Practicing yoga is not always about getting a workout. People practice different types of yoga to benefit in various ways. For example, restorative yoga can help your body relax and open up; and there are yoga breathing techniques you can practice which can help to clear your mind and focus the brain. If you set aside a small amount of time during each day to practice yoga, you can benefit from it even more in your everyday life. But how can one fit a yoga practice into a busy life?
When you think of a yoga practice, what comes to your mind? Yoga mats, yoga pants, yoga blocks, or perhaps a yoga studio? You don’t necessarily need all of these things for your personal yoga practice. It depends on what kind of yoga you want to practice and if you have the space. need yoga props, or want to practice in a yoga studio.
The first thing to think about is where in your day can you set aside 10 to 20 minutes for practice? Is it at home before you leave for work or after the kids have left for school? Is it on a tea or lunch break? Is it at the end of your work day on your way home? Try to figure out when the most suitable time for your yoga is, and how much time you can dedicate to your practice, even if it is only 10 minutes.
Preparing for your daily yoga practice
Once you have decided when your yoga practice will be, you then need to make some preparations so that when it comes to doing your yoga practice there will be nothing to distract you. The time of the day you find most convenient will tell you where you are likely to set aside the time for your practice. Here are some ideas:
If you have chosen to practice in the morning you may want to do a short Sun Salutation Sequence before your morning shower. You can prepare by keeping your mat near the bathroom. You may even want to light a candle to create a relaxing environment and sense of meditation. It may be a good idea to have a clock or use a timer on your smartphone to track the time.
If you decide to take a few moments before going inside to work, why not sit in your car for 5 minutes and take some time to go through a few yoga breathing exercises? There is no need for any movement. Just sit up straight in your car seat and do some deep yoga breathing. It will help you prepare for the day, and calm down any adrenaline or stress so that you are ready to enter your workplace feeling clear-headed and ready for anything!
If you have a gym membership, maybe you could stop on your way home from work every day even if it’s just a short practice. Take half an hour to an hour, change your clothes and unwind with a sequence that helps you after a hard day at work.
Create a dedicated spot in your home to practice your yoga
It might be a good idea to create an area in your home that is like a retreat; a place you can go to whenever you want to practice your yoga, rest or meditate. Here are some things to consider in designing your very own yoga retreat in your home:
Light some scented candles or incense to help you to create a meditative state of mind
Perhaps you have a window with an inspiring view
Create your own collection of music to suit the different types of yoga you like to practice at different times of the day
What about lighting? Do you prefer bright lights or dim lights?
Do you live in a small space? If so, can you store your mat flat under your bed so that you don’t have to have it laid out in the way, and you don’t have to unroll it every time you want to use it
Stretching the muscles before any exercise (including yoga) is key to a safe experience, and yet the ankles are often ignored; interesting, considering an ankle sprain is the most common type of sports injury. Many yoga poses can help protect the ankles, increasing strength, balance and flexibility so sprains are less likely to occur. Here are 4 yoga poses for the ankles:
Mountain pose is a standing pose that strengthens the ankles, knees and thighs, while also reducing flat feet. To get into the pose, start with your feet close together, your heels just barely apart. Lift your toes and spread them out onto the floor, distributing your weight evenly on the inner and outer sections of your feet. Drop your tailbone toward the floor, slide your shoulder blades down your back, and let your arms hang strongly by your sides with your palms facing forward. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
Lotus pose is a sitting pose that stretches both the ankles and the knees. If you have tight hips, you may wish to prepare for the pose by bringing your knee up toward your armpit and rotating it around a few times. Start sitting evenly on your sit bones with your legs out in front of you. Place your left foot on top of your right thigh, and your right foot on top of your left thigh, keeping your heels close to your abdomen and the soles of your feet facing upward. The knees should touch the floor (use yoga blocks, yoga bolsters, or pillows under the knees if necessary to take any strain off the knee joints. Hold the pose for a few seconds. After you have tried the pose a few times, hold for one minute.
*Modify this pose as seen in the picture. Careful as not to put pressure or strain on the knees especially if you have any knee problems.
