Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Best Yoga for Women


Practice these 10 yoga exercises at least three times a week for optimal overall health

Child's Pose

Stretches hips, quads, back

1. Kneel on the floor with big toes touching and knees about hip-width apart. Sit on your heels.

2. Lay your torso between the thighs and bring your forehead to the mat. Extend arms straight in front of you, palms on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay here for at least one minute.

Why it is good for you
This go-to rest pose opens hips and relieves low back tightness. 


Downward Facing Dog

Stretches spine, hamstrings, glutes, calves; strengthens deltoids, triceps

1. Start on all fours with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Position hands about shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide.

2. Pressing firmly through your hands, lift knees off the floor and straighten your legs. (If you have tight hamstrings, a gentle bend in the knees is fine).

3. Walk your hands forward a few inches and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose. Squeeze thighs as you press them toward the back wall. Press your heels back and down toward the floor (though they might not reach the mat).

4. Relax the head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down your back toward your feet. Breathe deeply. Hold for at least one minute.

Why it is good for you
Down-Dog is a top-notch upper body-strengthener. And as an inversion (meaning your hips are higher than your heart), it increases circulation. 

Warrior II

Stretches hips, inner thighs, chest; strengthens quadriceps, abdomen, shoulders

1. From standing, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot so the toes point toward the front of your mat. Turn your left foot in 30 degrees.

2. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel with the floor, palms face down. Bend your right knee so your right shin and thigh form a 90-degree angle.

3. Gently tuck your tailbone down as you draw your abdomen in. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through the nose. Straighten the right leg and repeat on the opposite side.

Why it is good for you
This powerful pose will grant you long, lean, toned arms and legs as well as firmer core.

Plank Pose

Strengthens arms, back, shoulders, core, quadriceps

1. From Downward-Facing Dog, press into the palms and bring the chest forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and you are in the top of a push-up position.

2. Press your heels toward the wall behind you and extend the crown of your head forward to form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold for at least 1 minute.

Why it is good for you
Plank is a simple but challenging way to build upper body strength - it works all of the major muscles in your arms, back, and core and requires only your bodyweight. 

Fierce Pose

Stretches spine; strengthens quadriceps, ankles, back

1. Stepping your feet hip-width apart, spread through your toes to create a stable base. As you raise arms to the sky, palms facing each another, bend your knees and sit your buttocks back as though you were sitting into a chair.

2. Draw your abdomen in to eliminate any curving in the lower back. Put all your weight into your heels and be sure your knees do not extend past your toes. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through the nose. Rest for one minute. Repeat.

Why it is good for you
This pose is injury insurance, strengthening quadriceps, which provides stronger support around your knees, making them less prone to injury. Fierce pose also improves posture. 

Tree Pose

Stretches hips, inner thighs; strengthens legs, spine, core

1. Stand with your legs and feet together, hands on hips. Transfer weight to your left foot as you bend the right knee and place the sole of the right foot on the inside of your left leg (beginners start at the ankle; more advanced yogis, raise the right foot to the inside of the left thigh). Gently press the right foot against the left leg.

2. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of the heart in prayer pose. Hold for 1 minute on each side. More advanced yogis: Raise your arms straight directly overhead, palms facing in.

Why it is good for you
On days when your mind feels scattered, practice this pose to get centered. 

Garland Pose

Stretches low back, groin, hips, ankles

1. Stand with feet slightly wider that hip-width. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of your heart in prayer pose. Turn toes out slightly.

2. Deeply bend the knees, squatting down between your legs. Keeping palms together, gently press your elbows to the insides of your knees, opening up the hips. Keep the spine long, chest open. Feel tension in the lower back begin to melt away. Hold for at least 1 minute.

Why it is good for you
Drop into this squat to relieve tummy troubles like constipation and cramps. 

Boat Pose

Strengthens core, psoas, quadriceps

1. Sit with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly so you're balancing on your sit bones. Raise your legs so shins are parallel to the floor, knees bent.

2. Extend arms forward, parallel with the floor, palms facing each other. Keeping your chest high and your core engaged, begin to straighten your legs. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat 5 times.

Why it is good for you
Boat a bulletproof core without straining your neck like crunches do. 

Bridge Pose

Stretches front of body; strengthens hamstrings, glutes

1. Lying on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Toes point straight to the wall in front of you. Place arms straight along your sides, palms down.

2. Gently press into your feet as you raise hips to the sky. Allow the front of your body to slowly expand with each breath. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat 3 times.

Why it is good for you
Bridge opens the chest and ribcage, deepening the breath and with more oxygen you can reenergize the body.

Half Lord of the Fishes

Stretches hips, shoulders, back, neck; strengthens spine

1. Sit on the floor with legs outstretched in front of you. Bring the sole of the right foot on the floor outside of the left hip (right knee points to the ceiling).

2. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot to the outside of the right hip. Place right hand on the floor just behind your right hip. Lift your left arm to the ceiling. As you exhale, bend the left arm and place the left elbow to the outside of your right knee.

3. Lengthen your spine with each inhale and twist deeper with each exhale. Press the left elbow into your right leg to help revolve the upper body more and more. Look to the wall behind you. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Why it is good for you
This pose massages improves digestion and increase blood flow in the low belly. 
Women'shealthmag.com

No comments:

Post a Comment