Yoga for strong mind and body

by Jellena Milla Jovanovic

July 26, 2018

You hear about it every day, every other person you know does it, but do you really know the true purpose of yoga? If you ask me, you have to try it to find out. Not everyone will like it, maybe you will think it’s not worth the effort, but it takes time. To really feel the good side of practising yoga, you need to be patient and persistent. Trust me when I tell you, you won’t regret it. Once you start doing it, it becomes more than just doing exercises. It’s a lifestyle, it’s who you are, the new you.

It will be hard at first. Maybe you’ll even think of quitting. All those demanding poses, banding, stretching, it can be difficult, but the point is to concentrate on your breath. Listen to your body. Don’t push it. Be patient. Let it guide you and every day it will take you further.

Yoga poses to shape your body

Dolphin

This pose is excellent for your arms and shoulders.

How to do it:

Stand on your knees and elbows, join your hands and hold firmly. Lightly lift your butt. Squeeze the muscles of your arms and shoulders. Try to hold it for thirty seconds.

Plank

You have probably heard about this position. It is the most common position which affects the whole body.

How to do it:

You should lie on your stomach and place your hands next to your chest. Squeeze the abdominal muscles and buttocks and lift up your body. Your arms should be straight and in a line with your shoulders, and your legs should be in a width of your shoulders. Try to hold this position for thirty seconds. You will find it difficult in the beginning, you will start shaking because you don’t have enough strength in your arms, but the more you try it, the easier it will be.

Boat

Personally, one of my favourite. This exercise is great for your lower abdomen.

How to do it:

Concentrate on your breathing. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your back straight. Lift your hands above your knees and lightly lift your feet from the floor. Find the right angle. Hold this position for thirty seconds.

Warrior

How to do it:

Stand in a position with your legs spread wider than your hips. One foot should be straight and the other bent at an angle of 45 degrees, with your knee directly above the ankle, it must not exceed the toes. Hips should be looking forward and your back leg should rotate inwards. Lift your hands in a line with your shoulders or try to lift them up and join together above your head. Hold it for a few breaths.

Yoga to calm your mind

Cat Pose

How to do it:

Start in the kneeling position, taking care that your knees are in a line with your hips and your arms straight and in a line with your shoulders. Bend as much as you can by pulling in the abdominal muscles and breathe lightly. When your chin touches your chest, return slowly to the original position. Take two or three inhales and exhales in each position. Repeat the exercise as many times as you need.

Chair Pose

This pose is also one of my favourites. It is great to calm your mind, but also for strengthening your legs.

How to do it:

Stand upright with arms relaxed by the body. Exhale and bend your knees slightly forward. Raise your hands in a line with your spine. Stay in this pose for a few breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

Child’s pose

It is normally used in a pause between more difficult poses during the practice. It is a therapeutic posture for relieving stress. It calms and soothes the brain.

How to do it:

Lean on your hands and knees and breathe lightly. Spread your knees wide apart, as wide as your mat is, while keeping your big toes connected. Rest your buttocks on your heels. Inhale and straighten your spine up through the crown of your head. Exhale and bow forward, bringing down your torso between your thighs. Your chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Your forehead can come to the floor. Keep your arms extended, palms facing down. Keep your buttocks in contact with your heels. Extend your arms as much as you can. For deep relaxation, place your arms next to your body with palms facing up. Relax your lower back and release all the tension in your body.

Downward facing dog

This pose calms the mind and helps with stress and mild depression. It is beneficial with health problems, such as menopause, discomfort in menstruation, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, pain in the lungs etc.

How to do it:

Stand in the position as shown in the picture with your hands stretched in front of you. Stretch your spine softly. Your shoulders should be straight and your hips in the air. Your hands should be in the width of your shoulders. You can slightly bend your knees if it’s too difficult for you.

If you don’t have time for your yoga practice, then you can try this simple exercise. Lie down on the floor and lean your legs on the wall at an angle of ninety degrees. Stay in this position for a few deep breaths, and in a few moments, you will feel more relaxed.

If you are feeling tired but you don’t have time for a nap, just lie down with your arms and legs slightly spread, close your eyes and breath deeply. Stay in this position for twenty minutes.

There are plenty of poses which can help you train your body and mind. Try different types of yoga and choose the one that suits you best. Don’t be afraid or too sceptical to try it. Challenge yourself, but don’t push it too hard. Let your breath and body guide you. Don’t think of it as something you must do. Yes, it takes time and effort, but you invest that in yourself. It will have great effects on your body and your mind.

Jellena Milla Jovanovic

By Jellena Milla Jovanovic

My name is Jelena. I am currently living in Serbia. I enjoy working as an English teacher at Oxford Academy. I also work as a freelance writer and a translator. I like spending my free time practicing yoga and taking dancing classes. I like watching movies about English history. I had an opportunity to visit China and Japan last year, so I had a chance to learn about their culture. I am hoping to visit the UK some day soon for the same reason. I am passionate about motorcycles, so I am an active member of the motorcycle club. I also run a blog about the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine and yoga.

Read more at jellenajovanovic.com

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