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Posts by: Pranali

Explore the Asana of the Month – Virbhadrasana A

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

Explore the Asana of the Month – Virbhadrasana A

Virbhadrasana A

Warrior Pose is one of the most iconic asanas in the Yoga practice, which find its place in all the sequences.

Standing poses like this one are also said to help practitioners discover courage, perseverance, and self-empowerment to boot—reserves any warrior would need. And hence it physically requires you to engage your whole body and calls for overall strength.

We hope that detailed alignment tips will help you understand this asana better; however, while trying this, listen to your body to prevent yourself from unwanted injuries. Enjoy where you are in the asana, and go deeper with your practice.

Cues to get into the asana:

1. Start in downward dog.

2. Step your right leg forward between your palms. Keep your front knee bent at 90.

3. Rotate your back heel to turn your toes towards the longer edge of the Mat.

4. Keep your heels in one line, sweep your arms, raise them to the ceiling and join your palms.

5. Gaze at your thumbs.

6. Repeat on the other side.

Alignment Cues:

1. Front knee and ankle in the same line.

2. Front thigh parallel to the floor

3. Torso turned to the shorter edge of the Mat. Keep your pelvis parallel to the short edge of the Mat. Hips square.

3. Spine long and chest lifted and open.

4. Back leg quad muscles are active, and the knee cap is pulled up.

5. Pull your navel to your spine to engage your core, and stretch the abdomen up.

6. Back foot pressing the floor away.

Benefits

  • Works on your Hip Flexors.
  • Improves your Body posture.
  • Strengthens your leg muscles. Increases your stability and balance.
  • Improves self-esteem.
  •  Builds your core strength.

Do you have any asana you would like to explore a bit more? Let us know and we will love to share it with you.

At Ālaya Yoga, we’ve got a team of expert teachers who are all trained to teach to all levels, including complete beginners. Try 10 free days of Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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Corporate Yoga and Other Workplace Practices for Better Health

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<b>J Bellows</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

J Bellows
Ālaya Yoga

Corporate Yoga and Other Workplace Practices for Better Health

It goes without saying that working conditions can greatly affect the health and well-being of employees. This study published on NCBI points out that occupational stress and unpredictable schedules can result in burnout, cardiovascular problems, and psychological distress. More often than not, high physical demands and long working hours can also cause muscle pain and even disability.

Although these may sound concerning, there are definitely ways to improve your working condition. The same study above states that workers who have social support and access to health and wellness initiatives have a better well-being. Corporate yoga programmes, for one, can foster stress reduction. So on that note, this article has listed how corporate yoga, alongside other crucial workplace practises, can generate better health outcomes for you.

1. Monitor your work hours

Perhaps the most straightforward practise in this list, monitoring your work hours allows you to recognise when it’s time to take a breather and slow down. The referenced NCBI study shows that higher incidences of stress and burnout are due to increased work hours. In fact, working more than 55 hours per week dramatically heightens risks of heart disease and stroke. In some cases, it can also exacerbate psychological problems. One recourse to take when you notice you’ve been frequently working overtime is to go on a mental health leave. Fortunately, a feature from Fortune India reports that several companies have introduced employee-friendly policies like mental health leaves, so you can opt to utilise them to rest your mind and body.

2. Participate in corporate yoga sessions

Yoga practises positively impact one’s health by increasing blood circulation, improving mental concentration, and encouraging mobility. As our post “Yoga for Corporate and Office Workers” points out, yoga within the workplace can likewise help minimise sick leave rates and mitigate the occurrence of common illnesses and psychological problems. This is because yoga provides a holistic means to achieve better health and wellness. Participating in corporate yoga doesn’t merely require determination and discipline on your end, but social support from colleagues, too. It’s easy enough to incorporate yoga in your workplace, as this can be done through simple breathing exercises and stretches and meditation. However, try to regularly give out words of encouragement to promote consistency in your coworkers’ yoga practise as well.

