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Daily Archives: 9 December, 2014

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Yoga Asanas

Yoga asanas are defined as postures or poses designed for yoga purposes. Yoga asanas come in a huge variety of different yoga poses made for different types of yoga and ranging from yoga for beginners to advanced. Originally, there was one single yoga position designed for long-time meditation and reflection but today you can try out all the different ones and find what suits you best.

Every yoga posture will have a specific function and purpose, whether it is improving flexibility or maintaining wellbeing, and whether it be a twsting position, lying down position or bending one. In English we use yoga asanas to signify and standing or sitting yoga pose, although there are many other technically specific terms.

Yoga Asanas

Examples of Yoga Asanas

Due to the infinite number of yoga poses and positions possible, we have chosen our top 5 yoga asanas for you to have a go at! These can be done at home with the right yoga equipment or in the gym. Have a go, get started on these basic yoga asanas then move on to more complicated ones:

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): start standing up, take a deep breath in and bend over clenching in your abs and bringing your chin inwards to your chest, keep your shoulders relaxed, place your hands on the ground with your chest close to your knees
  • Malasana (Yoga Squat): toes facing outwards and heels inwards, bend into a low squat holding your hands in prayer position
  • Upward Facing Dog: lying down with your body stretched from fingers to toes, bend your arms to the side of your chest and push up with your head facing upwards and streching your chest/neck
  • Virabhadrasana (Warrior 1 Pose): with your right knee bent in a lunge position and your left leg stretched out behind, toes facing forward, extend your arms upwards to have palms touching and stare upwards pushing shoulders down
  • Purvottanasana (Intense East Pose): begin sitting with legs stretched in front of you and toes pointing forward, place hands behind you facing forwards like your toes, inhale pressing hands and toes into the floor and pushing your hips up, your head should be facing up and back

View the yoga benefits of doing these poses here.

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Yoga Music

The relaxation and de-stressing mood of yoga requires nothing short of the same from the accompanying yoga music. As an art, yoga needs to be done in the most calming setting possible, whether that means you prefer silence, instrumental music or a yoga playlist of songs. Yoga music is just one of the yoga accessories, make sure to check out what yoga clothes and yoga equipment you might need.

Different types of yoga and different yoga poses, depending on the intensity and length, may use different yoga music in the studio. If you are doing yoga at home then it is your choice. If you are simply looking for relaxing music to listen to, then any of our suggestions should help. As the history of yoga focused on mental and self-awareness, to concentrate and be able to think about your yoga state intensely, you might want only instrumental music or nothing at all.

You might be leading or teaching a group of yoga for kids, in which the yoga poses for kids will be slightly easier and more accessible. Depending on the age group, it is important to choose appropriate yoga music for kids as you want to keep them engaged. Pick songs that they like, are lively and suitable for the age group.

Yoga Music Playlist

If you have started out with yoga for beginners you might want to first experiement with what yoga music works for you and for what you want to achieve during your workout. Below we have included an instrumental yoga playlist for you to listen to, it should provide a calming energy and help you relax. We have also decided to compile a yoga music soundtrack with songs that have the same effect, give it a try because you might find it more calming listening to lyrics.

  • Civil Twilight – “Letters from the Sky”
  • Birdy – “1901”
  • Ben Howard – “Only Love”
  • The Paper Kites – “Bloom”
  • David Gray – “Babylon”
  • Sam Smith – “Latch (Acoustic)”
  • David Mathews Band – “Crash into Me”
  • Frou Frou – “Let Go”
  • Coldplay – “Fix You”
  • Citizens – “Oh God”

This is a suggested relaxation yoga music piece if you want something that allows you to focus more mentally:

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Yoga Equipment

Yoga equipment, like yoga clothes, has become as big of a craze as yoga itself. Yoga was never intended to be a fashionable and trendy way of life, in the history of yoga people would only need their bodies and minds. Today, however, is slightly different. Although yoga equipment is not as expensive as other sports or exercises, it is handy to have a few things with you especially when doing yoga for beginners.

If you are already a pilates expert, and have surpassed the yoga vs pilates debate, some of the equipment you might already have can be useful. For practising yoga at home, a comfy surface in theory is all that you need, but for the more advanced levels of yoga and for different types of yoga you might need some of the yoga accessories mentioned below. For yoga classes, most yoga studios will have equipment you can borrow but it is always good to check or bring your own.

It would be especially useful to make sure you had some of the following things if you are doing pregnancy yoga poses or yoga poses for beginners, just to help support your body and reach the positions safely.

Yoga Accessories

Yoga is quite a low-maintenance activity as not much is required in terms of equipment or demand. Most of the yoga equipment you need can be sufficient with things you can find lying around the house. However, recently there has been an increase in yoga shops and retailers extending their brand into workout and yoga equipment. This might be a good place to start looking if you want top of the range or funky and designer yoga accessories.

