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Workout Wednesdays: Yoga

Last Sunday, I managed to completely embarrass myself at hot yoga. Not only was I sweating like some sort of beast, I was failing in so many poses. What was the deal?
People are not kidding when they use the phrase “yoga practice.” Clearly, ya girl needs some practice.

My takeaway from Sunday’s session was that my ankles are not as strong or flexible as they should be, and my hamstrings are habitually tight. Some of those poses we were doing made me want to just go and lay in Dead Man’s Pose (my favorite pose) with a bucket of ice water poured all over my body. But I stayed in the room! And tried every pose, even if I had to stop or fall over.

When I returned home from the class, peeled my sweaty clothes off, and took an amazing and much-needed shower, I started researching aching ankles and yoga, and it was not terribly fruitful. What I did manage to find was that there are a number of poses you can do that will add flexibility and strength to your ankles.

With the help of Active (ignore some of the glaring typos), Yoga for Dummies, and CorePower Yoga, I went through this series of yoga poses to stretch and strengthen my ankles. The good thing is that they’re not overly complicated, so you could even do them in a small corner of your office or bedroom! Please keep in mind that I am neither a yogi nor a personal trainer. Perform these poses at your own risk!

Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) – In this pose, you kneel and sit back on your heels. I felt some tightness in my shins on this one (probably from my running/evening runs); however, there are variations of this pose that are less painful if you have tight muscles. I took a lot of deep breaths, and it felt pretty great. My ankles didn’t bother me in this pose, but I could definitely feel a slight stretch.

Hero’s Pose – This one is a little harder than it looks. The tricky part for me was getting the tops of my feet to lay flat on the ground. Once I was finally able to do it, I couldn’t get my butt to sit all the way down. But you know what? Practice makes perfect! I’m going to keep giving this one a try because it felt pretty good in my quads.

Garland of Flowers Pose (Malasana or Yoga Squat) – Finding my balance in this pose was pretty tough. I was proud of myself for getting into the pose, though. My goal is to hold this one for much longer as I give it more practice. You know, more than just one second. 😉

Lion Pose (Simhasana One) – If you want a good laugh, and I know you do, go ahead and run a Google image search on Simhasana One. I had to calm myself down because I must have laughed hysterically for five minutes at this one image. Oh, did it work? I can’t really tell. I mostly felt like a weirdo, and my dizziness from being cross-eyed was a distraction.

Warrior One and Two, Transitioning to Triangle Pose – Boy, are my ankles stiff! Usually, these poses are pretty easy for me, but today, not so much. It definitely felt great, though, and I could feel the stretch.

I finished off my series by stretching out my hamstrings since they’re so tight. I felt a sense of calm and relaxation after completing this series, which was a nice little cherry on top. Tonight, I’m planning to head over to Do Yoga With Me, a site with free yoga workouts. I think I might have to do a complete review of this site, because I think it’s pretty cool! There’s a beginner workout called  “Bend and Stretch” that is calling my name!

Do you have any muscles that you wish were more flexible? What are some of your favorite yoga poses to relieve tension or increase flexibility? Did you Google what I recommended? Did it make you giggle?

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