Yoga for Single Moms http://yogaforsinglemoms.com Empowering single moms trying to get their yoga on! Mon, 19 Jan 2015 05:22:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yoga For Beginners: What You Should Know Before The First Class http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-for-beginners-before-first-class/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-for-beginners-before-first-class/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 05:16:46 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=159 If you have never taken yoga, then yoga for beginners is the way to go. Yoga has benefits for your entire self, including mental and emotional with the physical benefits. Many people even find spiritual strength through yoga. Most of the benefits, at least at the beginning, are physical. Here,…

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If you have never taken yoga, then yoga for beginners is the way to go. Yoga has benefits for your entire self, including mental and emotional with the physical benefits. Many people even find spiritual strength through yoga. Most of the benefits, at least at the beginning, are physical. Here, you can find out the best yoga classes for beginners, and how to get ready for that first class.

women in yoga class

Taking the first yoga class can be scary for some. But don’t worry, yoga is all about acceptance.

What Type of Yoga Should You Choose?

There are actually several different kinds of yoga. You’ll want to do a little bit of research to see what kind would be best for you.

Yoga dates back to 1500 BC in India. It has been practiced in many countries for thousands of years, and became popular in the West during the Victorian era. Yoga has Buddhist and Hindu roots.

The word “yoga” refers to “yoking” your mind, spirit, and body together. The physical aspect of the human body is in 5 layers, envisioned like an onion. These layers include flesh and bone, energy, mind, wisdom, and bliss, which is only accessed during deep sleep. There are also the “subtle” traits that are energies flowing through each of the layers. Meeting points between the energies are called “chakras”, and can become clogged. If this happens, it is attributed with illness, emotional or mental turmoil, and other physical or emotional problems.

Good Beginner Yoga Classes

For beginners, Hatha or Vinyasa yoga will be the most logical choice. Hatha yoga will take a slower approach to the physical and mental demands, which is good for someone who is not in top condition or who has not been working out. The word “hatha” means sun/moon (ha = sun, tha = moon), and references the masculine and feminine within each person.

Vinyasa yoga is a good choice for someone in good shape already, and moves at a faster pace. However, keep in mind that with yoga, you advance at your own pace.  Don’t try to keep up if you are not ready.

Many studios offer yoga for beginners classes.  Other names for a beginner or easy going class are Level 1 Yoga or Soft and Gentle or Restorative Yoga. All are very well suited for the beginner student.

Call the Studio in Advance

Before your first visit, it can help to call the studio.  Ask them which class if most suited for your particular situation. They will be more than happy to give a few suggestions for both the type of class and maybe some of the easier instructors.

Another good question to ask is the average number of students in the class you plan to attend. You may want to join a smaller sized class the first few times where the instructor can provide extra instruction.

Yoga for Beginners – Before the First Class

  • Bring water and a towel.  With beginner yoga classes, all you really need is a bottle of water and a towel – because you WILL sweat.
  • There is no equipment necessary to begin yoga. A yoga mat is nice, but you can often rent one at the studio.  Some studios provide them free of charge.  When you are just starting out, it’s better to wait before buying your first mat. Ask the teacher or other students for recommendations. Class specific equipment like blocks or bands are almost always provided by the studio.
  • Drink water before, during, and after class.
  • Your clothing should be comfortable for exercising, and not too baggy, especially your top.  Some of the positions require you to be upside down.  If your shirt is too loose, it could fall up over your head exposing your belly and chest for all to see.  You want to focus on your moves, not adjusting your clothes.
  • You will not wear shoes or socks during class. You may consider a pedicure or a quick toe polish. At the very least, make sure your feet are clean.
  • Eat a light meal at least two hours before class. This is a workout, and if you eat a big meal just before class, you will be sorry! The many twists and turns of your body can release unexpected gasses which would be more than embarrassing.  The following reminder is printed on many yoga brochures: “Enter with an open mind and empty belly. “
  • Arrive early. Try to arrive 10-15 minutes before the class is due to start. This will give you time to figure out where to go, ask any questions and find a space on the floor and get comfortable.  You don’t want to walk in just as the class is beginning that not be sure where you need to be.
yoga clothes - tips for yoga for beginners

When planning your wardrobe, make sure you will be comfortable doing poses like this without your shirt falling over your head.