3. Opt for healthy meals during lunch breaks

Food gives you the energy you need to power through your daily workload and focus on your tasks. However, it’s important to keep in mind that certain ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, provide you with better nutrients than fried foods or sugar-filled snacks. On the other hand, actively restricting yourself from eating your favourite foods can make your lunch break less enjoyable. This is why you should strike a balance between both and eat intuitively during workhours. As the podcast Going Beyond the Food explains, intuitive eating means that your meal choices are guided by a healthy attitude towards food. One principle of intuitive eating that you should follow is incorporating nutritious ingredients into well-loved snacks. If you have a sweet tooth, toss in your favourite fruits in a yogurt bowl rather than reaching for a slice of cake. Great food can keep you happy and satisfied through busy workdays; just remember to opt for healthy meals that can keep you in top condition.

4. Utilise aromatherapy in the office

Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils, is sought to relieve symptoms such as sore joints and headaches. This article from Springer on aromatherapy discusses how it can also enhance mood and alertness while alleviating mental stress. All those considered, essential oils can be quite advantageous in the workplace, especially when you need a pick-me-up in between working hours. They’re easy enough to store in your desk drawer. And because essential oils are applied on the skin, they’re seamless to use whenever you need them. A little goes a long way, too, so you can certainly share the products with your colleagues to ensure they experience the same benefits.

Great health is incredibly important in the workplace, especially amidst occupational stress and long hours. Following the above practises is crucial if you wish to enhance your working conditions. In doing so, you can likewise experience better health outcomes.

Ready to give yoga a try?

At Ālaya Yoga, we’ve got a team of expert teachers who are all trained to teach to all levels, including complete beginners. Try Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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9 short and sweet warm-up sequence

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

9 short and sweet warm-up sequence

Here's a quick and gentle warm-up sequence for your practice

A gentle warm-up right before the Yoga practice can make a lot of difference in how you feel throughout your practice. Warming up can make your movement easy and smooth by removing the morning stiffness of the body.

Very accessible warm-up you can catch up before heading to your day to open your body and still your mind.

Asanas to include to cover all the key stations in your warm-up sequence 

Start in Sukhasana: 2 minutes

1. Cross your legs and sit with spine straight, aligning your neck, spine and your hips.

2. Rest your palms on your knees with palms facing down.

3. Gently close your eye and draw your awareness inwards. Observe your breath.

Side Body Release: One minute (30 seconds each side)

1. Inhale – Raise both your arms up to lengthen your spine.

2. Exhale to place your right hand on the right side and bend to your right.

3. Left arm stretching up, stretching your side rib cage.

4. Inhale to come back in the center.

5. Exhale and repeat on your left.

Forward stretch: One minute

From side release, come back in the centre, lengthen your spine, place your palms in front shoulder distance apart, and fold forward.

Side Twist: One minute (30 seconds each side)

1. From the forward fold come back to the centre. Inhale to lengthen your spine.

2. Exhale to place your right palm behind your right hip, left palm over your right knee and twist.

3. Look over your right shoulder.

4. Come back to the centre, lengthen, and repeat on your left.

Shoulder Rotation: 30 seconds

1. Bring your knees together from Sukhasana, and swing them back to place your sit bones over your heels to sit in Vajrasana.

2. Spread your arms parallel to the floor in a T-shape.

3. Rotate your arms from the shoulder socket – clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Shoulder opening: One Minute

1. From the T shape, sitting in Vajrasana, stretch your arms back.

2. Interlace your fingers.

3. Lengthen your Spine, and stretch your arms towards the floor while opening your chest.

Cat & Cow: Ten Rounds

1. From Vajrasana, place your palms forward, shoulder distance apart.

2. Knee hip distance apart.

3. Wrist in line with shoulders, and knees in line with hips.

4. Inhale and move your chin and chest up, arching your spine.

5. Exhale, bring your chin to the chest, rounding your spine.

Move to Downward Dog - 30 Seconds

1. From Cat & Cow – Tuck your toes, lift your knees and bring your hips back.

2. You can walk your heels to get rid of the stiffness from your hamstrings.

Relax your Body & Mind in the Child Pose: One Minute

1. From Downward dog, bring your knees down on the floor, bring your sit bones over your heels and fold.

2. Relax your head and hands.

3 Breath and take this time to connect back and relax your whole body.



Hope this helps you catch up with your practice when you have only a few minutes to move. All you need is a small corner to practice this warm-up, so the place is no constraint. Of course, if you have everything you need for the entire practice, then jump to our live class schedule and join your favourite class now

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Yoga and Ayurveda to Reduce Stress

Way to a Safe Yoga Practice

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

Way to a Safe Yoga Practice

Here are some tips for finding your way to a safe yoga practice.

