10 Yoga Poses: From Zapped to Zen
As busy women and moms, we know all too well how the daily stresses of life can zap all the energy out of us. We end the day exhausted, with a cluttered mind and a sore body. We long for relaxation and peace, yet have a hard time fitting it into our modern lives. It’s time to focus on you now. Take a moment to breathe, meditate, and stretch. Here are 10 poses from the ancient practice of yoga. Each one is designed especially for a woman’s body.
1. Child’s Pose
FOCUS: Thighs, Hips
BENEFITS: Soothes lower back tension. Calms the mind.
TIP: If you are unable to sit back on your heels, place a folded blanket between your upper thighs and calves.
2. Downward-Facing Dog
FOCUS: Upper Back
BENEFITS: Increases upper body strength. Improves heart circulation and digestion. Relieves menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Prevents osteoporosis.
TIP: If you’re a beginner yogi and your leg muscles are still tight, it’s okay to keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted away from the ground. Over time as your body stretches, you will be able to straighten them little by little.
3. Warrior II
BENEFITS: Relieves backaches, especially during 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Stimulates abdominal organs. Therapeutic for infertility, sciatica, and carpal tunnel.
TIP: There are several different Warrior poses, so remember that during Warrior II your back foot needs to remain turned outward at a 90 degree angle.
BENEFITS: Improves bone density. Tones the abdomen. Strengthens all major muscle groups.
TIP: Instead of keeping your elbows locked and arms straight, try performing plank on your forearms for a variation. Remember to keep your belly pulled in tight!
BENEFITS: Improves posture. Increases flexibility and strength in the muscles around the knees. Stimulates the diaphragm, abdominal organs, and the heart.
TIP: To make those thighs work even harder, place a thick book or yoga block between them and squeeze.
BENEFITS: Gives a sense of empowerment. Improves balance. Centers and clears your mind. Relieves sciatica.
TIP: For beginner yogis, stand with your back against a wall to support you in this pose. And remember, trees don’t grow overnight, so it will take time to make your tree strong and stable.
BENEFITS: Tones the abdomen. Helps regulate digestive and female organs.
TIP: If you can’t keep your heels on the ground, try folding a yoga mat or towel and rest your heels on that for support.
BENEFITS: Builds core strength. Reduces waistline and belly fat. Improves digestion. Stimulates the kidneys and thyroid gland (also the prostate gland, for your men).
TIP: For beginner yogis, keep your knees slightly bent as you gain your balance. As you progress in your practice, try fully straightening your knees.
BENEFITS: Improves circulation and digestion. Soothes fatigued legs. Relieves menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Therapeutic for asthma and sinus infections.
TIP: If you are unable to keep your pelvis lifted, place a yoga block or thick book under your bottom and keep your pelvis supported on that.
FOCUS: Upper Back
BENEFITS: Therapeutic for asthma and infertility. Relieves menstrual cramps, sciatica, and backaches. Aligns the spine. Improves digestion and blood flow in the abdomen.
TIP: This pose can be performed laying down as a variation. Lie on your back, bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle and bring it across your left leg to the left side. Bring your right arm over your head and turn your head to the right. Keep your left leg straight and use your left hand to gently push down on your right knee.
Are you looking for some new yoga gear to enhance your practice? If you loved the outfit on our model or need a new mat that will help you master those downward dogs, then check out Gaiam for everything yoga-related, from clothing and accessories to mats and videos.
- Their cotton tanks and leggings from the new Eco-Flow Collection are perfect if you crave comfort, breathability, and style. Created from hand-picked organic cotton with ecoOM technology, these beautiful pieces are designed to stretch and move with you as you take your practice to a new level.
- If slippery hands are a problem for you, then try Gaiam’s Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat. This thick 5mm mat wicks away moisture and increases your grip the hotter you get!
- If you want to try some more yoga poses, check out Gaiam’s new Yoga for Belly, Butt, and Thighs DVD. Tone and strengthen these three problem areas that we all should focus on, from the comfort of home.
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