Tuesday, July 04, 2006

 

Yoga: Relaxation

Relaxation is described as the act or state of being relaxed. Without some form of relaxation, many people find themselves so stressed they cannot cope with their everyday life. Different people do different things to try and relax. Some go fishing while others take exotic vacations.

The problem with these ideas is that although they may start out great, many times something will happen to create more stress instead of creating a relaxing environment. A fishing trip could be ruined by something as simple as a rain storm and many things could go wrong with a vacation trip.

In yoga, relaxation is a condition of complete openness where your body can renew itself through breathing. This is why practicing yoga is a great way to truly relax. You will not have to deal with unexpected problems occurring while you are in a session, so it actually gives your body time to rejuvenate itself.

This is something that every person could use in his or her life. Individuals get so wrapped up in the world around them that sometimes they feel overwhelmed and like they just can not continue on. Many times people will resort to taking medication to try and feel relaxed but unfortunately, this really doesn’t solve the problem either. To relax your body you need to slow down and revive your mind, giving it a chance to heal itself naturally. Yoga provides an excellent way of doing this.

A relaxation period can include visualization where you spend your time thinking about peaceful images. The meditation you learn to perform helps you to empty your mind of all thoughts which allows your mind to heal itself. This part of yoga helps to increase the amount of calmness you feel and restore your energy to new levels.

Relaxation and concentration go hand in hand. When your body and mind are truly relaxed, you will notice that you can concentrate much better. Everything will seem easier and making decisions will come without difficulty. You will have more confidence in the decisions that you make and you will have an atmosphere about you that others will wish they could achieve.

Relaxation will help to restore your mental state, allowing you to make decisions with a clear head and good judgment. You will have more self-confidence and be able to handle yourself in difficult situations. Spiritual relaxation will clear your mind allowing you to reach an inner peace that you never knew existed.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

 

Relaxation

OKie, here's a whole new chapter... Relaxation!

Not only is it important to warm up before a session it is also necessary to have a relaxation period at the end of each session to help relax your muscles. Always take a few moments after a session to relax your body. Below is listed two great poses to use when in the relaxation stage of your session.

Ø Full Supine Poses - Begin this pose by laying flat on your back with your arms and legs straight, your toes should be pointed outward and the palms of your hands should be pressed together. Inhale while stretching out and exhale while bringing your knees up and your arms down and wrap them around your knees. Bring your chin in toward your chest. You should do three to five rounds.

Ø Corpse Pose - The Corpse Pose is much as the name says. You lie on your back keeping your body very still. Observe your breathing while in this position looking for irregularities. Concentrate on keeping your breathing slow and smooth while in this pose. Keep your eyes closed and your chin forward. Your feet should be apart with your toes pointing out. Imagine yourself floating above the floor, then mentally slowly begin to return to the floor starting from your toes and work your way up to the top of your head. While doing this pose also imagine a since of overall well-being, you will feel a difference when this exercise has been completed.

The Corpse Pose is a great exercise for achieving a sense of relaxation. Performing many of the other poses may cause your body to feel fatigue. Ending a session with the Corpse Pose will make you feel revived and energized. Understanding why relaxing your body and mind is so important will help you to understand why this part of the yoga session is so essential.

There are actually two areas that you need to work on when you are in a relaxation stage. One of them would be your physical body which can be achieved with the exercises listed above. Your muscles will have an opportunity to relax after your workout and rejuvenate themselves. It will help your body to feel energized and ready for the rest of the day.

The other area that you are working on when in the relaxation period would be your mental state. It is just as important to be relaxed mentally as it is to relax your muscles and body.

To be contunued...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

Forward and Backbends

Here's the last position I'll discuss...

Forward bends and backbends can be done from either a seated position or a standing position. However the two listed below are done while in a seated position. Remember to concentrate on your breathing while performing these poses.


Ø Forward Bends - The seated forward bend seems like it would be simple to do but actually doing it correctly could take some practice. Start by lying on your back and inhale as you come up to a sitting position. Keep your toes pointing upward and stretch your arms upward.

Pull in your abdomen, exhale and bend forward. Keep your back straight and bring your chin towards your shins. Do not bend from the middle of your spine. Bring your arms forward as you bend, reach and hold whatever part of your legs that is comfortable without bending your knees.