Also called a yogic squat, garland pose stretches the ankles while also toning the abdomen. To get into the pose, squat down on the floor with your feet about hip-width apart. Your feet should face outward at about a 45-degree angle. If you can't keep your heels pressed to the floor, put a folded mat or blanket under them. Your knees should face the same direction as your ankles to prevent possible injury. Press your hands together in prayer position as you press your elbows into your knees and lift your heart upward. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
Hero pose is a sitting pose that stretches and strengthens the ankles. Start in a kneeling position with your feet a little more than hip distance apart and the tops of your feet pressing down on the floor. Sit down on the floor between your feet and slide your shoulders down your back. If you can't comfortably sit on the floor, place a yoga block under your buttocks (as seen in the picture) for support. Sit up straight, with your sternum lifted, and rest your hands on top of your thighs. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. You may eventually wish to hold the pose for as long as five minutes.
Studies have shown that yoga is the secret to finding more meaning and overall happiness in your life. How? Yoga is not just a series of stagnant poses; and though it can help to lose weight, it’s much more than that. Here are 6 ways how yoga can change your life:
1. Yoga helps you stay focused
In life there are many distractions making you forget your life’s purpose. Many people spend their free time on social media or watching television. Yoga can increase your concentration. This means that your attention will be boosted each day because you are becoming aware of what you are “actively” doing. Additionally, yoga can help you realize your dreams/goals and start working towards making them a reality.
2. Yoga relieves stress
Life has many ups and downs that may cause one to become depressed. When you begin to practice yoga, you will not be overly concerned about problems. This is because yoga quiets the mind. Fewer thoughts are produced at slower rates, helping to clear the excess noise. Having a clear mind helps you make better decisions, feel centered and calm.
3. Yoga improves sleep
According to studies yoga can help you sleep better. This is because the exercises work your muscles thus creating a better sleep, which is great for those who suffer from insomnia. The cool-down sequence that comes at the end of a practice may be the reason for the sound sleep. Better sleep translates to a happier day ahead.
4. Yoga helps posture
If you spend most of your days seated, your health may be vulnerable to deterioration. The fact that most yoga exercises require a straight back is the reason behind the proper posture. Spending long days hunched over a computer or mobile device leads to poor posture. However, if you spend some time practicing yoga, you will not only feel better, you will walk taller with pride.
5. Yoga improves mental and physical strength
Yoga is a great workout that can calories. What does this mean? -A physically healthy body. Physical strength is achieved when the muscles are challenged. In yoga, both the body and the mind must work together simultaneously to bring the desired effect. This not only makes you stronger and more flexible, but you also become more stable and open in your way of thinking which helps you to feel more balanced and at ease.
6. Yoga increases self-esteem
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. As you begin to practice yoga, you’ll gain more confidence that you’re worthwhile or, as yoga philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice yoga regularly with an intention of self-examination and improvement; not just as an aerobics class, you begin to see a different side of yourself. You’ll have more gratitude, empathy, forgiveness, and begin to see yourself as part of the Universe, not separated from it.
The benefits of yoga in bringing meaning in your life are not limited to the ones listed here. Other benefits include: connecting with your inner voice, improve your breathing, improving your immunity, eating healthier and making meditation better. It goes without saying that yoga is a sure way of finding more meaning in your life. It can undoubtedly improve the quality of your life. So, what are you waiting for? Start your yoga journey and see the awesome benefits that will follow!
Your adrenal glands are located just above each of your kidneys and play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including balancing hormones. When there is a constant high amount of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, these important little glands become very tired. Their job is doubly hard with challenges like endometriosis, hormonal imbalances and other issues that are becoming common, particularly for many women.
If you're experiencing adrenal fatigue, then you probably already have some of the symptoms including difficulty falling asleep, easily frustrated or irritated, lack of concentration and mood swings. You may be having what could be the result of overworked adrenal glands, and a sustained "fight or flight" response in the body. That may sound like a lot very common symptoms, but unfortunately adrenal fatigue is very common, so the symptoms that arise are sometimes seen in our daily lives as just being “normal”. Because the adrenal glands are so important in regulating our stress response and aiding a huge number of bodily functions (including digestion), the body starts to down-regulate our body’s other less necessary tasks and it’s this down-regulation that often causes the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The main culprit of adrenal fatigue is cortisol, an important hormone that’s become the infamous stress hormone. If you’ve got overactive cortisol, then your body tends to work in overdrive and then crash suddenly when you least expect it.
