Health

The Basics of Yoga

Getting to this time of year, I do wonder how many people are still using there gym membership they bought in January. A new years resolution that stuck until February… March? Well I was one of them… I even had a personal trainer but without accountability I didn’t continue to use the gym after my 10 sessions.

So I have been a loyal investor of £10 a month to Exercise4Less until now… when I quit officially. I find home exercise much more appealing, especially in the winter months. In my opinion its too cold and dark to venture out. Sometimes even a home HIIT session is too much for me but Yoga… I always have time for yoga.

I wonder if anyone else has a favourite fitness… for some its running, gym, HIIT but ofr me it’s definitely yoga!

23316101_10214276152208501_926544167_n

So what is Yoga?

 

Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation. It was developed in India over 5000 years ago!

  • The poses or postures are a series of movements that increase strength and flexibilty
  • Controlling your breathing helps control your body and quietens your mind
  • Meditation is where you learn to be more mindful and be present in the moment

A number of studies have found that Yoga…

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • enhances your mood
  • creates a sense of well-being
  • improves your balance, flexibility and strength
  • reduces risk factors for chronic disease like heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Helps alleviate conditions such as depression, pain and insomnia.

Plus…it’s an exercise that almost anyone can do too!

In my Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we took a yoga pose each day to master and I invite you to take a look too.

 

 

Foundations of Yoga

The foundation to yoga is simply breathing. This connects your mind and body

Let’s say your at work and your boss critics your work, your not meeting deadline or don’t have the right equipment to do your job. You tense up, you feel your head pounding, your jaw tighten… this is a perfect moment to practice by just breathing.

  • Take a few moments
  • Sit in your chair, feet flat on the floor and observe your breathing.
  • Don’t change it just observe it. Your heart might be racing or you may be holding your breath.
  • Then try to gently lengthen each breathe on each inhale and exhale.
  • Count silently to three… then four… then five.
  • Your heart rate will slow
  • Your neck, shoulder and jaw will loosen
  • You may even say your relaxed

This frame of mind will be able to handle the situation much better. May be worth a try the next time life pushes your buttons.

Childs

 

Let’s start with Childs Pose…

  1. Kneel on the floor… touch your big toes together and sit on your heels
  2. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips
  3. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs
  4. Lay your hand on the floor alongside your torso, palms up

This is a resting pose that you can stay in from 30 seconds to a few minutes

Why do Childs Pose?

  • It stretches the hips and thighs
  • It calms the brain and relives stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain
  • Stimulates your digestion

Step further?

  1. T o increase the length in your torso, stretch your arms forward
  2. Lift your bum slightly away from your heels
  3. Reach the arms longer while you draw your shoulders back
  4. Without moving your hand, sit your bum back on the heels

Cat Cow

 

Cat-Cow Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips
  2. Point your finger tips forward
  3. Centre your head and look downwards
  4. Cow Pose – Inhale as you drop your belly, lift your chin and chest and gaze upwards
  5. Cat Pose – Exhale as you draw your belly up and round your back towards the ceiling (like a stretching cat)
  6. Release your head looking towards the floor but don’t put your chin yo your chest
  7. Repeat 5-20 times and then rest by sitting back on your heels and moving into Child pose for a few minutes

Troubleshooting

  • If your wrists hurt, place your forearms on the floor
  • If your knees hurt double over your mat or put a blanket under your knees

Benefits of acting like a cow?

  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Stimulates the kidneys
  • Calms the mind
  • Develops postural awareness and can reduce back pain when practised regularly

Warrior

Are you a fierce warrior?

  1. Begin in a tall strong posture (Mountain Pose)
  2. Step or lightly jump your feet apart
  3. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and out to the sides
  4. Turn your right foot to the right slightly and left foot the left 90 degrees
  5. Turn your left thigh outward
  6. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle
  7. Stretch your arms
  8. Pull your tailbone in
  9. Turn your head to the left and look over your fingers
  10. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute
  11. Reverse the feet and repeat on the right side

Apart from feeling super powerful the warrior pose is great for

  • Strengthening your legs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backache
  • Improves circulation

 

Tree

Want to improve your sense of balance… tree pose is for you!

  1. Start in your mountain pose and focus on your breathe
  2. Once settled, shift your weight slightly onto the left foot and bend your right knee
  3. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle
  4. Draw your right foot up onto your inner left thigh
  5. If you can press the right heel into your inner left groin with toes pointing down
  6. Rest your hands on your hips
  7. Then slowly press your hands together and faze at a fixed point in front of you
  8. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute
  9. Step back into mountain pose and do the same on the other leg

Troubleshooting

  • If you feel really unsteady and wobbly, stand with your back against a wall

This pose it great for improving your balance!

Take it a step further…

  • Practice with your eyes closed
  • Stretch your arms straight up
  • or form a V with your arms

Within the Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we shared our poses to build up a sense of accountability to practising daily! I hope these poses have given you a taster into the world of yoga. A rug is all you need to do yoga from home.

I personally love Yoga with Adriene’s you tube channel, I regularly see her in my morning’s and I have continued to increase my flexibility, core strength and balance as well as peace of mind throughout her sessions.

Go the Distance for your Health and Wellbeing