Archive for Yoga Instructions, Videos

Yoga For Healthy Back & Lower Back Pain

Dear friends, πŸ˜€

Most of us would have experienced some back pains or lower back aches some time in our life. For me, I have had a slipped disc in my lower back while bowling when I was 18 years old. Sometimes, I will have lower back pains and while I practised Yoga for one month 16 years ago, my backaches were gone for a long time, but they came back when we moved into our 3-storey house and I am more strenuously involved in doing the house chores. My backaches are often very bad after I had mopped the whole house, mainly from having to bend over and wringing the mop!

Anyway, since I attended the Yoga class on Tuesday and practising the Sun Salutation poses recently, my back feels stronger and better. I have found 2 video here specifically for strengthening our back and I hope the Yoga exercises will work for you, too! πŸ˜€

Yoga For Healthy Back

Yoga For Lower Back Pains With Tara Stiles

Below is an E-Zine article written by Shelley Hitz, Licensed Physical Therapist and Certified NASM Personal Trainer.

Are You Willing To Follow Eight Yoga Exercises For the Lower Back?
By Shelley Hitz

EXERCISES FOR BACK RELIEF

Many people believe that rest is best for a painful back, but actually, what your back really needs when it’s hurt is exercise. Regular exercise relieves back pain by strengthening and stretching the muscles that support the spine and helps to prevent future injury. This is a use it or lose it situation: the more you rest, the weaker your back gets, even if it is hurt. Studies have actually shown that you can heal your back pain faster and get back to your regular activities with just two days of rest. This article will focus on Yoga Exercises. Remember to contact your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

YOGA EXERCISES FOR YOUR BACK

A good, regular yoga practice will go far in relieving the stress and tension that sometimes cause mild back pain, and in fact, studies have shown that yoga is the number one most effective exercise for relieving back pain. However, not all yoga poses relieve back pain, and some can in fact aggravate existing pain, so it is important to know which poses will be most helpful in relieving back pain. It is best to do these exercises under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor, and if you encounter any problems with these poses, you should consult an expert. Even just one or two sessions with a yoga instructor can help, as an instructor will help you with your form and posture during poses. Here are some of the best yoga poses for relieving back pain. Each pose should be held from five to ten seconds, depending upon your level of comfort, and should be done on a mat or other soft, supportive surface.

CORPSE:

Lie flat on your back in a relaxed position, arms resting at your sides, palms down, and legs lying naturally, with knees turned out slightly. If it hurts your back to have your knees turned outward, do this pose with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and out for a few seconds while allowing any tension to leave the body.

CAT STRETCH:

Start out on your hands and knees with a flat back. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders with fingers spread. Knees should be directly under the hips. Head is held loosely so that you are looking at the floor between your hands. Inhale, and as you exhale, arch your back toward the ceiling, tuck your chin in to your chest so that you are looking at your navel, and tuck your tailbone underneath. Hold, then release back into your original position.

WIND-RELEASING POSE:

Lie flat on your back as in Corpse pose. As you inhale, bend your knee, place your hands right below the knee, and draw your leg towards your chest. Your left leg should remain flat on the floor. Exhale and bring your forehead up to touch your knee. Inhale, and then as you exhale, return to your original position. Repeat with the other leg.

SAGE TWIST:

Warning for this poseβ€”it involves twisting your back, so you should take particular care not to twist too far or you risk aggravating any existing back pain. This should be a gentle stretch; twist just as far as is comfortable. Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift your right leg over your left, and place your right foot on the floor next to your left knee. Sitting with spine straight, place your left elbow on the right side of your right knee. Bend your left arm so that your left fingertips are touching your right hip, while at the same time, twisting to look over your right shoulder. This is where you need to be careful not to twist too far. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat on the opposite side.

PALM TREE:

Stand with feet facing forward, arms at your sides, weight distributed evenly on both feet. Raise both arms over your head, interlock your fingers, and turn your hands so that your palms are facing upward. Next, place your palms on your head and turn your head so that you are looking slightly upward. Stretch your arms upwards, and at the same time, come up onto your toes if you can do so without pain. Stretch your entire body upward and hold, if you can. Some people have difficulty balancing during this pose, so just do the stretching part if you need to.

FISH POSE:

Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Arch your back as far as you comfortably can and raise it off the ground by pushing the floor with your elbows. If you can, tilt your head backwards and rest the crown of your head on the floor. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm and hold pose for one minute if you can.

LOCUST:

Lie face down with arms at the side, palms down, and elbows slightly bent with fingers pointing towards the feet. Raise your legs and thighs as high off the ground as possible without causing your back any pain. Hold for one second and repeat up to twelve times. This can be a vigorous exercise so you must take care to strain already injured muscles.

