Heron Pose

Heron Pose is an intense form of stretching which helps in rejuvenating and relaxing the complete body. It is a powerful stretching asana that helps in strengthening the legs and stretching the hamstrings. It is known as Krounchasana in Sanskrit, and it has many therapeutic benefits.

The raised legs are considered similar to the outstretched neck and head of the heron. Many variations can be added to the pose to make it even more effective. It helps in relaxing the complete body by opening the tension through stretching.

How To Perform The Pose 

Although the pose looks easy, it might take a lot of time to master it. Here is a step-by-step guide to performing the pose:

  • Start the asana by getting into staff pose and keep your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend the right knee and bring the foot on the floor. Make sure that the heel of the right foot is just beside the right hip.
  • Keep the thighs parallel to one another. Bend the left knee in a way that the sole of the left foot rests on the floor in front of the left hip bone. Hold the outer edges of your left foot with both hands and start extending the leg as straight as possible.
  • Keep the core engaged and raise your leg with an inhalation at an angle of 45 degrees. Keep your spine long, chest lifted, and lift the ribcage higher. Hold the left foot with wrists of the leg hand and top it by the wrist of the right hand.
  • Stay in the asana pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue to breathe, exhale, and slowly bend the left leg. Take few breaths and continue the same with right leg.


Benefits

  • It helps in increasing body flexibility and stretches the hamstrings, glutes, and overall leg muscles.
  • It helps in stimulating the abdominal muscles and massages the organs which help with improved digestion.
  • It has therapeutic applications for individuals suffering from the flat fleet or flatulence problem. 
  • It involves core strengthening and hence brings more of core stability.

Mistakes And Contradictions

Wearing activewear for women or men is essential that helps in performing the asana efficiently. It is not recommended to perform the asana if you are suffering from knee or ankle problems. You can perform it under expert guidance if you have knee or leg pain. It is advisable to avoid the exercise during menstruation as it puts stress on the abdominal area.

How To Perform Perfectly

It is a perfect stretching asana and increases flexibility but requires time. The beginners mostly find it difficult to perform it with the down leg folded in Ardha Virasana. In order to gradually perform the asana the right way, start practicing Virasana regularly, which slowly makes your thighs stronger and flexible for performing the Heron Pose. You can start the asana initially by keeping the down-folded leg in Janu Sirasana and gradually move to original posture as the flexibility increases.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a style of yoga that never changes—each practice you do the same 26 poses (twice), along with two breathing exercises in a room that is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Each practice lasts for 90 minutes. Bikram Yoga is sometimes referred to as hot yoga—for good reason—but they are very different yoga styles. Hot Yoga consists of different vinyasa poses each time and most likely only repeat poses in certain sequences.   

Bikram Yoga is closely related to traditional Hatha Yoga. One of the differences is that Hatha Yoga classes are not heated as Bikram Yoga classes are. Also, in Bikram Yoga, it is encouraged not to modify any of the poses rather pushing yourself and your body to complete the poses as they are.

An Indian yoga teacher, Bikram Choudhury, was the creator and founder of Bikram Yoga in the 1970s. Each person aspiring to become a Bikram Yoga instructor must be trained personally by Mr. Choudhury. It has been said that his yoga teacher training is unlike any other because he is extremely tough on his students. Mr. Choudhury has even been known to torture his students by making them do the teacher trainings in a hot, hot room, much like the classes themselves. The idea behind 26 poses to be repeated twice in the same order during the practice, teaches us structure and the power of consistency. Aside from the consistently of the 26 poses, there are reasons why Bikram Yoga has had the praise that it has.

There are amazing benefits of taking Bikram Yoga classes consistently. Some of the benefits are improved balance from the seven balance poses (awkward pose, eagle pose, standing head to knee pose, standing bow pose, balancing stick pose, tree pose and toe stand pose). Other benefits of Bikram Yoga are improved digestion, improved strength for the lower back and improvement of the respiratory system. Taking a Bikram Yoga class will not only challenge you on a physical level but will also challenge you on a mental level. Challenging ourselves frequently is healthy, even the most experienced Bikram Yogis still feel challenged in beginner classes. 