  • Yoga mat: the most important piece of equipment, you can’t do yoga on a hard floor, the sticky yoga mat provides padding and friction for safety when doing yoga positions
  • Yoga mat bag: an accessory for the yoga mat, can come invarious designs and patterns or even made at home, useful if you are travelling to and from yoga classes
  • Foam blocks: used for beginners mainly and for advanced yoga moves, should be able to support your full weight, good for poses where your hand can’t reach the floor, helps with alignment
  • Straps and belts: made of cotton or nylon, extend your reach, help to align your back and stretch certain muscles in different poses
  • Blankets and towels: mostly used for your own comfort, to help in rest positions, for before and after comfort and if you get sweaty during your exercise

Good news is that yoga is usually done barefoot so no expensive trainers are needed, however for your own comfort you can get special yoga socks with grip. Now that the shopping is out of the way, have a look at the yoga benefits you can achieve!

 

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Yoga Clothes

Yoga fanatics out there will advise you that yoga clothing is the most important part of yoga. As it has become a multi-million dollar business idea, and a reason for the yoga obsessed to go and cash out, your yoga outift is an important part of your workout. Did the founders of yoga intend on yoga clothes being such a craze? Probably not, but in order to get the best out of yoga, why not look the part!

Yoga for beginners is not only about knowing the history of yoga or the different types of yoga (the different yoga poses available is an important part) but having the right yoga equipment and yoga clothes will set you off on the right path.

What yoga clothes to wear?

When you practice yoga, in yoga classes or by doing yoga at home, the vital part is that you are comfortable. Yoga workouts will have you doing all different kinds of yoga positions and shapes with your body that you need to be dressed in something that allows for this type of flexibility. Depending on the type of yoga you will do will also depend on what you should be wearing, for example bikram yoga that is done under extreme heat conditions – be dressed to sweat! Remember to keep supported, wear the appropriate under garments and body support band if necessary or if you have injuries.

Where to buy yoga clothing?

Seeing celebrity snaps off to yoga, or designer yoga clothing labels, should not put you off buying the appropriate gear for yoga. It does not have to cost you a fortune to be able to buy yoga clothes. As the popularity of yoga increases, the need for yoga clothing increases too so you will be able to find what you are looking for whether that is expensive, deisgner yoga gear, or the cheapest thing possible.Yoga Clothing

  • Look online: a range of online retailers have brought out workout and yoga clothing sections, some new yoga specific online stores are available as well as existing brands, new designer yoga labels
  • In the shops: many sports shops now cater to clothing specifically for yoga, you can find yoga clothing shops that focus only on yoga attire, some fashion retailers have included a workout range of clothes in some stores
  • Look inside your own closet/wardrobe: yes, you read that right! you don’t even have to look anywhere else, yoga clothing can simply be a pair of spare leggings and a sports bra you have lying around, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy
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Yoga for Beginners

Today, yoga has become more than just a fad. It is an ongoing obsession and relatable hobby for many people around the world. Throughout the history of yoga, new people have always been fascinated so as a beginner at yoga it is understandable to be confused and curious in this ancient tradition.

From the different types of yoga to the variety of yoga poses you can do, there are a million options out there for you! Have a read through all the ways you can improve your mind, body and soul through the art of yoga and have a go to find what is the best fit for you. Yoga for beginners can be daunting, which is why we have put together all that you need to know right here.

Yoga 101

When you start off on the yoga journey, you want to make sure that you do it right. Things might have changed since the time of Buddha, but the principals are still the same. Whether you want to take up yoga classes or try doing yoga at home, here is what you need to know to get started:

  • History of Yoga: find out how it all began and the ideology of a yoga way of life
  • Yoga Clothes: dress to impress with the best yoga clothing out there so you can look the part and feel comfortable
  • Yoga Equipment: take a look at what it is you will need to get the best out of your workout
  • Yoga Music: it’s all about the playlist, whether you are looking for songs or instrumental as the backing to your yoga session
  • Yoga Asanas: learn the traditional yoga poses and how it all started out

Find out what the fuss is about by trying it yourself! Yoga for beginners is a great way to improve your health, relax after a busy day or focus on your future goals. Check out the yoga benefits and how you can improve yourself.

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Yoga vs Pilates

Yoga vs Pilates is a common question asked my thousands of people who want to know the difference between the two or who are unsure of which on to take up. There is no definite answer to the debate, yoga benefits will be different to pilates benefits and the purposes of the two popular activities are unique.

These two phenomenons, yoga and pilates, has taken the modern world by storm and are often thought of as going hand-in-hand but are in fact two completely separate practices that differ in origin, exercises and core focus. Yoga poses will differ to those of pilates, and for a specific reason. Due to the number of different types of yoga and pilates, it is hard to pin point which is better for you. Both yoga and pilates will bring you improved muscular and postural strength.

