Top 6 Best Yoga Asanas For Losing Weight

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Practicing yoga on a daily basis has certainly helped many people in reducing and gaining weight. People often blame their genes for being overweight or underweight. But that is not the case every time. It’s not always the genetic makeup that is responsible for weight gain. Our lifestyle and eating habits also play a negative role in weight gain. There is a lot more you can do to reduce weight naturally. Power yoga is a healthy and effective weight loss option. Yoga for weight loss for women is a popular choice these days!

Yoga can be the best and simple option for weight loss as it does not have any side effects. It is a slow process and has long lasting effects. If you want to lose weight in the natural way, always remember 3 D’s: Discipline, Determination & Dedication. And yoga of course!

 

1. Setu Bandh (Bridge Pose):

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For doing this, you have to lie down on your back and bend your knees in such a way that your feet rests on the floor. Now the distance between your feet & buttocks should be the same as your hands. Now, try to lift your body in the upward direction. Try doing this 5-10 times & then release. This asana gives a good massage to your thighs & lower back.

2. Bhekasana:

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Lie on your belly and reach back to grab your feet as in bow pose. Now through inhalation, lift up your chest and squeeze the shoulders towards each other. Fold your feet towards the hip region and let your hands hold the toes. Hold this pose for 5 breaths and then gradually release.

3. Dhanurasana:

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This is also known as Bow pose. All you have to do here is to lie down on the floor with your belly touching the ground. Keep your hands besides your chest. Now take a deep breath and lift your legs & thighs up. At the same time, you have to try to catch your legs with your hands. Remain in this position for 30 seconds & release

4. Shalbasana:

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Lie on your belly with your hands resting below your thighs while forehead and chin are resting on the floor. Now try to raise your left leg up to 10 inches. Keep your leg straight. Do not bend your knees. After that, try doing the same with your right leg too. At the final stage, do this with both your legs.

5. Chakki Chalan (Grinding Pose):

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This is again a very effective exercise & asana for reducing belly fat. For this, you have to sit in a comfortable position & spread your legs straight in front of you. Do not bend your knees. After that join your hands & move it in circular motion over your legs. This gives a good massage & stretch to your stomach, hands & legs. Do it 10 times in clockwise position & 10 times in anti-clockwise position. Release slowly.

6. Nauka Chalan (Boat Pose):

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For this, you have to sit down in a straight yet comfortable position. Spread your legs straight in front of you. Your legs need to be joined to each other. Do not bend your knees. Place your hands besides your body. Now try to move your hands forward & backward. Also, move your body in the same manner as you move your hands. They should move as if you are riding a boat. Do it 10 times in clockwise position & 10 times in anti-clockwise position. Release.

4 Useful Tips to Arm Balance Postures

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In the yoga world, flying can mean all sorts of things from crow pose to handstand to floating back to chaturanga dandasana. For the purpose of this conversation, let’s stick to true arm balances, meaning we use our arms to balance on them. Who would’ve thought!

When first starting to practice yoga and for many months or years after, arm balance postures can “appear” unattainable, out of reach, too difficult, or light years away. Surprisingly, arm balance postures are actually quite simple once you know the proper technique. Poses like crow pose (bakasana), one legged and side crow pose, eight angle pose (astravakasana), and grasshopper pose are easily in reach. These postures ALL require the same movements and patterns. It’s simply up to us, as yogis, to instill these movements and patterns into our daily postures.

But enough buildup already –let’s get down to business. Here are the 4 useful tips to Arm Balance Postures. These tips will have you flying in no time!

1. Spread the fingertips wide & root down through the hands.

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Whenever we are trying to balance, the more surface we can connect to the ground the sturdier and steadier we will be. This is the same principle in yoga. The greater the connection between our hands and the earth, the easier it is to root down and rise up.

When teaching yoga classes, I often see students with fingertips barely spread. This is a major NO – NO! Spread those babies out! Feel each fingertip connecting with the Earth, ground down through the heel of hand, and then lengthen up towards the sky. This can apply to every posture in yoga, not just arm balances.

Start to notice where the fingertips are in each posture and what the hand is doing. Are you rolling to the outer edge of the hand? Are you only pressing down through the pointer finger and thumb? Begin to take a mental note of this and then slowly work towards expanding and extending the fingertips and hands. Eventually, this will become a habit that doesn’t require any thought process.

2. Create a shelf with the arms.

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Creating a shelf is one of the most important components to lift off. If the body has nothing to stack on top of, the body will quickly fall. Imagine your body parts are like Legos. Each piece needs to neatly stack on top of one another, thus creating whatever shape is desired.

This is the same principle with arm balance postures. The arms should mimic chaturanga dandasana (low pushup), positioning with the elbows tucking in towards the body and shoulders staying in line with the elbows. Every posture requires this shelf! It’s the building block of arm balances.

3. Gaze forward and then gaze forward MORE!

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For some reason, we love looking straight down. Think about when we walk, run, or step up onto something. The tendency is to gaze directly down at the feet. We need to break that habit stat!

In order to fly and stay soaring above, it’s absolutely necessary to gaze forward. Now, let me clarify the word “forward.” I don’t mean crank the neck so hard that a muscle spasm occurs or causes any type of discomfort. What I do mean is a soft gaze out in front of the fingertips, usually about 6 inches. Nothing crazy!

Start to practice this step wholeheartedly. Not just here and there, but every time you come to the mat.

Arm balances will soon become a bright light of possibility when the gaze is forward. We want the eyes to direct the body, to be the guide, to be the captain sailing the ship.

4. Suck the Belly UP and IN.

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This is a literal statement. Literally suck the belly up towards the ribs, and in towards the spine. If what I’m saying is not clicking, try this:

Lie down on your back and breathe normally, inhaling and exhaling out of the nose.
On the next exhale, send the bellybutton up towards the heart and back towards the spine.

Do you feel that? “That” being the activation of your entire core, the power center, the space from where we should always move from. This, my friends, is how it should always feel, in almost every yoga posture, unless it’s a restorative yoga pose or class.

Just like the fingertips, hands, and gaze – start to tap into the core of your body. Begin to really use its power on each exhale and refocus on each inhale. When the core is engaged and aware, the body is able to balance and relax. This allows us to fly while remaining calm and balanced.

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Okay yogis of the world, it’s time to leave the nest and fly. It’s time to mold these 4 tips together and integrate them into your yoga practice. Start slowly and with no expectations. Don’t chase yoga shapes or force the body into postures. Stay very present in each yoga practice and yoga pose. Do all of this and you too will be soaring high. Go take flight!

Daily Yoga 3rd Anniversary Celebration!

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4 Effective Yoga Poses For Periods

 

1. Fish Pose (Matsyasana):

Similar to dhanurasana, it beats fatigue and menstrual pain. It stretches out the muscles of the back, neck, chest and legs. This gives relief from muscle aches and pains, commonly associated with menstruation. This pose helps stimulate the organs of the stomach and abdomen. It effectively fights against indigestion and gas problem, associated with bloating.

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  • Lie with your back flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent, and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Next straighten your legs and place your arms on either side.
  • Raise your hips, one side at a time and place your hands under each hip.
  • Try and bend your elbows, and push your upper body off the floor. Exhale as you perform this step.
  • Raise your chest and tilt your head backwards.
  • Hold this pose for a while and inhale as you rest your back.

2. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana):

This pose relieves constipation and respiratory issues. It also removes menstruation-related complaints. Some of them are backache, fatigue and anxiety. It stretches the entire front portion of the body. This pose involves putting all the weight on the navel point. It stimulates the stomach organs, eases cramps and regulates blood flow to the uterus. It also relieves pain and bloating.

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  • Lie down on your stomach, keeping the feet hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees and stretch out your hands to hold your ankles.
  • Next, breathe in and raise your body from the front to ensure that your chest is off the ground. Lift your thighs parallely and off the ground.
  • Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable, and return to the original position.
  • Exhale when you release your ankles.
  • Always listen to your body and don’t overdo the stretches.