One aspect of Bikram Yoga that individuals really enjoy is the consistency of the 26 poses repeated twice. This practice may be good for individuals who suffer from OCD or who need routine in their lives. Knowing the poses ahead of time and what to expect before entering class every single time is a favorite for yogis who enjoy Bikram. Yoga styles that differ during each class by performing different sequences and poses may not be for individuals who do Bikram consistently. Yogis should try different styles of yoga and find which one works best for them. By sticking to a consistent practice of one’s choice, significant changes will occur over time in the mind, body, and spirit. 

The practice of yoga is the arrival of oneself to the concept and idea of self-discovery. The search for ways to arrive at the practice of self-discovery usually begins before you sign up for a yoga class. Self-discovery is never-ending and no matter what yoga practice you choose, you will have your own version of self-discovery.

The Benefits Of A Good Plank

 

Plank pose is translated to Kumbhakasana in Sanskrit. It is such a great asana to master for many reasons. One of the best benefits of a plank is that you significantly improve your core strength. Having core strength is not just for that six-pack in your Instagram photos; it ensures that the spine is kept stabilized and reduces risk of injury to the back. 

The four main muscles that support the spine are: 

  1. The transverse abdominals
  2. The rectus abdominals
  3. The internal obliques  
  4. The external obliques 

When these muscles are weak we adopt a poor posture, allowing our bodies to slump forward; the shoulders hunch forward, we lean to one side, and the natural curves in our spine may become exaggerated. This unnecessary stress on the spine can cause back pain and lead us to become depressed. That is why strengthening these muscles is so important. They allow us to hold a good posture all day long, therefore not putting any strain on any areas of the spine. They also give us the strength to balance. If you have ever struggled during balancing asanas during yoga classes, try to strengthen your core, and you will definitely notice a difference. 

Planking also strengthens our gluteus muscles. These are the muscles on your buttocks that not only help to support your back but will also give you a nice-looking bottom. As well as the physical benefits, there are also mental benefits that come from practicing plank and strengthening the core. The improved posture, lessened risk of back pain, and the nice-looking bottom is sure to lift your mood. 

How To Do It Right

  • Start off in tabletop position. Make sure that your palms are flat on the floor, fingers facing forward and your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Also, make sure that your knees are directly under your hips. 
  • Curl the toes and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your knees off the floor and begin to straighten the legs. 
  • Don’t move the hips. Keep them in a straight line with your shoulders.
  • Push up through the shoulders, don’t let the neck collapse into them.
  • Keep the gaze forward and down (about 12 inches in front of you).
  • Remember you should look like a plank of wood. If you are unsure of how you look in this pose, get somebody to help you out or take a picture of yourself. A common mistake is that hips are lifted too high or dropped to low. 

Now go strengthen your core and have fun!

3 Ways to Wear Stirrup Leggings to Yoga Class

Stirrup leggings are once again becoming a hot new trend among modern yogis. Years ago, these prominent pants first made their appearance among the fashion-forward. This time around, they’ve made their appearance as a useful apparel item for the growing number of yogis.

This contemporary twist on traditional yoga leggings is a cute way to ensure that your leggings stay in place throughout your practice instead of riding up. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you’ll be sure to find a pair that ultimately suits your needs. However, you may still struggle to figure out how to wear them well.

If you need a little guidance on how to wear your stirrup leggings to yoga class, look no further. We knew you would welcome these hot fashion tips.

 

Pair Them with Fancier Shoes

It’s true that stirrup leggings can definitely feel a lot more casual. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear them for a lunch date directly following your yoga class. Consider pairing your stirrup leggings with a pair of cute heels or heeled booties for a one-of-a-kind look. The loop at the bottom should be hooked over the heel of the shoe for a put-together appearance.

Put Them On with Yoga Socks

Do you find that the extra loop of fabric around the base of your foot causes you to slip and slide too deep into some of your standing postures? You can still wear your favorite stirrup leggings with the help of a pair of yoga socks. These cute accessories cover your feet with additional rubber grips on the bottom. They’ll help your feet to stick to the mat solidly with very little effort on your part.

