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Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice

Kyran Doyle

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Yoga-Standing-Poses-Wise-life-lessons

Standing yoga poses are a great way to improve your balance, posture and mobility. Doing these poses regularly will allow you to build strength and lay a foundation for a safe yoga practice.

Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and strength in your body, it also helps to strengthen the mind. Yoga improves your balance, posture, endurance, co-ordination, concentration, circulation, breathing and energy. In this article we will go over some standing yoga poses to use in your practice.

 

Contents

Beginner’s Level Standing Yoga Poses

If you’re new to yoga these beginner level standing yoga poses will give you a strong foundation to build upon in your practice.

 

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

yoga standing mountain pose

The mountain pose is the foundation of all standing poses. It might not look like much but the mountain pose is an important starting position, resting pose and tool to improve posture which leads to many other standing poses in yoga. The mountain pose also helps to provide a sense of groundedness, stability and confidence in your practice.

Performing your Mountain Pose:

  • Start with your feet together or hip width apart and balance your weight evenly across the balls and the heels of your feet, (make sure you do not lean forward or backwards).
  • Keep your arms out to the side.
  • Breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Let go of any negative thoughts and just focus on the present moment.
  • Next up, pull your knee caps up, tuck your tailbone under and squeeze the thighs (keep your legs straight but not locking the knees).
  • Make sure your hips are aligned and over your ankles.
  • Lift and spread your toes.
  • Slightly tuck your chin towards your sternum but keeping your neck in a natural position as it is an extension of the spine.
  • The crown of the head should be pressing up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep your shoulders back and down in a relaxed position, with your chest lifted and reaching your fingertips towards the ground.
  • Now you can either stay at this level or if your body feels ok and you want a little bit more then you can bring your hands to your heart in the prayer position and keep your gaze forward.
  • Or if your want even more you can, inhale taking your arms up into a H position, keeping your palms facing inwards.
  • Reach up with your fingers, keep the crown of your head up and take upto 8 breathes here.
  • To finish the pose, if you are not already at the prayer position, then as you exhale come into the prayer then release.

 

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

yoga standing forward bend pose

Standing forward bend is a smooth transition from mountain pose and you will find a deep stretch in the entire back body.

Beginner’s Level

Performing your Standing Forward Bend:

  • Start with your feet together and a slight bend in the knees.
  • Inhale deeply and as your exhale fold your upper body over your legs from your hips (not from your lower back).
  • Bring your hands to the mat, either to the sides of your feet or in front of you, (keep a slight bend to the elbows or even use a block).
  • Hang the crown of your head down.
  • Ground the heels of your feet to the mat and lift your sit bones up to the ceiling, rotate your thighs slightly inward (do not lock your knees).
  • Engage and draw up your inner thighs towards the ceiling, keep your hips inlined over the ankles and the weight in the balls of your feet.
  • On each inhalation, gently lift your torso and lengthen, then as you exhale reach a little deeper into the pose.
  • Keep the pose going for up to 10 breathes, the to release bring your hands to your hips, keeping your back flat and pulling down through the sit bones, gently rise up in to Mountain Pose.

 

Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

yoga standing warrior 1 pose

There are three variations of the warrior pose. The Warrior I pose stretches the shoulders, chest, lungs, abdomen and groin. It strengthens the back muscles, shoulders and arms. It stretches and strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing Warrior I Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Step your right foot to the back of the mat, placing it on a 45 degree angle and grounding the heel down (aligning your right heel with your left heel).
  • Bend your left knee on to a 90 degree angle, keeping both hips facing forward.
  • As you inhale, reach both arms up above your head with the palms facing inwards (keeping your shoulders back and down).
  • As you exhale, turn your torso to the right and try to align your pelvis with the front of the mat.
  • Press your left foot into the ground and arch your upper back slightly.
  • As you exhale, bend your right knee over your right ankle, so the shin is facing the floor.
  • Keep your ribcage lifted and reach out through your arms, keep your gaze forward.
  • If you want a little more out of the pose you can, bring the palms together above the head and reach further and tilt your gaze towards your thumbs.
  • Stay in this position for up to 10 breathes.
  • To release the pose inhale deeply, press the back heel into the ground, straightening your back whilst reaching through your arms.
  • Turn the feet forward and either keep reaching your arms up or release them when you exhale. (Take a few breaths here before alternating to the other side).
  • Finally return to Mountain Pose.

 

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

yoga standing pose warrior 2

Warrior II stretches and strengthens the body in the one movement, allowing you to feel like a strong warrior. This pose will build strength your ankles, legs, glutes, core, back and shoulders.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Warrior II Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain pose.
  • Step your right foot to the back of the mat, placing it on a 45 degree angle and grounding the heel down (aligning your right heel with your left heel).
  • Keep your legs straight and firm, whilst pressing the four corners of your feet into the ground.
  • As you inhale keep your arms parallel to the floor and make sure your shoulders are back and down.
  • As you exhale bend your left knee (keep it over the ankle) and the left thigh should be parallel with the floor, (feet should be aligned heel to heel).
  • Press the big left toe into the ground to stay balanced and push the right thigh back.
  • Engage your abdomen, tuck your tailbone under and your shoulders should be aligned with the hips.
  • Lengthen through the neck and reach into the finger tips, bring your gaze to over the left hand (should be at the front).
  • Hold the pose for 8 breaths here.
  • To release the pose press into your feet and as you exhale straighten your legs.(Take a few breaths here before alternating to the other side).
  • Finally return to Mountain Pose.

 

Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

yoga standing pose reverse warrior

Reverse Warrior is a variation of the warrior II pose that provide a great stretch in the side body.

Intermediate Level.

NEEDS MOVING TO INTERMEDIATE

Performing the Reverse Warrior Pose:

  • Begin in the Warrior II Pose.
  • Tuck your tail bone under and engage your abdomen.
  • Your back hand should be placed on the thigh of your back leg.
  • As you inhale, the front arm now reaches straight up past the head and if you can, turn your gaze to up towards the raised arm.
  • The front knee should be kept bent and press into the feet keeping the legs strong.
  • The shoulders should be relaxed and sink your hips down.
  • Hold this pose for up to six breathes.
  • To release this pose, as you inhale bring your arms parallel to the floor and come back onto Warrior II.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

yoga chair pose

The Chair Pose mainly strengthens your arms and thighs but it is also toning your buttocks, hips, abdomen, back and shoulders.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Chair Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • On inhalation reach your arms up so they are perpendicular with the floor, bring your hands either to face each other or if you can you could bring them together.
  • As you exhale, bend your knees and press your buttocks out as if you were about to sit on a chair (keep the tailbone tucked towards the floor and keeping the back straight and long.
  • Press and engage the legs towards each other and spread the weight evenly.
  • Bring the torso on an right angle to hug in towards the tops of the thighs.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back towards each other.
  • Hold the pose for up to 8 breaths.
  • To release the pose, on exhalation firmly press into the feet and straighten your legs, bring your arms down to your sides and end in Mountain Pose.

 

Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Upward Salute

The Upward Salute strengthens the arms and shoulders, aswell as lengthens the side waist.

Beginner’ Level.

