The word Yoga means union. Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that our lives are an energetic combination of body, mind and spirit. By controlling breathing and holding the body in steady poses or asanas, Yoga creates harmony and enhances women’s fitness. Yoga practice consists of 5 key elements:
The exercises are designed to ease tensed muscles, to tone the internal organs and to improve the flexibility of the body’s joints and ligaments. Yoga can help women deal with health issues and assist them in improving the state of their body and mind.Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has many benefits to a woman’s body and some of these include:
Stronger immune system – Yoga boosts your immune system so you are in a better place to fight off infections naturally.
Easier pregnancy – Yoga can help not only with the alleviation of many of the negative pregnancy symptoms, but also make the actual childbirth easier.
Increased flexibility – Yoga stretches and exercises some little-used joints within the body, which aids in flexibility. In addition to this, Yoga has been found to increase the natural lubrication of the joints in the body.
Muscle toning – Muscles that have become flaccid or weak are stimulated repeatedly to shed excess flab and flaccidity when practicing Yoga.
Higher pain tolerance – Pain tolerance is much higher among those who practice Yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, are lessened or eliminated through Yoga.
One of the first things you need to decide is which style of Yoga you are going to do. There are many different styles but most novices start out with either hatha or vinyasa. The best way to get into yoga is to attend a few classes so you can learn the beginner poses and exercises, and build on a correct start.
Pick a studio that is convenient to your home or work, so getting to class will be easy. Generally most studios have all the equipment you need, so just wear some loose fitting clothing. When you attend the class for the first time, mention to the teacher that this is your first class.
If you don’t have access to a Yoga class, but still want to practice this unique exercise, here are 2 basic positions:
Sit/Easy Yoga Position – Sukhasana
This yoga position helps focus awareness on breathing and the body; in addition it helps to strengthen your lower back and open the groin and hips.
1. Sit cross-legged with hands on knees
2. Focus on your breathing.
3. Maintain your spine straight and push your bum into the floor.
4. Try ease your knees lower to the floor.
5. If your knees rise above your hips, sit on a cushion or block.
6. Take ten slow, deep breaths.
7. On your next inhalation, raise your arms over your head.
8. Exhale and take your arms down slowly.
9. Repeat five times.
Dog and Cat Yoga position
This Yoga exercise increases the mobility and flexibility of your back and spine.
1. Start on your hands and knees.
2. Maintain your hands in front of your shoulders, your legs hip width apart.
3. As you inhale, slant the tailbone and pelvis up, and let the spine curve down, dropping your stomach low. Raise your head up.
4. Stretch gently.
5. As you exhale, transition into cat by reversing the spinal bend, tilting the pelvis down, drawing the spine up and pulling the chest and stomach in.
6. Repeat several times, going from dog into cat, and cat back into dog.
Yoga does not only interact with your body, but also with the mind and the spirit. It relaxes the mind and makes you more in touch with your body and yourself, which can later develop into self-knowledge and lead to self-acceptance. Yoga helps you attain not only a fitter body, but also a positive attitude towards life.
For a glossary on Yoga Terms: