Is Yoga for you?

SSC Blog

By:  Allison Cianci | June 2014

NAMASTE

 


For many, yoga can look quite intimidating. When you see a person folding up their body like they’re a human pretzel, you might think, “that’s it, I can’t do it.” But there are plenty of easier poses out there that even the most inflexible person can manage.

One of the great things about yoga is that it can be done by people of any age and has great health benefits. Most obviously, yoga can help to improve your flexibility. No, it’s not going to turn you into a contortionist, but you will at least be able to touch your toes!

Yoga can help to maintain your metabolism and stress levels while helping to lose weight and tone muscles. It will also help to improve balance, and therefore reduces the chances of injuries from falling.

Another great part of yoga is that it can be done wherever you feel comfortable. You don’t need to go to a yoga studio, while there are plenty around if you want to try it out, and you don’t need to buy expensive equipment. All you need is some open space, and a yoga mat if you are so inclined.

Here are a few beginner poses to get you started:


For Flexibility

Bridge Pose
Bridge Pose

Hold this pose for anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute. Remember to calmly breathe in and out. To release the pose lower your spine to the floor slowly.

Along with flexibility, this pose is meant to help with improving digestion, relieving symptoms of menopause, reducing insomnia, and much more.

* Do not attempt if you have a neck injury and consult your doctor before starting any Yoga exercises!


Big Toe Pose
Don’t worry if you can’t quite reach your toes yet. Bend at the waist and hold the pose for as long as you can.Big Toe

This pose will stretch your hamstrings and calves and strengthen your thighs. Like the Bridge Pose, doing this pose regularly will help with digestion and to relieve symptoms of menopause.


For Balance:

Tree Pose
Tree Pose

Probably one of the more common poses that might look familiar. It can be done with your hands folded in front of you like this, with them held out to your sides (palms down), or with them palms touching over your head.

If you don’t have great balance to start off with, you might want to do this pose next to something you can easily grab onto.

Benefits include: the strengthening of calves, ankles, and spine as well as relief for flat feet.

 


Side PlankSide Plank

Hold this pose for about 20 seconds before doing the same thing on your opposite side. A helpful tip is to do this pose next to a wall, press the bottoms of your feet against it to help hold the pose.

The Side Plank is great for stretching many different muscles in your body, most notably your arms and legs.


 

For Strength

Warrior Pose

Warrior Pose


With this pose, widen your stance to increase difficulty and try to keep your arms raised for the entire time. Hold the pose anywhere between 30 seconds to a minute and then repeat in the opposite direction. Try and bend your front knee as much as you can and keep the back one straight.

This pose will work on strengthening your shoulders, calves, thighs, back, and more.


* Do not attempt these if you have a neck injury … and consult your doctor before starting any yoga exercises!


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