There has been a study posted that practicing yoga "boost brain function in older adults." Awesome news! Of course we knew this from experience. The study followed people ages 55 - 79. Some practiced yoga 3 times per week. The others did a program of stretching and toning. Those that participated in yoga had "significant improvements in work memory capacity." These folks where also able to do tasks without being distracted. Those folks that participated in the program of stretching and toning did not have these changes!
So keep up the great work!
Please let me know how your yoga practice has helped you with your memory and general every day activities.
Click below for article: Hatha Yoga May Improve Brain Function in Older Adults
We have practiced posture series "Moving Palm Trees" in class. It is a great series of poses that encompass many different stretches. Moving Palm Trees takes 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how long you hold each pose. Moving Palm Trees may also be adapted to sitting in a chair.
Click on the picture of Palm Trees to open up a (PDF) description of "Moving Palm Trees". Sorry there are not any pictures. I hope to add them at a later date.
Found an awesome article called "10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Class" from Yoga International. It is a very truthful list of ways we can approach our yoga classes and find our classes becoming more valuable.
Here is a brief listing:
1. Come to class free of expectations - expectations for the class and of your body
2. Have an intention - We leave time during centering for setting your intention
3. Free yourself of distractions - do your best
4. Disclose physical limitations to the instructor - I keep a notebook of what people share with me
5. Honor your own inner teacher
6. Listen to your body - Heard this before?!!
7. Leave your phone at the door - please!
8. Bring your own stuff - matt, blanket etc.
9. Breathe - we talk breathing during each class
10. Be grateful - be thankful for what is!
Click HERE for the full article.
Let me know what you think of these ideas!
Downward Facing Dog is a great pose except if you have wrist, knee or other similar issues. There are ways to modify Down Dog. During Chair Yoga we stand at the back of the chair and step back into a position similar to a table, feeling an extension from our heads to hips.
We can also modify Down Dog by leaning onto our forearms instead of our hands.
Check out the following website for some great pics and descriptions.
The YouTube video below guides us to head placement while practicing Down Dog using a chair.
Check it out!
This week we will begin to practice Bow Pose during Monday morning Yoga at Gleason Family YMCA. During the last few weeks, we have been practicing Boat Pose - Navasana to prepare ourselves. Boat Pose encourages us to extend our spine out through our head and our legs. It will be important to remember this extension to protect our lower backs as we bend further back into Bow Pose.
Instead of me describing Bow Pose I have include a connection to a great description from Yoga Journal and a video describing some corrections to make our Bows better and safer.
Hope this is helpful!
This week during chair and floor yoga classes, I will challenge participants to
1. use their quadriceps with yoga postures during the upcoming weeks
2. notice when they use the quadriceps muscles during daily activities
and report back either in class, on Facebook or on this blog.
What are "quadriceps" ?
Quadriceps or "quads" are a group of muscles on the front of your thigh. Quadriceps help us walk, run, squat, and kick. The quadriceps work to extend your knee which means when your knee is bent the quadriceps straighten your leg. Try sitting in a chair with legs bent, feet on the floor. Now extend (straighten) your leg and then flex (bend) your knee a few times. See if you can feel your muscles on the top of your thighs contracting.
What are some yoga postures that use our quadriceps?
We have practiced "goddess pose" during class and is a great quadriceps stretch.
More standing poses: Dancer Pose, Warrior I and Warrior II, Chair Pose
Sitting Poses: Knee Lift and extend, Knee lift and swing to side
What other poses can you think of?
What have you done this week? During what activities did you use your quads?
(Hint: Did you vacuum? Did you work in the garden? Did you pick stuff or cat up off the floor? Did you walk/jump/run?)
Please let me know how the Quad Challenge went for you.
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Note: Click on the green highlighted poses above for a description.
Before Thursday night yoga at Gleason YMCA, one of the participants approached me and shared a little of his story. "John" said he hurt his ankle a few years ago leaving it weak. John said he became inactive because of his ankle. John pointed to his ankle and said yoga practice had improved his ankle! I was so glad to hear that. During yoga practice we do stretches specifically geared toward ankles, but also many yoga poses involve the ankle. For example, when we do Child Pose we extend our ankles out against our mats giving our ankles a good stretch. Downward Facing Dog asks us to balance on the balls of our feet which helps strengthen our feet and ankles. Thank you John for sharing your story!
During yoga practice we often practice Extended Child's Pose. It is a great pose for rest and breath during yoga practice. Child's pose is also good for stretching our backs.
Extended child's pose adds arms extended out in front. This creates a long arms stretch and opens the space under our shoulders, our armpits.
Add some deep breath to your child's pose and see how much your back expands with your breath.
Click on the picture to connect to Yoga Journal's description of this pose.
Neely Da Kat snoozing on his "Throne" in the window.
Savasana or Shavasana translated as sava (corpse) asana (pose). We all know it as the resting pose. Usually we do this at the end of our practice but can be done anytime to relax. Savasana is a time to tune out, breath, and relax. It can be done laying on your back, side or with feet up the wall. During chair yoga class we do savasana in the chair. When doing chair yoga at home, savasana can be done with your head rested on a table.
If you click on Neely's picture, you will be connect to a page of Wikihow that has a 7 step series of pictures with instructions for savasana.
I enjoy yoga as it brings peace to my life. Teaching yoga has brought joy to my life and given me a chance to encourage others in learning yoga.