The young yogi

10 years ago by in Uncategorized Tagged:

It’s easy to incorporate yoga into any daily routine. The Observer’s yoga column will provide three postures and describe the benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga can keep you stress-free, even when your professor or boss is on your case. American University graduate student and Observer staff member Federica Valabrega has been a ‘Core Power’ yoga teacher for two years. She teaches a yoga course every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jacob’s Fitness Center at American University.

The Warrior Poses: Virabhadrasana takes its name from Virabhadra, a ferocious warrior with a thousand heads, eyes and feet who was known to be the reincarnation of Shiva, the Hindi Goddess of destruction. Why, then, do we practice poses that carry the name of such a creature?

Because these standing poses require the practitioner to engage his leg musculature in a warrior-like effort. These poses are not only challenging for the body, but they also target the wandering mind and force the practitioner to find the strength to maintain the posture from within his or her most spiritual powers.

TIPS: Keep in mind that to be a warrior, one must look like one. Make sure to check your alignment at all times once you are in the posture and refrain from releasing the bent front leg until the five breath cycles are over. This will not only improve your flexibility, but it will help your concentration threshold.

Warrior I also called Virabhadrasana I:


Federica Valabrega demostrating Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I
Photo by Maryam Riazian

* Stand up straight, keeping your feet together and your tailbone tucked in, with your arms by your side.
* Inhale and turn your back and left foot 45 degrees to the mat, making sure your back heel is in line with your front one.
* Exhale and bend your front right leg so your knee is 90 degrees to your ankle.
* Inhale, and with hands on your waist, rotate your hips so they face forward.
* Exhale and rotate your torso to the front of the room so that your sternum is in line with your pelvis while gazing forward.
* Inhale and release your arms up, palms facing inward, rolling your pinkies in.
* Exhale and ground through your back foot by straightening your back leg.
* Inhale and reach your chest up, softening your ribs and your belly.
* Stay in the posture for five full breath cycles.

Benefits:

The 90-degree angle between your front leg and your ankle strengthens your right quadriceps.

The intense squat also stretches your left hamstring, aiding a hip opening.

Reaching your hand high past the shoulders features a strong rib cage extension.

Warrior II also called Virabhadrasana II:


Valabrega demostrates Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II
Photo by Maryam Riazian

* From Warrior I in one big move, exhale your arms out to shoulder height and square your hips and chest to the side wall.
* Inhale and gaze over your right hand.
* Exhale and draw your shoulder blades down your spine.
* Inhale and rotate your torso so that your sternum is in line with your pelvis.
* Exhale and externally rotate your back leg.
* Stay in the posture for five full breath cycles.

Benefits:

The 90-degree angle between your front leg and your ankle strengthens your right quadriceps.

The intense squat also stretches your left hamstring and aids a hip opening.

Reaching your arms in a T-like position not only helps stretching your triceps muscle, but it also creates a deep chest opening.

Reverse Warrior also called Virabhadrasana Variation:


Valabrega demostrates Reverse Warrior I a variation of Virabhadrasana I
Photo by Maryam Riazian

* Stand up straight, keeping your feet together your tailbone tucked in, arms by your side.
* Inhale and turn your back, left foot 45 degrees to the mat, making sure your back heel is in line with your front one.
* Exhale and bend your front, right leg so that your knee is 90 degrees to your ankle.
* Inhale, and with hands on your waist, rotate your hips so they face forward.
* Exhale and rotate your torso to the front of the room so that your sternum is in line with your pelvis gazing forward.
* Inhale your right arm up past your head, keeping your gaze on your right hand and gently bend backwards.
* Exhale and release your left hand on your left hamstring.
* Stay in the posture for five full breath cycles.

Benefits:

The 90-degree angle between your front leg and your ankle strengthens your right quadriceps.

The intense squat also provides with stretching your left hamstring and aiding hip opening.

Featuring a back bend, the posture is also optimal for opening your chest.

The American University School of Communication Graduate Program in Journalism works to prepare students for the realities of today's news and information space and the challenges of tomorrow. Find out more by visiting us online at soc.american.edu

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