Live Long & Younger With Yoga

Resistance bands are popular in the fitness world, especially for strength training. They work by creating tension and resistance, requiring extra effort from your muscles. But can they be incorporated into yoga? 

Resistance bands can help you achieve proper alignment. If you are holding your body in a position incorrectly, you will be able to tell through the band. Practicing poses while using a band can help you train your muscles to come into proper alignment naturally. They can also be great for people who need easier variations or cannot come fully into a pose due to injury. 

Always make sure you are using a resistance band that is neither too light nor too strong. Find a tension that you can handle right away but will also continue to provide benefits as you grow stronger. Move slowly and don’t try to pull the band too tight; only create enough resistance to engage your muscles without straining them. 

The next time you roll out your mat, try these familiar poses – with a twist: 


  • Warrior II

Step from Downward Dog into a lunge with your back foot at a 45-degree angle. Turn your hips out and face your pelvis towards one side of your mat. Hold a resistance band in your hands and raise your arms to shoulder height, stretching the band out across the span of your arms and torso. Gaze softly over whichever hand is facing forward (same side as the leg that is bent). 


  • Warrior III

Step your feet 4-5 feet apart; front foot pointed towards the front of the mat and back foot at a 45-degree angle. Face your hips to the front of the mat. Place one end of a resistance band under your front foot and hold the other end with both hands. Press into your front foot, lift your back leg, and lower your torso until it is parallel with the floor. Reach forward with both hands, stretching the band in front of your body at an angle. Make sure to keep your left foot engaged by flexing it.


  • Wide Leg Forward Fold

Hold a band in both hands behind your back with your fists facing out to the sides. Step your feet 4-5 feet apart and bend at the hip like in regular forward fold. Bring your head down as close to the ground as possible without rounding your spine. Slowly bring your arms up so that they are perpendicular to the floor, then stretch the band by pulling your hands away from each other. 


  • Tree Pose

Start in Mountain pose and firmly ground your feet into the floor. Place one end of a band under the foot that will remain in the ground. Begin to shift your weight to one foot, engaging your core and keeping your foot as stable as possible. Bring the foot forward, your weight is not on to your calf, then slowly higher if possible. The optimum placement for your foot is against the inner thigh close to the pelvis. Do not rest your foot on the side of your knee, only above or below it. Bring your hands in front of your chest, stretching the band up along the length of your body and focus on an unmoving spot in front of you. 




  • Dancer Pose

Stand in Mountain pose and shift your weight to your right leg, making sure you are firmly rooted. Bend your left knee and wrap a band around the top of your left foot. Hold the other end of the band behind your back with your left hand. Lift your left leg behind you, keeping a slight bend in the right leg to avoid hyperextension. Stretch your left leg up and back while leaning your torso forward, pressing the left foot back slightly to engage the band. Reach your right arm out in front of you and try to lift your torso rather than letting it fall forward. Try to hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.

  • Half Moon

Go into triangle – feet shoulder width apart, right foot pointed forward, bent at the hip and arms perpendicular to the floor. Place a band under your right foot and grip the end with your left hand. Bend your right knee slightly and lift your left leg parallel to the floor, keeping your toes pointed out to one side of your mat. As you straighten your right leg, lift your left arm back up towards the ceiling, stretching the band across your chest.

Velour jogging suits are once again becoming a popular staple item in athleisure apparel. You can see the sleek look of this plush fabric everywhere from the grocery store to a high-end café at lunchtime. They truly are a beautiful staple item to add to your wardrobe, but is velour the right type of fabric to wear to yoga?

Yogis are a little hesitant about this new trend, perhaps in part because velour jogging suits can err on the expensive side of things compared to other workout apparel. They want to know whether it is going to be worth their investment and if they will be able to practice easily in their new clothes. Here are a few reasons why you might want to rethink that velour purchase before your next yoga class.

Velour Doesn’t Breathe Very Well

Are you prone to sweating throughout the course of your yoga class? No matter how rigorous your yoga practice is, you are likely to find that velour is extremely uncomfortable once you get hot. Unlike other fabrics that are designed to wick away moisture and breathe easily, velour tends to be thick. Much like wearing a pair of thick cotton sweatpants, velour traps all of the heat against your body and refuses to let the air through.

