How Many Times Per Week Should You Do Yoga?

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How many times a week should you do yoga to see improvement in your balance, pain level, joint mobility, and overall health? Boy, that is a tricky question isn’t it? However, it’s a question we teachers often hear.

Do you want to Tread Water, Dog Paddle or Swim Forward?

Most of our students come to yoga because of a health issue, and many come simply to reduce their stress. So how much do you want to feel better? If you do yoga once a week, that is like treading water. Two times a week, well, you’re dog-paddling and gaining some ground. But, three times a week is optimum for truly seeing improvement, because you are moving forward in your recovery, and your body is changing and healing for the better! More than that is okay, but don’t get extreme! Let your body rest and absorb the benefits of yoga, and enjoy some long savasanas!

So, the answer to how often? To really see, feel, and celebrate the benefits of yoga, try doing yoga at least two to three times a week. And yes, doing yoga poses on your own at home counts! And remember to honor the time you spend in yoga. No televisions blasting, bright lights, counts and repetitions, or magazine-reading.

Yoga is a mindful experience with your body so you can heal, and not just exercise.



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Urdhva Dhanurasana: Upward-Facing Bow

Urdhva dhanurasana (OORD-vah don-your-AHS-anna) is often mis-translated as full wheel pose (chakrasana). Upward facing bow pose is a deep backbend that can cultivate flexibility, strength, and patience. This posture is worth the effort with its long list of benefits, including an energy boost and thyroid and pituitary gland stimulation.

SANSKRIT:

  • Urdhva: upward
  • Dhanu: bow
  • Asana: pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Expands chest, lungs, shoulders.
  • Stretches hip flexors, muscles of the abdomen, wrists.
  • Strengthens glutes, hamstrings, lower back muscles.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Promotes courage and compassion.
  • Enlivens the chakras.
  • Increases energy.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Blocks on the wall: Place two blocks on the floor against a wall, about shoulder distance apart. Place your hands on the blocks as you move into urdhva dhanurasana to help elevate your upper body and better engage your shoulder blades.
  • Strap: Use a strap around your upper arms to prevent the elbows from splaying as you press upward.
  • Block: Place a block between your thighs to keep your lower body engaged.
  • One-legged: Try out eka pada urdhva dhanurasana by lifting up one leg at a time.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Lie on your your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, like you’re moving toward bridge pose.
  2. Place your palms on the ground beside your ears, fingertips facing your shoulders.
  3. Press into your feet, especially the big toe ball mound.
  4. Exhale to lift your tailbone and hips off the floor. Squeeze your thighs toward each other so your knees point straight ahead.
  5. Press into your hands to bring the crown of your head to the ground. Pause here for a breath.
  6. Draw your shoulder blades down your back while keeping elbows in line with shoulders. Press into your feet and hands equally.
  7. Exhale to straighten your arms and lift your head off the floor.
  8. Squeeze your inner thighs toward each other and down toward your mat (internal rotation). Lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your knees.
  9. Drop your head all the way back if comfortable.
  10. Hold the pose for up to a minute with a steady, long breath. Lower down and rest, option to repeat.

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