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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.

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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.

IMG_8066

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 for Cycling Injuries

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga for Cycling Injuries

Common cycling injuries and how yoga can help in their prevention

 

Cycling is a demanding sport that requires both your mind and your body to be primed and focused. Cycling as a sport increases your strength and tones your muscles. It takes you to the outdoors and helps you connect with nature while also enhancing your focus and presence of mind, and it has so many other benefits. Cycling can enhance your coordination, improve the health of your heart and your cardiovascular fitness, and also help build your stamina.

But along with all of these great benefits that cycling offers, it is also a very demanding sport. The repetitive motions involved in cycling can lead to you feeling stiff. It can alter your posture as well as leave you feeling tight in your muscles. This repetitive use of your joints and muscles is also one of the reasons why cycling is often a cause of injury.

This is where yoga can help. Yoga is a full-body practice that can help you build flexibility and strength and regular practice can enhance the quality of your ride. Athletes can use yoga to improve functional strength relevant to cycling as well as all-around strength to prevent cycling injuries. Yoga also builds your stamina so you can cycle for longer periods of time. Doing a few yoga stretches before and after a cycling session has countless positive effects on your body. Cycling is a mentally and physically demanding sport, but by incorporating yoga in your practice you can reduce the stress and tension that cycling puts on your mind and your body before a cycling session as a warm-up, during the training session through the use of conscious breathwork, and after a session as part of your cool-down routine.

Cycling involves the use of some big muscle groups and important joints in your body such as your lower back, hamstrings, calves, feet, shoulders, and knee. The lack of a good warm-up or a cool-down routine can help avoid the misuse or overuse of these muscle groups and joints. Any injury to these areas can result in pain that can make it hard to go about your day-to-day activities. cycling injuries. A good warm-up primes and prepares your body, muscles and joints so it can deliver the best performance.

Yoga is a full-body practice that can help you build flexibility and strength and regular practice can enhance the quality of your ride.

Some common cycling injuries -

• Muscle sprains
• Lower back pain
• Knee pain
• Shoulder injuries
• Achilles tendonitis
• Foot pain and numbness
Yoga for immunity

How Yoga Prevents Cycling Injuries

Yoga can help counteract these risks in a number of ways. Through regular practice, yoga can not only reduce the frequency of injuries but also help prevent them by keeping your muscles and joints in good shape.

Yoga enhances balance, coordination, and focus -

The breathwork involved in a good yoga practice enhances your coordination and focus. It teaches you to find the calm within yourself even when you’re under stressful and demanding situations and can help focus your mind. Certain grounding yoga asanas can  also help enhance your balance on and off the bike. 

Yoga improves the durability and the mobility of joints -

Most cycling injuries are caused due to the repetitive motions involved in cycling that can cause your muscles and your joints to feel stiff over time. This is when the joints are most prone to injuries. Yoga can help strengthen these joints and muscles as well as enhance your range of motion so that your joints are better equipped to handle the sport.

Yoga improves joint alignment -

Practising yoga regularly will bring you more aware of your own body and the little changes you make in your form and alignment on your yoga mat will help you on the bike as well. This in turn will enhance your performance when you’re cycling and will help you become more aware of any postural or subtle movements that you may be doing wrong.

Yoga improves strength and flexibility -

Cycling requires your muscles to be in good shape, and through the practice of yoga, you can ensure that your body is working at its best. Many yoga poses are targeted towards building your strength and improving your flexibility, both of which are incredibly important when it comes to cycling.

More efficient breathing -

Another really important benefit of incorporating yoga into your cycling routine is the breathwork that comes with it. Yoga is a spiritual practice. Pranayama or yoga breath involves the use of deep, controlled and conscious breath that offers many benefits to your mind and your body. When you ride for longer periods of time, you may often begin to feel out of breath. Yoga can help increase your lung capacity and the practice of conscious breathing can help you cycle more efficiently by using your breath more efficiently. 

 

Conclusion

Yoga can help you feel more in touch with your surroundings through the use of meditative techniques along with all the physical benefits that it offers. It can help prepare your muscles for a ride, reduce the risk of injury, and restore and rejuvenate your body after a long cycling session. 

