There is a misconception that stretching is only helpful for athletes or gymnasts who have a strict fitness plan. Anyone who wants to enjoy their body movements freely needs to think about flexibility. It’s like a domino effect—stretching regularly can help to achieve optimum mobility and independence, which visibly impacts your flexibility. When you combine these two, you achieve better balance. It’s as simple as that. 

Let’s look at it from another angle. If you want to walk up the stairs without any discomfort, then the balance is key. To protect your body’s mobility, simple stretches regularly can improve your stability immensely. In this article, we will be discussing how stretches can define your flexibility and balance. 

What Is Balance Stretching?

Stretches that help us improve balance are called balance stretching. For a detailed understanding, we have put together this article which explains what is meant by balance stretching

The most basic step to prepare your body before a workout is stretching. It is often underrated, but getting your body ready for rigorous muscle movements and cardio is equally important for a complete fitness routine. Hence, stretching is essential. Allocating 5-10 minutes into your workout schedule for stretching exercises will help you achieve better flexibility, reduce stiffness, and ultimately give your better results.

Having tightness in your muscles can lead to undue strain on the surrounding joints while doing basic movements like walking, climbing, bending over, etc. With age, our muscles tend to lose their elasticity and eventually start to contract. We must actively protect the length of our muscles through regular maintenance. To enjoy our bodies’ ability to move around with ease requires a regular practice of balance stretching.

Balance and Coordination

Balance means stability. Even to squat down to reach the TV remote under the couch, you require balance. If you face balance issues, you are likely to meet with falls and slips, which can lead to injuries. By controlling our body movements with balance, we are protecting it from sudden falls.

Balance exercises are great for improving equilibrium, enhancing reflexes for situations when you can quickly recover from falling over. Moreover, balance is a requirement for various fitness activities and sports.

To improve balance, you have to think about your body’s core strength. Improved core strength represents a good foundation of control and support. Core strength can be achieved with exercises like Pilates and tai chi, but yoga should be at the top of your list if you want enhanced core strength and balance.

Relatively older people are usually at risk of falling, slipping, and causing injuries from lack of balance. Hence, older people must practice balance training regularly for better muscle and joint mobility. 

We suggest practicing three to four days weekly to be able to move around without pain. Some examples of balance exercises for older people include sideways walking, backward walking, toe walking, heel walking, and standing from a sitting position.

Flexibility

Flexibility is directly related to stretching. The more you stretch, the better your flexibility. Having said that, some people are more flexible than others, so it’s best not to compare. Rather focus on your ability to achieve optimum mobility. Flexibility exercises are known to improve overall mobility, independence, reduce joints and muscle tightness, and eliminate possible risks of injury.

We highly recommend you incorporate flexibility to exercise at least three to four times weekly into your fitness program. You will come across posters at almost every gym class with visual images of stretches for all your muscle groups. If you have an instructor, they will also keep reminding you of the importance of stretching before getting into any high impact exercise. 

Warming up with stretches can improve your muscle flexibility exceptionally. This brings us to our next section—the importance of safe and effective stretches for balance and flexibility

The Relationship Between Yoga and Stretching

Most of us often assume that yoga and stretching are indistinguishable. Stretching and yoga poses cross each other’s paths due to their similarities in movements. Some people say yoga is a form of stretching, which is relatable. But in all honesty – they are alike visually with separate purposes fitness-wise. Let’s look at the rest of the article that will help you identify the differences and similarities between the two.

Similarities 

Let’s begin with the similarities between the two. Both focus on muscle tightness and flexibility. They both activate blood flow, engaging the entire body. Some of the stretching exercises and yoga poses might also have the same purpose. This brings to the end similarities between yoga and stretching. 

Differences

Let’s examine the differences between the two now. Yoga poses vs stretching exercises will help you determine the point of differences easily. 

Stretching

Stretching means activating your muscles and tissues by holding a position. Your goal should be to lengthen your muscle in the desired area. You are expected to apply light pressure on your muscles before it starts to feel uncomfortable. It helps to reduce the tightness and tension in your muscles. Often stretching is only a part of a workout routine, where you stretch to warm up before or finish your routine with a stretching session. 

Yoga

Yoga is a full-fledged work workout with a combination of many asanas. Some of these poses look very similar to stretching exercises – but only a few. Moreover, there are many types of yoga workouts like vinyasa, power yoga, ashtanga, yin yoga, hot yoga, etc. Each type of yoga has a certain goal with its shift of movements. Many times, you will notice that yoga demands holding poses in some routines. Then there is vinyasa which requires you to move from one pose to another rapidly. In other words, yoga can be as relaxing as you want it to be, but it also can get your heart racing. It all depends on your personal fitness goals. 

Your routine should be based on what you are trying to achieve from your practice. It can aim at purely stretching – due to recovering from an injury. It can also be based on enhancing your flexibility and body flow. Or the most common one – body balance and correct posture.

Safe and Effective Stretching

Stretching can go wrong if done incorrectly. It’s vital to do it properly to avoid injuries. It’s not only good for better flexibility, but it also stimulates your blood flow and relieves muscle tension, allowing your joints to maintain their wide range of motion. Therefore, you should start to consider a safe and effective stretching routine to combat this.

1. Fewer Injuries

If you can work on building strength and flexibility through regular stretching exercises, you will withstand more physical stress. In addition, you eliminate the likelihood of any muscle imbalances, which may be the cause of injuries. 

2. Less Pain

You’ll notice that your body’s overall health has improved drastically. Stretching regularly opens up your muscles, making them looser and less stiff. You will experience fewer muscle pulls, cramps, aches and pains. 

3. Improved Posture and Balance

Increased flexibility also means correcting posture. Preparing your body to flow and stretch improves body alignment. Moreover, you’ll notice your regular movements like sitting and standing have become easier. 

4. A Positive State of Mind

Stretching stimulates your blood circulation and eases range of motion which has a very positive impact on your state of mind. It brings about feelings of calm and relaxation. Stretching in between your regular daily routine helps to unwind and make you feel better physically and mentally. 

5. Greater Strength

Flexibility increases your core strength. Your muscles will store an adequate amount of tension to support your body movements. While you are working out, you will feel your body’s ability to support your exercises have increased, making you physically fit. 

Types of Stretches to Improve Balance 

As mentioned earlier, stretching is underrated. This is probably because it does not glorify its benefits as much as cardio, aerobics, HIIT, or any other form of exercise. Stretching can feel uncomfortable for many people. You are putting your body in a position that it is not used to; in fact, you are expecting your body to extend and lengthen. 

Sometimes people just want to skip it because they think it is not result-oriented. In other words, stretching is not helping you to lose weight or increase your stamina, etc. The truth is, it does! We have prepared a list of five safe and effective stretches to loosen your muscles, making them less restricted.  

Standing Calf Stretch 

It is common to have tight calves from sitting or standing for long hours. It can become painful for you to put your foot flat on the floor when you are squatting or lunging, or even doing regular movements. Your body is likely to feel unstable due to the tightness. Stretching your calves will work your knees and improve your posture and alignment too.

Instructions: Stand straight. Move one leg and bring it behind you. Gradually bend your front leg by placing your hands over your knees for additional support. You need to ensure your back heel is touching the ground. Your torso needs to be squared to the front of your shoulders, over your hips. For a deeper stretch, focus on walking your leg farther back behind you. Do the same for the other leg. You can use a wall as a support.

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring stretch has amazing benefits. It can help a lot to gain stability while walking or just standing. It boosts blood flow, making you more aware of your body movements and preventing falls and slips.

Instructions: You have to lie on your back for this one. Place one leg straight and extend on the ground. The other leg should be raised carefully toward the sky. Use both of your arms to grab behind the lifted leg and gently pull and stretch your hamstrings. If you want a deeper stretch, just flex your foot. Please note that if you feel any discomfort while doing this, you are allowed to bend the knee of the working leg. Keep your neck relaxed at all times. Repeat the same step for the other leg. 

Quad Stretch

The quad stretch helps immensely with knees and lower back movements. It engages hip and leg muscles, enhancing flexibility. It is also great for preventing knee and lower back injuries. If you ever feel you need additional support, hold on to a wall or a similar stable object while you are at it!

Instructions: This stretching exercise requires you to stand with your legs apart (hip-distance). Gradually, bend one knee up and try to kick your bottom with that foot. Stretch the arm on the same side around your back to hold and grab your foot. Try to hold for a few seconds and breathe. Repeat for the other side.

Hip Stretch

Stiff hips can cause lower back pain and restrict your range of motion. It’s important to open up these muscles for a stable pelvis, which can support movements like walking, sitting, etc.

Instructions: You have to place your knees on the ground, keeping your hips forward and spine straight and stretched. Focus on your core muscles. Place your hands over the knee of your front leg, placing the knee over the ankle. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat for the other side.  

Piriformis Stretch

This stretching exercise is a hip rotating exercise that activates the piriformis muscle. It is the deep internal hip rotator that is located on the exterior of the butt. If the hip rotation muscles are tight, it can cause sciatic nerve irritation, which can be painful. 

Instructions: You have to sit on the floor for this one. Keep your legs extended. Take the right leg and gently cross it over the other leg. Keep your right foot flat, touching the floor. Take your right hand and place it behind your body. Take your left hand and put it on your right quad. 

Keep pressing your right leg to the left side while you twist your body gently to the right. If the spinal rotation causes any discomfort, take it easy with the twisting and stretching. In this case, you can take your left hand to pull your right quad forward and to the left. 

Tips to Stretch Properly

We have made a list of tips for you to follow while you are incorporating stretching exercises. 

  1. Make sure your muscles are warm while you are stretching. It is a risk prevention tip. You can stretch after your workout, as your muscles will be relatively warmer from the workout. If you are stretching only, then try to walk it off first for a quick warm-up. 
  2. Stretch to release tension, not cause pain. Please note that stretching should not feel painful at any time. Static stretching is the safe option. In other words, gently stretch your muscles to the end of their range of motion. Hold the stretches for 20 to 30 seconds. If that’s too much for you, you can tone it down to 10 seconds according to your comfort. 
  3. Don’t bounce or jump while you are stretching. This can cause injuries and add to your muscle tightness. Follow smooth and flowy movements to release tension in tight areas.
  4. Refrain from holding your breath while stretching. Take deep breaths, but don’t hold it. Holding your breath can stop oxygen from reaching your muscles. Inhale consciously before starting the stretch and exhale while you are at it.
  5. Stretch regularly. If you want to move around with ease, you should remember to stretch regularly. The trick is to incorporate it into your daily routine. 

Conclusion

Improving your balance with stretching exercises can be challenging at first, but rewarding in the long run. You also need to consider that your balance will not be the same every day; it will vary. Observe your body movements and stretch accordingly. 

Try to notice the changes in your motion, if a certain part of your body feels tight or unstable. Enjoy the process of opening up your muscles with the help of regular stretching. You don’t have to stick to our list; you can get creative by incorporating other stretching exercises into your daily life. After a refreshing Yoga session, try to always finish it in the corpse pose, click here to learn more about it.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Mishra

Do you have an achy back? Don’t panic! Experts say that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in life. Most of the time, back pain isn’t a severe health condition but can be corrected with fundamental changes and practices in life. Back pain is universal as it can affect people of all age groups. Across the world, it has been the leading cause for people to miss work or to have consistency issues in their exercise routines. We would encourage Yoga for back pain as a few minutes of practice with the right poses could keep your orthopedic visits away. 

Causes of Back Pain

The Human Back comprises a complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints. There could be multiple factors that could trigger back pain. Some of them are listed below. 

  • Muscle strain
  • Ligament tear
  • Vertebral Disk Prolapse
  • Facet Degeneration
  • Sports injuries
  • Accidents
  • Obesity
  • Joint Arthritis
  • Poor Posture
  • Psychological Stress
  • Degeneration of bones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Side effects for other medical conditions like kidney stones, blood clots, etc.

Yoga Beginner Poses for Pain

Yoga is helpful for back pain though it can be treated effectively through physical therapy. Yoga has proven to be equally effective in treating severe pain and limited movement though it is not covered by medical insurance. A study was conducted on 320 adults with chronic back pain. The group was divided into three groups where the first group performed Yoga every week for three months, the second one was given 15 visits with a therapist over three months, and the last one received only theoretical support through mails and books. The first and second group participants were less likely to use pain medication after three months, proving that Yoga for back pain is as effective as therapy.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has developed a certain set of guidelines for non-invasive pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments for lower back pain based on randomized, controlled trials and systematic reviews. Though sufficient supporting evidence is yet to be researched to support the effectiveness of Yoga, it was recommended that the patients should initially select nonpharmacologic (interventions that do not involve the use of medications) treatment with exercise such as Yoga.

Lower Back Pain is an occupational hazard in many professions that require physical labor and lifting or holding heavyweights. Nursing is one profession where the nurses have to do most of the work while bending over the patient bed and lifting and supporting the patients. 

Study shows that Integrated Yoga has displayed a significant improvement in the physical, psychological, and social health domains better than physical exercise amongst the nursing professionals with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP). Another study proves Yoga to be more effective as a non-pharmacologic treatment to reduce the functional disability of CLBP.

Our Orthopedic Doctor, Mr. Mishra, has compiled a list of asanas addressing the most common types of back pain – Upper or Middle Back Pain and Lower Back Pain. 

Yoga for Upper or Middle Back Pain

The upper back and the middle back are technically referred to as the thoracic spine (running from the base of the neck to the abdomen). It is designed to protect the vital internal organs and is comparatively injury resistant than the cervical and lumbar spine. Upper back pain is common with workaholics. Based on your work style and posture, you might develop an ache in your upper back. Some of the reasons and effective Yoga beginner poses for upper back pain are mentioned here. Before starting with any of these or a new exercise, please consult your doctor. 

Reasons

  • Muscular Irritation due to lack of strength or overuse injuries
  • Joint Dysfunction such as joint capsule tearing or facet joint’s cartilage degeneration
  • A herniated disk is commonly called a slipped disk or ruptured disk.
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Carrying a bad posture
  • Excessive usage of mobile phones or other electronic gadgets
  • Stiff or rounded shoulders
  • Kyphosis and Scoliosis are medical conditions where the spine has or develops a deformed curvature. 
  • Obesity

Poses for Upper or Middle Back

  • Cat-Cow Pose or Bidalasana – This pose helps remove the tension from the lower back. It follows a good flexion and extension cycle, helping you achieve a neutral spine and gain spinal mobility. Initiate the pose on all fours by aligning your shoulders and hips over the wrists and knees, respectively. Breathe in slowly and exhale around your spine with your head dropped down. On the reverse, inhale and lift your head, chest, and tailbone to arch your back up. Repeat this cycle for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Bow Pose or Dhanurasana – This pose strengthens the upper back and hamstrings. It also helps improve posture. It is a back-bending asana. Lie on your stomach with your feet hip wide apart. Fold your knees backward and try to hold them with your hands. Try to slightly lift your chest off the ground while inhaling while parallelly pulling your legs up towards the back. Continue to breathe and hold the pose. Don’t over-stretch. Release and relax.
  • Extended Puppy Pose or Uttana Shishoasana – This pose gives a good stretch to the upper back, shoulders, spine, arms, and abdominal muscles. It calms both the mind and body. Kneel on fours with your shoulders and hips placed straight above your arms and knees. Curl your toes under and walk your hands a few inches forward to get into the right posture. Move your buttocks halfway back towards your heels, and remember not to place the elbows on the ground. Drop your forehead to the ground and create a nice long stretch in the spine through the arms. Hold the pose and release after a couple of seconds.
  • Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana – It helps decrease the stiffness in the lower back. It strengthens the shoulders and arms while stretching the chest, shoulders, and abdomen muscles. Lie with your face down and keep your legs straight. Place your palms under the shoulders and hug your elbows to your sides. Inhale and lift your chest off the floor and ensure that your elbows stick to your side throughout the asana. Hold your neck straight. 
  • Camel Pose or Ustrasana – This is a kneeling back bending asana that strengthens the back. It helps stretch the thorax, abdomen, and legs. It helps develop a better posture. Kneel on your legs with your back straight. Draw your hands to hold the heels and let the elbows point out. Bring your hips slightly forward and try to see if you are comfortable bending your head back. Hold this position and release by supporting your lower back with your arms.
  • Locust Pose or Salabhasana – This pose stretches and strengthens the back and core muscles of the body. It counteracts slouching and improves body posture. Lie on your stomach with your arms on the side of your torso. Place your palms upward and rest the forehead on the ground. Exhale and lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs above the floor while balancing on the front pelvis, lower ribs, and belly. Slightly pad the mat with a blanket if you feel sensitive. Raise and stretch your arms backward. Gaze forward and be cautious not to crunch your neck. Release with an exhalation.
  • Happy Baby pose or Ananda Balasana – It is a very natural pose that helps reduce lower back pain. It opens the inner thighs, groin, and hips. It realigns and stretches the spine. Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees towards the chest with the soles facing upward. Spread your knees and shift them towards the armpits. Hold the legs inside or outside with your hands. Rock from side to side and continue breathing. 
  • Reclined Pigeon Pose or Supta Kapotasana– This pose helps you to stretch the inner thighs, hips, and butt. Lie on your back and place your right foot over your left quad and bend your left knee. Hold the back of your left leg and try to pull it towards your chest gently. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes. Switch sides and repeat.