Why is yoga good for you?

Yoga is an act that brings together your mind and body through coordination of exercise, breathing and meditating. If you are looking for a cardio workout then yoga classes will probably not be what you are looking for, clearly depending on the type of yoga, generally speaking. As it is a low-intensity form of exercise, the longer the yoga session, the more pounds you will lose. However, yoga is proven to boost felxibility, endurance and strength through regular participation over a long period of time. An additional benefit of yoga is that is help to bring inner peace and relaxation, helping you to de-stress and contemplate.

Why is pilates good for you?

Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen muscle groups by stretching and lengthening the target muscles. As a calm way of exercising, it will not boost your heart rate like going for a jog would, but the more advanced class, the higher your heart rate would be. For weight loss, pilates is slightly more effective than yoga, however you would need to maintain going to pilates classes for around an hour several times a week for several weeks for regular weight loss. Pilates is especially useful for building abdominal strength and tightening obliques, with improved flexibility as a bonus.

 

Pilates or Yoga

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History of Yoga

Knowing the exact history and orgins of yoga is difficult as it is a tradition that was passed down through oral transmission and the use of ancient recording methods such as on fragile leaves or drawings on stone seals. Because of this, it is hard to find the exact dates and time periods of when the idea of yoga was born, as ancient artifacts have been studied but researchers can only figure out an approximate origin date of 3000 BC.

The traditional purpose of yoga was to transform one’s self through the transformation of the ego and spiritual discipline. Nowadays, we think of yoga solely as a series of yoga asanas and yoga poses that are done in a workout session. Despite the inspiration for yoga coming from Eastern relgions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Shamanism that focused on understanding the world and self enlightenment, these are the principles that we have forgotten in modern yoga.

It was said that at the start, yoga was found in one form only and today that one single action has been transformed into many types of yoga that are constantly being updated for our needs!

The Philosophy of Yoga

Yoga HistoryYoga originally was an activity that focused on understanding the world, it later became an act that also helped with self-improvement. It was not until later in the sixth century BC where Buddhism took the idea of yoga and introduced different yoga postures and stances. The philosphy of yoga is one that is extremely complicated and rich with many explanations and ideas, yet the principal focus is on uniting the mind, body and spirit.

The art and science of yoga is to create a union between your breathing and your body to create an awareness of yourself being an individual intimately connected to the whole of creation. The fundamentals of yoga, written down around 200 AD in India in a sacred text, explain the concepts of yamas and niyamas:

  • Yamas – moran disciplines and restraints
    • Compassion for all living things through non-violence
    • Commitment to truthfulness
    • Honouring trust through not stealing from others
    • Moderation and self-control through restance of reactivity
    • Restraining the desire for wealth and letting go of attachment to materialistic things
  • Niyamas – personal observance and self-restraints
    • Purity of body and mind through cleanliness
    • Modesty and contenment with what you have
    • Disciplined use of our energy
    • Self-reflection and consciousness
    • Understanding the divine flow and Spiritual presence around us

Many of the different yoga positions and actions that you do can bring about great yoga benefits for your mind and body.

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Yoga Benefits

The art of yoga is beneficial for your mind, body and soul. The benefits of yoga come in many varieties depending on the different types of yoga and yoga poses that you choose to do. Over the years, yoga has become increasingly popular, and there is a reason for it. Actually, there are several! With the numerous yoga benefits, from increasing muscle strength to sleeping better, it’s no wonder that the world is obsessing over the ancient tradition of yoga.

You might be a yoga expert yourself, or you might be searching for information on yoga for beginners, either way the most common doubt people have is whether to take up yoga vs pilates and what benefits each will bring. Here we will focus specifically on the amazing effects that yoga can have on your body, your mind and your life!

What are the benefits of yoga?

Any physical activity is bound to bring in some health benefits, and yoga does not shy away when it comes to improving your wellbeing. The great thing about yoga benefits is that they come in a variety of health, mental and physical improvements. Yoga Benefits

  • Improves your flexibility, builds muscle strength and perfects your posture
  • Betters your bone health and protects your spine
  • Increases blood flow and heart rate (decreasing blood pressure)
  • Makes you feel better and happier through increase of serotonin
  • Helps you focus
  • Relaxes your body system and promotes healthy breathing
  • Improves balance
  • Releases tension in your limbs
  • Can help you sleep better through relaxation of the nervous system
  • Gives you peace of mind, ridding stress and frustration, helps you understand your inner strength

If you are wondering whether to begin on the yoga journey or not, think about what you want to change in your life, whether it is a physical change you want to make or a mental change. Yoga is a great way to help you focus on yourself. Give it a go!