Fuel for Thought

Donna Noble: Why Yoga Is For Everyone

Yoga really is for everyone!!

 

We are all born yogis – and yoga accepts you just as you are – regardless of your shape, size, gender, ethnicity and ability.   Babies demonstrate this all the time – A baby on their back with their big toe in their mouth – “happy baby pose’. You can start your yoga journey just as you are there is nothing that you need to do. There is a style of yoga available for everyone.

WHAT YOGA POSES DO I START WITH?

Child’s Pose 

Start out on all fours on the floor and then take your knees out as wide as your mat with your big toes touching.  

Sit back so that your bum is as close to your heels as possible.  

Stretch your arms forward and lower forehead to the floor.  If your forehead does not touch the floor then you can use a block (or substitute with a large book).   

Staying here for a long as you feel comfortable.    

Benefits 

  • Relieves tension in the lower back 
  • Lengthens the spine 
  • Opens up the hips 
  • Stretches the ankles, shoulders, and front thighs 
  • Releases fatigue and energises the body 
  • Calms the mind 

Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana) 

Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you, hip-width apart (or as wide as is comfortable). 

Rest your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other.  

Lift your upper torso and head up into a mild back bend  

Press the tops of your feet into the mat.  

Keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Drop your shoulder blades down your back and draw your chest forward. Lengthen your tailbone toward your heels.To release, slowly lower your torso on to the mat.  

Benefits: 

  • Stretches the front of the body including the abdomen and hip flexors. 
  • Helps with mobility in the spine. 
  • Calming 
  • Strengthens the spine, and firms the buttocks 
  • Stretches and opens the chest, lungs, and shoulders  
  • Invigorates the body soothes the nervous system 

 

Camel (Ustrasana)

Stand on your knees.  

Your knees should be hip-width apart in a kneeling position with the tops of your feet on the mat. 

Place your hands at the base of the spine.  

Gently lower the head and neck and gaze at the tip of your nose. 

Slowly leaning backward  

Keep pushing your hips forward – over your knees 

To release the posture, bring your chin back toward your chest as you come up slowly  

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens the back 
  • Opens the heart  
  • Opens the shoulders, chest, and quadriceps 
  • Boosts mood and energy 
  • It may also help relieve back pain.  
  • It improves your posture and counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting 

 

Bridge (Setu Bandhasana) 

Lie on your back and bend your knees placing the feet a comfortable distance from the hips 

Keep knees with your feet approx. hip distance apart  

Hands should be on the floor parallel to the body with the palms pressing down.  

Or you can bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your fingers are pointing to the ceiling. 

Press down through your feet and hands, and lift your hips off the floor. 

Lengthen the back of your neck by tucking your chin in slightly towards your chest.   

Slowly release lower your hips, until your tailbone reaches the floor.  

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens back, glutes, legs and ankles 
  • Opens chest, heart and hip flexors 
  • Stretches the chest, neck, shoulders and spine 
  • Calms the body, alleviates stress 
  • Calming for the mind 

 

Leg up the Wall (Viparita Karani)  

Sit on the floor facing a wall 

Lower your shoulders and head to the floor, lying on your side.  

Then roll onto your back and stretch your legs up the wall, with your feet hip-distance apart or whatever distance feels comfortable. 

Adjust your position by scooting your tailbone toward the wall. It doesn’t need to touch the wall. 

Find a comfortable position for your arms alongside your body, with palms facing up; relax your arms and shoulders. Relax your legs against the wall.  

To release the pose, bend your knees and roll to your side. Remain here for as long as you like.  

Benefits: 

  • Alleviates headaches 
  • Boosts energy 
  • Soothes menstrual cramps  
  • Relieves lower-back pain 

 

Savasana (Corspe Pose)  

Lie down on your back.  Taking up as much space as you like.  

Separate your legs – allowing your toes to fall away from each other.  

If this not comfortable – you can bend the knees – with the feet hip distance apart.  Bring your arms slightly away from your body.  With the palms facing towards the ceiling, with the fingers curled in slightly.  

Relax your entire body – letting your body feel heavy 

Stay for a minimum of five minutes or longer if you wish.   

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind and reduces stress 
  • Reduces headache, fatigue and anxiety 
  • Helps lower blood pressure 
  • Improves concentration  

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