Ø Bow Pose – This is a backbend pose that is done by lying on your stomach with your head down. Inhale while bending your knees up, reach back while holding your ankles with your hands. Hold this position while exhaling and then inhale while raising your head and chest. At the same time, pull your ankles upward enough to lift your knees and thighs off the floor.

If you suffer from any medical problem, remember to adjust these poses according to your condition. You can also use the aid of props to help you in many of the poses. You have almost completed your yoga session there is just one step left, the relaxation stage.

If there are other positions I've not covered, let me know!

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Inversion poses

These poses are called inversions because you are placing your body in an unusual upside down position. However, they are very stimulating and can make a big difference in the way you feel and the amount of energy you have.

Ø Shoulder Stands – Start by lying flat on your back with your feet together. Bring your legs up to a right angle while inhaling. Place your hands under your buttocks and exhale while lifting your body upward. Slide your hands down your back while pushing your body into position. Continue to raise your body until you come to rest on your shoulders. Keep your legs straight while breathing normally. Hold position for a few seconds then let your feet drop halfway to the floor then unroll your body back to the lying flat position.

Ø Plough Pose – Begin by inhaling and going into a shoulder stand then exhale while lowering your feet to the floor behind you. Lay your arms flat while resting your toes on the floor behind your head. Hold, then slowly lift your feet off the floor and roll into a corpse pose and relax.

Ø Headstands – Kneel on the floor while leaning forward and placing your elbows on the floor. Make sure to keep the distance between your elbows less than the width of your shoulders. Form a cup by interlocking your fingers while your hands are resting on the floor. Next place the crown of your head on the floor inside of your cupped hands. Make sure that the crown of your head is the part that is resting on the floor and not the front or back side of your head.

Hold this position while breathing smoothly then push up onto the balls of your feet. Keep your torso perpendicular with the floor. Next, bring your knees into your chest while exhaling. Then slowly raise your knees upward until they are pointing towards the sky. Hold here for a few seconds while breathing smoothly then straighten the legs upward until you are in a vertical line.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

 

Twist Poses

This is actually my favorite!

Twist poses are a great way to increase the flexibility of your spine. Begin doing twist poses by sitting or kneeling in the floor. Remember to concentrate on your breathing while performing these exercises.

Ø Half Spinal Twists – In this pose, you kneel on your legs with them placed together and your buttocks are resting on your heels. Next, move over until you are sitting to the right side of your feet. Take your left leg and place it over the right with your foot against the outside of your right knee.

Keep your spine straight while performing this exercise. Straighten your arms to the sides and twist around to the left. Bring your right arm down and to the outside of the left knee and place your left hand on the floor. Exhale and twist as far to the left as possible.

Ø Torso Stretch – To perform this twist pose you need to sit on the floor with your palms behind you and placed flat on the floor. Put your legs together and bend your knees while moving them to the left of your body. Have your knees and thighs facing forward while breathing evenly. Next, clasp your ankles and bring your shins in until they touch your hip. Keep your torso straight while performing this action.

Exhale while turning your torso to the right placing your right palm on the floor and your left palm on your right knee. Rotate to place the left side of your body in line with your right thigh. Turn your head to the right, inhale and hold for a few seconds. Next exhale and rotate your spine to the right side. Hold this position for a few seconds then relax.

Ø Spinal Twist – Begin by sitting on a blanket that is folded while pulling your right foot up to your right buttock. Place your hands flat on the floor beside of you. Exhale while making a ninety degree turn to the right; next move your left shoulder forward. Place your left arm on the outside of your right knee and stretch the arm towards the left foot.

Balance your weight with your right foot while exhaling and wrapping your left arm around your knee towards your back. While twisting from your waist lift your right hand from the floor and twist it toward your back till it reaches the fingers on your left hand. Slowly stretch until you can hold your left wrist with your right hand while tilting your head to the left. Hold for a few seconds then release and reverse sides.

I'll write about Inversion poses next...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

 

Sitting Poses

Another hectic week for me.... well, better write a little than never to write at all! Sitting poses...

Sitting poses should follow the standing poses and are great for people that suffer from problems such as arthritis in the knees, ankles and legs. They are also a great way to improve your sitting posture by teaching you how to keep your spine straight.

