Tag Archives: yoga

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7 Benefits of Yoga

You’ve probably heard that Yoga is good for your health, but how? Will it help you lose weight, or increase muscle tone? Can it help you get better sleep at night or make you have a smooth complexion? Here are 7 benefits of yoga that definitely should know about.

Tones Muscles

Although most yoga movements are static, they fully activate muscles all over your body. Every time these muscles are activated, they get stronger. The more yoga you do, the more tones your muscles will become, especially if you accompany yoga with a healthy diet.

Increases Flexibility

Yoga is unique in the way it flexes your muscles while stretching and lengthening them. As you move through different yoga poses, your muscles warm up and are then able to stretch even further. The more you perform these exercises, the more flexible your muscles become.

Strengthens your Immune System

Yoga has been shown to lower stress hormones. The more stress hormones your body body releases, the weaker your immune system becomes. Yoga also stimulates your lymphatic system, which plays a role in your emotions, and helps rid your body of unwanted toxins. All of these combine to help your body fight off unwanted diseases.

Aids in Weight Loss

Although running, lifting weights and playing organized sports may burn more calories per minute than yoga, it’s not uncommon for yoga to aid in weight loss. It does burn calories, but it also lowers your stress level, which can help you lose more weight.

Increases Energy

Stress and energy levels are often opposites of each other. The more stress you feel, the less energy you have, and the more energy you feel, the less stress you experience. Doing yoga on a regular basis will lower your stress level, providing more natural healthy energy.

Balances the Body and Mind

Unlike some other types of exercise, yoga isn’t about speed or competition, it’s about getting more in touch with your body. As you put your body in different poses, you focus of breathing, and feeling all your different muscles flex, strengthen, and relax. It helps you step away from whatever else is going on in your life, and take a few minutes to just stop and breathe.

Aids Digestion

The key to this benefit is proper breathing. When you inhale, let your belly expand from the diaphragm moving down, and when you exhale, relax the stomach and let it fall in. This can reduce all the tension that might get in the way of this natural movement, and improve digestion.

2016 Fitness Trends Worth Trying

smart watch

The American College of Sport’s Medicine annual survey has come up with a list of the top fitness trends for 2016. With the new year coming up, there are new chances to get fit and improve your health. Here are some of the trends for 2016 we think are worth trying.

Wearable Technology – Wearable technology such as fitness trackers and smart watches can track a variety of information that can help you see your health and fitness progress. They can also be great reminders to get up and move and an encourager of being more active.

Body Weight Training – Forget the weights! Body weight training workouts are popping up everywhere, and the great thing about them is that anyone can try them. You don’t need a gym membership, expensive equipment or a lot of space. Body weight training can be done in the rain or shine.

High-intensity Interval Training – HIIT has been a popular trend for a few years now, but is still worth trying if you haven’t done it yet. It requires intense exercise for short periods of time. This workout can provide an effective workout in a short amount of time and is great option for those with limited time in their schedule.

Strength Training – Not by any means a new trend, but strength training is still as popular as ever. Weights are used by many to reach their fitness goals and maintain muscle strength.

Yoga – There is a form of yoga for everyone! So if you haven’t tried yoga yet, this year is the time for you.

What trend will you try?

3 Yoga Stretches for a Better Run

hand of  woman meditating in a yoga pose on beachDid you know that yoga can help you become a better runner? It might sound like a strange idea, but it’s definitely true. When you run, your muscles work very hard, and often times tighten up. Without proper stretching, these muscles can remain tight, causing cramping, pain, or possible injury. Stretching before and after a run will keep your muscles loose and agile to make your run easier.

Yoga is particularly great for stretching your auxiliary muscles. It is best to stretch before and after a run, although afterward your muscles will be warmed up and more flexible. If you run regularly, try incorporating these three yoga stretches to see how much they enhance your running performance.