Performing the Upward Salute:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Inhale and raise your arms out and above your head, bringing the fingertips together reaching up. (Keep the crown of your head upright).
  • Shoulders should be back and down.
  • Press the feet firmly into the floor.
  • Bring the thumbs towards the back of your crown and gaze up slightly.
  • You can stay here or if it feels comfortable on exhalation you can,  press the left hip out to the side and arch into the right side.
  • Engage your legs and buttocks.
  • Stay in the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose on inhalation press into the feet into the ground and and reach the arms back up towards the sky, then dropping them back down in prayer position and finally into Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Extended side angle

The Extended Side Angle Pose strengthens the legs whilst opening the side of the body and stimulates the abdominal organs.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Extended Side Angle:

  • Begin in Warrior I or Warrior II Pose.
  • Bend the front knee and bend the same elbow and place it down to the knee.
  • Inhale the opposite arm up towards the sky, reaching through the finger tips.
  • On exhalation, bring the arm to the ear making a straight line through the side of the body.
  • Press the hips down to the floor, keeping the front knee bent over the ankle. (If you want to go a bit further bring the hand from your knee down to the floor next to the outside of your foot and press the knee into the side of your arm).
  • The tail bone should be tucked under.
  • Hold the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose, push the feet into the floor and inhaling reaching up through the arm and back into an upright position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Then finally come back into Mountain Pose.

 

High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalansana)

High Lunge

The High Lunge stretches the groin and legs whilst strengthening the lower body. It also opens the chest and hips and lengthens the spine.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the High Lunge Pose:

  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog.
  • As you inhale lift the right leg up behind you and as you exhale bring it through to the front placing the foot flat to the ground between your hands, (the knee should be aligned above the ankle).
  • The left leg should be strong.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles up and in, lifting your torso upright and arms should come up at the same time bringing them out to the side and above your head, palms should be facing towards each other.
  • Shoulders should be back and down and open the chest.
  • Keep the tail bone tucked under and reach through your back heel.
  • Bring your gaze up to your fingertips.
  • Hold the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose, exhale and bring your hands back down to the floor.
  • On the next exhalation, bring your right foot back into Downward Facing Dog Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Pyramid (Parsvottanasana)

Pyramid

The Pyramid Pose invigorates the brain, heart and thyroid. It strengthens the hamstrings and the lower back.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Pyramid Pose:

  • Begin from High Lunge Pose.
  • Keep the left foot forward and step the right foot back (heels down and facing forward) enough to straighten both legs.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back and gently round the spine bringing your forehead towards the left knee. (You may be able to lift your arms away from your back to deepen the stretch).
  • Keep the legs strong and firmly press your feet into the ground.
  • Hold this pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose unlock your fingers and as you inhale, lift your torso, step the right foot back and bend the left knee into the High Lunge Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Goddess Squat (Utkata Konasana)

Goddess Squat

The Goddess Squat stimulates the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It opens the chest and hips whilst toning and strengthening the lower body.

Beginner’s level.

Performing the Goddess Squat:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Bring your feet so they are about 3 feet apart on a 45 degree angle.
  • Bring your arms to shoulder height and bend your elbows up onto a 90 degree angle with your palms facing each other.
  • On exhalation bend your knees in to a squatting position, (make sure your knees are above the ankles and pressing back).
  • The hips should be forward.
  • Drop the shoulders back and down whilst drawing your shoulder blades back.
  • Keep the chest lifted.
  • Feel strong in your arms with your fingers spread but imagine you are holding a block .
  • Keep the gaze forward.
  • Hold the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose as you inhale straighten the legs and extend your arms up to the sky and then back down to your sides ending in Mountain Pose.

 

Standing Back Bend (Anuvittasana)

 The Standing Pose

The Standing Back Bend opens the front of the body whilst strengthening the respiratory and cardiovascular system.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Standing Back Bend:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Bring the palms of your hands to your lower back (fingertips facing down and elbows tucked in).
  • Press the feet firmly into the ground and pull up the knee caps up.
  • Engage your thighs and buttocks.
  • Pushing your hips forward and start to arch the torso back, either keep the head looking forward or gently drop it backwards if it feels safe to do so.
  • Your arms should be supporting the weight.
  • Hold the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release the pose keep the arms and legs strong and as you inhale slowly bring your torso back up (letting your neck and head be the last to come up). Finally come back into Mountain Pose.

 

Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

wide legged forward bend

The Wide Legged Forward Bend stretches and strengthens the ankles, inner and outer legs. It stretches the spine and it can help relieve headaches and fatigue as it stimulates the circulation to the brain.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Wide Legged Forward Bend Pose:

  • Begin from Mountain Pose.
  • Step your legs wide apart (as wide as feels comfortable), make sure your feet are parallel to each other.
  • Press into the outer edges of the feet and ground down the big toes.
  • Engage your thighs and bring your hands to your hips.
  • As you inhale lengthen through the upper body and as you exhale, from the hips your are folding forward (keeping the hips over the heels).
  • The back should be straight and the chest open.
  • Press your hands in to floor directly under the shoulders (keeping the arms straight).
  • Bring your gaze to the front.
  • If you want to go a little further then you can bend your elbows above the hands (the elbows should be angled back) and bend from the hips further. The neck should be long and the head down, maybe even resting the crown on the floor.
  • Stay in the pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release from the pose, inhale and walk the hands forward (under the shoulders again)keep the legs straight and pressing into the ground. As you exhale bring the hand to the hips, keeping the back straight. The next inhalation press in to the feet and gently bring your back up right.
  • Finally come back into Mountain Pose.

 

Tiptoe Pose (Prapadasana)

tiptoe yoga

The Tiptoe Pose strengthens the core stability, improves balance and keeps the reproductive system healthy.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Tiptoe Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Bend you knees and lift your heels off the floor as you lower your hips towards the heels.
  • Place your fingertips to the floor.
  • Bring the knees towards each other and down.
  • Keep your gaze focused on the same spot to help you balance .
  • As you inhale bring your hand to your heart in prayer position.
  • The chest should be pressed forwards and the shoulders back and down.
  • You can stay here or if you want a little bit more on inhalation you can gently twist to one side (remember to alternate side once your have finished the first side) or you can raise your arms above the head.
  • Hold the position for upto eight breaths.
  • To release the pose slowly lower the hands to the floor and bring your feet back into Downward facing Dog pose.

 

Shiva Twist (Parivrtta Natarajasana)

shiva twist

The Shiva Twist stretches and strengthens the chest, shoulders, core muscles, groin, thighs, knees and ankles. It improves your mood and concentration.

Beginner’ s Level.

Performing the Shiva Twist Pose:

  • Begin in Mountains Pose.
  • Place your hands on your hips and slightly bend your right knee, (bring all the weight to the left leg).
  • As you inhale lift your right knee up as high as feels right.
  • Focus your eyes on one spot to help with balancing.
  • Bring your arms up with your elbows bent and palms should be facing towards the front.
  • Engage your legs and on exhalation twist your torso to the right and focus your gaze on a new spot.
  • Keep the left leg strong and bring your left elbow to your right knee.
  • Hold this pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release from the pose slowly exhale rotate your torso back to the front, bringing your arms down and hands to the hips. Dropping the Right leg back to the ground and coming into Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

NEEDS PICTURE

 

Tree (Vrikshasana)

yoga standing tree pose

The Tree Pose strengthens the ankles, knees and thigh muscles. It helps to improve posture and balance.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Tree Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Keeping the spine long, reach for your left ankle and place the sole of the foot either above the inner right ankle, above the inner knee or nice and high up the thigh.
  • Tuck the tailbone towards the floor, standing nice and tall, find a focus point to help maintain your balance.
  • Press the sole of the left foot into your right leg engaging where they have contact.
  • Make sure both hips are aligned and facing forwards, keeping the left knee pushing out to the left.
  • If it feels comfortable you can raise your hands above your head keeping the palms pushed together, the shoulders should be back and down.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles and lift the chest.
  • Hold the pose for up to eight breaths, on each breath grounding the right foot into the ground and reaching up through the fingers.
  • To release the pose as you exhale, release the left leg back down and come into mountain pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

yoga standing half moon pose

The Half  Moon Pose stretches the thighs and ankles whilst improving balance.

