Yoga Poses: The Pigeon Pose

December 5, 2008 by  
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The regular practice of yoga offers a lot of benefits including: increasing the body’s flexibility; increasing lubrication of the joints, tendons and ligaments; exercising all organs of the body; flushing out waste and toxins; relaxing the mind and the body; and proper toning of the muscles. However, in order to experience all of these benefits, it is important to execute the poses properly.

One of the more common poses today in yoga would be the pigeon pose or the Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. This type of pose excellently stretches the thighs, the groin and the back. It also opens up the chest and the shoulders. The pigeon pose can make your hips more supple and flexible. Although the pose could make you breathless because of its depth, just continue practicing it and you will eventually see the improvement.

The pigeon pose has also been said to stimulate the internal organs, alleviate sciatic pain and relieve impinged piriformis, help in the treatment of urinary disorders, improve body posture and alignment, as well as release stress and tension. There are even some people who feel a rush of tension and emotions released that they cry as they execute the pose.

Athletes also find this yoga pose helpful for improving their overall health, agility and speed. There are several muscles that are stretched as the pigeon pose is executed. The major muscle that is stretched through the pigeon pose would be the gluteus maximus. It also stretches out other muscles including the gluteus minimus, piriformis, the superior gemellus, the inferior gemellus, the quadrates femoris, as well as the orbturator internus.

Here are the steps on how to properly execute the pigeon pose.

1. There are a number of ways on how to start executing the pigeon pose. One of the more common would be to come to it from the Downward Facing Dog pose or to be on all fours like a table.

2. Slowly slide your right knee forward going to your right hand. Point your right knee to the two o’ clock position.

3. Slide your left leg going backward as far as your hips can.

4. Make sure that your hips are kept square to the floor. If not, there would unnecessary force put on your back and you would not be able to open up your hips to the fullest. If you want, you can put some padding under your right buttock cheek to keep your hips square.

5. If you are not feeling your right glute being deeply stretched, try to gradually slide your right foot forward going to your left hand. Bring your foot parallel to the front edge of the mat.

6. Your right thigh must have an external rotation, while your left thigh must slightly have an internal rotation. This would keep the pressure off your knee cap.

7. For more advanced individuals, you can try resting on your forearms or resting your chest on the rest on the floor, fully extending both arms in front.

8. For a full release from the hips, breathe and release your belly. Try to stay in this position for at least 10 breaths up to five minutes.

Keep in mind that the pigeon pose should be avoided by individuals who have a back injury or an ankle injury. There are also certain knee injuries that could get worse with this yoga pose. If you are experiencing extreme tightness in your hips, it would also be advisable to avoid executing this pose.

Best Yoga Poses For Losing Weight

December 3, 2008 by  
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Practicing yoga regularly offers numerous benefits including relaxing your mind and body, strengthening your muscles and organs, reducing stress as well as improving your mental and your physical well-being. One of the more popular reasons why many people are beginning to practice yoga would be its effectiveness in helping to lose weight.

Losing weight through yoga could depend on what type of yoga you practice. Some of the types of yoga that are recommended for weight loss would include: Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga and Hot Yoga. There are also some yoga poses that have been proven to help in losing weight more efficiently. Here are some of them.

1. The Dancer’s Pose

Start in the Mountain pose. Bend your right leg slowly behind you and then grab the inner portion of your right foot. Extend your left arm overhead and then bend forward up until your torso is parallel along the floor. Raise your right leg behind as high you can as you maintain your balance. Hold the position for a few breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.

2. The Chair Pose

Stretch your arms overhead and then bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. While in this squatting position, maintain the length on your back and your neck. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then release to the Mountain pose.

3. The Reverse Warrior Pose

Begin by positioning your feet apart. Slowly raise your arms to the sides. Your ankles should be underneath your wrists. Curve your left foot slightly inwards and your right foot outwards. Bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle, while keeping your left leg straight. Slide your left hand down your left leg and toward your ankle. Raise your right arm overhead and then bend back as you gaze at your fingertips. Hold the position for a few breaths and repeat on your opposite leg.

4. The Downward Facing Dog Pose

Start on all fours and position your hands under your shoulders. Lift your hips and lengthen through your spine and straighten your legs.

5. The Opposite Arm Extension Pose

Starting in the tabletop position, slowly lift your right arm and then extend it forward. Follow by raising your left leg and extending it back. Hold the position for three breaths. This move can actually strengthen your abs, back, legs, hips and buttocks, which are areas prone to cellulite. Repeat thrice on each side.

Keep in mind, though, that although these positions may help you in losing weight through yoga, it would still be advisable help to make sure that you have good eating habits by eating a proper diet. With a good combination of these, you would surely be able to shed more pounds easily and healthily.

Yoga Poses: The Tree Pose

November 30, 2008 by  
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Yoga is known to be one of the best forms of exercises today. It strengthens the mind and the body through different poses which are also known as asanas. Both young and old could easily take advantage of the benefits from practicing yoga regularly. This is because yoga poses can easily be adjusted to fit to an individual’s physical limitations.

One of the more popular yoga poses would be the tree pose or Vrksasana. The tree pose is known in yoga as a balance pose that makes use of the three lines of energy, starting from the center going outwards. The first line goes through the straight leg, the second extends up the spine going to the fingertips, and the third line of energy moves outward going through the bent knee.

