Sunday, April 28, 2013

Extreme Yoga Poses

For my blog this week, I decided to research extreme yoga poses for fun!
The ones I found look really cool. I actually tried a couple and could kind of do all three poses!

The first pose is called Mayurasana.

This pose requires large amounts of arm strength and balance. To get into this pose, you rest your body on your forearms, while bending your elbows. Make sure your wrist are rotated back toward your toes. You then lift your feet off the floor while suspending your body in a plank position.

The second pose is called Urdhva Dhanurasana.
To get into this pose, you start from a standing position and then lean back and bend your back until your hands touch the ground. To make this pose more intense, move your feet and hands together. Once satisfied with the pose, try to return to standing using your core strength to pull yourself up.

The third pose is called Scorpion pose.

This pose starts with a forearm stand. You then sway your back and bend your knees until your toes point toward the top of your head. You can make this pose more intense by bringing your toes down to touch your head.

The last part of the article talks about Acro Yoga.
This is a combination of yoga and acrobatics. It is where you partner up and try to complete poses together. You can end up balancing on top of someone else's feet, hands, back, etc. The possibilities are endless. In class last Wednesday we split up into groups and tried a little bit of Acro Yoga. It was very difficult but rewarding at the same time.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Breathing Methods

For my blog this week, I read an article about how to cope with depression, anxiety, and fatigue through breathing and meditation.
For anxiety, it is best to focus on lengthening exhalations. It is best to make your exhalations soft and even from beginning to end. To work on fatigue, you first settle into your everyday break then pause briefly after exhalations. It is good to explore the lengths of your exhalation and inhalations, and to focus on the sound of your inhalations. For depression, it is best not to force your breaths. Start by slowing down your breathing and then counting the lengths of your inhalations and exhalations. Next try to match your inhalation and exhalation lengths to make them even.
These breathing methods like they would be really helpful. I know when I am stressed I try to slow down my breathing and it really helps. Next time I get stressed, I might try these methods out.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Best Yoga Poses for Women

For this week, I looked up an article about the best yoga poses for women. The poses include half pushup, planks pose, plow pose, supported head stand, feathered peacock pose, mountain pose, downward dog, warrior pose, twisted chair, and marichi's pose. These poses were chosen because they have specific benefits that are good for women. For example, the half pushup and plank pose stimulate calcium retention, which is vital for fighting osteoporosis. The plow pose and supported head stand pose invert your body, which is helpful for regulating the thyroid and parathyroid glands. The glands are vital for maintaining hormone production. The twisted chair pose and Marichi's pose benefit a woman's adrenal system and help support your bones. The adrenal system makes adrenaline in the body. These poses, along with downward facing dog, help to quiet this system and alleviate stress. We have done many of these poses in class, including twisted chair, warrior pose, downward dog, plank, mountain pose, and half pushup. I would like to try the others though, specially feathered peacock and supported headstand pose.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Yoga Breakdancing

For my blog this week, I found something a little different. I was looking through cool breakdancing videos and found one of this guy doing what he calls "yoga breakdancing." It is truly amazing. He mixes yoga poses with his breakdancing moves. Throughout the video, he demonstrates strength and fluidity as he easily/quickly switches between poses. He transforms difficult poses into astonishing dance sequences. All I can say is that my new life goal is to be able to dance like this guy!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yoga for Fatigue

For my blog this week, I read an article about yoga and fatigue. I have currently been suffering from fatigue and can not seem to get enough sleep or have enough energy to get through the day. The article gives tips on some basic poses that can help with fatigue. The first is Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara. Sun Salutation is a series of poses meant to warm you up and establish a link between your movement an breath. It consists of starting in mountain pose, bringing your arms up to the sky then bending down into a forward fold. From here you step back into a plank, then lower yourself and move into upward facing dog. You then move into downward facing dog. Next bend your knees and step forward into a forward fold. Finally lift halfway up, move back into forward fold, then lift all the way up with your hands towards the sky and bring your hands to your heart. Sun Salutation can be repeated as many times as needed.
The article also explains that forward fold pose, fish pose, and headstands help with fatigue. Fish pose is a pose I have not currently done but it sounds very interesting. To start fish pose, you first lay on your back with bent knees and your arms at your side. You then arch your back and raise it off the ground while pressing down your elbows. The head is then tilted back to rest on the floor. This pose seems like it would be great at opening up your back and diaphragm.
For this next week, I am going to try and do these poses once a day and see if they help with my fatigue.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Benefits of Headstands/Shoulder stands

For my blog this week, I read an article about headstands and shoulder stands. There area many benefits associated with these two positions. When practicing these positions, your body is inverted. Inversion increases blood flow to your brain and heart.
There are many benefits to practicing shoulder stands, which include curing colds and nasal disturbances, soothing nerves, strengthening upper body, legs, and abdomen,  and stretching neck/shoulder/back muscles. The benefits to practicing headstands include ensuring proper blood flow, rejuvenating thinking power, strengthening spine/neck/shoulder/arm muscles, and relieving colds, coughs, tonsillitis, bad breath, and palpitations. Practicing both positions daily "brings health and vitality to the body while calming and soothing the mind and spirit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Warrior II Pose

 The three warrior poses were made to represent the warrior Virabhadra. Virabhadra, according to Hindu mythology, was a warrior created by a lord named Shiva. Shiva had married the daughter of his enemy. Shiva's enemy, Daksha, never approved of the marriage and there was always animosity between Shiva and Daksha. Shiva's wife, Sati, killed herself because of the fighting between her husband and her father. Shiva was so distraught by his wife's death that he created the fiercest warrior to destroy those who had caused the death of Sati.