Beginners Level.

Performing the Half Moon Pose:

  • Begin in Warrior II Pose, with the right foot at the front of the mat.
  • Keeping the right arm parallel to floor, bring your left hand to the hip.
  • Bring you weight into your right leg.
  • As you exhale reach out with your right arm and the torso will follow as the left foot begins to feel light.
  • Keeping  a bend in the front knee, bring your right hand to the floor on the outer side of the right foot (right hand should be directly under the shoulder).
  • Engaging the abdominal muscles and find a focal point on the ground to maintain your balance.
  • As you inhale straighten the right leg and simultaneously raise the left leg parallel to the floor.
  • Pressing into the ground through your right foot (knee cap should be facing forward and not locked) and push out through the left heel.
  • Roll the right buttock under by externally rotating the top of the right thigh, keeping the legs engaged.
  • Feel the length through both sides of the waist.
  • As you inhale lift the left arm and reach out through the fingertips.
  • Keep the left hip slightly forward.
  • Keep your gaze focused on the floor or if it feels comfortable you can turn it to look up towards the raised left hand.
  • Hold this pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release from this pose, on exhalation bring your gaze back to the floor (if its not already), lower the left leg back down to the floor and return to Warrior II.
  • Repeat the pose on the opposite side.

Standing Spinal Twist Pose (Katichakrasana)

yoga standing spinal twist pose

The Standing Spinal Twist Pose helps to lose weight and burns waist fat. It strengthens the spine and relieves constipation.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Standing Spinal Twist:

  • Begin with your feet together and standing straight.
  • As you inhale reach your arms out in front out you with your palms at shoulder width and facing each other (arms should be parallel with the floor).
  • As you exhale, slowly twist your torso to the right from the waist and look over your right shoulder.
  • Keeping your feet pressing firmly into the ground (make sure they are staying forward).
  • Keep your arms strong and apart (imagine you have a block between them).
  • As you inhale, gently bring your arms and torso back to the centre.
  • As you exhale, take the twist gently to the left side.
  • Repeat this up to eight times on each side.
  • To release from the pose, inhale come back to the centre and as you exhale, release your arms back down to your sides and come into Mountain Pose.

 

Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

yoga standing half forward bend

The Standing Half Forward Bend improves and strengthens the posture and ankles. It also improves the digestive system.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Standing Half Forward Bend:

  • Begin in Mountains Pose.
  • As you exhale, bring the hands to the hips and hinge forward  to half way, keeping your back flat, the crown of your head should be towards the front.
  • As you inhale, draw your abdominal muscles in and ground down through your feet, keeping the legs strong.
  • Reach your finger tips forward, and draw your shoulders blades away from your ears.
  • If it feels comfortable lift your head slightly to look forward but keeping the neck long. You can even reach your arms forward to the front of the room.
  • Opening the chest and hold this pose for up to eight breaths.
  • To release from the pose, as you inhale slowly come back up into Mountains Pose, restacking one vertebrae at a time and the head should come up last.

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

yoga standing downward dog pose

The Downward Facing Dog Pose deeply strengthens and stretches the whole body. It can relieve headaches and depression. It improves the memory and stimulates the digestive system.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Downward Facing Dog Pose:

  • Begin on the floor on your hands and knees, hands should be slightly forward of the shoulders and knees should be aligned directly under the hips.
  • Spread your fingers wide and the middle fingers should be pointing towards the front.
  • Rotate your forearms in and the upper arms and shoulders rotate outwards.
  • As you exhale engage your stomach muscles, pressing the hands firmly into the ground and tuck your toes under and lift your knees away from the floor (the feet should be hip width apart, heels lifted and a bend in the knees).
  • On exhalation, lengthen the Tailbone, lifting your hips back and away from you, pressing the body back into an upside down v.
  • If you can, straighten your legs (keeping the back straight), pushing the thighs and knees back, stretching your heels back down towards the floor.
  • Lift the Sitting bones towards the ceiling. Draw your inner legs up from the ankles.
  • Pushing your hands into the ground, the upper arms should be pressing towards each other. Keeping the shoulder blades down the spine and the head is an extension of the body (do not let it hang).
  • Hold this pose for 1-2 minutes.
  • To release from the pose, on exhalation bend your knees and come down to the floor into Childs Pose.

 

Plank (Kumbhakasana)

yoga standing plank pose

The Plank Pose strengthens the arms and spine while toning the abdominal muscles. Its improves stability.

Beginners Level.

Performing the Plank Pose:

  • Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (spreading your fingers). The Torso should be parallel to the floor.
  • Pressing down into the ground through your forearms and hands, keeping the outer arms inwards.
  • Gaze down to lengthen the neck, draw the shoulder blades back and keep the chest lifted, engage the abdominal muscles.
  • Tuck your toes under, and bring your feet back to bring the body into a straight line. (make sure your hips are lifted and the Tailbone down, lengthening down towards the heels).
  •  Hold the pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release from the pose, slowly bring your knees back to the ground and come into Child Pose.

 

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)

yoga standing dolphin pose

The Dolphin Pose builds upper body strength and strengthens the core. It opens the shoulders, upper back and lengthens the spine whilst stretching the hamstrings. It also stimulates the nervous system.

Beginners Level.

Performing the Dolphin Pose:

  • Begin on the floor on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips and your forearms flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. (spread your fingers widely and point the middle finger to the front of the room).
  • Tuck your toes under (keep the feet hip width apart and pointing forwards with heels lifted) and as you exhale lift the knees away from the floor (keeping a slight bend) lengthen your Tailbone bringing your sitting bones up towards the ceiling.
  • Reaching through the Tailbone, keeping the spine straight, stretching through the inner legs from the ankles up.
  • Grounding down through the forearms and drawing the shoulder blades down. Keep the head lifted straight in a line with your neck and spine or if you can you can rest your forehead gently on the ground.
  • If it feels comfortable to do so then your can straighten your knees but keeping the spine straight.
  • Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release from the pose, as you exhale slowly lower the knees to the floor and come into Child Pose.

 

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

standing extended triangle pose

The Extended Triangle Pose stimulates the abdominal muscles and stretches the chest, shoulders, spine and legs whilst opening the hips. It is good for stress and the digestive system.

Beginner’s Level.

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Step your feet so they are about 3-4 feet width apart. Turn the right foot onto a 90 degree and the left foot slightly in to the right, align the heels.
  • Engage the thighs and turn the right thigh outwards, keeping the legs straight and the knee cap in line with the first two toes.
  • Spread the weight evenly across the four corners of the feet.
  • As you inhale engage your stomach muscles up, feel long through the sides of the waist and lift your arms so the are parallel to the floor, then as you exhale reach through the fingertips.
  • On inhalation reach the right side of the body over the right leg, press the hips backwards and as you exhale bring the right hand down to the ground so it is on the outside of the foot (if you can’t reach the ground you can place the hand on a block or the thigh)
  • Reach the left arm straight up towards the ceiling with the palm facing forwards and in line with the shoulder.
  • Rotate the ribcage up towards the ceiling and lengthening evenly through both sides of the waist.
  • Your neck should be in line with the spine and your head facing straight unless it feels comfortable then you can tuck the chin slightly and turn your gaze up towards the left hand.
  • Keep pressing through the feet and reaching through the fingertips, feeling the stretch through the sides of the waist.
  • Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release the pose, inhale push the feet into the ground and stretch through the left arm to come into an upright position. Rotate the feet into the opposite direction and repeat the pose on the other side.