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a widespread condition for a significant share of the population. Strengthening the core is an important factor that could help reduce lower back pain. Check this section to understand some common reasons and learn a few gentle yoga poses to relieve tightness and alleviate back pain. Though experts recommend these poses, please visit your doctor before starting any new exercise.

Reasons

  • Weak Core
  • Lifting something heavy suddenly
  • A bad posture from sitting all-day
  • Scoliosis (medical conditions where the spine has or develops a deformed curvature)

Poses for Lower Back

  • Cat-Cow Pose or Bidilasana – This pose helps remove the tension from the lower back. It follows a good flexion and extension cycle, helping you achieve a neutral spine and gain spinal mobility. Initiate the pose on all fours by aligning your shoulders and hips over the wrists and knees, respectively. Breathe in slowly and exhale around your spine with your head dropped down. On the reverse, inhale and lift your head, chest, and tailbone to arch your back up. Repeat this cycle for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Sphinx Pose or Salamba Bhujangasana – This pose gives a sense of relaxation to your back. It also works on the abs, which support the lower back and give a natural curve to the body. Lie on your stomach with your legs together. Place your elbows and forearms firmly on the ground and slightly lift your chest off the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and lengthen your spine. Remain in this pose for a minute before you relax.
  • Reclined Supine Twist or Jathara Parivartanasana – This is a great twist for your lower back though some people might not find it comfortable to start with. It helps remove the tightness and improves flexibility. Lie in the supine position and bring your knees to the chest. Twist your torso and knees in opposite directions. Try to align the chest, hip, and knees in place while in a neutral position. Practice for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Ragdoll Stretch or variation to Uttanasana – It stretches the ankles, calves, hamstrings, and lower back. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms on the side. Bend forward from the hips and feel the stretch in your calf muscles, hamstrings, and spine. Cross your elbows and rest each hand on the opposite elbow. Hold for a couple of minutes and relax. 
  • Reclined Pigeon Pose or Supta Kapotasana – This pose helps you to stretch the inner thighs, hips, and butt. Lie on your back and place your right foot over your left quad and bend your left knee. Hold the back of your left leg and try to pull it towards your chest gently. Hold for 1 to 3 minutes. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Child’s Pose or Balasana – Child’s Pose gives your back a nice stretch by elongating the spine and taking the pressure off your lower back. Kneel on the mat with your knees hip wide apart. Remember to position your feet together. Breathe in. While exhaling, bend your torso over the thighs. Rest your forehead on the ground and extend the arms in front of you. Lengthen your neck and spine and hold for 1 to 3 minutes. 
  • Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – This pose helps to strengthen the back, legs, ankles, and glutes. It calms the body and helps to alleviate stress and depression. It is an inverted back bending asana. Lie in the supine position and bend your knees. Place your feet firmly on the ground hip-width apart. Place your arms alongside the torso, close enough for the fingertips to reach the heels. Lift your hips and chest up with the support of the feet and arms. Breathe and hold for a couple of breaths and relax. 
  • Knee to Chest or Apanasana – This is a very basic and fun exercise. Lie on your back and bring your knees to the chest and start rocking your torso side to side. It helps massage your back using the natural weight of the body.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

As the age-old saying goes, it is always better to be proactive and try our best to prevent ailment than to try and fix it while in pain. Some simple practices or lifestyle changes that could help prevent the onset of back pain are listed here. Anyone can kickstart healthy changes in lifestyle and good practices at any time.

  • Enjoy your meals, choose healthily and eat consciously.
  • Select a mattress with a medium firmness to maintain the proper posture for your back even while you sleep.
  • Ensure your workstation is designed ergonomically right.
  • Avoid smoking too much as it deprives the necessary nutrients in the spinal tissues.
  • Consciously stay active throughout the day. Even while at work, take short breaks to have some physical movement in the body.
  • Include some form of exercise of your choice in your daily routine to maintain healthy body weight.
  • Remember to warm up and stretch before and after every workout. 

Quick Tips

  • There is a 60-70 percent chance that you might get a migraine because of stiffness in your shoulder. Few shoulder mobility drills to deal with shoulder stiffness are threading the needle, eagle arms, shoulder flossing, side flexion, and behind-the-back hold with the help of straps.
  • Do not twist and extend simultaneously as it might compress the intervertebral joints.
  • Use a Yoga belt to loop if you find it difficult to bend and reach your feet.
  • Check for a modifying pose if you find the original pose uncomfortable.
  • Don’t start with intermediate or advanced poses. They will come with time. 
  • Take support from a partner to achieve the correct posture.
  • Don’t overstretch. Give your body time to do it.
  • Always try to get your doctor’s green light before starting. 
  • Should you visit a Yoga class, inform the teacher about your limitations, if any. 

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the simple poses that could help, try to practice regularly, even for a few minutes. Ensure you discuss your plan with your doctor before beginning this new exercise regime. Build a healthy spine and enjoy life!

The best things in life are simple, and this saying fits yoga perfectly. Practicing yoga does not require much in comparison to any other traditional form of exercise. This is why venturing out into the world of yoga is convenient, as it only requires one thing—your yoga mat. 

Other than the proper clothes, your yoga mat should be the only gear you need. The objective of the mat is to provide an anti-slip and cushioned surface to practice yoga easily and safely on. A yoga mat takes care of all the basic factors like hygiene, comfort, adherence, and cushioning, making it a hassle-free experience. As the saying goes, look after your mat, and it’ll take care of you. So,if you are a proud owner of a lululemon yoga mat, you’re in the right space – as you are about to read all about how to clean a lululemon yoga mat. 

Choosing “The” Yoga Mat

All yogis, especially beginners, face the same difficulty when it comes to selecting a high-quality yoga mat that meets their needs. When doing yoga, everyone wants to enjoy the natural feel of flow, and for that matter, you need to feel grippy and stable. And then there is also the question of durability, particularly if you are a regular practitioner.

A good quality yoga mat is designed to help with balance during all the asanas, enabling the correct posture. Yoga can also make you sweaty, so you should also consider an anti-slip yoga mat that will absorb the sweat and still give you a good grip. 

When you search for the best yoga mats for all yoga routines from beginners to advanced level, Lululemon yoga mats come up time after time. This is a popular brand of yoga mat, and even though the mats are not a cheap buy, trust us when we say they are worth the price. 

What’s Not to Love?

This is durability at its best. Some people have used the Lulu mat for up to five years and swear by it. The perfect thickness of the mat empowers you during your asanas, supporting you fully without shifting from the surface.

Another reason for people to love this mat is that it comes in the perfect size, with a dimension of 26 by 71 inches (66 by 180 cm). They are slightly wider and longer than other mats, which allows people of all heights to feel comfortable without having their hands and toes sticking out. Even better, they have a longer, and wider version for extra-tall yogis. Yes, that’s right: You are now allowed to go all out with Anjaneyasana – a low lunge pose. 

When you own something, you must clean it as well. So if you are curious about how to clean your Lululemon yoga mat, we are here with all the tips and tricks for you to have a happy relationship with your precious mat. 

What Are Lululemon Yoga Mats Made Of?

The Lululemon yoga mat is made of polyurethane, natural rubber, antimicrobial additives, latex, cork and much more. The top layer is made of polyurethane that helps to absorb moisture, enabling a better grip for your sweaty sessions. This particular one has gained popularity for the foam (polyurethane) which is made of joint units by carbamate links, making lululemon yoga mats heat proof. The base is made from rubber to offer a supportive cushioned and anti-slip surface. It is also important to prevent the yoga mats from mold and mildew to ensure hygiene and maintenance. This is why Lululemon yoga mats have an antimicrobial additive. These mats in particular contain latex, so people with rubber or latex allergies should be aware before purchasing them. 

Why Is Regular Cleaning of Your Lululemon Yoga Mat Important?

Why Is Regular Cleaning of Your Lululemon Yoga Mat Important

Lululemon mats are known for their long-lasting quality. But maintaining cleanliness is a must. They are like an investment, so it’s important to make sure you are doing justice to your money by regularly cleaning them. 

When it comes to any mat, you are using them by placing it on the floor. Yoga poses require your body, hands, or feet to be in contact with the mat. Some even require your face to touch the mat. Now think of all the sweat, dirt and dust that your mat absorbs during your practice. Can you imagine the bacteria it leaves on your mat as well as your body parts?

Most of the sweat patches get mixed with dirt and eventually stick to the surface of your mat. There are some that you even can’t see. This bacteria will likely settle in and sometimes start growing inside the mat. There are some that you even can’t see. Therefore, you must clean them as regularly and properly as possible. Now, let’s look at how to clean lululemon yoga mats.

How to Clean Lululemon Yoga Mat

If you enjoy practicing yoga on a freshly cleaned mat every morning, you’ll need to know the ins and out of cleaning your Lululemon yoga mat. There are multiple ways to accomplish it. The first and easiest is a regular wipe after your practice. You can also look into some of the readymade cleaners designed for Lululemon yoga mats – like yoga mat spray cleanser by lululemon. Please make sure to follow instructions about steps and frequency before you apply them. Apart from these, we will be sharing a step-by-step process of not just cleaning your Lululemon mat, but other regular yoga mats as well . For the first two solutions (below), you will need to be prepared with a spray bottle, cloth, and soft sponge.

DIY Cleaner Recipe

There are three yoga mat cleaner DIY solutions that we recommend that can help you to keep your mat as good as new. All three will give you the same results, so it comes down to what you have stored in the kitchen. Let’s jump right into it. 

Water, Vinegar and Tea Tree oil – Combine one part white vinegar and four parts water. Then add twenty drops of tea tree oil to the mixture. The use of vinegar breaks down all the dirt while the tea tree oil with its antiviral properties does the job of killing germs and bacteria.

  1. Water, Vinegar and Tea Tree oil – Combine one part white vinegar and four parts water. Then add twenty drops of tea tree oil to the mixture. The use of vinegar breaks down all the dirt while the tea tree oil with its antiviral properties does the job of killing germs and bacteria.
  1. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice – Another popular cleaning solution. The measurement for this mix is one cup of water and one teaspoon of baking soda, combined with ten drops of lemon juice. Baking soda is a great ingredient to eliminate bad odors, leaving your mat fresh and clean. It also helps to remove the Lululemon mat stains. And lastly, lemon juice works as an antibacterial element. 
  1. Water and Dish soap – This is the most convenient option, as the ingredients are almost always readily available. This is also a preferred option for deep cleaning. The only requirement for this is a bathtub or a big basin for you to soak your mat. Before you run the water, check for the temperature to be lukewarm. Make sure your dishwashing soap does not have any conditioner, as it can ruin the stickiness of the mat. Please, remember to wash both sides of the mat. You will need to leave it on for 10 minutes and take it out. Hang it up with a towel underneath for the water to drain out.

Cleaning a mat with the wrong products or steps can ruin them quickly. So refrain from experimenting. The wrong solutions can damage your mat’s surface and ruin the grip, making it slippery, and you’ll be left with nothing but regrets. 

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Lululemon Yoga Mat?

We advise you to clean your yoga mat possibly after every session or at least once every few sessions. It is a very simple and easy process. Just use a damp cloth to wipe away sweat, dirt, and dust from the mat to maintain it for regular use. 

You can show your mat some extra love by purchasing one of the ready made cleaning solutions like Asutra Yoga Mat Detox – you can pick one according to your liking. They come in different flavors with a variety of essential oils. Some of the other solutions like Vapor Fresh Sports Cleaning and Deodorizing Spray are two or three in one sprays that can keep your mats, shoes and any other yoga props clean.

Frequency of disinfecting your yoga mat depends on how often you use it. If you use it at home only, you can clean it once or twice a week. For ready-made solutions, please read the label for instructions to avoid damaging the surface of your mat. If you practice in a studio or outdoors, then it’s best to clean more regularly at your convenience.

Coming back to the DIY recipes shared in this article, the first two solutions are advised to be used once a week, but the third one with water and dishwashing soap can be done once a month. Having said that, you may want to clean it more often using solutions, for example, if your yoga mat smells bad. You are allowed to use indicators like odor and dirt to make that choice. Feel free to ensure hygiene as you please. 

The Upside of Cleaning your Mat After Each Use

  1. It becomes a habit – It can be the last move of your yoga routine – why not? It will help you to grow into the habit of cleaning it after every practice. You will be relieved that you are preventing your mat from germs and bacterias. Daily cleaning ensures that these germs are not growing inside the mat. Eww right?
  2. Better Durability – Regular care and cleaning means you are looking after it’s longevity. 
  3. Clean Mats are healthy – In every possible way. Imagine getting a skin reaction from a dirty yoga mat. Skin irritation or nasal and upper respiratory tracts are common amongst people who forget to clean their mats. So keep it clean for your health’s sake. 
  4. Deep Cleaning is not required – if you have the habit of cleaning your yoga mat after every use – there is no reason for you to be concerned about deep cleaning it. Unless, you have practiced yoga in the woods, or you have dropped something on the mat that needs to be removed with deep clean.
  5. Shiny Mats are Love – Keep them shining by cleaning them regularly. As we said – a filthy looking yoga mat can also make you look unhygienic if you are practicing in a studio. So save yourself from the embarrassment – keep them nice and shiny!

Conclusion

Nothing in life is perfect. Simply put, the Lululemon yoga mat also has its shortcomings. The stickiness on the mat can wear out over time if not maintained properly. So we suggest using a mat towel while doing hot yoga to prevent it from losing its grip. You can also try out a Lululemon reversible mat that provides outstanding grip, comfort, and stability. 

One last tip before you go: Avoid using anything rough to wipe the cleaning products off the surface of the mat. We hope you are now all set to give it a good round with our Lululemon washing instructions. Read more about them here.

Your mat, your faithful yoga mat knows how to welcome you with all the warmth every single time. You may have skipped your yoga practice for something else, but you know who’s always there to listen to your calm and lift you up? – your support system, your yoga mat. Must we say more about the importance of your yoga mat?

In this article, we will be highlighting some of the factors we want you to consider when buying your yoga mat. We genuinely believe that everyone is different and has different expectations from their yoga practice. Meaning the ultimate question, “what size yoga mat should I get” has no standard answer to it, as it solely depends on your personal preferences and values. It’s advised to think about what’s important to you, what you want to achieve from your yoga practice, and what your body is comfortable with.

Do you know what’s a great starting point to start your exploration? – Finding out what the standard size of yoga mats are all about.

What Is The Standard Size Of A Yoga Mat?

We always like to use the standard yoga mat size as a reference point. The length, width and thickness are all equally important. So, how wide is a yoga mat? A standard yoga mat has a width of 24 inches (60.96 cm) and a length of 68 inches (172.72 cm), with a thickness of 3mm on average. 

Now let’s talk about how it is relevant. The standard size of a yoga mat is designed for someone who has a maximum height of 5ft 8”. So if you know your height, you already have an idea of the yoga mat dimensions you’ll need. 

To summarize, there’s no perfect or ideal size. It all comes down to your height and your preferred padding and cushioning thickness. 

To give you more direction with the standard thickness, 3.175mm is more common to find. They are an excellent choice for regular practitioners with solid core strength and flexibility. There are thicker mats, but they are more suitable for beginners, people with sensitive joints and subtle flow from pose to pose. 

