Monday, February 16, 2009

Yoga Salutation

About a week ago I was lucky enough to have been able to meet with James, a yoga instructor from the Yoga Center. He talked with me to help me identify my strengths and weaknesses. This really was very painless. I was not supposed to have any knowledge of yoga (trust me, mine is minimal) but I could not resist sharing what I did not like. I really am not flexible. It is as if someone wrapped my whole middle in saran wrap then cardboard. I can't touch my toes or really bend like I wish I could. He had me lay on my side and do some stretches and well as bending over from a standing pose. He then determined that my upper body - shoulders and arms- are much stronger and more flexible than my lower body areas. I am also more flexible on the right side than the left. I will say I am learning I do not know which muscles I am using when I am moving. I need to increase muscle awareness. (I am still not sure how to do this).

Then he developed a sun salutation just for me! A sun salutation is a short routine or cycle of poses you move through to increase or improve target areas.

While its name might evoke images of some exotic, surfside ritual, the reality is that the sun salutation is simply a down-to-earth, almost mundane-looking sequence of yoga postures that can bestow some rather extraordinary fitness benefits! Think of it as a sort of slow yoga dance, comprised mostly of forward and backward bending movements, often with some twists and side tilts inserted to balance out the routine. The potential benefits of the sun salutation are impressive; they include increased flexibility to the hamstrings, enhanced upper body strength

(notably, the muscles in the back of the arms),

better strength and mobility of the low back, and

improved flexibility in the chest and front shoulder
muscles. And since it's performed in the hatha yoga format of uniting breath, posture, and mindfulness, you stand to further gain benefit in the form of stress reduction, enhanced quality of breathing, relaxation, and--believe it or not--increased energy

He emphasized breathing and thinking of the moves and getting deeper as I go. I enjoy doing this after I work out. It is a nice cool down and stretch for my body overall. James used little stick figures to create my personalized routine. I really like it because he adapted several traditional yoga poses for me so I really can do it and experience it for my body. I think this is how yoga really works best for me. I envision adding to this routine after a few more weeks with consultation with my yoga friends, Nora and Stephanie.

As I was looking for something else about yoga, I found the idea of naked yoga. I guess it is real. I am not even remotely interested in this but I wonder who would be?

Fitness Update
I forgot to weigh myself today (usually I do this on Mondays) but I think I am down about 10 pounds-possibly more- even with all the cake and candy from V day.


Nora said...

I loved your description of a sunsalutation!!

Jen said...

dont get too excited- I "borrowed" the tiny print from another's blog

Jeff said...

I just realized that....I'm real sharp aren't I? :) Regardless, I loved reading your take on the session.