You don’t want to overdo yoga. It may look easy, but you can hurt yourself if you do not take your time and pace yourself. Be sure to tell your instructor that you are a beginner, and also list any physical problems you have, such as a knee replacement or arthritis.

With beginning yoga, you need to make sure you exercise at least once a week. Even if you do not have time to go through an entire routine, you should make time to do cool-down stretches and muscle relaxation.

Yoga Lessons for Beginners – A Basic Class

According to About Health, most yoga lessons for beginners will consist of 4 to 5 parts. You will line up your mat with the other class members, leaving room for stretching, and sit cross-legged on the mat while waiting for the instructor. Then the steps follow:

  1. The class will chant “om” 3 times to begin the focusing of thoughts.
  2. The teacher may have you do some breathing exercises or meditate briefly.
  3. Warm-up poses will help your muscles to be more flexible for more strenuous exercises.
  4. Vigorous poses will work up a sweat and challenge you.
  5. Stretches and final relaxation will cool down the muscles, reducing soreness and allowing tendons, ligaments, and muscles to resume their normal status.

Most of the time, teachers will have you end with another set of “oms”, and some teachers give each student a little massage during the cool down. If you need an easy yoga routine, you can skip the vigorous poses and rest in the child pose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why “Om”?

“Om” is a pulsating mantra that can resonate throughout your body. Ancient yogis believed, and today’s scientists believe, that the universe is always in motion. According to the yogis, this movement produces constant pulsations. Philosophers have called it the “music of the spheres”. While we may not hear this sound of feel this pulsation on a daily basis, we do hear it in the sounds of nature.

By chanting this mantra, you focus your thoughts and breathing, reflecting on the movements of the universe.
As a music teacher, I also know that this syllable creates a resonance throughout your sinuses. If you do it properly, you can feel it vibrate in your tongue, throat, and even chest. This vibration is seen to be part of the pulsations of the universe, and can create a sense of connection that many people find to be stabilizing and encouraging.

Why are so many Yogis Vegetarian?

Some people who practice yoga are vegetarians. You do not, however, have to become a vegetarian to do yoga.
Vegetarianism and yoga are combined mostly because the first principle of yoga is ahimsa. This means that you do not harm yourself or others. This is the basis behind many people choosing to follow a meatless diet.

Religion in Yoga

While yoga has both Hindu and Buddhist roots and expressions, it is not normally seen as a form of worship. It is, rather, a philosophical framework. You do not have to compromise your own spiritual beliefs in order to participate in yoga.

You do not have to be flexible to practice yoga. That is sort of like feeling like you have to get well before you go see the doctor. Rather, even beginning yoga can get you on the path to a more flexible, happy, and healthy life.

Summary – Yoga for Beginners

While it can be a little scary taking your first yoga class, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while, yoga is one of the easiest ways to start.  By their very nature, yogis are kind, helpful and understanding.  There is no judgement in yoga.

Just follow our basic tips to get ready, grab your water bottle and towel, then head out and enjoy your first class.

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Little Known Health Benefits Of Yoga http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/little-known-health-benefits-of-yoga/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/little-known-health-benefits-of-yoga/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:26:32 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=133 Some of the health benefits of yoga are well known – improved balance and a calmer spirit are usually attributed to yoga. But the little known health benefits of yoga may surprise you. Here are some of the benefits you may not have considered. Physical Benefits of Yoga Muscle Tone…

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Some of the health benefits of yoga are well known – improved balance and a calmer spirit are usually attributed to yoga. But the little known health benefits of yoga may surprise you. Here are some of the benefits you may not have considered.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Muscle Tone

Killer arms and abs – who knew? One of the little known health benefits of yoga is improved muscle tone. It is one thing to observe other people holding contortionist-type poses and wonder at how limber they are. When you get into yoga yourself, you will be amazed at the benefits of even the simplest exercises.

yoga builds arm strength

You don’t need to hit the gym to get strong arms. Yoga is an extremely effective way to build muscle.

As you stretch and balance with each pose, you work both large and small muscle groups. The initial stretching that you do to attain various poses may be the most beneficial at the beginning – many people are very stiff. Stretching immediately increases circulation to your muscles, and they do the thousands of minute adjustments necessary to help you keep your balance, all of which contribute to muscle tone.

