Get down to the Basics

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Mrs. Rose Voor: Influencer, Runner, Fit mom of two

The purpose of yoga is to work both the mind and body in sync with the breath. Practicing yoga has the holistic impact of relaxing the body and calming the mind.

The Four Fundamental Principles of asana practice are:
1. The Foundation
To root to rise, you must first lay a well-intentioned foundation for your asana. That means paying careful attention to precisely how you plant your feet, hands, forearms—whatever is touching the ground. That is the seed of your pose. How you place those body parts directly affects your pose’s ability to grow.
Once your foundation is planted, tend to it. Imagine growing roots from the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. Pressing down into the foundation not only roots it in place but also activates the muscles above it. Muscle activation that starts at the base can travel up through each joint, providing the structural integrity to grow tall, grounded, stable, and wise.

2. The Core
You need good core strength to keep the spine healthy when walking, standing, and sitting… and anytime you lift weight or create force with your limbs. Building core strength and focusing on maintaining an active core while practising is one way of protecting yourself against injury, eg Plank pose is a power builder for the entire core, including the back.
Every yoga asana can be a core-strengthening exercise. With an engaged core in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), for example, you can actively draw energy upward through the spine to feel a sense of lengthening, while at the same time creating a supportive foundation to deepen the pose.
Core strengthening is hard work, but it is vital to maintaining a sound body and a stable, healthy yoga practice. That’s why core work is incorporated into most hatha or vinyasa yoga classes.

3. The Bandhas
The three major bandhas, and their approximate locations in the body are:
* Mula Bandha – the pelvic floor muscles.
* Uddiyana Bandha – the abdominals up to the diaphragm.
* Jalandhara Bandha – the throat.

The benefits of bandhas:
* As the Bandhas momentarily stop the flow of blood, there is an increased flow of fresh blood with the release of the Bandha, which flushes away old, dead cells. In this way all the organs are strengthened, renewed and rejuvenated and circulation is improved.
* Bandhas are also beneficial for the brain centres, the Nadis (energy channels akin to Meridians that run through the body) and the Chakras. The Nadis are purified, blockages released and the exchange of energy is improved.
* Bandhas alleviate stress and mental restlessness and bring about inner harmony and balance.

4. The Breath, Pranayama
Pranayama is the Sanskrit word that refers to breath work in yoga. “Prana” means “life force ” and “yama” means “to control”, so pranayama. Breathing deeply in yoga can actually help you avoid injury. Deep breathing can also allow us to experience our true essence. The flow that the steady in and out action of breathing creates stimulates a transformation in the body and mind, purifying and cleansing them so that our true essence shines forth.

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