Do you warm up?

Yoga is no different from other forms of exercise in that you should be sufficiently warm before beginning strenuous postures within a sequence of exercises.

However, with this said, yoga often focuses on different aspects then simply increasing heart rate and breaking a sweat. The breath in yoga is very important and if done with awareness can heat the body from the inside out.

Ujjayi breath is preformed through the nose with the mouth gently closed. The back of the throat is slightly constricted narrowing the passage for the air and bringing an audible sound to your breath.

This sound can be a guide throughout your practice letting you know when you can go deeper or back off in a stretch. Also it is important to practice yoga or any stretching in a warm room. The temperature will help to soften and allow your fascia and tissue to stretch and open.

Keep in mind that most of the heat will come from within and only aided by the external temperature. If you still find that the beginning stretches are too strenuous then do a few minutes of your own exercises that you know will warm you up before you start. Yoga is all about finding what is right and true for you, be honest with yourself and take things one day at a time.

Rolling to the Right After Savasana

I have often heard the question “why do we roll to the right after savasana?” When I’ve asked the question I’ve received several answers.These are the theories Ive come across:

1. Rolling to the right side of the body is rolling away from the heart (less pressure and weight on the rested and open heart).

2. When rolling to the right the left nostril, which is the yin side remains more open thus balancing yin and yang after a yang practice (It should be noted: to activate the sinus reflex by rolling to one side or the other, you may need to stretch the lower arm out, over your head, and use it as a pillow)

3. The right side of the brain is more meditative. The left side is more active.

4. We roll to the right because the sympathetic (active response) nervous system is primarily associated with the right side of the body, and the parasympathetic (relaxation response) nervous system is primarily associated with the left. Rolling to the right activates the meridians on the sympathetic side, creating more wakefulness and linking back to the active world. Rolling to the left would activate the parasympathetic meridians and keep one just a bit too dreamy and sleepy, in theory.

There was also something I heard once about acidity in the stomach but it wasnt fully explained.

Another related point is that pregnant women are advised to roll and rest on their left side (for circulation reasons?)

I welcome any ideas or further theories!

Bending the knees in Uttanasana

It is important for some people to bend their knees during Uttanasana if their lower back is higher then their sacrum. If this is happening they will probably be feeling the stretch primarily in their low back and not in their hamstrings where this stretch is designed to open.

By bending their knees they are able to gain more mobility in their pelvis, as the hamstrings are able to relax, and the pelvis can tip forward. They also ensure that the muscles of the lower back, such as the Quadratus Lumborum and the deeper Spinal muscles do not get over stretched.