Intermediate Level Yoga Poses

Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)

yoga standing Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose

The Extended Hand-To-Big Toe Pose challenges your sense of balance and improves concentration. It is a deep stretch for the hamstrings and also strengthens the ankles.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose:

  • To begin the pose start in Mountain pose.
  • Bring your weight into your right foot, grounding it down and lift your left knee up towards the armpit. Interlace your hands around the shin.
  • Keep the right thigh back, keep the leg strong and straight.
  • Keep the shoulders back and down with the chest lifted.
  • Find a focus point on the ground to bring your gaze to for balance.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and the spine should be straight and long.
  • Loop grab the big toe of the left foot with the index and middle fingers of the left hand, bring the right hand to meet the right hip.
  • On exhalations stretch the left leg out in front as much as you can and keep the hips forward and square. Drop the left hip slightly to be inline with the right hip.
  • The neck and shoulders should be relaxed.
  • If it feels comfortable you can also open your left leg out to the side for an externally rotated variation and even reach the right arm out to the side (palm facing the front).
  • Hold the pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release the pose, on inhalation bring the knee back into the chest then as you exhale release the foot back down to the floor.
  • Repeat the pose on the opposite side.

Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

yoga standing eagle pose

The Eagle Pose improves concentration and balance, as well as strengthening and stretching the ankles,calves, thighs, hips, upper back and shoulders.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the Eagle Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Slightly bend your knees and bring your weight into the four corners of the right foot as you bring your left thigh to cross over your right.
  • Wrap the top of your left foot behind your right calve whilst you bring your gaze onto a focus point for balance (if this is too much them just gently rest the toes on the floor).
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the floor, then cross your arms in front of the torso (so your left arm under the right with the backs of the hands facing each other) and bend your elbows.
  • Lift your arms and fingertips towards the ceiling (shoulder should be kept back and down). You may be able to make your palms meet.
  • Engage your stomach muscles and keep the hips and chest aligned.
  • If it is comfortable take your gaze to the tip of your thumbs.
  • Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds.
  • To release the pose unwind your arms and legs and come in Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Garland Pose (Malasana)

yoga standing garland pose

MOVE TO BEGINNERS LEVEL

The Garland Pose is increases circulation and balance. It stretches the torso, hips, thighs, groin and ankles. It also tones the abdominal muscles.

Beginner’s Level.

Performing the Garland Pose:

  • To begin the pose, standing in Mountain Pose at the top of your mat.
  • Step your feet so they are mat width apart.
  • Bend the knees coming into a squat, keeping the feet where they are seperate the thighs out wide.
  • Press the elbows into the inner sides of your thighs with your hands in a prayer position at your hearts centre.
  • As you exhale, bend the torso so it should be slightly forward and lengthened, keeping the spine straight and the shoulders kept down.
  • Bring your weight into the heels of your feet.
  • Hold the pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release from the pose, bring your fingertips to the ground and as you inhale, gently straighten the legs and stack each vertebrae of the back one by one and the head should be the last part of you to come up. Finally coming back into Mountain Pose.

 

Gate Pose (Parighasana)

yoga standing gate pose

MOVE TO BEGINNERS

The Gate Pose stretches the sides of the torso and spine improving flexibility and core strength. It improves circulation and digestion.

Beginners Level.

Performing the Gate Pose:

  • Begin in a kneeling position with the knees hip width apart.
  • Stretch the right leg out to the side with the foot flat on the floor and the left knee directly under the left hip. (The right foot should be aligned with the left knee).
  • The pelvis should be turned slightly towards the left and the upper torso should be back and left.
  • As you inhale raise your arms out to the sides with the palm facing down, as you exhale bend to the right and reach the arm toward the shin and placing the hand on the shin or the ground.
  • Pressing your pelvis towards the floor, on inhalation bring your left arm up over to the back of the ear. (Turn the upper torso away from the floor but do not push the left hip back).
  • Keep the shoulders back down and the chest open. (If it feels comfortable turn your gaze up to the left).
  • Reach out through the fingers and the crown of your head.
  • Hold the pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release the pose as you inhale  reach through the left arm bringing your torso back upright and bend the right knee back to the mat to meet the left knee.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

High Lunge Prayer Twist (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)

High Lunge Prayer Twist

The High Lunge Prayer Twist improves lung capacity as well as improving balance and awareness. It stretches all the leg muscles and the chest and shoulders. It Tones the body and improves digestion.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the High Lunge Prayer Twist Pose:

  • Begin in High Lunge with the right foot forward.
  • Bring your hand into prayer position in front of the chest.
  • On inhalations press your thumbs into the heart and raise the chest.
  • As you exhale engage the abdominal muscles and twist the torso to the right.
  • Press your left elbow into the outside of your right thigh.
  • Turn your gaze up to the right if it feels comfortable. (Find a focus point for balance).
  • Hold the pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release the pose, untwist the body coming back to the front and bring your hands to the floor. Release from the lunge into a squat.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Dancer (Natarajasana)

yoga standing pose dancer

Dancers pose builds full body strength, improves flexibility and balance. It stretches the front of the body, thighs and ankles. It improves posture.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the Dancers Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • As you inhale, shift your weight evenly onto your right foot and bend your left knee so your heel comes to your left buttock.
  • Draw your right thigh back and pull the knee cap up and pointing forward with your toes.
  • Reach your left hand back and grab hold of the outside of the left foot of ankle.
  • Keep the torso up right, press the tailbone towards the floor and knees together.
  • Reach your right arm up, with the fingertips towards the ceiling and the palm facing towards the left.
  • Bring your gaze to a focus spot to help with your balance.
  • Start to press the left foot away from the body, bringing the thigh parallel to the floor, lifting the leg as high as you can
  • Keep the chest lifted and lean the torso forwards, stretch the right arm forward in front of the torso so it is parallel to the floor.
  • You can either stay here or if you want to go further then you can sweep the right arm behind your back grabbing the inner left foot and raise the thigh.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  • To release the pose, gently release the left foot and slowly bringing the foot back down to the ground an come into Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Head to Knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana)

yoga standing head to knee pose

The Standing head to knee pose stretches and improves flexibility to the hamstrings. It strengthens the upper arms, hamstrings and the abdominal muscles. It improves digestion and the reproductive organs.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the Standing Head to Knee Pose:

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Shift your weight evenly in to your left foot.
  • Bend forward from your waist and lift the right knee in towards your chest.
  • Interlace you fingers and bringing them under the arch of the right foot (placing the right foot onto the interlaced hands as a platform).
  • Now straighten the right leg so it becomes parallel with the floor (don’t worry if you can’t fully straighten it just go as far as feels comfortable).
  • You may want to stay here or if you can go further you can lower your elbows towards the calfs and the front of your torso comes closer to the leg bringing the forehead even closer to the leg.
  • Grounding down through the left leg and the weight shifted slightly forwards but not locking the knee. Engage the thigh muscles and making sure the pelvis is level.
  • Hold the pose for for 30 seconds.
  • To release the pose bring the torso back up, break away the hands and gently bring the foot back to the ground coming into Mountains Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Chair Twist (Parivritta Utkatasana)

yoga standing pose chair twist

The Chair Twist Pose strengthens the back and improves flexibility through the spine. It tones your hips, buttocks and thighs. It improves balance and posture.

Intermediate Level.

