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Yoga for Women: How to Gain a Shapely Waist through Yoga

The size of the waist is an indication of overall fitness for many people. Most health experts agree that a smaller waist is healthier than a big one. The reasoning behind this is that increases in fat around the waist usually result in increased health risks such as diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure.

In evolutionary and biological terms, a small waist signifies youth and vitality. But doing endless workouts of crunches alone will not allow you to achieve that Venus-like waist of your dreams. You will need to supplement specific waist-orientated exercises with ones from various disciplines.

Specifically you will need to work the inner girdle of muscles - commonly known as the core muscles - with slow abdominal exercises that work very deep into these muscle groups.

While usually associated with building flexibility, some specific exercises from yoga-based workouts also target the underlying core muscles around the waist.

 

Yoga: How To Develop A Home Practice

Many people ask how to start a home yoga practice so here is some information to get you going. First I will review the basics and then discuss how often to practice and what to practice. Remember though, the only right practice is regular practice! Don’t let your desire for perfectionism get in your way. Just show up at your mat and practice. Yoga is a life-long journey – perhaps many lives!

Environment

The space should be quiet, and ideally used only for yoga. (Can be...

Yoga, Beginning Yoga, Practicing Yoga at Home, Home Practice

Many people ask how to start a home yoga practice so here is some information to get you going. First I will review the basics and then discuss how often to practice and what to practice. Remember though, the only right practice is regular practice! Don’t let your desire for perfectionism get in your way. Just show up at your mat and practice. Yoga is a life-long journey – perhaps many lives!

Environment

The space should be quiet, and ideally used only for yoga. (Can be a section of any room)
Place a mat, blanket or towel on the floor.
The temperature should be moderate - not too cold and not too hot.
The room should have fresh air but not windy or cold.
Sunrise and sundown are desirable times for yoga (although any time works!)

Preparation

Wear light comfortable clothing.
A bath or shower before is good for limberness -wait at least 20 minutes after
practicing before bathing)
In the morning wash, urinate and move the bowels before practice.
Practice before eating or wait two hours after a meal.

Physical Practice (asanas)

Do not practice if there is a fever or deep wounds. Consult a teacher if there is an illness.
Spend five to ten minutes warming up/stretching before beginning practice.

Do not force your limbs into a difficult position. In time your body will open. We are after sensation not pain!

Beginners should hold each asana for 3-5 breaths. After about three months of regular practice this can be increased to 5 to 10 breaths.

Always inhale and exhale through the nostrils unless specified otherwise. Focus on making the breath slow and smooth.

At any time you need a rest come into child pose or shavasana (corpse pose)
Finish asanas with shavasana for five to ten minutes.

How often to practice.

The rule of thumb for how often to practice is simple: It is better to practice for short durations regularly than to practice once a week for a long time. In other words it is better to practice 4 times a week for forty-five minutes then to practice one day for two hours.

With that being said some people get what they need from practicing just a couple of times each week while other practice five or six times a week. It varies from person to person. On average though you will get the most benefit from your practice with average of four sessions per week. The length of time of each session depends on your experience with yoga, time constraints, level of fitness, and motivation. A good idea is to have a journal to keep track of your practice with information such as date, how long you practiced, what you practiced, how you felt during and after your practice, what thoughts came to mind during practice, how you felt later in the day as well as the next day, which postures were challenging and which were felt good.

General framework for your session

Always begin your practice with easy movements and build towards the more difficult postures ending with a cool down. Imagine a bell curve: at the beginning of the bell curve is a moment of centering. As you move up the curve there are warm-ups, then opening postures which help to build heat/ flexibility/strength and at the top of the curve are the most challenging postures. Moving down the other side of the bell curve are cool down postures followed by Shavasana.

Here is a template that you can use to create your own practice session:

Theme or focus (more on this below):

Centering:
Warm-ups:
Opening postures
Challenging postures:
Cool down postures:
Shavasana:

Which postures to practice.

Sometimes it is fun to have a practice without any preconceived notion of what to do and just see what comes out. Sometime it is desirable to tune into your body and see what your body is asking for. Other times you’ll want to plan your session as indicated above. It is during these session that having theme will be helpful. Some classical themes include: backbends, forward bends, twists, balance postures, standing postures, seated postures, inversions, restorative postures, hip openers, shoulder openers, strength building postures, groin openers, hamstring openers, and postures that build energy. Linking postures together (vinyasa) is yet another way to create a practice. In the Iyengar system we focus on linking alignment cues from posture to posture. Of course you may have specific health reasons that you are working with for which it would be best to consult a qualified yoga teacher to help create a practice. I encourage you to be creative – come up with your own themes and see how it is. It has been said that in yoga you are both the scientist and the experiment!

In my book “Beginning Yoga: A Practice Manual” I offer 20 different practice sequences to guide your home practice as well as a chapter on how to set up a home practice.

 

Yoga for Beginners: How to take those first steps into Yoga

Yoga is all around us these days. From Sting to Madonna, to maybe even your next door neighbor, everyone is hooked upon this fitness craze and with good cause. As a form of physical exercise, Yoga indeed is a force to be reckoned with. But just how can one go about using yoga for beginners? Let’s find out how today.

