Yoga is a whole body philosophy that started over 5,000 years ago in India!
If you aren’t a master of the downward dog or don’t even know what that term means, don’t worry. Yoga may be a widely popular exercise trend but not everyone has jumped on the wagon. If you’re new to yoga, you’ve come to the right place.
Yoga is a whole body philosophy that involves:
- working with breathing (pranayama)
- stretching exercises
- postures (asanas)
I was never the type of person to practice yoga. I was meditating by running marathons and half marathons. But when I felt that my body is excessively tired and couldn’t keep up with the tempo of hard work and even harder exercise, I needed to change my daily routine.
Unlike most physical exercise, yoga focuses not only on the body but the mind and spirit.
Although the exact origins of yoga are unclear, it is widely considered an ancient Indian practice that started over 5000 years ago in India. One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is called Yoga, and goes far beyond just exercises of the body, having its own epistemology and metaphysics.
The science on yoga is sparse and much of the research remains unfounded. What we do know is that long term users report musculoskeletal and mental health improvements as well as reduced asthma symptoms in sufferers.
Some evidence suggests that regular yoga practice can increase cognitive brain function. Hatha yoga, which focuses on exercise, breathing and meditation, has been shown beneficial to those suffering from heart disease.
Recent study into the influence of yoga on cancer patients promotes it as a complementary intervention for symptoms such as depression, insomnia, chronic pain, fatigue and anxiety.
Mindfulness based stress reduction programs often use yoga as a balancing technique to reduce stress levels. One study found MBSR as having a drastic effect on the quality of sleep and spiritual growth of people battling cancer.
Encouraging, but inconclusive evidence has shown yoga to be an effective supportive treatment for schizophrenia, helping to alleviate the symptoms and improve patients quality of life.
Now that you know the benefits of yoga, it’s time to give it a try!
With yoga, it is always important that you monitor your breathing and make sure your taking full breaths in and exhaling completely out.
Here are 3 simple but effective poses to get you started and don’t forget to check out the video with the 20 minute yoga routine that you’ll want to do every day!
- Stand tall with your feet comfortably together.
- Relax your body starting at your head, working down through your shoulders and lower back.
- Keep your body weight evenly distributed under your feet.
- With your arms at your side, take a deep breath in through your nose while raising your hands out to your sides and up.
- With palms facing each other and arms straight above, feel your body stand at its fullest as you reach to the sky.
- Exhale through your mouth as you bring your arms slowly back to your side.
- Start on your knees, place your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders (like a tabletop).
- Slowly walk your hands away from your body, feeling a full stretch through your back and arms.
- Pressing your palms into the ground, bring the soles of your feet to the floor while pushing your hips slowly towards the sky.
- In the shape of an inverted V, keep your knees slightly bent and let your head hang like a ripe fruit from a tree.
- Take 3 full breaths in and out.
- Stand with your feet as far apart as the length of your leg.
- Turn your body forward, with your front foot pointed straight and back foot naturally to the side.
- Extend your arms out to follow the line of your legs with palms facing down.
- Bend your front knee slightly to feel a stretch through the back leg and hip.
- Make sure your front knee goes no further than your ankle.
- Hold for a minute while breathing fully.