Yoga has countless benefits, but when done incorrectly, it can result in injuries, including pulled muscles, aching joints, and torn ligaments. Sometimes, it can lead to more severe injuries if not practised safely.

All the possible injuries are not something to be scared of, and leave the practice. Knowing your practice is what is essential for safe practice. Knowledge of practising your asanas safely brings more depth to your practice and intensifies your awareness.

What can cause a Yoga injury?

Not enough warm-up. Stretching and straining your muscles without getting rid of the morning stiffness of the muscles can cause injury. Let your muscles warm up before moving to intense practice.

Inappropriate body weight distribution. Shifting all the weight to one side and not keeping body weight in the Centre.

Not respecting your capabilities and pushing the body beyond the limits.

Not having stability in your asana, feet and palms not being firm on the ground can make one imbalance and cause injury.

 Not following basic alignment cues. Basic alignment is essential for proper grounding and equal weight distribution and fully benefiting from an asana.

Not staying aware of the body’s sensations and breath patterns. Body sensation and breathing patterns will tell you much about what is happening within your body and take necessary action if anything feels unconformable.

 Lack of awareness of existing illnesses or medical conditions can also worsen the situation. Knowing your condition and modifying the asana as per that will make your practice very fruitful.

 

More specific tips to keep it safe

Bend your knees in forward folds if your hamstrings are tight and not ready yet.

It is always safe to bend your knees while coming up from a standing forward fold. This way, you save your hamstrings and lower back from taking the extra strain.

Engage your Quadriceps (thigh muscles) to prevent extra strain on your hamstrings in all deep stretches.

Lengthening your Spine before a twist and forward fold is always a good idea to keep it safe for your lower back and hip flexors.

 Work a routine to open your shoulder and chest. Open shoulders will prevent many shoulder injuries

Avoid rounding the back in forward folds. It is ok to bend your knees instead of going deeper down with too tight hamstrings. You can also try sitting on a cushion or a block in seated forward folds.

 Hyperextending those knees is a no-no. Always have knees in a micro-bend position over hyperextending them to save those precious joints.

 We are here to help you to keep your journey safe and sustainable. Have a conversation with our teachers after the class if you have any questions or want to know more about any pose’s safety. 

You can also post your questions on the community hub, and we will get all the information you need

nowing your practice is what is essential for safe practice. Knowledge of practising your asanas safely brings more depth to your practice and intensifies your awareness.

Ready to give yoga a try?

At Ālaya Yoga, we’ve got a team of expert teachers who are all trained to teach to all levels, including complete beginners. Try Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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Partnership Announcement: LIA and Alaya Yoga

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Partnership Announcement: LIA and Alaya Yoga

LIA and Alaya Yoga Announce Wellness Partnership to Bring Bespoke Wellness Solution

We are elated to announce our partnership with LIA, the centre of excellence for the Education and Development of Finance Professionals. 

LIA is dedicated to enabling and promoting the highest quality standards in financial advisory practice. For almost 30  years, LIA in Ireland has played a key role in improving the standards of professionalism amongst those who give and support financial advice, through their educational offerings (circa 6.5k exam sittings annually) and professional development opportunities. 

What is LIA’s Affinity Scheme?

LIA’s Affinity Scheme provides a suite of carefully curated offers and discounts available exclusively to LIA members, and is aimed at assisting them in achieving a greater level of wellbeing. Whether it’s personal or professional coaching, educational courses or public speaking training to help boost their career – or health insurance, yoga or meditation to aid physical and mental health, LIA’s new Affinity Scheme has members covered!