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Yoga Poses for Beginners

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<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

Yoga Poses for Beginners

Beginning your Yoga Journey? Here is a list of 5 yoga poses for beginners to start with.

Many of the things we do for fitness today involves rigorous strength training, such as weight training, running and cardio, but all of this comes at the expense of flexibility and the mental relaxation and mindfulness that yoga provides.

Along with the physical benefits of yoga, the breathwork involved in yoga allows our body to obtain the most benefits out of each physical posture we do.

If you find yourself intimidated to start your yoga journey, or maybe you’ve just been out of touch with your yoga practice and would like to start again, here are a few yoga poses for beginners you can try the next time you’re on the mat.

Finding yourself intimidated to start your yoga journey, here are a few yoga poses for beginners you can try the next time you’re on the mat.

Seated Forward Fold

A seated forward fold is a relaxing yet active stretch that improves flexibility as well as lengthens the spine and stretches your entire body. This pose helps relieve a lot of the stress that we hold in our bodies along with providing a gentle stretch to all the big muscle groups in our body.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

Even though this is a foundational yoga pose, a lot of yoga practitioners struggle with this pose. If you find yourself unable to reach your feet with your hands, rest your hands on your shins as you fold forward with your palms facing upwards as you keep your focus on lengthening your spine.

Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog is a wonderful foundational yoga asana that strengthens and stretches our entire body. This pose can sometimes feel challenging but over time with repetition, one can achieve all the great benefits that this pose offers.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This asana offers a deep stretch to our upper body as well as lower body. To start with, keep your knees bent and keep your attention on lengthening through the spine. You can also walk out your feet to engage both your legs individually.

If this pose feels challenging for you, try a puppy pose to start out with. Bring your knees down to the ground, and stretch your arms forward while lifting your hips and arching your back.

Bridge Pose

Bridge pose is a chest opening yoga asana. It is typically performed towards the end of a yoga session. It provides a gentle stretch to the back and one can reap the benefits of an inversion without physically being upside down.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This pose can be strengthening as well as restorative. While the more advanced variation involves interlacing your fingers underneath your back, you can also place your palms flat on the ground next to you to provide more stability. Lift your hips and place a bolster, cushion or yoga block directly underneath the sacrum to provide support to your lower back.

Triangle Pose

Triangle pose is a standing pose that is great for both advanced as well as beginner yoga practitioners as this asana has many variations one can use. It’s a great pose that improves both your physical and mental health.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

If it’s challenging to reach the floor with your hand, you can reach for your shin or your knee. Another variation is resting your elbow on your knee to provide more stability and support.

Child Pose

The child’s pose is a gentle beginner pose. Even though this pose may feel like rest, you’re actively engaging your back as well as your hips to achieve a gentle stretch throughout your body. It works as a great stretch to warm up your body before getting into more advanced poses. It also gives you the chance to reconnect with your breath.

Benefits of this pose:

Beginners tip:

This pose can be very calming and restorative. You can keep your knees together or separated depending on whichever pose feels more comfortable to your body. To achieve even more relaxation, place a cushion or a bolster underneath your chest for additional support.

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Want to learn more about yoga?

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5 Reasons Why You Should Try Yoga

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why you should try yoga
why you should try yoga
<b>Monica</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Monica
Ālaya Yoga

5 Reasons Why You Should Try Yoga

Here are 5 Reasons why everyone should try yoga

Yoga is often defined as a form of exercise in which you practice poses that help you relax your mind, become more flexible and improve your strength. Yoga, however, is so much more than just that. It’s a practice that perfectly combines breathwork, meditation and mindfulness to tackle everyday stresses as well as ease our minds of any anxiety we may feel on the regular. Through the practice of Asana and breathwork, yoga improves our mobility, flexibility and strength, targeting our mental, physical and spiritual well being.

Yoga practitioner is encouraged to keep their focus on their breath and to practice mindfulness to get the most out of each pose. The daily practice of yoga can help you feel more centred throughout your day, helping ease the stresses that we face regularly in today’s world where people have looming deadlines, rush hours and workloads. It can help you feel more balanced in your approach to life. Other than these benefits from the practice, yoga can also help hasten the healing time in medical ailments such as insomnia, depression, arthritis etc and has mental and physical health benefits for people of all age groups. Yoga can be modified for different people based on their level of fitness, age, and disabilities.

