Awaken The World Through Enlightened Media

Want To Improve Your Yoga Practice? These 3 Exercises May Help

by Yvette Jain: Yoga is a beautiful practice, and it’s called a practice because it takes practice…

Awaken

Everyone (at some point) starts at the beginning and builds on their practice over time. But doing more yoga isn’t the only way to improve your practice, you know. There are other exercises and stretches that can help take your yoga abilities up a notch, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned yogi. So if you’re looking to improve your yoga practice and prevent injury, give these moves a try!

Wrist stretches and wrist curls

Many yogis tell me that their practice is limited because their wrists start to hurt during the practice. Stretching and strengthening your wrists will improve any movement where you bear weight on your hands (e.g., down dog, planks, etc.).

Having injured my wrists twice (non-yoga-related incidents), I have found these exercises to be effective. You may feel sore if you’ve never done these before, but after some repetition over a couple of weeks, you’ll start to feel stronger and less fatigued in your vinyasas.

How to do a wrist stretch

Start on all fours, stacking all your fingertips under your shoulders, with your index fingers pointing directly forward and the other fingers turned out. This is the starting position.

Pivoting off your right index finger, turn your right hand counterclockwise so that your right index finger now points back at you, and allow the other fingers to land naturally. Repeat on the left hand.

Pivot off your right hand once more and now turn it 360 degrees (or as far as you can) clockwise, so that again, your right index finger points back at you. Repeat on the left hand.

Pivot off your right hand clockwise 180 degrees, so that your index finger points forward, away from your body and comes back to the starting point. Repeat on the left hand.

Repeat 10x

How to do a wrist curl with light hand-weights (1-3 lb.)

Rest your right forearm on a bench or table, with your right wrist hanging off the edge. Hold the weight facing up toward the ceiling.

Starting in neutral position, curl the weight in, toward your body, then bring it back to neutral. Repeat 10 to 15x. Repeat on the left hand.

You’ll want to strengthen both sides of both wrists.

Now go back to the right hand and hold the weight, this time with the back of your hand facing up toward the ceiling. Starting in neutral position, curl the weight in, toward your body. Repeat 10 to 15x. Repeat on the left hand.

Wall slides and prone lateral raises

When you develop a stronger back, you can create a softer front, improving chest openers and backbends (e.g., cobra, wheel, etc.). The rhomboids and other muscles in the upper middle back tend to get neglected in the yoga practice. To create balance, it’s important to strengthen these muscles. My favorite exercises to do so are wall slides and prone lateral raises.

How to do a scapular wall slide

Stand against a wall, draw your navel and ribs in, tuck your tailbone to protect your lower back, and bend your knees slightly. Extend your arms directly above you, palms facing out. This is the starting point.

Keeping your navel and ribs drawn in, slowly bend your elbows and draw your arms down until your elbows are in the same line as your shoulders. As much as possible, keep your back, the back of your palms, and elbows on the wall. Hold for a full breath.

Maintain your navel and ribs in, and lift your arms back to the starting point.

Repeat 15x.

How to do a prone lateral raise

Lie on your belly on a bench, with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a light hand-weight in each hand. Rest your head on the bench so it’s in a neutral position.

Extend both of your arms away from your body, slightly lower than shoulder level. This is the starting point.

Lift your straight arms up until they reach shoulder level (arms are parallel to the floor).

Squeeze the shoulder blades together, lifting the arms up, focusing on your upper back. Breathe and hold for one count.

Slowly lower your straight arms back to the starting position.

Repeat 8x.

Walking lunges

Walking lunges are one of my favorite exercises to strengthen the core, improve hip flexor flexibility, and strengthen the legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes). This move is particularly applicable (and beneficial) to your yoga practice since we so often stretch these same muscles. This exercise can be done with or without weights.

How to do a walking lunge

Start by standing tall, feet together (optional: Add an 8- to 10-lb. dumbbell in each hand; rest your arms by your side).

Ground down through your left foot and activate your core muscles as you lift your right knee up toward your chest and take a controlled step forward.

Bend your right knee, stacking it directly above your right ankle. Bend your back knee and point it toward the floor while maintaining your torso upright. (For a deeper hip-flexor stretch, let your back knee hover 1 inch off the floor).

Ground down through your right foot and use your core muscles to stabilize you as you step your left foot forward to meet the right foot in a standing position.

Repeat the above steps, starting with the left foot stepping forward.

Walk across the length of a large room, or about 20 to 30 steps on each leg.

To make this more intense, you can hold the weights directly above your head, challenging your core stability more and/or lunge with each step (skipping the stand in between).

Adding any of these simple cross-training exercises to your routine is bound to improve your yoga practice in no time! If you want even more ways to improve your yoga practice (both mentally and physically), check out the five yoga poses you should do first thing in the morning or the best yoga poses for reducing inflammation.

Source: Mind Body Green

Share

Leave a Reply


Sources

News Source

33rd Square
Alternative Energy
Am Solar Energy Society
Ancient Origins
Ars Technica
Awakening Women
AltHealthWorks
BBC
Belief Net
BodyMindSoulSpirit
Care2
Chopra Center
Cleantech News
Climate Central
Collective Evolution
Common Dreams
C S Monitor
Daily Cup of Yoga
Daily Good
Dept Of Energy
DoYouYoga
EarthTechling
EcoWatch
elephant journal
Elevated Existence
Futurity

 

Gas2
Gizmodo
GrandParents
Greatest
GreenMedInfo
Heal Your Life
Health Perch
Healthy Child
Healthy Food Team
Higher Perspective
Homestead
Huffington Post
Hyperbot.com
IEEE Spectrum
Ignite Me
Indian Country
Inspiration All Over
Inspire Me Today
Institute of HeartMath
John Robbins
Kripalu Blog
Lion’s Roar
Live Science
Lucid Dreaming
MindBodyGreen
Mindful

 

 

MIT
The Moon Magazine
Mother Jones
Mother Earth News
Mother Nature Network
Nation of Change
National Geographic
Natural Society
Now And Zen
OM Times
Origin Magazine
Purpose Fairy
Psych Central
PhysOrg
Planet Green
Reality Sandwich Science Alert
Scientific American
SelfGrowth.com
Sierra Club
Singularity
Singularity Hub
Singularity WebLog
Space.com
Spirituality & Health
Spirit Library

 

Spirit Science
Spirit Science & Metaphysics
Sun Shot Initiative
SuperConsciousness
TED
ThinkProcess
The Mind Unleashed
The Open Mind
The Spirit Science
Transients.info
Tree Hugger
Truth Theory
U of C Scientest
Wake Up World
Waking Times
We Are One
Women’sHealth
World Future Society
Yoga Anonymous
Yoga International
Yoga Journal
YouTube

Teachers

Adyashanti
Alberto Villoldo Ph.D.
Amma
Ananda Giri
Anodea Judith Ph.D.
Anthony (Tony) Robbins
Arjuna Ardagh
B.K.S. Iyengar
Barbara Marx Hubbard
Bernie Siegel, M.D.
Byron Katie
View all

People

Aubrey De Grey
Daniel Kraft, MD
Danielle Graham
Dawn Cartwright
Dr. KD Farris
Dr. Oz
Ed and Deb Shapiro
Elon Musk
Fu-Ding Cheng
James Mihaley
Jim Carrey
View all

Corporate