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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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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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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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Yoga Nidra For Sleep

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Did you know that Yoga Nidra can help you sleep?

This World Sleep Day,  Viriam Kaur wanted to share more on yoga nidra and how profoundly beneficial it can be for your sleep and overall wellbeing.

Continue reading…