In this article, I’ll talk a little more about some of the most popular reasons people practice yoga.

A yoga practitioner is encouraged to keep the focus on their breath and to practice mindfulness to get the most out of each pose.

Yoga improves strength, mobility and flexibility

The most obvious benefits of making yoga a part of your daily practice and routine are the physical benefits to your body. Yoga helps increase blood circulation in our bodies through the practice of asana’s, many of which target specific locations in our body.

So many people today spend hours upon hours on a chair working, which can often lead to neck and back pain and can even cause irreversible changes to our posture and our spine. Something as simple as doing a sun salutation can help open up your chest, and stretch out your back and reverse the effects of sitting still for extended periods of time. Yoga also involves stretches that if done regularly can help us become more flexible and can improve our strength. One can even alter their daily practice based on what they want to target.

Yoga can help with insomnia

Yoga can help people who suffer from insomnia and poor or irregular sleep patterns. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga before bed find it easier to drift off to sleep as your physical body as well as your mind is more at ease. It can help prepare our mind and our body not only to fall asleep but to stay asleep. Meditation is also a great tool to use when you’re lying awake in bed. When you’re in a meditative state, your mind has the chance to revisit each problem and put it to rest, and this process of mentally putting an end to the day can help calm an overactive brain.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga before bed find it easier to drift off to sleep...

Yoga can help manage and prevent anxiety

Our bodies are complex structures that hold emotions, thoughts and feelings in their alignment. Holding our bodies in particular positions can provoke thoughts and feelings associated with that pose, for example, people with an open chest and their shoulders back and down maybe habitually more receptive and open to the world around them, while people with a hunched back may suffer from issues of self-esteem.

Anxiety can manifest in our body in 2 physical ways, through our muscles and our breath, i.e., our body becomes stiff and tense while our breath quickens.

• Here are 8 breathing exercises for anxiety you can try right now.

By learning how to manage our breath through the practice of pranayama and being more informed about the alignment of our own bodies, we can manage anxiety more efficiently as well as avoid panic attacks before they even occur.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have more energy throughout the day.

Health benefits of yoga

As a lifestyle choice, yoga has proven to help with multiple health issues and is recommended by medical professionals all over the world as a complementary health approach and a holistic health practice.

– Practising yoga can lower the risk of heart disease and is recommended as a preventative measure especially for patients who have suffered from cardiac arrest.

– Yoga can also help reduce chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia as well as chronic arthritis.

– It can help improve our overall brain health, especially brain functions such as attention and memory.

– Yoga is also great for improving your balance, which is all the more important for people who are older.

– It can help boost our immune system as well as help with thyroid issues such as hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism.

– The practice of yoga can even help prevent diabetes.

– Pranayama is also great for the health of our lungs and can help us improve the quality of our breath.

These are just some of the many health benefits that yoga provides. With regular practice, yoga can help us lead healthier as well as more balanced lives.

Yoga can help improve our moods, temperament and stress levels

We face stressors in our daily lives, be it at home, work or even in social situations and stress can become a habit just like anything else. This constant low-stress mode we face throughout the day can impact how we think, how we act, and even our posture. They can gradually become the root cause of physical and mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and chronic pains.

Yoga can help boost our moods so we feel negative emotions less often. People who suffer from poor anger management and suffer short tempers can also benefit from yoga through the practice of pranayama and mindfulness and is often recommended by therapists. 

Yoga is more than just a form of exercise, it is a lifestyle choice that can help improve our mental and physical health. The next time you’re feeling stiff, stressed out or just low, do a small yoga practise and see how it affects your mind and your body. Over on the Ālaya Yoga platform we’ve got loads of great express classes on our live schedule as well as in our video back so you can practice anytime.

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. Explore our memberships at Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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What is Holistic Yoga?

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<b>Sarah</b><br>Ālaya Yoga

Sarah
Ālaya Yoga

What is Holistic Yoga?

Yoga as a holistic health practice

The general understanding our society has about wellness is that it solely relies on physical health. While our physical health is an important part and contributes immensely to our overall wellness, our mental and our spiritual health is just as important but it is often overlooked.

