The reason I have said ‘dynamic yoga’ is because I feel that it is a style of yoga that the most people can benefit from without too many going “it’s just lying down and breathing”, or “it’s too sweaty me”. Personally, I enjoy most types of yoga, from the gentle and more restorative to the physically challenging and faster paced classes. I encourage you to try various styles of yoga before you decide you don’t like it. There are many styles here in Brighton (and gazillions of teachers) so experiment until you find your fit.
(Picture: Lucy’s own)
Yoga in Pregnancy
It’s no secret that yoga lends itself tremendously well to prenatal exercise. I’ve been practising yoga both on my own, throughout my pregnancy and with a pregnancy yoga teacher recently. Integrating breath with movement really helps to relieve tight areas, by directing the focus and breath there and allowing a greater release. As well as this, you will be gently strengthening the legs, spine, arms and core muscles (i.e. total body), preparing them for the increasing weight as your baby grows. To say I’m enjoying yoga in my pregnancy is an understatement. It should be a must for any mum-to-be, as it’s just delicious, mindful movement and precious time to connect with yourself and baby in a calm but active manner.
To reduce with stress levels and help with depression
I have a breathing exercise for you to do, right now. As you breath in, feel your belly expand (without force) and inflate like a big balloon. Notice and enjoy the stretch across your abdominals and the muscles across your ribs as the diaphragm expands. As you exhale, let out a long, controlled sigh. … How good does that feel?! Nothing yet? Try a few more and you should feel any tensions melt away and ease of body and mind to begin to flow through your body.
It is total body exercise PLUS stretching rolled into one
I’ve been a personal trainer for six years, training lots and eating well. But only since starting my yoga teacher training, almost two years ago, have I really achieved a lean, strong and supple body that I’m most happy with. — However, there is so much more to yoga than aesthetic benefits. On a practical level, I’ve found that this type of body allows me to move my frame freely and with control as well as withstand the aches and pains that can occur through moving too little and sitting too long.
(Picture: Lucy’s own)
Simple poses like downward facing dog can do so much for you when practiced with breath awareness and patience; it lengthens the spine, stretches the back of the legs and ankle joint, opens the chest and shoulders. Back pain is a common problem in today’s world, largely due to sedentary jobs and lack of exercise. Yoga is excellent for decompressing the body, especially spine, through the various twisting and lengthening poses.
For better sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene means ‘habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis’. The breathing techniques (pranayama) practiced in yoga allow the nervous system to switch into parasympathetic mode, which is responsible for relaxation. If you’re having trouble sleeping, focus on your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling from the belly. (Personally, even when I’m not pregnant, I like to place my hands on my belly and ribcage as I breath. It takes my focus to that area and stops my mind from wandering off.)
To find a better balance
With the stresses and strains of life, one can find it hard to achieve a good balance; between work and play, time with friends/family and time to just be alone. Stepping onto your mat for even just 10 minutes can help you gain perspective on things that have been bugging you. You might choose to do some asanas (poses) or just sit peacefully and breathe. They’re just as important as each other. Try it out and let me know how you get on!
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