Improve Your Posture With Mountain Pose or Tadasana

How can you Improve Your Posture with Gentle Yoga?

The Mountain Pose or Tadasana

Mountain Pose or Tadasana is one of the great foundation postures to be found in all yoga practices and it serves mainly as a tool to set you up for all the subsequent postures and also to improve your posture. It works to align your skeleton and to bring it back to a neutral stance.  It is a particularly valuable resource to those who spend a lot of time each day in front of a computer screen or behind a steering wheel.

In addition to improving your posture, Mountain Pose also strengthens your thighs, knees and ankles, it firms the abdomen and the buttocks, it relieves sciatica and it reduces flat feet. The great thing about Tadasana is that you can practice it anywhere, anytime. At the bus stop, in the office, whenever you are waiting in a queue – only you will know you are doing it. Breathe, relax and enjoy!

To learn more about how Gentle Yoga can also help to Relieve Stress, click to our Blog Here

 

Tadasana or Mountain Pose

Method of Tadasana

1. Stand with the bases of your big toes touching, heels slightly apart (so that your second toes are parallel). Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor. Concentrate on spreading the weight of your body evenly across the four corners of your feet.

2. Firm your thigh muscles and lift the knee caps slightly, without hardening your lower belly. Lift the inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches, then imagine a line of energy all the way up along your inner thighs to your groins, and from there through the core of your torso, neck, and head, and out through the crown of your head. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and lift the pubis toward the navel.

3. Press your shoulder blades into your back, then widen them across and release them down your back. Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Hang your arms beside the torso.

4. Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft. Soften your eyes. Hold the posture for five nice long elongated breaths in and out through your nose.

Improve Blood Function and Relieve Stress With Triangle Pose or Trikonasana

Improve Blood Function and Relieve Stress with Gentle Yoga

Triangle Pose or Trikonasana Pose

The Triangle Pose or Trikonasana is one of the quintessential traditional yoga postures. It strengthens our physical and emotional bodies.  It allows us to bring expansion to the muscles that need it most, and by extension, creates space in these places for the release of emotions.  It stimulates and improves the function of blood through the entire body, reduces blood pressure and relieves stress and anxiety.

Trikonasana delivers the above benefits by stretching and strengthening the thighs, knees, and ankles.  It also stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings and calves; shoulders chest and spine.  It stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion.  It relieves backache and is therapeutic for  flat feet, neck pain, osteoporosis and sciatica – all of that provided by just one yoga posture!  Did you ever have a better reason for practicing?

 

Method of Trikonasana Pose 

1              Stand in Tadasana  (Mountain Pose). With an exhalation, step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

2              Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

3              Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.

4              Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

5              Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Read about more Benefits of Gentle Yoga in our Blog

 

Improve Stamina and Bone Health with Warrior Yoga Poses

Improve your Stamina and Bone Strength with Gentle Yoga

 

Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana II is one of the classic foundation yoga poses, known for improving circulation and respiration and energizes the entire body. The main benefit of Virabhadrasana II is that it improves your stamina, while applying bone strengthening weight. In addition, it strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles and opens the hips and chest.  It also stretches the groins, lungs and shoulders, as well as stimulating the abdominal organs.

It relieves backache and is therapeutic for flat feet, osteoporosis and sciatica – all of that provided by just one yoga posture!

 

The Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana 2

 

Method of Yoga Pose

  1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhalation, step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart.  Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
  2. Turn your right foot out to the right 90 degrees and turn your left foot back to about 45 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  3. Exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the right thigh parallel to the floor.  Anchor this movement of the right knee by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer left heel firmly to the floor.
  4. Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the right thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly towards the pubis. Turn the head to the right and look out over the right fingers.
  5. Stay for 5 nice long elongated breaths or 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up as you straighten the front leg. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Click for information on how the Warrior II pose can also improve Acid Reflux

Cure Text Neck With Gentle Yoga

What is Text Neck?

Text Neck is literally a Pain in the Neck.

Text Neck is a phrase that has been coined by medical professionals as to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from constantly looking down at your phone or other internet devices. It is an overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. When holding your head in this position, excessive amounts of tension are created in the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders causing both acute and chronic neck pain. Chronic headaches have also been linked to this condition.

Leaning forward from your neck while you use your device puts increased pressure on the front of the inter-vertebral discs, and puts a huge amount of increased pressure and strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck.

Good Posture is defined as the Ears being aligned with the Shoulders.

When in an upright posture, when the ears are aligned with the centre of your shoulders, the weight of the average head exerts approximately 10-12 lbs of force through the muscles of the neck.  But when the neck flexes forward by 30 degrees, now the amount of pressure increases to 30 pounds. When the neck flexes forward 45 degrees, now the amount of pressure on the spine increases to 49 pounds. That is 4-5 times the amount of pressure on your cervical spine from your head alone.

That additional pressure may present as neck pain, headaches, pain in shoulders, and tingling in hands and fingers. One may also have disc degeneration, compression of nerves, and loss of natural curve of cervical spine. Over time, pain may be a common occurrence, or even an every day eventuality. Ultimately, surgery may be needed.

Yoga puts your cervical spine back into alignment with ears over shoulders and reduces pressure on the anterior inter-vertebral discs. Yoga also strengthens neck muscles such as the muscles of the anterior and posterior triangles and the semispinalis, which run the base of the skull to the first few posterior ribs.

How can Gentle Yoga help my Text Neck Pain?

