Yoga – Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is a resting pose, ideal for recovery during an intense routine. It stretches the legs and back and is a great pose to try after a long day sat by a desk.


Yoga Instructions - Downward Facing Dog

Spread your feet shoulder width apart ensuring your weight is evenly balanced and spread your toes.


Keeping your back straight, bend forward from your waist and press your palms flat on the floor, fingers pointing forward and spread apart (You can bend your knees if you need to).


Step each foot back so you’re in a push-up position, arms extended, hands beneath your shoulders, palms flat on the floor.


Slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling keeping your hands and feet in position. Your body should make an inverted ‘V’ shape.


Gently push your chest toward your knees. Try to keep your eyes on your toes and press your heels toward the floor.


Breathe deeply, holding the pose for up to a minute. As you exhale, move more deeply into the pose.

Yoga – Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose is one of the most basic Yoga poses. Simple and solid, it’s the start of many Yoga routines. Here we explain how it’s done in 7 detailed steps.


Yoga Instructions - Mountain Pose


Whilst standing with you feet together, close your eyes. Imagine that you are planted to the ground, like a mountain.


In a gentle motion, rock back and forth from the balls to the heels of your feet, finding a strong, even resting point. Attempt to spread your toes slightly, to give yourself an even stronger base.


Open your eyes, keeping your head level. Softly bend your knees and then straighten them to Loosen your leg joints. Make sure your knees are directly over your ankles.


Curl out your pelvis and try to straighten your spine as much as possible. Try to imagine the alignment between your spine, hips, knees and ankles. This helps to minimise pressure on one area.


Lift your chest away from your stomach, extending your spine. Then relax your throat and lengthen your neck, as if a cord is being pulled directly up, on your head.


Press down evenly into the floor with your feet and slowly raise your arms above your head.Think about pushing down with your feet, whilst stretching your finger-tips above your head.


Keeping your gaze straight ahead breathe deeply. Try to retain your balance (this may take a little practice), and hold the pose for 30 seconds.

3 Reasons to stand up and do 5 mins of Yoga

There are plenty of reasons why people practise yoga. Here’s the brilliant bit, this blog will explore these reasons with the actual science behind them. That way you can find out which of our yoga challenges are right for you and your health goals.

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So what are the main reasons people practise yoga?

“I do yoga because I want to feel more toned and flexible.”
“I do yoga because I want to feel great and get more focused.”
“I do yoga to unwind and de-stress.”

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“I do yoga because I get more focus”

Reason: Yoga helps you to focus on your thoughts, body and behaviour, these get moved across into other aspects of your daily routine. Research has shown that people start eating better, quitting alcohol or caffeine and swapping habits that are bad for something better.

Your body can adapt and can change depending on your environment, your behaviour and your experiences. Yoga can help speed this process along by helping you to challenge and change your outlook, mentally and physically.

As you undertake our challenges and read our blogs about yoga, you will notice how you can get better, stronger and healthier. You have your brain to thank for that; it helps to facilitate these learning experiences whether they be good or bad. The nerve cells within your brain called neurones can make new connections, reorganise neurone pathways and even create new neurones. By changing the behavior and processes of these cells, you are also physically and emotionally changing your behavior and processes. You are learning continuously through your thoughts and movements in whatever environment you happen to find yourself in.

“I do yoga because I want to unwind and destress”

Reason: Yoga can equip you with the coping skills necessary to deal with everyday stress. Overall, those who practise yoga feel naturally calmer and more at peace. You have your nervous system to thank for that.

Your central nervous system (CNS) is sensory system that sends and receives information about your organs from the the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS consists of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. PNS helps you to recover from stress, helping you to reduce any stress or anxiety hormones present in your body.
Your PNS counteracts the effects made by it’s co-partner the ANS. This is an involuntary system that controls organs that need to be running in your body constantly. The ANS can cause symptoms of stress including raised heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing and blood sugar levels. If you regularly practise yoga, ANS will be less activated than PNS as a response to a stressful situation.

Stress as we all know can have negative effect on our health and daily life. So any reduction can be a life saver in preventing long and short term illness.

