Essential yoga moves
"Yoga adds years to your life
and life to your years."
No matter the style of yoga you choose - hatha, vinyasa, or hot yo-ga, nearly all of them includes a few key moves. To stay safe, your best bet is to work with a trained instructor who can show you the right way to do each position. If you've neck, back, or joint pain or flexibility problems, talk to your doctor before you start a yoga rou-tine. Most importantly, don't push yourself to do anything that hurts.
Here are some essential yoga moves you should know:
This move seems simple but doing it right helps with posture and balance.
Stand with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart, and arms by your sides. Imagine lifting through your inner feet and ankles. Pull your shoulder blades down, and widen your collarbones. Keep your head in line with your shoulders, your chin parallel to the floor. Your pelvis and lower back should be neutral, not tucked or arched. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
This classic pose works for your legs and feet as you practice your balance.
From mountain pose, reach down and catch your right ankle with your right hand. Pull your foot up and place the sole against your left inner thigh near your groin. Don't put your foot directly on your knee. Keep your hips even. Press your palms together in front of your chest. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
Use this move to strengthen your core and lower body while you stretch your upper body.
From mountain pose, raise your arms over your head, palms facing each other or touching. Bend your knees as much as you can and lean your body slightly forward, keeping your knees and ankles together. Pull your shoulder blades down and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Plank pose will help you build stronger arms, wrists, and core mus-cles.
From downward facing dog, lower your torso forward with straight arms until they are perpendicular to the floor, your palms right under your shoulders. Widen your collarbones, pull your shoulder blades down, and look straight down at the floor. Hold 30 seconds to 1 minute.
It will give you a good stretch in your lower back, inner thighs, and hips.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Then bend your knees and pull your heels toward your groin to press the soles of your feet together. Open your knees out to the sides. Reach both hands forward to hold onto your feet, ankles, or shins. Relax your thighs so your knees drop further toward the floor. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
Reclining spinal twist
A twist gently stretches your back, hips, and neck.
Lie flat with your arms out to the sides so your body forms a T. Bend your right knee, and lightly set the toes of your right foot on your left knee. Keeping your shoulders flat on the floor, drop the right knee over to the left side of your body, twisting at the low back and waist. Turn your head to the right and look down your arm at your fingers. Hold for up to 10 breaths, and then switch sides.
This works your lower back, legs, glutes, and core.
Lie on your back, arms at your sides, palms down, knees bent, and your heels pulled up close to your rear. Press your hips up until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and bring your hands together beneath you. Think about pushing your knees forward and pulling your pubic bone toward your bellybutton. Lift your chin slightly, slide your shoulder blades down, and widen your collarbones. Hold 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then slowly roll your hips back down to the floor.
This is a resting pose that gently stretches the hips, lower back, and neck.
Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching. Sit up on your heels, knees about hip-width apart. Lay your torso down between your thighs, and let your arms lie on the floor at your sides, hands next to hips, palms up. Let the back of your skull pull up and away from your neck, and let the weight of your shoulders pull the shoulder blades wide. Hold from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
'Yoga is not about self improvement,
It's about self acceptance.'
So, accept yourself the way you are,
and start developing your mind, body and soul.
The writer is owner at Combat Gym (Ladies Section)