Organic Spa Blog

Do You Have a Yoga Practice at Home?

To celebrate National Yoga Month, bloggers and writers at Organic Spa Magazine want to enhance our flexibility and strength by first warming up with basic Sun Salutations, then performing a few of our favorite poses — maybe a couple hip openers or Warriors for good measure — and then hitting the floor for soothing cool-down stretches at the end of any yoga practice.

The main message this month, during National Yoga Month, is to try one week of free yoga, and get turned on — for life!

Surprisingly, the physical practice — much like walking, strength training or Pilates – does require  a warm-up before jumping into inversions or huge Warrior poses that might tweak an achy knee.  You can create your own short practice to suit a time-crunched schedule or to unwind for only 10 minutes at night, and a strong home yoga practice can help you break a sweat and mimic the benefits of any weight training routine.

The ancient art of yoga, in all its physical forms, offers well-documented benefits for mind and body: It enhances relaxation, strengthens muscles, increases range-of-motion in your joints, boosts posture and reduces general fatigue.

Preparing your muscles and connective tissues for exercise with a basic warm-up (5 to 10 minutes) is not only good for your heart rate and lung power, the dynamic movements loosen and tone your muscles and joints, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Any moving dynamic warm-up — such as shadow boxing, Sun Salutations, running in place with arm swings – causes an uptake in oxygen exchange between blood and muscles. Your metabolic rate increases (the rate at which your body blasts calories), which leads to more efficient calorie burning. Efficient energy production allows exercisers to work out longer and harder, according to AAOS.

Some yoga instructors believe the most effective cool-down portion of class should assimilate inversions (going upside-down in Headstand or Shoulderstand, for instance) to improve mental concentration and energy.

How Do You Start Cooling Down at Home?

An efficient cool-down for yoga slows your pace and rhythm. It can feature chanting or meditation, core work and deeper flexibility of the spine, back, legs and hips,” said yogi Johnny Anzalone at Equinox Fitness clubs in New York City.

Anzalone, a professor of dance and musical theater at NY University, also recommended the following postures that indicate a physical slow-down, and an emotional release: Child Pose, Knees-into-Chest, Happy Baby, and the grandaddy stretch of all time: Savasana, or Corpse Pose. “Savasana is perhaps the most important pose of them all since you synergize your practice, slow the heart rate down and begin healing from the mat.”

If you need more help for establishing a home practice, try following a DVD or an audio download.

How do you cool down for exercise?

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