1. Bound Angle Pose: Great for loosening up your inner thigh muscles.

2. Triangle Pose: Stretches your hamstrings and inner thigh muscles.

3. Upward Facing Dog: Awesome for opening up your hip flexor muscles.

Everything Yoga: Relax and Unwind

Two beautiful young women doing yoga class in nature.One aspect of yoga that we haven’t spoken much about this month is it’s benefits that come from relaxation. Yoga is great for toning, flexibility and balance, but in terms of fitness, relaxation can have it’s place as well.

A few years ago I began doing relaxation yoga right before bed. The routine that I worked through aligned my body and helped me to feel lighter and clearer. By the end of the workout I felt peaceful and ready to sleep. My husband went through a stress filled time at work and wasn’t sleeping well. I suggested one evening that he should try the relaxation yoga with me. He was hesitant, and I had to persuade him for a week before he would do a yoga routine for relaxation.

It started out rough. We laughed at ourselves as we listened to each other breathe like Darth Vader. However, as we got further into the different poses we became less aware of each other and more aware of our own bodies. We were able to stretch through and release tension we had both been holding onto due to everyday stresses, poor posture and muscle strain from other forms of exercise. When all was said and done my husband commented how he felt lighter and that slouching didn’t even seem comfortable. We went to bed that night and sleep deeply.

Making place for relaxation and meditation in your life opens up doors for better fitness. Through yoga you are able to stretch the muscles that you have used during your workouts, you can clear your body and mind of impurities, and even feel more rested so you have more energy to exercise.

Yoga for your Pregnant Body

Pregnant woman relax doing yoga over whiteWhen you’re pregnant, it’s important to stay in shape for your own health, and the health of your baby. One of the best ways to do this is through yoga. It’s the type of exercise that can strengthen your muscles, burn calories, keep you flexible, and prepare you for delivering your baby. There is a large amount of research supporting the benefits of yoga throughout pregnancy. One of the biggest benefits is teaching your body to relax and focus on breathing.

Think about it for a second. When you’re giving birth you need to be strong, calm and in tune with your body. These are the three main cornerstones of yoga. As you do each pose, you work a specific muscle group while concentrating on proper breathing. This is exactly what you will do in the delivery room. Doing regular yoga workouts is great prep for the big day.

If you have only a few minutes to spare, try this 10 Minute Pregnancy Yoga Workout.  You can do it at home, in your living room, or even at the park. With a little exercise each day, you can have a very health pregnancy and baby.

Everything Yoga: Yoga with Your Children

Young woman and little girl engaged in fitness outdoor on terrace

Happy Monday! If you are wanting a workout you can do with your children, yoga is a great option. Yoga focuses on flexibility which most children are already pretty good at. Practicing yoga at a young age will help them stay flexible and teach them how to stretch as they grow. Yoga also requires balance which can be fun for kids. Asking them to try and balance on one leg like a tree allows them to use their imagination while they do yoga. Allowing your child to use their imagination while doing yoga will make the workout seem like play to them.

My little ones love to join in on yoga sessions with me every now and then. They don’t have yoga mats, but they love to go grab a towel and lay it out on the floor as their “mat.” For them it is fun to pretend to be a clam when we’re doing child’s pose or a snake when we do a cobra pose. In fact, after my last baby I broke my tailbone and couldn’t work out for a couple of months. My kids missed doing yoga and asked me to tell them different poses they could do one morning. It really is a fun way to spend time together. If you want to try yoga with your little ones, but aren’t sure where to start, try our Kids Yoga Workout.

Tabata Style Fitness Yoga

group of smiling women exercising in the gym

 

When you hear the word yoga, you might envision soothing stretches as you listen to meditative music by the beach. Although this is one type of yoga, it’s certainly not the only type. As yoga has grown in popularity, so have the various ways of performing yoga. More and more people are using yoga for cardiovascular and strength training purposes, and having great success doing so. We’re going to look at performing fitness yoga with a Tabata style twist.

