Russ practices downward dog

Yoga for your body, mind & soul

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in ancient India. Yoga harmonizes the body with the mind and breath by using various breathing techniques, poses and meditation. To the right are basic moves that will help you get started with your yoga practice. While the photos and descriptions will give you an idea how to perform each pose, it’s best to learn from a certified yoga instructor. Also, don’t forget to consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Anyone can try yoga

  • Apostrophe model Judy Armbruster receives a yoga lesson from instructor Liana Schmidt. She recommends that you use a chair or other props if are a beginner or have issues with mobility.
  • Apostrophe model Russ Carstens performs the downward dog with yoga instructor Liana Schmidt.

Above, Apostrophe models Russ Carstens and Judy Armbruster take part in a yoga lesson by Liana Schmidt of Goosetown Health Club in Anaconda, Mont.

Get started with these moves

Downward Dog

yoga-downward-dog

Start on your hands and knees with hands and feet shoulders-width apart. Curl your toes under and press the balls of your feet to the floor. Press your hands to the floor with your fingers facing forward. Lift your hips to the ceiling to form an up-side-down “V.” Press your chest to your knees, focus your eyes on your toes and push your heels to the floor. Hold for two-three breaths.

Tips: Your upper and lower body should be equally supported. Push the floor away with your upper body, and press your heels to the floor. Benefits: The downward facing dog stretches your spine, the back of your legs and your feet. It also strengthens your shoulders and wrists. The downward facing dog is a rest position between yoga poses and is considered a calming stretch.

Benefits: The downward facing dog stretches your spine, the back of your legs and your feet. It also strengthens your shoulders and wrists. The downward facing dog is a rest position between yoga poses and is considered a calming stretch.

Warrior 1

yoga-warrior-1

Begin in the downward facing dog position. Move your left foot forward and place it between your hands. Turn your right heel in (with toes to the right). Press your feet into the floor, and lift your torso. Ensure the arch of your right foot is in line with the left heel. Gently square your hips by pressing your right hip back and your left hip forward. Lift your arms over your head and press your palms together. Raise your head and gaze at your hands. Stay in this position for five breaths. Return to the downward facing dog position. Repeat on the other side.

Tips: Modify Warrior 1 by reducing the distance between the heels to decrease intensity.

Benefits: Warrior 1 helps lengthen and strengthen muscles in the legs, hips, back, and shoulders. This pose helps build patience.

Child Pose

yoga-child-pose

Start on your hands and knees. Untuck your toes and lower your buttocks back toward your heels, until you feel a stretch in your lower back and tailbone. With your knees about hip-width apart, stretch your body forward and rest your torso over your thighs. Lengthen your neck and rest your forehead on the ground. Position your arms in front of you with your hands on the ground. Hold the Child Pose for several slow breaths.

Tips: Gently ease your buttocks to your heels lowering into a position that is most comfortable for you.

Benefits: The Child Pose warms your thigh muscles, opens up the back, expands the hip flexors and helps improve the health of your organs. It is also a calming stretch used as a rest position between poses.

Chair Pose

yoga chair pose

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and raise your hands above your head, palms facing each other. Exhale, lowering your buttocks and bending your knees like you are going to sit in a chair. Together your thighs and torso will form an approximate right angle. Shift your weight to your heels. Inhale and return to the starting position after holding the Chair Pose for about one minute.

Tips: When you look down, make sure you can see your toes. You are at risk for a knee injury if your knees are over the line of your toes. Shifting your weight to your heels will help with the proper knee position and help you avoid knee pain.

Benefits: The Chair Pose strengthens your legs, hips, ankles and back. This position also stretches the chest and shoulders. This pose helps build patience.

Breathe

In yoga, breathing is performed while holding a pose. Yoga breathing is different for each person. It’s best to practice first to get an idea about how to breathe while holding a pose. To breathe, slowly inhale through your nose expanding your chest with your lungs. Pause for one or two seconds. Then slowly exhale your breath through your nose. Six to eight breaths equals about 30 seconds. Also, remember to breathe (don’t hold your breath) while moving from pose to pose.

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