How Long Is a Yoga Mat Good For?

The first thing that should cross your mind is durability – when deciding what size yoga mat should I get? The durability of yoga mats purely depends on three factors. How frequently you are using your mat, how well you maintain it in terms of cleanliness, and of course, the quality of the mat itself. If you bought your mat for $10 to $20, it would last you for a maximum of a year until it starts to have a funny odor. 

Some mats can last for five years, but the investment is much higher ($70-$80). The durability of all yoga mats also heavily depend on the material used to make them, in other words, the quality. Whichever mat you get, it is essential to clean them regularly. For example, we suggest a regular wipe after every session and a deeper clean once every month with water and soap. You can also find some DIY cleaning recipes to help you find easy cleaning solutions for your yoga mat

If you want to derive actual numbers to determine the length and width of the mat, do the following! Try the following poses, and don’t forget to measure the exact distance between your toes and fingers. 

  • Downward-Facing Dog
  • Corpse Pose or vigorous, flowing Ashtanga practices.
  • The Four-Limbed Staff Pose.

Your face should not go over and out of the mat. That is the first red flag. In this case, you should opt for a mat that’s a few inches longer to fit your body comfortably. Next, we will go through some of the factors we live by, so keep reading. 

Thickness

This one is rather a prominent factor. Thickness is as essential as the length and width of the mat. We have already gone through the standard thickness of yoga mats, which is somewhere around 3 mm. But there are lightweight options in the market for better portability, which can have a thickness of only 1.5 mm. 

There are mats with 4 mm to 5 mm thickness as well. They are designed for people who need that extra padding for their knee or back. We will explain the relevance of the yoga mat thickness guide further in detail, so sit tight. 

Material

The good news is, there is a wide range of yoga mats available made with different materials to serve your needs. You’ll find everything from natural materials like rubber and cotton to synthetic materials like latex, even with a combination of blends. 

Basic Sticky Mat

They will stick to the floor, providing you with ample support. And that is exactly what you need when doing yoga. They are popular for the grippy feeling, helping you balance your body weight during standing poses. 

Cotton and Hemp 

They are thicker than standard mats, offering improved padding and cushioning. They are great at absorbing sweat and easy to clean as well. Honest tip: they are not the best for traction, and therefore can feel slippery on some surfaces. 

Foam Yoga Mats

A beginner yogi’s first choice should be a foam yoga mat. Foam filling enhances security on the surface with it’s cushiony feeling. They are also suitable for yoga who suffer from joint pain, knees in particular. The feel of foam provides comfort while posing. Foam yoga mats are also known to be sweat resistant. They are lighter in weight and great for durability.

Natural Rubber Mats

The most basic, standard and oldest types of mats are rubber ones. They are an excellent choice even now. They are non-toxic to humans and also eco-friendly. You may also come across rubber mats with a blend of cork for increased grip. 

Jute Mat

Au-naturel. It is probably the most realistic option out there. They are sticky, eco-friendly, and known for their durability. What’s not to love about them?

Cork Mats

A cork yoga mat has an all natural base of rubber made from wood. The rubber on the surface of the mat is the highlight – as it has great stickability. They look luxurious and feel solid – making it good value for money. They are slightly heavier than foam and PVC – making it the ultimate base for the most difficult movements.

In this article, we will be discussing more materials to compare them with durability and sustainable living practice for you to make a perfect choice. Wait for it!

Texture

The texture is how you will feel on the mat. That is precisely why the texture is important. It dictates traction, which is a deciding factor in terms of grip, stickiness and your flow. It’s important to remember your movements on the mat. There has to be comfort and ease when you change your poses. The good news is, there’s a yoga mat texture for everyone – so suit yourself. 

Here is a basic guideline for you for textures. If you value smoothness over everything, PVC is the one for you. And if your prime importance is anti-slippery mats, then avoid PVC mats. Rather opt for a rubber, cotton or jute based mat. They offer a better grip that can prevent slipping even during challenging balancing poses. To sum it up, there’s a yoga mat texture that fulfills everyone’s needs – so suit yourself. 

Stickiness

Stickiness is hands down the most crucial component for yoga poses. You need a mat to support your movements. A sticky mat’s job is to stick to the floor and let you flow away without any worries and discomfort. PVC mats are known to be the best for this cause. They are slip-resistant. End of the day, it again depends on what you want. So without hesitating, put yourself first to choose the right yoga mat. 

Just one tip to ensure your investment is worth it. Make sure you are cleaning your mat regularly, following the rules based on its material to secure the stickiness of the mat.  Simple rule, look after it, it’ll look after you too. 

Style

Honestly, standard mats are great for all yoga routines, such as Hatha to a basic flowing Vinyasa. The thicker ones are suitable if you are concerned about an injury, so you need extra padding. To be more precise, they are used for restorative and Yin sessions. You will be spending more time lying on your back, so sitting down, so you’ll have a sense of comfort. 

Thinner mats are also an option for yogis who enjoy balancing and standing positions. They will give you a more sturdy foundation for your body. In addition, they are slightly thinner than a standard mat, which is 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) in thickness. 

Eco-Friendliness

Yes, we meant it when we said yoga mats meet everyone’s requirements. In addition, there are earth-friendly mats in the market targeted at yogis who are concerned about the environment and sustainability. 

The eco-friendly mats are made using natural resources like rubber, cotton, jute, etc. Of course, you may have to compromise on the stickiness and grip if you purchase eco-friendly ones. But the good news is that the natural texture on these yoga mats offers excellent traction for your body. 

Price Range

Well, we all know the price in most cases decides the quality. For yoga mats, it is the same case. But we are not saying the more, the better. 

The price of your yoga mat depends on which material you opt for. You have the freedom of choosing the most basic yoga mat that ranges from $10-$20, which are readily available in most stores.

You will find yoga mats for $7.00, but it’s essential to understand that you trust your body with your mat. A lousy quality mat that does not pass any of the crucial factors might end up leaving you an injury. Don’t be penny-wise; pound foolish. A good and reliable mat can range from $50 to $100. Some of the high-end mats come with perks, ticking all the right points, such as material, quality, durability, sustainability. 

There are also premium quality branded yoga mats that are investment pieces that can cost up to $200.

Yoga Mat Materials and Durability

Materials used to make a yoga mat decide its quality and durability. Therefore, we always suggest paying extra attention to the materials when choosing a new mat.

PVC

Firstly, these materials are not biodegradable and not environmentally friendly. Some chemicals included are often hazardous and toxic to humans. The use of phthalates and polyvinyl chloride can cause hormonal imbalance, so it’s best to gather your knowledge before purchasing them. 

Usually, the more affordable mats that range between $10-$20 are made from PVC. It is made from a plastic-based source known for its durability and excellent grip. They are also easily washable. However, these mats are non-absorbent, so there is a chance for them to become slippery if you sweat a lot. For your information, particularly for those with latex allergies, PVC is a wise choice, as it is completely latex-free. 

TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)

Mats made of TPE are a blend of plastic and rubber polymers. These are relatively more eco-friendly than PVC, and some are 100% recyclable. Durability is slightly less but still offers similar traction. As a result, they have recently become a popular choice for technology advancements. However, they need proper care; otherwise, they can break easily. 

Eco/Natural Mats

Eco-friendly mats are the least durable yet have become the most popular due to their sustainability. For yogis concerned about protecting our planet earth, environmentally friendly products always make it to the top of the list. Hence some manufacturers focus on making mats with innovative emission-free processes, leaving minimum impact on the environment. 

There are mats made from 100% recyclable materials like rubber, cotton, jute, cork and woven grass. So if you are interested, you can look up some of these eco-friendly ones to match your beliefs.

How To Find The Right Size For Yourself

The right size depends on your height, postures, balance, and your practice location. For example, the surface texture should also be considered when choosing the right size. 

As mentioned above, your needs should be prioritized. Have a clear understanding of your expectations and surroundings. For example, will you be traveling with your yoga mat? Are you buying one to treat an injury as part of your physiotherapy sessions? Are you a beginner? Or are you desperate to correct a difficult standing pose? 

Lastly, how tall are you? Are you satisfied with the standard ones with a typical yoga mat size? If you are shorter than 6 feet (182 cm), it is safe to buy a standard-sized yoga mat. First, however, we will give you a breakdown of the ideal yoga mat size chart.

For Taller Yogis

So if you’re taller than 6 feet (182 cm), you will need to buy a longer and broader mat for your body to fit in comfortably. Yoga is about stretching and spreading your hands and legs. So make sure you are buying a yoga mat that allows your mind and body to perform the poses comfortably. Maybe look for something within 72 (182 cm) to 74 inches (188 cm) in length. 

For The Standard Height Yogis

We have already mentioned how long a yoga mat is, but just for you – The standard mats range from 68 (172 cm) to 70 inches (177 cm), which are made for people with a height of 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm) or below. Having said that, if you consider yourself to be a plus-size yogi, pick a wider mat, please. 

For sensitive joints

Yoga is a fantastic way to recover from joint pain and back injuries. It is common practice for physiotherapists, chiropractors to recommend yoga as a form of treatment. However, not just for medical purposes, anyone can face mild back pain, and yoga does a beautiful job of making you feel healthier and more robust. But, of course, with the help of the mat. 

If you suffer from joint pain or back issues or have had surgeries recently, please choose a thicker mat. The question is, how thick should your yoga mat be for it to protect you? We recommend a 4mm to 5mm thickness, slightly more than standard ones. It will secure your muscles and bones and help you gain better momentum during your poses.

Warning: Thicker mats are not the best option for balancing positions, so please don’t overestimate the power of your mat. You can end up with bad injuries if you are not careful. 

Yoga Poses and Mats

So you may have come across different patterns and textures on mats, they have a purpose. Yes some of them are just made prettier for the looks, but most of them have a deeper purpose than looks. The variety in materials derive your hand and feet movements for yoga poses. Texture on the mats also depends on the style of yoga you practice. Let’s give you a better idea:

Ashtanga Yoga – This is an aggressive style of yoga that requires a sticky mat. We recommend a cork mat that’s made of natural rubber, or TPE mats with their anti-slip property. Both are great even for super sweaty sessions.

Hatha Yoga – Hatha poses are more leaned towards beginners. Less rigorous, and covers many different classes that focus on physical postures. covers a wide range of classes that teach physical postures. For Hatha Yoga, regular foam mats are the best – as it gives you support to balance your poses as a beginner. 

Bikram/Hot Yoga – Both are incessantly sweaty and similar styles of yoga. The room temperature for these classes are usually really hot – close to 100 degrees. So your hands and feet can feel very slippery, therefore you need to choose a mat that’s anti-slip like a natural rubber mat. We also recommend using a yoga towel to have better grip. Trust us when we say you’ll be sweating a ton. 

Iyengar – This particular style is all about perfecting your alignment. It is a steady style but makes your core do the maximum work – so expect a lot of sweat from this one as well. Your heart rate will increase during Iyengar. This is a game of balance – so get a mat that supports you to stay balanced during poses. Stickability or foamy is not required in this case – but rather opt for a mat that is thinner allowing you to maintain your balance. Maybe ¼” or go thinner with ⅛” mats. 

Restorative – Restorative style is known to be a much more gentle form of yoga. Probably the gentlest of all. You might want to get a comfortable mat to enhance your experience of restorative yoga. You’ll be lying down for most parts – so we suggest cotton mats. May as well nap it out after the session – don’t see why not!

Vinyasa – This is a modified version of Hatha Yoga. The only difference lies in the pace and flow of the poses. Vinyasa poses are much faster, and shift from one asana to another is more rapid in comparison to Hatha. Flow is key in this form of yoga. We recommend a mat that sticks well to the floor. You’d also want a smooth surface for your shifts – so again natural rubber is a great option for Vinyasa. 

Conclusion

Let’s jump back to the original question. The answer to “What size yoga mat do I need” honestly lies within yourself. So, talk to yourself about what’s important, your comfort, your routine, your body and the space you practise on, and lastly, your affordability. All these factors will help you to determine your preferred size. We hope you are good to go now to grab yours. Happy shopping!

Medical parts were written by Dr. Mishra

Yoga is a living philosophy that has its roots in India’s ancient teachings, which date back over 4,000 years. It’s a system that includes various aspects and practices, not only the postures (asanas) that have come to define most of today’s Yoga in the west. 

Many other aspects of Yoga begin to uncover as we practice simple respiration and meditation techniques and yoga asana regularly and with awareness. The practice has the prospects to become transformational, and our awareness begins to expand beyond what we experience on the Yoga mat and into our daily lives.

One of the Hatha yoga systems integrates breath and movement in a flowing series of asanas in Ashtanga Yoga. Each asana has a specific amount of coordinated movements that go up to and out of it. It can assist in increasing strength, flexibility, and stamina and foster an overall sense of well-being and a still and focused mind when practiced daily.

Ashtanga Yoga

Are you someone who enjoys working out but finds Yoga to be too soft for you? I frequently hear people claim that Yoga isn’t much of a workout or prefer a sweaty workout. Perhaps you might give Ashtanga Yoga a try.

Yoga classes and Yoga teacher training alternatives abound for today’s Yogi. Yoga appears to have become a catch-all name for a sort of workout that emphasizes physical and mental strength, flexibility, awareness, and relaxation.

Even though the asanas are essentially the same, there are many diverse forms of Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is one of the more difficult types currently practiced, requiring a great deal of discipline, strength, and commitment.

History of Ashtanga Yoga

An ancient Guru, called Patanjali, summarised this particular form in the Yoga Sutras and wrote the oldest surviving literature. The eight limbs of Yoga, according to Patanjali’s teachings, are the path to ultimate enlightenment. 

The current history of Ashtanga Yoga goes back to the legendary Yoga Teacher Krishnamacharya, who received the practice from Ramamohana Brahmachari, a Yoga teacher based near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet.

Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, has increased in popularity among Yogis worldwide. Shri K Pattabhi Jois (1915–2009), a student of Sri T Krishnamacharya and creator of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, formalized and popularised the Ashtanga Yoga method. As a result, the style is often known as Mysore-style Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Raja Yoga (The Royal Path) or Classical Yoga, is a technique or practice supposed to help you achieve a state of detachment known as vairagya and master the thirst of thirst all five senses. Raja Yoga goes more in the spiritual direction but can also be performed without a spiritual intent.

‘Asht’ means eight, and ‘ang’ indicates limbs in Sanskrit. As a result, Ashtanga Yoga, also known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga or the Eightfold Path, as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, is an ancient method for leading a disciplined life, alleviating suffering, and achieving self-realization.

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

“Vina Vinyasa Yogena asanadih na karayet”

‘Oh Yogi, do not practice asana without vinyasa.’ Vamana Rishi Yoga Korunta

Yogi Vamana’s teachings in his treatise “Yoga Kuranta” gave birth to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a subclass of Hatha Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga is not the same as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Patanjali initially mentioned “Ashtanga Yoga” in his Yoga Sutras, and it is a lifestyle that consists of eight main aspects. Asana is the third of Patanjali’s eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. 

In the asana area, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a subclass of Hatha Yoga. All Hatha Yoga asana practices, whether Traditional Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, or Vinyasa Yoga, are different types of a universal set of Hatha Yoga.

All of these various asanas practice approaches have grown and become famous on their own throughout time. Every method of asana practice has its own point of view. But, at the end of the day, they’re all distinct types of Hatha Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga – The Modern Concept

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a traditional type of Yoga that is very vigorous and energetic. When done correctly, it necessitates a significant level of focus and concentration. It generates an internal heat that cleanses and purifies it, builds a strong and supple body, and gives mental clarity. Those who devote their lives to it discover that the Ashtanga Vinyasa discipline allows them to make rapid progress and see tangible results.

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, traditionally performed six days a week in the morning, has a similar impact to re-booting your computer. You clear away all of the trash you’ve accumulated over the course of the day and start clearing out the garbage you’ve accumulated over your life by continuously performing it.

Why Do We Call Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga As Ashtanga Yoga?

The master instructor Pattabhi Jois, who taught this practice approach throughout the world, referred to it as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. However, over time, this long term was abbreviated to Ashtanga. 