Member Benefits:

Our partnership with LIA aims to introduce the amazing benefits of yoga to all its Affinity Scheme members at a special discounted price. Members get unlimited access to over 130 live, interactive, and inspiring online yoga classes per month with our team of highly experienced Yoga Teachers. Apart from access to our live classes, our members never miss a class with our unique 7-Day Playback Feature and our incredible on-demand library of classes. Click here to learn more 

 

 

Let Alaya Yoga help you stay motivated

We’ve got loads of yoga motivation for you over on the Alaya Yoga app, including loads of express classes and challenges. 

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Shoulder Opening Tips to your Practice

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

Shoulder Opening Tips to your Practice

Shoulder Opening Tips to your Practice 🙆🏻‍♀️

Why not add these Shoulder Opening Practices to your daily routine?

Safeguard your Shoulders today to prevent the most common Shoulder injuries. Strengthen & open your Shoulders with some small practices you can try any time of the day.

Why should we even have Open Shoulders? 

According to the APA (American Psychological Association), “Ongoing muscle tension in your neck and shoulders can lead to more serious issues like back and shoulder pain, body aches, and migraine and tension headaches.” 

Some more:

1. It helps you improve your posture.

2. It helps in multiple muscle movements around your shoulders.

3. Adds extra support to your arms whenever arm strength is required.

4. Reduces neck and shoulder stiffness.

5. It Gives you more flexibility and mobility.

6. Open and strong shoulders help you lift heavy objects and play sports.

7. Psychological effect: Open shoulders make you look more confident.

Ongoing muscle tension in your neck and shoulders can lead to more serious issues like back and shoulder pain, body aches, and migraine and tension headaches

Here you go with the tips for your shoulder:

Gomukhasana (Cow Face):

1. Sit in Vajrasana or Sit with your legs crisscrossed, placing one knee on top of the other.

2. Raise your right arm, fold it at the elbow, take your right palm behind your back, and take your left palm behind the back from down. Now your right elbow is pointing to the ceiling, and your left is pointing to the floor.

3. Try to hold your palms behind your back. If not, you can also use the belt, as shown in the image.

4. Repeat on the other side.

5. Breath, and hold for five breaths.

Forward fold with Clasp:

1. Stand with feet one foot distance apart or into a wide-legged position. You can also try this by sitting in Vajrasana.

2. Clasp your finger behind your back, inhale deeply, and open your chest.

3. With an exhale, soften your knees and fold forward, letting the head fall toward the ground and gently releasing the neck.

4. Aim your clasp hands to the floor beyond your head. Stay here for five deep breaths.

Ardha Uttanasana with the wall:

1. Stand an arm’s distance away from the wall. Inhale, lengthen your spine up, and raise your arms.

2. With an exhale, extend your spine and fold forward halfway through, making a 90 degree at your pelvic.

3. Place your palms on the wall, fingers pointing to the ceiling, and sink your chest towards the floor. Feel the opening in shoulder joints.

4. Breath. Hold for five breaths and repeat.

Reverse Prayer:

1. Sit in Vajrasana, or you may choose to stand with your feet together, float arms down to either side of your body and, bending elbows, reach arms behind your back.

2. Press palms together in a prayer position on the spine and reach hands as high up as feels good.

3. Stay here for five deep breaths.

In addition to these Practices, you can also explore a Shoulder focused themed session we are running this month every Thursday at 07:15 am with Lalit. You can also explore the Shoulder Focused Sessions in the Library, go to the Video Library, hit the search button.

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Yoga For Disc Bulges and Protrusions

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<b>Eveanna</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Eveanna
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga for Disc Bulges and Protrusions

 
 
 
We get multiple questions from our clients about different medical conditions. This week we got a question from a new client about starting yoga with disc bulges. We know that this is an issue with many of our clients and we wanted to share our thoughts on this issue.
 
“Hi there- I just found out I have 2 disc bulges in my lower back, my doctor has suggested yoga, is there anything I should know before I start a class?
David, Dublin 
 
It’s great that David’s GP suggested yoga, and we are delighted that he wrote into us so we could guide him. 
 
While we are always pleased to hear that doctors are referring their clients to holistic therapeutic practices such as yoga to manage these issues, there are some precautions that we should take when starting yoga when we have disc bulges.
 
Yoga is extremely therapeutic for disc bulges specifically for Lumbar Disc Protrusions.
 
