Last week we kicked-off a new 5-part original fitness tutorial series called the “Yoga in the Vines Series” in collaboration with our friends, Yoga Instructor Kate Balog and Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel, California. In Part 1 of the series, Kate showed us how to build energy and boost confidence. Because a well-balanced lifestyle incorporates a mix of energizing activities with rejuvenating practices, sometimes it’s good to slow down a bit, which is what Part 2 is about.
Yoga in the Vines Series – Part 2
To help you relax and restore your mind and body, in Part 2 of this 5-part Series, Inspirations & Celebrations’ Fitness Contributor Kate Balog (a certified Yoga Instructor) shares 5 yoga exercises to help you unwind among the vines.
Yoga To Relax & Restore
The hustle and bustle of our lives tend to increase speeds when we already feel overwhelmed, or stagnate when we are chomping at the bit for something to happen. Aligning to this constant ebb and flow is our most important life lesson, yet can leave us feeling stressed out and overworked. If we ignore the need to unwind and let our bodies relax, we wind up sick or miserable. Fortunately, spending just a little bit of time on the yoga mat achieves the relaxation and restoration our bodies are craving.
This series focuses on gentle and intentional postures allowing your body to decompress from stress and repair. Take your time moving through each posture allowing your body to self-adjust. Pay attention to your breath, making sure to breathe deeply. It is recommended to sit in meditation for at least 5 minutes after the series for maximum benefit.
Tadasana – Standing Mountain Pose
- Correct Posture: Stand with feet together or slightly apart, distributing even weight equally on all four quadrants of both feet. Tighten the thighs together and rotate outward. Tuck the tailbone, slightly moving the hips forward. Engage the core muscles as you reach the fingertips towards the mat, palms facing forward. Roll your shoulders back and down the spine. Move the chin back and tilt slightly up. Close your eyes and hold for 3-5 breaths.
- Benefits: Develops physical and mental balance. Improves balance and creates a calm focus.
- Avoid If: None.
Utkatasana – Chair Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin in Tadasana (Standing Mountain Pose). Bend the knees, like you’re sitting back into a chair, and hold. Raise your arms overhead bringing the palms together or slightly apart, release your shoulders away from your ears. Shift the weight into the heels and bring your hips down even further. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Tones the entire body, especially the thighs. Opens the shoulders and chest. Allows the body to release tension.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from low blood pressure or a headache.
Anjaneyasana – Crescent Lunge
- Correct Posture: Begin in Downward Facing Dog, stepping the right foot forward between your hands. Bend the right knee to a 90-degree angle aligning the knee directly over the foot. Bring the left knee down to the mat, and the top of your foot by untuck your back toes. Make sure to place the weight just slightly above the left knee. Raise hands up over your head bringing hands together or slightly apart. Move shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on other side.
- Benefits: Stretches the legs, hip flexors, chest and shoulders. Strengthens and tones the thighs, hips and butt, developing flexible stability.
- Avoid If: Not advisable for people who suffer from high blood pressure, or injuries to the knees or hips.
Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold
- Correct Posture: Sit on the mat with legs stretched out in front of you. Feet are together with toes pointing up to the sky. Straighten the spine and slowly bend forward from the hips. Try to hold the big toes with your fingers, or rest your hands on your shins or thighs depending on flexibility. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Stretches hamstrings and increases flexibility in hip joints. Helps to tone and massage core and pelvic region. Rebalances the body and calms the mind.
- Avoid If: Not advisable for people suffering from slipped discs, hernias or sciatica.
Jathara Parivartanasana – Revolved Abdomen Pose
- Correct Posture: Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend the arms wide in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. Bring the knees in towards the chest, and then drop them to the right side. If the knees touch the mat, make sure knees are in line with each other. Gaze to the left. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Detoxifies the body and decompresses the spine. Restores balance to body and mind.
- Avoid If: None.
How to follow the ‘Yoga in the Vines’ Series
To follow this 5-part yoga tutorial series, subscribe to Inspirations & Celebrations by email, RSS, or Bloglovin.
If you’re in the Monterey Peninsula, to participate in a live “Yoga in the Vines” class, head over to Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel. “Yoga in the Vines” is hosted weekly on Saturdays at 10 am and includes a 90-minute yoga class followed by a complimentary glass of wine (for $20 per person).
For more exercise tips and tutorials from fitness experts and celebrity trainers, check out the Fitness section on Inspirations & Celebrations. Be well and stay inspired on your fitness journey!
Fitness Contributor: Kate Balog
Kate Balog holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Holistic Health Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification through Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India. She has been trained in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga- asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, and yoga therapy. She is also a Reiki 1 & 2 practitioner. Kate’s teaching combines ancient yogic technique with modern understanding to create a felt energetic experience of alignment and balance. She currently teaches in Monterey & Carmel, California. Stay up to date on upcoming posts, classes & retreats at www.yogarise.org