By: Bronwyn Ison
Last week the explanation of selected yoga postures were shared to afford you greater insight to the practice. Many yoga postures are identified as relating to our natural surroundings. They are archetypes of animals, nature, and tools. Yoga can be your elixir for life. The movements are oil to the joints. Breathing soothes the central nervous system. You can increase your strength, flexibility and endurance. The benefits to this 5,000 year-old practice are endless.
A common posture that you will find in virtually every yoga class is downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana, sanskrit). Adho, downward ~ mukha, face ~ svana, dog. This posture is commonly found in a traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It is also an excellent asana (pose) on its own. Downward Facing Dog is an inversion and arm balance simultaneously. In a Vinyasa (style of yoga) sequencing the first couple of DFD may feel challenging. As you move through your practice, DFD becomes a resting point and serves as a barometer for a stretch at the back of legs and shoulders. The inversion in DFD reverses the action of gravity on the body and circulates the blood and lymph in opposite directions. With increased blood flow the brain functions at a higher level and cognition is improved. Pressure is alleviated from the heart and it does not have to work as hard to get blood flowing to the brain. DFD tones and strengthens both arms and legs. This posture also elongates the spine and relieves pain in the upper and lower back. The body receives a 360-degree stretch in one pose. DFD is an exceptionally important posture and should be demonstrated by a qualified teacher.
Cat-Cow (Marjariasana) is commonly taught and is nearly as ubiquitous as Downward Facing Dog. These two postures are excellent for beginners and advanced practitioners. The motion of the postures is that of rounding the spine and hallowing out the belly. This motion helps revitalize the spine. The gentle release into cow, assists the spine, broadens the collar bones and stretches the abdominals. It gently tones the reproductive system and is exceptional for pregnant woman up to their second trimester. The cat-cow sequence is also known to help relieve menstrual cramps. Cat-Cow is most beneficial by repetition. The slow and controlled movement acts as a massage and increases circulation to the disc between the vertebrae. Suppleness and greater health is created within the vertebral discs.
If you have serious health issues or concerns you should consult a physician prior to any exercise regimen. However, I am instructing more students who have been sent to yoga by their doctors. Doctors are recognizing the endless benefits of yoga. It is very important to seek a teacher/studio who has excellent teaching credentials, listens to your needs, and cares about their students.
For more information about Yoga, visit: www.e-volveyoga.com or call (760) 564-YOGA (9642) Bronwyn Ison, E-RYT 200, Evolve Yoga ~ Owner