3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana):

This pose relieves menstrual discomfort. It lessens back ache and helps your body relax.

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  • Kneel and press your shins onto the floor, ensuring that the shins are flat against the floor.
  • Next place your hands on either side of your pelvis.
  • Ensure that your palms are resting on the top of your hip bone.
  • Tilt your tailbone downwards, keeping your upper body upright. Inhale and tilt your head back. The chin should be pointing towards the sky.
  • Form an inward arch in your back.
  • There should be a stretch right from your chin down to your belly.
  • Hold this pose for twenty seconds. Now exhale and come back to your original position.

4. Noose Pose (Pasasana):

This pose helps stretch the muscles of the back, ankles and belly. It also helps to relieve lower back pain, which turns very painful during periods.

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  • Begin by standing straight and folding your hands in the ‘namaste’ position.
  • Keep your feet together.
  • Next squat, so that your buttocks touch your calves.
  • Exhale and stretch your right hand over your left knee. Ensure that the forearm passes the shin. This allows your back to twist.
  • Take the other hand behind your back and clasp the hands together. You can even hold the wrist of the other hand.

5 Relaxing Yoga Poses To Help You Fall Asleep

Ease your way into a more restful night sleep with restorative yoga poses and deep, mindful breathing. Here are 5 easy yoga poses to activate the nervous system, which helps to counteract stress and promote relaxation.

These postures can work for anyone, including yogis and non-yogis alike. The best part: all you need is a pillow and you can do this sequence right in comfort and ease of your own bed!

Before you begin, take 10 rounds of deep inhalations and exhalations.

1. Seated Wide Angle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)

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Sitting with your legs spread wide apart, place a pillow horizontally in front of your torso. Inhale, sit up as tall as possible. Exhale, begin to fold forward from the hips, walking your hands out in front of you until your upper body comes to rest on the pillow. If sitting up tall or folding forward causes you to round the spine at all, take a soft bend to both knees. Rest, breathing deeply on the pillow for 10 rounds of breath. Inhale to rise back up to seated.

2. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

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Come to your stomach with a pillow supporting your hips and belly. Gazing down and keeping the back of the neck long, interlace your fingers behind the small of your back. Inhale, extend the arms behind you, lifting the hands towards the ceiling and pressing the tops of your toes into the mattress. Exhale, try to hold that height. Inhale again, lifting the chest and head, with gaze forward and back of neck neutral. Exhale, hold this position. Continue to lengthen the body and open the heart for 10 rounds of breath. On an exhalation, lower back down to the bed, releasing your hands by your side.

3. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

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Set your pillow up against the wall or headboard at the top of your bed and lay on top of the pillow with your sit bones at the headboard or wall. Extend your legs up towards the ceiling, keeping the heels stacked over the hips, and rest your head and shoulders against the mattress. The arms can extend by your side, palms facing up to receive the restorative energy that flows into your body with the breath.

This restorative inversion is great if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Your circulation will improve, creating a soothing, healing effect on almost every system in your body. Stay here breathing deeply for 2-3 minutes. To come out, bend your knees and roll onto one side.

4. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

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With your seat on the bed and your back lying on the pillow lengthwise, bring the soles of your feet together as the knees naturally drop out towards the side. Restfully, recline with each exhale in towards the pillow and the earth. Stay here for at least two minutes, sinking deeply into this very supported inner hip opener.

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

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Before you check out into dreamland, take advantage of this peaceful moment for a brief meditation and breath exercise.

You’re welcome to keep the pillow under your spine, extending your legs out in front of you. Take your left hand to your heart, the right hand to your belly. Take three rounds of regular, deep breathing. To begin the breath work, inhale to the count of four, hold the breath for the count of seven, then exhale to the count of eight. Repeat four times.

To complete the sequence, remove the pillow from underneath your spine.

Sweet, blissful dreams!

