Side Crane Pose

The Side Crane Pose is also known as the crow pose or parsva bakasana, you must be able to twist your body enough such that the outer edge of your upper arm is placed outside with respect to the opposite thigh.




How to Perform the Pose- step-by-step

Step 1

Take a half-squat position by bending your knees as well as thighs parallel to the floor. Take the support of a thick blanket if you find discomfort on resting your heels comfortably on the ground. Now, extend the left elbow towards your right thighs outside while simultaneously softening the belly.

Step 2

While exhaling, have your torso twisted towards your right while bringing the lower left rib towards the right thigh as much as you can.

Step 3 

Slide your left arm’s back towards the outside of your right thigh while getting the outer armpit close to your outer thigh as far as possible. Keep your arm in place and bend your back slightly while drawing the right shoulder back such that the torso is twisted deeply.

Step 4

Reach the maximum rotation point while constantly exhaling and alternately repeating twisting and back bending movements. Now, slide the upper left arm towards the right hip while pressing it against the right thigh. Maintain the pressure and draw the back of the upper arm towards the right knee with no sliding of your skin. This rotates the upper arm flesh outwards while locking it. Try to maintain the position when your arm is on the thigh.

Step 5

Now, squat completely, having the buttocks above the heels. Keep the left palm right on the ground. If you face difficulty in placing the right hand down, tip the torso towards the right until the right palm can be placed down. Lean a little more towards the right such that you can easily place your hand on the floor. The shoulder and the hands must be positioned placed on a diagonal imaginary line away from the right foot that is angled in the heel’s direction. Keep the fingers parallel to one another. Most of your body weight will rest on the feet.

Step 6 

While lifting the pelvis, maintain contact between the left arm as well as the right thigh while trying to bring the abdomen center between the hands. Now, you can find the perfect balancing position by adjusting. The weight on the hands will increase as you get close to the posture, while the weight on the feet will decrement unless they are lifted easily.

Step 7 

 

Keeping the feet together draw the heels towards the buttocks. While exhaling, soften the tummy and get prepared for the twist. Now, lift the feet up gradually. 

Step 8 

Keep your right arm straight. Lift the right shoulder and twist the spine. Lift the chest and the head and look straight. Repeat on the other side as well.




Benefits

  • Tones the spine and belly

  • Makes the arms and wrist strong

  • Helps improve balance

Mistakes and Contradictions

Similar to a few other poses, You must avoid practicing this pose if you have any form of lower back or wrist injury.

How to Perform It Perfectly

Being a beginner, you must pay attention to balance. In order to secure it, have your forehead lowered in a bolster or a block while you lift the feet in the air. Wear comfortable yoga leggings to comfortably perform the pose.

Yoga poses from a Wheelchair

Yoga is known for its exercises that include body poses, meditation, breathing techniques, mental concentration, and a general relaxation of the body. If you are in a wheelchair, you should not be worried because yoga still has a place for you. In as much as there are technical poses that may be hard to perform in a wheelchair, you should not get discouraged since disability gives you a greater power to do more than people can imagine. The practice of yoga in a wheelchair has many health benefits; it gives your mind and body a connection bond that can only grow stronger with time. 

Yoga proved to relieve stress, depression, anxiety and even manage your blood pressure, increase flexibility, improve your focus, among other benefits. Before you indulge in any yoga pose, you should ensure that your doctor gives permission to proceed so that you do not put your health on the line as you perform yoga. If you get the doctor’s approval, ask your family or friends to accompany you to yoga sessions. 

The following poses are the best for you and you can execute them in a wheelchair:

Side stretch

This pose is very important for the muscles of your abdomen (oblique) and even the spine. As you perform this pose, try to be within limits of your comfort. Breathing during this pose is very important. Take one arm and lift it over your head and at the same time breathe in. Try to reach as far as your arm can and exhale. Hold on to this pose for a couple of seconds. When you have stretched one side of your arm, turn to the other side and do the same.

Body twist

Twisting the body is very important during yoga practice. When you do this pose in a wheelchair, it helps to stretch the muscles of your back thereby reducing tension on your back all the way to the waist. Take your left hand and cross it to your right leg. Try to twist your trunk in the clockwise direction as you lift your head above the shoulders. Hold that pose for a few seconds as you take breaths. Repeat the same procedure on the opposite direction.

Forward bend

To execute this pose, sit upright as you take in air into your lungs. Lunge forward slowly as you exhale until your head comes right above your knee. If your head can reach your knee, go for it, if not, stay within your comfort zone. You can hold this position for a few seconds then move back to your initial position. You can repeat it until your back and hips feel relaxed. It also enhances blood circulation.

