Liv­ing yoga

Island Life - - Contents - Na­maste, Claire.

Healthy body, healthy mind and healthy spirit.

The largest study of yoga that used bi­o­log­i­cal mea­sures to as­sess re­sults con­cluded that yoga damp­ened and lim­ited fa­tigue and in­flam­ma­tion. A study of 200 can­cer sur­vivors showed over­all in­creases in vi­tal­ity and, with reg­u­lar prac­tice, sub­stan­tial health ben­e­fits. Smaller stud­ies that mea­sured in­flam­ma­tory fac­tors showed yoga prac­ti­tion­ers had lower in­flam­ma­tory re­sponses to stress, and that yoga im­proves crit­i­cal lev­els of glu­cose and in­sulin in pa­tients with di­a­betes. Although reg­u­lar prac­tice is de­fined as two 90-minute ses­sions per week, there is rea­son to be­lieve that any yoga is bet­ter than none, and the ben­e­fits we feel from yoga aren’t just in our mind! Yoga re­laxes us, brings our heart rate down, and im­proves sleep. Re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion is very im­por­tant as in­flam­ma­tion is as­so­ci­ated with chronic dis­eases like coro­nary heart dis­ease (CHD), di­a­betes, and arthri­tis. Prac­tic­ing yoga as of­ten as you can is good news for your im­mu­nity, lifestyle, emo­tions and stress lev­els, re­sult­ing in a health­ier and hap­pier life. Over 20 mil­lion yoga devo­tees world­wide can breathe a deep and pro­foundly peace­ful sigh of re­lief; yoga has a proven pos­i­tive im­pact on our health! Get started to­day…

Anti-in­flam­ma­tory Yoga Se­quence Sun sa­lu­ta­tions: Look on Youtube for ex­am­ples of surya na­maskar, or down­load an App for sun sa­lu­ta­tions like “Yoga Free for Ipad by Arawella Co.”

1 Padan­gusthasana Be­gin in moun­tain pose, feet at hip-wide dis­tance. Rest the hands lightly on your hips, ex­tend the spine as you in­hale, and gen­tly bend down at the hips, draw­ing the kneecaps up­ward to ac­ti­vate the quadri­ceps as you ex­hale. Bend the knees if there is ex­ces­sive strain on any large mus­cle groups. In­hal­ing deeply into the lower belly, hold ud­diyana bandha through­out the for­ward bend. Hold the pose for no less than five breaths. To exit the pose, in­hale as you straighten your spine back up, us­ing the core mus­cles to get you back to stand­ing. The se­cret of this pose is in its belly slim­ming prop­er­ties, par­tic­u­larly for those who carry weight around the ab­domen who are at a greater risk of health prob­lems.

2 Virab­hadrasana II -War­rior Two Stand with your legs wide apart and arms stretched out at shoul­der height, turn the right foot out. Bend the right knee to 90 de­grees and keep the left leg straight and tight­ened at the knee. En­sure you are not lean­ing for­ward onto the right foot. Gaze over your right hand and hold

for five breaths. In­hale as you straighten the right leg and pivot the feet by turn­ing the right and left feet by 90 de­grees. Bend the left leg into War­rior II on the left side. While re­duc­ing fat around the hips, this pose helps deep breath­ing and al­le­vi­ates dis­com­fort in the tail­bone.

3 Pur­vot­tanasana From a seated po­si­tion, ex­hale as you take your hands fur­ther back be­hind the hips, fin­gers fac­ing for­ward. In­hale and lift the pelvis to­wards the sky, keep­ing your legs and arms straight and fully en­gaged. Press the soles and toes of your feet to the earth. Look up or re­lease the head back. The shoul­ders should be di­rectly above the wrists, the torso par­al­lel to the earth. Ex­hale as you lower your hips, com­ing back to a seated po­si­tion. This pose re­lieves fa­tigue.

4 Dha­nurasana Lie on your belly with your hands along­side your torso, palms up. (You can lie on a folded blan­ket to pad the front of your torso and legs.) Ex­hale and bend your knees, bring­ing your heels as close as you can to your but­tocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your an­kles. Make sure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips. In­hale and strongly lift your heels away from your but­tocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. Keep your back mus­cles soft. Draw the tops of the shoul­ders away from your ears. Gaze for­ward. Stay in this po­si­tion from 20 to 30 sec­onds. Re­lease as you ex­hale, and lie qui­etly for a few breaths. You can re­peat the pose once or twice more. Up­ward bow lifts fa­tigue, eases anx­i­ety, and re­lieves mild back­ache.

5 Adho Mukha Svanasana - Down­ward dog From a stand­ing po­si­tion, fold for­ward, bend knees, bring your hands to the mat, and walk your feet back, tak­ing your pelvis to­wards the sky and your heels to­wards the earth in an up­side down V. Feet and hands should be hip and shoul­der dis­tance apart. The el­bows and knees are straight. The neck is long and the gaze is at the navel. Breathe deeply and hold for no less than five breaths. Calms the brain, brings back lost energy, re­ju­ve­nates the ner­vous sys­tem, strength­ens the body.

6 Savasana: Af­ter the se­quence, fin­ish in savasana (re­lax­ation). For 5 min­utes, lie on your back, re­lax your mus­cles and close your eyes while breath­ing nor­mally. For more in­for­ma­tion about yoga classes and med­i­ta­tion, please email claire.barkhuizen@gmail.com or call Claire 7719175. Visit www.yoga.vu for the Van­u­atu Yoga As­so­ci­a­tion yoga sched­ule.

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