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The muscles in our body are used all the time and are the reason why we can move. It is so important that we look after them; especially after physical training. Physical training alters the appearance of muscles as well as their performance. When muscles grow, the cells them-self change in size, no new cells are made. This is why we feel pain after exercising. If we don’t look after our muscles, stretching them after using them, it can result in overuse injuries such as stress fractures or joint/ tendon inflammation.

In the 2-3 hours after exercising our muscles are most fatigued – they need feeding!! Protein helps to recover and grow muscles.

If you can imagine the enzymes that help the process of recovery as a collection of little eager construction workers ready to build – if they turn up to work and lack their materials, their talent cannot be put to use, BUT, if you provide them with the correct raw materials, they can perform work to the highest standards.

As well as muscles being fatigued after exercise, your tissues and organs are too. When exercising, everything is put to its limits. Restorative breathing is therefore also something that helps recovery as it slows the heart back down and also normalises the lungs again.

How can stretching help muscle recovery?

There are many benefits that stretching gives to help the recovery of the body after exercising.

  1. Increased flexibility of different muscles groups

Stretching helps release constricted and contracted muscles back to their comfortable state. This also helps increasing flexibility itself and injury prevention.

For example, doing leg stretches after a long run increases muscular power and endurance.

  • Improved blood circulation

Stretching helps the body to cool down, therefore returning the heart rate back to resting. Once the blood circulation and heart rate are back to normal, this allows the muscles to relax so recovery can begin.

  • Eliminates lactic acid

Working your muscles produces lactic acid which makes the muscles fatigued and sore. Stretching eliminates the lactic acid build up so helps to relax the muscles in order to recover and repair.

  • Pain Prevention

If muscles remain tight after exercising, it can increase your risk of an injury. Stretching helps loosen the muscles which minimises the risk of injury.

To show an Upward Dog technique
Upward Dog by Ryan
  • Improved range of motion

Muscles that are not stretched usually remain constricted which prevents them being used to their full potential. Therefore, if we keep stretching them after exercising, the muscles performance when exercising will increase.

  • Increased muscular coordination

For strength trainers, it is even more important to stretch post exercising. When you stretch tired muscles, you give them better functional mobility and allow them to synchronise properly.

  • Posture

When your muscles are constricted and tight it often causes peoples posture to change, such as rounding the back. If we loosen up and stretch the muscles, you will see a better posture develop.

  • Improved nerve signals

Stretching allows a constant flow of nerve signals between the brain and muscles which will increase performance.

  • Mindfulness

During exercise your whole body is pushed to its limits. Breathing to create mind and body connections, help relax the body; when the body is relaxed the muscles are able to relax too.

Muscle Growth

Stretching promotes muscle growth; it elongates the fascia which helps the muscle to grow.

Have you ever been in a yoga class and wondered what the teacher is talking about? Have you been confused by postures that have two names, or forgot which is your Downdog and which is your Updog?

Our Studio Yoga Dictionary is here to help!

Sanskrit is an ancient language from India, each yoga posture has its original Sanskrit name but mostly we are more familiar with the English translation as these are much easier to remember, however teachers frequently use the Sanskrit term so its good to familiarise yourself. The more you practice the more you will associate the asana names with the movement.

Sanskrit words and phrases and what they mean

Asana – Means posture, you will notice most of the Sanskrit terms end in Asana.

Namaste – We say this at the end of most of our practices, most commonly with hands pressed into a prayer position against the heart centre and head lowered. It translates as I bow to you, a greeting and sign of respect after finishing a practice, we honour the light within our teacher and they honour the light within us.

Prana – This is our Life force, our energy our breath.

