Yoga works wonders for anyone at any age
When she was just 14 years old, Kari Brodsky’s mother, Jane, invited her to her yoga class. “I’m a workout-aholic and when I first tried yoga, I found it to be really hard. That’s what got me hooked — I love a challenge,” she says.
Ten years later, this second-year dental student was still hooked on yoga. In addition to taking yoga classes, she teaches yoga to female and male soccer players at the high school level. In fact, Kari’s father, Barry, is the soccer coach for both schools and got her involved. “Most of the soccer players are already well-rounded athletes, and yoga offers them more flexibility. Plus it strengthens their knees, joints and feet, and helps prevent injuries,” Kari says.
It also just helps you feel better. Which is why yoga attracts people of all ages. “If anyone says they can’t get into yoga, they’ve never really tried,” says Kari. “It’s one of the few workouts that’s available to everyone. There are so many classes and so many levels — you can start at any age. Yoga is more of an individual accomplishment because you work at your own pace.”
Just look at the Brodsky family. Kari’s mother still practices yoga and her father recently started. What convinced him? “His knees. He was a high school athlete — football, baseball and basketball — he’s torn everything and is in pain every day. He swims every morning, six days a week and he’s been doing yoga for about four months now. He loves it,” she says.
According to Kari, yoga is an on-going teaching process. “You’re doing something that’s good for your body for an hour. It works muscles you normally wouldn’t work. It requires you to set time aside for breathing and controlling your breath,” she says, adding, “Whatever age, shape, size; anyone can do it.”
Let’s look at a few basic yoga poses.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
DOWNWARD POSITION 1
To start, position yourself on all fours.
DOWNWARD POSITION 2
Curl your toes under and push back through your heels, raising your hips and straightening your legs. (Make sure your heels are pushed toward the ground.)
Hands should be shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width. Palms should be on the ground, with fingers spread apart. Let your head relax. Move your shoulder blades away from the ears toward the hips. Breathe in and out through your nose.
PLANK POSITION 1
Start at the top of the push-up position, keeping palms flat and fingers spread. Your head is extended and your body should be straight — your neck should be in line with your spine.
SIDE PLANK POSITION 2
From plank position, shift your weight over to the side you’re turning to. Stack your feet on top of one another, or if you need more balance, put one in front of the other.
Extend one arm up and push your shoulder blades together. Push your hips toward the sky. Turn your gaze up if you’re more advanced. Or look at the ground for better balance. (Looking up forces you to use your muscles to balance.)
WARRIOR I POSITION
Step forward with one foot so that you’re in a low lunging position. Turn your rear foot so that it’s flat on the ground. Bend your front knee over the ankle, so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.
Turn your hips to face forward. Bring your arms out to the side and up, with palms touching. Relax your shoulders down your back.
WARRIOR II TO REVERSE WARRIOR POSITION
From Warrior 1, exhale while left leg and left arm are forward (or vice versa,) and your other arm is extended behind you. Your hips turn open to one side.
With leg extended, lower your rear hand toward your leg, and extend your other hand skyward. Turn your gaze up toward your extended hand. Now you are in Reverse Warrior.
Coming out of Reverse Warrior, extend forward over your hips. Lower your hand to the ground and place it on the inside of your foot. (Or if you’re more comfortable, place it on the top of your foot or your shin.)
Extend your opposite arm to the sky. Pinch your shoulder blades together to open up your chest. Take your gaze up toward your extended fingertips.
Begin in a seated position with your feet on the mat and a straight spine. (You can hold your knees, if you like.)
Lift your feet up and reach your arms out to the side. Lower legs should be parallel to the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles.
Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle keeping your back straight and your abdomen tight. Straighten your legs as far as you can to make a “V” shape with your body.
NOTE: Before starting any exercise program, you should first consult with your doctor. Exercise is a physical activity that has potential physical risk. Dunham’s Sports and all their affiliates are not responsible for an injury that could occur from exercise.
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