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Yoga Position – What Does Each Type Do?
By: Della Menechella

I often wondered what the value of each type of yoga position is, so I did some research to find out. All yoga positions help to develop strength and flexibility. Yet the type of yoga position that you do also offers some very specific benefits.

Standing Poses

They are included in many poses and they help to align your feet and body. This type of yoga position is especially useful in improving your posture. Standing poses strengthen your legs while simultaneously increasing flexibility in your legs and hips. They add to the mobility of your neck and shoulders and they increase the flexibility in your pelvis and lower back. One of the most basic standing poses is Mountain Pose.

Seated Poses

These poses help increase flexibility in your hips and lower back, while also strengthening your back. They add suppleness to your spine and elasticity to your hips, knees, ankle and groin. They also encourage deeper breathing, which contributes to you feeling calm and peaceful.

Forward Bends

This type of yoga position helps stretch your lower back and hamstrings. Forward bends also release tension in your back, neck, shoulders, and increase the flexibility in your spine. They often promote a sense of calmness. I find forward bends particularly challenging since I have a considerable amount of stiffness in my neck due to an old gymnastics injury. This is the type of yoga position where I often use a prop such as a strap or block.

Back Bends

They open your chest, rib cage, and hips. They strengthen your arms and shoulders, while simultaneously increasing flexibility in your shoulders. They help relieve tension from the front of your body and hips and they also increase spinal stability. You should always do back bends as a complement to forward bends in order to maintain balance in your body.

Balance

Although balance poses can be challenging, I find them to be some of the most fun poses to do. They help you develop muscle tone and coordination and also strength and agility. They help improve your posture because you really need to elongate your spine in order to keep yourself from falling over. This type of yoga position helps train your mind to focus your attention; if your attention if not focused, you will not be able to do the pose.

Twists
I love to do twists. Twists release tension in your spine and increase shoulder and hip mobility. They also help relieve backaches by stretching and opening up your back muscles. I often experience tightness in my upper back and twists help me loosen up this area. It is important to always do twists on both sides of your body in order to ensure alignment and balance.

Supine and Prone Poses

Supine poses are done on your back. They help stretch your abdominal muscles, they open your hips, and increase your spinal mobility. They release tension and strengthen your back, arms and legs.

Prone poses are done facing the floor. They strengthen your arms and back and open up your hips and groin. They relieve tension and increase flexibility in your spine. One of my favorite prone poses is Extended Seal because I find it very relaxing and it helps stretch out my shoulders and upper back.

Inversions

This type of yoga position develops strength and stamina, particularly in your upper body. It also increases circulation because since your legs are higher than your heart, it reverses the normal flow of blood. Inversions help pull fluid out of your feet and legs, so they are great to do after you have been standing up for a long time. Advanced inversion poses require a great deal of strength and alignment and should only be learned under the guidance of a certified teacher. People with glaucoma, pregnant women and those who are menstruating should avoid inversion poses.

Relaxation Poses

Relaxation poses are usually done at the end of a yoga practice. They calm your mind and body and encourage a deep feeling of relaxation. This type of yoga position is often one of the most challenging poses to do, particularly for Westerners who often have a difficult time letting go. One of the most well-known relaxation poses is Corpse Pose.

There are hundreds of poses in yoga and they all provide wonderful benefits for your mind and body. By understanding each type of yoga position, you can choose a well rounded practice with asanas from each type or do those that meet your body’s needs at any given time.

About the Author

Della Menechella is a yoga and fitness enthusiast who has been involved in fitness for over thirty years. Here website http://www.beauty-fitness-yoga-source.com/ is filled with practical information about how you can make yoga and fitness a positive part of your life.


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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