The true meaning of yoga is “union”, and it’s this very union of our mind and body that makes yoga different from other forms of physical health practices. Yoga is a holistic science that embodies the union of our physical, mental and spiritual health. It can help us achieve mental equilibrium, as well as providing numerous health benefits for our body. Yoga as a practice encourages a lifestyle that focuses on balance, harmony, positive thinking and health. This is holistic yoga.

Asanas, breathing exercises and meditation are all part of, and essential to a complete yoga practice. This focus on the breath while performing asanas can help us achieve a sense of calmness during the practice that affects both our physical and our mental wellbeing, while also enhancing the benefits we would otherwise achieve without breathwork being a part of the practice. This is also one of the key elements that sets yoga apart from other physical workouts.

Asanas, breathing exercises and meditation are all part of, and essential to a complete yoga practice.

Holistic yoga for the body

Yoga consists of asanas that we hold for extended periods of time while we bring our focus to our breath so as to find a sense of calmness in our body that can help us relax deeper into each pose, and this process can also help calm our mental state so that our mind can catch a break from our otherwise busy and hectic everyday schedules.

This benefits our physical bodies and health in multiple ways. Just to name a few –

Yoga improves our overall flexibility, strength and mobility.

Yoga can help keep your lungs healthy and strong, thereby improving your oxygen intake and breathing.

It can help manage illnesses such as chronic arthritis. Gentle yoga can help people who have weaker muscles or suffer from tender or swollen joints.

It improves the health of our heart and is often recommended by medical professionals especially for people who’ve suffered from cardiac arrest.

• Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have more energy throughout the day.

• Like most forms of physical exercises, yoga can help boost the production of two hormones in the body essential to cultivating happiness – Oxytocin and Endorphins.

These are just some of the many health benefits that yoga provides.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have more energy throughout the day.

Yoga for mental health

Breathwork and meditation are an important facet of a yoga practice. Breathwork paired with asana’s can help us achieve the full benefits of yoga and this alters our everyday moods and our mental state for the better.Yoga is great for people who suffer from insomnia. It can help regularize our sleep patterns. A small practice before bedtime, or a small meditation can help people fall asleep more quickly and have a more restful sleep.

We face stress regularly in our day to day lives and yoga can help manage both stress and anxiety as well as prevent panic attacks before they occur.

A regular yoga practice can increase the size of our hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory. This in turn also affects the neural connections in our brain. These factors are especially important for older people as age can lead to degeneration of the brain over time.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from depression as well. A regular yoga practice can lead to people living happier lives and having a more positive outlook overall as it allows our minds to take a break from all the chaos that surrounds us and encourages us to find harmony and calmness within our own self.

When we practice asanas and breathwork daily, our focus and concentration gradually increases outside of the practice in our day to day activities as well.

Yoga affects our mental health in various ways, and positively reinforces our daily moods and outlook towards life.

Union of the mind and the body

Breathwork and meditation are an important facet of a yoga practice. Breathwork paired with asana’s can help us achieve the full benefits of yoga and this alters our everyday moods and our mental state for the better.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from insomnia. It can help regularize our sleep patterns. A small practice before bedtime, or a small meditation can help people fall asleep more quickly and have a more restful sleep.

We face stress regularly in our day to day lives and yoga can help manage both stress and anxiety as well as prevent panic attacks before they occur.

A regular yoga practice can increase the size of our hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory. This in turn also affects the neural connections in our brain. These factors are especially important for older people as age can lead to degeneration of the brain over time.

Yoga is great for people who suffer from depression as well. A regular yoga practice can lead to people living happier lives and having a more positive outlook overall as it allows our minds to take a break from all the chaos that surrounds us and encourages us to find harmony and calmness within our own self.

When we practice asanas and breathwork daily, our focus and concentration gradually increases outside of the practice in our day to day activities as well.

Yoga affects our mental health in various ways, and positively reinforces our daily moods and outlook towards life.

Ready to try a holistic approach to yoga?

Join our team of expert teachers who are all trained to teach holistic and traditional yoga.  Explore our memberships at Ālaya Yoga and start your journey to holistic wellbeing today.

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Ayurveda and Yoga for Spring

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Spring has finally arrived and we have the perfect workshop to help you reset and renew your yoga practice!

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