Yoga is less workout and more mind-body exploration. Yoga is not exactly about sweating as you push your body into exercise mode. However, the term "workout" will be used loosely for simplicity's sake.
Here is a good way to start your yoga plan. Begin with the "easy pose". Easy pose is a comfortable closed position for meditation. This pose opens the hips, lengthens the spine, and promotes grounding and inner calm. You will be sitting crossed legged like you did in school and as your teacher probably used to say "Criss cross apple sauce".
With the buttocks on the floor, cross your legs and place your feet directly below your knees. Rest your hands on your knees with the palms facing up. Press your hip bones down into the floor and reach the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Drop your shoulders down and back and press your chest towards the front of the room. Relax your face, jaw, and belly. Let your tongue rest on the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Breathe deeply through the nose down into the belly and hold as long as is comfortable.
Downward-Facing Dog. After the easy pose, move downward-facing dog. This is one of the most widely recognized yoga poses. Downward-Facing Dog is an all-over, rejuvenating stretch. This Yoga pose is known to calm the brain and help relieve stress and mild depression, energize the body, stretch the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands, strengthen the arms and legs, relieve the symptoms of menopause and much more.
Use caution doing this pose if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, are in the late stages of pregnancy, or suffer from high blood pressure. Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slowly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.
Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis. Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points, lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; do not let it hang. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest.
Sun Salutations. On days when you think you have no time for yoga, try and do at least one or two rounds of the Sun Salutation. You'll feel the difference. After down-facing dog, move into 3 rounds of sun salutations. Stand facing the direction of the sun with both feet touching. Bring the hands together, palm-to-palm, at the heart. Inhale and raise the arms upward. Slowly bend back, stretching arms above the head. Exhale slowly bending forward, touching the earth with respect until the hands are in line with the feet, head touching knees. Inhale and move the right leg back away from the body in a wide backward step. Keep the hands and feet firmly on the ground, with the left foot between the hands. Raise the head.
While exhaling, bring the left foot together with the right. Keep arms straight, raise the hips and align the head with the arms, forming an upward arch. Exhale and lower the body to the floor until the feet, knees, hands, chest, and forehead are touching the ground. Inhale and slowly raise the head and bend back as much as possible, bending the spine to the maximum. While exhaling, bring the left foot together with the right. Keep arms straight, raise the hips and align the head with the arms, forming an upward arch. Inhale and move the right leg back away from the body in a wide backward step. Keep the hands and feet firmly on the ground, with the left foot between the hands. Raise the head.
Exhale slowly bending forward, touching the earth with respect until the hands are in line with the feet, head touching knees. Inhale and raise the arms upward. Slowly bend back, stretching arms above the head. Stand facing the direction of the sun with both feet touching. Bring the hands together, palm-to-palm, at the heart.
Feeling the benefits of yoga already? You're probably already convinced that it's your kind of thing!
Credits: Patrick Carpen