Monday, February 7, 2011

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga.

So one of my favorite things to do during my "me" time is yoga. Not only does it help your flexibility, but also your balance, focus, and relaxation.

Flexibility: Yoga helps you begin to stretch your body. Each pose can stretch a different part of your body from your legs to your arms, to your back. Not only does stretching like this feel amazing, but it will also help your body move more easily throughout the day.

Balance: Yoga is amazing for your balance. At first, it may be really hard to hold a pose more than a few seconds, however, the more you do it you will be able to hold each pose longer without needed to use something to balance. This will help you feel more centered throughout the day.

Focus: It takes a lot of focus to do yoga. When balancing, you need to use your focus to be able to hold the pose. It also causes you to focus on your body as you do the poses. This will help you be able to focus better during the day.

Relaxation: Yoga is very relaxing in nature. It gives you a chance to focus on yourself and your body. The longer you do it, the more relaxing each pose can become. You begin to find new ways to calm your body and relax your mind.

Here are a few realistic, everyday examples of where yoga can be beneficial:

1. If you work at a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, try this pose:

Find a area of the wall with nothing on it. Lay on your back with your butt as close to the wall as possible and your legs tucked into your body. begin to straighten your legs up against the wall so that your body creates an "L" shape against the wall. Scoot your butt as close to wall and lay back and allow your legs to rest against the wall.

How this helps: By putting your legs up against the wall, you allow the blood to flow from your feet throughout your body. When standing on your feet all day it's harder for your body to circulate the blood that flows down to your feet. This pose will help take some of the pressure off your feet and ease some pain and discomfort you may experience.

Add a little challenge: You can add a bit of a challenge to this pose by adding a blanket under your lower back.

2. Here is a pose that not only helps with balance, but is also a great stretch for your thighs:

Stand with your legs together and put your arms our parallel to the floor, hands facing down. step your right foot forward so that your legs create a "V" shape and face your right leg. Point your right food towards the front. While remaining standing flat on your left foot, begin to slowly turn your foot so your toes point between 90 and 45 degrees of the front. (you want to turn your foot inward towards your body to avoid injury, however, it may take a few times to get used to this foot positioning). Once your feet are in place, begin to lean into your right leg working towards making your thigh parallel with the floor (don't be alarmed if you can't get there right away, you will with time). Point your right arm towards your right foot and your left arm towards your left foot. Hold then repeat with the left leg.

How this helps: This pose not only help with balance, but it also helps stretch and strengthen the ankles and provides support for your back. It is also a great stretch for sore thigh and calf muscles.

Add a little challenge: You can make this pose more challenging my raising your arms above your head holding them next to your ears parallel to eachother.

3. The Final pose is a little more tricky but it's great if you want a bit of a challenge and you want more balance (one of my favorites poses):

Begin by standing with your legs together and your hands to your side. Take a few deep breaths and try to really focus your mind. If you need to find an item in front of you to focus on. Bring your right foot up near left knee. Place the bottom of your foot on the side of your knee. Bring your palms together near your heart. Focus on the item in front of you, take a deep breath and (if you can) begin to slowly raise your hands above your head. Repeat with left leg. Don't be alarmed if you can't do this pose right away. It took me several tries to be able to hold this pose.

How this helps: This a great pose to help create more balance in your body. It also helps with focus because you have to focus inward to find the balance.

Add a little challenge: If you feel you can do this pose easily, begin to pull your leg up each time you do it, holding it closer to your thigh. Eventually you will be able to immediately pull your foot and rest it on your thigh rather than your knee.

These are a few of my favorite poses. :) Let me know what you think or if you have some other poses you enjoy or would like to try!

Take some time for yourself tonight.

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