The 6 Basic Yoga Poses For Runners

The basic yoga asanas—or poses—I’m going to share with you today is all you needed to know about reaping the maximum out of your yoga practice for better running. Of course, this list of poses does not even start to cover the whole catalog, but it will be enough to get you started on the right foot.

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1. Low Lunge

Also known as “Anjaneyaasana” in Sanskrit, low lung is a superior yoga asana that opens up the hips, the lateral thighs (IT bands), hamstrings, quads and calves.

It’s also key for promoting a wider and better fluid range of motion in lower body, which can help you stave off plantar fasciitis, knee pain and ITBS.

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2. Downward-facing Dog

Also known as (Adho Mukha Svanasana), this powerful yoga asana lengthens the back and stretches everything from arches up through the shoulders—especially the hamstrings and calves—keys muscles for running, so this is must pose.

Downward-Facing Dog also promotes a fluid range of motion and can help you ward plantar fasciitis and other running injuries.

Plus, it also builds upper body strength and mobility.

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3. Squat

lso known as “Garland Pose” or “Malasana”, this asana stretches out the feet, calves, inner thighs and lower back—in other words everything that tightens up from running. It’s the ideal pose for opening up the hips and groin area. It also promotes mobility for all of your daily activities.

Just keep in mind that this pose can be a bit challenging—not everyone can get into deep squat with ease—so be careful.

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4. Boat

Also known as “Paripurna”, this is a key Asana for strengthening your abdominal muscles, hip flexors and spine. Though it might feel like a traditional crunch, Paripurna strengthens and targets the core muscles at a much deeper level.

The boat pose also protects your lower back from injury, which is very common problem among runners by keeping your spine protected and in alignment.

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5. Dance’s Pose

Also known as “Natarajasana”, this asana is my favorite move when it comes to opening up the shoulders—vital for improving and keeping proper posture when running. It also stretches the quadriceps—AKA your thighs muscles—keys muscles for optimal running.

Plus, the Dancer also improves balance and proprioception —awareness of your body in space—all vital keys for optimal pain-free running.

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6. Upward-facing Dog

Aka “Urdhva Mukha Svanasana” this powerful asana strengthens the wrists, arms and spine, opens up the hips flexors and stretches the whole front of the body, and can help you breathe better on the run by opening up your chest and shoulders.

“Upward-Facing Dog” is also a key pose for a healthy back, especially if you are a regular runner or if you sit too much. Plus the move can also improve posture, by stretching and strengthening the anterior spine and the posterior spine.

5 Yoga Truths of Traveling Abroad

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Often we must stray from our path to find the things we truly desire. Sometimes it’s as easy as a change of scenery to shift our perspective.

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1. Yoga can be done anytime and anywhere. Don’t make excuses for not doing yoga while traveling. It’s just as important to stay consistent when on vacation as when at home. Make the time.

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2. Start your day off right. Practice consistency. Start a morning ritual. I wake up each morning, smile, and thank the Universe for another sunny day. I brush my teeth and do a few rounds of Surya Namaskara A (sun salutations) to start fresh. I set an affirmation for my day and meditate for 10 minutes. Before I know it, I’m ready to take on the world.

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3. Bring your mat … and your favorite yoga attire. You never know where you’ll end up while traveling. Having your gear with you helps to remind you of your practice. Also, let’s be real, there’s nothing more comfortable than yoga pants and a stretchy top. I haven’t worn anything but yoga pants my entire trip.

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4. Be adventurous. It can be hard to try new things, but it’s always worth it. Be the kind of person that never has to wonder, “What if I would’ve done it?” Go for it, whatever it is, just go for it. Step into a yoga studio in a foreign place and introduce yourself to the other students and the teacher. Share something about yourself and make a connection with a total stranger. Do yoga in public. Be proud of your practice. Explore new places and journey out of your comfort zone. Traveling is supposed to be an adventure!

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5. Research. Plan ahead and do research on the places you plan to visit. Talk to locals and ask questions. I spend lots of my transit time searching on Google and Yelp. I’ve found that if you look hard enough, you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for, or often something better.

