The Benefits of Yoga - Journey to Peace in Body & Mind!

Whether you are doing a gentle flow, are a beginner, or are ready for advanced practices, there are multiple reasons why you might want to try your hand or whole body in the practice of Yoga. While getting out and walking in the local park or walking your dog down the street might be one amazing reset for your mind and body, Asanas (poses) can be a whole new world to introduce yourself to.  

With just a short moment, you can improve your balance, strength and flexibility by starting off slow and learning how to feel your body. Raise your arms high above your head. Now, take notice of how the muscles from your fingertips following down to the lower part of your back feel. Tense? Maybe you just gently lean your neck to one side. Feel the tendons and muscles creating space. Bring your head back to a neutral alignment, take a deep breath in, noting the feeling of how your navel rises and how the air moves through your throat. Feeling more relaxed already? 

This is just a small look into taking time for yourself and creating space. Taking the time to notice how your body feels while you move starts to bring awareness to your inner self. This is a great start to cultivating self care and feeling some peace. Taking just a couple minutes out of your day to practice just a few poses can help not only in boosting mood and rid those holiday blues, but can help your body lubricate your joints and get the lymphatic system moving! (help fight those bugs). 

After taking some time for your body to get moving now is the best part. SAVASANA! Take about five minutes to lie down and reset your nervous system, palms facing upward, not touching anything. Maybe you cover yourself with a cozy blanket and throw on some soothing music to help take your mind elsewhere—and just breathe. Notice your breath, how it feels. With every breath just let your tension go, this is your time. Once you have taken some time to let your body relax, (take more if you want!) return to a comfortable upright seated position. Take a few breaths here and slowly return to your daily activities. Take this peace with you in everything you do. 

Other Basic Poses You May Try:

Mountain Pose 

1. From a standing position, bring the feet hip width apart & parallel. Lift up the toes, spread them wide and place them back on the floor. Feel your weight evenly balanced through the bottom of each foot.

2. Flex the thighs and allow the tailbone to drop slightly. The legs are straight, but the knees are soft.

3. Inhale and lift the crown of the head up towards the ceiling, feeling the spine long and straight.

4. Exhale and drop the shoulders down and back as you reach the fingertips towards the floor.

5. Breathe and hold for 9 breaths.

6. To release: exhale & relax the arms down to your sides or bring the palms together in front of your chest.

Standing Forward Fold

1. From Mountain pose, exhale forward hinging at the hips. Bend the knees enough to bring the palms flat to the floor and the head close to the knees.

2. Feel the spine stretching in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in and press the hips up. Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs.

3. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.

4. To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale and slowly roll the spine up and open the shoulders at the top returning to Mountain Pose.

Warrior One

1. Step the right leg forward with the right knee bent, engage the legs to ground down through the feet. Use the arms to draw the torso back slightly. Make sure the right knee is directly over the right ankle.

2. Bring the hands to the hips and square the hips and the shoulders to the front wall. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulderblades towards the spine to open the chest.

3. Inhale, place arms over the head in a H position with the palms facing each other. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted.

4. To go deeper, bring the palms together and carefully arch back and look up towards the ceiling.

5. Inhale deeply into the belly and chest, exhale, press into the feet, fingers and crown, feeling your body expanding out in 5 directions.

6. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths.

7. To release, exhale and step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat on the left leg.

If you enjoyed this brief intro to yoga, or are interested in getting back into yoga, we have NEW YOGA CLASSES, hosted by the wonderful Nikki Prell. Nikki is an experienced instructor, and will help guide you through YOUR Yoga Journey in a safe, welcoming, and non-judgmental atmosphere! All proceeds to Nikki’s “Mindful Movement Intro Class” benefit the PTSD Relief Project, a non-profit supporting Veterans and their families.

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