Outlined below are some tips for to strengthen and align the neck in common poses, helping to recover from or avoid text neck.

For more tips on relieving stress with Gentle Yoga, click here

Tadasana or Mountain Pose

 

Practicing Mountain Pose  or Tadasana is a good way to cultivate awareness of your habitual posture and to move into a healthier alignment, where your head and neck are in line with your spine. Because your habit is going to feel more comfortable than a new alignment, have a partner or a teacher help adjust your head and neck in the pose.

 

 

 

 

Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold

 

Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana, is a great posture to reduce the pressure of your head on the neck and to stretch out the neck muscles.

 

 

 

Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold

In Seated Forward Fold or Paschimottanasana hold your upper back and neck in good posture, pulling the shoulder blades together before you fold at the pelvis. If you fold deeply, then gaze at the feet or the shins for the neck to stay aligned, and if you fold less deep, gaze past your toes to the floor a few feet in front of you.

 

 

 

Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana

Stretching Spine, muscle strength,

 

During your Downward Facing Dog, a simple technique for a properly aligned cervical spine is to align the ears with the upper arms. Sometimes students will allow the weight of the head to drop and hang due to gravity, exacerbating “text neck” posture. The neck elongates when the ears are aligned with the ears, and the gaze naturally falls between the legs.

 

 

Warrior 1 Pose

 

In Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I, or similarly in a high lunge, a slight tuck of the chin and pulling of the chin and neck posteriorly will help it to be more aligned with the shoulders.

 

 

 

Read more about the Health Benefits of Gentle Yoga in our Blog 

Yoga and the Treatment of Acid Reflux

Yoga and the Treatment of Acid Reflux

This is also called Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER).

Acid reflux is a common condition. Approximately 20% of the population has had acid reflux, either occasionally or regularly. Gentle Yoga can relieve the symptoms of Acid Reflux by firstly reducing stress, a major contributing factor to GER, then the poses massage the internal organs and re-direct the flow of Acid.

The backward flow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus causes Acid Reflux. The acids may give heartburn and taste unpleasant in the back of the throat.  Symptoms may worsen when you lay down too quickly after eating or if you bend over. If you have acid reflux more than twice per week or if it starts to affect your everyday life, you may have a condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This condition could lead to damage of your esophagus so it is best to visit your doctor immediately.

In a study on GERD, 45% of the people researchers surveyed identified stress as a lifestyle factor that impacted their reflux symptoms. They also found that an increase in stress leads to an increase in how much acid the stomach secretes. More acid may mean more opportunity for reflux to cause symptoms.

Researchers went on to explore the relationship between yoga and stress, and they found that yoga might help lower the body’s stress response. They found some evidence that yoga may be an effective treatment for GERD and even peptic ulcers.

Researchers for this study didn’t look at yoga as a standalone treatment but rather as part of an overall treatment plan. More studies are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of yoga as a standalone treatment.

Everyone responds differently to the different yoga postures. If a move doesn’t feel comfortable or if it makes your acid reflux worse, back off and concentrate on the ones which work for you.  Adding yoga to your treatment plan should help relieve stress and improve your condition.

Here are some tips to incorporate Yoga into your Treatment Plan for Acid Reflux or GERD:

It is best to start with some deep-breathing work and to do this in a seated position as lying down can prove problematic for reflux sufferers. The deep breathing can help to relieve stress and balance your whole body. The following five poses are great ones to practice if you have reflux issues.

Marjariasana or Cat Pose       

Benefit – This asana is always done in combination with Bitilasana or Cow Pose which arches the lower back in the opposite direction as the head is raised upwards. They work on the core and also benefit the spine and the abdomen. Practicing this asana enhances blood circulation and massages the digestive organs and so provides relief from acidity.

 

 

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog

Benefit – This asana is not an extreme fold like Uttanasana and is thus usually safe to practice.  However, if you feel any discomfort, come out of it. The weight of the body is shifted to the arms and legs when you do the Downward Dog. This asana helps to oxygenate your abdomen, which relieves the burning sensation.

 

 

Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II   Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana

Benefit – The Warrior II is a powerful yoga pose for acid reflux relief. It strengthens the digestive system and relieves acidity. It also ensures proper functioning of all the organs and cures other stomach-related problems.

 

 

 

 

Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose   half lord of the fishes pose BLOG reflux

 

 

Benefit – A twist is the best detox you can give your system. It flushes out toxins and increases blood circulation. This, in turn, oxygenates your digestive system and reduces acidity.

 

 

 

 

Balasana or Child’s Pose      

 

Benefit – Balasana is a restorative pose.  It relaxes the system and relieves bouts of acidity.  When you are in this asana, your abdominal organs are also massaged and strengthened.

 

 

 

Downward Facing Dog: 

 

 

In addition to Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II , illustrated above,  other great standing postures to practice if you have reflux problems are Tadasana or Mountain Pose;  Utkatasana or Chair Pose;  Virabhadrasana I, or Warrior I; Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose and Parsvottanasana or Side Stretch with Upright Modification.

In addition to Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, illustrated above, other great seated postures to practice if you have reflux problems are Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Bound Angle Pose and Supported Supta Sukhasana or Reclining Easy Cross-Legged Pose.

It is best to avoid strenuous moves or inverted poses that might cause acid to flow up. Even with Savasana or Corpse Pose, at the end of your practice, which is everyone’s favorite pose, can cause problems so it is best to do it with an elevated head using a block for added security.