Performing the Chair Twist Pose:

  • Begin in Mountains pose.
  • As you inhale, lift your arms up above the head with the palms facing inwards and the shoulders back and down.
  • On exhalation bend your knees so they are as parallel to the floor as can be. The knees will come slightly over your feet.
  • Keeping the chest lifted and the torso angled over the thighs (you should now be in chair pose).
  • Lower your arms and come into prayer position at your chest.
  • As you exhale twist your torso to the right and place your left elbow on the outer edge of the right thigh.
  • Align your hips and press the knees together, also keeping them aligned.
  • Pressing the upper left arm into the top of the right thigh and drawing the right shoulder blade into the back to enable the chest to turn more to the right.
  • You can stay here or if you want more them you can extend your arms so the left fingertips are reaching down on the mat and the right finger tips are reaching up towards the sky.
  • Bring your gaze up to the sky, (if you have your arm extended then gaze up towards the thumb).
  • Stack the top shoulder on top of the bottom one and sink your hips lower, keeping the spine lengthened.
  • Pressing the thumbs into the heart.
  • Grounding the feet firmly with the weight spread evenly, hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release the pose, as you inhale return to the centre in to Chair Pose, lifting through the arms and straighten the legs. As your exhale release back down in to Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

 

 

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Meditation

5 Natural Ways To Relax & Get Centered

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Natural Ways to Relax

5 Natural ways to relax and get centered.Yes, there are plenty of ways you can de-stress, unwind, enjoy time with your self and get centered. Getting centered, it sounds a little offbeat to those of you who don’t meditate or practice other self-awareness rituals. Maybe the word mindfulness is better. Either way, hear me out.

We all have a busy and hectic life, throw in kids and it gets even crazier.  So how do you destress? I know you have a girls night or even guys night out to unwind and blow off steam.  Aren’t their ways to do this without the potential use of alcohol and a hangover? The next morning is never any fun.

No need to be wary this doesn’t require guru knowledge on meditation, yoga just open-mindedness.   Being centered merely means being at peace with who you are, in every moment. Stillness and quiet are what that means for me. To thine own self be true.

These five things will help you to de-stress and allow you to exhale.  The key is to be in the moment and let your feelings, energy and mind flow in all of these exercises.

5 Natural Ways to Relax and De-Stress

Journaling

journaling-natural ways to relax and get centered

First, let’s discuss journaling. Yes, we are going back to the “dear diary” days but a more grown-up version.  Pick out a journal or notebook, whatever you like. You may ask “what do I write once I open the notebook (love that movie BTW, the book was even better)?”

To start, looking at a blank page can be intimidating if you’ve never journaled before.  The first thing I like to do is start by writing the date at the top of the page. On days you have a lot of feelings to get out just start writing. You’re not getting graded on these entries so don’t worry about how to properly get started and use correct punctuation and grammar.  Just let yourself flow.

Start with “I feel…” and go from there. The entries can be short or long. I’ve written pages upon pages before and then only a single page other times. Really allow yourself to be in the moment and let your emotions flow. Something happens during this process that is therapeutic.  You’re able to self reflect and analyze a situation better, step back and see things differently. Read how to do automatic writing or journaling here.

You can do this at the end of my day, or when the mood strikes you.  I believe getting emotions out and not holding them in helps to heal your spirit. At the very least, it helps you to be calm and learn about yourself.

So pick up a pen and notebook and start de-stressing.  Journaling is for your personal use only. No one ever has to read it or see it, unless you want them to.  Over the years I’ve used many different kinds of journals. I’m currently using this moleskin journal. I love the feel of the paper and smooth writing.

Walking in Nature

5 natural ways to relax
nurture, relax, serenity

Nature is an all-encompassing cure for feeding the soul.  A simple walk in nature can alleviate stress, calm you down through exercise, and feed your soul.  Listening to birds chirping, wind rustling through the leaves of tall pine trees, water gently waving in the lake as the reflection of the sun bounces off the water.

That my friend is relaxing and total de-stresses the best of us.  Nature almost forces you to be still and quiet. Listen to the sounds around you and lookup. Oh my gosh, the joy of just looking up! We don’t take the time to just look up and observe.

Look at the trees swaying in the wind, geese flying over information, clouds moving pass. Do this and take a breathe and exhale. The simple things we don’t pay attention to because we look down, at our devices. Busy rushing through from one stop to the next.

Take that walk in the park, listen to the sounds, and breathe.  Breathe and walk with intention. It’s more of a stroll rather than a timed fast walk. Try not to have your headphones in the entire time. It’s tempting, and some days I do it myself.  Or I listen to audible but nonetheless I’m still observing nature and taking it in. If you live in a busy loud city then turn on calming music.

Taking the time to do this a couple of times of a week or more, if you can, helps bring you back to being centered. Quiet on the inside to where you can hear your true self. Not the restless chatter that you hear all day.  Give yourself a break and take a walk.

Meditation

There are so many different types of meditation from mindfulness, transcendental, guided, sound and the list goes on and on.  I’ve tried a lot of these, read about it here, to see if there was one that worked best for me or that I connected to most.

As I mention throughout my blog, no two people are the same therefore no two people will meditate or do anything for that matter the same.  We will all have different experiences with meditation. Trying different types will help you not only learn what you like but also allow you to practice meditation itself.

I have found that mindfulness of breath meditation is best for me. It is bringing awareness to your breath.  I prefer to be in a quiet room where I will not be interrupted, hard to find these days with 2 little shadows.  Don’t be surprised if you catch me in the closet trying to get some meditation time in, just sayin’ do whatcha gotta do.

You can use an eye mask, to make it dark, I find this helps me to relax and focus.  You’ll have to try again and again before you learn to really quiet the mind.

This is a learning process so please keep on the path and don’t give up.  Start with a few minutes at a time and build up from there. You’ll notice over time you can meditate a little longer each time, and it becomes easier to get into that state.


Read More – How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way


Yoga

Natural Way to Relax
Don’t be intimidated by the postures, everyone learns at their own pace and becomes more advanced in time.

Everyone should practice yoga, at least once.  You have to try it to know if you like it. My yoga journey started around 16 years ago or more.  I will admit that I haven’t done it continuously during those 16 years. There were some years that I didn’t practice at all.  Other times I would attend a yoga class 4-5 times a week. Currently, I practice yoga in my bedroom with my favorite yoga youtube channels.

Just like meditation, there are many types of yoga styles.  As a result, I’ve tried many of them and learned which ones I like best.  You do the same.

Yoga has many physical benefits such as increased flexibility, muscle strengthening, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and the list goes on. As far as de-stressing, well this helps with that too.

You don’t even have to leave your own home to try, especially if classes aren’t your thing.  With that yoga classes have a different environment than other “gym” type classes. Everyone is focused on themselves and their own practice. There isn’t that feeling of everyone is watching me.

The flow of the poses is very soothing once you learn the salutations or sequences. That word mindfulness comes in again. It’s hard to not be during yoga.  You become very focused on your pose and breathe that this, in turn, becomes its own meditation.  It never ceases to amaze me how quiet the mind gets when you are practicing yoga. It’s almost effortless.


Looking to Improve – Rock Your Boat Pose with These 7 Fun Navasana Variation


 5 – HTP

5–Hydroxytryptophan (5–HTP) is an amino acid that your body already produces. It’s derived from an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia.  It helps to increase the serotonin levels in your body thus boosting your mood. Allowing you to be more mindful and less stressed and preoccupied.

It’s a natural supplement that offers numerous benefits including a calming effect.  To learn more about 5-HTP as a natural stress reliever read the article that goes into more depth.

There you have it 5 natural ways to relax and take a moment for your self. Self-care is a buzz word that we’re hearing everywhere right now. Don’t think its not for you or you don’t have time. Making time will only improve your daily life and mental health.

Being mindful during any of these activities will bring you to a more relaxed state and bring you into alignment. Find what works best for you and continue to develop your own self-care routine.