BENDING FORWARD POSTURE:

Stand up straight with feet together and arms hanging loosely along your sides. Breathe in deeply and raise your arms straight above your head. While breathing out, bend forward and touch your toes if you can. If you can’t reach your toes, grab hold of your ankles or calves. To complete the pose, you should touch your head to your knees, but this may be too difficult for many who suffer from lower back pain. Your movements during this pose should be smooth, not jerky.

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Beginning Yoga For Strong Immune System

Good evening, dear friends πŸ˜€

I have been looking around for some really good Yoga videos that I can learn, mix and match them, and put together for my daily Yoga sessions, just to make my exercise more interesting. This video here would interest many of you, as the Yoga postures here are intended to strengthen our immune system……now, who wouldn’t want to be healthy and strong, ey? πŸ˜€

Beginning Yoga For Strong Immune System

Balancing the immune system with yoga
by Jeff Migdow, M.D., The Yoga Site

 

For many of us, the arrival of autumn means it’s time to stock up on Kleenex and cough drops. Along with seasonal allergies, autumn means colder weather that can bring with it colds and flu. But yoga can help by strengthening and balancing your basic weapon against sinus conditions — the immune system. Yoga postures, pranayama (deep breathing techniques), relaxation and meditation are powerful tools for helping to stimulate or calm the immune response depending on the situation.

Practicing any yoga posture in a relaxing way with slow deep breathing and the intention to let go and relax the nervous system can be very beneficial in decreasing the symptoms of allergies. The relaxation time at the end of a yoga class can also be an important part of decreasing allergic immune response.

Relaxing the nervous system has been shown to help direct the immune system to attack the viruses and bacteria that increase in colder weather. Colds are caused by bacteria and affect the upper respiratory system, causing stuffiness, coughing, sore throat, etc. If the immune system is weak, the bacteria can go into the lungs and cause bronchitis or pneumonia. Viruses go deeper into the system, causing chills, fever or pain and aching in the joints.

But a strong immune system can frost the invaders within a few days, preventing more extreme manifestations of the illness and in fact strengthening the immune system. Again, yoga postures done in a relaxed way and slow, deep pranayama (breathing techniques) can help relax the nervous system and boost the immune response.

Another way to build the immune system and improve sinus-related conditions is to focus on the thymus gland. Located in the chest, the thymus gland is the locus of the immune system. Thus both the thymus gland and the immune system are stimulated by any posture in which we open the chest and breathe deeply into it. The most beneficial Yoga postures for this purpose are the Cobra, the Pigeon, the Fish, the Boat, the Bow and the Bridge.

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Yoga Sun Salutation Pose For Weight Loss & Great Health

Dear friends, πŸ˜€

Here is another Yoga video that I had found and it has the Sun Salutation Pose which my Yoga instructor taught us 2 days ago. One of the great benefits I found from breathing slow and deep along with the Yoga movements is that my abdominal muscles have become much tighter and stomach is now flatter! Whoooo….hoooo! πŸ˜€

When we do deep breathing, we are actually breathing at our stomach level, e.g. when we put our palms onto our abdomen while we are inhaling, we can feel the stomach rising; and when we exhale, the stomach is falling inwards. When this is combined with the Yoga exercises, we are also working on our abdominal muscles all the time. How wonderful indeed! πŸ˜€

If you do only a little Yoga each day, do Sun Salutations.

For people with limited time, the Sun Salutations exercise every muscle and joint while stimulating all the major organs. The name itself means to give reverence to the internal sun as well as to the external sun, the creative force that radiates inside as well as outside the body.

Sun Salutation is a series of 12 poses linked by a continuous flowing motion, and accompanied by five deep breaths. Do this series twice in a row every morning and evening, more if you desire (i.e. 2 sets of Sun Salutations twice a day. That’s all :D). As always in yoga, do it slowly and consciously.

I did some research on the Internet, especially at some dedicated Yoga sites, and found out some great benefits of doing the Sun Salutation Pose :-

1) it enhances the function of our digestive tract

2) it improves our sensitivity to taste

3) the daily postures makes us burn calories and fight obesity

4) this pose works as a tonic by creating a healthy circulation and speeding up the elimination process in our body, thereby removing toxins more effectively

5) our strength, muscle tone and coordination are much improved

6) during the physical movements, our blood is oxygenated and the breathing passageways are opened…and in turn, our body becomes more relaxed, flexible and we are less stressed

7) some Yoga students practise the Sun Salutation just to keep depression at bay, as anxiety and stress levels are much reduced, thus improving the quality of life

For people with limited time, doing the Sun Salutation is the best and is considered the “mother” of all Yoga postures or asanas, and is often recommended for countering obesity.