Yoga consists of performing different poses in succession. Sometimes you move slowly through these poses, while other times you move quickly. Some of these poses aim to stretch and lengthen you muscles, while others are meant to strengthen and tone them. By combining a handful of strength building poses that you perform in quick succession, with little or no rest in between, your workout becomes much more cardio in nature. This should result in more calories burned, and more toned muscle groups.

To get started, I highly suggest you check out this 30 Second Yoga Workout that features 4 basic yoga poses that you can do 30 seconds at a time, Tabata style. Perform the poses in quick succession as many times as you’d like for a great workout.

Everything Yoga: Making Your Yoga Workout Count

Young people holding triangle pose in a yoga class

Yoga feels great. From the deep breathing, clarifying meditation and alignment of the body you walk away from a yoga session feeling light and centered. However, is your yoga session strengthening your muscles or helping you lose weight. Possibly not if you are not practicing the right type of yoga.

If You Want to Strengthen Your Muscles

If you have been practicing yoga for a while and your goal is to strengthen you muscles then it might be time to pick up the intensity of some of the yoga poses you are performing. We have put together a list of different yoga poses you can do at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Check it out and see if you can engage more of your muscles based on your practicing level.

Yoga Postures: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert

If You Want to Burn Calories

If your goal is to lose weight and burn calories, you will need to choose a Yoga workout that is more intense. Flow Yoga quickly moves through one pose to another. The focus is not as much on mastering a pose, but combining poses to get your heart rate up and burn calories.

Yoga Must-Haves for Newbies

Yoga equipmentsIf you are thinking about starting yoga, you might wonder about the type of equipment you would need. Do you really need a mat or actual yoga pants? Should you buy or download meditative music to help set the mood? What are the must-haves, and what are the extras when it comes to doing yoga? Here’s our list of the top 5 things you should get if you want to start doing yoga.

 

 

1. Yoga Mat – We recommend getting a yoga mat because they small, portable and not very expensive. If you have hard floors, they’ll protect your knees, and if you have carpet, they’ll protect them from your dripping sweat.

2. Yoga Blocks – These are foam blocks that come in very handy if you can’t reach the floor during a certain pose. They can also be used for extra support and balance.

3. Small Back Pillow – You can buy ones made specifically for yoga called bolsters, or use any small pillow that fits well in the small of your back. These allow you to focus on your other muscles groups as you strengthen your core.

4. Sweat Towel – If you do cardio type yoga, you will probably sweat a good deal. Having a small towel nearby to wipe away the sweat is very helpful.

5. Yoga Bag – With all the equipment listed above, it’s helpful to have a bag to carry everything in. Don’t feel obligated to buy a yoga specific bag, just any bag that will fit your yoga supplies.

Yoga for Dummies

Words illustration of a person doing meditationWhen you hear the word “yoga,” what do you envision? Does it involve contorting your body in unnatural ways, or meditating by the ocean? What you might not know is that there are several different ways to do yoga that fit every age, lifestyle and athletic ability. Yoga can be performed in so many different ways, you can always find a way that works for you. The first step is to decide what you want to get out of your yoga experience. Do you want to strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, meditate and clear your mind, or increase your balance and stamina? All of these can be achieved through yoga by choosing a specific type of routine. Here are some of the basic types to choose from:

 

Hatha Yoga – This type goes slowly from one movement to the next so you have time to re-position your body. This allows beginners time to figure out proper body alignment. Performing this type a few times a week is a great place to start.

Power Yoga – This type goes from one pose to the next without stopping to increase your heart rate, make you sweat, and give you a great cardio workout. This is not recommended for beginners.

Yin Yoga – This type is best for individuals looking to relax and meditate. The poses can be held for up to 5 minutes to allow a deeper stretch. This can help you deal with pain and stress.

Once you know the type of yoga you’d like to participate in, find a class that suits your needs and get started. Don’t worry if it takes a while to learn the various positions. With practice, your body will soon feel at home with your yoga workout.