The short answer is “Yes.” Although in a typical yoga class in the West, you’re likely to find more females than males in the room. Interestingly, Hatha yoga (the physical form of yoga) was once a practice exclusively for men. It wasn’t until pioneering female yoga teachers brought yoga to the West in the early 1900s that yoga exploded in popularity amongst women.
In ‘Feel Good Friday Yoga’ Flow, we took a closer look into Sun Salutations (Sūryanamaskāra: “salute to the sun”).
Traditionalists believe sun salutions are at least 2,500 years old. However others believe that Sun Salutations are a more modern development dating to the early 1900s with European influences including gymnastics and weight training. In fact, there’s a book published in 1928 which shows an image of the poses of the Sun Salutation as ‘The Ten-Point Way to Health.’
Every single one of us will have experienced a setback in the past year. Times have been very tough, full of anxiety and ambiguities. Our world was turned upside down, inside out and out of balance. Now things are changing once again. Restrictions are being lifted and we are are emerging stronger to make a powerful come back!
Do you remember the last time you tried to do something new? Like a foreign language, an new instrument, or a new sport? Do you remember the amount of concentration and effort it required in the beginning?
Grounded is a word that is often used in yoga classes but what does it actually mean? It’s perhaps easier to understand what it means to be grounded by first understanding what it means to be ungrounded. When we’re wound up, anxious or stressed, we fall into the trap of believing that we are our emotions. We get caught up in negative events that happened in the past or in our own negative projections of the future.
Today in the final week of our ‘Breathe and Bend’ series, we explored Breath of Joy. This breath technique is ideal first thing in the morning, or mid-afternoon when you need a pick me up. Who needs a shot of coffee when you can do breathwork! It involves synchronising breath and arm movements with three inhalations and one exhalation.
In week 4 of our ‘Breathe and Bend‘ series, we explored alternate nostril breathing. In Sanskrit, it’s known as nadi shodhana pranayama. This translates as “subtle energy clearing breathing technique.”
Whether you’re nervous about a project or presentation, anxious about a conversation, or just generally stressed out, nadi shodhana is a quick and calming way to bring you back to your centre. You don’t need to wait until a yoga class to practise this technique.
Today in the 3rd week of our ‘Breathe and Bend’ Yoga Flow series, we looked at the space between the inhale and exhale. We practised a breathing exercise which harnesses the power of the pause between the inhales and exhales. Known as Box or Square breathing, this breathing technique is easy to do, quick to learn and retrains your nervous system to breathe properly. It also helps to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus.
Ineffective breathing is a really common problem with modern lifestyles. It’s brought on by poor posture and long periods of sitting or driving.
So when you breathe shallowly (called “chest breathing”), the air only enters your upper chest and very little enters your lower chest.
This causes a lack of oxygen to your blood vessels, which can create strain on your heart and lungs. Learning to breathe deeply will increase your oxygen supply, which, also helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
The breath work that we focussed on this week in our ‘Feel Good Friday Yoga Flow’ from Rugby is called the 3-part breath or Dirga Pranayama. Dirga means complete. Pranayama means breath extension. Practising Dirga Pranayama teaches you to breathe fully and completely.
It’s one of the first breathing exercises that I remember learning many years ago.
The soft tissue of the lungs can grow, stretch and expand. This breathing practice helps to not only extend the breath but really increase the volume of the lungs and stretch the soft tissue of the lungs.
Fancy giving yoga a go and coming along to Feel Good Friday Yoga in Rugby? Head over to my registration page to get started!
We inhale and exhale around 20,000 times a day, yet very few of us are conscious of our breathing
Breath is what makes yoga, yoga! Yoga translates into “union” or “yoke” in English – it’s the union (or yoking) of breath, body, and mind.
In fact, when yoga began centuries ago, it was only really about the breath and meditation; postures did not play a part in it!