Leg stretch

This pose improves the flexibility of the leg and makes it stronger. Since you spend many hours seated in a wheelchair, you need to let your leg stretch by retracting your leg towards your hip and holding it against your thighs. Hold that position for a few seconds and turn to the other leg with the same procedure. Ensure you breathe during each pose.

Eagle pose

The eagle pose stretches the muscles of the shoulder and the back. Lift your arms and cross them at the elbow. Take a deep breath and hold this position for half a minute as you breathe continuously. Repeat it for as many times as you can.

Hip stretch

Take your left leg, put it across the right leg, and take a breath. Lean forward towards the crossed leg as you exhale. Stay in that pose for say 5 seconds and repeat the same procedure for the other leg. The hip stretch just as the name suggest gives your hips a good stretch.

Cow pose

Hold your thighs/wheelchair with both hands and try to lift your head up towards the sky and your back arched as you take deep breaths. This pose stretches the back and neck.

Cat pose

The cat pose is a simple backstretch. Hold your thighs/wheelchair and try to lunge forward and exhale. Try to curve your spine as your chin drops towards the chest. You can stay in that pose as you take deep breaths. 

Conclusion

Wheelchair yoga is possible as long as your doctor gives you the approval to perform yoga, the above poses can be very useful to your health.

Could Your Yoga Outfit Be Inspired by Ballet

Many yogis are starting to take notice of an interesting yoga fashion trend that seems to be sweeping through classes across the country. Clothing manufacturers and yogis are continuously choosing styles that are influenced by another major sport. Ballet outfits are becoming increasingly common in a modern yoga studio, but why is this becoming such a prominent trend?

There are actually many overlaps between yoga and ballet. Both sports are highly focused on grace, proper alignment, and moving at the right time. From a physical aspect, both yoga and ballet are highly focused on flexibility and core strength. They require a lot of movement and bending that makes some of the more traditional workout clothing inadequate.

As a result of their common traits, fashion is now beginning to merge between yoga and ballet. Could your yoga outfit actually be inspired by ballet? Take a look at some of these common crossover items to see if you may have already started on this prominent fashion trend.

Bodysuits

Bodysuits are seeing a massive surge in popularity these days for yogis who want to practice in something comfortable. Unlike a t-shirt that can ride up during a rigorous practice, a bodysuit is guaranteed to stay in place during every asana. Dancers often wear leotards for the same reason. No matter what position they need to move into, the leotard helps to keep them covered without impeding movement.

Leg Warmers

During the winter, many yogis are huge proponents of slipping a pair of thick leg warmers on over top of their yoga leggings. This is one of the best ways to keep warm while getting into the studio without overheating during practice. Many ballet performers also wear leg warmers over their tights to help keep their muscles loose and fluid at the beginning of practice.

Wraparound Tops

You’ve probably noticed that some of the more popular workout tops hitting store shelves involve a wraparound look. This style has been worn by ballet dancers for years with a flowing skirt over top. It can help to make your waist appear slimmer and provide excellent support for a rigorous and intense workout session. Some of these tops also include built-in shapewear for a more slimming appearance.

Light Layers

Ballet dancers are often known for wearing many light layers to their rehearsals, and yogis are very similar. They often wear several tops or light sweaters to protect their muscles from the frigid cold. This makes it easier to shed individual pieces and remain comfortable even once you heat up in a practice.

There are many similarities between the fashion trends seen in ballet and in yoga. Many yogis may start to notice that their bodysuit and leggings very closely resemble the leotard and tights worn by most ballet dancers. The outfits all have an emphasis on flexibility and movement to help you transition into more complicated postures. Take a look at some of these common fashion crossovers to see if you could benefit from any of these new fashion trends today.

Bodysuits Are Back This Year

Wondering what to wear to your next yoga class? Looking for an extra motivation to come in early and take the first row in the yoga studio? The new trend regards to yoga clothing this year is comfortable, practical and classic this year, bodysuits are back in the yoga room and outside! In the past only those dedicated to the ballet wore bodysuits but now’s different. They are comfortable and gentle on the skin, being both classic and sexy at the same time.

A Short History of Bodysuits

The which was invented by a famous French acrobat performer Jules Leotard (1838-1870). The leotard is a unisex piece of clothing which covers the exposed legs. The first time the leotard was used was back in 1886. In the early 20th century, leotards were worn by acrobats and circus performers. In the 1920s and 1930s, leotards inspired the creation of women’s swimsuits, which even at the present resemble the classical look of leotards.

