A little about Yoga & 3 Beginner Yoga Poses for Relaxation
Yoga has become very popular in the west. This is mostly because of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who introduced ‘Trancendental Meditation’ to the west which has been shown by studies to have many medical benefits such as lower blood pressure and more tolerance to stress. In modern life people are more familiar with the Asanas of Yoga or poses of Yoga also called Hatha Yoga.
Essentially Yoga means to ‘yoke’ or ‘union’ which refers to the ability to integrate the mind and body more fully. The poses and postures that are famous all over the world are considered to be a preparation for healing the body to prepare for the more intensive meditation practices that come later in the Yogic program.
The first step to practicing Yoga is to get your breathing pattern under control. The breathing pattern for your poses is supposed to have long deep inhales – filling your lungs – and long deep exhales – emptying your lungs.
The second step is to hold a pose and breath deeply. When you hold the pose you only do it till you feel a stretch in your muscle or a slight discomfort. Then on the inhale you imagine the breath filling your muscle and as you exhale feel your muscle loosen up. That is the whole process of Yogic stretching and poses.
3 Yoga Poses (also called 'Hatha Yoga')
1. The basic, most relaxing pose is called ‘Savasana’ or corpse pose (image on right). You just lay flat on your back. Let your legs be loose with your hands and arms by your side. Keep your hands facing up and hold the index and thumb of each hand together. Then allow yourself to relax deeply releasing all thoughts. It may help to tense each muscle group of your body and then relax them – this will help you relax deeply. Hold this easy pose for as long as you like – being completely still.
2. Another great pose is the sitting pose. Just sit down and fold your legs like the girl in the picture above. You can place your hands behind you to keep your back straight or use them to press down your knees if you are flexible enough to do that without strain.
This stretches out your legs and expands your lungs and chest. You have to hold your position with your spine completely straight to do this pose correctly. Also, it helps to breath in deeply and out very very slowly as it helps your muscles relax.
3. The following video shows you how to do the 'Cat Cow' pose by hatha yoga expert Samantha Raphael;