 

Take your practice with you wherever you go. Remember what we learn on the mat can be taken out into our daily lives. Yoga is a lifestyle. Live your dreams and have fun while doing it.

6 Poses To Improve Your Memory

Want to increase your memory power? Here’s how to do that with simple and easy-to-do poses yoga for memory power. This article offers you the most unique yoga poses along with their proper techniques to practice them easily at home.

There are various natural ways in which one can increase their memory power, concentration levels and enhance and sharpen their skills. But yoga is the most chosen option amongst all. Super brain yoga is one such type of yoga for increasing memory power.

Following is a list of top 6 asanas in yoga for concentration and memory. Follow the simple step by step instructions given below and get started.

1. Paschimottanasana

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To do the paschimottanasana, sit on the floor, legs spread straight and hands placed on the floor besides the body. Bend your body in the forward direction from your hips. Lengthen your tailbone, lean forwards and stretch your hands forward towards your toes. Relax.

2. Padmasana

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This is the best asana to relax, calm your mind and thus sharpen your memory skills. Sit on the floor with your legs spread straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift it up with your right hand and place it on the outer side of your left thigh. Bend your left knee, lift it up with your left hand and place it on the outer edge of your right thigh. Place your hands on your knees, palms down. Close your eyes and concentrate. Relax.

3. Padahastasana

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This pose is also known as hands-to-feet pose. Stand on the floor in a straight position. Exhale and bend downwards from your hips until your hands reach your toes. Hold the toes with your hands and remain steady. Relax.

4. Sarvangasana

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Sarvangasana is an advanced yoga pose and should not be practiced by beginners. Lie down on the floor on your back. With several jerks, try lifting up your legs in the upward direction. Rest your hands on your back so that it supports your position. Lift up your legs upwards until they become perpendicular to the floor. Rest your head/ shoulder on a cushion so that it becomes comfortable for you to perform this activity. Relax.

5. Halasana

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This is an advanced yoga pose and should not be practiced by beginners. Lie down on the floor. Lift up your legs in the upward direction until they become perpendicular to the floor. Now bring your legs downwards from over your head until they touch the ground. Rest the palm of your hands on your back in order to support your position. Relax.

6. Crane pose

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This is also known as Bakasana. Here one has to stand on the floor in a straight position. Exhale and bend forwards to touch your feet. Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Exhale and with a slight jerk lift your left leg off the floor. Fold it from your knees and try to rest your left knee on the outer side of your left arm. As you balance your position, lift up your right leg too, fold it and place the right knee on the outer side of the right arm. Look straight in the front direction. Relax.

5 Yoga Poses To Fight Depression

In these hectic days, tight schedules and busy lifestyle, depression engulfs a person very easily. A good yoga for depression is the best tool to help you overcome any signs of depression.

Yoga not only helps in achieving body balance, but also helps in balancing mind and soul. It acts as a stress buster and even helps relieve mild depression. Yoga poses help you in maintaining balance and also revitalize your mind, body and soul.

There are various yoga poses which helps to cure depression. Few of these are listed below. Follow the step by step instructions of yoga poses for depression given below and get started with a new cure for depression.

1. Padmasana:

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This is also known as the lotus pose. This acts as a great depression buster. For this pose, you have to sit down on yoga mat in comfortable cross-legged position. Spread your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift it up with your right hand and place it on the outer side of your left thigh. Bend your left knee, lift it up with your left hand and place it on the outer side of your right thigh. This is known as Padmasana. Place your hands on your knees, plams facing downwards. This hand mudra is known as drone mudra. Sit in this pose for as much time as you can, close your eyes and relax.

2. Viparita Karani:

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Lie down on the floor on your back, legs spread straight and hands placed beside the body. Pressurize on your buttocks and with a slight jerk try to push your legs in the upward direction. One can even support the position by resting legs against the wall. Keep your legs straight and buttocks firm. Remain steady, close your eyes and relax. Try to concentrate on your breathing.

