A regular yoga practice can be key to staying healthy. A consistent yoga practice can aid in digestion, help release and remove toxins, build strength, release tension and even improve blood circulation and circulation of the lymph fluids. With a wide variety of yoga styles and poses to chose from, there are a few that will help you get the most out of your yoga practice.
Downward Dog keeps you healthy by toning the entire body, while releasing tension through the neck, spine and back of the legs. Come onto your hands and knees on a yoga mat. Tuck your toes as you straighten your legs and lift your sit bones towards the ceiling, making the shape of an upside down "V." Push into your hands, lift your hips and press down through your heels. This activates the arms, legs and core and lengthens through the back of the legs and neck. Hold for 10 breaths before lowering back down.
In yoga, twists are not only great for releasing tension around the spine and hips and toning the core, but also for cleansing the organs. It is believed that the twisting motion rings out the organs, much like wringing out a dish towel when it's wet, to remove toxins and stimulate digestion. Sit with your legs extended and together. Cross your right leg over your left and draw your right knee towards your chest. Lengthen your spine and twist to the right. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides to repeat.
Legs Up the Wall
The lymph fluid in the body does not move on its own like blood does. It relies on stimulating the lymph nodes through exercise to push the fluid through. Due to its immobile nature, much of the fluid gets built up in the legs and ankles and can cause swelling. Lifting your legs up and placing them against the wall can help release this build up and promote better circulation. Sit next to a wall on your mat. Swing your legs up onto the wall and lie back as you scoot your bottom forward until it is right up against the wall, with you hips in almost in a 90-degree angle. You can place blankets or pillows under your lower back if you need to. Hold for 2 to 5 minutes before lowering.
After any yoga practice, or even just on its own, it's important to let all of the systems re-integrate and to let the body rest. Savasana, or corpse pose, is the final pose in a yoga practice. It is designed to relax your mind and body and allow the health benefits of your practice to sink in. You simple lie on your back with your legs open and your arms by your side, palms facing up. Close your eyes and stay here, motionless, for at least 5 minutes.
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