 The warrior II pose has many benefits. One benefit is that it stretches your hips, groins, and shoulders. Other benefits are that it opens your chest and lungs, it builds stamina and concentration, it energizes tired limbs, helps relieve backaches, and improves circulation and respiration.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Yoga and Skiing

Today I went skiing for the first time. Yay!!!! This made me wonder if yoga can help you ski better. The article I read about skiing and yoga explains that yoga can help by helping with injury prevention. The article explains that skiing can be very hard on your knees. This is because your knees absorb most of the impact from terrain on downhills runs. The knees take even more of the force if your gluteus, quadriceps, and back muscles are weak because these are the muscles that provide the power for skiing. In order to reduce the stress to knees, you can do poses that lengthen and strengthen the four sides of your upper leg. The article also explains that skiers need to have an awareness of their core and center, like in yoga. This allows a skier to turn efficiently and have quick reactions to unexpected situations.
Certain yoga poses can also help with proper ski form. For example, when skiing, your feet should be shoulder-width apart like in Mountain Pose, your knees should be in line with your toes like in Chair Pose, and your shoulders should be dropped/relaxed like Tadasana.
This article has been very helpful and I am going to try these tips for injury prevention and ski form next time I go skiing!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yoga and Strength Training

For my blog this week, I read an article explaining the debate between practicing yoga and strength training. The article explains that when you want to build muscle strength and mass, strength training is better. This is because when you practice yoga, you are limited to your own body weight. When you practice strength training, you can increase the amount of weight you use. Strength training is also better for preventing bone loss by practicing resistance training that helps bones become stronger by causing the muscles and tenons to pull on the bones. This stimulates the bone cells to produce more bone. Overall, the article explains that neither practice is better for overall fitness. The best thing to do is combine the practices. Strength training will strengthen the body and boost your metabolism while yoga will keep your body flexible and keep your mind calm.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yin Yoga

Last week in class we did yin yoga. It was a very interesting experience. I felt as if it was a mix between meditation and holding yoga poses. I really like the experience and now want to learn more about yin yoga, so more my blog this week I read an article explaining the basic concepts of this practice.
Yin Yoga is a meditative approach to yoga that focuses on accessing deeper tissues, like the connective tissues and fascia. It also focuses on areas in the body where there are joints, like the hips and spine. When we did yin yoga in class the other day, we focused on stretching out the hips. I had not realized how tight my hips were until we held these positions. I have been doing a couple of the positions we did in class at home this past week in order to become more flexible in my hips.
The article explains how this practice allows you to become more intimate with your emotions and sensations. This practice also helps you learn to accept what is happening in life because it makes you sit still in uncomfortable positions for long periods of times. Doing this asks you to learn to accept what is in that given moment.
After learning more about Yin Yoga, I am even more interested in it and plan to practice it more outside of class.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Yoga for Your Feet

Throughout my life if have suffered from foot problem that ranged from plantar fasciitis to tendinitis. For my blog this week, I have found an article explaining how yoga can help with these types of foot pain. The article explains that yoga can help strengthen the muscles in your feet and help heal  inflammation.
The article also explains some techniques to use when your are doing yoga in order to decrease foot pain. These include, working the toes, making sure to be square and to distribute your weight across your feet, and make sure to do poses that stretch and strengthen your feet. Theses poses include downward-facing dog and hero pose with the toes tucked under.
Overall this was a very interesting article. I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques to see if they help with my foot pain.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolving Conflict Through Yoga

For this week, I read an article explaining how conflicts can be resolved using yoga techniques. In the article, it explains that conflict begins when "we turn things around by mis-identifying with the ego self." Using what yoga teaches us, we are able to step outside the ego self and look at our true self instead. This helps with our ability to listen to others and their point of view on the situation. When we gain perspective on our true self, we can enter a state of serenity. In this state we can stay calm and serene even when faced with problems or conflict.
The article also talks about how yoga conflict resolution techniques were used during the Cold War to help the Soviets and the Americans to "build understanding and trust" between each other. I thought this was interesting because it showed how yoga resolution techniques are actually an accredited set of techniques for resolving conflict.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yoga for Anxiety

One of the reasons I decided to take yoga this year was because I tend to be very stressed and anxious a lot of the time. I thought that yoga could help. For this post I read an article about yoga for anxiety and panic attacks.
In the article, it talked about many yogic tools and techniques that can be used. They include breathing practices, meditation/self-study, and asana practice, which says that it will burn off the nervous energy that contributes to anxiety. Today in class we practiced meditation. It was a very rewording exercise that allowed me to relax and take away some of the anxiety that had already started to form. It allowed me to get my to-do list out of my head for a moment and focus on relaxing myself.
The article also talks about how the philosophy of yoga can help with anxiety. One philosophy that it explains is that no one can control what is going to happen. If I try to live by this, then it would take away some of my anxiety because most of my anxiety is caused from worrying about events that I have no control over. One phrase from the article that really stuck with me is a quote by Ramana Mararshi, which says, "take care of the present, and the future will take care of itself.