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Heartfelt Yoga Foundations

Posted Date: 11/12/2018
Posted By: Alice G
Heartfelt Yoga Foundations

Heartfelt Yoga Foundations

Yoga Philosophy … Heartfelt Yoga Style

What really is “yoga”?

Brief History

The development of yoga can be traced back 5,000 years, but some researchers argue that yoga maybe be up to 10,000 years old, to civilizations in India. Due to its rich and long history, there are many different interpretations of the practice. Prominent ancient texts include the Upanishads (which includes the Bhagavad Gita ) and Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.

Other countries have their own interpretation as well modern interpretations have been created in recent years.

Purpose

Every school of yoga and interpretation calls to a slightly different purpose. Overall, most aim to bring personal enlightenment. Most schools and interpretations also have mental and spiritual practices involved with the more well known physical practice.

Current Application

Most people come to yoga for either the physical or the mental benefits, often losing sight of the rich spiritual history. At Heartfelt, we offer practices that hits on all three, making it a whole experience. We focus on helping the individual find their own unique true practice within the safe space of our community.

Key Yoga Terms: Virabhadrasa-what?

What are all these weird words?

Sanskrit

3000-year-old language of ancient India. Can be heard used to describe yoga poses.

Vinyasa

The linking of one thing to another. Whether that is linking breath to movement or pose to pose. Also, a style of yoga, that is practiced at Heartfelt.

Prana

Breath/life force/ energy/soul.

Pranayama

Breathing practices that literally mean expansion of life force (prana) and its purpose is to improve the body’s capacity to retain prana in the body.

Asana

Asana can be used to refer broadly to the physical poses or positions involved in yoga,.

Kundalini

Kundalini yoga focuses on harnessing the body’s energy to enhance personal awareness and enlightenment. The word “Kundalini” is a term for the powerful energy that is located at the base of the spine or the Root Chakra. Also, a style of yoga, that influences some practices at Heartfelt.

Inhale. Exhale.

Can’t be that hard - right?

Importance of Breath

Breathing is simply the base of life and how we breath impacts quality and longevity of our life. Proper breathing is the basis of yoga to which you build your physical practice on. Deep breathing has been proven to reduce stress physiologically as well as increase wellness in the body.

Frequently Taught Breaths

Three-Part-Breath

This technique includes a harmonious synthesis of all three basic types of breathing: Lower (diaphragmatic/abdominal/belly breathing) + Middle (intercostal/ribs) + Upper (chest/clavicular) It relieves stress, refreshes the mind, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging a calmer, more balanced state of being.

Retention Breathing / Box Breathing

This technique has you take in 3-8 breaths for your inhale + 3-8 breaths to pause at the top of your inhale + 3-8 breaths for your exhale + 3-8 breaths to pause at the bottom of your exhale It helps calm the mind's chatter to focus and become more mindful. It is also beneficial for concentration.

Ujayi Breath

The technique, unlike the others, can be used with asana to link the breath and movement. Each breath is taken in and out the nose and as you breath out, the muscles at the back of the throat are constricted. Imagine you are trying to fog a mirror, but exhale out the nose instead of the mouth. This breath builds heat in the body while settling the mind.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

To start this breath, close off the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril. Pause while closing off the left nostril with the right ring finger. Breath out the right nostril. Pause. Breath in through the right Close off the right nostril and breath out the left.

Move Your Asana

Asana is only one of the many tools in the yoga toolbox.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose

    Benefits
  • Rest
  • Ground
  • Allow breath focus for backbody
  • Gentle back/ hip/thigh/ankle stretch
    Variations
  • Knees together for more spinal extension
  • Knees apart for a deeper hip release
  • Block underneath forehead to relieve neck/shoulder strain
  • Blankets between legs and tailbone of relieve hip strain
  • Blanket rolled under ankles to relieve ankle pressure

 

Forward Fold

Forward Fold

    Benefits
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Stretches the back/hamstrings
  • Neck release
    Variations
  • Pull Sit-Bones up to the ceiling to deepen the stretch in the hamstrings
  • Deepen the bend in the knees to soften the pull in the hamstrings and back

 

Halfway Lift

Halfway Lift

    Benefits
  • Stretches the calves/hamstrings
  • Strengthens the back
    Variations
  • Hands onto blocks
  • Hands further up towards hips to help draw the shoulders onto the back
  • Hands to the floor to deepen the stretch in the back of the legs

 

Cat

Cat

    Benefits
  • Stretches the back body (spine and tailbone)
  • Stimulates kidneys
  • Relieves neck strain
    Variations
  • Round back to your heels to move to a child’s pose

 

Cow

Cow

    Benefits
  • Stretches the chest
  • Stimulates abdominal muscles and organs
    Variations
  • Drop hips down to move to an upward facing dog

 

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

    Benefits
  • Stimulates nervous system
  • Strengthens the whole body
  • Stretches chest/back of the legs
    Variations
  • Bend the knees to relieve strain in the hamstrings and to lengthen the spine
  • Straighten the legs to deepen a hamstring stretch
  • Reach heels down to deepen the stretch in the calves

 

High Plank

High Plank

    Benefits
  • Builds core and shoulder/arm strength
  • Improves posture
    Variations
  • Knees to the mat to soften the intensity
  • Lift one leg off the mat to deepen the intensity

 

Chaturanga

Chaturanga

    Benefits
  • Good prep pose for arm balances
  • Strengthens the whole upper body
    Variations
  • Knees to the mat to soften intensity
  • Knees off the mat to increase intensity
  • Lift a leg off the mat to increase intensity
  • Practice Knees-Chest-Chin-Pose as an alternative

 

Cobra

Cobra

    Benefits
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Strengthens the back
  • Stretches chest
    Variations
  • Straighten through the arms to deepen the back bend
  • Bend through the elbows to decrease the intensity of the back bend

 

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

    Benefits
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs
  • Improves posture
    Variations
  • Take low cobra pose or high cobra

 

FAQ

Did we miss something?

I’m a guy – can I still do yoga?

HECK YEAH. You do you, man. Our classes are catered to ALL students from all walks of life. We can understand that getting started is challenging for everyone – your instructor is always there to support you. Let them know you’re new and they will give you the run down.

Do I need to be flexible?

Like, what does that even mean? You don’t have to touch your toes or lick your elbow to give yourself the benefits of a yoga practice.

What do I bring to my first class?

Bring yourself in comfortable clothing you feel comfortable moving in. We can provide you with everything else! Feel free to bring your own mat and water if you’d like.

What classes should I take?

We always recommend starting out with Foundations – as the name suggests, it is good to get a solid base. Then depending on your personal experience, we can recommend what is best for you, most students would benefit from taking Slow Jam to really get a feel for postures.

What the heck are props?!

Basically – props help you get further and deeper into your practice. The can make something more comfortable, can make something more accessible, can help reduce injury, and so much more.

 

 

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