Yoga at Your Wall: Stretch Your Body, Strengthen Your Soul, Support Your Practice

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From warrior 2, spin your back foot so that your heel lifts off of the ground as you raise your arms overhead and turn your upper body back forward, finding a high lunge position. From here, keep your arms lifted as you shift your weight forward, launching off your front leg and raising your back leg straight out behind you. Balancing on your front leg, flex your back toes down towards the ground, trying to create one straight line with your body from your fingertips to your head, back and toes, allowing your gaze to remain on the floor, a few inches in front of your supporting foot.

Benefits: Strengthens the lower back, upper back, glutes, hamstrings and obliques; stretches the groins, hamstrings and calves, shoulders, chest and spine. From warrior 2, keep your front knee bent as you slide your back foot forward about 6 to 12 inches. At the same time, reach your front hand about 12 inches forward of your front foot, letting your fingertips or hand come down to the ground as you straighten your supporting leg and extend your back leg behind you.

Continue to engage by flexing the back foot and reaching your lifted arm up towards the sky, opening up your hips and chest towards the side of the room as much as possible. Gaze can stay down on the ground, straight ahead, or lifted up to the sky for more of a challenge. Benefits: Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and sine; stretches the groin, inner thighs, chest and shoulders.

Starting in mountain pose, interlace your fingers around your right knee as you pull it in towards your chest. From here, grab a hold of your ankle and rest the inside of your foot along the inside of your standing leg, either up above the knee on the thigh, or down below the knee along your calf. Bring your hands to a prayer at your heart, or raise them up towards the sky, creating branches with your arms. Note: Make sure to avoid resting your foot directly on your kneecap as this can lead to injuries. Benefits: Strengthens the entire backside, including upper back, glutes and hamstrings.

Lying flat on your back, arms by your sides, bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor, bringing your heels as close to your bottom as you can. With your palms pressing into the floor, lift your hips off the ground and up towards the sky. Hold here for 4 to 8 breaths, continuing to push through the feet and lifting the hips as high as you can, or choose to roll your shoulder blades underneath you, clasping your hands together to form a fist.

When releasing, gently release your hands and slowly roll your spine back down to the floor, one vertebra at a time.

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For more of a challenge, go for a full wheel. Start in the same position, knees bent, feet planted firmly into the floor. Bend your elbows and bring your hands back behind you, planting your palms on the ground so that your fingertips are pointing towards your body and elbows are pointing up towards the sky.

Press into your palms and come up onto the top of your head as you lift your hips up towards the sky. Slowly start to straighten out your arms as you lift your head away from the ground, remembering to lift through the chest and press through the feet as well. Try holding for 4 to 8 breaths, then curl your chin back in towards your chest, bend through the elbows and begin to slowly lower your body back down towards the ground.

Benefits: Increases overall tone of the lower body, including legs and lower torso; strengthens arms, legs and spine; tones the abdominal organs. Begin on hands and knees, in a table top position. From here, bring your forearms to the floor and clasp your hands, interlacing your fingers. Keeping your fingers interlaced, open up your palms, creating a basket with your hands where you'll place your head. The right method of doing asanas [yoga poses] brings lightness and an exhilarating feeling in the body as well as in the mind, and a feeling of oneness of body, mind, and soul.

This pose also enhances your ability to concentrate, keeping your mind calmly focused when faced with difficulty. Learning to hone your attention while staying serene is a key to discovering the connection between your mind, body, and spirit — the true meaning of yoga. Do not practice this pose if you are experiencing high blood pressure or heart problems.

Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.

Jai Bhakti Yoga

If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga. Practicing Warrior III will build balance and strength. It might take some time to be able to balance for more than a breath or two! Remember to move at your own pace. Circulation can help to ease inflammation - which may be the source of some pain within your body. Quoting a local physical therapist, "Movement is Medicine! Movement is Medicine!

Pay attention to lengthening your spine, feeling the natural curves of your spine. Let your yoga practice enhance your posture. Really watch that you are not in the "forward head and rounded shoulders" position which is so prevalent in our culture. Strong abs help to provide support for your yoga practice. Some movements focus on strengthening abs; feel that strength within your poses. The info below focuses on Yoga Benefits for your Back. The calm and peace promoted by a yoga practice Relieve Stress, which can be a HUGE factor in relieving back pain or about any pain.

Relieve stress and other problems resolve - sleep improves, less tension holding patterns, clearer thinking, more energy. Forward Bends - Ease tightness in hamstrings, hips, and low lack. Help to strengthen posterior and abdominal muscles and stabilize vertebrae.

Additional information

Avoid Risks Be aware of the relationship between the lumbar spine and the pelvis. Allow arms and head to follow the lead of the spine.

2. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Tone the spine by stretching it. Strengthen surface and deep muscles of the back. Avoid Risks Be aware of the curves of the back. Expand chest on inhale, feel core strength and tone on exhale. Twists - Activate the spine, surrounding muscles, and organs.

Can yoga help with jet lag?

Create rotation through the spine, developing strength and flexibility. Twisting may help to restore balance to structural asymmetry. Helps to release stress held in the spine.

Creates space between vertebrae. Avoid Risks Twist with a lengthened spine.

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Lengthening and stretching the spine during a twist counters the effect of gravity gravity compresses the spine. Stay open through the chest. Side Bends - Alternately stretch and compress deep spinal muscles. Build strength and stability in the muscles of the back, ribs, shoulders, and pelvis. Avoid Risks Keep hip, knee, and ankle in alignment.

When extending an arm in a side bend, keep the arm in line with the torso. Extension - Lengthen and straighten the spine, creating maximum space between vertebrae, and integrate spinal curves. Lengthening the spine allows us to move deeper in forward bends, back bends, twists, side bends and the practice of these asanas results in a naturally lengthened spine.

Avoid Risks Let your spine lengthen with your breath, avoid forcing the spine with other muscles. Inversions - Build strength and elasticity in the surface and deep muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues of the spine and rib cage. Strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles and the muscles that connect the shoulder and pelvic girdles to the spine.

Avoid Risks Practice within your capacity - NO strain to neck, shoulders, back. Sufficiently prepare the body before inversion practice. Balance - Improve the body's overall strength and structural integrity. Refine the way we hold and move our body weight.

Yoga at Your Wall: Stretch Your Body, Strengthen Your Soul, Support Your Practice

Standing balances build strength in feet, legs, and posture muscles. Arm balances help to strengthen low back, abdomen, pelvis, arms, and shoulders. Avoid Risks Don't strain or force. Prepare body and mind for the challenge of balance. I wasn't aware of it before Yoga. It's one of the largest and thickest muscles of the body. The psoas may cause problems with the back, hips, knees, menstrual difficulties, infertility, and more. Doing yoga stretches before and after kayaking or any sport or activity will enhance your experience.

Yoga lubricates your joints, encourages range of motion, activates your core strength that you'll use to help balance in the kayak. Yoga also helps to focus your mind, to enjoy the moment, being in nature, and the feel of your body in motion and balance. Yoga is also a great preventive to soreness that can happen with a new activity.

Kayaking helps to build core strength and tone your body especially arms!