Once your practice is well underway and the heat builds, velour doesn’t allow it to escape anywhere productive. It can absorb the water from your body, making it impossible for you to dry out or move comfortably. The extra exposure to the water might make you more prone to extreme discomfort and chafing after an hour of your yoga practice.

Velour Isn’t Known for Stretching

While some materials have a great reputation for stretching and moving with your body, velour certainly doesn’t make it onto the list. This can make stepping forward into positions like a high lunge far more difficult. Consider that you will also be putting a lot of strain on the stitching of these suits if the fabric isn’t designed to move and bend with you. This can lead to unnecessary and embarrassing tearing in the middle of your yoga class.

You Might Ruin the Fabric

With all of these other disadvantages to velour, the reality is that working out in your velour suit might cause damage to the fabric. These expensive tracksuits might not last you nearly as long if you actually wear them to work out. Sweating can stain the fabric and cause it to age prematurely. You might even notice it start to develop an odor because it retains so much sweat from your practice.

Overall, velour jogging suits can be a great addition to your closet as long as they aren’t yoga outfits. You would be better off looking for a pair of spandex yoga leggings that can move and breathe with your body throughout a long yoga practice every day. You’ll be far more comfortable and still effortlessly stylish with these standard yoga items.

The right sports bra can be somewhat elusive when you need something sturdy to help you further your yoga practice. Women want something that will offer complete coverage and lots of support as they move through their asanas and yoga flows. If you’ve been combing through the racks of workout clothing in search of the perfect sports bra, it may be easier to find than you think. 

Before you go shopping, keep these suggestions in mind to find a quality sports bra that will stand up to your rigorous yoga practice. 

Look For Thick Fabrics

Wearing a sports bra that is too thin can lead to some embarrassing mishaps and wardrobe faux pas. Particularly when you enter into a chilly yoga studio or begin to cool down from an intense practice, you may end up revealing more to your classmates. Thick fabrics help to conceal some of these unavoidable mishaps and allow you to feel less concerned with your outward appearance. 

Be sure to choose fabrics that can efficiently wick away sweat and moisture though. Breathable options, such as spandex-type material or those with mesh cutouts, will be more comfortable throughout your yoga practice than a cotton material that holds moisture. 

Consider A Lightly Lined Option 

Much like wearing a bra made from fabric that is too thin, a sports bra with no padding in it leaves nothing to the imagination during your yoga practice. A sports bra with a light liner worked into the cups can help to smooth out any trouble areas and keep away unwanted attention to this area. Be sure to look for liners that are removable so they can be washed and taken care of over time. 

A sports bra with too much padding or push-up in the cups can leave you feeling overly exposed during class. Similarly, you will want to avoid low-cut styles that reveal excessive cleavage. It draws a lot of unnecessary attention to the shape of your body and the size of your chest, which is distracting for both you and your classmates. 

Instead, practice a little bit of self-love by embracing what your chest looks like naturally with only the smallest amount of padding to help conceal trouble areas. 

Choose Thick Straps 

Women with large chests likely already know that wider straps can help to distribute the weight better and offer additional support. Some sports bras are now made with straps that look no different than a traditional bra for everyday wear. These very thin straps can cut into the shoulders during a rigorous practice instead of providing the extra support you would want during a workout. 

A good sports bra made for yoga will likely have wide straps connected to a higher neckline and good coverage over the back and shoulders. The extra fabric here serves to distribute the weight as you move through your sequence more comfortably. 

Purchasing the right sports bra can give you both confidence and comfort during your practice, so be sure to keep these suggestions in mind next time you go shopping.

The benefits of yoga are well known. It can help keep you flexible, strong, and improve your mental health. All these can be passed on to children as well. There are many ways yoga can enhance your children’s lives and is a great way to teach them about caring for their body. Here are some tips on how to start introducing your children to yoga to bring the health, happiness, and grounding.

