First things first. There are no quick fixes. You think they’ll work but they will really bring back all the weight you lost and more. But wait, don’t be disappointed. There are measures like detox yoga to lose holiday weight quickly. There is a difference between holiday weight and stubborn fat Holiday fat is mostly gained from irregular and abnormal eating over a certain period (like between Halloween and Christmas) If acted upon timely, holiday weight can indeed be lost very quickly. But if you are looking for a quick fix to your weight goals then na-ah, we advise you to stop looking and start accepting that it will be a longer journey. Longer, but enjoyable. Especially if it involves yoga.
Yoga is our answer to all problems. It’s like looking into your own body for solutions related to health and mindfulness. Certain detox yoga poses fused with a few healthy measures will undo any holiday damage you’ve done. Let’s get started.
1. Urdhava Dhanurasana (Forearm Wheel)
This pose is a great way of opening your chest and activating your metabolism. Which means you will burn calories faster than usual.
2. 108 Surya Namaskars, 6 days a week for two weeks
If the damage is big, your effort will have to be bigger. Surya Namaskars done in repetition are a great way of working out your complete body. While you do your regular yoga routine, sun salutations will ensure that your extra goal of cardio for your complete body is not ignored.
3. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
This pose is a great one to include at the end of your yoga session. It’s great for your heart and your liver and works wonderfully at flushing toxins away from your vital organs.
4. Garuda-asana (Eagle Pose)
This pose stretches your thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back. It also pushes your core to the extreme which directly translates into fresher blood and detoxification.
5. Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose)
This pose is great for any constipation that you may experience due to al the greasy food that you may have eaten during the holidays. It works wonderfully at activating your digestive system to push out any undesired fat and proteins.
For a period of one month, add these 5 detox yoga asanas to your usual yoga and along with these introduce three new healthy habits:
1. Drink warm water with lemon on an empty stomach
2. Eat 250 calories less per day
3. Drink 3 glasses of water extra
That’s it. In one month, you will be back to where you started from if not even lighter and fitter. We strongly believe in the motto of staying fit and exploring your body every new day. However big may be your goal, as long you keep moving towards it, you are doing great! We hope your holiday weight gain hasn’t lead you to make any unrealistic resolutions. If yes, then you should probably read what to do next here.
Every yoga teacher talks about alignment. We’ve all been there. But here are 5 popular myths that need some balancing.
Alignment is a term mostly used to define the practice of some hard-to-achieve yoga postures. Unfortunately, the way the term is used sometimes takes the positivity away from the whole act. Let’s try to bust these common misconceptions to bring back the joy in alignment and yoga.
MYTH #1: You were born with perfect alignment but with time you lost your natural balance and flexibility
That’s just wrong. Don’t be so hard on yourself. First of all, nobody was born with perfect alignment. One side is slightly bigger than the other. For most people, it is the right side. You have one dominant hand and leg. You can write better with the dominant hand, see better with the dominant eye and balance better with the dominant leg. Thus, you see, perfect yoga alignment gained naturally or genetically, is a myth.
What one can gain naturally is flexibility. There can be beginner yogis who will pull off a deep backend pose which even lifetime yogis cannot. But don’t judge yourself for this. Flexibility can also be achieved through practice. Our muscles are toned through lifestyle and postures to become less or more flexible. However, that does not mean that you can be as flexible as everyone else in the yoga class. You can only be more flexible that what you were before. When you feel like the black sheep who needs special instructions, you put pressure on yourself to master that pose. You stop using your body to get into a pose, but start using a pose to get into a body. That’s not yoga. Accept your own levels of flexibility and work on them, keeping nothing as a milestone but your body’s health and inner strength.
MYTH #2: You have got to master the perfect posture
When you try to sing your favourite song, it is not the same as Taylor Swift or Sam Smith singing it. And a 4-year-old girl will have her own rendition. But they are all signing the same song and just as melodious. Just like that, your asana is your own beautiful composition of what your yoga teacher has taught you. Yoga alignment possibly has nothing to do with it. Your yoga pose will be as beautiful as any other perfectly balanced and flexible yogi. Your bones will clash as you twist and bend. You might not be striking a pose for the cover of a yoga magazine, but as long as you are finding peace in it and strengthening your core, you are doing great yoga.