Drishti – Is the focus point of your gaze. When holding a posture it helps to focus on one still point as this focuses your energy against distraction, and helps to develop awareness and concentration. A focus point can help you also to keep correct allignment. There are nine drishtis you might be told to focus on during a posture, these are;
1. The tip of the nose
2. The thumbs
3. The third eye
4. The navel
5. Toward the sky
6. The hands
7. The toes
8&9. Over the shoulder towards the left or right side


Mula Bandha – Mula means root or base, and Bandha means lock, translating as your root locks. The bandhas are a means of controlling and directing energy. We are encouraged to activate these muscles such as pelvic floor to create more stability and core strength within the body.


Mantra – This is a word/phrase or sound repeated often during meditation. The word mantra comes from two Sanskrit words, manas (mind) and tra (tool). So mantra literally means “a tool for the mind,” and was designed to help practitioners access a higher power and their true natures.


Mudra – Derived from the Sanskrit word for seal, Mudras are a symbolic sign or gesture meant to direct life force to various parts of the body so the energies can be harnessed within.

Anjali Mudra – Probably the mudra you are most familiar with during your practice, hands pressed together against the heart centre, the position we often take at the end of class to say Namaste. In India it is used to greet, thank and express respect. It also reminds us to come back to our centre.

Pranayama – Control of breath, the breath is our life force and energises and sustains us throughout our yoga practice. It increases vitality, mental focus and expands consciousness of the mind.

Om – The sound of the universe.

Heres a few of the common yoga postures and their Sanskrit names you might hear whilst your in class;

Bhujangasana – Cobra
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Savasana – Corpse pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing Dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward facing dog
Chaturanga Dandasana – Four limbed staff pose (you will be very familiar with this move during a sun salutation sequence.)
Uttanasana – Standing forward fold
Ashtanga Namaskara – Knees chest chin a build up to Chaturanga
Surya Namaskar A or B – Sun Salutation A or B
Vrksasana – Tree Pose
Utkatasana – Chair Pose
Utthita Balasana – Extended child pose

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Are you interested in joining our 6 week Ashtanga course with Ryan? Starting Friday 20th September from 9:30-11am he will be breaking down the Ashtanga Primary Series sequence.

Okay so what is Ashtanga?

Ashtanga is a traditional series of postures performed in the same sequence everytime. It is a dynamic practice combined with focus on the breath. There are six different level sequences in Ashtanga each getting progressively harder. In traditional practice, students are expected to remember the movements, in preparation for a Mysore. A class which is unguided by the teacher and participants flow through the sequence on their own as a self led practice.

Padahastasana, one of the fundamental postures in Ashtanga

Usually an Ashtanga practice will begin with five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B, (Sun Salutations) followed by a standing sequence. Following this the practitioner will progresses through one of six series including a standard closing sequence.

The six series are as follows:

  1. The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
  2. The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (or The Second series)
  3. The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength
  1. Advanced A, or Third series
  2. Advanced B, or Fourth series
  3. Advanced C, or Fifth series
  4. Advanced D, or Sixth series

So the 6 week course focuses on the Primary Series, whats that?

For our course Ryan will be focusing on the Primary Series Sequence. The Start of all the Ashtanga Series. Here is a rough breakdown of what you can expect week by week.

Week One – Welcome talk about Ashtanga, Opening chant and handouts will be provided. A look at Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A and B) the fundamental postures.

Week Two – Fundamental Asana breakdown

Week Three – Primary Series Asana

Week Four – Primary Series Asana part 2

Week Five – Primary Series complete sequence, guided class

Week Six – Mysore self practice class/or a second full sequence guided class

Each week will include a recap of the previous weeks postures and linking the movements together. A sheet of the posture sequence will be provided to guide you, allowing you to refer to it whenever you need. All you need is your water, towel and excitement to learn!

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

Is this class for me?

If you are looking to increase your practice with a dynamic flow class, gain knowledge of Ashtanga terminology and Asana, to perfect your postures, then this course is for you! Suitable for beginners upwards, it will help any yogi to become more confident in their postures and practice.

To book in or for more information please contact:
info@thestudiocheshire.com
to reserve your space, see you on the mat!