Camel pose is a pose that was only recently introduced to me and my practice and honestly at first, I hated it. I never liked when it came to this pose because I found it uncomfortable and hard to breathe, but as I progressed working on it, it ended up being one of my all time favourite poses! This pose is extremely important to towards the end of your practice because we focus so much on our forward folds, and bending forward it can be quite tough on our backs so for our spine alignment it is good to do this counteracted pose to realign your spine. Some of the health benefits of this pose are it reduces fat on your thighs, opens hips and allows for a deep stretch in the hip flexors. Since you are bending your back this pose opens up and expands abdominal muscles and improves digestion and opens the chest which improves breathing. This pose I find improves my posture and relieves my lower back pain which is a huge benefit. The steps to this pose are:
- Start on your mat standing on your knees and have your feet resting on your toes
- Have them about hip distance apart
- Place your hands on your sacrum with your elbows close to one another while pushing your chest towards the top of your mat
- On your next inhale, lift your head to bring your gaze to the ceiling
- Follow your gaze as your begin to bend your back
- If this is enough of a stretch for you stay here but if you would like more, flatten your feet so the tops are sitting on the mat
- Bring your hands to your ankles. If this is enough stay here
- Wrap your hands around your foot
- Stay in this pose for about 15-30 seconds then to get out of the pose follow your gaze back up and have your head be the last thing to come up
- Repeat 3 times
Chair pose is another great pose to build heat in the body and a pose you really feel in your legs. While there are many benefits the chair pose gives are body the first is it tones the legs muscles the deeper you bend in the stretch. This pose also strengthens parts of your body like the hip flexors, ankles, calves back, chest and shoulders. The chest and shoulder stretch is if you lengthen your arms over your head but you can always keep them at heart centre. The chair pose also reduces the symptoms of flat feet which many people struggle with. Finally, this pose stimulates the heart, diaphragm and abdominal muscles which is why it builds heat throughout the body.
The steps to this pose are:
- Starting in mountain pose, bring your feet together so your big toes touch
- On your next inhale bend your knees and begin the motion like you’re about to sit back into a chair
- Once feeling comfortable on the amount your knees are bended, lift your arms up straight over your head parallel to one another. If this is too much bring your hands to hearts centre
- Sit in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute
This is a pose I find I rarely come across in my practice but I still love because it takes me out of my normal poses I go through daily. I find this pose allows me to feel a stretch that’s different than most and has many great benefits for your body. Triangle pose gives our body’s a deep stretch in the hamstrings, groins and hips because when our feet are about 3 and a half feet apart it allows our groins to get a good deep stretch and when we place our hands on the ground it then stretches the hips and hamstrings. This pose also opens the chest and shoulder and is known for relieving back pain and increase digestion. If you practice this pose daily it will strengthen the thighs, hips and back.
The steps to this pose are:
- Begin in mountain pose allowing your feet to be hip distance apart
- Step your feet 4-5 feet apart and make sure they are align
- Turn your right foot to a 90 degree angle towards the top of your mat
- Move your left foot inwards slightly
- On your next exhalation bring your right hand down towards your right foot but place just just behind your right foot
- Bring your gaze to the ceiling and have your left arm follow that gaze and lengthen towards the ceiling.
- Hold pose for one minute then switch sides
Happy baby pose is one that I always struggled with when I started practicing. I would be unable to grab my feet because my hips were so tight so I always hated when I came across this pose in my practice. But, with practice I became to love this pose. If you do find this pose challenging then I suggest using a strap to help you. Happy baby has many great benefits like bringing a gentle stretch to our hips which can be really needed after a long and vigorous workout. Another great health benefit from this pose is it lengthens the hamstrings because it opens up and prevents hamstring tears and inner thigh tears as well. This pose also decompresses the sacrum and allows the upper and lower body to be healthy. Happy baby opens up tight areas and creates an energetic flow through your body and is known to be a mood booster and decrease anxiety. The steps to happy baby are:
- Lie on back and on your next exhale bring your knees to your belly
- On your next inhale, grab the outsides of your feet
- Open knees wider than your torso and bring them towards your armpits
- For an increase stretch you can rock back and forth on your back
Figure 4 pose has been one of my all-time favourite poses! I really enjoy sitting in this pose for quite some time because it builds a lot of heat in the body, so this is a great pose for the height of your practice. I also find it flows into some of my other favourite poses well like standing splits, star pose or triangle pose. This pose has so many great benefits for your body, like it is a great stretch for your hips and glutes which is awesome post workout. This pose also stretches your lower back as your bend forward when you bend your standing leg. Finally, this pose relieves tension in the lower muscles surrounding the sacrum which can feel awesome. The steps to figure 4 pose is
- Start in mountain pose standing with your legs hip distance apart
- On your next inhale, shift your weight to your left foot and begin to lift your right leg straight in front of you
- Once you have brought it up high enough, begin to bend your right leg slightly and cross it over onto your left knee
- Begin to bend your left leg as much that feels comfortable for you
- Bring your hands to heart centre and stay in the pose for 15- 60 seconds.
- Repeat on other side
The warrior 2 pose is a great pose for balance and building up heat during your practice. Here are the steps to performing a great warrior two pose:
- Starting in mountain pose, take an exhale and move your left foot behind your right foot about 3 and a half feet apart.
