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Featured

Sep 18, 2017

Do you even Yoga?

Whether you’re planning on hiking, surfing, or doing any sport really—yoga will only make you better at these activities by strengthening the body, building stamina, and of course, improving flexibility.

WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

The combination of asana (yoga pose) with pranayama (breathing) helps the body in many ways. Here are some easy steps to help adapt your yoga practice and to get you ready for the outdoors!
  1.  Try a gentler approach. If you’re performing a yoga pose that increases your body temperature (like Surya Namaskara) then slow down. Don’t rush, go at a little slower pace than normal. Take two breaths rather than one.
  2. Consider your timing. Try practicing during the early morning hours when your body and the weather are cooler. Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid practicing during the heat of the day and especially in direct sunlight. This is a sure way to overheat the body.
  3. The third and final step is to choose yoga poses that help the body release heat, such as forward bends. We will show a few poses perfect for this. Forward bending poses physically cool down the body and help keep the mind calm. These are extremely helpful to counteract deep and more intense back bending poses.
 Get out of your head and get outside, breathe some fresh air, find your inner self, and incorporate these simple yoga postures into your lifestyle. Each one of the following poses are performed by Ashtanga Yoga Instructor & Practitioner, Alejandra Uranga. She is wearing yoga apparel from her own clothing line (Ananda 108) that she co-founded. Ananda 108 recently launched their online store where they sell a variety of yoga apparel that is perfect for this summer season. Check it out at ananda108clothing.com

All of the poses pictured are part of the Ashtanga Yoga series.

SURYA NAMASKARA
Start in Samasthitih (the mountain pose).
  1. INHALE. Bring the arms up.
  2. EXHALE. Bend the torso forward and bring the head towards the knees.
  3. INHALE. Lift the torso and head half way and look forward.
  4. EXHALE. Chaturanga, jump back with your legs like a plane pose (keep the hands and toes on the floor only) but move the body lower.
  5. INHALE. Urdhva mukha, push the chest forward, lift the head upward, straighten the arms and the thighs or knees shouldn’t touch the floor.
  6. EXHALE. Adho mukha, lift the waist up, bring the heels towards the floor, bring the gaze towards the navel and stay here for 5 breaths.
  7. INHALE. Jump so that the feet are in the middle of the hands, and lift the head up.
  8. EXHALE. Bend the torso forward as shown in fig. 2.
  9. INHALE. Lift the arms up.
  10. EXHALE. Samasthitih.
PRASĀRITA PĀDOTTANASANA  
1. Spread your legs to the length of your mat around 3 or 4 feet.
2. INHALE. Place the hands on the waist.
3. EXHALE. Move forward and catch the big toes.
4. INHALE. Lift the head and look forward.
5. EXHALE. Place the head on the floor if possible (if not, just try to go as low as you can and hold the position for 5 breaths).
6. INHALE. Lift the head only.
7. EXHALE. Hands on the hips.

8. INHALE. Come up and return to Samasthitih.


JĀNU SĪRSĀSANA 
1. Sit on the mat with the legs straight.
2. Fold the right leg to the side touching the inner thigh with the toes, keep the left leg straight and grab the left foot (if this is not possible just take your leg as far that you can).
3. EXHALE. Try to reach the knee with the head, stay here for 5 breaths.
4. INHALE. Lift the head up, and do the same to the other side.

MARĪCASANA  A
1. Continue on the floor in a seated position, legs straight.
2. Bend the right knee up and bring the right foot next to the right gluteus.
3. Wrap the right arm around the leg, locking the hands behind the back (if you cannot reach the hands you can take a towel or a belt and use it to help your hands together).
4. EXHALE. Try to reach the knee with the chin, stay here 5 breaths.
5. INHALE. Lift the head only and switch to do the same for the left side.
BADDHA KONĀSANA
1. Stay in seated position.
2. Bring the feet together, draw the heels in to the pelvis.
3. Fold both legs to the side and open the feet with the hands to help the hips open more.
4. EXHALE. Place the chin on the floor if possible. If not go as low as possible, keeping the back straight, breathe 5 times.
5. INHALE. Sit again and do the left side.

SALAMBA SARVĀNGĀSANA
1. Lie down on the floor or mat.
2. INHALE. Bring the legs up, place the hands on your upper back for support, try to align the shoulder, hips and feet in one vertical line, if this is to intense for you do Halasana.
3.Hold the posture for 10 breaths, and move to the floor slowly.

HALĀSANA
1. From Salamaba Sarvāngāsana, bring the legs behind the head and place the feet on the floor, toes pointing downwards.
2. Stretch your arms forward and interlace the fingers.
3. Hold the posture for 8 breaths.
4. To leave the posture you can place the hands on your back to help the torso and legs to return to the floor.
MATSYĀSANA
1. You can do this posture from Padmasana or lotus position in the legs. For a variation you can just cross your legs or bend your knees with the soles on the floor.
2. Bring the chest up and place the crown of the head on the floor, if your legs are in Padmasana, wrap the feet and the arms straight, hold the posture for 8 breaths.
Note: for the posture you need to be careful with the neck because it is an intense stretch. You can just place the elbows firmly on the floor next to the chest. To leave the posture you can place the arms on the floor and go down slowly.
Remember that these are postures that we recommend, but is very important that you find a teacher to provide proper guidance. Each person is different, each body is different, and we need to adapt the practice according to our necessities.
Post in collaboration with Ananda 108 clothing.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Outdoor Journal possible

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Athletes & Explorers

Aug 25, 2018

Lynn Jung: Use Yoga to Prevent Injuries and Run Free

One of the world’s leading female Freerunners on how she uses yoga to stay competitive, and it applies to those that aren't jumping over a roof gap too.

