What is yoga?

Yoga, a Sanskrit word meaning ”to yoke,” or “to unite” is a set of disciplines that address the body-mind split in many powerful ways. Meditation, concentration, physical postures, breath control and so forth are some of the better known ones. Certainly, the physical postures, “asanas” are the best known form, and contain much of the benefit of the other branches. Yoga is particularly good for the back and joints.

Yoga  originated in India more than three thousand years ago. Its purpose is to help each one of us achieve our highest potential and to experience enduring health and happiness. With Yoga, we can extend our healthy, productive years far beyond the accepted norm and, at the same time, improve the quality of our lives.

Benefits of yoga

Physical flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increases strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are doing yoga. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started.

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

Check out our calendar of classes, retreats and workshops for the latest yoga news and happenings around Ibiza or contact cheryl@ibizaretreats.com

Garudasana – Eagle Pose – How to!

Let the eagle help you find your balance. Garud means ‘Eagle’ in Sanskrit, so this pose literally translates as Eagle pose. Although it may look a little complicated and as if you are wrapping yourself around yourself, in fact, the key to it, is balance. And practice, concentration and of course, a little good old-fashioned faith! But if you are finding it difficult to balance – there is always a friendly wall near by to support you! Once you’ve mastered the Eagle – you can begin to reap the benefits of this pose. Physically it strengthens and stretches the calves and ankles – areas which we often neglect in everyday life!
Comprehensively it stretches your thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back. Most wonderfully, it requires concentration and focus of the breath, mind and body – which encourages total relaxation…

How to do it:

1. Stand in Tadasana. Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. Balance on the right foot.
2. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor, and spread your shoulder blades wide. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows. Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearms. The backs of your hands should be facing each other.
3. Now try and bring and press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up, and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling.
4. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute, then unwind the legs and arms and stand in Tadasana again. Repeat reversed.

 

 

5 Day Dynamic Beach Body & Yin Yoga with massage Healthy Holiday with Jax May Lysycia & Niki Taylor


26th – 30th April 2011 at Formentera Yoga Beach Spa

Your time is precious so why not indulge yourself in our exotic beach location and get what you came to get instantly!

Visit our Wellbeing Calendar for further info – http://www.white-ibiza.com/5-day-dynamic-beach-body-yin-yoga-with-massage-healthy-holiday

Just Stop! 5 Day all inclusive retreats


Enjoy yoga, meditation, life coaching, wellness coaching and life-enhancing workshops and experiences plus your choice of pampering, healing treatments.

Dates available:

May – Sat 28th –  June 1st

July Sat 3rd – 7th

August Sat 13th – 17th

September Sun 4th – 8th

Visit our wellbeing calendar to read more!

Utkatasana – Using your chair to stay warm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to some very credible yoga sources, the secret to a comfortable stay in Utkatasana (or chair pose) is ‘the release of the heads of the thigh bones toward the heels’. Ahem. It may feel like a form of torture…and that burn in your thighs is so, well, burny! Already we are learning a little about our stamina! But in truth, this slightly awkward, but powerful and fierce posture can bring you so many benefits.

Physically it…

  • Strengthens the hip flexor muscles, the fronts of the thighs, the adductors of the inner thigh as well as the hips gluteus muscles, the calf muscles
  • It opens your chest and shoulders and stimulates your heart… enjoy the sensation of your heart pumping and working hard for you!

How to do it…

  • Stand in Tadasana.
  • Inhale and raise your arms over your head.
  • Keep arms parallel, palms facing inward.
  • Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible.
  • Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the tops of the thigh bones down toward the heels.
  • Melt your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Extend your tailbone down toward the floor and slightly tilt it under to keep the lower back long.

Stay for 30 seconds to a minute – test yourself. To come out of this pose, inhale your knees straight, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides back into Tadasana

And especially when it’s winter outside, creating a little heat and energy in the body can really help you stay warm on the inside…