yoga

YOGA BENEFITS

BALASANA (Child Pose)

The Benefits of Child Pose



  • Stretches the ankles, feet, quads, and hips, as well as the entire back, shoulders, and neck. Because the head is resting below the heart in the pose, more blood flows into the brain, creating a calming and soothing effect on the mind.

  • When using Child’s Pose in a passive way, it gently relaxes the muscles of the front body, including the abdominals and chest. Your entire body is supported, your arms and shoulders are relaxed, and your hips are resting.

  • If using Balasana as an active pose, you can press your hands into the floor, lifting your elbows to energize the arms and back. You can increase the stretch in the hips by reaching your hips towards your heels.

  • Balasana is excellent for rejuvenating the central nervous system. The pose relaxes all the muscles surrounding the vertebrae of the spine, freeing up the nerves to communicate with the brain more effectively.

  • This pose can help you to breathe more deeply as well, by creating more relaxed space in the back in which to breathe into. Not to mention the fact that your eyes are closed, allowing you to truly feel what is happening in your body. This is a great pose to notice how steady your breath is, and also to notice where the breath goes naturally in the body. (The belly, the ribs, the back or the chest).

  • By placing the spine in a rounded and relaxed shape, and with the third eye pressing into the mat, the yogi can experience a deep grounding effect. The Third Eye is the 6th chakra (or energy center) in the body and governs your intuition and connection to your higher self.

  • This pose also massages the abdominal muscles and internal organs, especially the digestive system, and can stimulate elimination.

  • Child’s Pose can help you to feel protected, nurtured and secure, effectively creating a sanctuary in your own body.


Contraindications


People with recent or recurring injuries or issues in the knees or ankles may have trouble in this pose. Those with high or low blood pressure should exercise caution when practicing this pose. If possible, ensure that the stomach and bowels are empty for this pose, as you may experience discomfort.

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ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)

The Benefits of Downward Facing Dog



  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kahshvah-NAHS-anna) is a rejuvenating pose after a strenuous yoga practice, especially standing poses and back extensions. Healthy blood is brought to the head, nourishing the brain. This pose stretches and strengthens the feet, legs, and arms, and opens shoulders. It relieves pain in the heels and helps with calcaneal spurs while strengthening the abdominal organs. It is a great pose to prepare beginner students for Headstand.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana is a great pose for centering the mind and neutralizing the effects of other asanas on the body. Long practice of this pose will build strength for inversions. This asana calms the brain because the head is brought down towards the earth. Our mind is normally moving forward or backward and this asana has the ability to bring the mind to the present moment. 


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Contraindications


Those with any wrist injury or pain should avoid this pose. Use the rope wall to relieve weight from the wrist. Those with high blood pressure should not hold this pose for more than 30 seconds. 

BHUJANGASANA (Cobra Pose)

The Benefits of Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose builds strength in the back


To draw the body comfortably into a deep backbend with control, the support muscles of the spine need to be strongly and intelligently engaged. Developing these deep core support muscles can help to maintain the health of the spine.

Cobra Pose helps to improve posture


The core muscles that are used to actively draw the body into cobra pose are the same muscles that are used to maintain an alert, upright posture while standing or sitting.Correcting postural imbalances is key to taking the pressure off of the joints, as well as maintaining balance and coordination as we age.

Cobra Pose stretches the muscles of the abdomen


In Yoga, there are countless poses that help to strengthen the core muscles of the abdomen. However, it is just as important to lengthen these muscles and break down fascial adhesions that restrict mobility and inhibit growth. Cobra Pose is one of the best poses for doing this.

Cobra Pose helps to lift your mood and energy levels


One of the reasons why having an alert, upright posture is so important is that it promotes a positive mental attitude and automatically helps to raise our energy levels.Also, by stretching the front of the body, Cobra Pose helps to create blood flow throughout the chest and abdomen. This combined with the stimulation of the spine, can be quite exhilarating.

Cobra Pose helps to encourage compassion and connection    


                     As one of the key “heart-opening” postures, Cobra Pose is felt to develop an attitude of emotional vulnerability where the body is given permission to feel deeply and connect with others.

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Contraindications


Women who are menstruating or pregnant should avoid this pose. If you have any neck injury or pain, keep the head upright. If your lower back hurts, tighten the buttocks or keep the legs hip-width distance or do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana instead. 

VRIKSASANA or VRKSASANA (Tree Pose)

The Benefits of Tree Pose


Vrksasana (vrk-SHAH-suh-nuh) is a standing balancing pose. This pose strengthens the leg muscles and helps develop stability. This pose keeps the hip open and stretches the sides of the trunk, lower back and upper back. The arms stretched upwards promotes flexibility of the shoulders.