Disc protrusions cause instability in the spine and as ligaments cannot be strengthened with yoga (or any excercise) we want to strengthen the muscles around the spine to counteract this lack of stability. Yoga also nourishes and aids healing of the spine by bringing fresh blood flow to this area. And when we improve our posture and core strength with yoga we can reduce pain or future bulges from occuring 
 
While yoga is a wonderful tool to aid recovery, a general flow class may not be appropriate without the proper modifications applied.

 Yoga is extremely therapeutic for disc bulges specifically for Lumbar Disc Protrusions.

Before we get to the yoga, what is a disc bulge?

A disc bulge refers to an extension or prolapse of disc tissues beyond the edges of the edge of vertebrae. In some cases this bulge can press on the nerve causing mild or severe pain depending on severity. 
 
Around 30% of the population have disc bulges, and we want to prevent them from progressing to fully herniated discs which can cause a host of issues such as lower back pain, sciatica, and even complete immobility due to pain in some extreme cases.
 
The issue with attending a general spectrum yoga class, especially without your teacher being informed about your disc bulges is that any forward folding (flexion) could exasperate a bulge. 
 
Now, there are yoga Asana (poses) that are extremely helpful for disc protrusion, however, they should be done in isolation, not in a general class that also includes a forward fold.
 
Any deep flexion, especially with a rounded back, could potentially turn your bulge into a full prolapse. 
 
Guidelines for practicing safely with a disc bulge 
  • Avoid forward folds or flexion if possible, bend knees 
  • If you do incorporate them into your practice, ensure you keep your chin forward and avoid rounding your spine, when we round our spine, and forward fold at the same time it pushes the prolapsed disc further towards the edge of the vertebrae 

How Yoga Can Help 

If we look at the issue of forward folds (flexion) bringing the disc further towards the edge of the vertebrae, we can see how back bends, or extension of the spine would do the opposite- bring the disc back towards the other side of the spine (where it should be!) 
 
With this in mind here is a sequence you can practice daily to aid recovery from 

Morning Time

5 x sphinx pose, held for 5 breaths followed by 5 baby cobra or full cobra held for 5 breaths. 
 
1 x Setu Bandhansana held for 10 breaths (you can use a foam yoga block to support your lower back here) 
 
From Setu Bandhasana bring one with both knees bent and feet planted on the floor bring place your hands behind one and bring it towards your chest until you feel a slight pull. Hold this for 15 seconds and do both sides. 

Evening Time

5 x Setu Bandhasana held for 5 breaths (you can use a foam yoga block to support your lower back here) 
 
From Setu Bandhasana bring one with both knees bent and feet planted on the floor bring place your hands behind one and bring it towards your chest until you feel a slight pull. Hold this for 15 seconds and do both sides. 
Attending a Yoga Class 
 
If you do attend a yoga class, remember the principle for avoiding or modifying your forward folds and keep your knees bent where possible- and most importantly, let your yoga teacher know so they can keep you safe with modifcations. 
 
Off the mat 
 
Don’t just apply these principle to yoga. When you get off your mat and head home to do the housework, take care of your family, or finally clean out the garage- the same principles apply. Avoid forward folding to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on the anterior portion of the disc.
 
Remember, always get medical clearance from your doctor, listen closely to your body, and avoid anything that causes you pain. 
 
Do you have any questions for us about this topic? What about another issue you are facing around injury, accessibility or anything related to your practise
 
Drop them in the comments- we love to hear from you! 
 

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Yoga To Improve Posture

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga To Improve Posture

YOGA FOR IMPROVE POSTURE

In today’s modern world of technology, we spend a long time on our phones, watching television, working away on our computers or scrolling through social media. Spending long hours hunched over on a chair or slouching on a couch can have adverse effects on our bodies. Especially for people who work in corporate jobs and a large chunk of their day just involves sitting in front of a computer.

This causes strain on your spine. Being hunched over for long durations can leave you feeling stiff in your body, and it can also cause irreversible damage to your posture and your spine. When we’re young, we’re all told to sit with our backs straight because maintaining good posture is so important for our bodies. As we grow older, however, and our work demands that we do the very opposite of sitting straight, our body slowly over time forms a habit of slouching. This may over time cause pain in your lower back, shoulders, and even your hamstrings.

