Practicing Yoga

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Yoga Basics

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a certified yoga teacher and I have NOT completed professionally training in yoga instruction. I am self-taught. With this in mind, please understand that the information shared on this site is strictly for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute yoga practice taught by professionally certified yoga teachers. Please read my full disclosure here.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning yui, to connect/union or yoke.

Yoga is about connecting the mind, body and breath via yoga poses, stretches, meditation, present moment awareness, mindful movements and mindful breathing techniques. Practicing yoga brings our hearts, minds and bodies into alignment.

~NAMASTE~

My Yoga Story

I have been practicing yoga on and off for the past five years, but it wasn’t until we moved to Huntington Beach, CA, that I became serious about my practice. I started taking classes and learned about various types of yoga – vinyasa, hatha, hot, kundalini. Each class taught me different things about my body.Β 

I was lucky enough to have found an amazing yoga group to practice with. It was here I really started to blossom and grow into my own. I started to grow consistent in my practice and have a dream of becoming a certified yoga teacher someday.Β 

Now having learned how much my body NEEDS yoga, I am dedicated to moving my body everyday! I believe that yoga is something everybody can do. So join me on this yoga adventure!Β 

If you are ever in HB, California – please check out @namastefamilyyoga and @healingsacredalchemy for some amazing yoga classes!

Benefits of practicing yoga

πŸ’œ increased flexibility, strength and muscle tone

πŸ’› increased mobility, stability, coordination and balance

πŸ’œ improved posture

πŸ’› improved overall fitness (physical)

πŸ’œ improved circulation

πŸ’› improved focus and concentration

πŸ’› increased mind-body awareness

πŸ’œ increased confidence, self-esteem and self-acceptance

πŸ’› reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression

πŸ’œ improved general sense of well-being

πŸ’› improved sleep

Your yoga journey will be as individual as you are but you will never travel alone. Anyone can benefit from practicing yoga. We are at our best when every part of ourselves is in alignment with every other part. So don’t measure your success in yoga by how well you are able to do a pose. Just enjoy the ride. The joy is in the journey – not the destination.

Yoga Poses

Yoga poses can be broken down into eight categories. Each category represents stretching and moving different sets of muscles and realigning chakra energies (more on chakras later.)

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❀️ HIP STRETCHERS/OPENERS: support healthy mobility in the hip joints and stretch, support and strengthen the lower back

🧑 HEART/CHEST OPENERS: expand and stretch the chest, opening the shoulders to correct hunching and create more space in the chest to support deeper and fuller breathing

πŸ’› CORE STABILIZERS: strengthen, tone and stabilize the core

πŸ’š TWISTS: tone core muscles and support rotation, mobility and flexibility of the spine. Twists gently stimulate the internal organs to support healthy digestion

πŸ’™ BALANCING POSES: target core stability, balance, coordination and develop mental focus

πŸ’œ BACKBENDS: stretch the front side of the body (thighs, groin, belly, chest and shoulders) and flex, lengthen and strengthen the spine. Back bends are energizing and direct your attention outside of your body.

πŸ–€ FORWARD BENDS: counter backbends, stretching the back side of the body and legs (calves, hamstrings, hips, lower back, mid-back, upper back and shoulders). Forward bends compress the front side of the body to gently massage the internal organs as well as quiet and calm the mind by directing awareness away from the outside world toward inner reflection.

🀎 INVERSIONS: strengthen upper back muscles, tone and stabilize the core and develop balance skills. Requiring intense focus, inversions quiet chatty minds. Thus also serve as a subtle reminder to view things from a different perspective.

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We are all unique and only YOU are in your body. If something does not feel right, please don’t do it. Together we will find another expression of the yoga pose that works best for you, just let me know.

Getting ready for yoga

Because every BODY is different, I highly recommend yoga props. Props can help you safely practice or modify a pose without going too deep into a pose or hurting yourself. If you don’t have them, no worries, you can always find/use a substitute:

πŸ’™ Yoga Block – books, folded towels/blankets or a small, firm cushion

πŸ’™ Yoga Bolster – pillow, folded towels/blankets (as many as you need)

πŸ’™ Yoga Strap – belt or sport band

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Wear something comfortable and functional – don’t restrict movements. Remove socks and shoes with practicing so your feel will stick to your yoga mat and your feet/toes can expand.

Practicing Yoga

Drishti – a gaze or focal point – intended to direct your β€˜inner’ focus more than your physical sight (even though the directions may be to fix your gaze on an external object or point on your body – floor, tip of your nose, navel.) Designed to help you practice your yoga with awareness and without being distracted by your surroundings. Great for balancing poses.

"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." -Caroline Myss

Hold poses for 3-5 rounds of breath (hatha) or flow in and out of poses (vinyasa) linking breath to movement. Breathing with awareness supports the mind-body connection, helping you safely move deeper into a pose when your body is ready for it and indicates whether or not you’ve gone too far. If you can NOT breathe properly in a yoga pose, you need to back out of the pose.

~NAMASTE~

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Published: 06/05/2021