What's all this about yoga?

I'm happy whit the translation to English of my book "¿Qué es eso del yoga?". Thanks to Babelcube and to Nadia Hleb, the main translator.

What's all this about yoga?

The book is an informative essay about yoga, from a Western and modern point of view, keeping in mind our main concerns in life.



The book is avaialble in the principal markets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play...


ABS ROUTINE (10 minutes)

Here is a very simple routine to strengthen the core and lower back, from a yogic perspective.


Is very important to work this area, not only for aesthetic reasons (flat abdomen, six pack abs), but also and especially for health reasons. Lower back and abdomen keep the spine straight and are the source of our locomotive action. 



Abs routine 10 minutes

There is one thing that many people do not know: that many backaches are caused by lack of tone in the abdomen, for lack of a strong core.

Lower back and abdomen are joined, and it is always recommended to work those two areas at the same session.

This routine consists of two abdominal exercises and other two exercises for the lower back. It will take us about 10 minutes. All the time maintain a yogic attitude (conscious awareness of body and mind).





Routine:


- Static planks. This is an exceptional exercise to work and strengthen the core, abdomen, buttocks and shoulders.


static plank

Do 2 to 3 times holding on what you can without reaching your limits and resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

- Half boat pose (ardha navasana).


half boat pose

Do 2 to 3 times holding on what you can without reaching your limits and resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

- Bridge pose (setu bhandasana). Great exercise for the lower back. We'll do it in its three variants and in this order.

  •     Dynamic: Accompanied with breathing. As you inhale ups, as you exhale down.
dynamic bridge pose
  •     Static: We maintain the pose what we can without forcing. Do large breaths.
static bridge pose
  •    With each leg: This exercise is more demanding, but also works buttocks and legs. Hold the pose a few seconds on each leg. 

each leg bridge pose yoga

- Snake pose (sarpasana). Strengthens the lower back muscles.


snake pose

We will do it 7 times, coordinated with breathing. As you inhale get up, hold the air up and as you exhale down.

Here are 2 instructional videos with the details of each exercise. *Are in Spanish, but with english subtitles, remember to activate on YouTube.


Part 1: abs

Part 2: lower back


Important details:

- The ideal is to do this workout 2 times per week.

- There are many more yoga exercises to work abs and lower back, but for now we will practice these ones.

- Remember that we are doing yoga. Don't compete, don't force too much, keep controlled your breathing and focused your mind.

- If you feel discomfort with one exercise, stop, and if the pain persists, see your doctor or a specialist.

- These exercises can cause muscle soreness at first if you are not trained, it is normal, but with a few practice sessions, you will go improving your fitness.

- Success is in the habit and continued work on time, so practice, practice, practice…

- This routine can be done in isolation, or combined into a longer session of yoga if you have more time.

Finally, don't deceive yourselves, these exercises will not give you a flat stomach, or six pack abs or a bodybuilder or fitness instructor body. These exercises will strengthen and tone the muscles of your core (which is a lot). To get six pack abs you need another training routines, based primarily on a change of diet and lose of belly fat.

Happy practice!


Aimar Rollan (Gopal)


What can do yoga for you?


The philosophy of this yoga is: "Just add to your life what you need". Don’t remove anything, don’t go somewhere else, don’t look for an utopia... Just add what it lacks.

What do you need? A little bit of peace? Add it.
What do you need? A little bit of vitality? Add it.
What do you need? A little bit of exercise? Add it.
What do you need? A little bit of flexibility?Add it.
What do you need? A little bit of concentration? Add it.
What do you need? A little bit of purpose? Add it.

What can do yoga for you?


This is a yoga for normal people.

You don’t need to do contortion or strange postures.
You don’t need to bend like a fakir or an elite gymnast.
You don’t need to hold your breath for five minutes.
You don’t need to be an enlightened or a mystical.

Simply add that little act so that in your life will be a little more peace, vitality, flexibility, concentration, optimism, good humor and purpose.

What can do yoga for you? Many things in small quantities, in the right measure.

How many hours do you spend daily at work? To serve others? To do useless things? How many hours do you spend daily for yourself? Sorry, I meant minutes… Yes, the day has 24 hours, but hardly we have time for ourselves. Yoga invites you to spend some time to yourself, time to invest in yourself for a better quality of life.

‘I'm stressed, I have no time, I have no money!’ Excuses… Where there's a will, there's a way, and who loves himself spend a few minutes daily to himself.