This lifestyle brings with it the need to stretch and lengthen your body so that you can lessen the strain on your spine and your back from constantly being in a closed position. When you’re slouching, your breath is more shallow. Shallow breathing is the act of taking in a minimal breath, so your lungs don’t expand as they should. Rapid or shallow breathing can cause dry mouth, fatigue, or can even turn into panic attacks. Shallow breathing can also aggravate respiratory problems that may already exist.

As you practice regularly, you also gain a deeper awareness of the alignment of your own body and you may even find yourself making adjustments to your posture.

YOGA FOR POSTURE

Yoga can help your posture in numerous ways. The practise of stretching and lengthening your spine as you do in many yoga asanas can help reverse the damage that slouching may cause. It can help loosen up the muscles that may feel tight, but also, it can help you feel more relaxed in your body. With regular practice, yoga can also help alleviate any pain you may be feeling in your body.

As you practice regularly, you also gain a deeper awareness of the alignment of your own body and you may even find yourself making adjustments to your posture.

ASANAS THAT HELP WITH GOOD POSTURE

Backbends –

Asanas such as the cobra pose (Bhujangasana), wheel pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) and fish pose (Matsyasana) are all great for reversing the effects of a hunched back. These poses focus on lengthening the spine as well as opening the chest so you get a stretch all through the front of your body.

Twists –

Spinal twists are a great tool to help improve your posture. Triangle pose (Trikonasana), Supine spinal twist (Supta Matsyendrasana), chair twist (Parivrtta Utkatasana) as well as the eye of the needle (Sucirandhrasana) are poses that help you lengthen, strengthen and release any tension that you may be holding all throughout your back, and in your shoulders. They can also help alleviate any pain you may be feeling in your body due to bad posture.

Grounding poses-

Standing and grounding poses such as tree pose (Vrikshasana) are great to help you achieve balance and stability in your body. Mountain pose (Tadasana) in particular, is a great pose to help correct muscle imbalances as well as enhance posture. It also helps to deepen your own awareness of how small adjustments in your body can help you feel mental as well as physically more aligned in your posture.

PRANAYAMA

The breathwork involved in yoga gives you the chance to focus on your breath more and to find some time to be present in the busy schedules that we all endure in today’s world. When we’re doing pranayama or any kind of meditation, it’s also important to sit straight and keep in mind that your spine is long and your back is straight so that all the energy channels in your body are aligned. 

But more than that, finding even 10 minutes in your daily routine to sit and focus on breathing evenly and deeply can provide you with so many health benefits. It can help reduce stress, calm your mind, reduce high blood pressure and increase lung function. Pranayama offers many different breathing exercises that work to reverse the damage caused to your lungs through shallow breathing for long durations. Bhrammari breath (bee breath), Alternate nose breathing (Nadi Shodhana), as well as Nadi Shodhana with breath retention (Kumbhaka) are some pranayama exercises you can use during your practice.

If you’re in a profession that has you sitting for long durations, make sure to get off your chair and walk around every 20-30 minutes so that your body can readjust. There are even some chest opening asanas that you can do sitting in your chair.

Conclusion

It can be hard to be aware of your posture all the time. Yoga can directly target back problems, and help you fix your posture over time. You need only take little steps in your daily routine to combat bad posture. A little bit of mindfulness can go a long way to prevent injury or strain to your body. Even a small consistent practice can help you feel lighter in your body and your mind so that you have increased productivity the next day.

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Yoga to Boost Your Immunity

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga to Boost Your Immunity

YOGA FOR IMMUNITY

Our immune system plays a very important role in our health. Medical practitioners for years have stressed how important our immune system is to our overall health – and how one can boost their immunity by adopting a healthy lifestyle, indulging in activities that are good for our body and being mindful of what we eat. A strong immune system has been linked to relaxation as well as reduced levels of stress.

Our immune system defends and protects our body from disease-causing germs, viruses and bacteria and helps us get back on our feet when we’ve been sick. Some people fall sick more than others, and some people may take longer to recover from health ailments and injuries. Even a mild cough or a cold can hinder our productivity levels and act as an irritant.

