Written by Ricardo Giles & Sara Taddio
No Matter if you are a coach potato or a live wire, it’s easy to start with a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is often offered to people as a new workout routine, as it can help get your body in shape. However, it also positively affects your approach to life, your eating habits and is a relatively easy lifestyle to achieve. A balance between spirit, mind and health is the core concept of yoga. “Yogaholics” believe that this practice provides everything the body needs to function in the best way.
Yoga originates from India but it has rapidly spread in Western countries, due to our hectic lifestyles necessitating time to chill out. The key features of yoga are postures or “asanas” as they’re called, breathing, relaxation, healthy eating and meditation.
Each type of yoga focuses on different principles. Mantra yoga heals your spirit. Jnana yoga develops your intellectual capacity. Raja yoga achieves a peaceful state of mind through meditation. Nowadays, Hatha yoga is one of the most common types practiced since it merges a good workout routine with mind training, to reach perfect harmony between body and mind.
Asanas increase muscle strength and improve your posture. When you combine this with breathing exercises, the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain gets smoother, boosting your mood and your mind. This can prepare you to overcome the daily stresses of life.
Joining a club is the best way to practice yoga, but you can also do it on your own, in the morning to start a brand new day with a clear mind, or before going to bed to have a better rest. When you face a hard working day, just 5 minutes of yoga can fill you with enough positive energy to finish your day. Especially if you are a foreigner in China, taking up yoga sounds like a very wise idea! To get you started, here is an asana you can practice on your own.
Lotus Asana: a position to rid yourself of cravings
1. Sit straight and lengthen your spine. Relax your muscles in the lower part of the hips stretching your legs.
2. After a few seconds of stretching, snuggle your right foot to the top of your left thigh, paying attention to the rotation of your knee.
3. Bend your left leg and externally rotate it. Take hold of your left foot, turning the sole toward the ceiling, then place the left foot on the top of the right thigh.
4. Keep your knees and ankles free of stress and pain. Lengthen your spine and rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up.
5. Once you are in a comfortable position, you can start deep, slow and rhythmic breathing. Close your eyes, slowly focus on exhaling and inhaling using the whole capacity of your lungs, lower your breathing rate and heartbeat until you feel on the edge of falling asleep.
6. When you sense that your mind turns inward, hold the position and the feeling for a few minutes. This will help increase your vitality and mental clarity.
If you aren’t feeling comfortable holding the lotus position just keep it simple so as not to risk injury. Keep working on it until you are ready to perform properly.
It is highly recommended to practice the lotus asana when your level of stress reaches the bearable limit. Not only does the lotus asana benefit your body, but also it goes beyond. When you practice it for longer sessions it will help to obtain a proper posture and spinal alignment. Through yoga, the saying “mente sana in corpore sano” (“healthy body, healthy mind”) will come true. Keep in mind that 21 continuous days of good practice becomes a good habit.