Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Healthy Yoga Basics


A good yoga routine usually consists of several carefully chosen yoga poses, composed to target either a certain group of muscles such as a series of poses to open & strengthen the upper body or, a rounded class that includes postures to target all major muscle groups to provide an all over 'top up'.  We all understand that each yoga pose is uniquely good but rarely do we think about the individual benefit that each pose brings to our body & practice. Here is a quick comparison of some of the most popular yoga poses and the reasons we should always try to include them in our practice.



Mountain Pose
While to some this pose may seem simple & pointless, in reality this is one of the most beneficial poses you can think of. This simple standing posture increases our awareness of how we stand - whether our weight is imbalanced to the left or right, which muscles are slacking and if any joints are feeling undue pressure. 

Just standing in this beautiful position improves posture, develops strength and flexibility - especially in the spine. This leads to relieving tension, aches, and pains through the whole body, bringing in an overall improvement to your health. It strengthens your thighs, knees, and ankles, while at the same time increases power and mobility in the feet, legs, and hips. The mountain pose, when done correctly, firms the abdomen and the buttocks, as well as it relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet. Lastly, as it steadies your breath, it improves your blood circulation and encourages healthy digestion. Now it sounds like more than mindless standing, doesn’t it?

Downward-Facing Dog
Here is a pose that has become much more popular in the West than it is in its birthplace. This can be explained by the fact that the Downward Dog, as funny as it may look, does miracles to cure some of the plagues of the modern society such as fatigue and back pain and stiffness. Because the Downward Dog places the weight on your arms and shoulders, it is great for building upper body strength and thus preserving bone density, which can prevent osteoporosis as one ages. It also wakes you up by fighting fatigue, so next time you’re tired from a long day in the office, hop right into your Downward Dog. It also stimulates practicing proper alignment, which makes the upper back more flexible and thus releases tension. The Downward Dog also boosts circulation, as when you’re in it, your heart is placed above the head, which is great for the circulatory system.

Child’s Pose

The Child’s Pose may seems simple and is often used as a healthy break during a yoga routine, a pose that lets you catch your breath, but its benefits shouldn’t be underestimated. Indeed it encourages strong and steady breathing and calms the mind and body, but it also releases physical tension in the back, shoulders and chest. It is highly recommended if you’re suffering from dizziness or fatigue, and it helps alleviate stress and anxiety. This pose is so beneficial, as it flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple while at the same time it stretches the spine, the hips, thighs and ankles. When performed with the head and torso supported, the Child’s Pose can also relieve pain in the neck and lower back. Last but not least, it normalizes the blood circulation throughout the body, which has an overall effect.

Warrior Poses

Warrior 1, II, III and all variations of including reverse warrior.  Like all standing postures, the warriors are just fantastic at building lower body strength whilst beautifully (deeply) opening the hips, lower back and toning the inner thighs.   Holding any of these postures with deep steady breathing will intensify their strength building benefits, creating toned muscles and greater bone density in the legs - we all need dense bones!    

But, the warriors are now just about lower body strength.  They are fantastic at creating a deep sense of purpose and inner strength which can flow off the yoga  mat & into our lives .. particularly useful when we find ourselves in a situation where we need to 'stand our ground'.   Next time you practice a warrior pose, say to yourself "Im a strong proud warrior" & feel that strength & pride flow through your body whilst directing your gaze to a spot in the far distance.  

More pose info will be added over the coming weeks & months! Thanks for reading .. feel free to comment & share! 

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