Yoga for beginners

Yoga is all around us these days. From Sting to Madonna, to maybe even your next door neighbor, everyone is hooked upon this fitness craze and with good cause. As a form of physical exercise, Yoga indeed is a force to be reckoned with. But just how can one go about using yoga for beginners? It is my hope that as a Yoga practitioner and enthusiast, this article will be of assistance in this regard.

If you have been considering learning yoga or have recently begun a yoga practice, I hope to provide you with some useful and helpful tips in which may be helpful to you in using yoga for beginners.

I have been doing Yoga for quite some time now, 6 years to be exact and since the first day I swore of free-weights and exercise machines, my use of Yoga and other body weight exercises like Hindu-Push ups (in my honest opinion a Yoga derivative) has been the main method for keeping fit. (in addition-of course- to my diet which co-incidentally changed when I started Yoga as a beginner those 6 years back.)

I will now enumerate the yoga poses to be learned as a starter which can aid or supplement your knowledge from your yoga classes, books and or DVD’s.

Yoga for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Learn first.

The Sun Salutations: Okay, this is the core of Yoga itself. This exercise is a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing exercise, Sun Bathing and Prayer. It is the warm-up of a yoga class or personal yoga session and is a combination of poses, 12 to be exact, that are performed in a synchronized motion with emphasis on rhythmic breathing. They mildly exercise the arms and legs and are often recommended for obesity, depression and fitness. Friends, several Martial Artists, Indian and African Wrestlers perform tons of rounds of these exercises alone, so in learning yoga, for beginners, this will be a guaranteed must-know.

The Shoulder Stand: Don’t be intimidated by the name at all. Even for a beginner, this yoga pose is a piece of cake, really. It is actually a very important pose though, arguably the most important as its Sanskrit name (Savangasana) actually means the “all members” or “all limbs” pose, meaning it affects all parts of the body. As a beginner, be aware that some poses (such as this one) do have specific counter poses, so if you’re taking a Yoga for beginner class or learning from a DVD, make sure you are taught these poses to counter-act and balance the effects of the Shoulder-stand pose on the body, these are the Bridge and fish poses. Here’s a hint or ratio to adhere to in their combined execution: 6:1:2 , meaning the ‘bridge’ and ‘fish’ poses should be held for a sixth and third of the time you spend in the Shoulder-stand Pose respectively.

The Corpse Pose: You’ve got to learn this Yoga Pose as a beginner. It is the relaxation pose that is usually executed during and after your session as a means of relaxing the muscles used for your yoga exercise. At the end of a session, it is usually done for about 15 minutes and one always comes out feeling refreshed after its execution.

Arguably, these are the 3 main poses you have to lay emphasis on in learning yoga for a beginner, but there are other poses that should be included as you go further. They are

1. The forward Bending exercises: Head to Knee pose, Plough Pose and Wind reliving pose

2. The Back Bending Exercises: The Bow, Inclined Plane and Wheel Poses.

3. The Spinal Twists

4. The Balancing Exercises: The Peacock, Crow, Side Plank and 4-limbed staff Poses

5. The Exercises in Sitting and Standing Positions

6. The Abdominal and Breathing Exercises.

Each of these groups has several variations on the root poses; however, let me tell you a secret that would go a long way in aiding you as a beginner learning Yoga. Do at least 24 round of the previously mentioned Sun Salutations and the ease in executing these poses will come almost naturally. Trust me.

There are several styles of Yoga to pick from and in seeking the right style of Yoga for a beginner; it might be quite difficult to pick the best. However, since Iyengar Yoga seems to involve a lot of props that can aid till flexibility is re-gained or enhanced, it may be one of the easier choices to pick. Kripalu and Bikram Yoga may also be quite easy to pick up as well as a beginner.

To find the best yoga for beginner class around you, you can always check your local YMCA or YWCA branches as they almost always carry information on Yoga classes for all stages: from beginner to intermediate.

One other factor that I must stress is the need to also pick up a Yoga diet for health and aiding these poses to both strengthen and detoxify you. This will-as a result of the symbiotic relationship that exists between Yoga and a proper diet-speed up an increase in fitness, weight loss, focus and the ability to execute these poses easily.

Though Yoga for beginners may best be learned from a certified instructor, your own practice will remain paramount for your mastery of this form of physical culture and there are tons of books and DVD’s to help in regards to this. Moreover, keep in mind that as a beginner doing yoga, not unless you intend to do lots of Sun Salutations as mentioned above, you may still want to incorporate some body-weight resistance poses (that co-incidentally are still Yogic in origin) such as the Hindu-Push-ups and Squats and the Bridge (now this is and the first one are basically Yoga poses in motion friends...).

This combination will see that till you have mastered the use of Yoga poses to make a complete session, you are still burning up enough calories and exercising the muscles for both weight loss and fitness.

Doing Yoga is fun, exhilarating and extremely rewarding for lots of reasons that may have already got you researching about it, so needless to say, choosing this exercise, even as a beginner, will go a long way into making for a fitter and healthier you.




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