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I wanted to take some time to talk to you about yoga! It’s so amazing for the body, mind, and soul! While I don’t think it’s the only exercise one should do, it is quite beneficial when implemented consistently and correctly.
Before I begin by listing the benefits, I wanted to break yoga down into two categories: meditative and active. These are my own yoga categories. Many others have different ways to explain yoga.
In short, there are so many different schools of thought when it comes to yoga. It’s important to find what works for you. Take what serves you and leave the rest!
Now, back to yoga categories!
Meditative yoga is the type of yoga that exercises the mind and enhances mindfulness. Most yoga classes will begin and/or end with some kind of meditation.
Furthermore, there are so many ways to meditate.
The main thing to keep in mind when meditating is remaining as present as possible and trying to not judge yourself or your surroundings.
Meditation encompasses the idea of allowing without attaching meaning. The Bard said, “There is no good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
This is absolutely correct and relates to what we are trying to avoid when implementing a meditative practice.
Active yoga is all about the poses, stretches, and flows. Active yoga can vary greatly in intensity, speed, and movement.
Both categories are quite broad and leave a lot of room for diversity and modification.
There are countless benefits when it comes to yoga. Below are some benefits of doing yoga on a weekly basis.
However, someone might not reap all of these. Furthermore, they might experience positive side effects that are not listed.
- Improved flexibility
- Improved agility
- Improved strength
- Improved posture and postural alignment
- Pain reduction
- More self confidence
- Weight loss
- Ability to focus more thoroughly
- Able to be more present and mindful
- Better mood regulation and increased positivity
- Improved mobility
- Better body awareness and proprioception
- Improved balance
- Improved core strength
- Calmer demeanor and better mood
- Increased blood flow
- Improved lung and heart health
- Deeper understanding of self
- Further development of the psyche and spirituality
- Better sleep
Please, note the above cannot all be achieved by one class or by one type of practice. Some of these can be better accomplished with meditative yoga, others with active, and some with both.
Lastly, I highly recommend taking classes and learning from many different instructors, so you can continually be learning, your practice doesn’t become stale, and you can truly find what works best for you.
Remember, what works for you might change over time too.
While it would be near impossible to go over all the yoga poses in one article, I wanted to touch on one of my favorites that is great for nearly all fitness levels.
It’s called the cobra pose.
To perform this movement correctly, lay face down on the mat, place your hands, palm down on the floor, fingers facing forward, hands on the outside of your chest, with elbows tucked in.
Next, using your core and upper body, press your torso off the mat, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and look up.
Go as high as feels comfortable. You don’t want to experience any kind of strain-especially not from the back or neck.
For our more advanced folks, feel free to get your legs off the mat when getting into the pose by going on toes.
Make sure your body does not dip and you squeeze your glutes thoroughly to help your body stay up and avoid strain.
Furthermore, cobra is great to incorporate into chaturanga-which is a downward dog, to high plank, to cobra, then repeat.
Please remember that any kind of cobra pose or plank movement can always be done on the knees if the toes are too challenging at this time.
Benefits to Cobra
One can achieve many of the benefits listed above from the cobra pose. However, I would like to go over a few that are specific to this movement.
- Increased back extension
- Increased core strength
- Increased glute and upper body strength
- Released tension from the shoulders and cervical spine
- Increased back mobility
- Increased back flexibility
- Increased neck extension
Closing Words of Advice
Please only attempt cobra if it is safe and healthy for you to do so. This goes for all and any movements as well.
Lastly, find a quiet place to practice yoga where you feel at peace and at home.
I personally love to practice yoga on a paddleboard in the middle of a marina or lake. However, this might not be possible or safe for you to accomplish. I just wanted to give you some location alternatives.
Before you go into your yoga practice, I suggest taking at least a minute to ground/center yourself and try to clear any mind chatter.
The more open and present you can be, the more effective and cathartic your practice can be.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this article! If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to reach out.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!