Getting the most out of your Yoga practice

 

Hari Om, Yogistas!

 

I would like to introduce a short series about Yoga and how it effects us as we practice.

Virabhadrasana 1

Virabhadrasana 1

Creative Commons License photo credit: lululemon athletica

Yoga is known as a calming, refreshing, though sometimes challenging, practice of stretches, balances and twists. Typically synchronised with the breath, often including more esoteric practices like mudras and mantras.

 

Why do yoga?

 

People come to yoga for many reasons: to manage stress; because they have an injury and want something more gentle until they can continue their sport; they may do it because it sounds cool; because it’s offered as part of their gym package; they may have heard it’s good for a particular ailment.
In truth the multiplicity of styles of yoga offer something for everyone. (see My other articles – to come)
Up tempo dynamic yoga flow to music; hot yoga for a real work out; Iyengar yoga for precision and safety; Gentle or Chair yoga for the less active person; there is yoga with singing; yoga for sportsman; yoga for any age children; you name it!! Even laughter yoga!!

 

For those of us who have moved from newbie to yogi, yoga has a special place in our lives which no other discipline can encompass.

 

What is an asana?

 

The poses are called asanas. Asana means ‘sitting pose’, but has come to apply to all poses in the yoga canon.
Every pose is named after a natural thing that the pose resembles, or the name of a sanskrit god or sage to whom it is dedicated.
To our eye chandrasana may not look like a half moon, though bhujangasana can definitely be seen to resemble a cobra. The bow, the wheel, the cat, all have individual characteristics, and sometimes, just thinking of the name gives the practitioner more insight into how to do the pose better.
Poses may be referred to in sanskrit or english, and confusingly, some traditions use the same name for differing poses. But yoga is very old, and until recently, had never been standardised.

 

So what is so special about yoga?

 

I have written some short articles in this series, to look at what yoga actually does to us, that makes it all work so well! And be so effective! And makes YOU feel so gooooooood!

 

What will yoga do for me?

 

You can find yoga routines for every type of ailment and requirement you can imagine.
To build bone mass, lose weight; for golfers, cyclists, runners, violinists; for depression, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes – the list goes on forever.
And they all work!
Yoga can be done almost anywhere, at home with a dvd, in a studio, on a beach, even on a boat.

 

So, I am not really trying to do a sales job on you, but I guess you can see I love this stuff, and I’d love to tell you why.

 

Bookmark to see each article as it is posted, Follow me on Twitter for notifications.

  • Muscles – Yoga helps strengthen and tone your muscles. It balances oppositional muscles, encouraging release as well as stretch. It develops and maintains range of movement, working muscles evenly along length and breadth. You choose how hard you work!
  • Bones – Strong toned muscles help build strong dense bones, with the important qualities of stability, shock absorption and density. Here’s how!
  • Digestion – Turning yourself into a human pretzel has the added benefit of toning the smooth muscle of the digestive system. All that twisting and folding in the middle, energises and revitalises all your insides as you hold the pose a little longer!
  • Circulation – Movement is key to health, vitality and well-being. A healthy heart, and good waste disposal system leaves you feeling light and energetic.
  • Breathing – The most important and easy-to-overlook attribute is good breathing. We all do it all the time. But are we any good at it?
  • Nervous system – We say, “Oh that make me nervous”, or “That gets on my nerves”. Can we do anything to soothe, calm and pacify those feelings? Can we tone the nerves as we work the rest of the body? Is that why yogis look so chilled?
  • Glandular system – The endocrine system can all be a bit of a mystery to most people. “I know I have a thyroid and I want it to work properly, and I certainly know I have girly bits (or boyly bits), but not sure quite how they work or how to look after them properly”.
  • Secrets of the skin, the eyes, ears, nose and taste buds. – How to soothe, tone, release and enjoy!
  • Mysteries of the energy system – Chi, qi, prana – is it real? Where does it come from? Does it make a difference?
  • Mindfulness, being comfortable in your own skin, accepting your own intrinsic worth, coming into your power!!

I hope you enjoy the series. I am interested in your feedback, as well as suggestions for future posts!

 

Namaste! Yogistas. ;-))

 

 

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