MYTH #3: Improper yoga alignment can lead to injuries
Going back to point number 1. We are not naturally aligned, remember? Improper yoga alignment is very natural. And anything that is natural, cannot lead to injuries. Because that is how nature designed it to be, and it is perfect just like that. Have you heard the words, ‘Wabi Sabi’ ever? They mean ‘beautifully imperfect’ in Japanese. And that is exactly what all of us are. Injuries take place in yoga class because people push themselves to achieve a pose, that their body is not yet comfortable in, or maybe never will be. But improper alignment is not the cause behind yoga injuries.
MYTH #4: Proper yoga alignment leads to the perfect flow of energy
Yoga practitioners often believe that a perfect pose creates magic and lights up your nervous systems. Energy then flows freely in your body. But actually, it’s the opposite that is true. When we stretch or twist or bend, we are creating an obstacle for blood circulation and using it is a training course for the body to tame itself to the hardship. If you stay in a pose for too long, no matter how perfect your yoga alignment is, some part of your body will become numb. And when you will release the pose, blood will circulate freely again, leading to the feeling of Prana gushing in every part of your body. This is what yoga wishes to teach. The art of keeping calm and balanced in a difficulty, the art of endurance.
Learning the subtle art of keeping calm and balanced even in the face of difficulty is a powerful lesson—and one with profound implications outside the yoga studio as well.
MYTH #5: Some universal principles of alignment work for everyone
How many of you have heard a yoga teacher say, ‘Don’t let your front knee travel in front of your toes in lunging poses or you’ll hurt your knee!’. We’re guessing, all of you. But what about asanas like skanasana or a yoga squat? Doesn’t the knee travel in front of your toes in these. And there is another ‘universal’ rule. ‘Keep your elbows close to your body in chaturanga dandasana or it could hurt your shoulders!’ But for some people, the elbows-in position can actually be more damaging than the elbows-out position. It’s just a matter of how your shoulder joint is built.
If you’d ask 3 yoga teachers about the techniques or steps to a perfect triangle pose, you’ll learn three different methods altogether. There is no universal rule that bodies follow. Yoga is the beautiful art that makes your soul and your body communicate with each other. Chances are, each body has something different and unique to say. And the diversity is what makes yoga a developing science and not a hard-coded guide.
In truth, the human body itself is the most effective yoga teacher in the yoga room—and the best yoga teachers themselves understand that. Their teaching is as much inside-out as it is outside-in. The best yoga teachers hence, are often not the ones who can make the perfect yoga pose and impose the need of yoga alignment. But the best yoga teachers are the ones who understand and appreciate every yoga seeker. And definitely the one’s who wear the best yoga pants. 😉
It’s easy to believe that yoga keeps our body strong and healthy. We are living the benefits of yoga every day. One asana at a time. The anti aging yoga poses are some of the first ones that yoga teachers often teach beginners. You are probably already practicing them. But the benefits of yoga extend beyond our body, to our mind and soul.
A recent U.S. based study proves that yoga can help improve memory and the ability to focus, which people often lose as they age. In the experiment, over a period of 12 weeks, one group of adults with mild cognitive impairment were asked to do a series of proven memory-enhancing brain-training exercises, while another group was asked to practice Kundalini yoga and meditation. It was found that both the groups showed the same signs of development, but the group of yogis should a better ability to stay focused, de-stressed and sharp. Isn’t that amazing? So yoga not only keeps our body young, it even works its magic inwards.
What makes yoga anti-aging?
It’s easy to make a list of the benefits of yoga. Nobody will know them better than us yogis who practice yoga every day. A lot of people start doing yoga to stay fit and slim. But the world over, and especially in the east, where yoga originated, the reasons to practice yoga are often health related. Cancer patients, thyroid patients, diabetics, people with vascular diseases, depression, anxiety, the list of people who look towards yoga as the answer to their troubles is long. Making one look younger or live longer, is simply the “by-product” of all these other benefits. Those rhythmic inhales and exhales and those calm mantras that we chant while practicing yoga go deep inside. They purify us from inside, making us stronger, healthier and as a result, immune to common illnesses and troubles.