Find a Long Tunic

Stirrup leggings can still be styled in much the same way as a traditional pair of full-length yoga leggings. A long and flowing tunic top will always be one of the best matches for a pair of tight spandex yoga leggings. This presents a simple way to balance out your outfit in a style that suits everyone.

Tunic tops can be found in a wide variety of styles that can be adjusted based on your personal tastes. You may want to find a cream top with a strappy cutout pattern on the back to pair with a pair of wine-colored stirrup pants. Alternatively, you may want to find a tunic top that sparkles with metallic accents for a pretty addition to standard black stirrup leggings. The options are almost infinite with these two essential wardrobe items.

If you’ve been considering a pair of stirrup yoga leggings, it won’t be hard for you to find something to pair with them. They can be worn in many of the same ways as your trusty favorites, so you’re bound to have a few pieces in your closet that will already work well together. They definitely present a unique advantage for yogis who are able to find the perfect pair.

Bring Some Flowers to Your Life

I like to get inspired by my surroundings. When I seek inspiration I go to my grandmothers’ property where there is a rose garden that is not only beautiful at sight but smells just perfect, too. I would take a walk there just to indulge the sweet aroma of a multitude of roses. I would close my eyes and let the wind caress my senses. The experience not only relaxes me, but it inspires me for new ventures. I can return to that peaceful state any time of the year, not only when roses are in bloom which is roughly from April to September.

The two most obvious outtakes I get from visiting the rose garden are depicted through my wardrobe and the smell I try to imitate around the house.

The style is an extension of my feelings. On days when I feel festive, I show that with bright colors and bold prints. I think that flowers are a subtle print to have. They are not too bold, yet they scream happy. There are so many flower prints inspired by the plant kingdom; anything from palm leaves and avocados, to daffodils and everything in between.

1. I enjoy wearing athletic leisure wear all day long, and yoga pants are at the top of the list. I also own a couple of tower print ones that I would match up with a more muted tone shirt or tunic. Another thing to consider when pairing an outfit is materials. Lace, for example, compliments flower prints nicely. Also, a toned down version of lace is a mesh material, which just so happens to be in style. When I’m feeling even bolder, I like to accompany the ensemble with a leather piece, like a jacket and have a rocking look.

2. When you feel like you want to scream exuberance for summertime, and it can be any time of the year, opt for a floral kimono, dress, tunic or a playsuit. You may also consider layering them over yoga pants for a more casual outfit in colder weather. They not only jumpstart your heart because of its vibrant patterns but they are also so comfortable yet chic.

3. Another way to look summery all year long is by wearing a flower button up shirt. When paired with more athletic-looking pants and a T-shirt you are styled for your outing to the gym. While you could up style the look by adding some jewelry, a scarf, dressy shoes or a more tailored jacket and be easily ready for work.

4. A way to incorporate flowers into your outfits is by sewing flower patches on your clothing. Patches can be easily made of excess materials which you either shape into a brooch or sew directly onto the piece of clothing where you want it. The best part about them is that they are also easy to remove or change with a different one. I like to place mine on jackets which I then wear in combination with yoga pants to instantly up style the look. Sometimes I would add a scarf and be ready to run errands before hitting the gym.

Did you sometimes smell something or only get reminded of a certain smell and think back to an instance from the past that involved the same smell? Flowers normally radiate pleasant fragrances and hopefully also evoke pleasant memories.

Taste and smell go hand in hand. Around 80% of the flavors we taste comes from what we smell. So, when you don’t like the smell of something, you are most likely not going to enjoy its taste either. I, for example, loathe cabbage, so you’ll probably never see me enjoy a cabbage soup nor even grow cabbage anytime soon.

After all that has been said, the smell is truly of essence when trying to spark focus, creativity, or an environment to relax in. Take these into account at home and in your workspace and see how it may help improve your productivity.

Just be smart about where you buy all the scents from as they can get pretty expensive. As a tip, it would be economical, and perhaps practical, to invest in a diffuser. It is a great way to burn little essential oils or perfumes. Mixed with water, the mist slowly evaporates into space, making it smell just the way you prefer.

Cat Yoga

Ever thought of letting your cat join your practice?

Isn’t it more fun to Down-Dog while your furry friend dangles around your feet?

