By MyYogaWorks Laurel House
Side PlankBeyond the mind/body connecting benefits of yoga, you've got to admit that the body-benefits are fantastic! In fact, a consistent yoga practice can make every body part more beautiful and more functional so we're going to break it down for you- head, shoulders, abs and butt... and everything else too.
Surprisingly, one of the most important elements to sculpting a yoga body is the sequence of postures. Each pose has a purpose, and each pose leads logically to the next pose- warming up the bigger muscles, lubricating the joints, encouraging blood flow to the smaller muscles, accelerating the heart rate. All at once you are improving your posture, focus, balance and getting stronger, slimmer, and tighter.
As your practice improves, the poses will become easier and more graceful. Keep it up and you can say bye bye to bulk! Your body will reward you with lean, toned, and flexible muscles.
When it comes to the shoulders, MyYogaWorks Teacher David Kim points out that, unlike many other forms of exercise, in a typical vinyasa yoga class the shoulder joint moves in a full range of motion, repeatedly stretching and strengthening. The result is more freedom in the shoulders and lean, strong arm and shoulder muscles.
Certain poses target the shoulders specifically, helping to create that toned look even faster. If the shoulders are an area that you are looking to focus on, David suggests these 5 poses:
-Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance)
-Vasisthasana (Side Plank)
-Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow)
-Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
David reminds us to be diligent about releasing the thick muscle at the base of your neck- the Upper Trapezius- away from your ears in all your yoga postures to avoid overuse and bulking up or creating tension which can translate into headaches. Thankfully, this is yoga, not body-building, and awareness through breath is key to any practice.
Inhale, exhale, and enjoy the mind and mind-blowing body-benefits.