Now, unlike a leotard, a bodysuit is made from different fabrics as snaps, velcro or hooks in the crotch area, so that it can be easily closed there. The bodysuit made its appearance in women’s clothing back in 1950, being initially presented by fashion designer Claire McCardell, in any setting: during a concert, for a casual look or for a red carpet appearance. Some of them are Kim Kardashian – of course, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez or Selena Gomez.

Bodysuits in the Yoga Studio

This year, bodysuits made a big comeback in the yoga studio as well. That is because they are flattering for a woman’s body, they allow you to move freely and gracefully in your favorite yoga poses and they offer you that classy look that will motivate you even more to be present in the yoga classes all the time.

Here are a few ideas of:

The long pants, large black bodysuit: this type of yoga bodysuit is large and comfortable, enabling you to move freely and even wear it during shopping or at a cup of coffee with friends. Look for one which also has pockets for an extra functionality;

Less is more: or, you can choose an all-black yoga bodysuit which is which is tight on the body and has long trousers that close at the feet. This type of bodysuit also has classy straps on the back for that stylish look, being suitable for yoga, dance or any type of physical exercise;

The bodysuit with shorts: for those who prefer hot yoga, or for those who get warm quickly in the summer months, this type of bodysuit is the ideal choice. It comes with different colored prints and has straps at the back, making you look attractive and stylish at the same time.

For more suggestions on which yoga summer bodysuits to choose, we invite you to get in touch with our friendly staff.

Eating For Your Lifestyle

 

 

There is always a new and latest diet craze sweeping society by storm. Many people react to these diets with curiosity and urgency to give it a try. These diets are often very general and do not advise for specific contexts or behavioral tendencies. It is a common belief that there is a “healthy” way to eat. We spend so much time judging eating habits and underthinking the reasons why we need to eat in the first place. When making choices about what we are eating, we should be asking ourselves, “Does this choice make sense for my activities today, this week or this month?” Instead, we often ask ourselves, “Is this a healthy choice based on — (we can add most recent diet or social media ad that guilted us into feeling we are serving our body and supporting it for its best). We are often motivated by the number on the scale or the size of our waistline. While these are valid indicators of our health, what gives us more information about our health is how we feel day to day and after eating certain foods.

One of the first essential things to think about when choosing food options is your activity level. If you are sitting around all day, you actually need very little food. It is because food, especially carbohydrates, transforms within the body into energy. If you are not expending energy, you do not need to work on storing more. Of course, some bodies use more energy than others in a resting state. Understanding that your body is competing unique and learning about how it feels when it is resting, or fasting is very important. It is more important than eating three meals a day or making sure you get enough milk. In fact, despite what dairy farmers want you to believe, milk is not an essential source of calcium, nor is it a necessary part of the human diet. After terminating breastfeeding, a human does not need milk. It actually creates extra mucus and promotes bloating and poor digestion.

Another important consideration is the variety of food in your life. It is important to get lots of colors into the diet. It means a variety of fruits and vegetables which have all the nutrients we could ever need. That being said, there are powerful benefits to mono-fasts, such as only eating one type of fruit a day or more to give the digestion system a break and the ability to flush out unwanted toxins.

Whether or not we can fit into our workout yoga pants is less important than actually making sure we are using them. We should all be exercising at least sometimes as it helps us tune into our body and what we need in our diet. Pay attention to cravings for sweet and salty foods and check up on potential mineral deficiencies. Get to know YOUR body because it is unique. Get to know YOUR lifestyle because it will dictate what you really need to fuel up.

What Is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is literally translated as yoga sleep. However, instead of sending us all to sleep, it is designed to put our minds into a state between the conscious and unconsciousness. It is a deep relaxation practice. Typically, to practice Yoga Nidra during a class, you will lie in savasana while your teacher will talk and give you instructions. They will try to withdraw all your senses except for hearing. It is so the outside world cannot distract you, but by concentrating on listening, you will not fall asleep. A Yoga Nidra will usually last anything from twenty minutes up to an hour. In an hour-long yoga class, you will often participate in a short relaxation session at the end of class rather than a full Yoga Nidra.

During this Yoga Nidra, you are training your mind to sleep with awareness. When we bring awareness to whatever we are doing, our efforts are likely to be more productive. It is the same with sleep. Scientific tests have been carried out on Yoga Nidra, and they have found that it has amazing benefits to the body and mind. 

