Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

6 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Try at Home.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

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Standing Forward Bend

This pose incorporates subtle swaying and breath. You’ll notice the sensation of your spine and hamstrings elongating, says Catherine Tingey, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based yoga instructor and meditation teacher.

Try her step by step:

1. Stand with your feet touching or slightly apart with your toes facing forward.

2. Bend forward from the hips and reach the top of your head toward the floor

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Corpse Pose

Corpse pose may look like a nap, but it actually allows you to quiet your thoughts and feel your body melting into the floor. This position is most beneficial in a warm and quiet room, says Tingey.

To feel rested:

1. Lie on your back with your legs and arms slightly apart.

2. Bring your shoulders down away from your ears and elongate your body.

3. Close your eyes and picture your whole body relaxing. Feel how heavy the back of your body is, while the front of your body opens.

4. Maintain stillness.

Your mind will most likely be filled with thoughts, so focus on either your breath or repeating a mantra. Tingey suggests repeating silently in your head, “I let go.”

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Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a very relaxing and grounding pose, and it alleviates lower back pain, says Alexandra Pony, yoga instructor and therapist.

Follow her directions:

1. Start in a seated kneeling position and bring your big toes together while keeping your knees roughly hip-width apart.

2. Hinge from your hips, keeping your spine elongated, and gently extend your body forward to rest your lower abdomen on the inside of your quads/inner thighs.

3. Your hands can either extend out in front of you with palms facing down or behind you with palms facing up, whichever is more comfortable.

While in the pose, take a “big, beautiful Buddha belly breath in,” Pony says, and a deep exhale out to calm the body. If you want, focus on the point between your eyebrows — your third eye — to find a deeper connection within yourself and feel more grounded.

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Supine Twist

Try this pose to “restore the spine into neutral alignment, stimulate your abdominal organs, and improve digestion,” says Diamond.

Try her steps:

1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and up toward your chest.

2. Stretch your arms out into a T position on the floor, maintaining alignment between your elbows and shoulders.

3. Lower your knees gently to the right, up as high as your belly button, while trying to keep your left shoulder blade pressing into the floor.

4. Create length along the left side of your torso by focusing on your left hip and your left shoulder reaching in opposite directions. Your head and neck should stay where you are most comfortable.

5. After a few deep breaths, switch sides.

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Supine Bound Angle

This pose gives an “amazing openness to the hips and chest, while allowing you to slow down and quiet the mind,” says Danielle Diamond, yoga instructor and founder of Xen Strength Yoga with Weights.

Her tips for reaching the proper alignment:

1. Lie on your back, or over a bolster (a cushion works too), with your knees bent and your feet touching the floor.

2. Slowly open your knees out wide, so that the soles of your feet are touching.

3. Lengthen your spine by extending your tailbone towards your heels and reaching the crown of your head in the opposite direction.

4. Place your palms, facing up, next to your hips, and soften your shoulders into the ground, away from the ears. Then soften your face, eyes, jaw, neck, and throat.

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Legs Up the Wall Pose

This is a simple way to relieve tired legs and feet from a long day at work. Since it’s an inversion, this pose can “drain lymphatic fluid from the lower extremities, reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, and improve circulation,” says Chrissy Carter, YogaWorks instructor and creator of Beginning Yoga by Gaiam.

Here are her steps:

1. Lie down with your hips close to a wall and stretch your legs up towards the ceiling.

2. If you feel any strain in your hamstrings, move your pelvis a few inches away from the wall.

3. For an even more relaxing stretch, place a looped belt around the outer edges of your feet, with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. The belt relieves your muscles from the effort to keep your legs up, and it also gently rolls the thighs in to create more space in your lower back.

 

 

3 Quick Ways to Relieve Stress

Friday, March 7th, 2014

When You’re Really Tense…

 

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Move 1: The Cat-Cow

Sit straight in a chair and place both feet flat on the floor. Exhale as you round your spine forward into a cow pose (top). Then inhale as you arch your back into a cat pose (bottom). Repeat for five more breaths.

 

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Move 2: Side to Side

Inhale and extend your arms straight up. Stretch to the right as you exhale. Inhale to come back to the center, then exhale to the left. Repeat for five more breaths.

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Move 3: Twist

With arms bent by your side, exhale and rotate your torso to the right. Inhale back to the center and twist to the left. Repeat for five more breaths.

Desk Job Relief

Friday, November 15th, 2013

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Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
This forward bend variation will open tight shoulders and hamstrings.