The tree pose is one of the best positions when practicing yoga as it enhances mental concentration while taking on a calmer mind. It also improves stability and balance. It strengthens the back, the thighs, legs, calves, ankles and feet. It is also good in increasing the flexibility of the groin, the hips and the knees. Yoga experts recommend the tree pose for those individuals who are suffering from Sciatica and for those who have flat feet.

Here are the steps on how to properly execute the tree pose.

1. Start by aligning yourself in the mountain pose or standing straight with both feet together. Make sure to continue your smooth and flowing breathing.

2. On your next inhale, put most of your weight on your left foot and lay it flat on the ground as you start to balance.

3. As you exhale, slowly bend your right knee. Assisting with your hand, position your right foot’s sole as high as possible on your inner left thigh. Make sure that your toes are pointing down. Continue breathing smoothly as you steady yourself.

3. As you inhale again, stretch out your arms sideways forming a “T”, with your palms facing down.

4. As you exhale, bring both palms together to form a prayer position. Make sure to keep your eyes focused on one point in front of your body, as this would help you get more balanced.

5. Raise both arms overhead, while keeping palms in a prayer position. Aside from focusing on a fixed point to maintain balance, it would also help to breathe through your stomach.

6. Practice until you are able to comfortably hold the pose for about 30 seconds.

7. Repeat everything but this time try to stand on your right foot and lift your left.

As you start trying to execute this pose, it could help to make use of a back brace placed against a wall to keep yourself steady.

Also, remember that those individuals who have insomnia or are suffering from a headache as well as those with high blood or low blood pressure must be extra careful while doing this yoga pose.

Physical Fitness and Power Yoga

August 24, 2008 by  
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Many people have the misconception that yoga only involved stress relief by simply sitting quietly in one corner and meditating while striking up impossibly complex poses. Yoga is usually not associated with core fitness, or the utilization of yoga to exercise all the central muscles in the body. This requires intensive fitness discipline, similar to engaging in a martial arts or self-defense class. If you have had prior experience in karate classes or tae kwon do workouts, you may have an inkling of what it is like to do engage in power yoga. This type of yoga requires commitment from you, especially if you want to see and feel the results after hours of hard training.

The usual exercise routines sometimes only focus on the muscles of the arms and legs. In power yoga, you are given a total body workout so that all the important muscles of the body are exercised. Your muscles all put to work simultaneously. While this can be tiring especially for those who are not used to such intense workout, but it is an excellent way to develop and tone the muscles.

Power yoga involves balance, stretching, and concentration so that the circulatory system can work more effectively. In addition, due to the breathing techniques incorporated in almost all types of yoga, you can pump more oxygen into your system. Power yoga is highly physical, but it is a good way to stay in shape and prevent the effects of aging to manifest on the body. The body is taught to age gracefully while preventing tell-tale signs such as slowness of reflexes, sagging skin, and lower endurance, to name a few.

Like other fitness programs or forms of martial arts, you need to be devoted in fulfilling the practices and motions of power yoga in order to reap its many benefits. Short-term interest won’t do either; you will have to practice yoga regularly even after you have learned the techniques. Similar to engaging in sports or martial arts, you will quickly grow out of shape if you stop practicing for a long time.

Power yoga may be tiring, but you need to persevere and follow the regimen it brings even if you are very much tempted to give up. There are many temptations that could distract you from practicing power yoga religiously, and you may cave in very easily if you don’t exercise discipline over your body.

Various Poses in Yoga

June 18, 2008 by  
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Yoga emphasizes on taking on various poses and positions of the body to achieve good state of mind and the body. Those who understand what yoga is all about know that doing the right poses and positions is vital in their training.

Executing these poses with the right concentration allows one to succeed in training which is good for the body and the mind. Daily practice is essential in building up the body and the number of poses one can master. These poses include things like warm ups, seated, standing, balance, and finishing poses.

The triangular pose, also called the trikonasana, is one of the elementary standing poses in this discipline. To execute such pose, one should stand and position the legs far apart from the shoulders and keep the feet straight. The arms must be raised up to the level of the shoulders. Then, lower the right arm and extend it down the right leg. After this, lower the right arm and extend it to the right leg. After which, raise the left arm over the head. Then straighten the body to its initial position and repeat the procedure for the other part of the body. This pose will tone the legs and the abdominal muscles while promoting good health of the lower back.

Power yoga may be tiring, but you need to persevere and follow the regimen it brings even if you are very much tempted to give up. There are many temptations that could distract you from practicing power yoga religiously, and you may cave in very easily if you don’t exercise discipline over your body.

Another popular yoga pose is the lotus pose. It is a seated pose requiring flexibility. Start off by placing the right foot on the left thigh, keeping the foot facing up. Place the left foot on the right thigh and face it up. Then, place the palms of the hand on the corresponding thighs. Place the left foot on the right thigh, keeping the foot faced up. Proceed with placing the palms of the hands upwards. Carry this pose while meditating and this will strengthen the legs and ankles while increasing one’s flexibility. This will also help in promoting good posture and relaxation.

There is also the Ardha Matsyendrasana which is done by kneeling down on the heels and placing the legs together. Sit to the right and place the left leg over the right foot while keeping the foot on the external side of the right knee. Keep the spine straight and then bring the right heel closer to the buttocks. While stretching the arms to the levels of the shoulder, bring the right arm to the left knee while holding the left foot close.