Aimar Rollan (Gopal)


YOGA FOR BEGINNERS - Free course

Here is an introductory course of 17 hatha yoga lessons. It is a very basic course, but complete and safety to start with the practice of yoga. If you've practiced yoga before, do not underestimate these lessons, as they contain the basis for future more advanced practices.


It is a simple and affordable course designed under the Kaizen method that anyone can do at home without complications.

Yoga course for beginners

The course is in Spanish, but fully subtitled in English.

Lessons:

0. Presentation
1. Introduction
2. Requirements for practice
3. Course contents 
4. Reasons to practice yoga 
5. History of yoga 
6. Yoga basics 
7. About proper breathing 
8. Diaphragmatic breathing technique 
9. Yoga and flexibility 
10. Morning routine 
11. Afternoon routine 
12. Warm up routine 
13. Sun Salutation (technique) 
14. Sun salutation (improvement) 
15. Nighttime routine 
16. Concluding remarks 
17. Farewell
 
Remember that if you have any questions you can ask through the blog or post comments on videos.
Have a good practice!
Aimar Rollan (Gopal)


CHATURANGA DANDASANA to strengthen arms

Chaturanga dandasana is a technique to strengthen arms, chest and core. You can do it static or dynamic (yogic push ups).


Chaturanga means "four members" and danda means "stick". We remain as a horizontal stick supported at 4 points (2 hands and 2 feet). It's a hard stance, but gives great strength.

TECHNIQUE

We get in horizontal, as if we were to do a push up, with the toes flat on the floor and hands at shoulder width.

Chaturanga dandasana

Inhale and slowly down while exhaling. Keep elbows close to the body and look forward. When we get at half height, we keep static posture as long as we can, breathing normally.

Yogic push ups

Important: Maintain the body taut and straight as a stick (abdominal work), don't support the knees on the floor nor separate elbows from the body.

At the beginning it will cost hold the pose a few seconds, but with practice will enhance our stay and our strength.

Dynamic exercise: Yogic push ups

We can do this exercise dynamically, which we will keep in shape. You can do several sets of 4, 6, 8 or 10 repetitions. Always slowly and coordinated with breathing, as shown in the video. 


Other uses

You can apply the chaturanga dandasana during the Sun Salutation, in the position nº 6, to give more intensity.

Aimar Rollan (Gopal)


SUN SALUTATION, step by step

Sun Salutation, Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, is a combination of 12 yoga asanas coordinated with breathing in a fluid rhythm. 

Sun salutation
Animation of Sun Salutation

 Benefits:


It is one of the most complete exercises that I know:

  • Develops basic physical abilities: strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination and balance. 
  • Good cardiovascular workout.
  • Trains the respiratory muscles and concentration.

Cautions: 

 

  • Ask your doctor before doing if you have serious health problems.
  • If you feel discomfort or pain, stop the exercise and see if recur again; if so, abandon the practice and try again another day; if repeated, consult a specialist.
  • Take special care in the positions 2, 7 and 11. Not bend too much the back and the neck.



Practice:


To learn well the Sun Salutation, here's a short tutorial where I explain step by step. At the end of the post there are two videos for clarity.

Important! Do relaxed, without competing with anyone, without forcing your body and focused on what you do. 


1. Beginning (prayer pose). EXHALE

Sun salutation 1

Start from the mountain pose: feet together, body straight and relaxed. Do a great inhalation. When exhale, join palms to chest level and press moderately; chin to chest to stretch neck and adopt a reverent attitude. 

2. Raised arms pose. INHALE

Sun salutation 2

Inhaling, fill the lungs well, raising arms and arching slightly the back. Be careful not to bend too much back and neck. 


3. Forward fold (padahastasana). EXHALE


Sun salutation 3

As you exhale, release all air stretching your body, without bending your legs. Move from position 2 to 3 looking at hands. Some reach the ground with his hands and some people don't… Don't worry about it, stretch as far as you can without forcing. 


4. Step back with left leg lunge (equestrian pose). INHALE


Sun salutation 4


The first round do bringing the left leg back. Look up without taking your hands off the floor. Inhale deeply.

 

5. Plank. HOLD

Sun salutation 5
  
Hold the breath with outstretched arms and firm abdomen. Look down. We can start by holding 1 or 2 seconds, and with practice hold 5 or 6 seconds.


