YOGA Yourself into Shape

Benefits of YOGA: Yoga increases concentration, strengthens muscles, dials down stress and can give you a better posture.

Before you get started: Remember to maintain a smooth and even breath throughout the poses and don’t hold any pose longer than you’re physically able. You can increase the length and deepness of each pose with practice. One sign that you held a pose for too long is that you don’t have enough energy to come out of the position with grace and integrity.

Mountain Pose or “Tadsana” This pose seems so simple, but it is the basic template for all the other postures. It’s a welcoming way to begin connecting with the breath and beginning a yoga practice.

How to do it: Stand stall with your feet together, eyes closes. If you’re stiff, separate your feet slightly. Let your arms rest at your sides, with fingers together.

Modification: If standing is too much of a challenge, lay on your back with the soles of your feet pressed up against a wall. You’ll feel like you’re standing on the floor, but your lower back will get a slight stretch.

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Child’s Pose or “Balasana” This incredibly basic move is a resting pose you can stay for up to a few minutes.

How to do it: Start with your knees and tops of your feet on the floor with the feet together and touching, with your knees apart, rest your belly and chest between the legs. Place your head on the floor, and stretch the arms out in front of you.

Modification: If your head doesn’t reach the floor you can use a block or pillow to rest it on.

yoga-childs-pose

Warrior 2 or “Virabhadrasana II” This pose strengthens the legs; it’s heating and it helps to open the inner thighs.

How to do it: In this standing pose, you step your feet wide apart, about a leg’s distance apart. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees, and then angle your left toes in just slightly. Take your arms out to the side, to be level with the floor and then you bend your right knee so that it takes stacks on top of your ankle. Make a square with that right knee and hold that pose. Then, repeat for the opposite side.

Modification: You can come in and out of the position with each breath if it’s too difficult to hold.

yoga-warrior

Wide-legged Standing Forward Bend or “Ardha Uttanasana” This forward band stretches the hamstrings and the inner thighs.

How to do it: Spread the feet apart, about a leg’s distance. With your quads engaged, hinge forward at your hips with a flat back. Place your hands on the floor, if you can’t reach the floor, use the back of a couch or coffee table to hold onto if you don’t have blocks accessible. If your legs are tight, your back will be harder to straighten; placing your hands on something will keep your back flat.

yoga-wide-legged

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