Patanjali refers to his eight-limb Yoga as Ashtanga Yoga, and many people believe the two are interchangeable. Hatha Yoga is the first stage in Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga practice philosophy, while Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga.

What Is The Difference Between Ashtanga And Vinyasa Yoga

Although yoga experts may likely have differing opinions on this, we’ve discovered that the phrases “Ashtanga” and “Vinyasa” are sometimes used interchangeably, although they have significant variances. 

Both kinds of Yoga place a significant emphasis on asana or poses. The eight limbs established by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras comprise moral and ethical standards, postures, breath practice, sensory withdrawal, focus, and contemplation.

Traditional Ashtanga Yoga is quite physically demanding and follows the same sequence and set of poses in a specific manner. Many of the same postures are used in Vinyasa or Power Yoga, but the order or variation of the poses varies. Most importantly, because Vinyasa connects breath to movement, it is faster-paced and has a flowing rhythm. Vinyasa Yoga is just as demanding as Hatha Yoga, but with a little more movement and a stronger focus on the breath.

The Key Concepts

The term Ashtanga Vinyasa is derived from two key Yoga principles: 

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, generally considered as the founding principles of Yoga, where the term Ashtanga refers to the “eight fundamental limbs” of Yoga and Vinyasa, which translates “correct placement” or “harmonious and smart sequencing of postures,” but is also frequently interpreted as merging movement with breath and chanting.

During practice, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga uniquely blends three key aspects. One of the essential aspects that helps clear the mind is for the learner to maintain a high level of focus and concentration throughout.

Breath and bandhas (ujjayi breath, moola bandha, and uddiyana bandha); asana (postures); and Drishti (concentration) make Ashtanga’s Tristana. To know more about bandhas, please read further.

Important Elements Of Ashtanga-vinyasa Yoga

1. BREATH

The science of breathing has been practiced by yogis for millennia and is widely recognized as a strong technique by a wide range of people, including performers and public speakers. It is the most basic method of bringing energy and life spirit into our bodies, and it has amazing relaxing and stress-relieving properties. Breathing is the first and final act of life. However, for the most part, breathing is a subconscious process that receives little attention.

The process of enhancing your conscious knowledge of yourself begins with being constantly mindful of your breath. The cadence of the breath drives the entire Ashtanga Vinyasa practice, and ujjayi (victorious) breathing is essentially its heartbeat. 

2. BANDHAS (INTERNAL LOCKS)

You might have heard people saying, “Your energy is a valuable resource, use it wisely. “

Bandhas means to lock or block the energy flow in a particular area of the body. When the energy is blocked, the channel is energized to a maximum capacity to produce huge energy outflow throughout the body. Once the control over the energy is achieved, it can be used to maintain physical, mental, and spiritual alignment.

There are four types of bandhas:

  • Mula Bandha – Associated with the pelvic floor, pushes energy up towards your navel while preventing too much of it from leaking out.
  • Uddiyana Bandha – Associated with your core, moves energy farther up. More forcefully than it does in Moola Bandha. 
  • Jalandhara Bandha – Associated with the throat. And is performed by bringing the chin closer to the chest. 
  • Maha Bandha – Also called the “Supreme Bandha” or “Triple lock” as it provides the health benefits of all three bandhas, as mentioned above. 

3. MULA

The term Mula refers to a technique that focuses on squeezing the pelvic floor muscles, also known as the perineum. These rarely used muscles are difficult to detect and isolate at first, but once activated, they provide lift to the entire body. This technique, like ujjayi breathing, takes years to master the subtleties and precision, but even the most basic expression yields results.

4. UDDIYANA

The use of this bandha develops and tones the abdominal (core) portion of the body. Uddiyana signifies upward soaring. The core is engaged by bringing the abdomen in an inch or two below the navel and then performing an inner lift UP through the center of the body, which is easier to display and experience than moola bandha. This action activates the core, protects the back, and promotes good posture.

5. ASANAS

The Ashtanga Vinyasa system is divided into six distinct series: Primary (the first); Intermediate (the second); and Advanced A, B, C, and D (the third) (third, fourth, fifth, sixth). Sun salutations, standing poses, seated positions, backbends, and concluding poses are all included in each series. The sitting postures are the most noticeable distinction between the two series, while there are some minor differences in standing and backbends. Each series usually takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to finish.

Although we may integrate postures from the Advanced series into our improv courses, we teach the Primary and Intermediate series as traditional practices at Infinite Yoga. When students are ready to advance to the Advanced series, we refer them onward.

6. DRISTI

Every posture has a definite Drishti, or gazing point, which is meant to increase concentration. The aim of these structures, which include the nose (nasagrai), the brow (broomadhya), and the side (parsva), is to keep the attention focused on a single item rather than wandering around the room. The practice takes on a contemplative quality when Drishti is observed and maintained throughout.

All This Theory is Good, But What’s Ashtanga Yoga’s Practice Like?

The Primary Series is referred to as “Yoga Chikitsa,” which translates to “Yoga therapy.” This sequence aims to eliminate any evident physical difficulties that may be impeding your ability to maintain a healthy physique. For the most part, this entails stretching the hips and lengthening the hamstrings! This is something that the Primary Series excels at.

The Full Primary Series takes about 90 minutes to complete, which is lengthier than most yoga or fitness courses. In addition, the traditional method requires you to practice six days a week, which might be a difficult chore. 

More dedicated Ashtangis are advised to make lifestyle and dietary modifications, such as eating a plant-based or Lacto-vegetarian diet and practicing early in the morning. Not everyone is suited to Ashtanga Yoga. However, it’s possible for everyone.

Let me give you a quick rundown of the procedure:

  • Dynamic: You’ll feel like you’ve put in a lot of effort, and it’s not uncommon to sweat profusely!
  • Strengthening: The numerous chaturangas (common posture in vinyasa yoga and well-known ashtanga yoga pose consists of four limbs staff pose), as well as the daily repetition, make it an excellent approach to improve strength.
  • Challenging: Most Westerners aren’t used to practicing many of the poses in the Primary Series, so you might think at first, “I’ll never be able to do that.” But it will come in due course!
  • Build Endurance: It can be exhausting to build up the endurance for this level of practice because the Primary Series takes about 90 minutes to complete. You’ll be able to do this for a long time if you progressively put on the postures one by one.
  • Breath-centered: Pattabhi Jois famously said, “Only lazy people can’t perform Ashtanga Yoga.” He was pointing to the fact that Ashtanga is mostly a breathing exercise. So long as you’re breathing, you’re good to go! The rest can be added afterward.
  • Meditative: You can go into “the zone” when practicing Yoga if you know even a short sequence off-by-heart. You don’t need to follow a teacher’s instructions, simply flow in time with your breath.
  • Structured: The sequences can be tailored to meet the demands of each individual, but in general, everyone will practice the same set of postures every day until they have mastered it. You won’t be able to choose the positions you learn because Ashtanga Yoga has already been decided for you!
  • Physical adjustments (or “assists” ): Throughout your practice, teachers will offer physical adjustments (or “assists”). These aren’t always to correct you, they may also be incredibly therapeutic, assisting you in finding space and length in your postures. This, I believe, is one of the reasons why students progress so swiftly in Ashtanga Yoga!

The Primary Series is structured as follows: 5 sun salutation A and 3-5 Surya namaskar.

Forward folds, twists, and balances are among the standing postures.

A series of seated postures involving a great deal of forward folding, hip opening, and twisting. And several of Ashtanga’s distinctive “vinyasas” — back-and-forth hopping through a flow to keep the heart rate up and increase flexibility!

A deep backbend, shoulder stands, and a headstand are included in the final sequence.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

The combination of activity and Ujjayi breathing helps the body generate heat, or, as Pattabhi Jois puts it, “boils the blood and thins it so it may circulate freely.” Of course, he was speaking metaphorically.  

Performing Ashtanga Yoga causes excessive sweating, allowing impurities to leave the body; it increases blood circulation, reducing or eliminating body aches and joint discomfort; cleanses inner organs and flushes out impurities; and filters the nervous system. Apart from increasing stamina, flexibility, and attention, daily practice fosters a sense of surrender and devotion, which aids spiritual advancement on the Yoga path.

Scientific Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

  1. MENTAL WELL-BEING:

One of the fundamental goals of Yoga is to have a calm mind, which offers several advantages, including the ability to make better judgments, a lower likelihood of becoming irritated, and a more positive outlook on life. Yogic activities also suppress the parts of the brain that cause anxiety, wrath, and irritation. This, in turn, promotes reduced anxiety, a decreased heart rate, and other benefits.

Yoga practice helps depression by increasing serotonin levels while decreasing monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol. For the treatment of depressive disorders, a variety of therapeutic techniques are available. However, many patients turn to complementary therapies due to drug side effects, lack of response, or simply a preference for the complementary approach.

 This study has shown that yoga therapies may help people with depression, stress, and anxiety.

2. PHYSICAL WELL-BEING:

Of course, one of the most obvious and important benefits of Yoga is flexibility. It also aids in the development of muscular mass and strength and protects you from arthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis. Because you must stretch, bend, and twist in various poses during a yoga practice. That, in turn, soaks and squeezes cartilage and transports blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout your entire body. As a result, it may aid in the prevention of arthritis and chronic pain. 

Yoga improves blood flow, hemoglobin, and red blood cell levels, allowing more oxygen to reach body cells and improving their function. 

When you twist, you wring out blood from your internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in. Inverted positions promote blood flow from the legs and pelvis back to the heart, where it is pushed into the lungs and oxygenated. 

study has shown that Yoga reduces resting heart rate, increases endurance, and improves maximum oxygen intake and use during exercise. Getting the heart rate into the aerobic range regularly could minimize the chance of a heart attack. While not all Yoga is aerobic, even Yoga movements that do not raise the heart rate to aerobic levels can help to enhance cardiovascular health.

Yoga For Nervous System

Due to modern life, practically every neurological system is now overworked. As a result, Shavasana (corpse posture), Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, Pratyahara (Pratyahara or the ‘withdrawal of the senses is the fifth element among the Eight stages of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga) and restorative Asanas are all beneficial. 

These approaches give your nervous system a break, which might help you sleep better. Insomnia medications aren’t particularly pleasant to take. As a result, other practices such as Yoga and meditation are becoming more popular. Go through this study to find out more about it.

Ashtanga Yoga For Cancer Patients And Survivors:

This healthy attitude of acceptance is especially helpful for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses since it reduces the stress caused by unpleasant symptoms. The postures target the tension, holding, and blocking of energy in certain joints and organs. As this tension is released, energy flows more freely throughout the body, allowing patients to feel a sense of greater well-being, strength, and mental, physical, and spiritual balance.

Because there has been research that shows Yoga can help with anxiety and stress reduction. Furthermore, when practicing Yoga, a strong focus is placed on embracing one’s current experiences, cultivating mindfulness, and not pushing the body beyond its natural boundaries. 

How Many Calories Does Ashtanga Yoga Burn?

Did you know that doing this Yoga form for an hour burns 594 calories! Ashtanga yoga is a rigorous and athletic style. As a result, it’s a great strategy to assist you in burning some calories. You’ll probably burn double as much with Ashtanga Yoga as you will with Iyengar Yoga. You’ll burn even more pounds if you do Bikram or Vinyasa.

Many people do Ashtanga Yoga to improve their strength and flexibility, but the exercises will also help you relax your mind.

Is Ashtanga Yoga For Everyone?

Anyone, with the exception of lazy individuals, may do Ashtanga Yoga, according to Pattabhi Jois. However, because not everyone seeks rigors or challenging Yoga practice, styles such as Anusara Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga, and others are preferred options for those seeking therapeutic benefits, gentle flow, and the ability to hold postures for extended periods of time for meditation and spiritual experience.

It is best to learn the technique from a teacher who can assess what is best for you and provide you with the appropriate asanas.

How To Practice Ashtanga Yoga At Home?

“How do I begin a home practice?” is a common query in the yoga community. Learning how to practice Yoga on your own can be a confusing, intimidating, and even nerve-wracking experience at first. Home practice is the ultimate Yogic-Experience for many people since it is genuinely and inescapably just you and yourself.

Uncertainty, laziness, irritation, and diversions are common when you don’t have an instructor to tell you what to do. Plus, there’s no way of knowing if you’ll do the appropriate thing or for how long you’re supposed to perform that “thing.” There are so many possibilities! What’s the point?

Home practice is, for one thing, a radical form of self-care. A powerful statement of self-acceptance, self-awareness, and of course, self-empowerment. 

After all, it’s usually a lot easier to follow someone else’s cues and directions than it is to come up with your own ideas. It’s human nature to doubt the validity of everything, including our own talents, and it’s sometimes easier to let someone else step in and take control of the decision-making process when there’s a lot of uncertainty.

Imagine dedicating time each day to honoring the part of you that feels deeply, to acknowledging what you know on a deep and indisputable level, and to fostering a trusting—even reverent—relationship with your body. That is the power of practicing at home.

If you can’t make it to the studio every day, starting a home practice is best to keep your practice going. If you only have a limited amount of time, you can practice wherever you like. 

To ensure that I do not miss out, I frequently rehearse at home before going to work. You can continue your practice whether traveling or on vacation.

You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by a posture. To learn about healthy anatomical and alignment concepts, watch lessons from a certified expert of your choice. Learning to think about the asana’s method can assist you in comprehending how it works. It can transform a sense of powerlessness into one of optimism.

“The core idea of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is to shift emphasis from posture to breath…the only thing permanent in practice is the constant focus on the breath.” And the breath is a metaphor for what is permanent in our ever-changing life—the universe, infinite consciousness, or, most of all, love.  Gregor Maehle

Wrapping Up

If you enjoy structure and desire a challenge, Ashtanga yoga is for you. The practice is consistent from day to day, and most people take years to advance a level. No matter which series you are in, the Ashtanga tradition is a practice from which you will never stop learning. Life-long Ashtanga practice is defined by the way the series complement one another and work together to create a more full and balanced practice.

Is this sufficient to answer the questions about Ashtanga yoga,” Is it making you want to give Ashtanga Yoga a try?

Medically parts are written by Dr. Rai

Viparita Karani is classified as a form of Kaya yoga mudra. Kaya mudras means Asanas, pranayama, and concentration are all combined.

Kaya mudra combines the entire body with breathing and concentration practice to create asana, unlike ordinary yoga hand mudras. 

Viparita means “reverse” in Sanskrit, while Karani denotes “an action to complete a task.” Viparita Karani denotes the “action of reversing” when summarising the meanings of root words. The flow of energy is reversed in Viparita Karani Mudra by reversing action.

Viparita Karani mudra is comparable to other inverted yoga poses like Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Sirsasana (Headstand). 

 Here is an example of client Mr. Iyengar, who has been advised to practice a deep Viparita Karani as “natural dhyana.” According to Patanjali, Dhyana is the seventh of the Eight Limbs and can be translated as “meditation.”

Meaning of Viparita Karani

In hatha yoga, Viparita Karani, legs up the wall pose, is both an asana and a mudra (a seal done by your hands and fingers). It’s usually a completely supported pose using a wall and sometimes a pile of blankets (used to support the buttocks during the inverted position) in modern yoga as a workout. 

According to Hatha yoga experts, this inverted balance exercise was created to bring inner harmony and union of opposites, such as the bloodstreams (arterial and venous), nerve impulses, through the use of gravity.

The natural erect body position is turned into a reversed position in Viparita Karani Mudra, where hands support the spine at a 60-degree angle. The ‘head down, legs up’ position allows fluids to flow back.

Mr. Iyengar said in 2005 in Estes Park, Colorado, when describing the historical significance of Viparita Karani:

“According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, all inversions are Viparita Karani. It includes even Sirsasana. But, according to one statement, [this] is Viparita Karani when the buttocks are somewhat down below the trunk. Viparita Karani is said to be halfway between Halasana (Plow Pose) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand).”

Furthermore

This asana is a revitalizing and restorative asana that calms and energizes both the body and mind. It’s a shoulder stand inversion that’s similar to Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand). The difference between the two Asanas is that in Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), you don’t use a wall. Instead, you use your hands and arms to keep and hold yourself in that inverted position.

This asana is good for calming and soothing the nervous system. The spirit of letting go is taught in this restorative position can also be applied to vigorous asana practice.

