This is the second article of a three part ‘Introduction to Yoga’ series. Which has been written by the Panache Sports team based on advice given by Ryan James Yoga.
So now we know why we should be doing yoga. Here we have 5 simple yoga poses that you can do at home. It’s always a good idea to take an in-person yoga class before starting any yoga routine so you can learn proper form. A well-trained and experienced yoga instructor will be able to offer more individual guidance to adapt the poses for your needs and limitations. If you feel any sharp pain, instability or lightheadedness, stop and rest or adjust to a more comfortable position. It is important to listen to your body. If you are having mental or physical issues you should seek advice from your doctor before you try these poses.
1. Forward Fold
Slowly roll down the spine to hang forward, with weight in the middle of the feet, not the toes or heels. Be sure not to lock the knees or rolling in/out with the feet. Upper body should just hang without tension, including your relaxed head. If you want to make the stretch more intense you can take hold of opposite elbows or interlace fingers behind your back.
Lay face down with tops of the feet resting on the floor. Palms are flat on the floor alongside the chest, elbows in close to the body. For those unable to place their palms on the floor, you can use fists or elbows. Head, neck and chest are lifted off the floor, gaze forward, keeping the feet and legs down. Upper back muscles should be engaged and arms should not be used to execute the movement. You can test this by trying to lift hands from the floor and maintain the pose. For more of a challenge, interlace fingers behind back to draw shoulder blades together (or hold opposite wrist)
3. Side Angle Pose
With feet about 4 ft. apart, turn the right foot out 90 degrees and angle the left foot in 45 degrees. Bend the right knee, keeping the knee directly over the toes. Bring your right elbow to the bent right knee and the left arm extends alongside the left ear. The goal is one continuous diagonal line from the back left foot to that extended left arm. The arm should be pointed straight up toward the ceiling. Gaze is past the extended fingers. Try not to tense or sink in the lower shoulder, but lift out of the supporting elbow. The hips and shoulders should be in one plane, as though laying against a wall. (You could even try it against a wall to check.) Release any tension in the hand and fingers of the extended arm. Repeat on the other side.
4. Seated Spinal Twist
Start sitting with legs extended. You can sit up on a cushion or folded blanket if you feel any rounding in the lower back. Pull one knee in, lift the foot and cross it over to the outside of the extended leg. If possible, plant foot on the floor as if making a footprint on the floor. Foot is pulled in as close to the opposite hip as possible. Wrap the opposite arm around the bent knee, hugging it into the body. This can happen by wrapping the elbow around the knee, or just the hand. It is most important to sit up tall, lengthening the spine.
Ryan James has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and in 2011 he took a teacher training course. After qualifying he travelled to India to study Yoga on a deeper level, training in the Ashtanga and Iyengar method and also studying Yoga Philosophy. Ryan now teaches Yoga at Loughborough University and at various venues around the midlands. You can connect to Ryan and find a class schedule on facebook by clicking here or connect to Ryan through Twitter here.
PS. The model in the photos is wearing the Panache Sports Bra in Black.