Larger muscle groups work in the same way to maintain your balance and to support the weight of your body. When you isolate large muscle groups, and put them in the position of supporting your own weight, muscle tone is the result. As you advance in your poses you can even add hand and leg weights, if a little more strength is your goal.

Joint Stability

major muscles of the body

The body is an inter-connected systems of muscles, ligaments and joints.

Your joints are held together with ligaments. These are fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone. Tendons are also fibrous tissues, but they connect your muscles to your bones. Both tendons and ligaments can lose their flexibility and shrink, especially as you age.

But, age is not the only affecter for tight ligaments and tendons. Some people are just “tight”, all the time. In fact, for most of my life, I couldn’t bend far enough to EVER touch my nose to my knee.

As ligaments get shorter and less flexible, they restrict movement of your joints, and do not support the joint properly. These compromised tendons are less likely to recover from minor injuries. They also may interfere with your balance, as your body will not be able to adjust as quickly to uneven footing or other factors that affect balance.

Restore Balance and Movement

Yoga exercises that target ligaments in various joints will gently restore flexibility so that your joints can, once again, move normally. A knowledgeable yoga instructor will start you off gently so that no ligaments are stressed to the point of inflammation – which would be counter productive. Not only can you regain your sense of balance, you can regain the physical ability to bend “in the right places” to keep your balance.

Tendons can “draw up” if you do not exercise them. This will impede your muscles’ actions, often making working out harder than it should be. Common tendon problems occur with the Achilles’ tendon, which can contribute to heel spurs. If you have ever had heel spurs, you know the agony of any kind of workout. Stretching the Achilles’ tendon sometimes helps with this condition. You may have noticed people who take short, quick, stiff steps, especially right after they get up. This indicates stiff and shortened Achilles’ tendons.

yoga helps stabilize joints like wrists

Yoga can help keep your wrists strong preventing injury.

Preventing Injuries

Other people experience problems with the tendons in their wrists, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. In the elbow, it may become “tennis elbow”. Other tendon problems in the shoulder can become “frozen shoulder”, and tight tendons in the hip can make it extremely painful, if not impossible, to walk for any distance.

These ligaments and tendons keep your joints sturdy and are the gateway to musculature that is responsive to stimuli. If, for instance, your foot slips off of a curb, thousands of signals are sent to your muscles and joints to swivel, extend, and contract to keep you upright. If you have stiff, unresponsive ligaments and tendons, your body will not be able to respond to those signals.

By using your own body’s weight, yoga strengthens all the inter-connected tendons and joints.  Rather than isolating individual muscles, yoga helps to keep the entire body conditioned and balanced.  A balanced body is much less prone to accidental injuries, which is perhaps one of the biggest physical benefits of yoga.

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

The mental benefits of yoga are easily stereotyped and misrepresented. Popular culture usually portrays a person who is calm in an emergency as being disconnected or “spaced-out”. Someone who is confident under stress is considered to be unaware of the severity of the situation.

However, one of the under-appreciated mental benefits of yoga is that the practitioner does learn to balance and focus himself or herself first, then deal with problems and challenges. Rather than being disconnected, your mental state enables you to evaluate your ability to respond to a situation and where to insert yourself into a crisis to help restore order.

mental benefits of yoga

Yoga can keep you centered boosting self confidence and self respect

Boosting Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is woefully absent for most people. They tend to substitute bravado for true understanding of their own abilities and their place in the world. The emotional intelligence you gain from extended periods of concentration, and the ability to focus you gain through yoga exercises, will build your confidence so that you are willing to express yourself, or even take charge when needed.

Self Awareness and Respect

Another of the mental benefits you gain from yoga is respect for yourself. As you focus on your body’s workings, visualizing each muscle group and its circulation and need for nutrition, you reach a level of respect that helps you to take better care of yourself. Not only will you begin to crave foods that are good for you, you will lose cravings for those things that are damaging to your health.

Part of this phenomenon is due to the fact that you are, indeed, healthier. Any exercise regimen in good for you, but yoga improves your circulatory system, your nervous system, and all of the other “systems” in your body. As you exercise, your overall health improves, and your body does not crave the quick fix foods that ensnare us.

In Summary

Yoga benefits are diverse, and can extend from cradle to grave. Regardless of your age or physical condition, consider yoga for its many health benefits.