Isn’t it more enjoyable to have your pet resting on your belly, purring, as you ease out on Corpse Pose?

Calling out cat lovers!

Yoga has a new trend that will definitely satisfy your senses. Cat Yoga! This new practice is gaining more and more popularity, especially among women. Yoga alone is already a very good medium of relaxation, but what could possibly happen if your cat enters the scene? It’ll be one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever have.

Mystic Eyes
Cats are known as mystical creatures dating back to ancient Egypt. They function like crystals, absorbing negative energies and cleansing them. They release these energies during their sleep, and when these energies are left unreleased out of their body, they’re stored as fat. This is why it is important that your cat is having the rest and sleep it needs.

Cleansing the Mind and Body
Practicing Yoga benefits the physical body and the mind. Yoga is not only proven to strengthen the body, it also helps promote better blood circulation and heal common ailments such as indigestion, spasm and arthritis. By adding cute mystical creatures to it, the whole practice maximizes the overall cleansing that an individual experiences. Not only that, it also allows Yogi(s) to practice compassion. When practicing Cat Yoga, the love and appreciation for all beings that we live with in order to promote harmony are practiced. These virtues are observed not only in the mat but also in the world outside ourselves.

Purrfect!
Cats do not just cleanse energies, but they are also a very good prop to increase the intensity, creativity and fun of your practice. Some poses you could try are cuddling your pet while balancing in a tree pose, letting your cat rest on your lap on a dandasana or lifting your furry friend in a Warrior I. Incorporating your cat on your practice could also be as simple as having it around while you’re on the mat.

A word of caution!
Cat Yoga is a great way to spice your practice up and is a must-try for cat lovers. But remember, before getting into this amazing trend, make sure that you do not have any type of allergy that can be triggered by cats. Also be aware that cats love sharpening their claws on the edges of the mat and on your clothing, so be careful that they don’t damage your 90 Degree by Reflex

These furry loving creatures are very curious and can be distractive, in the cutest way possible! You’ll never know how fun and exciting things can be unless you give this new trend a try. You do not only strengthen your body and increase flexibility; you also relax your mind in this heart-warming and unique experience. So, the next time you feel stressed and in need of an effective stress buster, give Cat Yoga a go!

The Four Essential Elements of Safe and Effective Bikram, or “Hot” Yoga Practice

Bikram is an adaptation of Hatha yoga consisting of twenty-six postures performed in a studio heated to 105° F. Adherents claim the heat protects muscles, allows for deeper stretching, opens pores, increases heart rate, thins blood (so the circulatory system can be “cleared”), improves strength (unclear how), and “reorganizes lipids in the muscle structure” (science here is unclear). The Bikram name is trademarked; only studios affiliated with the original founder and his studio (Bikram Choudury) can call their classes “Bikram,” but other “hot yoga” studios exist and practice similar forms of Hatha yoga in high heated studios. The Bikram or “hot yoga” trend is wildly popular, despite that fact that it is probably unsafe and definitely sounds like a bad idea. Many students report feeling nauseous, weak, or dizzy during their early classes, and some continue to feel this way afterwards. Other students have reported experiencing vertigo after classes. Still intrigued? Here are some gentle suggestions.

Choose a Different Form of Yoga

I’ve never done Bikram or “hot” yoga, but I live in Los Angeles and I am a certified expert on insane fitness trends. The major benefits touted by Bikramites focus on two things: a high-intensity cardiovascular workout and an increased amount of calories burned per hour over other forms of yoga. Well guess what—you burn more calories because the room is hot, and your body is trying to stay alive. As any personal trainer will tell you, cardiovascular exercise burns that day’s calories and strength training burns calories for the week, the month, and the year by building muscle. Focus on strength-training poses in sane forms of yoga such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga.

Hot yoga is a very Los Angeles form of insanity. A handful of celebrities work out in deadly heat and before you know it, the whole country is doing it. People, use your cabezas. I see that you’re still not convinced; well, fine then. Read on if you must.