The one thing to note is that adrenal fatigue can sometimes take a while to develop, and therefore prevention is essential. It is also worth noting that it takes several months to restore balance to the system. My personal experience with recovery has been that there are good days and bad days. The best thing I have learned to do is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – through deep breathing, relaxation and yoga! Above are some fantastic, refreshing and restorative yoga poses to replenish the adrenal glands.
Tips to Begin
Props are a great addition to a restorative yoga practice. If you don't have a bolster roll up a blanket. These poses are best enjoyed in a warm room where you will not be disturbed. Relax in these poses for 3-10 minutes per pose, breathing slowly and consciously through any tension or emotions that arise. The aim of the poses is to allow your body to relax, so if you feel uncomfortable at any point then use pillows or blankets as described, or slowly come out of the pose. Listen to your body and enjoy!
*The above article is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Prior to beginning any exercise regimen including yoga, consult with your physician first.
Yoga іѕ аn age-оld practice оf traditional physical аnd mental disciplines frоm India. Althоugh thеrе іѕ no physical evidence thаt саn claim how long thе principles оf yoga have existed, early archaeological evidence depicts thаt thе stone seals оf yoga asanas (оr poses) have bееn аrоund since 3,000 B.C. In today's world, yoga has made thе journey асrоѕѕ thе entire world аnd earned іtѕ glory. Many western cultures have adopted yoga аѕ а part оf thеіr daily physical regimen аnd reaped thе benefits аѕ wеll. Aѕ thеrе аrе many yoga poses аnd postures thаt аrе performed аt different physical levels, lеt's take а look аt one оf thе advanced poses; Bird оf Paradise pose. Thіѕ pose, along wіth оthеr advanced yoga poses, іѕ extremely effective іn increasing flexibility, flushing toxins frоm thе body, increasing lubrication іn joints, ligaments аnd tendons, massaging аll thе organs, toning thе muscles, аnd muсh more.
How the Pose іѕ done
If уоu'rе а beginner іn yoga, proceed with caution and modify when trying this pose. This pose іѕ taught lаtеr, іn more advanced levels оf yoga. Fоr thоѕе whо have been practicing yoga for a while аnd have tried various yoga postures, can attempt this pose. Bеfоrе beginning, уоu'll need а yoga mat, comfortable clothing, а strap fоr thе bind, аnd warm-up the body with stretching prior to beginning thе pose. Here are 5 steps to getting into Bird of Paradise pose:
Step 1: Thе first thing аbоut yoga іѕ thаt уоu have tо keep breathing normal. Sо dоn't forget tо do ѕо іn thіѕ powerful аnd challenging pose. Place thе yoga mat оn thе floor аnd stand wіth уоur feet part. Keep іt араrt аѕ muсh аѕ уоu саn (bеуоnd shoulder length). Keep уоur feet turned оut аnd bend уоur right leg іn thе right direction, but keep уоur thigh parallel tо thе floor аnd уоur knee ѕhоuldn't go bеуоnd уоur right foot.
Step 2: Place уоur right elbow оn thе right knee аnd keep уоur left arm stretched оut аnd оvеr уоur head. Breathe аѕ deeply аѕ уоu саn bесаuѕе іt helps уоu stretch very easily. Now take thе bind іn уоur right hand аnd bring thе left arm bеhіnd, towards thе bасk. Thе right arm (whісh has thе bind) wіll go аnd meet thе left arm frоm bеtwееn уоur legs. Hold thе bind wіth bоth ends.
Step 3: Bring уоur right shoulder tо point towards thе floor аnd thе left shoulder opens uр. Gaze оvеr thе left shoulder towards thе ceiling. Keep breathing normally. Bоth thе hands wіll keep holding thе bind аnd оnlу thе lower body wіll change position. Bring уоur right leg іn, whіlе placing thе left leg firm оn thе yoga mat. Slowly make thе transition аnd try nоt tо lose уоur balance оr leave thе bind. Keep уоur right hand bеtwееn уоur legs аnd do thе switch wіth thе legs.