Being a balancing pose, Vriksasana requires one to stay focused and present in the moment. As its name suggests, one becomes grounded and stable like the roots of a tree. The roots of a tree go deep into the ground and at the same time the tree rises upwards towards the sky. The deeper the roots, the higher the tree. The more we ground our body towards gravity the same force pushes us upward. Stability of the body and mind is most essential in the practice of yoga. Sage Patanjali clearly states in the Yoga Sutras that yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind. When the mind is calm, one is capable of living in peace. A tree gives shade to even the woodcutter who is cutting the tree down. Yogis are reminded of tolerance and calmness: the tree freely offers us shade, flowers, fruit and wood. In the same way a yogi is encouraged to develop friendliness (Maitrim) and compassion (Karunya) to all living beings as mentioned in the Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali. The practice of this pose can develop a stable and peaceful mind.

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Contraindications


Those with high blood pressure should not lift their arms up, but keep their palms in Namaste at the center of the chest. For those who are frail or elderly, or have osteoporosis, inner ear conditions or balancing issues should take the pose with wall support for a shorter period of time. Those with fatigue should refrain from this pose.

MAKARA ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Dolphin Plank Pose)

The Benefits of Dolphin Plank Pose


Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana strengthens the arms and legs, tones the abdominal muscles, and engages all the muscles in the back. The pose also stretches and tones the muscles in the feet and legs.Dolphin Plank is one of the most effective poses for strengthening all of the abdominal muscles. Transverse, Rectus, Quadratus Lumborum and the Obliques. As it strengthens the back muscles at the same time, it is fast and effective for getting stronger all over.The pose also lengthens your spine, creating strength and flexibility at the same time. The pose is also a weight-bearing exercise that can prevent osteoporosis, when used in combination with a healthy diet, fresh air and plenty of water.The pose improves digestion, increases circulation, and stimulates the respiratory system. The pose is quite rejuvenating as it quickly increases blood flow in the body. Any pose that quickly increases blood flow can bring you into a meditative state quite quickly, thus bringing additional benefits.Practicing Dolphin Plank Pose can bring calmness, peace of mind and focus to the practitioner. This pose can give you an outlet for the high frequency energies of anxiety, stress, frustration and anger. It can give you a physical challenge which can get your out of your own head filled with unproductive thoughts.You will also notice that the pose helps with stamina and endurance by helping you get into the right mindset to hold the pose, even when it feels hard. When you practice and break through things that are difficult in your yoga practice, you cultivate the same kind of mindset to enter into your daily life. You begin to take your yoga “off the mat”.

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Contraindications


People suffering with recent or recurring issues or injuries in the wrists, shoulders or back should refrain or practice caution when practicing the pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Pose)

The Benefits of Four-Limbed Pose


Chaturanga Dandasana (cha-TO-rung-gah dun-DAH-suh-nuh) strengthens the arms (triceps and pectoralis), core and leg muscles. It also stabilizes the shoulders, core, hips and upper back muscles. It is a good pose to give strength to the arms and legs before going into back extensions.This pose requires one to have strength and coordination of the upper and lower parts of the body. Frequent practice of the pose gives immense strength to the body. A yogi requires bodily strength to overcome certain hardships in live. When the body is strong the yogi will have the ability to take up a deeper practice that can guide the mind into a more serious practice of the Yamas and the Niyamas in Ashtanga Yoga. One of the principle values in the Niyamas is Tapas (austerity). Accepting the hardship of life and rejecting unwanted comforts will give strength and direction of simplicity to the yogi who is looking for higher accomplishment in yoga. A mind that is not trained to keep away from objects will not have the capacity to reflect the higher self. A disturbed lake will not reflect a mountain. In a still sheet of water you can see even a blade of grass.

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Contraindications


Students with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other wrist, elbow and shoulder issues should avoid jumping into and out of this pose. Women who are menstruating and who are pregnant should avoid this pose. Students can modify this pose by bending their knees into the floor.

MATSYASANA (Fish Pose)

The Benefits Of Fish Pose


Matsyasana (mahtz-YAH-suh-nuh) expands the chest cavity, which in turn increases lung capacity, and encourages deeper breathing, which helps in asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. It increases blood supply to the head, nourishing the pituitary and pineal glands.This pose also energizes the thyroid and parathyroid, which are the regulators of the body’s metabolism. It also removes stiffness in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions, increases nerve impulses and blood circulation in these areas, and gives a natural massage to neck and shoulders. Matsyasana also corrects rounded shoulders.Matsyasana is an important pose in preparing the lungs to open for pranayama. This pose will increase the capacity of the lungs therefore resulting in a better breathing pattern and rhythm. When we breathe properly we think properly. The mind and the breath are closely connected. When there is retention of breath, the mind becomes still. Therefore regular practice of this asana will prepare a strong body for pranayama.

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Contraindications


Avoid this pose is you have high blood pressure or a migraine. If you have any neck injuries or pain do this pose with a bolster on your mid-back and a blanket to support the back of the head. 