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Yoga Studios with Childcare http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-studios-with-childcare/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-studios-with-childcare/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 19:13:53 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=109 Looking for yoga studios with childcare?  We’ve compiled a list of studios that offer yoga with childcare.  Many popular yoga studios have recognized how important this feature is to their students.  By offering childcare, they make it easy for parents with young children to attend class.  Enjoy peace of mind knowing…

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Yoga with childcare

Bringing baby to yoga is good for both of you.

Looking for yoga studios with childcare?  We’ve compiled a list of studios that offer yoga with childcare.  Many popular yoga studios have recognized how important this feature is to their students.  By offering childcare, they make it easy for parents with young children to attend class.  Enjoy peace of mind knowing your child is well taken care of and just a room away as you enjoy your yoga class.

Most studios have a separate playroom for the kids complete with games, toys videos and books.  There may be yoga classes for the youngsters where both you and your child can take a class at the same time.  Plan ahead and be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early, so you can settle your child in before joining the class.

This is just the beginning of our directory.  Check back soon as we will be adding more studios at the end of each month.

Just click the up/down arrows to sort by any field.

Yoga Studios with Childcare Directory

City State Studio Phone
Portland OR Yoga Shala of Portland (503) 963-9642
San Diego CA Hapa Yoga (619) 309-6732
Middleton WI Blackbird Family Yoga (608) 237-1777
Bay Shore NY Bear Foot Yoga Center (631) 560-4401
Fitchburg WI Dragonfly Hot Yoga (608) 274-9642
Madison WI Dragonfly Hot Yoga (608) 203-9000
Highland Village TX Inspire Yoga Studio (972) 505-9764
Laguna Niguel CA Beyond Hot Yoga (949) 290-0040
Seattle WA Limber (206) 963-8973
Alexandria VA Local Motion Studio (703) 299-0017
Albuquerque NM Sweat Yoga Studio (505) 344-3535
San Francisco CA Yoga Flow SF Ocean (415) 466-6576
Santa Cruz CA Luma Yoga (831) 325-2620
Novato CA The Dailey Method (415) 506-4439
Sacramento CA Arden Hot Yoga (916) 482-5652
Lafayette CA Earth and Sea Yoga (925) 389-1869

Yoga with Childcare Pricing

Prices will vary by studio.  Some yoga studios include free childcare with an annual membership.  Other will charge a per hour or per class fee.  Check the individual websites for pricing information on individual studios.  It is also recommended to call the studio in advance to learn more about their policies.  Some studios have a reservation system where you need to register in advance so they know how many children to plan for.

Perks for Parents

Finding a yoga studio with childcare has a few other benefits.  Since many others in the class will also have young children, this provides an opportunity for networking.  Share tips and strategies for staying fit with other moms that have the same challenges as you.  Enjoy each others stories and get a good laugh or plan outings together with your children.   Having a child changes your social life.  It’s always nice to add people to your social circle who are in the same stage of life as you.

yoga studios with childcare benefits

Finding a yoga studios with childcare facilities can introduce you to other moms with the same interests as you.

Another benefit is your child will see you taking care of yourself.  Instead of feeling like mom or dad has left them alone, they will be part of the experience.  Even though you are getting alone time, you are still going to class together as a team and they become part of a positive experience for both mom and child.  This teaches your children at a young age how it’s important to take care of yourself and include exercise in your daily routine.

Other Options for Parents with Young Children

Don’t let lack of childcare stop you from enjoying your practice.  If you can’t find a studio in your area, see our article on setting up a home practice.  If your children are past the infant stage, you may also look for studios that offer parent and child yoga classes.

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Do You Need Cardio for Weight Loss? http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/cardio-weight-loss/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/cardio-weight-loss/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 23:35:17 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=86 If you read enough weight loss books, you will find many theories on the best way to lose weight. Some experts say you need to get in the fat burning zone, ramp up the cardio and really sweat to lose weight effectively. Personal trainers at he gym may preach muscle…

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woman sweating after cardio workout to lose weightIf you read enough weight loss books, you will find many theories on the best way to lose weight. Some experts say you need to get in the fat burning zone, ramp up the cardio and really sweat to lose weight effectively. Personal trainers at he gym may preach muscle building is best. Others say consistency is key.

So, who is right? The answer is they all are. Increasing your heart rate, building muscle and being consistent are all important factors to losing weight. The great thing about yoga is it accomplishes all three.

