Yoga teacher and personal trainer Julia Chan shows us how to build our own yoga practice in a four-part video series.
Twists are a favorite among many yoga practitioners. These poses can be advanced and have several health benefits. Rotating and twisting your upper body releases tightness in the lower back to promote spinal neutralization and better rotation and aids in detoxification and digestion. However most who attempt these twists are often doing them incorrectly. Jamming their bodies into a position they’re not ready for or not fully understanding the alignment of the pose are the common reasons yoga twists are often done wrong. The end result of incorrect twisting are over stretched muscles in the hips and lower back which in time will create instability and injuries.
In the female dominated world of yoga, I’m actually seeing more men attending my yoga classes. Although the classes I teach are more of a power yoga style, they’re still coming week after week and I love it. It shows me that the old association of yoga being touchy feely, only for women and for hippies is finally making its breakthrough. Men are understanding the importance of adding yoga and stretch to their fitness routine and those who are consistent are seeing results.
Two weeks ago, I had pushed my body to its limit. Long runs, heavy lifting, intense yoga practice and a stressful week at work, I felt a deep pain in my joints, especially in my hip which was healing a stress fracture and a strain in the attachment at my greater trochanter. These injuries began to radiate throughout my hip (specifically in my sacroiliac joint – located in the pelvis by the sacrum) into my lower back. My yoga teacher informed me that I needed to take at least 3 weeks off from physical activity.
In Vinyasa Yoga, a very common sequence is the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar). Sun Salutation is considered a Yang practice where the flow of the asanas (poses) are faster, more aggressive and challenging and is meant to create heat and energy in the body. Most yoga classes will start off with Sun Salutations as a warm up or within other sequences to push and challenge the body. The complimenting sequence to Surya Nasmakar is the Yin practice of the Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar). This quieting practice is slower, passive, more grounding and is meant to soothe and calm you – a perfect cool down or restorative practice.