Yoga has been an interest of mine for quite some time now. We are joined now by Ginger Coy, a dear old friend of mine, who has recently completed a yoga teacher training and shares with us some of the ways yoga has changed her life.
1. Since you’ve become a yogi, what are some of the health benefits you’ve enjoyed?
I feel much more solid, integrated and aligned. I have a much healthier body, mind, spirit and heart and a vastly improved outlook on life. When I first started I did not have the endurance, balance, coordination, and strength that I have now. I had very little upper body strength. I couldn’t push up into a backbend (Urdhva Dhanurasana, Full Wheel) or lower down to Chaturanga Dandasana with skill and ease. Now I am stronger than ever!
2. Do you have any poses or breathing exercises that help to restore health and vitality to the body to feel better?
Downward facing dog is a great pose to release the hamstrings and increase flexibility for stiff backs and arms. It is an inversion which has a cooling effect and is great for the nervous system. It will also help increase wrist strength and arm strength.
When practicing yoga, it is important to remember to breathe through your nose. It is calming to exhale twice as long as you inhale.
3. What are some techniques to help increase the health benefits of yoga?
Yoga is a powerful practice. The more you practice, the more benefits you will gain. The positive effects for a beginner after just one hour a week of practice will last about a week. Techniques vary from system to system in yoga. In Anusara yoga, the biomechanics of the postures help optimize your alignment in your body and influence how you carry yourself off the mat which has an impact on how you see the world. It is important to synchronize your breathing with the movement for an optimal posture. Rule of thumb, as you lower down to the earth (example, Chaturanga), you exhale. As you move away from the earth or rise up, you inhale (cobra pose).
4. Is there a meditation you can share with our readers that will boost energy and mood?
You may repeat mantras silently in your head or out load. One that I like repeating is the beginning phrase of the Anusara invocation, “Om Namah Shivaya”, which means “I offer myself (bow)to the goodness within my heart”.
Another moving meditation is to chant “Om” periodically during your practice while holding a posture, for example, handstand against the wall or Warrier II. This will focus you on your breathing and help you find ease in challenging poses.
5. What is a healthy yoga routine and how often do you suggest practicing?
A healthy yoga sequence (1 hour -1 and ½ hours typically) has a beginning warm-up of dynamic movement, example, sun salutes to get the blood flowing, and moves on to a more challenging sequence of standing postures where you work to refine the postures. Inversions, for example, a handstand, usually follow and then seated postures to Savasana (the resting pose). A healthy yoga routine involves intelligent sequencing. If you are working on hip openers, you may work towards a Maha (pinnacle) posture that represents your peak experience during a pratice. Usually Maha postures are challenging and represent a culmination of your hip opening efforts in this example. An appropriate Maha posture in a hip opening sequence for beginners might be Pigeon Prep Thigh Stretch, where you grab hold of your back foot and draw it towards you. For more advanced practicioners a Maha pose might be full pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) ~ See my (above) picture.
Alignment In Vinyasa~ Step into the flow of grace and explore Anusara Yoga’s Universal Principles of Alignment and life-affirming Tantric philosophy. Learn to engage deeply and make each pose a creative expression from the heart in a flowing sequences that focus on proper form. Classes explore standing, inverted, seated and supine poses in a combination of dynamic, flowing sequences and steady, isometric actions that focus on proper alignment.