6. Eight limbs position. EXHALE


Sun salutation 6
  
As you exhale, support knees on the floor, bend your arms and slide forward, resting your chest and chin on the floor.


7. Cobra (bhujangasana). INHALE


Sun salutation 7
 
Stretch arms, raise the chest, look up and inhale deeply. Be careful not to bend too much.


8. Downward dog (adho mukha svanasana). EXHALE


Sun salutation 8
 
Also called 'inverted V'. As you exhale, support your feet on the floor and downward the body with legs straight. Chin to chest.


9. Step forward with left leg lunge (equestrian pose). INHALE


Sun salutation
 
Look!, step forward the same leg before you step back, and adopt the same position as in position 4. Inhale.


10. Forward fold (padahastasana). EXHALE


Sun salutation 10

Same as position 3. Exhale.

 

11. Raised arms pose. INHALE

Sun salutation 11
  
Same as position 2. Inhale.


12. Ending (prayer pose). EXHALE


Sun salutation 12
  

When exhale, join palms to chest level and press moderately; chin to your chest to stretch your neck and adopt a reverent attitude.  Finish the Sun Salutation and return to the mountain pose (tadasana).

Repeat the salutation with the other leg in positions 4 and 9.

Try to do a minimum of two Sun Salutations in each session, to do it once with each leg. With practice, 12 Sun Salutations in a row is a good number to keep the body in shape. 



*The videos are in spanish but with english subtitles.

 
Sun salutation (technique)

 
Sun Salutation (improvement) 

Practice, practice, practice... 

If you have any doubt, post a comment.

Aimar Rollan (Gopal) 


Morning yoga routine (5 minutes)

In yoga, like most things in life, the key to success lies in routines. It's easy to start practicing, but success lies in the acquisition of routines easy to follow. It is best little work continued over time than long sessions with little continuity.

 Explanation video of the routine

The routines are the key because they generate habits, and once an habit is generated, we have advanced a lot in the way. Habits are indicators of success.

It is said that something should be repeated at least 21 days for a physiological change in us, to ensure that sufficient neural networks are built in the brain that allow the implementation of a new habit in our lives. How many times have you started something without finishing? How many times have you started a diet, an activity, a book, a sport...? Have you achieved success? Well, now you know, at least 21 days of continuous work, and do not forget to get affordable routines; if they are too difficult is probable to give up. This same philosophy is what characterizes the "Kaizen Method".

Let's start with a simple but effective yoga routine which will take 3 to 5 minutes. We will do in the morning, just when we get up.


Theory:



Most of us slept in a closed room a minimum of 6 hours daily. This causes three things: poor oxygenation (because the room fills with carbon dioxide), muscle stiffness (due to the immobility of the night's rest), deactivation of the digestive tract and slight dehydration (because we have not eaten and drunk anything overnight). Well, of course we have to solve this: oxygenate, activate muscles (especially the back, which is what suffers most) and hydrate a little.

Routine: 

 

1. We get up, do our needs, wash our face and opened a window. We look out and joyfully do a few broad and deep breaths through the nose, in order to oxygenate blood. We also welcome the day and we feel grateful to stay alive one more day.

Morning yoga routine
2. Stretch our back doing this exercise, I call it "the great stretch back." It's simple: We open the legs wide shoulders and a half, with bended legs, arms and hands relaxed and loose head forward.

Great stretch back

Important: Use the force of gravity only, not force or give rebounds. The body is stiff in the morning and should be treated gently. Release your entire body, especially the neck. Do soft diaphragmatic breaths and pay attention to the spine. If you concentrate, you can feel the stretch of the entire back, from the coccyx to the neck. Relax, release well without forcing. We maintain the posture 1-3 minutes. When finished, slowly undo posture, with chin tucked and ample breathing. Once upright, we turns our head a few times in each direction, slowly, consciously.

3. We drink a glass of natural water. So, we activate the digestive, purify and hydrate a bit.

Drink water in the morning

And that's it... See how easy is this routine! From here you continue with your daily activities. You don't have time? Just get up five minutes earlier.

How long do I have to practice this? Every day of your life, even if you forget one, nothing happens. If you acquire the habit, you can replace it with other longer routines.



Benefits:

 

Try it for 21 days and then tell me...

Don't underestimate the simplicity of this routine. Small steps for great results over time... That's the key. 

Aimar Rollan (Gopal)