Stand with three to four feet between your feet. Turn your toes in slightly and interlace the fingers in a fist behind the back.
Inhale to engage the abs and pull the hands away from the shoulders. Exhale to fold at your hips, keeping the legs and spine straight.
Hold for five deep breaths, trying to lower the hands toward the floor. Then come to stand at the front of your mat with both feet together.
Fold forward into a Standing Forward Bend. Step or hop the feet back and inhale to Upward Facing Dog, exhale toDownward Facing Dog.
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Crescent Moon Pose (Reverse Warrior)
Stretch out the sides of your torso with this Warrior variation.
From Downward Facing Dog step your right foot forward between your hands, coming into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms, and chest, coming into Warrior 2.
From here, gently arch back and lower your left hand down, resting it on the back of your left leg. Raise your right arm overhead, feeling the stretch through the right side of the body. Make sure you continue to lower your hips, and press your front knee forward so it’s directly over your right ankle.
Remain here for five complete breaths. Then lift your torso up, place your hands on the floor, and move through a vinyasa, coming back into Down Dog. Step your left foot forward and repeat this pose on the left side. Then come back to Downward Dog.
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Lizard Pose
Tight hip flexors can put strain on the lower back, so here’s a pose to target that commonly tight area.
From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward between your palms, keeping your hands on the floor.
Lower your left knee to the floor, and release your elbows to the floor as well.
Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
After five breaths, come back onto your hands, tuck your back toes, and step your right leg back. Take a vinyasa and step your left foot forward to repeat this pose on the other side. Then work your way back to Down Dog.
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One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist
This pose is great for relieving tension in your lower back.
From Downward Dog, step or hop both feet forward and come to sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and twist to the right. Plant your right hand on the floor behind you and press your left elbow against the outside of your right knee.
Stay here if this is enough of a twist, or clasp your fingers together. If it’s really easy, do a deeper bind around your right knee by holding your left wrist with your right hand, squeezing the top of your left leg with your left fingers (as shown in the photo).
Continue twisting and lengthening the spine, enjoying this twist for five breaths. Release the twist and repeat this pose with the left knee bent.
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Double Pigeon Pose

Sitting at a desk all day makes for tight hips, which can lead to an achy lower back, so this effective hip-opener is a must.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your knee, shin, and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your right knee and place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.
To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest toward your legs.
Stay here for five breaths, then slowly rise up and switch legs so your left knee is on top.
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Plow Pose

Here’s an effective way to stretch your neck, upper back, and lower back.
Begin sitting with your legs extended in front of you. Slowly roll onto your back, raising your hips into the air. Interlace the fingers in a double fist to help draw the shoulder blades together, and extend the arms straight.
Extend your legs over your head, hips over your shoulders.
Hold for five breaths and then lower your hips to the floor, hugging your knees into your chest.
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Happy Baby Pose
This hip-opening stretch is a great way to relieve tightness in the lower back.

After hugging your knees into your chest for a few breaths, separate your legs, holding onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
Gently use your upper-body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed.
Stay like this for five deep breaths.
Courtesy of POPSUGAR Fitness

Yoga Debunking the Myths

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

When most people think of yoga they get images of incense, chanting and mystical gurus from faraway lands sitting on the floor cross legged and chanting OM in a state deep relaxation. Learn the truth here…

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Touching on Yoga

Friday, July 15th, 2011

There are a many people who are crazy about yoga today. One reason is that it makes them feel better and in good shape. The different poses and postures make their body healthy. So if you want to keep your body in shape, this might be the best exercise for you. But for most of them they find Yoga is the best way to relax and unwind

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Yoga for Surfers, Riding the Wave

Monday, June 20th, 2011

By Jaimal Yogis

As I walk back to my Balinese cottage after surfing through the waning hours of light—neon green seaweed squishing between my toes under a dark pink sky—no other words seem capable of entering my wave-rinsed mind but “thank you.”

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Yoga Calms the Mind and Body

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Leta Koontz-Stuyvesant

What’s the difference between a cheerleader and a yogi practicing backbends and splits? From a distance, the two would appear to be doing the same thing. But if you looked a bit closer, you might notice that the yogi is breathing more smoothly, slower, and more evenly. You might even observe that while the cheerleader is looking around, smiling at everyone, the yogi’s face is relaxed and his or her gaze is focused. While externally the differences between the yogi and the cheerleader may seem slight, the internal differences are significant.

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Yoga Basics – Four Tips to Get you Started

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Yoga is an excellent method of increasing flexibility and strength and toning the body. Yoga can be enjoyed by all fitness levels, with opportunities to challenge your body further. In addition to physical benefits of yoga, it is also beneficial for the mind because it can reduce stress levels and create awareness of one’s body. Yoga can be advantageous in many ways, but getting started can be an intimidating process. We have a few simple tips that will help you take the first step into yoga so you can reap the many benefits.

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Yoga for the new beginner

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Find time to slow down, reconnect, and find some peace and harmony.