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WRITTEN BY

Lynn Jung

Lynn Jung will feature in an upcoming issue of The Outdoor Journal. You can make sure that you get your copy, here.

Passionate freerunners often suffer from tight muscles and rigid posture due to the repetitive stresses of training. Here’s how these simple asanas can help you prevent injuries and run free.

Lynn Jung is a Professional Parkour athlete and member of the London based Freerunning Team “Storm Freerun.” Lynn is one of the world’s leading female freerunners. Born and brought up in Luxembourg, Lynn moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue her passion for movement as a career. In 2016 Lynn won the Best Female award at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini, Greece.

Not all freerunners follow a regular stretching routine and for many the quests for strength and speed takes up most of their training. However, stretching and flexibility training have their place in Parkour.

Shoulder opening Asanas target muscle tightness in the chest and upper back. Stretching your chest, back and deltoids counteracts bad posture caused by muscle imbalances and tightness. Freerunners often struggle with tight pecs and a rounded back due to repetitive pulling motions during their training.

For those who have not yet attempted to jump over a roof gap or land a precision kong, these yoga moves can help reverse the negative impact of office stresses as well, such as extensive time seated at one’s desk.

Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses

1. Reverse Prayer or Pashchima Namaskarasana

Sit or stand up comfortably, float your arms down to either side of your body and, bending your elbows, reach your arms behind your back. Press your palms together in a prayer position on your spine and reach your hands as high up your spine as possible. Hold for five deep breaths. As an alternative to the fingers or palms touching at the back, the wrists or elbows can be grabbed.

2. Thread the Needle or Parsva Balasana

Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Bring your hips over your knees, and your palms directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling and on your exhale thread it under your right arm, bringing your left shoulder to the mat. Rest your head on the mat and keep your hips lifted. Walk your right hand over to the right, and on your exhale, press through the right palm to open the chest towards the ceiling. Lengthen the right side of the torso while twisting your spine. Experiment with different arm positions to deepen the stretch and move around in the pose until you find the release that you need. Make sure to maintain focus on your breathing.

This Asana gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest, opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulders and releases tension in your neck and upper back.

Muscles Stretched
Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Rhomboids, Back of Neck, Spinal Erectors

3. Prone Lying Pec Stretch

Lie face down and place your right arm out to the side at shoulder height with your elbow bent, your palm facing down on the floor and your fingers spread apart. Turn your right ear to the floor and, by pressing your left palm down, roll your body to the right side. At the full pose you may have your left knee bent, with your left foot resting behind your right thigh. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm to the ceiling, then drape the arm behind your back. Allow the side of the head to rest on the floor. Remain here for a few minutes then repeat on the other side.

Muscles Stretched
Pectoralis major and minor

4. Wide Leg Forward Fold with Clasp or Prasarita Padotanasana C

Start in a wide-legged stance and interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale, squeeze your shoulder-blades and on your exhale, fold your body forward from the base of your spine, keeping your weight on your heels. Bring your hands up and over your head as far as possible. Push your stomach towards your thighs, lengthen your spine and gently release your neck. Stay here for at least 5 deep breaths. Release your hands to your hips and breathe in deeply as you lift back up to stand.

Quads and Hip Flexor Stretches

Here is why every freerunner should look after their hip flexors. Besides causing bad posture and lower back pain, tightness in the hip flexors also reduces our ability to explosively extend the hip, thereby reducing our vertical jump.

5. Low Crescent Lunge with Quad Stretch or Anjaneyasana

Start in a lunge position and lower your back knee to the floor into a crescent lunge. Let your hips settle down and forward and lift your pubic bone toward your navel. If this stretch is enough for you, stay here, or you can inhale and lift your torso. As you do, place your left hand on the outside of your right leg, bend your left knee bringing your left heel towards your bottom, and reach back to grab your foot with your right hand. Press firmly through your entire left hand and gaze toward the right, feeling the stretch deeper. Release the foot back behind you.

Variation

Staying in the low lunge position, place your left had on the floor and gently guide the right hip open with your right hand. Let your right foot roll over slightly. From here, feel free to bend your left knee and reach around with your right hand for your foot. This allows for a deep quadricep stretch with an even deeper opening of the hip. Hold for five breaths.

6. Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana

This Asana is all about opening up the hips and groin. From a high lunge position, sink deeply into your hips and lower your forearms to the ground on the inside of your leading knee. Feel free to place your forearms onto blocks if you cannot comfortably bring them to your mat. Now lower your back knee to the floor. Lengthen your spine. If you can, lift your elbows off the floor and reach forwards with your hands. Stay here for five breaths.

The Outdoor Journal teamed up with Lynn at Yogaloft in her hometown of Luxembourg. Yogaloft is a boutique yoga studio with two locations in Kirchberg and Merl offering over 55 weekly yoga classes everyday for all levels in Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Mindfulness, Kundalini, Meditation and more! To learn more, visit www.yogaloft.lu.

Stay tuned to The Outdoor Journal for more collaborations with Lynn. To follow her Freerunning activities, check out www.stormfreerun.com and www.lynnjung.net

All Images © The Outdoor Journal

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