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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 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.

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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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