Those poses you’re incorporating into your routine are even more beneficial than you think!
If you’re familiar with yoga, you’re surely already familiar with the overall benefits of the practice: low stress, better sleep, improved flexibility, increased strength, the list goes on and on. But many yogis may not know about the more unexpected and unique health benefits that some of the most common yoga poses can provide. Check out the added health benefits below for some of your most-used yoga poses, and you’ll see that your body is thanking you in many more ways than you think!
By Alexis Kristan
1. Forward Fold
You probably already feel the stretch in the hamstrings and spine when you practice Forward Folds, but what you don’t feel happening is the flushing of the liver, spleen and kidneys. This is further proof that you don’t have to pretzel your way into the perfect twist to get some detoxifying benefits.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Down Dog is technically an inversion, since the heart is above the head. In addition to being a great hamstring stretch, this pose also decompresses the spine and sends fresh oxygen and blood to the brain. This pose also helps relieve back pain, headaches, and fatigue.
3. Warrior II
Besides causing you to feel the burn in your glutes and legs, holding yourself up in this pose contracts your abdominal organs. This contraction creates a cleansing effect and tones muscles in your abdomen, too. Warrior II, despite being a challenging and strengthening pose, can also be therapeutic for sciatica and backaches.
4. Child’s Pose
This restorative yoga pose relieves tension in the neck, back and hips. It also helps calm the mind and relieve stress. Child’s Pose is symbolic of surrender in the ancient yogic tradition, so this is a great place to come and surrender to the present moment and all things in life we can’t control.
5. Triangle Pose
This asana is known for improving concentration and balance, as well as opening the body, which allows blood and oxygen to flow freely to all the organs. Next time you practice Triangle, focus on keeping your side-body long and your chest open rather than collapsing downward. This keeps the energy flowing freely.
6. Happy Baby
This is one of the last poses you do in your practice, because it is a great stretch for the hips. There are pressure points just above your tailbone, so when you rock side to side, you are massaging this area which helps release the low back. Also, it’s called “happy baby” and not “sad baby,” so remember to smile while you practice. It can change your entire day!
This is often described as the most challenging pose in yoga because it requires you to simply be still – a challenge in our modern society of constant movement. What we might not realize is that during Savasana, we are also significantly reducing our stress and anxiety levels in addition to combatting insomnia. Savasana, like other kinds of meditation, has been known to increase grey matter in the brain, which is responsible for everything from muscle control to memory, emotions, speech and decision making.
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All images courtesy of Alexis Kristan / YogiApproved.com.