Ø Lotus Pose – Start by sitting on the floor in a cross leg position. Use your hands to hold your left foot and bring it up onto your right thigh. Do the same with the right foot crossing it over the left leg and placing it on the left thigh. Hold for a minute and then uncross your legs and begin with the opposite foot.

Ø Hero Pose – Start in a cat pose with your hands down while keeping your knees the same width apart as your hips. Separate your feet until they are slightly wider than your hips allowing your hips to fit between them. Keep your feet straight not pointing inward or outward. Your buttocks should sit firmly onto the floor but if it is painful to do so, then you can use a folded blanket until it becomes comfortable. Continue to sit up straight while resting your hands on your lap. Close your eyes and relax for at least one minute while relaxing your shoulders.

Ø Cobra Pose – Start in a sitting position then stretch out into the plank position, place your chest and chin on the floor keeping your elbows next to your thighs and your hips up high. Lower your hips and press your feet into the floor. Slide your chest forward while keeping your hands stationary. Roll your shoulders backwards while lifting your chest high. Keep your rib cage lowered to the floor.

Back to my day.... ;)

Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Performing Different Poses

After the warm-ups you are ready to continue with the rest of your yoga session. The next stage is performing the poses designed for your session. Remember that it is very important to make sure you perform these poses correctly. Below is a list of different poses and instructions on how to perform them. You begin with the standing poses.

Standing Poses

When beginning any of the standing poses you start by standing completely straight with your hands down by your side. Have your palms turned inward towards your thighs. Keep your feet together pointing forward and stand flat not on your heels or toes. Breathe evenly while performing these poses and make the transition from one movement to next with smooth motions.

Ø Triangle Pose – Begin in the standing position then inhale deeply while jumping up and landing with your feet about four foot apart. As you land, your feet should stay in position by remaining pointing forward. At the same time, raise your arms up to your shoulder level. Continue looking straight ahead. At this point, you should turn your right foot slightly inward. While keeping the left leg stretched, turn your left foot to a ninety degree angle. Hold for a minute then reverse sides.

Ø Warrior Pose – Start this pose by inhaling deeply while jumping outward landing with your feet about four foot apart with arms extended. Have the palms of your hands facing down and in a straight line with your body. Next, you need to concentrate on pulling the inside of your legs upward while pressing the outside of your foot towards the floor.

Exhale and turn your right leg to a ninety degree angle while your left foot is turning somewhat to the right. Inhale a deep breath then while exhaling bend your right knee while keeping your right thigh parallel to the floor. Turn your head to the right while stretching the arches of both feet. Hold this pose while breathing smoothly. Resume the standing position and repeat sides.

Ø Side Angle Stretch Pose – Begin in the standing position and inhale while jumping apart with your arms out to your sides. Have your palms facing the floor while stretching your arms. Keep your feet in line and pointing forward. Slowly exhale while rotating your right foot to a ninety degree angle and turn your left foot slightly to the right.

Stretch your left leg while letting your weight rest on your heel. Form a right angle by bending your right knee then breathe a few times. Next, exhale while placing your right palm beside your foot and extending your left arm directly over your head. Look upward at your left arm while holding the pose, then resume the original position and reverse sides.

Ø Chest Stretch Pose – Start in the standing position and begin by rotating your arms to loosen the muscles, then place your arms behind your back, put your fingertips together and have them pointing upward. If this is too difficult for you to do then simple place your palms on opposite elbows. The object is to push your shoulders backwards to expand your chest. Inhale while jumping up and extending your feet apart when landing.

When your weight is distributed evenly, exhale slowly. Inhale while turning your right foot to a ninety degree angle to the right while rotating your body to the right from your waist. Keep your body in line with your right leg while tilting your head and chest in an upward position. Next, you want to exhale while bending forward keeping your knees straight and come to rest with your chin on your right knee. Resume the original position and reverse sides.

Ø Forward Stretch – In the standing position, raise your arms up with your palms facing forward. Take a couple breaths while stretching towards the sky. Exhale and bend forward at the waist and place your palms on the floor. If you cannot reach the floor comfortably, then stretch as far as you can. Move your hands backwards towards your heels while raising your palms off the floor. Exhale and push your chest inward until your chin touches your knees. Breathe slowly while holding this pose then resume the standing position and repeat.

Next, I shall write about the other poses as follow:
Be good ;)

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