Heathy Habits | "Yoga 101" by Kimmi Norvell

"I've been practicing yoga for about 12 years now and teaching for almost four. Wow, has it been that long already? Time flies when you're having fun and I guarantee you, I'm having lots of that! Yoga is something that ANYONE can practice. I've worked with people in a hospital bed that could only move their fingers and toes to athletes that were practicing at a higher level than I've ever reached myself. Yoga is an ancient form of movement that originated in India. It isn't associated with any religion but can be deeply spiritual. Yoga means 'union' in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India. It is exactly that: union of the mind and body, union of breath and movement, union of you getting closer to a better version of yourself, union of time spent taking care of YOU.
The list can go on and on. Yoga itself is not intimidating but types of yoga and teachers can be. Below you'll find a few fundamental guidelines a yoga practitioner must follow in order to truly practice yoga. These are derived from the Yoga Sutras and translated into "Kimmi speak" by yours truly.

  • Remember to BREATHE! Breathing is a key player in any yoga practice as it is in life. I've written more on this subject in the past. (Check it out here.) 
  • Always come to your practice with an open mind and heart. Focus on letting life go when you take that first breath. 
  • Leave any ego behind. Most injuries happen because the ego pushes us to do what our bodies physically aren't ready for. 
  • Honor where you are. Know that you're doing your best on that day and in that moment.
  • If you're practicing with others, don't compare yourself to them. 
  • We all have strengths and weaknesses and being secure with that is part of honoring who we are. Not to mention, they could look like a star to you but be in incorrect form. 
  • Always check with your teacher if you have a question about your alignment. 

That being said, I will introduce a pose with more to come next week!

One of my favorite poses is the standing forward bend, Uttanasana, in Sanskrit. It's approachable almost anywhere to almost anyone! If you're not comfy standing, then start on the edge of a chair.
  • Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Feet are hip width apart and parallel. You want your tailbone shooting towards the ground. For most of us, that's a slight roll forward of the hips. Roll the shoulders back in their sockets. Tip top of the head (crown) reaches toward the sky, while the feet ground into the earth. Chin is slightly below the jaw and the hands reach toward the ground. Tadasana is the foundation of all standing poses and it's a great way to stand normally. 
  • Inhale as you reach your arms up to the sky. 
  • Exhale and you fold the body over and reach toward the ground. 
  • Inhale and as you exhale, allow the body and head to let go and just relax over. I now call this pose rag doll because it's very important to release and relax. Stay as long as you like. 
  • Inhale and slowly roll up one vertebra at a time bringing the head up last. If you need to, pause half way up and breath so you don't get light headed. 
Take a few more breaths in Mountain Pose and thank yourself for the work!"
Kimmi Norvell is the Owner of Coastal Bend Health Foods in Rockport, Texas.

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