National Yoga Day, Friday 21st June

 

Yoga derives from Sanskrit which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. This symbolizes the practice of connecting your mind and body to find harmony. Since the rise in yoga’s popularity, it has created more ways for people to get involved whether it’s local classes, DVDs, online workouts and podcasts. It is also great for all ages and can be accomplished by a mix of abilities.

National Yoga Day celebrates the benefits of the practice and encourages more people to take part to improve their lifestyle. These changes can help to boost your physical and mental health. Here are a few more ways yoga can improve your health and wellbeing:

  • Increase strength – Practicing yoga can help to reinforce muscle strength in your arms, legs, shoulders and abs.
  • Improve flexibility – Moving between different poses and remaining in those positions, help to stretch muscles and joints. This creates a greater range of motion and improves balance.
  • Reduce stress – Yoga combines postures, meditation and breathing, which all help to create a lower heart rate. This can help in stressful situations, winding down at bedtime and when experiencing anxious or depressive moods.
  • Promote mindfulness – Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your mental state and being conscious of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment.
  • Improve posture – Creating a better posture can help your back, neck and joints, as well as giving you more energy throughout the day.

If you are new to yoga, here are three simple poses that can help you feel comfortable in a class or at home.

1. Downward Facing Dog – This is the most used yoga pose which helps to strengthen your entire body. Simply go on to all fours, place your feet flat on the floor, lift your hips up and walk your hands forward. Try keeping your legs straight and engage with your core. Hold this position for at least 1 minute.

2. Tree – This pose helps to engage with your breathing when standing up and to focus on balancing your body. To get into position stand with your feet together and bring your right foot up to your inner thigh. Place your hands in a prayer position and hold the pose for around 10-12 breaths.

3. Child’s pose – This pose helps to relieve stress and tension, which is a great to relax before bedtime. Start by bringing your knees and feet in on a mat and sitting on your bottom, with your forehead to the floor and your arms straight out in front of you. Hold this pose for 1 minute.