Adriene Levknecht | Spankin It – During the winter, I have been trying to stay warm and in shape by doing loads of yoga. I am going to do a series on some of the best poses that I have fallen in love with and also some health benefits of the poses. Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just sitting a room with a bunch of hippies who chant “Om” for hours. There are multiple different types of yoga and one type may not work for you but another one will.
Shannon and Caroline found Zanti Power Yoga on the west end of downtown Greenville. This place is brilliant. I have been to a lot of different studios and I have always felt like I was being judged or looked at like I was doing something wrong. The culture and the people who come to Zanti to practice and teach are amazing, always welcoming and there are always smiles on peoples faces.
These blogs are only to educate my readers on some of the benefits of yoga and to encourage people to try something new, it may surprise you what your body can do. Disclaimer; I am not a yoga instructor, if you want to try yoga go to a studio to get proper education from a trained professional like Julie or Ramsey at Zanti Power Yoga.
I love childs pose. Knees spread apart, arms stretched forward, stretching your lower back, thighs, and ankles all at the same time. This pose is a great resting pose for recuperation as it slows your heart rate when you get into the posture. With your head touching the ground this causes your body to begin relieving stress naturally and it also calms your mind. When I am feeling really stressed out at home, I will get into the pose and just sit for a few minutes to gather my thoughts.
Downward Facing Dog
From childs’ pose you can push up to downward facing dog. Try to flatten your lower back and push your shoulders out, hollowing out your under arms. If you get into this pose and you are not feeling comfortable, change it, try to bend your knees, migrate your heels to the ground and most of all, remember to breathe. Aside from stretching almost the whole back part of your body this pose is great for improving digestion and decompressing the spinal column. Some other benefits include treating headaches, insomnia and back pain. Also, as an inversion, this pose brings fresh oxygen to the central nervous system.
High and Low Plank
Plank pose is brilliant for your abdominal muscles and your wrists. If this pose is challenging, drop your knees to the ground. Push the floor away from your with your hands and engage your body from the feet to your shoulders. Plank engages your mind and gives you full body awareness. From here, lower to low plank with elbows squeezed to your ribs, keeping your body in a straight line. This pose will strengthen your core muscles along with your wrists, arms, and shoulders.
Upward Facing Dog
Straight from a low plank, you can transition to upward facing dog. You will be balancing on the tops of your feet so the only things making contact with your mat will be your feet and hands. This posture is going to stimulate your abdominal region and strengthen your arms, wrists, and back. It is also really good for your BUTT!!!
Knee to Nose and Low Lunge
Moving into some basic standing poses. Start in a downward facing dog and lift your right leg straight in the air, bend your leg, round your back like an angry cat and try to kiss your right knee. This pose is brilliant for working out those abdominal muscles. It will also work on strengthening your base (leg) and work on your balance. From there, bring your right foot to between your hands, into a low lunge. Staying in this pose is going to relieve constipation and indigestion while helping take the pain out of sciatica. At the same time, you will be working on balance, core strength, and mental focus. Physiologically, your hips are naturally opening and you are strengthening your knees.
Warrior 2 is such a strong feeling pose. Keep your back foot rooted to the ground and bend your knee until you feel a stretch in both legs. Your arms go out to make a “T” and reach to the walls with your hands. This posture is great for back pain and it increases your stamina. At the same time, this will stretch and strengthen your legs, ankles, and shoulders. While gazing over your front (left in photo) arm you will increase your concentration and focus, warrior focus!
From Warrior 2 use your core to place your hand on the back leg and get an intense side body stretch. Be sure to not put too much pressure on your back leg. This is an intensely calming pose and makes you feel vulnerable because of opening up your whole side body to the world. Your hips will open up and you will strengthen your hips and gluteus.
I truly hope people are finding this helpful. I really want to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle and show how easy it is, if you put your mind to it. I see yoga as an hour in my day that I don’t have to worry about everything else going on and I can worry about only what my body is doing and what amazingly good things I am doing for my body.
All photos are shot by David Dodge in the Zanti Power Yoga studio – http://zantipoweryoga.com
Spankin it – Part II
Spain it – Part III