As a result, all inversions, such as Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Sirsasana (Headstand), and Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), are Viparita Karani postures. When people talk about the historical benefits of the pose, they’re usually talking about all prolonged inversions (holding the inverted posture for a long time).

Viparita Karani Pose Breakdown

Because Viparita Karani Mudra is a restorative pose, many people choose to execute it with props like pillows, bolsters, and folded blankets. You can start by selecting a prop that meets your needs and then following the procedures outlined below.

  • Select an open area near the wall and sit so that your feet are flat on the ground and perfectly spread out in front of you. Make sure your left side of the body hits the wall as well.
  • Exhale deeply and lie down flat on your back. Turn the soles of the feet upwards while keeping the back of the legs firmly against the wall. In order to settle down and to be comfortable in such a pose, you may need to move around a little to make minor adjustments.
  • Place your buttocks slightly away from the wall or gently press them against it.
  • Maintain a resting position for your head and back on the floor. Keep your body at a 90-degree angle.
  • Place a prop under your hips. Should you be on a tight budget, you can use your hands to hold your hips and create a curve around your lower body.
  • Maintain a neutral position for your neck and head, and relax your face and throat.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath. For around ten minutes, stay in this position.
  • After that, let go and roll to one side. As you sit up, take a few deep breaths.

A Detailed Explanation

Do not get confused yet. Here’s a detailed explanation. 

STEP 1: 

Determine two factors regarding your support before completing the pose: its height and its distance from the wall. By the way, make sure that the wall is clean. There shouldn’t be any spider webs or other crawling thingies.

If you’re more rigid, use lower support that’s farther away from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that’s closer to the wall. 

Your height also determines your distance from the wall. If you’re shorter, come closer to the wall, and if you’re taller, move further away. Experiment with your support’s position until you find one that works best for you.

STEP 2 :

Start around 5 to 6 inches (13 – 15 cm) away from the wall with your support. Sit on the right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handed people can use “left” instead of “right” in these directions). 

Exhale and throw your legs up against the wall and your shoulders and head down onto the floor in one fluid motion. And if you can’t keep your legs together, use a yoga band to support your legs.

You may slide off the support and plump-down down with your buttocks on the floor the first few times you attempt this. Don’t be disheartened. 

Reduce the support’s height and/or move it further away from the wall until you’re comfortable with it, then return it to its original position.

STEP 3:

Your sitting bones don’t have to be flush against the wall; they only need to be in the area between the support and the wall. 

Make sure your body arches slightly from the pubis to the tops of your shoulders. You’ve definitely slipped a little off the support if the front of your body appears flat. 

Slowly bend your knees, gently press your feet against the wall, and lift your pelvic a few inches off the support. Tuck the support a bit higher up under your pelvis, and then drop your pelvis back onto the support.

STEP 4:

Soften your throat by lifting and releasing the base of your head away from the rear of your neck. Instead of pressing your chin into your sternum, elevate your sternum toward the chin. 

If your cervical spine seems flat, place a tiny roll (made from a blanket, for example) beneath your neck. 

Release your wrists and arms out to the sides, palms up, and open your shoulder blades away from your spine.

STEP 5:

Maintain a tight grip on your legs, just enough to keep them vertically in place. 

Deeply inside your body, toward the back of the pelvis, release the heads of your thigh bones and the weight of your belly. 

STEP 6:

This stance can be held for 5 to 15 minutes. When removing the support, be careful not to twist it. Instead, swivel to the side and slide off the support onto the floor. 

To elevate your pelvis off the support, bend your knees and push your feet against the wall. Put the support to one side, if possible lower your pelvis to the ground, and turn to the side. 

Stay on your side for a few minutes before exhaling and rising to your feet.

Follow the procedure mentioned to relax your eyes. Rub your palms together to become warm and place warm palms on your closed eyes. I am sure you will find the warmth to be very relaxing.

Preparatory Poses For Viparita Karani

  • Virasana 
  • Uttanasana 
  • Setu bandha sarvangasana 
  • Supta baddha konasana

Modifications And Variations

Arm Variations

You can hold your arms in a variety of ways. Experiment with them to discover how they affect you. What you want today could not be the same as tomorrow.

  • As in Savasana, place your arms at your sides.
  • With your palms up, extend your arms straight out to your sides.
  • Cactus arms (also known as Stick’ Em Up arms) have upper arms straight out from shoulders, elbows bent 90 degrees, and the backs of the forearms on the ground.
  • With your arms on the ground, hold your elbows overhead.
  • Place your palms on your stomach, or place one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach.

The sacroiliac joints connect your pelvis and lower spine. The sacrum (the bony structure above your tailbone and below your lower vertebrae) and the top part (ilium) of your pelvis make up these structures.

For Sacrum Joint Pain Relief

Set up for the posture by placing a yoga bolster, folded blanket, yoga block, or even a cushion under your hips to support your sacrum fully. 

Rest your bottom hip on the prop as you enter the posture, with the prop parallel to the wall. Turn onto your back and lift your legs to the wall.

Relax your legs once you’ve got them up the wall, so they’re heavy in your hips. This will aid in the ‘release’ of your pelvis, allowing for a small amount of space on either side of your sacrum.

For Tight Hamstrings

Resting your legs against the wall can be challenging. Move your hips away from the wall to make the pose more accessible. The stretch to your hamstrings is reduced as a result of the decrease in hip flexion.

If you have a yoga strap, make a huge loop with it and wrap it around your legs. This will allow you to stretch your legs and press into the strap for support.

Can’t Keep Legs Straight For More Than 5 Mins?

Take a chair and place it against the wall, with the back of the chair touching the wall. Instead of leaning against the wall, rest the backs of your legs on the chair’s seat, with your hips extended to around 90 degrees.

For More Relaxation

You can relax more deeply without your legs slipping apart if you use a yoga strap across your thighs. Wrap the strap over your thighs or around your calf muscles, right above your knees. Try both and discover which one allows you to relax the most.

Do one of the following to get into the strap pose:

  • Before swinging your legs up the wall, wrap the strap over your legs.
  • Hook the strap over one leg, then put the other leg through the loop after you’ve brought your legs up the wall.

For Pregnant Women

To make a V-shape with your legs, wrap a yoga strap around your ankles. This may necessitate tying two straps together. This wide-leg version gives you extra room to unwind.

You don’t have to be pregnant to accomplish this variation, of course. It’s a great one for all ages!

For Unsteady Legs

Place your feet on the wall and bend your knees. Gently push your upper body away from the wall with your feet until you can lower your pelvis to the ground and rest your feet flat on the wall.

While practicing Viparita Karani, this version might also assist in reducing leg tingling.

Different Legs Versions You Can Try

You can undertake various leg variations, such as bringing your feet together in Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose). As in Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Stance Forward Bend) or Upavista Konasana (sitting upright with the legs as wide apart as possible, spread your legs wide).

Experiment with different leg variations to see what works best for you.

Precautions Before Performing Viparita Karani

  • Make sure your bowels are empty before beginning Viparita Karani.
  • If you have already eaten, maintain a 6-hour interval between your practice and your food if you are doing Viparita Karani for an extended period.
  • This inversion pose should be avoided when you have high blood pressure, heart illness, or thyroid difficulties.
  • Always exit the stance slowly.

Props For Modifications

A strap and a small sandbag are two typical props for Viparita Karani, in addition to a pillow or blanket for assistance. 

You can tighten the strap around your thighs, slightly above the knees, after you’re in the pose. The belt will keep your legs in position, enabling you to relax your legs.

It’s a little more challenging to get the sandbag in place. Bend your knees and glide your feet down the wall, keeping your ankles extended and your soles perpendicular to the ceiling until you’re in the pose. 

Lay the bag across your soles (or heels) as best you can, then straighten your knees and deliberately push the bag toward the ceiling. The weight on the legs helps to relieve lower back stress.

Taking A Partner’s Help

A companion can also assist you in grounding the thigh bones’ heads into the wall. As you complete the posture, have her/him stand next to you. 

She/he should next lean forward and wrap her/his arms around your front thighs, right above the pelvic joint. 

She/he should bring the thighs closer to the wall on your inhale and hold them firmly against the wall as you release the front torso away from the thighs on your exhale. 

Rep for a few more breaths.

Best Time To Practice

Viparita Karani, like other inverted yoga postures, is best practiced first thing in the morning after bowel movements and a shower. 

The body’s metabolic and other functions are already at their height throughout the day. In this situation, reversing the body’s natural flow will have more negative consequences than benefits.

However, after 3 hours of a decent lunch, it is possible to do it in the afternoon. It should also begin after a 10-minute break in Shavasana.

Tips For Beginners

As a beginner, you may find it difficult to achieve proper alignment in this pose. You must breathe in such a way that the heads of your thigh bones are firmly pressed against the wall for this to work. 

It will aid in the release of your spine and stomach. Imagine the inhale passing through your torso and forcing the thigh bones’ heads against the wall. 

Allow your thigh bones to press harder against the wall and your body to draw away from the wall as you exhale each time.

This position might serve as a useful substitute for Savasana, particularly for newbies who have trouble relaxing. 

It’s also a fantastic replacement for anyone, regardless of where they are on their yoga path. Legs Up the Wall Pose has many of the same advantages as Savasana, plus a few more.

Benefits of Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani is thought to be beneficial for almost anything that ails you, according to modern teachers, including:

Physical Benefits

  • This position softly stretches our hamstrings and opens up space in our low back. Elevating our legs may improve circulation and allow any excess fluid to escape. 
  • This posture may be very beneficial for people who suffer from edema or sciatica. Furthermore, after a long day at work, this pose can feel fantastic because it eliminates achiness in your feet, legs, and low back, making it a powerful pose.
  • This pose may increase the release of digestive fluids, which helps indigestion. An increase in appetite is also possible.
  • In obese people, increased metabolism in body cells can reduce fat around the waist.
  • When the head is turned upside down, cellular fluid that has accumulated in lower body parts enters the circulation.
  • It may protect from atherosclerosis by restoring vascular tone and flexibility (a condition of fats, cholesterol, and other substances accumulation in artery walls).
  • It can aid in the relief of a minor backache.
  • Stretches the back of the neck, legs, front chest, and pelvis gently.
  • According to a study, inversion postures such as Viparita Karani strengthen the heart muscle, improving circulation and a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Viparita Karani is a good treatment for cerebral insufficiency and senile dementia because it can enhance blood flow to the brain.
  • On the other hand, modern professors claim that Viparita Karani can help with premenstrual syndrome, menopause, menstrual pains, and sleeplessness.
  • The thyroid gland is stimulated by the pressure applied around the throat muscles and chin in this mudra. It may bring the functions of a hypoactive thyroid back into equilibrium.

All In All 

We automatically begin activating the vagus nerve, commonly known as the ‘wandering nerve’ due to its path from the brain to the gut, by reclining in an inverted position and letting the respiration too slow.

When in an inverted pose the nervous system as a whole receives the message that it is secure to relax, and we are finally able to change from the fight or flight system, which is partially responsible for stress-related illnesses.

Moreover

Viparita Karani’s key physical benefits:

  • Allows you to relax your muscles.
  • It can aid in the relaxation of the neurological system, which may aid in the relief of anxiety.
  • It may make you feel less tired.
  • Many people find that being in this position allows them to relax profoundly, releasing tension and stress.
  • This is a fantastic passive pose for lengthening your hamstrings.
  • Relieves fatigued legs and feet (after a marathon, flight, long walk/hike, bike ride, or other strenuous activity).
  • Stretches glutes, hamstrings, and hip adductors if legs are apart.
  • The sciatic nerve is supported by the wall, which allows your legs to relax. This makes Viparita Karani a useful practice to do if your legs are fatigued, and it also helps relieve sciatica pressure.

Mental Benefits of Viparita Karani

This posture’s mental benefits are what make it so amazing. In comparison, it is a simple position, but it is quite beneficial to our mind and body. Because this pose stretches our hamstrings and stimulates our sciatic nerve, it is thought to stimulate the muscles and provide a therapeutic feeling.

Similarly, we may slow our heart rate and relax our central nervous system by moving into this pose and including deep, steady breathing. This is the ideal posture to adopt when we are feeling pressured or overworked. Practicing this posture immediately before bedtime will also help you sleep better because it allows our bodies to relax and unwind.

When To Not Perform This Asana

The following are some of the adverse effects and precautions associated with practicing Viparita Karani:

  • High blood pressure: Folks with high blood pressure should avoid this yoga pose because it aggravates their condition.
  • Heart disease: Practicing Legs-up-the-Wall pose should be avoided if you have a heart ailment.
  • Thyroid issues: It should also be avoided by those who have an enlarged thyroid.
  • It is best to stay away from it during menstruation unless performed in the presence of an experienced yoga teacher (there are many contradictory theories surrounding the practice of this pose during menstruation).
  • Eye difficulties: It should not be done if someone has major eye problems, such as glaucoma.
  • If you have a neck injury, you should avoid it.
  • Back Issues: Only do it in the presence of an experienced yoga teacher if you have back problems.

The Science of Viparita Karani Mudra

Viparita Karani Mudra is an energizing inversion that relieves the spine, legs, feet, and nervous system. 

The asana aids in achieving a state of complete relaxation. The benefit of this asana is that it may be performed regularly by any yoga student, regardless of their overall level of yogic expertise. Viparita Karani Mudra also aids in the relaxation of the mind and brain, allowing for better self-awareness.

Viparita Karani Mudra is usually done right before Shavasana since it has a powerful relaxing impact on the psyche. You can, however, practice Viparita Karani Mudra without making it a part of your normal yoga regimen.

Wrapping Up

Asana practice can be difficult. But when we put in the effort to master the postures and finally manage to keep our balance and position ourselves correctly, we usually feel a sense of success.

Spending time in any inversion is thought to help you achieve a meditative state.

Even if the rest of the world considers sitting still to be a waste of time, we know that being quiet and sitting with our thoughts is a wonderful method to calm our brains and broaden our life’s possibilities.

Your meditation practice doesn’t need to resemble that of others. So the next time you need to disconnect from the outside world, lie down with your legs up the wall and chant OM repeatedly, feel the power of breath.

Medical parts were written by Dr. Rai

So you’re not into dripping and holding poses in a hot room? That’s all right. But don’t abandon yoga just yet. Did you guys know there’s a form of yoga where all you have to do is relax on a mat, rug, or even your bed? Are you interested right now? Keep reading.

It is said that this form of yoga is that a 45-minute session will leave you feeling as though you’ve taken a three-hour nap. Read on to learn how yoga Nidra could be the response if you’re looking for an easy, pose-free way to calm down and rebound from life’s stresses.

Yoga Nidra – Leading You To A Stress-free Life

Since yoga operates pragmatically based on our whole being, not just the physical body, it provides such a wide variety of healing benefits. Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a highly effective meditation technique that is also one of the most simple to learn and sustain. 

Yoga allows the body and mind to relax deeply. It not only refreshes the mind but also energizes the body. 

Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a good way to end your everyday yoga practice. It is a simple relaxation technique that should be used at the end of every yoga pose series. 

It helps the body to calm while yoga poses keep it warm. Yoga Nidra requires you to focus your attention on various parts of the body and relieve them.

Yoga Nidra is a type of meditation that can be practiced by anyone. It has enormous benefits for those who find it difficult to let go, as well as those who suffer from insomnia, depression, burnout, and anxiety. It’s also very helpful and has a lot of calming power for everyone who needs to feel more at ease and reconnect with themselves on a deeper level. Yoga Nidra practice brings one into a peaceful, restful state of being. 

We can heal, recover and relax from this place. This sublime practice is gaining prominence around the world as more people become aware of its healing properties, and ongoing research continues to demonstrate its efficacy.

How Is Yoga Nidra Different From Yoga Meditation?

Slowing down and relaxing are key components of yoga Nidra. Meditation has the same impact. Although some people conflate the two, they are both two distinct behaviors.

Yoga Nidra is similar to meditation, but it is not the same. There are some similarities, but there are also some significant variations. 

In Yoga Nidra, you lie down intending to move into a deep state of conscious concentration sleep, which is a more relaxed state of awareness. It is something between meditation and sleep. This condition entails transitioning from waking consciousness to dreaming, then to not-dreaming while still awake. This practice is directed in the same way as some meditation practices are, but it is much more organized.