Does Yoga Provide Enough Cardio for Weight Loss?

Yoga is generally not thought of as an aerobic form of exercise. Especially when you compare it to running or cardio intense workouts like zumba.

But some forms of yoga most certainly get you in the fat-burning zone. If you’ve ever taken a power or yoga flow class, then you know it can get the heart pumping.

3 Types of Yoga that are sure to raise your heart rate

1.  Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga burns the most calories. Hot yoga is performed in a room heated to about 105 degrees. Most classes also boost the humidity to a whopping 40%.

The heat requires more energy to complete each move. This extra energy is what helps to burn more calories. The warmth also loosens your muscles that makes you more flexible and allows for more intense movements. Combine these elements, and you have quite the cardio workout.

2.  Ashtanga yoga, or power yoga is known for its consistent moves. It is a series of positions that are always done in the same order.

There are about 75 poses in the entire series beginning with sun salutations and ending with inversions. This form of yoga is intended to build strength, flexibility and stamina.

Since the ashtanga style of yoga consists of the same poses each time, it is very popular for the home practice. Once learned the at-home yogi can perform the same sequences at home.

3.  Vinyasa or yoga flow is another top calorie burning form of yoga. You can expect to sweat when taking a vinyasa flow class. This form of practice focuses on flexibility and strength. But unlike ashtanga yoga, vinyasa is not as structured. Individual teachers will all have their own style. The common theme will be a challenging quick paced workout.

But losing weight with yoga is much more than just burning calories. Yoga builds strength and muscle. Muscle burns more calories by increasing your bodies metabolism.

Other Ways to Boost your Metabolism without Cardio

  • Fat burning foods. Certain foods are known to kick start a slower metabolism. Foods like spicy peppers and lean meats great examples of metabolism boosting foods. There are even full programs like Metabolic Cooking that provide you with a collection of metabolism boosting recipes. These recipes were specifically designed to combine these foods to create fat burning meals.
  • Enjoy a little caffeine break. Coffee or tea, when used in moderation, can aid in giving your metabolism a boost. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and can increase your metabolism by 5-8%.
  • Drink more water. Some studies show people that drink 8 or more glasses of water burned more calories that people who drink just four glasses. When you are dehydrated, your metabolism slows down.

Can you Lose Weight doing only Gentler Forms of Yoga?

Yes, you can, and many people do. People who practice yoga have a very strong mind-body connection. They are very aware of what they eat and its effect on the body. They have a natural desire to become healthier which includes eating better and becoming more active.

Yoga is also easier for people with 20 or more pounds to lose than many cardio intense workouts. There are many easier forms of yoga that are good for a beginner to start with. Soft and gentle yoga is designed for people that may be a little uneasy on their feet. This is particularly good for new mothers who may still be sore and need to start back slowly.

The key will be just to start moving, and yoga is perfect for that. Once you start and begin to enjoy the benefits little by little you can start increasing the intensity of our workouts.  Yoga can help you get there by providing the correct mindset to lose weight not to reach a number on the scale, but to lead a healthier more fulfilling life.

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Yoga for Lower Back Pain: Easing the Stresses of Everyday Life http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-lower-back-pain/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/yoga-lower-back-pain/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 21:26:25 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=76 In America, about 80% of the population will experience back pain at one time or another in their life. This number has risen over the years as we experience higher levels of stress and obesity. Most of the time, the cause of the pain is non-specific which means there is…

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In America, about 80% of the population will experience back pain at one time or another in their life. This number has risen over the years as we experience higher levels of stress and obesity.

Most of the time, the cause of the pain is non-specific which means there is no known reason. Many also suffer from chronic back pain which means it re-occurring over several months and has started to interfere with daily activities.  See how you can use yoga for lower back pain and ease the stresses of every day life.

Why is the Lower Back a Target for Pain?

Yoga for lower back pain

Yoga can help strengthen and stretch the muscles of the lower back bringing relief to many.

There are several contributing factors for this rising ailment. One of the primary reasons is your back needs to support the entire weight of the upper body. Almost all women who have had a baby fall into this category. Carrying around the extra weight both during and after pregnancy only increases the strain. It can be a struggle some days just to stand upright as your belly protrudes out in front of you.

