By: Riley Quinn – Staff Writer
When people ask me about yoga, I sometimes feel like an energetic five-year-old caught in a jumble of words and excitement. It is kind of like being asked about your summer abroad – a million memories of perfection immediately flood your brain. You cannot seem to think straight or muster anything more than “I had the time of my life; it changed me forever.” As cliché as it sounds, yoga has changed me forever and for the better.
I’ll admit, I only started hitting the mat regularly a year ago. A conscious decision made at a time in my life when I felt I was loosing the peppy and spirited “me.” Yoga became my escape and my deepest relationship – both a romance and a teacher. My practice is not always fun and not always friendly, and there are times I want to throw my mat in the dumpster or casually slip out of class and never return. But today, tomorrow and forever I will always find solace in my practice and want to share this magical relationship with you.
Let’s begin with a deep breath, filling your lower belly with air so that it expands like a balloon and exhale as your belly returns inward and up. Yoga is for you. It is for your roommate, your significant other and anyone else you love. Get your yoga pants on and let’s begin with a few poses to heal some of UD students’ common ailments.
If you’re stressing out over that Organic Chemistry exam and loosing your cool with everyone you can unleash your wrath upon, take Child’s Pose and breathe deeply.
Child’s Pose: Gently lower your knees to the ground and shift your hips back to sit on your heels. Relax your forehead on the ground and remain still for five long breaths.
The cure for taking yourself too seriously is a shift in balance and change in perspective. Inversions like Crow Pose are best when you need to break a bad attitude.
Crow Pose: Bend your knees, lower your hips and squat at the top of your mat. Root both palms into the floor in front of you, elbows pushing against the insides of your knees. Bend your elbows and lift your heels off the floor, resting your knees against the outside of your upper arms. Engage your core, squeeze your inner thighs and balance your weight over your hands as you lift your toes off the mat.
Designed to help you focus and invigorate your entire body, Down Dog and Down Dog Split release excess tension in the mind and help let go of blocks that guard your creativity. Practice this set three times a week to get back on track.
Down Dog: From all fours, tuck your toes, lift your hips and reach your heels toward the ground. Relax your shoulders and head and rock your neck gently from side to side to ease tension. Take five deep breaths.
Down Dog Split: From Down Dog, inhale and lift your right leg straight up, flexing your foot and reaching through the heel as if you are pressing against a wall. Square your hips and press through both arms evenly as you extend the leg. Do the same with your left leg.
Ladies, when it’s that time of the month, try Seated Bend and Seated Wide Leg Straddle for combatting PMS and cramps.
Seated Bend (With Blanket): Roll up a blanket and sit with your legs extended in front of you. Place the blanket on your upper thighs and gently fold your torso over the blanket. Stay in pose for 10 long breaths.
Seated Wide Leg Straddle: Sit up tall and open your legs to the sides until you feel a little tension. Walk your hands forward between your legs, keeping your torso long. Stay here for 10 long breaths, allowing each exhale to release tension in your lower belly.
Twisting yoga poses, like Seated Spine Twist, have an effect similar to wringing out a wet cloth. Yoga helps push the toxins out and get digestion moving, keeping the blood flow fresh through increased circulation – perfect for fighting a hangover after a fun night out.
Seated Spine Twist: First, come into a comfortable seated position, hug your right knee into your chest and place your right foot onto the ground, across and outside your left leg. On the inhale, raise your left arm and on the exhale twist your torso to the right pushing the outside of your left arm against your right knee. Continue to breath into the twist further.
For a calming effect right before bed, try Recline Single Knee Hug Twist and Happy Baby at nighttime.
Reclined Single Knee Hug Twist: Lie on your back and hug your right knee into your chest. Twist your right leg over your left side and relax your arms to the sides, looking over your right shoulder. Lay there for 10 long, deep breaths.
Happy Baby: Lying down on your back, hug both knees to chest. Grab the outside edge of your right foot with your right hand and do the same with your left. The bottoms of your feet should be pointed to the ceiling. Gently pull your knees toward the ground by pulling your feet down. Rock your body from side to side to release tension in the hips and lower back.