Step 4: Keep уоur legs shoulder width араrt аnd lift уоur right heel uр (keeping thе ball оf уоur right foot still оn thе floor). Slowly lift уоur entire right leg off thе yoga mat, breathe normally, аnd try tо balance уоur body weight оn thе left leg. Wіth уоur hands still іn thе bind, lift уоur right leg аѕ high аѕ уоu саn. Straighten thе right leg tо thе right side аnd hold thе pose.
Step 5: Keep уоur knees straight аnd relax уоur shoulders. Stand аѕ tall аѕ possible аnd keep breathing normally. Slowly bring уоur right leg down аnd unlock уоurѕеlf frоm thе bind. Voila, уоu have successfully completed thе pose. Now іt's time tо perform thе same thing оn thе оthеr side.
Whіle уоu'rе executing thе bird оf paradise pose, make sure уоu plant bоth уоur feet оn thе yoga mat аt thе time оf thе transition. Each step requires а sense оf balance аnd flexibility.
*Caution: Practice this pose with extreme care. Don’t lift the leg higher than you should as you may cause injury to the hip or groin area. Modify this pose by keeping the knee bent and/or use a yoga strap for the bind (as seen in the picture).
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Low Plank) is one of the most challenging yoga poses done in every vinyasa and Sun Salutation often rushed through and done incorrectly. When done correctly, this challenging yoga pose has several benefits, including arm, wrist and abdomen strengthening. When practiced without proper alignment, Chaturanga can lead to shoulder, elbow, wrist and even lower back injuries.
Because Chaturanga Dandasana is a weight-bearing pose, wrist injuries are among the most common. Sometimes in yoga, we tend to use our strongest muscles to achieve difficult poses, instead of using the appropriate muscles. While in Chaturanga, many yoga students flatten their carpal tunnel, the narrow, tunnel-like structure in the wrist where several tendons and the median nerve pass, causing compression on the median nerve. Repetitive practice of this incorrect motion can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Chaturanga is a pose that uses all of the muscles in the body. To keep your body safe from injury, use your core for stabilization and activate your legs for support. While learning proper alignment and building strength,modify this pose by dropping to your knees (This decreases the weight on your back and shoulders, therefore you don’t need as much strength to do the pose as with your legs straight).
Here are some tips for a safe Chaturanga Dandasana:
Hopefully, this information will help you with your Chaturanga and keep you injury free. Remember that you can always modify the pose or skip it altogether.
A home practice is a great way to go deeper into your yoga practice as well as build your understanding and knowledge of yoga. A home practice can be defined as your own yoga practice outside of a class setting without a teacher leading you. You essentially become your own teacher. Developing your own home yoga practice can be challenging and even scary! It forces you to be comfortable in your own skin! Many people find it difficult not having someone guide you through a yoga practice. This is the beauty of it, to create and develop it yourself and make it your own! So if you think you don’t have the time or don’t know what to do for a home yoga practice, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Listen to your body
During the course of my yoga practices I have learned how to listen to my body. In order to maintain a consistent practice, I needed to start practicing at home. But my first few times were not easy. I would push myself into poses that either I was not ready for or that I “thought” I could do because I saw someone else do it. I never took time to really listen to my body and what it was saying. I know better these days and I’ve learned to be in-tune with what it’s telling me.
2. Clear the clutter
This may seem like a challenge at first, clearing out a spot in your home for your yoga practice. I remember laying down my mat in my apartment where my only space to practice was the perimeter of my yoga mat. After the first Sun Salutation, I was looking around my room searching for things to pick up because I had not cleared out a more suitable space for my yoga practice. I knew I needed an area that needed to be clutter free as not to distract me from my practice. The area you choose doesn’t have to be large, just a spot for you and your yoga that’s clear of clutter and junk.
3. Withdraw the senses
At a yoga studio, you are asked to put away your belongings so you’re not distracted by your personal possessions so you can give yourself your undivided attention. This is not easy at home when you have things to do or people there to distract you. In Yoga, we practice Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses. It took me a while to feel unaffected by my home environment and to remain focused in my practice.