It is a method of transferring consciousness from our outer environment to our unconscious mind in a methodical manner. 

It induces a deep state of sleep in which our senses, intellect, body, and mind all relax. We are liberated from the constraints of responsibilities and logic. When this occurs, brain activity slows down and the body begins to recover. You remain at a waking level of awareness while focusing on the brain and allowing thoughts to come and go during meditation. 

How Did The Concept of Yoga Nidra Come Into Existence? 

Yoga Nidra is a centuries-old Indian meditative tradition. Its origins can be traced back to Sankhya philosophy, which was first written down around 700 BC but has been taught orally since 1000 BC. 

Through the non-dualist theory of Advaita Vedanta and the Tantric theories of Kashmir Shaivism, these early teachings were practiced and built upon over millennia.

As previously said, the philosophy that underpins Yoga Nidra is Sankhya philosophy, a dualist philosophy that teaches that the spectator (Purusha) and the being observed (Prakriti), such as feelings, objects, emotions, and other beings, are separate. 

The path to happiness, according to Sankhya, was to become conscious of this dualism.

Centuries later, Advaita Vedanta philosophy and Kashmir Shaivism Tantric teachings established this to suggest that the “things” we encounter are not distinct, but rather a projection of our experience, and that we are bound to them.

Non-dualist ideologies allow us to feel this connectedness by examining artifacts in our consciousness.

Yoga Nidra Practice Today

Yoga Nidra is a form of mindfulness practice in which the practitioner’s body is totally relaxed while the instructor guides them verbally. A 30-45 minute session is normal, sometimes also done after a Yoga session. The student is usually taught while lying down and being guided by an instructor. The student will be led through many stages by the instructor.

It all begins with cultivating focus, asking oneself what we want out of life, and setting practice goals. Meditations on the body and breath assist in the development of an inner resource that promotes a sense of well-being.

The instructor then guides the student to concentrate their mind on their breath, body sensations, feelings, and perceptions, all while seeing and accepting what arises without being engrossed in the thoughts and sensations.

It’s a deceptively straightforward procedure. Yoga Nidra is attracting people who are overwhelmed by yoga postures or conventional seated meditation.

In less than 10 minutes, a simplified version of Yoga Nidra can be taught and practiced. 

Yoga Nidra can also be used as a simple method of meditation for those looking for a way to relax daily.

The Five Koshas And Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a relaxing activity centered on the five main bodies, or koshas, as described in the yoga doctrines. 

The physical, energetic, mental/emotional, higher intellect, and bliss bodies are among the layers, which are also known as sheaths. Each layer emerges one at a time, as defined in yoga Nidra texts, and then adjusts into place, rendering the practitioner undisturbed during the meditation.

The koshas can be thought of in the same way as consecutive numbers: there is a lack of consistency if one of them is neglected or dissatisfied. make it a point to pay attention to each layer and experience so that when you wake up from yoga Nidra, you feel at one with yourself.

The word ‘Pancha means ‘five.’ Maya means curtain, covering, presence, creative force, mystical power, mystery, as well as to comprise or pervade. 

‘Kosha’ is extracted from the root ‘kus,’ which implies ‘to enfold.’ It means sheath, shield, subtle body, wealth, lexicon.

The kosha’s “maya” is felt as both surreal and as an expression of universal unity. 

The term “Maya kosha” refers to the layers of enclosing sheaths that surround and protect our True Self.

Coming Back To The Point – What Are The Five Koshas?

1. First Layer – Physical Layer:

The physical layer, or annamaya kosha, is the first therefore easiest to recognize. The annamaya kosha, which literally means “food body,” contains all of your organs, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue. This kosha is something you can personally observe. You can see and feel it because it’s your body.

This layer is addressed in a yoga Nidra practice with a physical sensation similar to a physical exam. You could hear things like, “Relax your head, arms, legs, upper torso, back muscles,” and so on. The body is specifically addressed and observed. When approaching the next kosha, our mind and body are relaxed, we activate our subconscious thinking.

2. Second Layer – The Energetic Layer:

The pranamaya kosha, or “energy body,” is the second level. This layer is discernible, but it is far more subtle than the annamaya kosha. Our prana, or energy, passes through inner channels called Nadis and travels on the breath, according to yogic theory. 

While prana is often referred to as “breath,” it is not the same thing. It functions in conjunction with the breath, but it is more subtle. You may be requested to simply follow your inhalation and exhalation, or you may be asked to perform a practice such as Nadi shodhana (alternate-nostril breathing) without ever using your fingers. 

“Breathe into your right nostril,” for example. Take a breather. Exhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril. The goal is for some of the energy constraints in your body to release as you concentrate on your breath. Then, just like the physical layer, this layer vanishes. Let’s explore the next one.

3. Third Layer – The Emotional Layer:

The next two stages of relaxation, pratyahara, and Dharana, which are directly related to the mind, are included in this level. 

The manomaya kosha is one of the most intriguing layers since it is said that our feelings are stored here. When we are overcome by rage or terror, or when we are star-struck. The manomaya kosha reveals both voluntary and involuntary contact with ourselves and others in all circumstances.

We may try avoiding coping with this layer by forcing it down and ignoring it, but when our sentiments rise to the surface (and even beyond), we can reach a point in which we can no longer control our emotional and/or physical reactions. This is why yoga Nidra addresses this layer, allowing us to feel emotions without being controlled by them. In my Psychology degree, one of our Professors always told me that every emotion wants to be felt and for that reason I recommend it.

In Yoga Nidra, this is accomplished by a method known as consciousness rotation. This is basically a body scan in which you switch rapidly from one body part to the next while remaining conscious and detached. This helps to prepare the mind for the next step, which is to concentrate.

4. The Fourth Layer – Intelligence Layer:

The vijnanamaya kosha, also known as the “wisdom body,” is the smarter, more intuitive relative of the manomaya kosha. “Where did that come from?” you may wonder when something suddenly informative comes out of your mouth. Your vijnanamaya kosha is showing itself in this way. Your gut reaction is another example.

The boundary between subject and object starts to transcend at this stage, and duality begins to dissolve. A deeper understanding emerges as a result of the heavy focus.

It’s you who is watching yourself. Isn’t it a little strange? You can imagine yourself wandering through wetlands, witnessing large leaves with pale yellow flowers that become greater and greater until their yellow centers beam light across your entire body, from a heightened place of being where you and I are not different and not distinct. This describes the spiritual aspect of Yoga. And, like the others, this layer disappears completely.

5. The Fifth Layer – The Bliss Layer:

You eventually achieve samadhi as you begin to ascend the ladder towards realization. The anandamaya kosha, also known as the bliss body, is associated with this level. This inherent bliss exists at the heart of any being. It’s both total bliss and utterly indescribable. You are absolutely at one with everything at this point since you have fused with the source. The fusion of the Atman and the Brahman is this.

With just a sliver of distinction between you and what is sacred, this is the slightest tinge of the five koshas. In Yoga Nidra, the student must stay awake for this to happen. This is the real trick because when the brain is in the delta wave state, it is used to resting! It takes a lot of time and effort to train your consciousness in this way. However, as in any yoga practice, it takes time and commitment to see results. With each practice, this will get better.

‘Awareness cures,’ according to yoga. You might realize that you are so much more than your external (your aching head or sickness, for example), your energy (fatigue, for instance), or your emotions and opinions until you realize that you are made up of several layers and that you visit these levels many times per day (regrets and fears for the future, for example).

You can recognize that you have the opportunity to witness all of who you really are, as well as the world surrounding you, with respect. You may come into contact with your everlasting bliss and completeness.

How Does Yoga Nidra Benefit You?

This exercise entails a gradual shift in your consciousness as you scan various parts of your body. You will most definitely feel and foster a sense of physical, psychological, and cognitive relaxation when you do this. 

Yoga Nidra relaxes both the mind and the body at the same time, and it aids in clearing the nerve pathways to the brain.

In this section, we are going to elaborate on studies and articles we have found about its benefits. We wanted to make sure that Yoga Nidra is supportive in dealing with mental issues, but it is no substitute for therapy. 

Following Are Some Benefits of Yoga Nidra:

  • The body is rejuvenated

The body enters a deep state of relaxation during Yoga Nidra. Regular practice allows the body to enter deeper regeneration and rejuvenation phases. The body functions become limited, the metabolism slows, and the hormonal function increases during this exercise. As a result, the body has the opportunity to start the healing process and remove the toxins from the system.

As a result, the body begins to conserve resources. This procedure relieves exhaustion and revitalizes the mind. You will feel refreshed and energized after the session.

  • Stress is lessened

Stress has become an unavoidable part of our lives. Some tension is good for you, and others aren’t. When unhealthy stress isn’t managed, it leads to physical and mental illnesses. Psychosomatic disorders could be the result of these conditions.

Stress puts us in a soothing activity zone, draining our energy and depriving the brain and organs of the resources they need. As a result, our capacity to think is greatly diminished in stressful circumstances, and we feel exhausted and lazy. As a result, we are unable to adequately interpret information and become confused about what is important and what is not. We gradually became aware of our subconscious as we practiced Nidra daily.

Yoga Nidra Has Some Scientific Benefits Too:

  • Improves ANS response:

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls many bodily functions, including metabolism, healing, and development. This device operates without the user’s consent. It is not possible to activate or disable it. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are two subsystems of the autonomic nervous system.

Our muscles and heart receive energy and resources from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). It becomes active as a result of physical or mental stress. This subsystem’s primary goal is to assist us in dealing with tension.

The brain and internal organs such as the liver, kidney, and intestines receive energy and resources from the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). It’s turned on when there’s a sense of calm and quiet. This subsystem’s job is to provide the body with the resources it needs to heal, develop, and digest. 

However, in most people, the SNS remains active for much longer due to excessive stress and suppressed psychosomatic stress. And when we need to rest and recover, it remains involved. This obstructs the body’s ability to heal and repair itself, resulting in illness.

The parasympathetic nervous system is activated during Yoga Nidra practice. We teach our subconscious mind to let go of tension and remain calm and aware. As a result, Yoga Nidra aids in the rejuvenation of the body. You will boost the overall ANS control and reaction by practicing Yoga Nidra regularly.

Yoga Nidra Might Be Supportive in Curing PTSD

Check out this article from the Washington Post, which talks about the benefits soldiers had after from Yoga Nidra.

Oddly enough, the road to taking yoga Nidra to a broader audience led through the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a military rehab facility located in Washington, D.C. at the time. Christine Goertz, an academic scientist at the Samueli Institute, a nonprofit research organization, teamed up with Robin Carnes, a yoga instructor who had taught yoga Nidra as part of a cardiac treatment program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in 2004.

Miller’s method was used as the foundation for a pilot study by her and Goertz to see if it could support soldiers struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings of a small survey performed with active-duty service members indicated that yoga Nidra may be beneficial in the treatment of PTSD in veterans.

According to Mona Bingham, a retired colonel who is studying yoga nidra at Brooke Army Medical Center, tools like yoga nidra can be vital resources for soldiers adapting to life after battle. She claims that “a lot of soldiers are returning [from combat] with physical, psychological, and moral wounds. “It’s not something that can be treated with medication.” She’s researching the impact of iRest on military spouses dealing with the tension that sometimes follows a deployment’s end.

A randomized, controlled trial with 150 participants was conducted at the Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in Miami from 2009 to 2010 as a follow-up. Another research will start this winter at Chicago’s Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. The army is now providing Miller’s iRest yoga nidra practice to wounded veterans at Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas; Camp Lejeune, a massive Marine Corps base in North Carolina; and VA facilities in Miami, Chicago, and Washington, DC, based on the findings of the pilot report.

Soldiers also confirmed that some of their most alarming PTSD symptoms, such as hyperalertness, distress, and sleep disruptions, have improved as a result of these continuing lessons. Think about what it could do to you because you haven’t seen war.

Yoga Nidra Can Aid in Emotional Healing And Addiction

As you start to relax in Miller’s yoga Nidra class, you’ll be asked to conjure up your own unique Inner Resource, a perception of and feeling about a peaceful and secure environment. You should return to your Inner Resource to take a break if extreme feelings arise during yoga Nidra or at any other time. You could describe it as an inner safe place.

Charles, one of the men at Henry Ohlhoff North, is a frequent user of the technique. He was a former head chef who retired due to chronic back pain caused by a back injury. He became addicted to drugs and painkillers, and after three drug convictions, he decided to go to rehab rather than prison. Yoga Nidra has helped him reconnect with a part of himself that was previously untouched by addiction and chronic pain.

A friend delighted Charles with a birthday celebration that included alcohol when he was given his first weekend pass two months into his six-month recovery stay. Charles became agitated. He says, “I went out to my vehicle, put my head back on the headboard, and drove into [the practice].” “My breathing slowed down, and I was able to concentrate better.”

Leslie Temme, a researcher in Western Carolina University’s social work department, showed that respondents who practiced yoga Nidra had less depressive moods and a lower risk of relapsing into drug addiction in a study of 93 people at a chemical dependency recovery center. Yoga Nidra seems to help recovering addicts feel more at ease in their own bodies, deal better with stressful feelings, and make better decisions due to its focus on self-awareness.

Yoga Nidra May Lead To Positive Mental Health

Ferreira-Vorkapic and coworkers enlisted healthy adults and randomly assigned them to either practice Yoga Nidra meditation once a week for 45 minutes for 3 months or to a wait-list control group. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, fear, and psychological distress were all measured pre and post-training.

They discovered that participants who practiced either Yoga Nidra or meditation had substantial drops in anxiety, depressive symptoms, fear, and perceived stress when compared to baseline and the wait-list control group. On any of the psychological health measures, there were no substantial differences between the contemplative techniques.

To read the full study check out this research paper 

Yoga Nidra Could Help With PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) And PMS Depression

Women’s issues are generally overlooked in our society, particularly gynecological issues such as menstrual disorders such as excessive or scanty flow. Menstruation dysfunction is a common issue among women in their reproductive years. Amenorrhea (9%) and menstrual imperfection (33%) are common among incarcerated women; psychological factors, stress, and impoverishment have all been linked to menstrual irregularities.

The data indicated that learning and using a Yogic intervention program for patients with monthly irregularities who had psychological difficulties reduced their wellbeing, fear, and anxiety significantly.

Yoga Nidra For Adolescents

In the twenty-first century, adolescent well-being is a top priority for healthcare initiatives. A quantitative study was conducted on adolescent students aged 13 to 15, with the goal of determining the impact of Yoga-Nidra on several aspects of well-being. 

Thirty-six pupils were given 30-minute Yoga-Nidra sessions three times a week for a month. 

Satisfaction, psychological distress, overall quality of life, and emotional general well-being were the primary end measures. Before and after the intervention, these and other experiential characteristics of well-being, such as enthusiasm, attentiveness, quietude, clarity of mind, control over anger, self-confidence, and self-awareness, were assessed.

Yoga Nidra Can Be Supportive In Diminishing Anxiety

The purpose of this study is to see how Yoga Nidra affects stress and anxiety in college students. The research was carried out at Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya’s Yoga clinic. The practice time was 30 minutes, and it lasted 6 months. 

The results revealed a considerable difference in the practice group, with Yoga Nidra significantly lowering the stress levels of both male and female participants. Several more studies show that Yoga Nidra has a considerable impact on both male and female subjects’ anxiety levels.

Yoga Nidra Could Increase Mental Health Of Professors And Teachers

In this article, sixty college professors, both men, and women, ranging in age from 30 to 55, were assigned to one of three experimental and control groups: Yoga Nidra, sitting meditation, or the comparison group. 

Professors were evaluated twice over the course of the three-month study. Both yoga Nidra therapies appear to be a successful therapeutic technique for lowering anxiety and stress levels, according to pre-post outcomes. 

However, there was a trend towards the Yoga Nidra intervention being more helpful for anxiety, suggesting that it could be a useful strategy for lowering both cognitive and physiological symptoms of worry.

Yoga Nidra Might Help To Control Sugar

Diabetes is a metabolic illness that has become a major public health issue around the world. The participants in this study were 41 type-2 diabetic patients in their forties who were taking oral hypoglycemics. 

These participants were divided into two groups: (a) oral hypoglycemic plus yoga-Nidra (20 patients) and (b) oral hypoglycemic alone (21 patients). Yoga-Nidra was practiced for 30 minutes every day for 90 days, with parameters being recorded on the 30th day. 

