Benefits of Yoga and why shall we practice it

by: Peter Bender on

A stressful daily routine can wreak havoc on your body.

You may not know it now, but years down the line, you will find numerous health related issues that take their roots in taxing routines and neglectful attitude. Yoga has been here for many hundred years, and has been playing its part in improving the overall well-being of mankind. Regular yoga practitioners, called yogis, have better mind-body-heart-soul coordination and can perform daily tasks with more ease than their non-yogi counterparts.

Yoga has uncountable benefits that will make you jump off your couch and get your name enrolled in one of the classes. A few of them are listed below:

Strike a pose for Strength

Yoga is ideal for maintaining good posture and increasing core strength. If you feel that you get tired easily, or your breathing becomes irregular after just a few minutes into a grueling task, yoga is just the thing for you. Start with lighter postures and then graduate towards more difficult ones in order to build your strength gradually.

Less Stress, More Balance

Stress can cause unseen damages to your overall health. It strains your nerves and muscles and puts undue stress on your thinking capabilities. By performing yoga regularly, you can strike a balance in your exhausting daily life and channel in calmness through different yoga asanas.

It is good for your heart!

Heart is a major organ of the body that pumps blood all around. Heart is also one of the organs that get affected by stress the most. Yoga can prevent you from various cardiovascular diseases including myocardial infarction, and angina.

Breathe Easy with Yoga

Yoga is especially beneficial for those suffering from any form of respiratory ailment. It helps open up the air ducts and increases the efficiency of lungs. Start with easy poses to build confidence and move towards difficult ones from there.

Lose those Pounds

Yoga is an efficient way of losing weight. But be informed that you won’t lose weight as quickly as you do in most other ways of exercises like cardio and Pilates. One thing that sets yoga apart from other exercises is the fact that you don’t put on weight as quickly when you stop doing it. So for long term benefits, many fitness gurus prescribe yoga. There is no right time to start practicing yoga, but if you do it from a young age, your body will become attuned to its postures fairly quickly and with ease. Yoga is not only for people who suffer from a certain condition, but it is for anyone aiming for a well-balanced life.

Chaturanga Dandasana

by: Peter Bender on


The infamous Chaturanga Dandasana, a.k.a. the yoga push-up or low plank. Most people, including me, have done it either wrong and/or half-assed for years and this is not a good thing.

Why do people do it wrong?
Because it’s HARD.
And why is this not a good thing?
Because if you do any style of Ashtanga-based yoga, (which most yoga in the U.S. is) it’s the one yoga pose that you will probably do wrong the most times.
Doing a pose wrong over and over again = potential for repetitive motion injuries, and in this case specifically, rotator cuff injuries.
So let’s learn it the right way!

Here's what you’ll need:

  • Yoga/exercise mat
  • An audience who will appreciate the creative expletives that may come out of your mouth once you are holding the full pose

In order to do the full version of the pose, you must have sufficient arm, shoulder, and abdominal strength. These parts work together in a complicated way to create the perfect alignment here.

If you don’t yet have the strength (or you do and you’re just tired) drop your knees! Don’t be embarrassed to do this. I admit I have been.
But don’t be like me: Try not to have an ego during yoga.

  • Start from plank:
  • Hands under elbows
  • Elbows under shoulders
  • Abdominals and low ribs pulled in; core engaged
  • Thighs pushing up
  • Heels pushing back
  • Hug all your muscles into the midline of the body
  • Roll WAY forward on your toes (see pic below). Even more than you think you should. (This ensures you will lower down with your arms in a 90° angle.)
  • Now begin to lower down until your arms form a 90° angle and stop just at that point.

Do this while keeping the following in mind:

  • Keep your core VERY engaged just as in plank—abdominals and ribs really pulled in HUG your elbows into the sides of your body
  • Keep the tops of your shoulders pulled back away from your ears and pointing straight forward, not drooping down.
  • Imagine that you’re trying to make your clavicles SMILE. In other words, broaden through the chest. “Smile your clavicles”.
I love that last tip! I got it from yoga teacher Tiffany Cruikshank over at yogaglo. It was the missing piece I needed to get my Chaturanga right. Just that one tiny tip fixed my pose. I love it when that happens. If this tip means nothing to you, just ignore it.


So that’s it. Chaturanga in a nutshell.

Note: Practice your Chaturanga in front of a mirror or another person at first, so you can see how low you need to go to form a 90 degree angle with your arms. Then it will be stored safely away in your muscle memory.

As I said earlier, if you’re still working on your strength or just feeling tired, drop your knees!

"The pose strengthens the arms and the wrists develop mobility and power. It also contracts and tones the abdominal organs." - B.K.S. I Y E N G A R

And actually, even if you are able to do the full pose, doing this variation helps you learn proper alignment because you’re still working all the same muscles above the waist, without having to concentrate on carrying all the extra weight of your lower body.

Complete the sequence with Upward Facing Dog.

I hope this short tutorial helped get you closer to a correctly aligned yoga push-up.
If you have any questions, ask away!
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