Yoga 101

by Jackie on March 25, 2013

Yoga can help anyone increase strength, flexibility, balance, agility, and endurance.  You will receive so many more great health benefits from adding yoga to your exercise routine.  Learn how yoga can benefit you and how easy it is to get started!

 

You Will Sleep Better!

Studies show that yoga helps people relax so they are able to fall asleep faster, and sleep longer and more deeply.

 

Relieve Back Pain

Most yoga moves work to increase core strength and a strong core equals a healthy back.  Yoga also helps increase your blood circulation, which can speed healing.

 

Stress Relief

Controlled breathing is a big part of yoga.  Controlling your breathing can help stress to dissipate.

 

Strength

Yoga moves use your body weight to give you a muscle building workout.

 

Flexibility

Practicing yoga increases flexibility and range of motion.  Flexibility also helps to prevent injury.

 

Improves Balance

Balancing poses in yoga improve overall balance in everything you do, preventing falls and injury.

 

Here are some basic yoga poses you should try!

Downward Facing Dog

Start on all fours with your feet and knees hip-width apart.  Position hands about shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide. Pressing firmly through your hands, lift knees off the floor and straighten your legs.  Walk your hands forward a few inches and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose.  Squeeze thighs as you press them toward the back wall.  Press your heels back and down toward the floor.  Relax your head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down your back toward your feet.  Hold for at least one minute.

 

Crescent Lunge Pose

Begin in downward dog pose.  Step your right foot between your hands. Lower your hips into lunge position and shift your weight onto the ball of your back foot, bringing your hands to your hips.  Stay up on the ball of your back foot and lift your upper body so that you’re standing straight up. Keep your hips squared the entire time. Bring your arms above you and reach for the ceiling.  Palms should be facing each other.  Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and then switch sides.

 

Twisted Chair Pose

Stand with your feet and legs together. Begin to bend your knees and sink your hips down and back as if you were sitting in a chair far behind you. Bring your palms together in front of your chest. Rotate your spine to bring your right elbow to your left knee. Try to keep your chest lifted the whole time. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds and then repeat on the other side

 

Warrior II

Step your feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot so the toes point toward the front of your mat.  Turn your left foot in 30 degrees.  Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel with the floor, palms face down.  Bend your right knee so your right shin and thigh form a 90-degree angle.  Gently tuck your tailbone down as you draw your abdomen in. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through the nose. Straighten the right leg and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Easy Spinal Twist

Lie on your back and bring both knees in toward your chest. Holding your left knee into your chest, let your right leg straighten out on the floor. Bring your bent left knee across your body, keeping your shoulder blades on the floor. Turn your head to look over your left shoulder to complete your twist. Hold for 45 seconds to one minute. Bring both knees into your chest and repeat on the other side.

 

Tree Pose

Stand with your legs and feet together, hands on hips. Transfer weight to your left foot as you bend the right knee and place the sole of the right foot on the inside of your left leg. Gently press the right foot against the left leg.  Bring the palms of your hands together in front of the heart in prayer pose. Hold for one minute on each side.

 

Locust Pose

Lie on your stomach with your arms alongside your body, palms facing up. Lift your head, upper body, arms, and legs up off the floor. Keep your arms and legs active and look forward or slightly up depending on your flexibility. Hold for 45 seconds before releasing everything to the floor and turning your head to one side. Repeat three times

 

Fierce Pose

Stepping your feet hip-width apart, spread through your toes to create a stable base.  As you raise arms to the sky, palms facing each another, bend your knees and sit your buttocks back as though you were sitting into a chair.  Draw your abdomen in to eliminate any curving in the lower back. Put all your weight into your heels and be sure your knees do not extend past your toes. Hold for up to one minute.

 

Child’s Pose

Kneel on the floor with big toes touching and knees about hip-width apart.  Sit on your heels.  Lay your torso between the thighs and bring your forehead to the mat.  Extend arms straight in front of you, palms on the floor.  Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Stay here for at least one minute.

 

Rock-a-Bye Roll

Lying on your back, hug your knees into your chest.  Cross your ankles and wrap both arms around your shins with clasped hands.  Inhale and rock your body up to sit; exhale as you roll back down.  Continue for one minute.

 

I hope you are able to incorporate yoga into your life.  Try ending your day with a few yoga moves, spending as little as five minutes before bed will help you relax and sleep better. Focus on breathing deeply and clearing your mind and you will enjoy a great night’s sleep!

Jackie

Jackie

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I'm a fitness nut. I know what you're thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I've gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started.
Jackie

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