Then also think of all the activities you perform on a daily basis. Your back is used to support many of these activities that can lead to additional strain. Getting dressed, putting on your shoes, picking up toys and clutter. The simple act of grocery shopping as you reach over to place items in your cart or carrying bags home from a shopping trip. Then of course, lifting your sweet babies, balancing them on your hip or carrying them up to bed. All of this can put added strain on your back. It is no wonder single mothers are even more prone to back pain.

The Anatomy of Your Back

Your spine’s job is to support the upper body and keep you upright. It is made up of over 30 small bones, separated by cartilage; all stacked one on top of the other. The cartilage acts as a type of shock absorber, preventing the bones from rubbing against one another.  This is quite a delicate balancing act to support more than half your body weight.

There are also a series of muscles that support your back.

  • The flexor muscles are in front of your the spine and help you to bend forward, lift and flex the lower back. These include the abdominal muscles.
  • The extensor muscles connect to the back of your spine and help you to lift and stand straight.
  • The oblique muscles run along the side of your spine and help you to twist from left to right.

It is important to keep these muscles strong in order to minimize the stress on your spine and help to support you in your daily life.

How Yoga Helps Ease Your Back Pain

Two great ways yoga helps to ease back pain is by stretching and building strength.

Stretching is one of the best things you can do to ease back pain. Many people carry their stress in their body which causes the muscles to tighten. This constant pressure will eventually give way to aches and pains. By practicing yoga, you will reduce the tension held in your muscles allowing your body to relax.

Yoga also requires you to hold certain positions anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds. As you hold each pose, you are also building strength in your muscles. Building strength in your back muscles will help to support your spine.

Yoga is one of the few exercises which promotes strength, relaxation and flexibility all at the same time. It is incredibly beneficial to both your muscles and joints.

Stretch Your Lower Back and Improve Flexibility (Video)

Watch this video as Courtney Bell walks you through a series of yoga moves to stretch and ease your lower back pain.  Some of the poses include: child’s pose, cat cow, cobra and sphinx.  It helps to build your upper body strength in a way that is easy on the hands and wrists.

5 Yoga Poses to Help Ease Lower Back Pain

     1. Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a favorite yoga position to ease lower back pain and stretch the entire body. It can be used after a series of more strenuous moves or on its own any time you need it

Kneel on the floor pushing your butt toward your heels. Stretch the rest of your body forward with your arms over your head. Keep your shoulders and neck lose, don’t try to force your butt too far. Relax the spine as you feel your body ease into the position.

     2. Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend is good to stretch both your back and legs.

Begin in a sitting position. Place your legs in front of you bending your knees in a slight V. Point your toes at the ceiling. Stretch your arms up taking a deep breath then stretch out over your toes with your back as straight as you can.

Bring your chin to just over your knees and stretch your arms out in front of you. Ease into the stretch slowly, only going as far as you can comfortably go.

     3. Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend is a gentle stretch that uses gravity to help ease you into the position.

Start in a standing position with your feet hips width apart. Clasp your elbows with opposite hands and bend forward. Slowly dangle your head to below your knees and remain there until you feel the stretch.

     4. Cat Cow Pose

The Cat Cow pose can be used to build flexibility and warm the muscles as you stretch your back. You will be able to feel the tension slip away as you move in and out of these two poses.

Start on all fours with your head parallel to the ground, looking at the floor. Push your belly toward the floor and bring your head to look up at the ceiling. Hold this for a few seconds. Next, begin to round your back and bring your head in to look at your belly button. Repeat the two motions 5-10 times.

This pose is also very good to help with your breathing. Inhale deeply as you bend under, and then exhale in as you stretch upward to the sky. Do this slowly and deliberately as you feel your body loosening up becoming more flexible.

     5. Two Knee Twist

Start by lying on your back and open your arms in a T position on either side of you. Breathe in as you bring your knees to your chest. Slowly exhale as lower both knees to your left side. Hold for 1-2 minutes, and then rotate both knees to the right.

Keep both shoulders on the floor while you move your knees back and forth. If your shoulder lifts up, just don’t push your knees all the way to the floor. Repeat three times.

In Summary

Use these exercises by themselves or together as part of your overall routine. If you have severe pain, it’s best to consult a doctor. But if you have the occasional aches and pains that go along with everyday life, especially those that come from being a single mother, yoga can help bring some welcome relief.

