Yoga for You

Just like professional athletes, you can benefit from yoga in your exercise routine.

Adapted from an article by O2 Max

Try to put yoga and marching band in a sentence. You may get some laughs, but relaxation and yoga could be the key to a successful and stress-free marching career.

Marching band can prove difficult for both mind and body, and yoga is a great way to wind down after practice. Athletes often use yoga to increase flexibility, strength, endurance and concentration, attributes that can benefit marching musicians as well. Check out these quick and easy yoga positions that you can try.

The Locust

First, lay face down, resting your chin on the ground and then moving it forward as far as possible. Place your arms at your sides, placing your hands under your body. Next, inhale as you lift one leg. This position is called the half locust. Hold this for a few seconds and then exhale as you lower the leg. Repeat this position with the opposite leg several times. When you feel comfortable with the half locust, try moving on to the full locust. Lie in the same position as the half locust, but lift both feet at the same time while you inhale deeply. Hold the full locust as long as you’re comfortable and then lower your feet.

Downward Facing Dog

Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips. Turn your hands slightly outward, palms flat on the floor, and curl your toes under your feet. Slowly, exhale and bring your knees up. Draw your tailbone toward the ceiling, push your thighs back and place your heels and feet flat on the floor. The knees should be straight, and your arms should be firm. Bring your shoulder blades in against your back and then toward the tailbone. Your body should now be in an inverted “V” shape. Place your head between your arms, but don’t let it hang loosely. Remain in this pose for several minutes, breathing deeply. Come out of it slowly, remembering to exhale.

Cat Pose

Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below the hips. Elbows, hands and shoulders should all be in a line straight down to the floor. The head should be faced toward the floor, with the eyes facing straight downward. Exhale and round the spine toward the ceiling, keeping the shoulders and knees in the same position. Relax your head and let it drop toward the floor, but continue looking at the floor and don’t let your head drop toward your chest. Relax and remain in the pose for several
minutes. To come out of the position, inhale and bring your head and back into the neutral position where you started.

The key to yoga is relaxing into the positions—breathe and don’t force it! You’ll find that with deep breaths and an open mind, you can achieve your goals. With a new sense of calm and confidence, you will make smart, collected decisions and have fun marching stress-free!

About the Author

Karen Jashinsky is the founder/CEO of 02 MAX, a fitness club for teens in Santa Monica, Calif. Karen is a certified fitness trainer and earned her MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 1996. For more information about 02 MAX, visit www.O2maxfitness.com.

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