This is why it’s important to be proactive when it comes to our immunity. We all get sick from time to time but it’s important to be mindful of our bodies so that we can overcome any health ailments quickly.

Exercising boosts our metabolism, but choosing the right kind of exercise can also boost our immunity. Practising yoga is a great way of staying on top of your health on a regular basis and it does wonders for your immune system, metabolism, respiratory system, digestion as well as the nervous system.

Our immune system defends and protects our body from disease-causing germs, viruses and bacteria and helps us get back on our feet when we’ve been sick.

HOW YOGA BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNITY

Yoga reduces stress:

We all experience some level of stress in our day-today-lives, be it from work pressures, or family responsibilities. We often store this stress in our body which can lead to us feeling stiff and tight in our muscles and joints, but this stress can also come in the form of health ailments or sickness. Stress can make it harder for our immune system to do its job which can, in turn, make us more susceptible to health problems and infections.

IMG_8066

Yoga improves your respiratory health and your lung capacity:

Pranayama is at the heart of a good yoga practice. When we move through different yoga asanas, we are told to be focused on our inhalations and exhalations. This infusion of the mind and the body has an incredible effect on our general health and well being. Practising pranayama, or breathing exercises before and after a yoga session can help us boost our respiratory health and immunity and can help us prevent as well as fight off respiratory ailments such as the common cold or cough more quickly by increasing the efficiency of our lungs.

Yoga improves blood circulation

Yoga is all about movement and flow and the marriage of flow to breath. This helps improve our blood circulation. Holding different asanas can direct that blood flow to different parts of the body providing us with many health benefits. Improved blood circulation throughout the body leads to all our organs working more efficiently. Good blood circulation also leads to reduced levels of stress, anxiety and blood pressure, all of which in turn affects our immunity levels.


Holding different asanas can direct that blood flow to different parts of the body providing us with many health benefits.

Pranayama to improve the health of our lungs:

Nadi shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is a widely used breathing practice in yoga that reduces our stress and anxiety levels in the body, calms the nervous system to help us feel more relaxed as well as help balance our chakras, all while increasing the efficiency of our lungs.

Bhramri or humming bee breath has an almost instant effect on our mind and body. When we practice the bee breath, we produce vibrations that activate the nerves around the forehead and the brain and stimulate our pineal and pituitary glands. The bee breath helps increase the production of thyroid hormones which in turn helps our body fight off any foreign intruders. Bee breath is also a wonderful practice to improve other health problems such as anxiety, panic, insomnia, migraines, seizure, as well as sexual dysfunction.

SOME YOGA ASANAS BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Corpse pose or Savasana – This pose helps reduce stress, blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. The pose brings you intense relaxation and is highly restorative.

Child’s pose or Balasana – This asana is all about active rest where you focus on your breath. It reduces stress levels in the body while actively stretching and releasing your shoulders and your legs, as well as lengthening the spine.

Triangle pose or trikonasana – This pose improves your blood circulation. It also stimulates your thyroid gland which in turn improves your immunity level.

Dhanurasana – This pose helps increase the flow of white blood cells by directly applying pressure to your digestive system which in turn also strengthens your digestive system.

Conclusion

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the many health benefits that yoga provides. There are many asanas and breathing exercises you can incorporate in your regular yoga routine to help target and boost your immunity. But another important facet of yoga is to be conscious of the things you eat and drink and to practice restraint when it comes to consuming things that may affect your body negatively. Practice mindfulness daily so it becomes a habit, and with regular practice you will begin to notice how your body begins to restore, heal and strengthen itself.

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Simple yoga poses for a better sleep

Simple yoga poses for a better sleep

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

Simple yoga poses for a better sleep

WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?

Many people suffer from a lack of good sleep. Have you ever found yourself tossing and turning in bed struggling to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night unable to go back to bed? Many people suffer from the lack of good sleep which can affect your health, mood, and interfere with your day-to-day activities. It can lead to a range of disorders and mental health problems.

