Monday, July 13, 2009

Simple Yoga

Yoga offers many poses but when practiced regularly together, the combination offers full body benefits. So even if you don't have time to do an entire yoga class, view suggestions below for the top 10 yoga poses that can be completed in as little as 20 minutes. These have been selected in an effort to touch on all the major muscle groups and effectively massage the digestive and respiratory systems. It's important to note that the order of the following poses isn't important. Poses 1-4 can be practiced before or after the Sun Salutation. A Sun Salutation, however, typically follows the same basic sequence and is used to evoke our energy centers and warm the body. ~Namaste

Take up to 20 minutes for poses 1-4, build up energy "highs", attempt to close eyes and focus on the warmth you are creating in your body.

1.) Spinal Flex Pose - sit with legs crossed, legs apart or soles together in an easy seated pose. Gently relax arms onto lap and touch shins or feet with hands. Inhale, lift chest forward and up. Then begin to round shoulders and drop chin forward on the exhale. Start slowly and begin to increase pace and breath.

Easy Seated Pose

2.) Moving Cat Cow - begin on all four's with a neutral spine; shoulders stacked over wrists, hips stacked over knees. Inhale and create space in the spine and look gently forward, keep shoulders down and away from ear lobes. Exhale and gently round the middle of the spine tucking the chin gently. Begin slowly and then create a rhythm to gently flow by matching movement to the breath.

Cat Pose

Cow Pose

3.) Chair Flow - begin in Mountain pose, standing with feet hip width apart. Inhale bringing arms overhead and exhale as you sit down, as if onto a chair. Repeat and match the inhale to the upward movement and exhale to the sitting movement. Create a flow between body and breath.

Chair Pose Chair Pose

4.) Downward Facing Dog - Relax in Childs pose and extend arms overhead creating space from tailbone to fingertips. Gentaly plant your fingers and toes into mat, lift hips high to the sky and gently bow the head between the arms. A critical shift occurs as you bow so that eyes are looking towards the big toes. Take any pressure off the neck by relaxing head down. Breath deeply for 3-4 breaths and bend knees to rest in Childs pose once more. Repeat. Build stamina in order to hold Downward facing dog for several deep breaths. Hold for up to 1 minute at a time.

Childs Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

5-10.) How to do a Sun Salutation

Practice poses 5-10, five times daily. Attempt in the morning and notice increased energy to "face the day!" If there is one series of poses you can do during the day, a Sun Salutation series is it.

Begin in Mountain Pose

1-2: Upward Salute (backbend optional) - inhale

3: Forward Bend - exhale

4-5: Lunge to Plank - inhale

6-7: Upward Facing Dog - exhale

8: Downward Facing Dog - inhale

9-10: Forward Lunge into Forward Bend - exhale

11-1: Upward Salute (backbend optional) - inhale

Repeat on opposite side

How to do a Sun Salutation

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