Tip One: Keep It Simple

Some yoga poses are going be too difficult or too involved to keep a child interested. Sticking to basic poses helps the stay focused, and also teaches them the foundations of yoga. As they mature and grow, both as people and in their own practices, they can start exploring. At the beginning, only the basic poses though, such as Downward Dog, Warrior, and other foundation poses are a great place to start your yoga practice, and the that worked for you. Those will likely work well for your children too.

Tip Two: Be Flexible

You know that yoga is largely about flexibility. This does not just refer to your muscles either. When you are trying to get your child to engage yoga, they may have different plans. You and your child will both enjoy it more if you go with the flow. This lets them explore their own practice while having your guidance and help.

Tip Three: Be Fun

Activities that children like to do again and again have to be fun. If you want them to enjoy the time spent practicing yoga, finding ways to make it a game can keep them wanting to come back. A great way to add some fun is to introduce some poses based on animals. Cat and Cow poses are simple poses that can be made even more fun by introducing animal noises. While this can get a little loud, especially if you have more than one child, it is all for good fun. Let them experience yoga with a sense of joy and happiness. It will help them associate good health with happy times.

Tip Four: Remember That They Are Children

It is important for you to manage your expectations. They probably are not going to stay interested during a full hour-long practice, and they may decide that your poses are not what they want to do. Trying to force young children into yoga is a sure fire way to chase them away.

To get your children into their own yoga practice, you need to let them lead. You will want to show them the basics, and let them move on from there in their own way. You want them to find their own practice, not be pushed into your idea of yoga. Make it fun for them, so they associate activity with good times and remember children will likely find their own way. It should not be forced, and watching them grow is ever so satisfying as a parent.

 

Eka Pada Koundinyasa, also known as flying splits, is an advance arm balance meaning One-Footed Pose dedicated to the sage Kaundinya. This pose can be physically demanding and frustrating if you’re someone who’s just starting with your journey. But like everything great, the beginnings are always the hardest. However, with patience and effort, nothing is impossible.


Developing strength through balance.

This pose improves balance, builds strong shoulders, wrists and arms. It also strengthens the internal organs, boosts metabolism and increases mobility of the spine. Flying splits is also a good posture to create a stronger core and legs. This posture promotes self-awareness and develops a clearer mind to balance the energies of life and composure while facing struggles.

Approaching the posture can be frustrating and very challenging. The science behind flying splits is slowly shifting your weight forward to the foundations of the shoulders and arms rather than just trying to lift your back foot up. The weight at the front of the body will create the leverage to allow your back foot to lift without actually lifting it up. Do not lower the upper body too much to avoid pushing the shoulders into extensions.

Flying Splits. Eka Pada Koundinyasana is amazing but it’s not an easy posture. However, with regular practice, your body will naturally be familiarized with the technique needed to remain at balance, holding the pose for few breaths, strengthening the overall body and the mind.

How: Start in Downward-Facing Dog. Plant your hands shoulder width apart and your feet hip width apart on the ground. Push through the hips and imagine that it is tied to a string pulling your body up in an inverted V. Then transition to Three-Legged Dog, lifting and extending your left leg up. Inhale and bend your left knee and slowly bring it to your left triceps. Exhale gently as you lower your body in chaturanga, shifting your weight forward, allowing space at the back to lift your right leg. Extend both legs and hold the pose for three breaths. Stabilize your balance by spreading your fingers and planting them on the ground. Do the same technique on the other side.

Chaturanga, crow pose, compass pose and eight angle pose would be great preparatory poses before digging into Eka Pada Koundinyasana. Don’t attempt the pose if you have any injuries on wrists and shoulders or any other medical conditions unless approved by your physician.

Do not rush flying your splits. It will take practice and patience as you learn and have fun while building a strong foundation. Learning to fully approach will be even harder if you have tight hamstrings. Don’t feel down when it seems you can’t hold the pose. Take a rest. Pause for a moment to regain composure and try again with integrity and stability.

Be in the moment and listen to your body. Never force it to do anything that goes against its current capabilities. Slowly progress and be aware of what’s happening within and it will surely manifest itself physically in the practice. Keep learning and one day you’ll fly your Eka Pada Koundinyasana!