Health, Beauty, Fitness, Life

Thursday, 9 May 2013

I Challenge You To Yoga! #2

I am starting a string of daily posts for a week, challenging you to try some yoga and hopefully see some of the benefits that yoga has to offer. My last post (click here) explained some of the benefits and started the ball rolling with Morning Yoga, straight after you wake up. 

To follow on from morning yoga, it seems obvious to base this post on Bedtime Yoga! 

Before you start to wind down for the evening, maybe an hour before you hit the pillow have a relaxing bath and turn off all electrical devices such as the television and your phone. This way you can shut off the rest of the world and get into the right frame of mind preparing yourself for sleep. I like to follow my bath with some yoga, then I read a book. 

1. Lie on your matt with legs crossed, back straight and arms resting on your legs. Take deep inhales and exhales for a couple of minutes, focusing only on your breath and dismissing any outside thoughts that may pop into your head.

2. Extend your legs out with knees slightly bent to prevent any strain. Bend over your legs so that your chest meets your legs and place your hands on to your feet. Gently breathe here for a couple of breaths. 

3. Move up onto you hands and knees and curl your feet under, ready to stand up into Dog Posture (see below). Inhale as you move into the position and slightly push hands into the floor to feel a deeper stretch. From this position, rock forwards onto the balls of your feet and inhale as you do so. Exhale as you move back. Continue with this movement for a couple of minutes.

4. From this position, gently walk your feet towards your hands, feeling the stretch in your calves as you do so. Slowly move your head up with each vertebrae and inhale as you move your hands from your sides to the ceiling and exhale as you put your palms together and rest them in your breast bone. Breathe here for a couple of breaths and start to feel your feel your feet strongly rooted to the floor.

5. Stay standing up and bend your right knee extending it out the the side and placing your foot as high as you can go onto your thigh. Keep your palms rested on your breast bone and breathe gently for a couple of breaths, imagining that your left foot is deeply rooted into the floor. Repeat with the left leg. This is called the Tree Pose (see below)

6. Bend forwards resting hands on the floor either side of your foot. Your feet should now be in the middle of your hands. Extend your right leg back so that it rests on the floor and bend your left knee. Inhale as your move your hands up and exhale as you look up to your hands and slightly bend back. Breathe here for a couple of breaths.

7. Place your hands to the floor and alternate legs, repeating step 6.

8. Move your hands to the floor either side of your feet. Inhale as you move both legs behind you into plank position (see below) and stay here for a couple of breaths. 

9. Move your feet back to your hands with palms still facing the floor and bend your knees so your are crouching down (see below). Then start to hug your knees and roll onto your back, still hugging your knees and gently massage your back on the floor by rocking from side to side. 

10. Lie with your back on the floor and extend your arms and legs out and stretch. Then rest your arms by your side and breathe here for a couple of minutes. Start to notice parts of your body - work your way up from your feet. 

a) So start to notice your big toes and little toes, the ball of your feet and your heel on each foot. Focus on one part of your body at a time.
b) The shins and calves, knees, back of the knees, thighs, pelvis, your bum and back pressed against the floor.
c) Your tummy, your abdomen, chest, hands, arms pressed to the floor, shoulders, neck, head pressed to the floor.
d) Your ears, nose, mouth slightly open, eyes soft. 

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