Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yoga Pose Wednesday

Everyone seems to have a "insert phrase here" "insert day here" so I thought I would do the same. Since I'm going to be getting my yoga teacher certification in the next year, I figured Yoga Pose Wednesday would be perfect! Now I just have to remember to do it because sometimes, I forget.

Today, I want to give some basic information about yoga since this is my first post. The word "Yoga" means "yoke" in sanskrit. You can probably interpret that in any way you'd like but how I like to think of it is that it's the central thing that brings everything else in my life together. Through yoga, I learn how to deal with daily situations without fear, I develop a better relationship with God, it helps me physically get stronger and helps my body stay injury free. There is a mental, physical and spiritual aspect to it.

Yoga began in Southeast Asia as a physical, mental and spiritual way to attain a state of perfect spiritual insight and transformation. It is used in 3 different religions: Hindu, Buddhism and Jainism. But as it's been introduced into western culture, it can also be used as a compliment to christianity. There are no rules that you must be of an eastern religion in order to use it for your spiritual practice. We can all use quiet time with God, no matter how you view that God.

Obviously, it is huge in the fitness industry as it does help strengthen, stretch and build your mental strength in a physical way. There are so many western variations of yoga that you can use it in any capacity you want. I am one who prefers the calming, meditative use of it because since beginning Yoga, it has helped me strengthen my relationship with God and come to trust Him more. It also helps me stay flexible and injury free during my marathon training.

The first pose I'm going to discuss is Downward Facing Dog. The Sanskrit name is Adho Mukha Svanasana but in my time of studying yoga, I have never heard anyone use the sanskrit name like they do with other poses. This is a rest pose in the Sun Salutation series and one that you will always use. For stretching purposes, it helps stretch the back, open the chest, and builds upper body strength. It is also supposed to help stimulate the brain/nervous system, improve memory, concentration, hearing and eyesight, aids in digestion, helps increase blood flow to the sinuses, calms mind and lifts the spirits. SO... you can see why it's so important.

The basic information I can give on how to do this is to start on all fours with knees hip distance apart and hands a little in front of the shoulders. You want to push back onto your feet making sure you keep your back flat. For someone like me whose shoulders are tight, well my whole body is tight, I typically have to start with my knees bent a lot. The goal is to keep your head in line with the line of your back, you want to extend your hips towards the ceiling, push back into your heels so they are as close to the floor as possible and try to straighten your knees, although you should be gentle with yourself and never force a pose. You want to keep you shoulders down and think about keeping your arms rotated. Your elbows should be pointing towards the floor. You want the weight of your hands to be at the base of the index fingers. While you don't want all of your weight to be there, it's so unnatural for it to be there, it's best to concentrate on that so that the weight is evenly distributed throughout your hand. Most people tend to put all of their weight on the outside of their hands. 

1) bend your knees - your main goal should be to flatten your back and point your hips towards the ceiling
2) if you shoulders are extremely tight, you can put your forearms on the floor. Your hands will be in the same position but you'll have the support of your entire forearm as opposed to just your wrist. This is also good for people that have issues with their wrists. 

I should've taken a pic of me doing downward facing dog!! Maybe next time!!

Do you take yoga? 
How many times a week? 
What's your favorite yoga pose? 

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this!!! OH yay for more wednesdays!!! Thank you for starting out with some basic information about Yoga. You know how much I LOVE Yoga, and as I get more and more into it (I only starting in March), I LOVE learning more about the basics and history.