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April 27, 2015
April 27, 2015
I'm guessing the requests for fabulous legs aren't coming from the guys in your classes, but they won't mind seeing shapely legs. Yoga, although not necessarily the be-all, end-all for exercise routines, does offer a lot of advantages for consistent practitioners. First, asana relaxes and de-stresses. Second, asana stretches and increases the body's flexibility. Third, asana strengthens muscles and improves cardiovascular health. Overall, a relatively healthy individual will benefit from a regular yoga training routine while someone who needs to improve mind-body health can benefit enormously from a consistent practice.
Postures for Legs
Yoga training is an especially good practice for lengthening and strengthening muscles while re-aligning incorrect joint and vertebrae problems. One area that is especially prone to injury, and thus will benefit from the rehabilitative nature of asana, is that of the legs.
Legs are the load-bearing vehicles of the body. Together with the spine, they absorb impact, trauma and injuries and for the most part allow us to continue daily life as normal. They propel, lift, mobilize and compensate for other areas of the body. But a leg that under-functions or functions improperly can contribute to a build-up of health problems, including back and neck injuries that are incredibly debilitating.
A weak hamstring, for example, can lead to inflexibility in the lower back and an over-extended or imbalanced quadricep muscle. As a result of inflexibility or imbalanced muscle groups, knee and ankle injuries often occur. A persistent knee injury can prevent a person from exercising or even walking correctly, which can lead to further damage that eventually inhibits daily life.
Yoga allows practitioners to focus on strengthening muscle groups evenly while also increasing flexibility. This in turn can lead to less chronic pain and improved joint health and better quality of life.
Poses for Legs
Certain yogic postures lend themselves well to strengthening leg muscle groups. A yogi can first start out with a basic sun salutation series, which is often the starting point for any yoga training routine as it serves to warm-up the whole body.
Asanas that focus on the legs include warrior pose, downward dog, chair pose, bridge pose and crescent lunge pose. Since yoga emphasizes whole-body strengthening, many poses also integrate a variety of muscle groups into the posture, and it is pretty easy to realize that there are many poses that can help strengthen and lengthen the legs. Most balance poses will build muscle while some relaxation poses offer deep stretches.
A practitioner wishing to emphasize leg health can create a series incorporating leg poses and practice this series with multiple repetitions to receive maximum benefits.
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