Subjects on a Yoga-Nidra with medication regimen had better control of their fluctuating blood glucose and diabetic symptoms than those on oral hypoglycemics alone, according to the findings of this study.

What Yoga Nidra Is Not?

  • It isn’t just a form of relaxation: The word “Yoga Nidra” has become widely used to refer to any type of stress relief. Yoga Nidra is not just a relaxation form, even though it offers deep relaxation. Yoga Nidra is an altered state of consciousness. It’s a dreamless, deep sleep that you’re aware of.
  • It’s not just visualization: Even though directed visualization is often used in the practice of Yoga Nidra, the aim is to transfer focus from the external to the internal environment. Guided visualizations primarily aid in the activation and perception of our senses, as well as the movement of awareness externally.
  • It’s not just proclamations or autosuggestions: Although affirmations and autosuggestions may be used in Yoga Nidra to positively influence the conscious mind, it’s far more than that.
  • It’s not just reverie: It is the fun state of being lost in dreamy thoughts. Yoga Nidra may have a similar impact at first, but it is intended to take the mind into a much deeper domain.
  • It’s not just a dreaming state: At first, it’s possible to have a lot of complex dreams when practicing. Yoga Nidra, on the other hand, isn’t a lucid dreaming state. The senses and the cognitive processes are still completely present when dreaming. The thought patterns of Yoga Nidra come to a halt, our senses relax, and the mind remains clear and calm.

How To Practice Yoga Nidra What Are The Steps?

You cannot practice yoga Nidra by reading the steps, maybe you can but it won’t be as effective as conventional yoga Nidra guided practice. Follow a guided voice, use resources such as youtube if you cannot go to a yoga studio during these tough pandemic times. Checkout Yoga Nidra guided Meditation on YouTube

What To Remember Before Practicing Yoga Nidra:

Yoga Nidra is about ‘conscious relaxation,’ not ‘conscious effort.’

You don’t have to ‘concentrate’ or ‘focus’ on a leg or even touch your nose. You also don’t have to constantly move these body pieces. All you have to do now is focus your mind on them while breathing deeply. The key to Yoga Nidra is to relax with mindfulness, stay effortless, and relax the body and brain consciously.

During Yoga Nidra, it’s normal to be distracted by random thoughts. Do not attempt to restrain them. If you fall asleep on your own, don’t feel bad about it when you wake up. As a result, Yoga Nidra is a relaxing and enjoyable way to finish your yoga practice. Allow yourself to let go, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Conclusion

Many of us find it difficult to slow it down, rest, log off, and rest in an ever-expanding thrilling environment of endless knowledge and events at our fingertips. 

The changing of awareness via your body is the distinction between Yoga Nidra and Meditation. It is usually not done in meditation, especially in guided meditation.

Yoga Nidra combines the benefits of relaxing profoundly while still engaging in contemplative inquiry. The act of lying on the floor for meditation purposes feels nurturing and refreshing. It can even sound like you’re cheating on the power of asanas.! Don’t underestimate the strength of letting go.

A new way of emerging from the emphasis on welcoming and listening. We experience a profound sense of authenticity; we learn to fully trust ourselves, and as we grow to be good friends to ourselves, we improve our ability to listen to others. 

We eventually begin to ‘fall in love with ourselves again,’ as Derek Walcott puts it in his poem ‘Love After Love.’ This is a soothing, kind, and beautiful exercise.

Medical parts were written by Dr. Rai

“Don’t stress too much, stay calm!” –  Haven’t you heard this phrase? I got tired of listening to this from various sources be it a doctor or a well-wisher or sometimes even a friend. I could never decode how not to be stressed when something goes wrong or when you are running on tight deadlines and so on. The concept of “Stress” has been in the limelight and as a clinical psychologist, I can recommend you to try the corpse pose to calm your mind and body. Continue to read to find out why it is important to turn to your right side while coming out of this posture.

While most of the Yoga asanas are meant to bring in mental as well as physical relaxation, Shava-asana or the Corpse Pose can be called the best of the lot. When broken down in Sanskrit words it means Corpse Pose and is also referred to as Mrtaasana retaining the essence of staying still as dead and allowing the body and soul to relax. 

Relax, Release, and Let Go!

It is often believed that the Corpse Pose is the easiest and needs little to no effort in mastering it. I would like to break that misconception as I found it hard to practice and found that many Yoga practitioners also felt the same way when they initially started practicing it. Shavasana is usually referred to as a form of meditation that is done after Yoga, exercise, or right before sleep. In a particular study that was conducted in the year 2009, a comparison was drawn between the effect of Cyclic Meditation (cyclic alterations of stimulating and relaxing the body parts) and an equal duration of Shavasana. Both of these are relaxation techniques and were assessed to study the effect and impact on a state of anxiety and performance in memory tasks. The results suggested that movement as a part of Cyclic Meditation enables performance in attention and memory tasks more than an equal duration of time in the Corpse Pose. However, conducting this study on participants residing at the Yoga Centre is considered a major drawback.

Follow these steps to get in the right posture for Shavasana

  1. Wear something comfortable and warm. You might want to drink a cup of hot tea if you like, before that. You cannot relax if you are feeling cold. So, prep yourself to stay warm. Feel 
  2. Spread the mat and lie down on your back. Alternatively, you could even lie on your bed, but it is recommended to lie on a flat surface with a mat or a blanket. Stay disconnected from phones or any other external disturbances. Silence the gadgets and set an alarm with a mild tune to just track your time.
  3. Keep your legs straight and let the feet fall on either side. It is not necessary to hold them stiff with toes facing upwards.
  4. Place your arms alongside your torso, not too close and not too far with your palms facing upwards. Try not to clench your fist and as you might retain the tension in your hands and around your neck. Relax your shoulders and jaw muscles too. 
  5. Keep the face-centered in alignment to the body and don’t let it fall on either side. 
  6. Once you are properly aligned, release any effort or tension in the body. Consciously feel a sense of gratitude towards each body part and feel every inch of your body by maintaining a focus between your eyebrows – the third eye or the mind’s eye. Silently thank each part of your body for helping you function the way you wish to and for carrying all your tension. Trust me, it works!
  7. Stay relaxed with a natural breathing style in this pose for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes, to begin with. Gradually you could extend to even a 20-minute window. 
  8. To release the pose, it is necessary to reawaken your body from stillness. With your eyes still closed try to wiggle your toes and fingers and stretch your legs and hands.
  9. While trying to get up and sit, it is always recommended to roll to your right side first and take support of your left hand to sit up. Rolling to your right side will reduce the pressure on the heart which is on the left side, leaving it open and free for the blood flow after Shavasana. Rub your palms and place them on your eyes and feel the warmth on your face. Now slowly open your eyes to a fresh state.

Modifications and Variations 

Though Shavasana appears like a short nap that one would take to relax the body, it is much more complicated when practiced. It demands you to stay consciously awake while being still and completely relaxed. After a small research, the common challenges faced in mastering this pose are detailed below.

A gush of thoughts!

It is easier to stay silent without talking than to silence your mind inside. A gush of thoughts has always been the biggest challenge for any individual who tries to practice any form of meditation. Especially the ones which are troublesome and uncomfortable. The moment you close your eyes to relax, your mind finds it restrictive and pops up different situations or questions and continues to work even harder. A 2010 study in which an iPhone app collected  responses from 2,250 adults worldwide revealed that almost half of  your thoughts have nothing to do with what’s going on at any given moment. The data also exhibited that people tended to be less happy when their thoughts did not bring with their actions.

The best way to handle this situation is to let your thoughts flow. Never try to restrict your ideas or feelings or thoughts running in your mind. The more you push yourself to avoid thinking the harder it gets, and you might even feel stressed instead of relaxing. Just like an ebbing river, the waves need to strike hard initially to find the calmness deep inside. Just go with the flow, it takes time but it will become better!

Physical Pain

Tuning our physical body to align with the calm state of the mind could be stressful if you have any prior concerns such as lower back pain, spondylitis, disc replacement surgery, etc. I found it hard to lie flat on my back due to lower back pain and was only focusing on the pain I was experiencing rather than achieving a relaxed state of mind. It is recommended to listen to your body and address pain if any while trying to perform the Corpse Pose. Try placing a pillow under your knees, to comfort your back and handle pain. If you are experiencing discomfort in the neck, slightly elevated with the help of a folded towel or a small cushion. Try to cover your eyes with an eye-pad if you find the light around you too harsh. Untie your hair, if you have a ponytail, and keep it open to avoid that prickly sense of a hair accessory while lying flat. 

Note that the smallest of physical discomfort could appear humongous while you try to relax. You might notice certain body parts will start itching, just breathe and repose. Everything is fine, this is your time.  

Sleepiness 

If you are totally relaxed physically and mentally, then you are halfway through mastering the challenging Corpse Pose. But here awaits the biggest challenge, you tend to doze off or start feeling sleepy. The Corpse Pose needs you to stay still and calm but remain consciously awake. Try to variate the breath by increasing and decreasing the pace and stay focused on that pattern to meditate and relax consciously. 

Benefits of Corpse Pose

Even during therapy sessions, I usually can perceive how difficult it is for my patients to calm down. This Asana can be a solution for a stressed mind. The Corpse Pose brings the body to homeostasis (a balanced state between the physiological and biochemical paths maintaining the stability between the physical and emotional levels). It is like rebooting your entire system and making it more productive and capable in this competent world. Let us understand some of the benefits of Corpse Pose.

  • Attaining a balance physically and mentally helps in the regular and harmonious functioning of body organs.
  • Regular practice of the Corpse Pose tends to improve the overall immunity of the body.
  • Helps to lower Blood Pressure.
  • Conscious breathing supports better functioning of the lungs.
  • Taking time to let the thoughts flow and to reflect thoughts on your inner self, help you to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
  • Helps you sustain your good mood as it releases the feel-good neurochemicals.
  • Physical alignment always aids in improving the posture over a period.

There are long-term mental health benefits too when you combine your exercise routine with the Corpse Pose as mindful meditation. In 2016, a study was conducted on people with clinical depression, and a massive improvement was noticed in their symptoms when they meditated for 30 minutes before using the treadmill twice a week for eight weeks.

It’s not easy to lie down, relax the breath, and silence the chatter in the mind. But disciplining the mind and body after a demanding activity builds resilience. Over time your results will get better, be patient, and don’t give up.

Written by Dr. Rai

I had panic attacks and surprisingly didn’t even realize it was due to anxiety. Even as psychologists, we are not immune to it. They were occasional and not consistent, but the fight or flight response prevented me from thinking clearly, and the deep feelings were panicky. Rationalizing my way out of anxiety might not be of real help. Yoga for anxiety is what you need to explore if you are sailing in the same boat. A study conducted on women shows that Yoga could be used as a complementary treatment method in reducing and managing stress, anxiety, and depression. Read through the sections below to understand how Yoga and Meditation practices might help your body and mind.

Anxiety, Stress, Or Depression?

Let us first try to understand these commonly used terms – Anxiety, Stress, and Depression, before we jump in to understand how Yoga helps. I feel these terms are commonly used interchangeably as all three are similar in nature. But mind you, they are all different, and we might be looking at the wrong answers if we are unable to define where we are standing correctly.

Stress, in simple terms, is a physiological response to a situation. Stress is not all bad. A healthy amount of fear is always necessary for growth. The real trouble arises when you experience stress more consistently or for longer durations that might impact your mental health or your productivity in a day. To understand more about stress and how Yoga could help, read our article on Yoga for Stress.

Anxiety is a state that you experience as a response when you feel more stressed. In simpler terms, anxiety is the next level to stress. Anxiety creates a sense of fear and worry due to a stressful event. It tends to keep recurring in situations even when the stressor is absent. Even the thought of such stressful events could sometimes push you to panic attacks.

Depression, on the other hand, is like an anxiety disorder sharing similar symptoms but is mainly associated with low mood, a lost feeling, or feeling inactive and lonely. Just like stress and anxiety, depression also interferes with your daily activities and functioning of life.

Do You Have Anxiety? 

At a personal level, you can check for some common symptoms as listed here to identify if you are experiencing anxiety. But we would always recommend you consult your psychologist for a final word.

  • Excessive Worry
  • Feeling panicky, tense, or uneasy
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Palpitations (the feeling of a racing heart) 
  • Excessive sweating
  • Obsessive or uncontrolled thoughts

Suppose you are experiencing all or any of these symptoms persistently. In that case, you could be experiencing an anxiety disorder which could even push you to depression. So, act now and talk to a therapist!

Yoga To Help! 

Yoga is a rare combination of body postures, Pranayama (special breathing techniques), meditation, and the centuries-old and wise yogic lifestyle. It helped not only me but also the founder of this page. It gave me some control over how much mental suffering I must endure, although it took me a while to reach this level, and I had to work myself up to it.

A 2017 research shows that even a single Hatha Yoga session could help you reduce the level of stress from an acute psychological stressor (a math task, trouble with your partner, increased demands, and so on) and slightly improve the level of self-confidence. Though more scientific studies are necessary, Hatha Yoga has shown promising results for those suffering from anxiety.

We have listed a couple of Yoga poses that you could try and practice to manage stress and anxiety in the long run. You might find some of these poses to be difficult, but make sure you keep trying patiently and stay focused on your breath throughout. Remember that learning to cope with stressful and challenging asanas will make you stronger and help you endure stress in the real world.

  1. Dhanurasana or Bow Pose – This is a back-bending pose that helps strengthen the spine and stretches the abdomen, thighs, ankles, thorax, and other muscles in the front of the body. It helps in improving the posture and stimulates the abdomen and neck. Do not push yourself too much on this pose if you have chronic back pain or any past back-related surgeries. Lie down on your belly and place your hands alongside your torso. Fold your knees towards your back and hold your ankles with your hands and try to find a balance. Lift your chest and hold your face straight, looking forward. Hold the curved position and focus on your breath. Exhale, release your ankles, and relax.
  1. Matsyasana or Fish Pose – A reclining back-bending pose that strengthens the upper back muscles and the back of the neck. Lie on your Matsyasana or Fish Pose: A reclining back-bending pose that strengthens the upper back muscles and the back of the neck. Lie on your back on the Yoga mat. Bend your knees with your feet firmly on the ground. Place your palms below your buttocks, facing downwards, and position your elbow and arms close to your torso. Lift your chest and arch your upper back. Try not to stress your head and avoid crunching your neck. You can either keep your knees bent or stretch out your legs straight and hold. Exhale and relax from the pose back on the Yoga mat. Bend your knees with your feet firmly on the ground. Place your palms below your buttocks, facing downwards, and position your elbow and arms close to your torso. Lift your chest and arch your upper back. Try not to stress your head and avoid crunching your neck. You can either keep your knees bent or stretch out your legs straight and hold. Exhale and relax from the pose.
  1. Sethubandhasana or Bridge Pose – It is a basic back bending exercise, which helps in stretching the thighs, chest, neck, spine, and hips. It soothes the brain and improves the functioning of the central nervous system. Lie in the supine position on the Yoga mat. Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the ground at hip-width apart and close to your buttocks. Place your arms alongside your torso and parallel to the body. Inhale and slightly raise your torso and push your pelvis and lower back upward. Hold the pose and release to relax.
  1. Paschimottanasana or Two-Legged Forward Bend – This seated forward bending pose stretches your spine, hamstrings, shoulder, and vertebral column. It calms the brain and soothes headaches. It improves digestion and helps in lowering stress and depression. Sit straight with your legs stretched in line with your hip. Extend your arms straight above your head and inhale. Bend forward and exhale, trying to reach your feet. Focus on your breathing and the length of your spine. It is vital to hold this pose and not to bounce back immediately.
  1. Hastapadasana or Standing Forward Bend – This pose is also called the hand-to-foot pose. It helps in reducing belly fat, strengthens and stretches the spine, and improves digestion. Stand straight with arms alongside your body. Inhale and extend your arms up in the air. Exhale and bend forward to reach your feet. Try not to bend your knees while reaching your feet. Stretch your spine and place your palms on your feet or below the feet (if you are comfortable). Release the pose by inhaling while returning to the standing pose.
  1. Vrikshasana or Tree Pose – This pose primarily focuses on balance and improves your neuromuscular coordination. It helps strengthen your legs and improves alertness, concentration, and endurance. Stand straight with equal balance on both your feet. Slowly shift your weight to your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground. Bend your left knee and try to position your left foot on the inner side of your right thigh. Stay focused and retain your balance. Stretch your arms up above your head and try to join them for the perfect posture.
  1. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose – This standing pose helps in stretching and strengthening your thighs, ankles, hips, spine and helps relieve stress. It also stimulates abdominal organs. Stand straight and place your feet shoulder width apart. Stretch your arms horizontally side-ways. Slide your right arm on your right leg to reach the right ankle. The left hand will be in a straight line pointing to the ceiling above and opening the chest. Tilt your head to see the left-hand fingertips and hold for a minimum of 5 seconds. Alternate the sides.