Many people report that after practicing yoga Nidra, it can feel better than a full night’s sleep. It is because when we sleep, our whole body will shut down, even the mind. It means that we wake up in the same emotional state as the previous day. In Yoga Nidra, the mind stays aware and is calmed. When we wake up from yoga Nidra, we, therefore, feel as though the body and mind have been refreshed and recharged. From this, we gain a greater ability to focus and concentrate on tasks throughout our day. Our memories will also improve and become a lot sharper, we will find that we are distracted less and even our ability to process information and make decisions are improved.

There are four main stages of a Yoga Nidra session. Your teacher will guide you through these often by reading a script aloud. Before this starts the student must be comfortable so as distractions are minimal. 

  1. The first stage is to relax your physical body. It will focus on each part of the body separately, working systematically from the toes upwards. 
  2. The second stage is relaxing the subtle body. The subtle body is part of the body that we cannot see; it is where our energy and emotions lie. This stage involves visualization and breathing techniques that aim to remove the effects of stress. 
  3. Stage three is to rest in complete stillness and relax all layers of the body.
  4. The fourth stage is to re-energize the body by using visualization and breathing techniques again. This stage also involves bringing the student into the conscious mind and becoming aware of the surroundings.

If you haven’t already, try a Yoga Nidra session. You can go to classes that offer long Yoga Nidra sessions and can even find Yoga Nidra practices online. You will see that regularly practicing it will reap the benefits. 

Can Black Yoga Leggings Really Flatter Every Body Shape?

The right workout clothing offers the wearer a degree of confidence in their appearance which can help to move you further along into your practice. Whether you choose to wear your yoga clothes solely during your time on the mat or around town, you should find items that flatter your body shape and make you feel the self-love that yoga is really all about. 

It’s often been said that black is the best color because it can flatter every person, but does the same hold true for yoga leggings? If you’re searching for a one-time purchase of workout clothing that will be versatile as your body changes through the practice, black yoga leggings could be the solution for you. 

Black itself is a relatively slimming color. It can make larger sizes appear smaller than they are in reality. This mind trick helps to create the illusion of sleeker body shape, regardless of your physical size in real. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will look sizes smaller than your actual shape, it doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to your lower half the same way that bright colors and patterns have the potential to do. 

The dark shades, which could also include deep greys and browns, also help to smooth and conceal areas that have more textures, including unwanted lumps and bumps. Most would agree that concealing these troublesome areas, particularly around the tummy and the thighs, gives them little peace of mind throughout their practice. 

Of course, the real trick to finding black leggings that flatter every body shape is selecting the right style. Manufacturers who specialize in creating yoga apparel have come out with an abundance of styles, cuts, and fabrics to make each body shape feel comfortable in the skin they have. 

A pair of high-waisted yoga leggings could be the solution for those who have a large tummy that needs a little help staying in place. Many of these options come with built-in shapewear to help compress and conceal these areas. Not only does the black color make you appear slimmer on its own, but some shapewear boasts the ability to make you look a size smaller than you really are. 

Full-length yoga leggings can be ideal for shorter yogis who often look smaller in a pair of capris. On the other hand, long-legged yogis may prefer capris to full-length pants merely because they like the idea of a cooler pair of pants for their practice. The length and the waistline of your yoga leggings are some of the most significant variables in choosing the right pair of leggings. 

Options abound for even the simplest of items like a pair of black yoga leggings for women. Yogis are sure to find a style and a cut that flatters their body shape and gives them more confidence in their practice. Black is a versatile color that can look good on any individual, but the real trick to making your leggings flatter you is to select the style that works the best for your shape. 

Two Minute Yoga for Writers and Other Desk Warriors

Desk jobs are running rampant in today’s world. You may be one of the millions of people who spend eight hours or more starring at a computer screen. You will also know some of the discomfort that sitting at a computer desk for that long can bring. There are some things that you can do to alleviate these discomforts. Standing desks can help your back and neck and getting up and walking around is a great way to get blood moving. You can also do this quick little set of desk yoga to help your eyes, neck and shoulders, and your wrist. It does not take much time, and you can do it while sitting in your office chair.

Eyes

Starring at a computer screen can be terrible for your eyes. The strain is intense, and your natural blinking habits can be permanently changed. To combat this, you can follow these quick steps:

Squish your eyes shut, as though you are anticipating a surprise. Do this 10 times to get your natural eye lubricants flowing.

Look for 20 seconds at something at least 20 feet away.