1. Drink Water

Not just during and after class—pre-hydrate. Hot yoga evangelists claim the initial nausea and dizziness is part of the process; you see, the way our bodies react to exercising in scorching heat reveals to us the true horror of how we’ve been neglecting ourselves, both spiritually and physically. Now, maybe we have been neglecting ourselves—physically, spiritually, or what have you—but we feel horrible because we’re working out in a room heated to 105° F. If you want to do this, you must drink tons more water before, during, and after class. You need to double your water intake for that day, and since you’re probably not drinking enough water to begin with, go ahead and triple it. The total ounce count of your water on a hot yoga day should be no less than 120 ounces.

2. Take a Nap After Class

Heat wears you out; mostly because your body has to work hard to stay alive when you try to cook it in a yoga studio-shaped oven. If you feel disoriented and tired after a class, don’t be afraid to take a nap. That’s how your body fixes itself. The hot yoga people will say your body is cleansing itself. This is true. It’s cleansing itself of the near-death experience you just put it through. They will also tell you that, after the first few classes, you’ll feel more energized by this yoga in a hot, hot room, just as long as you are giving this hot yoga your 110% honest effort. So, if you still feel horrible, you only have yourself to blame.

3. Take Salt and Potassium Supplements

You don’t just lose water when you sweat. You also lose salt and minerals. So, take some salt and potassium supplements before class to keep yourself from passing out or dying.

4. Take a Break

Pay attention to how you feel during class. There are clear signs of heat intolerance that may show up, including nausea, dizziness, headache, or cramps. Get yourself to a cool location when you feel this way and drink water or—better—a sport drink with electrolytes until you feel better.

Yoga Diet for Best Yoga Practice

Practitioners of Ayurveda believe that if one’s diet is very unsuitable for the health needs of the body, all the medicines in the world cannot work wonders on the ailments that follow. On the other hand, if one’s diet is nutritious and sensible, then the individual will never need medicine for life. Regardless, some of you may believe that even in the absence of a healthy diet, regular exercise can resolve all your health issues. You could not be more wrong! Both diet and exercise are important to keep a person healthy, wealthy and wise.

If you are heavily into the practice of yoga, you must ensure that you receive maximum benefits by adhering to a nutritious dietary regimen. You may not be aware of it, but food has an immensely positive/negative impact on your physical well-being, mental fitness, and emotions.

Satvik Type of Food

The healthiest type of foodstuff belongs to this category. They not only keep your body pure from the inside, but also calm a disturbed mindset. You will be able to include a number of foods that you can consume raw, in this category. All fresh vegetables fall into this category, barring carrots, turnips, garlic, and onions. You are equally welcome to consume all the fresh fruits that you want. All dairy products, except eggs, are permissible. Other kinds of Satvic food are unpolished rice, red rice, wheat, oatmeal, barley, pulses, cereals, honey, groundnuts and sugar candy. Avoid refrigerated food. Do ensure that you consume cooked food within the next three to four hours. It would be best to have freshly prepared food at every major meal. Check out this interesting video for more!

Rajasik Type of Food

The foodstuffs found in this category tends to act like stimulants. They prompt the mind and body to move out of lethargy and go into action mode. Rajasik foodstuffs include spices, asafetida, coffee, tea, cocoa, turnips, carrots, tamarind, chilies, pickles, mustard, salt, sour things, white sugar, meat, fish, eggs, fried food, etc. Such foods are healthy in moderation. If consumed in excess, they can lead to irritability and anger. You may become restless and hyperactive. Sometimes, even sleep is disturbed or you may suffer from sleeplessness.

Tamasik Type of Food

These are just the things you should stay clear of, especially when you are deep into yoga practice. Tamasik foodstuffs include all kinds of intoxicants, drugs, liquors, and wines. Even pork, beef, non-vegetarian dishes, garlic, onions, tobacco, menus filled with fats/sugar/oil, processed foods, stale food and anything that is re-heated/re-cooked, fall into this category. Overconsumption of such food tends to make the mind dull, sometimes even confused and disoriented. Your body begins to experience a kind of inertia, which prevents you from completing any task to satisfaction.

Do note that you cannot strictly classify any kind of food as good or bad. You must just make sure that you consume everything, even your favorite foods, in moderation. It might be a good idea to consult a nutritionist skilled in the Science of Ayurveda, for advice, since each person’s constitution is different.