This article is republished by https://inspirehealthandspirit.com/ under Creative Commons license. Read the original.

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Yoga

Rock Your Boat Pose with These 7 Fun Navasana Variation

Sheila J. Highland

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boat pose

Boat Pose (Navasana) strengthens both the front and back body and core, works the hip flexors, and provides a nice test of your balance and stability.

Boat Pose provides a range of benefits, so it’s good to incorporate as a regular part of your yoga practice.

But let’s be real – Navasana is typically not a fan favorite. It’s not a pose that students request very often, and certainly not one that brings a feeling of bliss while in the middle of it.

Let’s change that! With these fun, creative, and challenging Boat Pose variations, you can bring a fresh spin to a classic pose, test your strength and mobility, and maybe even find a new appreciation for this strengthening yoga pose.

Here’s How to Practice a Traditional Navasana:

Before moving onto variations, make sure you have a solid grasp on a traditional Boat Pose first.

navasana boat pose

 

Let’s try it:

  • From a seated position bend your knees and put the tips of your toes on the ground
  • Bring your hands to rest on the outside of your thighs
  • Lean back slightly, finding your balance on your sit bones
  • Inhale as you lengthen your spine and lift your chest by broadening across your collar bones
  • Pull your belly button in and up to engage your core and stabilize your lower back
  • Engage your pelvic floor by activating Mula Bandha
  • On your exhale, lift your feet and bring your shins parallel to the ground, finding a modified Boat Pose
  • Squeeze your inner legs together
  • Keep your breath slow and full
  • Activate your feet by pointing or “flointing” (pointing your feet and flexing your toes)
  • Gaze at one spot ahead of you or at your feet
  • Extend your legs out straight to find traditional Boat Pose, use your core to help with this (not just the strength of your hip flexors and legs)
  • Play around with your hand placement: plant your hands behind you or grab your thighs for a bit of extra support; extend your arms parallel to the ground; or lift your arms up overhead for an extra challenge

    Now You’re Ready to Try These 7 Fun Boat Pose Variations:

    Once you’ve mastered Boat Pose, play around with these fun Navasana variations for an extra challenge.

    1. Boat on a Yoga Block

Yoga boat pose

Add an extra balance challenge by sitting on a yoga block. It’s harder than it looks!

Let’s try it:

  • Place a yoga block on the floor on its shortest height
  • Perch on the block, making sure both of your sit bones are resting on the block. You can use two blocks next to each other for a bit more support
  • Balance is much harder on a block, so you may want to stick with a modified Boat Pose for the first few times you try

2. Revolved Boat Pose (Parivrtta Navasana)

yoga pose

Add a twist to your Boat Pose to increase the difficulty and work your obliques. This is a great pose to use in a sequence preparing for a twisting arm balance such as Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) or Grasshopper Pose (Parsva Bhuja Dandasana).


More  Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence with a Strong Core


Let’s try it:

    • From traditional Boat Pose, loop your right big toe with your left peace fingers
    • On your exhale, twist to the right, extending your right arm to open across your chest
    • Bring your gaze toward your outstretched right hand
    • Add an extra challenge by crossing your ankles. Loop the big toe of your bottom foot with your index finger when trying this version

3. Low Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)

navasana yoga boat pose

Occasionally called Canoe, this pose is deceptively challenging and seems to find core muscles you didn’t know you had.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in traditional Boat Pose
      • Slowly lower your mid-back and legs toward the floor until they are hovering about six to eight inches off the ground
      • Keep your legs firm and together
      • Hover your arms by your hips with your palms facing up or sweep them long overhead
      • Keep your core muscles drawing in toward your spine
      • Transition between traditional Boat (Navasana) and Low Boat (Ardha Navasana) several times to really work your core
      • If you feel any strain in your neck, you can bring your hands behind your head to gently cradle your neck

4. Both Big Toe Pose (Ubhaya Padangusthasana)

navasana yoga

This version of Boat Pose combines core and balance work with a deep hamstring stretch.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
      • Loop both big toes with your peace fingers and thumbs
      • Shift your weight into your sit bones as you lift your knees up toward the ceiling
      • Lift your feet off the floor and find your balance
      • Slowly stretch your legs out in front of you
      • Keep your spine long and straight while broadening through your front body to prevent rounding in your back
      • Lengthen your legs from your pelvis through your heels and flex your feet
      • Gaze slightly upward toward your toes

5. Wide-Legged Boat Pose (Merudandasana)

boat pose

This option is similar to Both Big Toe Pose, but it can be a bit more challenging on your balance. If you start to fall backward, stay relaxed and roll with it.

Let’s try it:

    • Start in Butterfly Pose
    • Loop both big toes with your peace fingers or grab the outside of your feet
    • Shift your weight into your sit bones as you lift your knees up toward the ceiling
    • Extend one leg at a time out wide to the side of your mat
    • Once you’re stable with extending one leg at a time, try extending both simultaneously
    • Gaze forward or up toward the ceiling for an extra balance challenge

6. Boat Pose With a Yoga Strap

boat pose with yoga strap

Try this variation for a supported Navasana. The yoga strap and block combination helps you to find lift through your spine and chest. It’s also a great tool to use when working toward L-Sit (Brahmacharyasana).

Let’s try it:

    • Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana)
    • Make a large loop with your yoga strap
    • Bring the strap around your upper body, placing it under your armpits and around your shoulder blades
    • Bend your legs, bringing your knees close to your chest
    • Place a yoga block width-wise at the base of your feet and loop the other end of your strap around the block
    • Press your feet firmly into the block as you extend your legs out and up
    • Use your hands as needed and find your balance
    • Extend your arms parallel to the ground or overhead when you’re ready
    • Push out through your feet toward the block as you lift up and back with your upper body

7. Half-Bound Lotus Boat Pose (Ardha Baddha Padma Navasana)

yoga fun boat pose

This beautiful variation is based on a standing forward fold, Half-Bound Lotus Pose from the Ashtanga Primary Series.


Looking to improve3 Ways to Improve Your Advanced Yoga Practices Quickly


It may cause strain on the knee due to the foot placement, so you might want to skip this variation if you have any knee issues. Make sure your body is warm and stretched before trying this pose.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana)
      • Bend your right leg and guide your right foot to the crease of your left hip
      • Extend your right arm to the front, and turn your palm away from you so your thumb is facing down
      • Sweep your right arm around your back and grasp your right big toe or foot with your right hand
      • Bend your left leg, placing your foot on the ground as you find balance on your sit bones
      • Lasso your left big toe with fingers from your left hand
      • Extend your left leg in front of your chest
      • Gaze toward your extended left leg

Have Fun Playing With These Navasana (Boat Pose) Variations!

Next time you’re feeling bored with your core work or your traditional yoga postures, try one of these Boat Pose variations. Your core will very likely thank you!

 

This article is republished from https://www.yogiapproved.com/ under a Creative Common license. Read the original article.

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Wellness

Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

Wise Life Lesson

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Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can cause unbearable pain that can make it difficult to move and do basic things. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can treat it without needing to take medications or opt for surgery. One of these options is yoga. Below you’ll discover why yoga is so helpful and some of the best advanced yoga poses to use if you’re suffering from sciatica pain.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a form of pain that usually develops due to a herniated disc. When this disc slides, it will press on the nerves surrounding your spine, including the sciatic nerve. This pressure can irritate nerves resulting in severe pain.

Because so many nerves are connected around your spine, the pressure can send pain almost anywhere in your body. Most of the time sciatica will shoot throbbing sensations down your legs and around your lower back.

