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Yoga for Beginners 101: Floating like an angel for weeks 15-16
Meditation can bring calm and harmony during yoga at home or at the gym, or anywhere in between
Trying Something New
Last week, I was home-bound from going to the gym, due to the snow and cold weather temperatures. This week would be the same and no different, while I hope to return next week, even if it's really cold outside. As I'm progressing forward with my home practice, I've continued to keep up with it on my progress report spreadsheet, and mainly in late afternoon and late evening home practice sessions. (Except for this past week, when I took three days off, due to fatigue and low energy, I'll return to my practice, this week.)
By now, I've have getting better with each and every practice as a beginner yogi. I've done every single yoga pose from the daily yoga poses from About.com, and have found others there. I've went to Yogajournal.com and tracked down some beginner yoga poses there, too. Some were new to me, and some I've learned in a previous yoga session. So I'm trying and learning something new every day to add to my home practice.
To expand your yoga routine, you can add the Moon Salutation sequence with yoga pose variations after the Sun Salutations, 3x a week
Yoga sequence poll
Which yoga sequence is your favorite for your workout?
Floating Sequences for the Beginner yoga
Two weeks ago, when I went to my Beginner Yoga class, we had a yoga substitute teacher, who taught the Intermediate Yoga class before mine on Wednesday nights, and one on all-levels on Monday afternoon and an Intermediate Yoga session also on Monday nights. (That's something I'm going to consider in the future, if I can finagle my schedule this year.) And he taught us how to "float", when we do the yoga poses and sequences. That's something I had taken and applied to my own home practice. From there, he showed us some new breathing techniques, before we did our meditation and side stretches to get us started.
Though our class size was still high, there was a little bit of room for our arms and legs. He showed us how to "float like an angel" from the Sun Salutations to the Moon Salutations, and then some Standing Poses, before our class ended. I admit, I was probably ahead of the class, since I've learned it on my own with About.com last fall, while it was something new for the whole class to learn and to adapt to their home practice this year. I hoped he would sub again in the future, when my regular yoga instructor was out.
As for my second new Gentle Yoga class, we did go right into the relaxing poses. We started with the Corpse Pose first, which was followed by some supine spinal twists to warm us up. And then we did the crescent lunge routine again. And this time I remembered the sequence by heart: swan dive, right crescent lunge, knee chest chin, plank, downward dog, left crescent lunge and reverse swan dive. I've gotten it memorized for sure. Then we proceeded to do the other relaxing poses we learned. We did the Frog Pose (something I did in my former Gentle Yoga class), the Locust pose (something i had trouble with, since it was a bit tricky), and the Boat Pose (I've down the broken boat pose in the former Gentle Yoga class last summer). We did end the class with another Corpse Pose. Last week in class that I missed, it focused on poses that needed a strap or something long for our stretches.
Use a foam roller to massage your back and other sore body parts during practice to help you relax
Massaging your back with a roller
For the past four months, I did find it helpful to keep meditating before and after every practice from the Easy Sit to the Corpse Pose with the "Oms.". And whatever mantra we used for the Mountain Pose does help, in the middle of any salutation for each routine. It kept us focused and balanced, when we breathe and center our energy through our body with every inhale and then exhale.
What I also find helpful on doing long home practice routines is adding a back massage in between one routine to another. I do love bringing my knees up to the chest and rock my back in a back and forth motion to massage my back. For just the daily stretch routines, I do it at the end. If you have the money, you can invest on buying a foam roller to use for massage for your yoga routines. They range from inexpensive to expensive, depending on what kind you buy.
Here's some tips on how to choose one:
1. Try various one at your local sports store. Each one comes included with some exercises for you to massage your sore muscles.
2. Determine what you're going to use it for. If it's going to be used for tissue massage or for exercises. (Half-round ones work well, too.)
3. Choose your firmness. Most of them are color-coded. White ones are soft, while black ones are firm.
4. Determine how often you would use the foam roller. Would you use it at home or at class or both?
5. Choose the size. Pick a 36 inch one for your back for full support. Select a 12 inch one if you're going to transport it.
6. Identify the budget. White ones are inexpensive, while the black ones range around $45.
7. Research Your Best Options. Check the Internet or your local fitness stores to find the best value before you buy a roller.
I hope to buy one someday for my personal use.