Prepare for summer
Tanya Rouble, ACE-CPT
There are many different types of yoga, and the variety of postures is endless. Here are a few basic yoga poses and exercises to explore at home.
Summer’s coming. Buying new hiking shoes, pumping up bicycle tires, or dusting off the Frisbee–many of us like to ensure our equipment is ready for that perfect sunny day. So why not prepare your most valuable piece of equipment–you!
Yoga is an excellent complement to any other activities you do. It has an energizing and renewing effect that will nourish your body, mind, and spirit. No matter what your passion during the summer, the breathing techniques and inward focus of yoga inspire relaxation and concentration, while improving balance, muscle tone, and flexibility.
There are many different types of yoga, and the variety of postures is endless. Here are a few basic poses to explore at home.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Wakes Up Arms and Legs
Stand upright with feet together.
Inhale while raising your arms in front of you and then overhead. Arms can remain parallel with palms facing each other or with palms pressed together.
Exhale and bend your knees until upper legs are parallel to floor, or as close as possible. At the same time, lean torso slightly forward, sticking your bottom out. Torso and top of thighs will come close to forming a right angle.
Draw abdominals in, lengthen your tailbone toward floor, and slide your shoulders away from your ears.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
To help keep knees aligned, try holding a pillow or foam block between them.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Gently Stretches Hips, Thighs, and Ankles
Kneel on floor with knees hip-width apart and big toes touching.
Exhale and fold torso over thighs. Lengthen tailbone away from back of pelvis, and lengthen neck and head away from shoulders.
Lay hands palms up on floor beside you, and relax your shoulders toward floor.
Hold for 30 seconds, up to a few minutes.
If sitting on your heels is uncomfortable, try placing a folded blanket or pillow between your back thighs and calves.
Downward-Facing dog (Adho Mukha svanasana)
For an All-Over Rejuvenating Stretch
Begin on hands and knees with hands slightly forward of shoulders, knees directly below the hips. Curl toes under.
Exhale and lift your knees off floor, keeping them slightly bent with heels off floor. Tuck tailbone between your legs, lift sitting bones toward the ceiling, and stretch your heels toward the floor. Try to straighten your knees, but don’t lock them.
As arms lengthen, keep them firm and press index fingers into floor. Widen the shoulder blades, holding them firm against your back, and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep head between upper arms (don’t let it hang).
Hold this pose for one to three minutes, then exhale. Bend your knees to floor and rest in child’s pose.
Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra)
Helpful in Creating a Relaxed, Meditative State
Sit comfortably or stand with feet together.
Inhale to bend elbows and bring palms together. Let thumbs gently rest on your breastbone.
Press hands firmly and evenly together. Be sure that one hand doesn’t press harder than the other. If there is such an imbalance, release the stronger hand slightly, rather than pressing harder with the weaker side.
Slightly tilt chin toward your chest. Lift breastbone into your thumbs and let elbows press toward floor as though very heavy.
Hold for several minutes.