Symptoms of Sciatica

This condition comes with quite a few unpleasant symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Pain throughout your back
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Pins and needles
  • Burning sensations
  • Foot numbness

 

Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

 

Does Yoga Help Sciatica Pain? Is it Safe?

Yoga has been shown to release tension near your sciatic nerve. By doing certain stretches, it can reduce pressure on the nerve and increase oxygen in the muscles around it. This can help to not only relieve sciatica pain, but increase your range of motion.

Some might still be a little skeptical to try it as it might seem like these movements would worsen the pain. The good news is yoga is completely safe to use if you have sciatica. This is because it releases tension near your nerves that might be affected by it. Keep in mind though that you might feel a little strain at first. This is somewhat normal because you’re loosening the tight muscles.

If you’re still concerned about using yoga poses for sciatica, you might try using chiropractic care first. How chiropractic care helps sciatica will vary depending on the chiropractor, but most will do special manipulations to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.

5 Advanced Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Sciatica Pain

If you’re interested in attempting yoga for sciatica pain, you can try these five poses.

Child’s Pose

This pose stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles. It’s somewhat easy and gentle on your body, but can still remove tension.

To do this stretch you want to first kneel on the floor. Make sure your feet are touching each other but widen your legs so that they match up with your hips.

After doing this, take a deep breath and then move your torso toward your thighs. Stretch your hands on the side of your torso with your palms facing up. You should start to feel a slight pull in your shoulders.

Keep this position for about 30 seconds. While doing it, make sure to slowly inhale and exhale. Once this time is up, slowly lift your body up.

Cobra Pose

The cobra pose is designed to strengthen your spine. It can relieve lower back pain caused by sciatica because it loosens up tight muscles.

To begin the cobra pose, lie on the floor face down. Stretch your legs out and make sure the bottom of your feet are facing upward. Slowly lift your body up with the palms of your hands while keeping your elbows flat against the side of your chest.

As you start to lift your upper body, take a deep breath. You’ll want to keep lifting your chest as high as it can go. Try to keep your shoulder blades even during this movement.

Hold the cobra pose for about 15 seconds and then slowly move your chest back toward the ground.

Wind-Relieving Pose

The wind-relieving pose is considered to be one of the easiest yoga poses making it perfect for beginners. It not only works to tone your core muscles, but release tension caused by sciatica pain.

You can start the wind-relieving pose by lying with your back on your floor. After doing so, gently lift both your knees up at a 90-degree angle and bring them toward your chest. As you do so, grasp onto them with your hands and pull your chest up toward them. Try to get as close as you can to your knees with your chin and then return to the original position. This pose can be done continuously or by holding the pose for a few seconds.

If you’re just starting out, hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Over time, you’ll be able to hold it longer.

Seated Twists

The seated twist is another easy yoga pose to try.

To begin, sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Place your hands on your thighs.

Bend your right knee and then take your right leg and cross it over your left leg. Once your right leg is over your left leg, slightly bend your left leg.

After doing this, put your right arm on the floor and twist your body to the right. As you do so, lift your left hand straight into the air. Slowly bring your left hand down and press its elbow

against your twisted right leg. Hold this position for a few seconds while doing deep breathing. When you’re done, release yourself from this pose and repeat the steps with your other leg.

 

Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

 

Reclined Pigeon Pose

The reclined pigeon pose builds up numerous muscles in your chest, shoulders, back, and neck. It also stretches out the piriformis muscle which is often affected by sciatica.

To do this pose, lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees and then lift your right foot off of the ground. Put your right ankle over your left thigh. Keep this position for a few seconds and then repeat with your left foot.

If you’re on the search for a natural way to help heal sciatica pain, yoga might be good to try. By doing these stretches, you’ll find that your pain will substantially diminish. You might even discover that they help you to be more flexible and energetic.

These advanced yoga poses will help ease any pain from your body. These advanced yoga poses are helpful if you are suffering from sciatica pain. Get to learn these advanced yoga poses and keep your body fit. You can easily do these advanced yoga poses at home. Find the time and do these advanced yoga poses every day.

Bio

Original article by Dr. Brent Wells. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries.

He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care and massage therapy, and physical therapy in Anchorage and Juneau.

Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

 Additional readings here:

Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice

 

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Yoga

3 Ways To Improve Your Advanced Yoga Practices Quickly

Tara Christie

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Yoga is something that our body needs. it has a certain serenity yet fulfilling into it. When it comes to yoga, you need to be perfectly in the moment. Here are ways to improve your advanced yoga practices quickly.

People are never born as yoga experts. They all learned and became experts from exercising frequently.

There are a few ways in which we can improve our yoga practice. They are going to help us actually to get more profoundly in our practice, or to experience better results. These ways are very helpful and easy to perform for each yogi.

These are the three ways in which we can improve our advanced yoga practices:

 

3 Ways To Improve Advanced Yoga Practices Quickly

 

We should relax.

We can improve our yoga practice if we relax our mind and body. We should do a specific pose and find its edge. Also, when we are stretched and in the right position, we should take a profound breath and then relax.

We should feel everything that this pose is doing to us. Also, we should observe our muscles contracting, however, not struggling. This type of relaxing is going to help us hold on the pose longer. It will help us to improve our balance too.

We should find the length in our spine.

When we elongate our spine, our yoga Asanas is going to become easier. Also, when our spine isn’t relaxed, we will find the poses more challenging to perform. Our spine does not give us space. It will make every pose an enormous struggle.

However, when we start finding our spine’s maximum length, everything will become easier. Also, any pose that we are going to try is going to seem and even be safer and better than before. However, exercising certain warm-up poses from yoga will also be helpful.

 

3 Ways To Improve Advanced Yoga Practices Quickly

We should find our own roots.

When we stay in some yoga pose, a few body parts are going to ground. This is an easy way which will help us improve our yoga practice and find stability. For each yoga pose, roots are quite important.

When our foundation is strong, we are going to make the pose easier, more stable, and safer too. For instance, when in the mountain pose, our feet will be our roots.

However, when in the downward facing cat or dog/cow pose, our hands will be our grounding. In some poses when we sit down, our sitting bones will give the foundation.

The three methods from above, which are meant to improve our yoga practice, are going to amuse us in our following yoga session. Also, it is going to seem more relaxing and easier.

However, besides the three helpful ways, we will also need some practice. So, we can get used to the poses and to their influence and importance on our body.

 

Practice makes perfect. So, even if you are already good at yoga, you still need to improve your advanced yoga practices. The ways here are easy and quick ones to improve your advanced yoga practices. Once you master the tricks to improve your advanced yoga practices, you can do everything smoothly.

Yoga makes your body flexible. It is very important that you always aim to improve your advanced yoga practices. Once you improve it, you’ll find it easy to move your body to any yoga pose. Make your advanced yoga practices regularly. Make it last to keep your body flexible at all times. Once you’re good at your advanced yoga practices, you find your way to a great wellness.

The Original article is from Conscious Reminder.

Also read:

5 Easy Tips To Do A Yoga Routine Without Any Instructor

 

Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits For Us To Learn Right Now

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Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits For Us To Learn Right Now

Tara Christie

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Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits For Us To Learn Right Now

 

Yoga eases your body. it relaxes the mind and soul. Learn all the power yoga benefits now. These are ways you can use everyday.

“Yoga is the suppression of the activities of the mind” – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, c. 4th century CE.

Yoga is a mental and physical practice of exercises, poses, and meditation techniques that originated in ancient India about 5,000 years ago. Many individuals turn to yoga to switch up their fitness routine because it is a great workout and strength builder, but there is so much more to gain from this practice far beyond the physical benefits.