3. Matsyasana:

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This asana is also known as the fish pose. Lie down on the floor on your back, hands placed besides the body. Now take a deep breath and try to lift up your body from your chest off the floor, tilt your head in such a way that the crown of your head rests on the ground. Slightly lift up your buttocks upwards and slowly slide your hands below your buttocks. Rest your buttocks on your hands. Keeping eyes closed; remain steady and relax. A perfect pose of yoga to fight depression.

4. Setu bandh:

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This asana is also known as bridge pose. Lie down on your back, hands placed besides the body. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground. Keep distance between both the legs. The distance between your feet & your buttocks should be the same as that of your hands & feet. Lift up your hips & waist in the upward direction. Remain steady and relax.

5. Shavasana:

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This is also known as the corpse pose. This is the best relaxation pose which suits everyone. Here you have to lie down on the floor on your back. Let your body loose. Spread out your legs straight, letting them loose and away from the body in a comfortable position. Your hands have to be in the same position like your legs- spread apart from your body with your palms facing upwards. Relax your head but in a comfortable position. Relax your mind, body & soul. This pose is the best to combat depression.

Now say NO to depression! A healthy and stress-free life is in store for you. Try practicing yoga for depression and anxiety along with deep breathing and meditation, and you will certainly find a way out of depressed lifestyle!

6 Yoga Mudras To Overcome Any Ailments

Yoga is not only an exercise but a form of spiritual practice to improve you physical, mental and spiritual well being. It doesn’t only refer to twisting and curling your body into different shapes and poses, but it also involves some specific mudras posed during meditations. Mudras mean gestures adopted during pranayams and meditations that directs flow of energy into our body. Yogic tantras say that these mudra yoga techniques stimulate different areas of the brain.

1.  Gyan Mudra:

This is the first yoga mudra pose known as Gyan Mudra or the Mudra of Knowledge.

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How to do?

Practice this mudra when doing meditations. It’s perfect when you do it early in the mornings with a fresh mind. Touch the tip of your index finger with the tip of your thumb. The other three fingers, you may keep it straight or just keep it free, doesn’t matter even if they are slightly bent. This is a very commonly used mudra when practicing meditations.

2. Vayu Mudra:

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How to do?

This mudra can be practiced in a standing, sitting or lying down posture. It’s easy to do. Fold your index finger. As you fold your fingers you can see two bones. These are called phalanx bones. When you have folded your index finger the second bone that you see, you have to press it with the base of your thumb just as shown in the above picture. The rest of the three fingers should be kept extended as much as possible.

Do this at any time of the day as per your convenience. There is also no compulsion of doing this at an empty stomach. You may also practice this mudra with a full stomach.

3. Agni Mudra (Mudra of Fire):

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How to do?

Fold your ring finger and press the second phalanx with the base of your thumb. Keep the rest of the fingers straight. This mudra should be practiced only in sitting position early in the morning with an empty stomach. Maintain this mudra for atleast 15 minutes every day.

4. Prithvi Mudra (Mudra of Earth):

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How to do?

Touch the tip of your ring finger with the tip of your thumb. Pressing the tips of these two fingers, keep the rest of the fingers extended out.

It is preferable that you perform this mudra in the morning. However you may even do it at any time of the day and for any duration. Sit in a padmasana keeping the palms of both your hands on your knees with straight elbows. Perform this asana when you feel stressed out and exhausted. Padmasana accompanied by this mudra will immediately perk you up.

5. Varun Mudra (Mudra of Water):

This is the best yogic mudra for your outer beauty. It has a positive effect on your skin and keeps it away off all problems. A very effective yoga asana for your overall health let us learn to do this mudra with perfection.

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How to do?

Lightly touch the tip of your little finger with the tip of your thumb. The rest of the fingers should be kept straight. There is no specific time to perform this mudra. You may do it at any time of the day and in any position, but sitting cross-legged when doing this mudra is preferable.

6. Shunya Mudra (Mudra of emptiness):

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How to do?

Press the first phalanx of your middle finger with the thumb.