“I do yoga to get more toned and flexible”

Reason: Yoga stretches your body’s capabilities in new ways. As you move through the poses, you will put be shifting your weight across all areas of the body, areas that might never have been worked on before. It is these new movements and motions that can offer you the best benefits.

You are holding poses which works on joints, ligaments and tendons not used or exercised before, getting additional strength and flexibility in a variety of organs that do not usually get stimulated externally.

Muscles that are left unused and untested remain quite stiff, tight and short. When you workout your muscles through a series of stretches, they become much more relaxed and tension free.

Combining yoga with other cardiovascular exercises can help use up those calories from food consumed. Balancing your calorie input with physical output is an important step to toning up. Find out more by checking out our toning up blogs.

10 Types of Yoga you should try before you die

If you’re not sure about what type of yoga to try, look at our handy guide to help you choose. From a beginners to an advanced yoga level, you can find out what to expect and how each type of yoga can help you improve your mental and physical well-being.

Yoga has 3 elements that will surface consistently throughout every type of yoga. These foundations are stretching exercises, breathing and meditation techniques.

Well-being can transform how we look and how we feel about ourselves. Often, such positive changes can be taken away from the yoga mat and into our everyday lives to undertake more positive behaviours.

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In a nut shell, please see below the 10 most popular forms of yoga that could fit around your lifestyle.

Ashtanga

Ashtanga is different from the rest. You move quickly through a series of set yoga poses, flowing from one position to the next without intervals. There is no variation which means that you can continue to develop your strength and flexibility in the same areas. Similar to Power yoga, you can work out your cardio fitness alongside the benefits of meditation.

Power

Power yoga is identical to Ashtanga. The only difference is power yoga does not have a set sequence. There is more focus on certain types of poses and body parts in a session compared to the general bodily ashtanga approach.

Hatha

If you’re a beginner and just want to know more about yoga, Hatha is a good starting point. It eases you in by helping you to focus on the basic yoga and relaxation techniques.

Bikram

If you can exercise in strong heat then this is the perfect type of yoga for you. Imagine doing 26 yoga poses within a hot room. The temperate can different between classes but usually starts from 35 degrees. It is perfect for flushing out any toxins through a series of deep but relaxing stretches.

Iyengar

Iyengar is good for improving your flexibility. You can use lots of different types of props to help you get into certain poses. These props include belts, blocks, harnesses and pillows. You are focusing here on your body alignment, holding poses over longer periods of time compared to other yoga techniques.

Vinyoga

If you want to choose yoga that fits around you and you alone, then personalise it. Other types tend to be dictated around set routines. With Vinoga, your trainer takes a much more personalised approach, tailoring your yoga routine to your age, health and physical needs.

Kundalini

This is an all-in-one yoga regime encompassing all aspects of the yoga tradition. There will be a combination of physical poses, breathing, movement, stretching, meditation, chanting and relaxation. You will focus primarily on your spine, helping you to become more flexible.

Vanyasa

This type of yoga helps you to de-stress by focusing more on relaxation techniques. You are practising yoga with 12 basic poses that is matched to certain types of breathing. Focus and stillness are the prime benefits.

Kripa

Kripa has 3 stages, each providing you with a step-by-step guide to yoga. Firstly, you will learn about the different poses, stretches and relaxation techniques. Then you will try to hold and sustain these newly learnt poses for long periods of time. Finally you will be able to move between poses. These stages can be achieved at your own pace, where you’re ability tends to lead the way during sessions.

Sivanda

Wellbeing is at the heart of Sivanda; It relies on your ability to develop habits that will enrich and change your life. It is a fairly gentle regime, where you will be practising 12 poses alongside breathing and relaxation techniques. It is here where positive thinking and meditation will become part of your daily routine.

10 Yoga Poses For Absolute Beginners

Yoga is practised by millions of people all over the world every day and is great for increasing flexibility and strength. Try these 10 simple poses to get you started with this ancient form of exercise.


