Monday, August 3rd, 2015
Yoga classes are everywhere these days and chances are you have at least one friend who gushes about their “practice”. But there is still an air of intimidation for some when they hear the word yoga. Images of uber flexible people and blissfully meditating gurus float through your mind. But what is yoga? And can it help you, you who can’t even touch your toes?
The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means yoking, as in a team of oxen. In modern language, this is often interpreted as meaning union. “Yoga” is said to be the uniting of mind, body, and spirit. Each persons “yoga” is something different and unique. Today we are going to explore the physical practice of yoga (also known as asana) and some of its most celebrated benefits.
Yoga Poses are a set of body movements meant to create balance and strength in the body. It’s not just about stretching and it’s not all about being flexible. Each set of poses and postures has a specific body benefit. You will work with your own breath and practice breathing techniques that help connect you to your body and the pose. Yoga’s benefits include stress and pain relief, improved circulation, improved strength, weight management and last but not least, inner peace!
When you feel ready to take the next step and find a yoga class, Maura Manzo, founder of Yoga Home in Conshohocken, has some advice for beginner and novice students. “Find a studio or teacher near you that you can have a live conversation with to get all of your questions answered. Today, there are so many yoga styles and yoga studios available, it is important to make an educated and informed decision to find the style/studio that best fits your needs. Look for a studio with gentle, beginner classes to start with and an experienced teacher who knows how to work with a variety of different body types and conditions. At Yoga Home, we make a conscious effort to individually speak to all new students. We want to know why they have come and what they are looking for. We offer a variety of yoga styles and classes for everyBODY and we want to direct them to the appropriate class.”
We asked Maura for her favorite pose for a common chronic source of pain, the lower back (always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program).
Legs Up The Wall
Lie on your back with your legs straight up a wall with your seat flush against the wall.
Place a pillow or blanket under your head if needed. If this feels uncomfortable or inaccessible, you can use a folding chair. (modification pictured)legs-up-chair
Lie with your back on the ground and bend your legs, rest your calves on the seat and place legs through the chair opening.
For an added benefit if you have tight shoulders or your chest area is tight, spread your arms wide into a “T” and rest them on the ground.
Restorative for body, drains fluid out of legs, recirculates blood through the body, lessens tension in hips and lower back and helps calm the mind.
Stay in pose for up to 5 minutes… take slow deep breaths in and out through nose.
Yoga Home is located in Conshohocken, PA.