Go slowly – respect your body’s limits and listen to its innate wisdom. The more you do Yoga, the more you’ll have access to that intuitive sense of what is good for YOU and what isn’t.
Do your practice with awareness – Much of this is common sense…if something hurts, don’t do it! If a pose becomes uncomfortable, come out of it.
A big part of keeping yourself safe with Yoga is tuning in to how you feel both during and after practice.
Don’t try too hard – Students often push to achieve the outward form of a pose – trying to emulate their teacher or a photo from a magazine – even when their body and breath are telling them they aren’t ready yet. This is not a balanced action, not tuning in.
Staying safe in class – Whilst nobody wants to feel like he/she can’t do what everybody else is doing, Yoga is about tuning into your inner landscape, and not worrying what others will think.
Your Yoga is all about you – It is a personal journey, so be present and relaxed with yourself and avoid comparing yourself to others in the room.
How can a yoga posture or time spent watching your breath change the way you feel? Our brains are plastic, and engaging in a behavior over and over again leads to changes in our brains. Neuroscientist Sara Lazar shows us, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brains of study participants, that yoga and meditation are effective in reducing stress, reducing symptoms of diseases such as depression, insomnia and anxiety disorders, and, interestingly, increasing quality of life – people report that they are happier.
Video from KarmaTube
Do these poses every day and you’ll find your posture improving very fast. As your muscles stretch, strengthen and lengthen, you may even find you’ve ‘grown’ an inch or so!
- Mountain Pose is really how we should be standing all the time, so if you can do this pose in correct alignment with ease, your posture is probably already pretty good! Most people, however, find this posture to be challenging, as it requires your whole body to be engaged.
- Tree Pose – A slumped over posture makes balancing poses very difficult, as when we slouch our body weight tends to carry us forward. When we learn to stand tall and balanced in Tree Pose, we can carry this feeling into our everyday posture.
- Downward Facing Dog is a great pose for improving your posture, as it stretches and lengthens the spine and opens your shoulders, thus reversing that rounded, hunched over look.
- Plank Pose – Sometimes our slouching stems from having a weak core that lacks the strength to hold us upright. Plank Pose will strengthen your core, which will take some of the stress off your spine, allowing you to hold yourself up straight with ease.
- Cobra Pose and Half Cobra Pose gently stretch the spine and open the chest, reversing rounded shoulders and upper backs.
- Cow Face Pose is an intense chest and shoulder opener that will quickly lengthen all the muscles. This helps relieve tightness after long hours hunching over a desk and steering wheel.