Mountain pose

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  1. Stand with your feet 1 metre apart
  2. Put your arms in the air
  3. Keep your neck aligned with your spine
  4. Hold this for one minute, taking deep breaths throughout

Downward facing dog

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  1. Stand up, keeping your back straight
  2. Hinge forward at the waist and onto the floor
  3. Keep hands flat on the floor, spacing out fingers
  4. Get into the push up position with each foot
  5. Lift your hips as far as they go
  6. Hold that position for 30 seconds

Warrior pose

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(Source:Pinterest.com)

  1. Stand with your feet at shoulder width
  2. Turn your right leg by 90 degrees
  3. Turn your left leg out by 45 degrees
  4. Turn your chest to the right
  5. Raise your arms, keeping them level with your shoulders
  6. Hold this position for 30 seconds

Tree pose

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(Source:Pinterest.com)

  1. Stand normally
  2. Shift your weight onto your left foot by bending your right knee
  3. Draw your right leg upwards resting the sole of your foot on the left inner thigh
  4. Raise your arms above your head and join your palms together
  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds

Bridge pose

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(Source:Pinterest.com)

  1. Lay flat on the floor and keep your arms straight
  2. Bend your knees and lift your hips up off the floor
  3. Make sure your hips are parallel to the floor
  4. Bring your chest into your chin
  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds

Seated Twist

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  1. Lay on the floor
  2. Extend your legs in front of you
  3. Cross your left foot over right thigh, bending your left knee
  4. Put your right elbow on your left knee
  5. With your right hand twist your body away from your left leg
  6. Hold this position for 30 seconds

Upward facing dog

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(Source:Pinterest.com)

  1. Lie flat on your stomach
  2. Bend your arms and rest palms on floor
  3. Push off the floor with your arms, keeping your legs rested
  4. Straighten your arms and make sure your torso is raised
  5. Look at the ceiling to lengthen your neck

Pigeon pose

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  1. Get into the push-up position
  2. Place your left knee on the floor
  3. Place your left heel by your right hip
  4. Press your hands to the floor and sit back
  5. Lift your chest and look up to the ceiling
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds

Childs pose

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(Source: http://www.arizonayogacommunity.com/)

  1. Get into the kneeling position and sit on the heels of your feet
  2. Lower your head to the ground, resting it on the floor
  3. Bring your arms in front either side of you
  4. Hold that pose and breathe into your torso
  5. Hold this pose for as long as you want

This pose is used as an interval in between other poses


Triangle pose

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  1. Spread your feet two meters apart
  2. Raise your arms and level them with your shoulders
  3. Touch the inside of your right foot with the outside of your right hand
  4. Raise your left hand to the ceiling, keeping it straight
  5. Focus on turning your head towards the top of your left hand to stretch your back

Step-by-Step Guide to Yoga – The Sun Salutation

A popular power yoga routine is the Sun Salutation. A great breakfast routine which can be done on a empty stomach, ready to start your day with an energy kick. You will notice that each movement flows neatly into the next with practise.

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Check out the steps below to improve your strength and flexibility.

1.Prayer pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Keep your feet together, balancing your weight equally between them
2. Relax your shoulders
3. As you inhale, lift your arms above your head
4. As you exhale, lower your arms and bring palms together

2. Raised Arms pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Lift arms up and to the back of you
2. Stretch your body from your feet to your hands

3. Hand and to foot pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Bend yourself forward from the waist, keeping your back straight
2. Exhale and try to get your hands as close to the floor as possible.
3. Bend the knees for ease

4. Equestrian pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Start in the push up pose
2. Bring your right foot in between your palms and bend your knee
3. Keep your left leg in the push-up position with a bent knee
4. Look up to the ceiling

5. Stick pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Bring your left leg back from the equestrian pose to meet the right leg

6. . Salute With Eight Parts

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Bring your knees down
2. Exhale
3 Arch your hips back
4. Lower your chest and chin to the floor
5. Push your hips just above ground level

7.Cobra pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. Slide your body forward
2. Bend your elbows
3. Raise your chest
4. Gaze at the ceiling.

8.Mountain Pose

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(Source:www.med-health.net)

1. As you exhale, lift both your hips and tail bone up
2. Lower your chest to create an inverted ‘V’ shape