4. Embrace the challenge
Ask yourself, “When am I feeling compelled to step off my mat?” “When do I give up?” The answer is simple…when the practice becomes challenging. As soon as I began practicing yoga I began to feel the challenge that I was searching for. Not just the asanas, but the deeper connection I felt towards my inner self. I realized over time, that I was limiting my potential to grow. I was not allowing the poses to work and exiting early was a metaphor to how I reacted to other challenging situations in my life off the mat.
5. Stay consistent
If you only have time for a few rounds of Sun Salutation it’s better than doing nothing at all! There are mornings when I just want to sleep. I practice daily because I know yoga requires the consistency to keep at it, to make it a habit. I know that yoga makes me feel better, that it jumpstarts my day in a way that drinking coffee never did. Remember that consistency is key, even if you only practice 15 minutes a day!
The rewards of a home practice
While it may take time to develop the discipline for a home practice, it can be very rich and rewarding. You can try new things and have the freedom to explore your own creative movement. If you’re just getting started or experiencing some of these similar challenges, keep going, stay committed. Make yourself and your practice a priority. You will not regret it! Just know that a practice is anything you need that day. A quick break, a deep breath, and a little bit of patience is all you need to get yourself going. Enjoy!
Yoga poses and the practice of yoga can be beneficial to your mind, your muscles, and even internal functions like your digestive system. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that yoga’s popularity is on the rise. Before you begin however, it is a good idea to have the right information to help you succeed and get the most out of your practice. Follow these yoga tips as you begin your physical, mental, and spiritual journey.
1. Buy a Yoga Mat
Shopping for your first yoga mat (or even a new one) may seem overwhelming, however, being new to yoga you want to make sure you have a yoga mat that best works for you. Choosing among the various materials, sizes, and thicknesses can feel like a huge decision. Buying a yoga mat isn't about finding the most expensive or nicest looking one, but instead finding one that can help you practice yoga safely and properly. Use a mat that you are comfortable with and works best for you!
2. Practice Often
Yoga offers many benefits to your mind, body, and spirit, and these benefits may be maximized with regular practice on your own as well as, a few classes with a yoga teacher. As a beginner, it is especially important that to practice so that you may see and feel the benefits early on. With yoga, the frequency with which you work on your poses is as important if not more so than the length of the practice sessions. Try to find a few minutes each day to do a little bit of yoga.
3. Practice Poses Correctly and Modify When Needed
Most anything you read, watch, or listen to about yoga will tell you to practice often, but one of the yoga tips that sometimes get skipped is that you must practice correctly. Don’t just practice only your best poses, but also work on poses you struggle with as well. Such a practice will be more productive and give you the feeling of self-assurance that you seek with yoga. Don’t be afraid to modify certain poses if you need to. Too many yoga injuries often occur when students don’t modify poses when they should.
4. Maximize Your Potential
One of the more important tips for beginners is to let go of your ego. In order to get the most out of your yoga experience, you must forget about such things like impressing your teacher, classmates, or even those pretty pictures you see posted online. One of the central ideas of yoga is self-study. To fully study yourself, you must try not to compare yourself to other yoga students, but instead, you should strive to maximize your own learning and improvement during each practice session.
5. Find Yourself
During practice, remember what is important. The depths of your poses are not nearly as important as how deep you delve into yourself. In yoga, you learn about your inner attention. Be sure to use that attention when practicing and when with your instructor to get the most out of your poses even if you cannot get deeply into them physically.
6. Find the Right Teacher
No number of yoga tips can compete with having the right teacher. When selecting a yoga teacher, make sure you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Your instructor should be knowledgeable and compassionate as well as have respect for you as a person. You want a yoga teacher who encourages you out of your comfort zone, without being overly pushy that could cause unnecessary injuries.
As a beginner in yoga, there are undoubtedly times that you feel a bit lost. That is okay. Hopefully, though, with these tips you will have an idea of what you need to do to feel more successful in your yoga experience. Yoga is not a religion, but in some ways it does become a way of life, and by following these tip you can start your journey toward that way of life on the right foot.