Sun Salutation Video

Note – the lady in the video is going through the Sun Salutation in one very fast motion….but it is okay for us to do it at a slower pace, just follow our breathing. That’s why it is important to do deep and slow breathing, otherwise, we will end up holding our breaths most of the time because we ran out of breath before the pose is finished! πŸ™„

Here are the instructions for doing the Sun Salutation :-

  1. Stand up straight with your feet together and your hands in prayer fashion. Feel awareness of the whole body.
  2. Inhale as you raise your arms up over your head, arching your back slightly.
  3. Exhale as you bend forward and bring your hands towards the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent and let your head hang relaxed.
  4. Inhale as you reach the right leg back while bending the left leg into a lunge.
  5. Slowly begin to exhale as you place your left leg back next to the right and straighten the body into plank pose…finishing the exhale as you…
  6. …Lower your body to the floor, touching your chin, chest, knees, feet, and hands to the floor, and keeping your buttocks, thighs, and abdomen lifted.
  7. Inhale, relax your lower torso, and slightly bend your upper torso, looking up until your arms are straight.
  8. Exhale as you push back into down dog pose.
  9. Inhale as you move your right leg forward until it rests on the floor between your hands. Lunge pose on the other side.
  10. Exhale, bringing left leg back to forward bend.
  11. Inhale and stand up, stretching your arms back over your head, looking up.
  12. Exhale as you bring your hands down in front of your chest.

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Beginner’s Yoga Exercise Video For Losing Weight

Dear friends, πŸ˜€

Today, I have decided to go on a light diet and fast to give my body system a break, drinking lots of water. I am also incorporating some yoga exercise to help me in losing some weight and toning the body. A few years ago, I did yoga for a short while, following Kathy Smith’s version of beginner’s yoga, but I didn’t like her version – too boring and my daughter and I ended up with body aches. However, our yoga class 2 days ago was just superb as we didn’t get any body aches the following day but we were energised and invigorated for days. For example, I have been snacking on a couple of apples, hard boiled eggs and an orange since this morning and now that it is 3pm, I still don’t feel tired at all but fresh and ready to do some yoga!

I looked around Youtube for some yoga exercise that was similar to what I had gone through during my yoga class 2 days ago, and I have found one called “Beginner Yoga Exercise For Losing Weight”! How perfect! πŸ˜† However, it is just a 7 minute video but we can do a few repetitions of it just to make up a half-hour session.

Do remember to stretch only as far as you comfortably can, do the correct breathing, and mindfully and slowly go through each pose…..by doing so, we will be harnessing the “qi” or “chi” or energy in the body. I will be looking for more suitable Yoga videos that are similar to my weekly Yoga classes to post here so that we can learn Yoga and lose some weight together! πŸ˜‰

Beginner Yoga Exercise For Losing Weight

In this video, some of the poses used are –

* Mountain Pose

* “Sitting In A Chair” Pose

* Warrior Pose (what my Yoga teacher called for the arms and legs stretched out pose)

Remember to breathe in and out through your nose only, breathe slowly (you can count from 1 to 5 slowly) and breathe deeply. πŸ˜‰

Hope you can do this yoga exercise and enjoy it as well. Feel your body relaxed and energised at the end of your yoga session. πŸ˜€

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Yoga For Great Health

Good evening, dear friends πŸ˜€

I have just returned from my first yoga session after many years, and I must say that I am feeling really great right now – invigorated, energised and best of all, wonderfully relaxed. πŸ˜€ The last time I took yoga classes was way back in 1991 after I had given birth to my second daughter and had put on a lot of weight. Despite me taking yoga lessons for only one month before I was posted to another city in my job, I had very quickly trimmed down my figure and became slim again. Everyone that I met commented that I had lost weight so fast! πŸ™„ I remember that my former yoga instructor was a 60 year old grandmother, whose figure was like that of a svelte and trim 18 year old’s!! 😯 Wow! How I wish my figure was like that! πŸ˜†


Anyway, I found out from one of my friends that there was a centre nearby offering weekly 1-hour yoga lessons for free and I was game to try yoga again to slim down….as I have put on quite a lot of weight these few years, with cooking for my family! πŸ™„ So, I got 2 of my children to come along and we had a wonderful time practising the various exercise poses and important breathing techniques.

Some of the breathing exercises were for cleansing our lungs, energising ourselves by activation the inner chi/energy (we felt our “insides” getting warm, even hot!) , to strengthen various parts of our spine, and there was even one technique to help us clear our intestines (bowels) properly, i.e. a good breathing exercise for those who tend to constipates. I will post the instructions for these exercises later. It is almost midnight now and I am looking forward to a good and relaxed sleep tonight after my yoga exercise! πŸ˜€

Good night and sweet dreams from KL! πŸ˜€

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