- Turn your left foot outwards left and your right foot outwards right
- Raise your arms parallel to your feet so your right arm ahead of you and your left pointing behind you
- Exhale and bend your right knee and lean slightly forwards into your right foot
- Hold this pose for about 30 second to a minute
- Re-do on the left foot
Poses to help you cope with anxiety and panic attacks
During this extremely stressful time of the semester I thought it would be beneficial to list some poses that can help reduce your stress and anxiety. Some calming poses to relax you are:
Big toe pose- do your regular forward fold but hook your hands on around your big toe
Bridge pose- lay on your back and elevate your hips off the ground towards the ceiling
Cow pose- starting on all fours, push your hip bones up towards the floor and let your stomach lower towards the floor
Cat pose- after cow pose, push your hips towards the ceiling and let your spine curve upwards
These are just a few poses to relax your breathing and stay in tune with your emotions during this stressful time!
check out Warrior 2 pose on my instagram @cameranmillaryoga
This week the two poses I chose to look into were the Tree pose and Cobra pose. I enjoy doing both these poses in my yoga but I never knew what benefits they gave your body.
Starting with Tree pose which is also known as vrksasana is a standing pose on one leg which I knew improved your balance because I felt that when I practiced it. Some other benefits I found were that it strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles and spine while stretching your groins, inner thighs, chest and shoulders! Talk about a stretch of all trades. This pose is also known to help reduce flat feet which for some people might be a huge positive. The steps to tree pose are:
- Stand with your feet slightly apart to have a grounded stance
- Shift your weight slightly onto your left foot and bend your right knee
- Starting out with this pose, you can reach down and grab your right ankle or if your balance is good lift it up and place the sole against your inner left thigh
- Rest your hands on either your hips, or put them into prayer hand mid chest height
- Lengthen your tailbone
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute
The next pose is Cobra, I love this pose after I come out of downward dog, into a high plank then coming into a cobra pose. This pose has a crazy amount of benefits to it as well! Some being it stretches the muscles in the shoulders, chest, abdominals and lungs while it strengthens the spine. This pose also firms the buttocks which can be a great bonus for those who want to workout! This pose is known to help relieve stress and fatigue while opening the heart. If you have asthma this pose is very therapeutic for it. The steps to do this pose are:
- Lie with your stomach on your mat and your arms out in front of you
- Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor and your arms under your shoulders on the floor
- Hug your elbow towards your body
- Press on the tops of your feet and thigh into the floor
- On your inhale using your arms push your chest off the floor to a height that still has tour legs grounded and is comfortable
- Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds
The pose this week is pigeon pose. I love doing this pose after a good work out because it stretches your legs and opens your hips. This pose has many benefits, one being it actually gives you less back pain. When you have tight hip flexors, it pulls your pelvis forward making your lower back curve so this pose opens your hips and improves your curved back. This pose is also known to help your knees and allow your hip sockets move in different directions than they are used to moving in. The steps to practice this pose are:
- Begin in either downward dog
- Lift your right leg high into the air and on your exhale move your right left through between your hands with your right ankle near your left wrist
- Extend your left leg behind you so your knee and the top of your foot are resting on the floor
- Press through your finger tips and lift your upper body away from your thighs
- For more intense of a stretch, reach your arms forward and bring your head to the floor with your stomach resting on your right thigh
check out @cameranmillaryoga for the instructions and a image of the pose!
This week I looked at two yoga blogs called ‘Yoga Journal’ and ‘Daily Cup of Yoga’. Both had great aspects that I really enjoyed reading about, however, i found ‘Yoga Journal’ had a better layout and overall better information for yoga. ‘Yoga Journal’ has different categories for poses, practice, meditation, etc. and under each categories are sub-categories where you can find more specific poses or information that you want. When I clicked on the category poses, it gave different options for core poses, arm opening poses, balancing poses, etc. which makes it easy for people to find the poses that they want or what poses to do to stretch certain muscles. Under the poses category also has the benefits of each pose, a pose finder and pose by anatomy which can help those starting out on what poses to do and why. Also, they have a section for poses for depression, anxiety, stress and back pain which I thought was great because we often forget that yoga is also a mind exercise. Under the category of practice the blog has multiple sequences that people can do at home that shows a picture of each pose with a description to lead people through their practice without having to go to a yoga studio. Another aspect I loved was it had guides for harder poses like handstands or headstands which I want to look deeper into because I want to get my headstand pose. Overall I loved this blog and will be definitely using it for my other blog posts. I think I will do some of their sequences and discuss what I liked about them and what I didn’t.
‘Daily Cup of Yoga’ had some great aspects as well. This blog had videos on certain poses and had a whole section dedicated to yoga words and terminology which I found great because the names of the poses mean nothing to some people. Even going to a yoga class and listening to an instructor, you might not know what the next step is because of the terminology so I found this a great feature. This blog also has articles on how yoga and running are like yin and yan and what poses to do after running which I found great because I never knew they went hand in hand. However, I felt like it was more a website to sell items than a blog so I didn’t love that aspect. I also didn’t find it as user friendly as ‘Yoga Journal’ was, mainly on the set up of a page.