Remember to finish your Yoga practice with Yoga Nidra, as it is believed to flush out toxins from your body resulting in lower stress levels. A Washington Post article on a returned soldier with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) showed that Yoga Nidra helped him relax and cope. He attended a specialized care program in which 120 other service members participated, of which 90% had PTSD. After adding Yoga Nidra to the program, the results were positive. However, more scientific research is yet to be done on it.

Breathe Consciously – Pranayama

Best results are often achieved through consistency and dedication. If not daily, try practicing Pranayama at least as frequently as possible. Some of the most influential and popular breathing techniques are discussed in this section.

  1. Kapal Bhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breathing: This breathing technique increases the metabolic rate and helps reduce weight. It stimulates the internal organs, thereby assisting in digestion and blood circulation. Sit in a comfortable posture and relax. Close your eyes and inhale deeply using both your nostrils. Exhale in parts by expelling the air with forceful contractions of abdominal muscles. Repeat the process for a minute or more. 
  2. Bhramari Prayanama or Bee Breath: This breathing technique helps lower your blood pressure and aids in releasing cerebral tension. It promotes sound sleep patterns and relieves stress. Sit in a relaxed cross-legged position and close your eyes. Place your palms on your lap and inhale through both your nostrils. Make a buzzing bee sound while exhaling and try to retain the exhale for long. 
  3. Bhastrika Pranayama or Breath of Fire: This breathing technique oxygenates the blood and energizes the entire mind and body. It calms the mind and increases the vitality of the organs. Sit in a cross-legged position and fold your arms to your shoulders and make fists. Inhale and stretch your hands straight up and open your fists. Exert a slight pressure while exhaling and bring back your arms to shoulders and close your fists. Repeat cycles and relax to normal breathing.
  4. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing: A simple yet channelized breathing technique helps you stay more focused and pumps more oxygen to the brain. You can sit comfortably, either in a chair or cross-legged on a Yoga mat. Take a few normal initial breaths to settle in. Now inhale through your left nostril by closing your right nostril with your right thumb. While opening your right nostril, close your left nostril with your right-hand ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat the cycles with alternate nostrils. 

In addition to Yoga Postures and Pranayama, try meditating for a minimum of 10-15 minutes every day. It will help you break your thought patterns and place you in a better position to make wiser decisions in life. Eat more fruits and vegetables and try to reduce meat consumption. You are what you eat, and if you are eating only dead animals, you might start to feel like one. Eating meat is fine, but we recommend you stop it, especially when you are going through depression or anxiety. Stay positive and believe that everything will fall in the right place. You have already been through so much; we are sure that you will be able to handle your current situation. If you are suffering from anxiety, remember times when you haven’t. Anxiety has come into your life, so it can go away also. Keep practicing!

Don’t try to treat your anxiety through Yoga. Find a suitable therapist and practice Yoga along.

Yoga is an art of exercises that lets your body, mind, and soul stretch to their maximum capacity. Yoga wheels are beneficial yoga accessories that enhance the glee of stretching asanas safely. Performing yoga with an aesthetically designed wheel deepens your stretches and increases flexibility. Yoga wheels come with excellent benefits and can take your yoga practice to the next level. You can also use it on your office chair as back support to keep your spine erect and sit in a healthy position. 

This article will discuss yoga wheels, their benefits, how to use a yoga wheel, any disadvantages of yoga wheels, and how to buy the best yoga wheels. Later, we’ll present to you the top 5 best yoga wheels to choose from.

What Is A Yoga Wheel?

It is an incredible therapeutic tool to enhance your yoga practice. It is a round, ring-shaped device made from cork or plastic with foam padding. It comes in different sizes and is used to stretch muscles and boost blood circulation. No matter if you are a beginner or an amateur yogi, you can perform its exercises all by yourself.

Yoga Wheels Benefits

Practicing yoga with wheels has immense physical and health benefits. Some of the essential yoga wheel benefits include:

  • Helps Perform Difficult Stretches Safely: Inversion (a yoga pose when the heart is above the ground compared to the head) and backbend are quite difficult poses to perform. But yoga wheel stretches let you enjoy these poses safely and efficiently.
  • Back Massage: Another attractive benefit is using yoga wheels for back pain and massaging your spine. You can rub a yoga wheel for back pain by lying your back on yoga wheels and using your legs to move up and down. It may also help relieve back pain.
  • Prevents Injury: It provides support while performing various asanas and prevents injuries. It gives you the freedom to stretch to your maximum capacity safely.
  • Improves Flexibility: Adding a yoga wheel to your daily routine helps to gain confidence while stretching. You will get increased flexibility of hip muscles essential for inversions and backbends. 
  • Improves Breathing: Many people work most of their office hours sitting in a chair. It results in a sunken posture. The spine mobility gets reduced, and the body becomes immovable and firmer. Yoga wheels, allowing us to do backbends and increase the body movements, also enhance diaphragm functions, which leads to improved breathing.
  • Improves Stamina: The yoga wheel may also help build your stamina and strength. We recommend you to use it for its immense benefits. 
  • Keep Your Spine Erect: You can put in between your office chair and your back, supporting your back and spine to be erect. It corrects your postures and improves the punching of your back.

How to Choose One of the Best Yoga Wheels?

You may find many yoga wheels in the market, but only a few are the best. Certain factors separate the ordinary yoga wheels from the best ones. Let’s delve into the features that make a yoga wheel the best yoga wheel for stretching.

Weight Limit

You should pick a wheel for yoga that can withstand double your weight. It must not bend or break while you are sitting and standing on it. However, if you want to do only stretching exercises, you can go for a lower weight limit yoga wheel.

Size

Yoga wheels come in three standard sizes. The mini wheels are suitable for people with petite body structures. The standard wheel should work for all body types.

Material

Yoga wheels are made from cork or ABS Plastic(a thermoplastic polymer). Although ABS plastic may be more durable, it is not eco-friendly. Cork might be expensive than plastic but is more sustainable. Hence, we recommend going for cork yoga wheels because cork is durable, sturdy, and eco-friendly. 

Padding

Foam is a commonly used material for padding. Padding thickness varies from wheel to wheel, and so does the comfort level. Some paddings are odor and sweat resistant. The sweat-absorbing paddings may give an unpleasant smell after some uses.

Grip

It is another essential feature of the yoga wheel. The best yoga wheels for stretching offer a good grip and don’t slip and slide while performing on them.

You can perform many yoga wheel stretches with yoga wheels. It is a perfect stretching tool that can be used to do back ends, headstands, wall stands, knee tucks, planks, etc. You can also perform some balancing exercises on it. Some other exercises and yoga wheel pose include: 

  • Wheel-assisted Child Pose
  • Reclining Easy Pose
  • Wheel-assisted Fish Pose
  • Wheel-assisted Upward-FacingTwo-Foot Staff Pose
  • Wheel-assisted Half Pyramid Pose
  • Wheel-assisted Lizard Lunge
  • Yoga Wheel Crow Pose 

Tips For Better Use Of A Yoga Wheel

  • Start Slow. Take a chill pill and be careful while using a yoga wheel for stretching.  Always do some warm-up exercises before starting.
  • Don’t overstretch. People doing more and more yoga wheels exercises or putting more pressure on their neck may suffer from neck or spine injury.
  •  Stretch carefully and cautiously.
  • Cleaning. Make a habit of cleaning your yoga wheel daily for prolonged durability. You can wipe it with a towel or use a scrub to clean the inner circle and padding. 

Top 6 Yoga Wheels For Healthy Stretching

Now that we’ve learned a lot about yoga wheels, how they can help improve our health in different ways, and how to use a yoga wheel. Let’s go through the top 6 yoga wheels we’ve selected after researching and testing various products through the market.

1. REEHUT Yoga Wheel – Back Pain for Strong Premium Back-Roller, Stretcher with Thick Cushion for Dharma Yoga Pose, Backbend & Stretching

Do you want to enjoy yoga? Of course, you want to. Then we have the solution in the form of a REEHUT yoga wheel. Now you can perform each yoga pose with confidence and ease. It is made from TPE (a recyclable plastic and is generally safe to use) foam and releases stress on you and nature. Provide comfort to your back and hands.

It is 12.6″ (32cm) diameter, 5″ (12.7 cm) wide, and can withstand a weight of around 330 lbs (149.68 kg). Being superlight, therefore, it is travel-friendly 2.86 lb (1.29 kg). You can easily build your flexibility and stamina by stretching your body. The features like anti-skid and sweat-resistant help to enjoy various stretching exercises. 

The wheel comes with anti-bacterial features. So, you are not required to clean the wheels. What are you waiting for, lazy bums! Just grab this yoga wheel and perform various poses with confidence.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic and skin-friendly
  • Comes with an anti-bacterial coating
  • It can withstand 330 lbs (149,68kg)
  • Reasonable price
  • High on resisting the impact
  • Stable
  • Sweat-resistance material provides optimal grip

Cons

  • Padding may not be a good option for heavy-weight people
  • Might not be very comfortable while using it

2. Pete’s choice Dharma Yoga Wheel- Comfortable & Durable, Increase Flexibility and Ideal Back Stretcher

Dharma wheel for yoga is often the right choice for yoga enthusiasts who are looking for a yoga wheel for back pain. It is one of the right choices for homemakers and office goers. Lightweight and comfy wheels help to relax your body. It offers deep massage to the back and improves posture and balance. 

Dharma wheel for yoga is made from 100 percent top-quality materials. It is hypoallergenic and skin-friendly. The material is safe, impact-resistant, and durable. You can easily challenge yourself to complete the next level of exercise. The regular practice of yoga with wheel will help you to get rid of back pain. You can easily tone your body. The sizes are 13″ (33cm) diameter and 5.1″ (12,95 cm) width

There are different combinations available with yoga straps and yoga blocks. An eco-friendly option in cork is also accessible.

Pros

  • Temperature –resistance
  • Practical strap for providing additional support
  • Sturdy and robust to sustain the weight up to 350 lbs (158,75 kg)
  • Durable and safe
  • Withstand 
  • After the purchase, you will get a free eBook
  • Lifetime warranty, peace of mind guarantee

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavyweight people
  • Some don’t get an ebook (Take initiative and sent them an email)
  • Missing strap in some shipments

3. Shogun Sports Yoga Wheel- Back Pain, Stretching, Improving Flexibility, and Backbends.

A California-based company designs it. It was made for yoga addicts. This fantastic yoga wheel is made for you if you love to challenge yourself. Reach the next level of fitness by adding it to your daily routine. 

It comes with a robust inner core that can withstand up to 500 lbs (226.80 kgs) in weight. The anti-skid padding provides extra safety and comfort. The padding is eco-friendly that offers support to the back so that you can try different poses. 

Also, bacteria-free and sweat-free padding will help to work without any worries of germs. It is a light-weight yoga wheel that can be transported easily. You can select this wheel if you want to build a robust and flexible body.

Pros

  • Perfect to use for both advanced yogis and beginners.
  • The best yoga wheel for back pain
  • Increases flexibility
  • Provides extra support and comfort for performing any type of exercise
  • 60 days money-back guarantee and 1 Year warranty of there are manufacturing defects
  • Designed and made by a US operated company 
  • Suitable for plus size people

Cons

  • Might be too wide
  • Padding is quite thick that can be hard for beginners
  • A few buyers prefer foam rollers

4. ATIVAFIT Sports Yoga Wheel – Back Pain, improve Yoga Poses, Perfect for Stretching, and Improving Flexibility and Backbends

It is an attractive yoga wheel that is curated for providing relief from back pain. It also improves flexibility, balance, and strength of the upper body. Made up of top-quality material and can sustain the approx. 220 lbs (99.80 kgs) of weight. It is available 12” (30.50cm) ,10’’ (25.4cm) and 5’’ (12.7cm) diameter.

You can easily do different poses with the ATIVAFIT yoga wheel. It supports stretching back, chest, and hips. You can also tone your upper body, as well as increasing your core strength. The thick padding protects the body while performing exercises. 

The material is safe, durable, and stable. It is lightweight and portable so you can carry it anywhere. Don’t be conscious of body odor as it is odorless and sweat-resistant. You can also use this yoga wheel to ease the stress from your back. 

Pros

  • Eco-friendly and premium wheel material
  • Affordable
  • Available in different colors
  • Thick padding 0.2” (6mm) provides comfort and support to the back, feet, and palm.
  • Odorless and sweat-resistant material
  • Money-back guarantee if you are not happy
  • Very light, it weighs about 2.2 lbs (1kg)

Cons

  • We found it to be wobbly

5. URBNFit Yoga Wheel & Strap Set – Designed for Dharma Yoga Wheel Pose – for Stretching and Increased Flexibility

This Wheel comes with a strap, as an addition, to perfect your Yogic experience. The manufacturer URBNFit has great confidence in their product, which is the reason they are giving you lifetime guarantee. It measures around 12” (30.48 cm) in diameter and can withstand 500 lbs (226.79 kg). Made from anti-flex PVC material. It is quite durable and sturdy. And it comes with a free guide that is beneficial for beginners. 

It offers a good option for people who want to increase the flexibility of the body. Also, it helps to perform different stretching exercises. 

Pros

  • Comes with a user guide
  • Sweat-resistant and soft foam
  • Lifetime money-back guarantee 
  • It’s a yoga wheel and strap set combo
  • Well built
  • Affordable 

Cons

  • It is less durable, according to the customer’s reviews.
  • Some customers have experienced the issue of wheel snapping
  • The shipments are missing the strap

6. UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel Set – Strongest & Most Comfortable, Back Pain and Stretching

If you are confused about sizes, then you can go for this fantastic yoga wheelset. It has three different sizes that help to perform various poses. It is the right choice as each wheel can support approximately 550 lbs (250 kg approx) of weight. It comes with a full padded from the exterior. 

Three different sizes are 12” (30.50cm) ,10’’ (25.4cm) and 6’’(15.24cm) diameter. It is recommended to start with the large yoga wheel. They don’t bend or flex with pressure. The set is the best choice as compared to the foam roller. It is light in weight and comes with a sweat-wicking feature. 

Additionally, it comes with a money-back guarantee, returns, and full refund. So, this is one of the great yoga wheels that you can go for!

Pros

  • It has three yoga wheels of different sizes.
  • Has thick padding outside for extra comfort
  • Comes in attractive colors
  • Efficient and works better than a foam roller
  • Sturdy!
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a Yoga Wheel Guide PDF including 18 poses
  • Excellent customer service, 30 days money back if you are not happy

Cons

  • Few customers have reported peeling of rubber
  • Exercises for the 6” (15.24cm) wheel in the PDF are missing
  • Might be too expensive

Conclusion: Our Pick For The Winner

The yoga wheel exercises can hugely influence the overall mental and physical health. Also, it is quite essential to use the tool in the right manner. It helps to increase yoga practice and perform complicated poses. You can also get rid of body pain, improve strength, balance, and flexibility. 

Our choice for the best yoga wheel is UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel Set. It helps to strengthen abs, upper body parts, and lower body parts. It is available in three sizes and various colors. Its thick padding with sweat-resistant features provides extra comfort and cushion. It is one of the strongest of its kind.

Therefore, we recommend you go for the UpCircleSeven Yoga wheelset. You will be able to perform all kinds of stretching exercises. It is quite comfortable and easy to use. It also provides excellent value for money. The yoga wheel is becoming quite popular among yogis. It is one of the best tools to increase yoga practice. 

Sri Lakshmi

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