Are you participating in my #stretchrx challenge this month? If not, it’s not too late to join in! Find out more about Crossfit mobility, stretching for runners, yoga poses, and more!
Today I have a special post from a local blogger, Kelly of Real Food in a Real World, who has found yoga as a way to exercise both her mind and body! This is something I am working on putting more emphasis into my weekly workout routine, so love what she has to share. As part of the daily stretching challenge, yoga is an excellent way to prime your body for any other physical activity while improving flexibility!
Yoga. One word with so many meanings. Yoga is such a huge subject, it can be incredibly intimidating for beginners. Please don’t be intimidated! Yoga is not just for one type of person. I’m a little bigger than the average yogi you see on the internet. I’m here to show you that you don’t need to look a certain way to do yoga. I truly believe that yoga is for every BODY.
I should also mention that my form is not perfect in a lot of these photos. None of these photos were taken under ideal conditions and a great many were done using a self timer on my phone. You have been warned!
As part of RX the Stretch, I mainly want to focus on the Sun Salutation. The sun salutation is a series of 8 postures done in succession.
The Sun salutation is a great warm up for your yoga practice or any form of exercise. It really gets the blood flowing to all of your extremities. When I wake up in the morning I typically drink half a cup of coffee and run through a few salutations.
To perform a sun salutation:
Stand in mountain pose (feet flat, stand tall, shoulders back)
Raise your hands out to the sides until they meet above your head. You can stop there or bend backwards a bit.
Bend forward until you can touch ground (feet, legs, whatever you reach)
Step right foot back into a lunge
Step left foot back into a plank
Lower knees, then hips into a cobra pose. (middle photo)
Bring body up into a downward facing dog (body is shaped like an upside down V)
Step right food forward into a lunge
Step left foot forward into the standing bend
Stand up with arms above head.
You did it! Repeat the series using the Left leg.
I typically perform a few salutations on each leg to begin my day. I often use it as a warm up for additional yoga postures or my home kettle-bell routine.
Some of my favorite other poses:
Warrior II is one of my favorite poses. It is a really great thigh strengthener and always makes my constantly sore back feel better.
Child’s pose is such a calming stretch. I find it really helps with my back and is excellent for helping me to quiet my mind. Even with a crazy toddler running around, I can usually find my happy place with this pose.
Just had to throw this one in for funzies. One cannot be in the process of writing about yoga and find themselves in front of the camels at the zoo and not feel it necessary to take this picture. I don’t actually recommend this pose for beginners, it’s a pretty deep back bend that I’m not showing a great example of in this photo.
Everybody Savasana! This is also known as corpse pose. Savasana is used for different applications depending in the type of yoga being practiced. It is typically a recovery posture at the end of a yoga session. It quiets the body and the mind, and lets all of the healing benefits of yoga have a chance to do their magic. I do not practice savasana nearly as often as I would like or should. It is easy to take it for granted because it doesn’t look like it would be all that beneficial, but give a savasana a chance!
So I certainly can’t talk about yoga without mentioning children. Kids love yoga! I find it easy to neglect my practice by telling myself that I can’t be “Zen” with a two-year old running around. In reality, he loves to bend and stretch and do “goga” with me. He has a little mat (actually a non skid toolbox mat) and some days he practices right next to me. We love to pretend we are animals and I make up stories as we move though postures. He likes to show off and do his Downward dog on one foot:
So in a very tiny way, there is my intro to yoga! Yoga is a super diverse practice with everything from restorative to power yoga. I truly believe there is something for everybody. I’d love to say that I practice an hour a day, but in reality I probably do 15 minutes of yoga most days. I cherish those 15 minutes and I highly encourage you to carve out a few minutes in your day to appreciate your body and thank it.
Some great resources:
Are you a praciticing yogi?
What is your favorite yoga pose?