Yoga is an ancient discipline all the way from India and can have different evolving meanings for different kinds of people. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ Yoga means union and so is not just a physical exercise, it also includes meditation and breathing exercises which can improve both health and happiness.
Yoga poses benefits
When most people think of Yoga they imagine lots of twisting and turning, and, whilst stretching is certainly involved, yoga is more about creating balance through developing both strength and flexibility which is achieved through performance of poses and postures. Each pose can have different health benefits including help with asthma, anxiety, back pain and depression. Alongside this practicing Yoga can also have certain aesthetic benefits such as weight loss and lengthening of limbs.
Lengthening yoga poses
Yoga lengthens limbs by strengthening the spine and muscles as well as improving posture – it can even make you look taller. So let us take a look at some incredible and slightly more advanced Yoga poses to help you lengthen your limbs:
Lord of the Dance Pose – Natarajasana
If you struggle with this pose, to begin with, try resting your free hand on a wall. Once mastered you will find your balance has dramatically improved as well as your thighs, shoulders, chest and abdomen being strengthened.
Tortoise Pose – Kurmasana
The Kurmasana helps encourage flexibility in your hips and tones your abdominal muscles. This pose is a tricky one but you can use a few easier ones to help prepare you, such as the Archer Pose (Arkana Dhanurasana)
Upward Facing Dog – Urdvha Mukha Svanasana
This classic Yoga poses improves your posture whilst strengthening the spine, arms and wrists. It stretches the chest, lungs and abdomen so many asthmatics find this pose therapeutic. Want to make this pose more challenging? Try pushing the backs of your knees along the calves and out through the heels. As the tops of your feet press against the floor lift the top sternum up and forward.
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
The Cobra Pose not only helps firm your buttocks but it stretches the chest and shoulders – great for improving your posture. The Bhujangasana offers some fantastic health benefits as well as it opens the heart and lungs helping to ease stress and fatigue. Many asthmatics find the Cobra beneficial.
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Always looking much easier that it actually is there are many variations of the Tadasana but start with the traditional pose and when you get more confident try closing your eyes to enhance the experience. One of the best poses for improving posture it can also help with flat feet.
High Boat Pose – Paripurna Navasana
Another fantastic pose to help strengthen your abdomen, spine and hip flexors all going towards the lengthening of those limbs. Practise makes perfect with the Paripurna Navasana – begin with holding the pose for 10 seconds and slowly increase to a minute.
Feathered Peacock Pose – Pincha Mayurasana
This pose both strengthens and stretches your shoulder, neck and back and is an excellent way to improve your balance. You may not be able to complete this pose immediately but you can practise with the slightly easier variation – The Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) master this and the Pincha Mayurasana should be much easier.
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
You are going to need confidence and a lot of concentration to get this pose but when you do the results are outstanding. This pose really works your legs, stretching and strengthening your ankles, calves, thighs and hips – also good at helping with lower back pain.
Upward Bow (Wheel) Pose – Urdhva Dhanurasana
This is a fairly basic pose which can be deepened by lifting your heel, pressing your tailbone towards the ceiling and walking your feet closer to your hands. The Urdva Dhanurasana not only strengthens the arms, wrists, legs, spine, buttocks and abdomen, it also increases energy and counteracts depression.
Crane (Crow) Pose – Bakasana
Bakasana requires you to be a little bit more brave but once you’ve conquered this more advanced Yoga pose you’ll feel a sense of lightness and joy. The benefits include strengthening of the arms, wrists and upper backs and toning of the abdominal muscles.
Pigeon Pose – Kapotasana
A backbending pose which stretches the entire front of the body from the ankles, thighs and groin to the chest and throat. Try kneeling with your back to a wall to help get into this pose to start with. A fantastic posture improving pose which helps tone back muscles.
Lotus Pose – Padmasana
A classic yoga pose and used by many as a way of meditating as it can help calm anxiety and settle your mind. The Padmasana stretches ankles and knees whilst also stimulating the pelvis, abdomen and spine. If you are going to be doing this pose regularly make sure you rotate the way you cross your legs or it can lead to issues in the hips.
Plow Pose – Halasana
Struggle to sleep? Give the Halasana a try – it soothes the mind and eases stress so is used by many followers as a way to help with sleep deprivation. It also stretches the shoulders and spine working towards an improvement of posture.
So with Summer on the way it’s no better time to give these fantastic yoga poses a try. They will help tone, strengthen and even lengthen your limbs whilst improving your posture. A perfect way to get ready for your Summer wardrobe.