Which yoga poses are anti-aging?
1. Equal standing
This pose helps you develop awareness of postural tendencies. Imagine that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head. Notice if you’re slouching and stand up straighter, without over engaging any muscles.
2. Tree pose
Tree pose is a simple balancing posture that helps you keep your body strong enough to hold your weight as you age. Make sure you practice the tree pose on both your legs. It is important to maintain blood circulation equally in both.
Strong thigh muscles will help protect the knees from pain and injury. Knee-injury is one of the most common signs of growing old. Healthy thighs will protect your knees and support your active lifestyle for a longer period than usual.
4. Downward dog
A classic and well-known yoga pose, downward dog improves upper-body strength, promotes a healthy spine and stretches the back body. It keeps fat from accumulating on common spots like the tummy, arms and chin. Keeping these areas firm is step 1 towards looking young and feeling healthy.
5. Sun Salutations with rhythmic breathing
Sun salutations have a long list of benefits. They keep your body in shape and work differently for everyone. If your body type is lean, they will help you stay lean. If your body type is curvy, they will help you stay curvy. At the same time, they will keep wrinkles away. When you inhale and exhale as you make those poses, your lungs purify and pump clean blood. This keeps your skin healthy and glowing. Sun salutations performed in the morning at sunrise have an even greater impact on keeping you looking 5 years younger.
What habits can be added to our lifestyle, to make our yoga more effective?
If its anti-aging benefits are the chief reason behind your yoga sessions, then you will be glad to know that you can couple your yoga asanas with some healthy habits to increase its impact.
How to make yoga more effective?
1. Drink 4 cups of hot water every day
2. Eat a bowl of fresh veggies at least once a day
4. Have an apple for breakfast instead of coffee or tea
5. Practice Pranayama breathing exercises daily for a minimum period of 15 minutes
Add these simple tricks to the anti-aging yoga poses and you have for yourself a true mantra for longevity and youthfulness. The benefits will start showing immediately for most, and gradually for others. But irrespectively, don’t give up. Adopt these as your regular lifestyle and keep living every day, healthier and happier. You know what else can make you happier, our yoga pants! The perfect leggings for a healthy yogi who has set out to find the secret to staying young and healthy are right here. Take a look.
As we are starting this new Yoga Hive journey, I am thinking of new beginnings… The truth is, we start something new every day. We may not notice it – and it doesn’t have to be major, to be significant – but all the new beginnings open the door to the opportunities that could be so monumental, that we are afraid to actually launch that first step towards the new thing. It is wild out there. And all the new things, always feel a bit “out there”, don’t they?
In order to have a smooth launch into whatever we are starting, we have to be physically present, and we must be mentally evened out. We must be open to receiving the goodness, the Universe is about to send our way. Sometimes we must surrender. Breathe through it. Allow.
Opening our hearts is one of the way how yoga practice can support us on a new journey. One of my personal favourites at the moment, ironically, is Wild Thing. I just LOVE how this yoga pose is so multidimensional, and intimidating at times, could also be so playful and full of light at the same time.
Its strong foundation. The excitement of not knowing “how far you can go” this time. I sometimes imagine that I am a dancer performing an acrobatic trick, Cirque de Soleil or something. And even though the reality is far from it, I do feel a rush of fresh oxygen going through my body after I, lightheadedly, get out of the pose.
I usually get into this pose right after Downward-facing Dog. It feels like a good preparation, and an easy transition for the back. Transition from side plank pose could be another variation.
To end, release your back in Child pose, transitioning into Savasana.
To me this pose really signifies the preparedness to embrace the new. You have a strong foundation – your feet are strong and grounded. Your arms; one is supporting you strongly on the ground (to me this says – I’ve learnt from the past, and I am holding onto my lessons). The other arm is stretching, wide-open into the future. You are open, and ready to receive. You are leading your way with your heart – you are trusting the guidance. Your head is lower than your heart – your are not afraid being vulnerable, and you are making the decisions on the next step with a cool head, and a warm heart. And you smile. Yes, smiling raises your vibration, and sets you up for a positive start, which, some say, is half of the work.
Keep Moving. Be… brave. Namaste, Helen Stepchuk, YogaHive.ca Founder