Here Melissa and I practice yoga in the park
Looking to get outdoors and try something fun this summer? Try doing a yoga class in a park! Many of you related to my very first blog post, which I did on yogi extraordinaire, Melissa Tung’s impact on my life. If you missed it, you can find it here. However, I received many other messages from readers who were interested in yoga but didn’t know where to begin their practice, were too intimidated by traditional yoga studios, or just wanted to enjoy summer before committing to a new fitness regime. After attending one of Melissa’s weekly yoga sessions at a King West park, I immediately thought this would be a perfect and organic way for those readers to ease into this skillful art of the yogis, or for more advanced practitioners to add a different dimension to their practice.
Melissa’s class caters to all experience levels and incorporates varying degrees of intensity in a friendly and serene environment. I wanted to use this opportunity to demonstrate some of the basic yoga poses that we practise and highlight their main importance as a tutorial for those of you would like to get started with yoga. As I mentioned in my first post, please do not attempt these poses for the first time, on your own – start by going to a beginner class with a trained yoga instructor to learn how to do these poses properly and effectively.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
This pose calms the brain and body, while stretching and strengthening the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands. It can also relieve insomnia, back pain, menstrual cramps, improve digestion and prevent osteoporosis.
2. Tree Pose
This pose strengthens the thighs, calves, ankles, and spine while stretching the groin, inner thighs, chest and shoulders. It also improves sense of balance and helps to relieve sciatica and reduces flat feet.
3. Extended Triangle Pose
This pose stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles. It stretches the hips, groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine. It also helps to stimulate the abdominal organs and improves digestion, while relieving stress and anxiety.
4. Seated Twist
This pose stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck while helping to maintain normal spine rotation. It also stimulates the internal organs by allowing oxygenated blood to flow in when the twist is released.
5. Pigeon Pose
This pose opens up the hip flexor muscles, hip rotator muscles and groin muscles. It also increases circulation to the urinary, digestive, and reproductive systems.
6. Bridge Pose
This pose stretches the chest, neck, and spine. It also calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression while stimulating the abdominal organs lungs, and thyroid. After seeing these basic poses, understanding the gist of their benefits and learning of welcoming places to practice yoga, I hope that all of you hopeful yogis feel a bit more comfortable in beginning this transformational process of learning yoga. For more information on any of these poses, check out Melissa’s video collection on Vimeo. Or contact her on her website. For more inspiration and motivation, follow her on Instagram, or on Twitter. Hope to see you at one of her yoga in the park class before the summer is over!