Lots of things can disrupt a healthy sleep cycle. Stress, anxiety, health issues or even noise pollution are all some common factors that can contribute to your lack of sleep. Sometimes, our brain is just overstimulated which can make it hard for our mind and body to drift off. But what happens when we are unable to get some shut-eye?

Sleep is important for brain development. It’s when all the information, experiences and memories that we take in during the day are processed by our brain. New neural pathways are formed, our body heals and restores itself by repairing and regenerating nerve cells and tissues. It’s when our mind organizes all the information, feelings and thoughts that we experience daily so that we can start the next day with renewed energy.

The lack of good sleep can result in feelings of tiredness and fatigue. You may feel restless or have mood swings during the day, or you may find it harder to focus and concentrate on things. People who experience insomnia for long periods of time may also become easy targets for anxiety, stress, and depression. You may find it hard to make decisions at work or find it harder to focus on your studies. Extreme sleep deprivation can even cause hallucinations and erratic behaviour.

Different people need different amounts of sleep but 6-9 hours of sleep is generally considered a good amount of sleep for most people. 

YOGA AND SLEEP

Yoga can be an incredible tool to combat sleep deprivation or insomnia. The practise of yoga involves doing asanas that can help your body release all the tension that it may store. If you feel tight in your joints and muscles, the practice of yoga asanas can help you stretch and loosen up those tight muscles so your body can relax, rejuvenate and heal itself.

Pranayama is the use of breathwork to calm your mind and your nervous system. This union of the mind and body is what makes yoga as effective as it is when it comes to having a good night’s sleep. Meditation can help calm an overactive brain and prepare it for a good night’s rest while holding certain yoga asanas can help prepare your body for sleep.

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YOGA ASANAS TO HELP WITH SLEEP -

It’s been determined in several studies that people who practice yoga regularly generally have consistent sleep cycles. Next time you find yourself having a tough time falling asleep, just roll out your yoga mat for a quick yoga practice. Even doing a short practice that focuses on pranayama and restoration can leave you feeling ready for bedtime. You can even try doing some of these poses and meditative exercises in bed.

Yoga practices that can contribute to a night of healthy sleep -

Yoga Nidra is one of the easiest yoga practices to maintain. It involves commanding a relaxation response from your body through the use of meditative techniques. Generally, a yoga Nidra practice would be guided by a teacher to help you reach a state of complete relaxation and conscious awareness.

Pranayama is the practice of breath control. By learning to control your breath, you can learn to calm your thoughts and emotions, which can in turn calm an overactive mind.

Yin yoga can help you get deeper in your stretches and help you feel more relaxed while also helping you slow down your heart rate.

Using props in your yoga practice such as blankets bolsters, cushions, or using meditative guides such as singing bowls, calming music, sound baths etc can help your mind and your body be more focused on reaching a state of sleep and calm.



Yoga asanas that can help relieve tension from your muscles and calm your mind -

STANDING FORWARD FOLD (UTTANASANA)

Try bending your knees and holding opposite elbows while gently swaying side to side to find even more relaxation and stretch in this pose. It slows the heart rate.

LEGS UP THE WALL POSE (VIPARITA KARANI)

This pose is great for calming an overstimulated brain. The benefits of this asana are best felt when it is held for an extended period of time. It can help release tension from the back while all the blood from the legs rushes down to the heart helping you feel more relaxed.

RECLINING BUTTERFLY (SUPT BADDHA KONASANA)

Reclining the butterfly pose helps you stretch out all the big muscle groups in your body, like your spine and your hamstrings. Try putting one hand on your belly and the other on your chest so that you can really focus on your inhalations and exhalations.

CHILD’S POSE (SHISHUASANA)

Child’s pose is an active rest position that gently works wonders for your back. It helps calm the nervous system and release any tension from the mind.

CORPSE POSE (SAVASANA)

Savasana is done at the end of a yoga routine and it’s when you direct your focus to your breath, while the body can begin working on restoration and relaxation to reach a state of calm. 

Conclusion

The lack of good sleep can affect our daily lives and routines. Yoga is easy, tried and proven method for regulating your sleep cycle and sleep habits that in turn contributes to improved productivity and health.

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Yoga and Ayurveda to Reduce Stress