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5 Tips for Setting up a Home Yoga Practice http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/home-practice/ http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/home-practice/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 05:09:33 +0000 http://yogaforsinglemoms.com/?p=59 Single moms have a lot of responsibility. It’s not always possible to find a sitter or to be able to leave the house for an hour or two to attend a yoga class. For these reasons, it’s important to have a home yoga practice. Even if you can attend a…

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Tree pose at home yoga practice

Getting comfortable practicing yoga at home ensures you can keep up a regular routine.

Single moms have a lot of responsibility. It’s not always possible to find a sitter or to be able to leave the house for an hour or two to attend a yoga class. For these reasons, it’s important to have a home yoga practice.

Even if you can attend a few scheduled classes a week, you should still try to find time to work your practice into your daily routine.  A regular practice ensures you will achieve better strength, flexibility and self awareness.  The more time you put in, the greater the benefits you will enjoy.

Group classes are wonderful. There is a sense of community, and you may be inspired to push yourself further than when you are at home. It may also be easier for you to completely focus on yourself.

But your home practice is your center. A place you can always go to when you need to de-stress or recharge your batteries. Learning to do yoga in your own home, in your own space is the key to keeping up a regular practice for many busy moms.

Here are 5 tips to make the most out of your home practice.

1. Schedule a regular mat time.

Put it on your calendar, set the alarm on your phone or write it on the refrigerator. But make sure to write it down. This reinforces your commitment to yourself. It also serves as a reminder just in case you do get caught up and just plain forget.  There is a great saying that applies to many goals in life. If you think it, it’s a dream. But if you schedule it, it’s a reality.

2. Try to make time every day.

Make it part of your everyday routine, like brushing your teeth in the morning. Not everyone has an hour a day, and if you can attend a few formal classes, you certainly don’t need to do both. But 10-20 minutes at least five days a week is a great start. Our bodies learn from repetition.

If you have limited time, it’s much better to do a little each day, then a marathon session once or twice a week. It may be hard to stay motivated at first & you may need push yourself some days to get going. But over time you may come to treasure that time and you will probably find yourself wanting to go longer.

3. Remove all distractions.

During your reserved time, turn off the phone, don’t worry about email and make sure baby is all set for a while. You won’t be able to hear your inner voice if there are little beeps going off in the background – letting you know, “You’ve got mail!!”

Reserve a neat and quiet section of your home for your practice. Try and find a place where you will be comfortable and at peace. You may not be able to relax if you’re trying to practice next to the dirty laundry or stacks of unopened mail.

4. Mix it up a little.

You may find yourself repeating the same poses and sequences over & over. But if you always do the same routine, you may get bored or complacent. Changing things up will challenge your muscles in new ways giving them the signal that they need to be extra strong to tackle the unexpected. Athletes include this type of variety in their training for the very same reason. Here are a few ways to get additional inspiration or learn new moves.

  • Schedule a private session with an instructor. Let them know your goals.  You may want to focus on strength, relaxation or flexibility.  Or you may want to simply learn a few new moves.  Then ask your instructor to work-up a new routine for you.
  • Try a new DVD. There are hundreds of yoga videos and DVDs to choose from. It should be pretty easy to get some new ideas this way, even if you don’t use DVDs every day.
  • Pick up a new Yoga Magazine or book. Many magazines have recurring columns on a home practice.
  • Try a new class at the YMCA or even a new studio just to feel out other instructor’s styles.
  • Dedicate a few days to a different type of yoga. For example, maybe you do strength or vinyasa flow yoga one day and restorative at the end of the week. This will keep your body challenged, and you won’t get into a rut.

5. Finally, JUST DO IT!!

The 2 most important factors when practicing yoga at home are commitment and consistency. There are so many excuses we make for ourselves. There isn’t enough time or you don’t know where to start or what to do.

But the first step is just to do it. Take a real look at your day. I’m sure everyone can find 15 minutes to give themselves the gift of good health. Once you have selected the time, put it on your calendar. Then setup the room.

Make sure you have everything you may need all ready to go. Get out that yoga mat, blocks, bands, etc. and put them in your new yoga space. Get out the clothes you will wear & put a water bottle close by. Set yourself up for success so the only thing you need to do is go to the space and start.

Do this for two weeks, and you will be amazed at the benefits from just that little bit of effort. Yoga carries forward into all areas of your life. It helps you find your center and builds the mind-body strength needed to tackle everything else that comes your way.

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