SHASHANKASANA (Rabbit Pose)

The Benefits of Rabbit Pose


Shashankasana gives a good stretch to the upper body, including the spine and postural muscles, which releases pressure on the spinal nerves. The forward bend massages and stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs, which improves digestion. The pituitary, pineal, thyroid and parathyroid glands and the immune and endocrine systems are also stimulated. This pose tones the pelvic muscles and relaxes the leg muscles and relieves sciatic pain. Compression on the legs can reduce varicose veins.  It can also help those with sexual disorders (by strengthening the uterus, for example) and diabetes.Shashankasana supplies the brain and sensory organs with blood, improving concentration and memory and inducing relaxation. The pose resembles the fetal position, which creates a sense of security and a feeling of surrender. This pose is recommended for those that feel emotionally unbalanced or have difficulty controlling anger or frustration.

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Contraindications


Avoid this asana if you have back or leg pain or if you feel dizzy. Those with knee, neck, spine or shoulder injury should also refrain. Also women who are pregnant should avoid this pose

BADHAKONASANA (Butterfly Pose)

The Benefits Of Butterfly Pose   


Badha Konasana (BAH-dah koh-NAH-suh-nuh) opens up the groin area and hip joint. It also helps relieve urinary disorders, sciatica pain and hernia, regulates menstrual flow and keeps the kidneys, bladder and prostate healthy. This is an excellent pose for pregnant women in preparation for childbirth.The variation with a forward bend tones the abdominal organs, therefore improving digestion.The hips are where we store our emotional issues. Therefore, Badha Konasana being a hip opener helps us to release our pent-up emotions. In turn, this asana gives a feeling of lightness in our energetic bodies and it is a good pose to promote seated meditation.

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Contraindications    


Badha Konasana (BAH-dah koh-NAH-suh-nuh) opens up the groin area and hip joint. It also helps relieve urinary disorders, sciatica pain and hernia, regulates menstrual flow and keeps the kidneys, bladder and prostate healthy. This is an excellent pose for pregnant women in preparation for childbirth.The variation with a forward bend tones the abdominal organs, therefore improving digestion.The hips are where we store our emotional issues. Therefore, Badha Konasana being a hip opener helps us to release our pent-up emotions. In turn, this asana gives a feeling of lightness in our energetic bodies and it is a good pose to promote seated meditation.

SAVASANA (Corpse Pose)

The Benefits Of Corpse Pose


Savasana (shah-VAH-suh-nuh) is a pose that takes us to the next level of our practice, which is pranayama. This pose teaches us to keep the spine elongated while reclining and cultivates stillness. The physical and the mental body are trained to be quiet in this pose. In a good yoga practice, the entire body is stretched, contracted, twisted and even inverted. The only thing left to do is to completely relax the body.Muscles that may have been tense are allowed to relax, thereby releasing any unnecessary tension they were exerting on other structures such as the bones, nerves and joints. In this state of relaxation, the heart rate and breathing slow down, which also helps in reducing blood pressure.Therefore, Savasana is a good pose for all and should not be skipped.Savasana is a pose of complete relaxation. What do we mean by relaxation? To relax is not to collapse, but undo all the tensions that we have accumulated in the body and mind. We have educated the body to be constantly doing and achieving until a point where we believe that without doing we have not achieved anything. Or have we questioned ourselves about what is it that we are constantly trying to achieve, and why trying to achieve has made us become so tired and stressed. Tensions are just the result of will and effort. We have been trained from very early on in our lives to struggle to achieve. Our life just passes on by while we are trying to climb the stairs of achievements that take us away from who we really are.What are we looking for? We are all looking for “GOODNESS.” We may call this peace, love or joy but the foundation of all those emotions is to feel good. Nobody wants to feel bad. But it seems we can’t reach this goodness. Goodness is not to be achieved, but it is to be understood as our own true nature. Our true identity. All that we want is to feel good and we are looking for this in the wrong direction. The direction is not out there, it is in here and now. Goodness is not to be achieved by any action but to be realized as our own true nature. Not doing but knowing. It is just as simple as knowing yourself; you do not need any introductions to yourself.Now we have to learn to let go and undo and work in the opposite direction. Undoing is not an action, but just letting things fall or leave as we focus on the inner self, which is the goodness within. Let it all release in Savasana. It is not a state of passivity but an alert watchfulness.  Undo and relax the body and mind from all the achievements we have and all the concepts we have built. Just remain and be.Savasana is the entry to pranayama and pratyahara.

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Contraindications


Those with back issues can do the pose with a bolster under their knees. Those with a reverse curve in their necks should place a small rolled blanket under the neck. The body should be warm in Savasana. If the environment is cold, cover the body with a blanket. Keep the room dark or cover the eyes with an eye bag or bandage.