More than just stretching
The parties and holidays are over! After indulging in nearly everything over the holiday season, embarking on a health and fitness routine would probably cross your mind.
But where does one start? As a yoga practitioner, my advise is ease into a simple daily routine, for starters: Drink as much as three to four glasses of water as soon as you wake up, refrain from eating 45 minutes, empty bowels before taking solid food and do some yoga breathing exercises in the morning, if you can. Then get into a comfortable level of exercise routine but do it regularly.
Yoga is mostly associated with postures or as a form of exercise. There is more to yoga than just stretching. Yoga is about developing focus, balance, flexibility and strength. Once you are into it, there are many health benefits that can be derived from a regular practice: flexibility, strength, muscle tone, pain management, better breathing, reduced stress as well as mental calmness. Eventually, you will learn how to deal with ailments such as back pain, neck pain and joint pains, migraine, digestive problems and high blood pressure.
Yoga for beginners
- Join a class so a certified yoga instructor can show you the proper way to exercise based on your needs, set goals and other health considerations.
- Don’t get intimidated by the sight of other students who seem to have no bones in their bodies. Remember, before they got to that point, they were a beginner just like you.
- Go slowly. There is no need to rush or compare yourself with others. Yoga is not a competition. Listen and have faith in your body as it possesses an amazing capacity for rejuvenation. Also, have a constant, frank dialogue with your instructor. If there’s something that you’re not comfortable with, both should be able to discuss a way to move forward.
- Observe proper etiquette that includes coming to class with proper attire. Wear something light and comfortable. Your clothes should allow free movement of body parts in various postures.
- Have a light meal hours before your class, and hydrate before yoga and after yoga. If you need water during class, keep it minimal for example wetting your throat. Drinking too much water during class brings down your internal fire.
- Don’t give up after your first class just because your body aches all over. Any form of good exercise will cause body aches the day after.
- If you wish to join a yoga session, classes are being held at the Pemberton Sports Club, all are welcome to drop-in anytime.
- Every Tuesday 5:30pm and every Saturday 9am. All classes are 75 minutes. For more details or information on classes in Northcliffe visit www.yogaandspices.com
Energizing Yoga Posture
Utkatasana means “powerful” or “fierce” posture (Chair posture) can ignite the determination that fuels our practice and keeps our inner fire bright.
Stretches shoulders and chest. Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart. Strengthens the ankles, calves, and thighs while stretching the upper back. This posture invigorates and energies the whole body. Hold this posture for 5 to 10 breaths. As our breaths start getting challenged, we can fortify our determination, and bare witness and surrender to our inner conflicts as we remain powerfully “seated” in strength and grace.
Bring your feet to hip’s width distance apart. Spread your toes, and align your head, shoulders and pelvis so that your weight is evenly distributed, and you have a feeling of openness across your chest. As you inhale, raise your arms overhead as high as it can go and keep it straight, drawn back in the shoulder joint. As you exhale, bend your knees and lower your pelvis towards your heels. Make sure that your knees are not collapsing inward or outward. Use a yoga block (foam brick or book) between your knees if there is such tendency. Deepen the fold of your ankle, so you feel grounded in your heels and through your lower legs. To release, go into a forward fold.