Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hi Friends,
Happy Spring! My passion for yoga continues and I will keep sharing bits of information with you.
The article below is great as many of you and I are embarking on our fresh spring fitness routines. Let's not forget to stretch! Before walking, running, or biking take a few minutes to bend forward at the hips with the knees soft, not locked. Placing the hands on the mat, step back on each leg to stretch the hamstrings into a lunge. At the end of your workout do the same for a few minutes and you will feel refreshed and alive!
Let me know how you are doing.
One of the most overlooked parts of a fitness program is stretching. After finding 30 minutes a day to walk, three times a week to strength train, and developing a new found appreciation for green leafy vegetables, you have to wonder what else you need.
Yoga is one of the best practices you can do for your body and mind. Most classes are a series of poses designed to stretch your muscles in a safe matter. Stretching is important, especially if you’re doing resistance training. Regular stretching helps release lactic acid, reducing soreness and stiffness.
Practicing yoga on a weekly basis will increase your flexibility, giving you a better range of motion. That comes in handy when you exercise, but also in every day life. Yoga teaches you to move your body in different directions. That leaves you prepared for handling physical challenges in everyday life, while reducing chance for injury.
Some styles of yoga can be a workout in itself. Ashtagna or power yoga classes focus on several upper body strengthening moves. The standing poses will require leg strength and balance, while the floor work will build a strong lower back and tight core. Plus, the vigorous pace helps improve you endurance.
Many practice yoga for a different reason: mediation, breathing and relaxation.  Most classes emphasize lengthening your breath. The mind becomes calm when your attention shifts from the stress of the day to the rhythm and sound of your deepening breath.
Yoga has the potential to make you more comfortable and aware in your own body. Instead of focusing on your flaws, you learn to be thankful for you powerful legs to hold you up or being grateful that your abdominal muscles can help keep you balanced in a floor pose. The self acceptance you stand to gain from yoga will carry onto other aspects of your life.
Some yoga styles even use meditation to guide the practice. There might be a thought at the beginning of class, or a short reading at the end of class to put everything in perspective. The ability to reduce stress is one of the reasons yoga is cited as alternative ways to heal depression, heart disease and even lower cholesterol.
Besides Ashtanga and power yoga, some forms to look into include Hatha, Iyengar, and Kundalini yoga. They move at a little slower pace and focus on different aspects of the practice. Bikram is another style that may be right for you. It really depends on your personality and what you need in a yoga class.
If possible, get in front of as many instructors as you can. Each person tends to put their own spin on classes. Try out a few different styles and teachers until you find one that you feel at home with and you’ll reap the physical and psychological benefits.

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