How to perfect your yoga balance

Yoga_May25_ADespite being an athlete who sweats it out nearly every day, you still find yoga difficult to perform. If you’re an avid exerciser, you’ll most likely have tight and firm muscles, which is all fine. However, your muscular body is an obstacle in yoga, since it is less flexible and can give you a hard time balancing on some poses. That’s not to say you should abandon yoga completely – even the most experienced yogis have difficulty in balancing from time to time.

Let’s take a look at a few methods to perfect your balance and avoid toppling over every time you try for a balancing yoga pose.

Don’t lock your standing leg

Some yoga moves require you to balance on one leg while moving the rest of your body. It may seem like a good idea to get your base leg as straight as possible. But when you lock it straight, you’re no longer engaging your muscles – you’re putting bone on bone. The best way to increase balance is to put a tiny bend in your standing leg. Keep engaging your quadriceps, and this will help give you the power to stabilize your balance.

Breathe properly

Attempting a difficult yoga pose can be intense – so much so that it forces you to hold your breath. But breathing actually helps when it comes to balancing, since the quality of your breathing is so intimately related to the state of your nervous system and body. It releases physical tension and relaxes your mind, allowing you to stay calm and focus better when performing yoga poses. So make sure you keep a consistent breathing flow in and out of your nose.

Calm your mind

Yoga aims to unite the mind and body. In order for the balance to be there in a pose, you need to calm your mind. If your mind is distracted by what happened before class, or all the things you have planned for afterwards, it won’t be able to focus on balancing in the moment. Find a nice, quiet spot to meditate for a few minutes before your class in order to restore your mind’s focus. A determined mind gives you a better chance to ease into your yoga practice and maintain your body balance.

Take it slowly

All too often, people rush into poses and then get frustrated when they can’t maintain their balance and end up falling over. There are simple ways to fix this. You should start building balance from the foundation up by moving slowly and mindfully without rushing. Distribute your weight evenly to all your body parts. Spread your toes to give a wider, stronger balance. Whatever you do, don’t rush things! Whether you had too little to sleep or are dehydrated – all these factors add up. Don’t push yourself too hard – simply do your best and move on.

Looking to add yoga to your exercise program? Contact us today and our trainers will be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How yoga can help you age gracefully

164_Yoga_AIt’s a fact of life. As your 30s dissolve into 40s and then evaporate into 50s, your body doesn’t function like it did when you were twenty. That’s why as a mature adult it’s important to place a higher emphasis on health and exercise so that your body stays in good condition. And with its low-impact nature, yoga may just be the perfect physical activity for the older generation. Here are some of the unique ways it can help mature adults everywhere.

Lower your stress levels

As you age, life’s big stresses are inevitable: parents pass away, kids grow up and leave home, friends fall out of touch. Feeling the stress of these changes is natural, and yoga can give you an effective way to deal with them. Just like meditation, yoga helps practitioners develop focus and mental calm. Because of this, you’ll be able to better put big changes in perspective and be less emotionally shaken by the waves and tumbles of life.

Additionally, yoga can do wonders for your body in terms of lowering the physical symptoms of stress. With regular practice, it can lower blood pressure, stimulate your immune system and regulate your heart rate.

Sharpen your mind

As you grow older, it’s important to find ways to keep your mind sharp. Yoga requires you to focus on both your breath and body postures. In a typical session, you need to listen carefully to your instructor to follow instructions and move your body correctly into the right position – all while paying attention to your breath. All of this mental activity helps your mind stay sharp, fresh and alert.

Build stronger bones

One way your body deteriorates when you age is through bone density. And if you’re inactive, the loss of bone density is even greater. The weight bearing postures of yoga help strengthen your bones. In fact, studies have even shown that yoga can prevent and slow bone density loss.

Of course, depending on your age and physical ability, it may not be wise to be doing an intense bikram yoga session five times a week. A gentle yoga practice works just as well to keep your bones strong and healthy.

Connect with others

It’s sad to say, but growing older usually also comes with fewer social connections. We live in a youth-centric culture, and unfortunately older adults don’t get the attention or respect that the younger generations garner. The result of this can often be loneliness. One way to prevent this and create new social connections is to get out of the house and join a class. With yoga, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other individuals while keeping your body in good shape. This can lead to new friends, connections and social opportunities.

Ready to give yoga a try? Have questions about our classes? Get in touch today to learn more.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.