Yoga has been described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as the pursuit of the self, by the self, through the self, which I believe to be completely true, at least, it has been true for me. In Sanskrit, yoga comes from the root word yuj, and means to attach, join, harness, yoke. This is referring to the mind-body connection that’s achieved through regular yoga practice.

Yoga is a spiritual, physical and mental process that connects the mind, body, and soul. Through physical health, mental health and clarity of the self are discovered.

In yoga, you will be challenged, delighted and humbled all at the same time while strengthening the mind and the body.

Like many, I turned to yoga many years ago in pursuit of a new workout, but the benefits I received went far beyond that and these are the reasons that keep me coming back to my mat. I think that consistency is what lead me to achieve some of my wellness goals more so than any specific type of workout could because I actually stick to it. Yoga makes me feel healthy, well and peaceful and that’s what got me hooked.

I have compiled this list of the top 10 benefits of yoga both from my personal experience of 12 years of regular yoga practice and literally scouring hundreds of websites of content to deliver to you.

 

Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits For Us To Learn Right Now

 

Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits

1. Improves Mental Health and Overall Well-being

Yoga can provide a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of busy, everyday life. This alone is relaxing. Even just 10 minutes a day can be enough to de-stress and carry a sense of calm with you throughout your day.

Many asanas (yoga poses) are designed specifically to improve relaxation and decrease stress and anxiety, while others (like inversions) create a sense of uplifting energy for your day. Regular yoga practice has been clinically proven to lower the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

2. Improves Quality and Quantity of Sleep

A good night’s rest is imperative to overall good health and well being, and many adults aren’t getting enough sleep every night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis.

Yoga has been proven to improve the quality of sleep and help with insomnia. This is achieved mainly by reducing stress and providing a challenging physical workout. A national survey conducted by Harvard Medical School found that 55% of survey participants who did yoga said that it helped them improve their sleep, and 85% said yoga helped reduce their stress levels.

3. Increases Energy

Yoga, like many types of exercise, can increase your daily energy levels. I can personally attest to this, especially when I do yoga first thing in the morning. Unlike more intense forms of exercise that can drain you, yoga tends to be a more gentle way of getting the blood pumping and will release endorphins in the body which increase energy levels for the rest of the day.

Backbends and inversion poses can be especially energizing because they stretch and awaken the spine while increasing oxygenated blood flow to the brain.

4. Builds Strength

Yoga is a great example of an effective bodyweight exercise that can build strength just as efficiently (if not more) as lifting weights. Many adults have 150+ pounds of bodyweight that when positioned in various asanas (yoga poses) can be used to build significant strength.

Arm balances build powerful upper body strength, while the warrior series can really burn up your lower body. Poses like boat pose and forearm plank are great core strength builders.

5. Increases Flexibility

Want to feel more youthful and get rid of that stiff, achy feeling in your limbs? Many exercise programs neglect the importance of a good stretch. Yoga is a great way to stretch those muscles and make them feel more limber and pliable again.

6. Lowers Blood Pressure

Yoga has been clinically proven to help patients dealing with high blood pressure. According to a study conducted by evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011, “12 weeks of Iyengar yoga produces clinically meaningful improvements in 24-hour systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.”

7. Improves Diet

Yoga encourages participants to eat better by making them more mindful and appreciative of what their bodies can do. This awareness and connection to the body naturally makes yogis want to nourish their bodies better and in a more healthful way. You just don’t really feel like downing a burger and fries after a good yoga session…trust me on this one.

8. Improves Immunity

It’s true, doing yoga can actually help the body fight off illness. Yoga practice is known to decrease inflammation in the body by improving circulation, all of which supports and improves the immune system. Also, yoga is known to lower stress hormone levels in the body, and since these hormones impede immunity, yoga’s destressing effect makes both the body and mind more healthful and disease-free.

9. Supports Joint Health

All the stretching and strength-building regular yoga practice achieves will improve joint health. In fact, recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function in addition to lowering stress and tension to promote better sleep.

 

Top 10 Power Yoga Benefits For Us To Learn Right Now

 

10. Improves Confidence

Yoga can be a humbling experience, sure, but once you’ve accomplished a pose you’ve been working towards for weeks, months even – that’s a huge boost in confidence. Yoga also encourages body awareness and appreciation which helps yogis feel more confident and comfortable in their own skin.

These are some of the power yoga benefits you can learn daily. When you do yoga, you’ll enjoy these power yoga benefits for your ideal body.  Find more power yoga benefits when you do yoga everyday. you’ll feel your body and mind change in a good way. you become healthy. Your body needs these power yoga benefits.

Original article by Jen Doyle. Jen believes you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s crazy world; your personality, your sense of humor, and most importantly, your heart.

Find more yoga benefits here:

5 Easy Tips To Do A Yoga Routine Without Any Instructor

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Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

 

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5 Easy Tips To Do A Yoga Routine Without Any Instructor

Kyran Doyle

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We all need to be fit. It helps our body and keeps us healthy. A yoga routine every day can be done without any instructor. It can be done at home. Here are some easy tips to do a yoga routine without any instructor.

Yoga is extremely beneficial for your overall health and even though we know it we are quick to assume that it’s so difficult that you couldn’t possibly do it without an instructor. However, those who’ve tried it quickly realize that you can take advantage of all that yoga has to offer with a few simple poses at your very own home, without an instructor.

It may be a bit difficult at first, but as every novice to the practice you’ll need time to become more flexible and strong and resilient and clam on the inside. Here are 5 simple tips which have helped me practice yoga at home and which I recommend to everyone who’d like to start on their own.

Tips To Do A Yoga Routine At Home

 

5 Easy Tips To Do A Yoga Routine Without Any Instructor

 

1. You need to set aside a minimum of 15 minutes every day.

If you just can’t find the time at first commit to doing at least Surya Namaskar(Sun Salutations) each day. When you just have time for this, don’t get discouraged, do them and go on. There will be other days when your schedule is more relaxed which is when you should extend your time into a longer practice. Sometimes finding the time for yoga is a much more challenging task than doing yoga itself.

 2. Find your perfect spot in the house.

Make sure you have enough space to just easily put your mat down when the time for yoga comes. Decide which direction you will face on your mat, and place a candle or a small altar at the front. If you have enough space keep this space sacred and make your dedication to yoga part of your permanent living space. Or just leave a spot in your house uncluttered so that you can easily convert it into a yoga spot.

3. Find the perfect time of the day for your home yoga routine.

For some it’s first thing in the morning while other prefer it after work, to unwind and relax. Whatever time works best for you just need to make it a priority and do it at that time every day.

4. Find clothes that are the most comfortable for you.

Don’t worry if you don’t have that Lululemon yoga outfit, maybe you have a comfy pair of sweats or even your pajamas can do! You don’t want any tight clothing that get in the way of your stretches.

5. Always perform your yoga poses gently with a smile and respect your body.

Don’t rush into them and never go beyond what your body can take. This will not bring faster results, just the opposite, yoga will become more difficult and painful, setting you up for failure. The beauty of your home yoga practice is that you listen to your body and find the teacher within.

 

5 Easy Tips To Do A Yoga Routine Without Any Instructor

 

Takeaway:

Yoga is important. some of us want to do a yoga routine every day since it is the most that we can do for our bodies. You do not need to go to a gym in order to do a yoga routine. You can do it at home and without an instructor. You can follow these easy tips listed and still do a yoga routine that works.  Make the yoga routine that’s perfect for you. Start now and keep that body moving.

Additional articles about  simple yoga routines:

 

Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

 

5 Reasons Everyone With Tight Muscles Should Do Yoga

 

Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice

 

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