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Posts tagged ‘yoga for beginners’

My granny’s back…

Well my 84 year old granny’s back is much improved from doing the very simple yoga exercises that I recommended she do:

From sitting – gentle side bends and rotation of the spine both ways. Then Savasana with knees bent alternating with the beginnings of Setu Bhandasana – getting the lumber spine onto the ground and creating space for the lower vertebrae. Also a little bit of Little Boat – when she can manage it.

I’ve asked her to try and do these movements 2 or 3 times a day. I think she started with 3 times and her back quickly improved – but then it went down to 2  and now – because she’s very busy (!) she usually only manages once a day.

Her back isn’t as good as when she first started the exercises – but much better than when she was doing nothing.

pose of the week – sitting with wide legs – upavistha konasana…

wide leg sitting – upavistha konasana

Benefits:  Can strengthen the muscles around the knees and help this area from feeling so vulnerable. Also strengthens the abdominal muscles and can improve flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

Contraindication: This is generally a very safe posture to practice, but if it feels a strain keeping the upper body upright,  place a cushion just underneath your tailbone. This will give you some extra support and make the posture feel much more pleasant to do.

As with all poses of the week – if it doesn’t feel good to be in – don’t do it for now (until you have the advice of an experienced yoga teacher…)

Practice:  Sit on the floor with your legs comfortably wide. Placing hands wherever they feel relaxed – resting on the belly, or on the thighs…

Allow your hips and legs to be heavy and feel the sitting bones very much in contact with the ground…

Have an awareness of your spine being long and gently lengthening upwards.

Breathe easily and freely…

Stay in this posture as long as you feel happy being here…

pose of the week – tadasana – mountain pose…

tadasana…

Tadasana is one of the basic standing postures in yoga.

BENEFITS: Good for lengthening and realigning the spine.  May ease backache. Can improve leg and abdominal tone.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Tadasana seems to be one of the safest postures to do – but as with all the poses of the week – only practice if you feel well and if the position feels comfortable for you to do.

PRACTICE: Stand with your heels directly underneath your sitting bones – a little narrower than your hips. Have the outside edges of your feet comfortably parallel. Take a moment to breath and then allow the lower half of your body to become heavier, so that the feet can really imprint themselves in the ground. In contrast to the earthing of the pelvis, feet and legs, the upper half of the body becomes lighter and is very much attracted upwards. Breathe easily and freely and enjoy the feeling of length and solidity…

pose of the week… little bridge – setu bandhasana

BENEFITS:  Lengthens the spine – especially in the lower back. Can help ease lower back ache.  Helps to open the front of the shoulders. Tones the abdominal muscles. Very relaxing and can relieve stress.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Most mother’s to be will find lying on the back, uncomfortable to do towards the end of pregnancy – anytime from 30 – 40 weeks. You will know when it isn’t beneficial for you and your baby, as you will feel very breathless and ‘have’ to roll over onto your side. As with all poses of the week, only practice if it feels good to do…

PRACTICE: Lying on your back, gently hug the knees towards you. This will give you a nice long spine.

Take a moment to breathe…

When you feel ready – the next time you breathe out,  place your feet on the ground about hip width apart, fairly close to your pelvis. Take a moment to establish the feeling of your feet on the ground…

On an exhalation emphasize your footprints – This will lighten the pelvis and bring the back of your waist to the floor.

When you breathe in – relax everything.

The next time you breathe out, push your feet into the ground a little more so that your pelvis begins to rise up with some of the lower spine. When you breathe in, come down vertebra, by vertebra until the pelvis is back down on the floor again and relax completely.

Carry on with these movements of pushing the feet into the ground as you breathe out and releasing everything as you breathe in.

To get even more space in the lower spine visualize the tailbone being pulled away as your pelvis rises up. Keep this image of the tailbone being pulled away as the hips come down as well.

Only go as high with the pelvis as feels comfortable and stop when you have had enough…

When you are finished, gently hug your knees towards you and take a gentle rock from side to side. Take a moment to breathe…

pose of the week – sphinx

sphinx

pose of the week… locust – salabhasana

locust - salabhasana

BENEFITS: Can tone the legs and abdominals. Strengthens the back muscles. May be beneficial for sciatica. Some people with slipped discs can also find this posture helpful (but do check with a yoga teacher or GP before trying)

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Obviously pregnancy puts some restraints on practicing this posture! Most mother’s to be will find up until 12 weeks comfortable to do – but listen to your body – as we are all unique and different. Only practice if it feels comfortable and good to do…

PRACTICE: Lie prone with your arms resting at the sides of your body – palms facing up, eyes looking towards the ground. (You can shut them if you want to…)

If it feels uncomfortable on your nose, roll up the front of your mat and place it underneath your forehead.

When you lie on your front, the back of the neck often lengthens quite quickly. If this is happens to you, lift the forehead, and place it a little further away from yourself.

Relax completely and breathe…

Take a journey around your body and see if there is anything still holding. If there is then imagine you are breathing into it. Visualise the area softening and releasing.

Breathe freely and easily…

Notice your spine moving as you breathe…

When you are ready, engage the thigh muscles the next time you breathe out. Allow the legs to become heavier and lengthen the tailbone away.

As the tailbone lengthens away, you may feel a gentle ripple travel up your spine…An undulation, which when reaching the upper vertebrae brings some lightness there. The shoulders and head may come off the ground…

But just a little bit – be aware of keeping space at the back of the neck – so that your gaze is still towards the mat.

As you breathe in, relax and give into the ground again.

Keep playing with going up on the exhalation and resting and preparing on the inhalation.

Rest when you have had enough and enjoy giving into the ground once again for a few moments.

Child’s pose is a good counter pose to do after locust…

* I have shown the upper body raise for now as I feel it is easier to obtain a feeling of relaxation and spine lengthening than when you also raise the legs…

pose of the week… warrior – virabhadrasana I

Virabhadrasana I

BENEFITS: Improves body strength – especially in the thighs and shoulders. Increases  hip flexibility and can help one to feel more confidant!

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Practice very gently if you have any knee conditions. Don’t hold the posture for too long if you have very high, or very low blood pressure.  As with all poses of the week – if something doesn’t feel comfortable – don’t do it.

PRACTICE: Stand sideways on your mat or be on a non slip surface. Take a large step to your right…

Check that the outside edges of your feet are parallel to each other. Bend one knee and then the other a few times…

Come to still and be tall and grounded. Take a moment to breathe…

Notice how open and in which direction your pelvis and shoulders are facing – You want to keep them like this throughout the posture….

Turn your left toes 90 degrees out to the side and bend your left knee (make sure the knee is going in the direction of your toes)

Raise your arms in line with your shoulders and look past your left fingertips. Be grounded, tall and brave… Breathe…

Stay for a minute or two or as long as it feels comfortable and good to be doing…