If gift buying, holiday parties and baking holiday treats have you feeling stressed out, sluggish or just plain drained rest assured you are not alone. Here are 5 yoga tips and poses to help relieve some of your holiday stress:
Breathe: This is the simplest and most effective way we can do to calm the nervous system is to breathe deeply with awareness. Sit tall or lie on your back. Close your eyes. Fill your belly with breath on your inhale and release all the air from your lungs on the exhale. Continue for 5-10 minutes resting your awareness solely on your breath and feeling the tension fall a way.
Practice gratitude: We have so many blessings in our lives, whether it’s the food on our plate, the roof over our head or sharing a laugh with a loved one, become aware of the abundance in your life by simply being aware.
Remain dedicated to your yoga practice: It is in times of stress that our yoga practice holds the most importance. By dedicating time to yourself through your practice, you will begin to feel more calm and relaxed. Even a 20-minute home practice will help connect the body and mind, improving concentration and relieving stress.
Have Fun: This may seem difficult, but have fun! Play games with your kids, play in the snow, sing Christmas songs out loud, or watch any funny Christmas movie or cartoon. Finding playfulness in our daily activities helps us to not take ourselves too seriously. It’s hard to feel anxious, sad or angry when you are laughing, so even if it feels a bit fake at first, crack a smile and see what happens.
Cultivate compassion, forgiveness and peace: Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. The key to cultivating happiness is forgiveness; forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self. Holding onto a grudge hurts you in the end. Forgiveness is a choice and it requires a lot of compassion that ultimately leads to peace and we can all use peace in our lives no matter what time of the year.
The kids are out of school for the holidays, the cold weather has got you in a “funk”, your job is stressful and you have no time for yourself. If anyone told you that you could reach a state of physical and emotional bliss with yoga, you may not believe them; but believe it or not, you can beat the blues with yoga!
Yoga is a great mood enhancer that requires no drugs or medications. Like all forms of exercise, yoga releases hormones that help ease feelings of stress that often lead to the blahs, blues, or outright depression. Being active keeps your mind away from negative thoughts, and allows you to gain a greater and clearer perspective on the problems you are facing. People, who are depressed, or simply feeling "down", often lack the motivation to exercise. That's why yoga can be such a great option. It takes far less effort to complete yoga routine as it takes to out to a video or drive to the gym.
When you're feeling down, it may be difficult to think positively. People who are depressed often lack the concentration to detach themselves from their thoughts. Yoga is a "moving meditation", so it is easier to take your mind away from negative thoughts. Our essential inner nature can be blocked by negative thoughts. Apathy, despair, doubt, hopelessness and sleeping too much or too little are all signs of depression that must be addressed. Yoga is designed to bring you closer to your inner truth, naturally helping with some of the symptoms of depression. With a focus on balance, yoga can help to restore mental stability.
There is a definite connection between mind, body and spirit that indicates people can beat the blues with yoga. No other form of exercise alone can achieve these same benefits. Certain yoga postures can influence your mood and help to relieve depression. Yoga postures can help increase low energy levels and relieve lethargy. They are also helpful in opening lung capacity to allow more oxygen to reach all parts of your body, and even your mood. Ask your yoga instructor to help you learn the postures that will balance your moods.
It's also possible to beat the blues with yoga because of the calming effects yoga has on the nervous system. Proper breathing techniques are important elements to practicing yoga, as these can help curb your anxiety and quiet your thoughts, allowing you to concentrate on positive rather than negative energies. As you learn more about yoga, you'll come to understand the connection between your mind and your emotions, and you'll find that they can help each other. Even performing the most basic yoga routines can help lift your spirits. While not physically demanding like other forms of exercise, yoga will make you feel much better at the end of a session. Try it and you'll find that you can beat the blues with yoga!
Caution: If you think you may be suffering with severe depression, seek professional advice. Yoga is a drug-free alternative that can be safely practiced in conjunction with any medication or therapy your doctor orders. Some yoga routines are specifically designed to alleviate depression and taught by instructors who have been extensively trained to understand the most therapeutic positions.
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