work best for you, we can help. Everyone is different and comes to class hoping to accomplish their own personal goal. Check out our latest article about how to choose the right type of yoga practice for your fitness goals.