Pose of the Month "Cobra"
This is a very common pose. It helps with hip funtion, low back flexibility, mid thoracic restriction, ankle flexibilty, core strength and quadricep flexibitly.
As with all poses make sure to position correctly, be careful with hand placement. It is critical that you are stable so as not to strain the wrists and shoulders or lose your balance. If you have any ankle issues you mav find the heel to floor position difficult, make sure not to push to hard. Also, do not force this pose. Gently push up keeping your hips on the floor/ground, comfortably arch back. If you feel any dizzyness bring the head forward so you are not arching your neck. As with all poses pay attention to how your body feels.
Isn't it just stretching?
As you've probably noticed Yoga has become quite the popular activity. There are just as many clothing and specialty items for the activity as there is for running, cycling etc... So what is yoga.
The term yoga (in sanskrit) means union; which refers to the union of the mind, body and spirit. Traditional Yoga consists of eight 'limbs':
Eight limbs of Yoga
- Yama : Universal morality
- Niyama : Personal Observances
- Asanas : Body Postures
- Pratyahara : Control of the Senses
- Pranayama : Breathing Exercises and control of Prana
- Dharana : Concentrating and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana : Devotion, meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi : Union with the Divine
In the current vogue of yoga practice in North America we are particularly focused on the 'Asanas' limb
This is the limb of yoga which focuses on physical postures. The intent is to improve health, strength, balance and flexibility. Often the term Hatha Yoga is used: this is somewhat correct but only refers to any of the physical postures. There are many types of Asana/Hatha Yoga:
Types of Hatha/Asana Yoga
- VINYASA: which means breath-synchronized movement, tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of poses called Sun Salutations.
- ASHTANGA: is a set series of poses done quickly and in a set order. It can be quite a fast paced class and gave rise to Power Yoga.
- IYENGAR: concentrates on defined body posture and holding positions for longer periods of time. The use of props such as pillows, chairs etc... are used to aid in proper body position.
- KUNDALINI: uses the breathe in conjunction with body postures, it also uses rapid repetitive movements.
- BIKRAM/HOT YOGA: this practice of hatha yoga is done in a hot room following a specific series of a 26 poses.
This is a listing of the most common practices of Hatha/Asana Yoga in North America, there are a number more, but they are variations of the preceding.
Before partaking on any new exercise plan it is highly recommended to consult with your health care professional. All the information presented is purely that - information- it is not to replace any professional advice.