Take the Yoga Challenge!

American Woman Magazine April 7, 2013 0

GRAMMAYOGI

Regular yoga practice increases brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, and has been shown to improve mood and anxiety more than some other metabolically matched exercises, such as walking. The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise, breathing, and meditation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors. Yoga is unique in the fact that it provides a greater level of relaxation while still improving strength and balance. It allows the person practicing yoga to ease into the practice at their own pace and intensity level.

American Woman Magazine challenges you to spend fifteen minutes trying this introductory-level yoga exercise. Try doing it five times a week for at least two weeks and see if you notice a change in your attitude and stress levels.  

Sun Salutation Step 1

Sun Salutation 1

Stand straight up with both feet touching. Bring your hands together, palm-to-palm, at the heart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.

Sun Salutation Step 2

Sun Salutation 2

Raise your arms upward. Slowly and slightly bend backward, stretching arms above the head. Relax your neck. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Bend Forward

Bend Forward 3 and 9

Exhale while you slowly bend forward until your hands are in line with your feet. Relax your muscles and let your head, arms, hands, and fingers dangle towards the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Lunge

Left-Lunge 4

Move your right leg back behind your body in a wide lunge. As you inhale, keep your hands and feet on the ground, with your left foot between your hands, and raise your head. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Plank

Plank 5

Move your left foot back and together with your right foot. Exhale as you lower your body, resting on your forearms. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Upward Facing

Upward Facing 6

As you inhale, lower your pelvis to the ground and raise your head and bend backward as far as possible, while straightening your arms. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Downward Dog

Downward Dog

Putting your hand on the ground and keeping your arms straight, raise your hips and align your head with your arms. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Lunge

Right-Lunge 8

Slowly inhale and bend your right leg to take a wide forward step. Keeping your hands firmly on the ground, place your right foot between your hands and lift your head up. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Bend Forward

Bend Forward 9

Keeping your hands in place, bring both feet together. Straighten your legs but keep your waist bent and upper body lowered. Relax your muscles and let your head, arms, hands, and fingers dangle towards the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Return to Sun Salutation

Return to Sun Salutation 10

Slowly rise, straightening your back into a standing pose. Bend backward, stretching your arms above your head as you inhale. Inhale and exhale deeply for five cycles.

Repeat until you have a smile on your face!

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