Cross your eyes by looking at the tip of your nose 10 times to help relax the muscles that control your eyes. You should notice an improvement in how your eyes feel right away.

Neck and Shoulders

Your neck and shoulders will get tight sitting at a desk. Proper ergonomics will help, but it is not going to fix the problem when you spend a lot of time at your desk. Here are some moves to help relieve stress and tension through that area:

Shoulder shrugs are simple, just lift your shoulders to your ears and relax. Do this 10 times.

Neck stretching, put your ear to your shoulder and hold for three seconds, repeat on the other side.

Chin dips are going to stretch out the back of your neck. Tuck your chin to your chest and hold for five seconds. Look all the way up and then hold that for another five seconds.

These moves should help your neck release tension and can also help reduce any tension headaches you might get.

Wrists

It is quite common to have repeat motion injuries to your wrist if you type a lot. Here are some quick and easy stretches to help alleviate pain and prevent greater injuries:

Pray Stretch helps relieve pressure on your Carpal Tunnel. Place your hands together, palms facing each other as though you are praying. Lower your wrists until you feel the stretch and then hold for three to five seconds.

Wrist Flexing and Extending stretches your wrist, and it also increases blood flow. Use one hand to pull your other hand back until a stretch is felt and hold for five seconds. Then go the other way and push your hand down, just until a stretch is felt. Hold for an additions five seconds, and then repeat on your other hand.

Increasing blood flow to your extremities is important to health, and the stretch reduces the risk of repetitive motion issues.

Taking a break to perform these simple and easy exercises can improve your well-being and reduce the health problems commonly associated with sitting at a desk. If you can, aim to run through this quick routine once an hour; this can prevent stress and tension buildup over the day.

Three Yoga Mudras to Try

“Mudra”, a Sanskrit word, is “a special body position which channels the energy produced by asana and pranayama into the various centers, and creates a particular state of mind,” according to Yogi Swatmarama.

Mudras can be performed with your yoga poses and in seated meditation. Each one has a different purpose, so depending on your needs you can choose between the mudras or combine several in a yoga session. There are many mudras, here is just a few that I like and recommend.

Chin Mudra (other names Jnana Mudra, Gyan Mudra)

 


Chin = consciousness, knowledge or wisdom.

This mudra is good for the end of your yoga class, in a seated meditation. This is the first mudra I learned and I was taught that it helps channel knowledge, particularly higher wisdom.

I love using the Chin Mudra in standing poses and at the end of my yoga routine during meditation. Sometimes I will use one hand to do Japa meditation and the other in this particular mudra.

How to: touch the tip of your Index finger to the tip of your thumb and straighten the rest of the fingers.

Prana Mudra

Prana = life force.

This mudra is good for increasing energy (life force) whenever you may need it, stimulating the dormant energy at the base of your spine (root chakra) and increasing focus. In addition, it calms nervousness and clears negative energy. It is said that it is good for eyesight, fatigue, skin rashes, and vitamin deficiency.

I like to use this mudra in the morning, for work projects, and during breaks. When I need a work break, I will close my eyes, place my hands with prana mudra on each of my knees. I begin to focus on a strong and powerful breath. I will stay here for up to 10 minutes, but you can stay even longer if you wish.

How to: touch the tip of your thumb to the tips of your ring and pinky finger, keeping the rest of your fingers straight.

Suraya Mudra

Surya = ‘Sun’.

This mudra helps you activate your fire element and reduce the earth element. Like putting wood into a fire, you can now start the fire. It relates to purifying and transforming vibrations into higher vibrations. Increasing your fire, increases your metabolism and body temperature, helping to you loose weight. It is said that it also treats the common cold, although I haven’t tried that yet.

Recently, I have been exploring using this mantra in a seated meditation after yoga, for 15-30 minutes. It can be challenging but playing chanting tracks helps the mind focus and then become clearer. Here is a fire element mantra:

Agni Gayatri Mantra

Om Mahajwalaye Vidhmahe

Agnidevaye Dhimahi

Thanno Agnih Prachodayat

 

Om, Let me meditate on the great flame,

Oh, God of fire, give me higher intellect,

And let the Fire God illuminate my mind.

 

How to: Place the tip of the ring finger on the base of the thumb and with your thumb apply pressure to the bent ring finger.


So there you have it, the Chin Mudra for knowledge, the Prana Mudra for energy, and the Suraya Mudra for increased fire element. If you like using mudras, I encourage you to try more like the heart mudra and the other element based mudras!