Weight loss, a strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin, peaceful mind, good health – whatever you may be looking for, yoga has it on offer. However, very often, yoga is only partially understood as being limited to asanas (yoga poses). As such, its benefits are only perceived to be at the body level and we fail to realize the immense benefits yoga offers in uniting the body, mind and breath. When you are in harmony, the journey through life is calmer, happier and more fulfilling.
With all this and much more to offer, the benefits of yoga are felt in a profound yet subtle manner. Here, we look at the top 10 benefits of yoga practice.
Start With Pelvic Tilts:
Some days, it’s just not possible to put in a full hour and a half of yoga. But most days will allow for this 10- to 15-minute sequence that stretches the back, hamstrings, and hips, problem areas for many people. Think of this sequence as your maintenance plan. It will keep you running smoothly until you can get in for a full tune up. Over time, you will see the positive effect that consistently doing these stretches has on your longer practice sessions.
Start Easy With Pelvic Tilts
I can’t say enough good things about pelvic tilts. They are just amazing. Often I don’t even realize that my back is stiff and hurting until I lie down on my mat. The first few pelvic tilts reveal any traces of low back pain, but after 10 to 20 rounds, the pain is gone. Do them slowly and keep going until the movement feels fluid and good.
- Toning your tummy, giving a flatter look
- Tightens your pelvic floor muscles
- Organs in the pelvis sit in the right place
- Makes the muscles in your buttocks work more
- Makes the muscles in the sides of your legs work more
- Your back curves are in a neutral position – not too saggy
- Aligns the rest of the body on top of your pelvis – mid and upper back, head and neck
- Your lungs are used more effectively
- Improves your posture
- A taller look
Four-Limbed Staff Pose:
Chaturanga is one of the most common postures in Vinyasa yoga—but also one of the most abused. Students tend to rush this pose, cheating its alignment, which with repetition can lead to injury. Check out my pointers below to revisit this foundational posture and begin treating it as its own pose instead of a transition.
- Strengthens arm, shoulder, and leg muscles
- Develops core stability
- Prepares body for inversions and arm balances
Lunge to Stretch Your Hips and Hamstrings
Step your right foot forward next to your right hand, coming into a low lunge. I like to drop the back knee down to the floor at first for a nice stretch in both hips. Then straighten the back leg if you want to begin to work into your hamstrings, which run along the back side of your thighs.
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
This one may seem random, but I have affection for it going all the way back to my Ashtanga days. This fabulous forward fold releases the calf and hamstring of the straight leg with the added benefit of opening the hip of the bent-knee leg. It also teaches the student to notice the effects of small nuances, such as squaring the chest with the straight-leg knee.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groins
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves anxiety, fatigue, headache, menstrual discomfort
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia, and sinusitis
- Strengthens the back muscles during pregnancy (up to second trimester), done without coming forward, keeping your back spine concave and front torso long.
Supported Bridge Pose
Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:
This is my happy place. Funny enough, traditional Bridge Pose makes me crazy. Add a block under the lower back and voilà—I could stay there for hours with a smile on my face. This is a great modification for Shouderstand and a relaxing way to release the front body and release the spine.
- Stretching exercise for hips, neck, spine, and chest strengthens the spinal muscles, hamstrings, buttocks and back muscles.
- This pose helps in controlling the central nervous system, and acts as a remedy to depression.
- It enhances digestive system and stimulates abdominal organs.
- It gives relief to women suffering from menopausal symptoms.
- The back-bend poses help reduce the headache and back pain.
- Doing the pose before going to bed, can get you some sleep at night, even if you have insomnia.
- Like many other poses, it also improves your blood circulation.
- It may be beneficial in curing hypertension, clog sinus, asthma and osteoporosis.
- It gives work to quads, hamstrings and calves.
- It provides relief against abdominal cramps.
- This exercise will help in healing the prolapsed uterus, and it also controls the menstrual flow.
- Sit straight with your legs outstretched.
- Fold them so that your feet are at the sides of your buttocks with the sole facing upwards.
- Your butt should be resting between your heels.
- Now place your hands on your knees and keep your spine and neck straight.
Try sitting in this pose for a while after your meal to get relief from headaches due to constipation. You could also try it when you get a headache due to migraine.
- It helps in digestion.
- Sitting in this pose helps in reduction of the hips.
- It helps in getting rid of constipation.
- It helps to fight stomach disorder.
- A few minutes of Vajrasana and you can feel the mind calming. …
- It helps in increasing the blood circulation in the body.