Yoga Fitness

by Amie Jane Leavitt

Author Amie Jane Leavitt Isbn 9781429699853 File size 6 6 MB Year 2014 Pages 48 Language English File format PDF Category Fitness Rows of serrated teeth Bodies built like tanks Senses that can detect blood from more than a mile away Sharks strike fear in the hearts of most people Yet scientists and vacationers alike cast their fears aside and plunge into the oceans to swim alongside sharks Find out why these daredevils take the risk what they ve learned about sharks and the gear they us

Publisher :

Author : Amie Jane Leavitt

ISBN : 9781429699853

Year : 2014

Language: English

File Size : 6.6 MB

Category : Fitness



YOGA

Fitness

Amie Jane
Leavitt

P.O. Box 196
Hockessin, DE 19707

Yoga Fitness book.indd 1

5/6/14 11:32 AM

African Dance Trends
Get Fit with Video Workouts
Line Dances Around the World
Trends in Hip-Hop Dance
Trends in Martial Arts
The World of CrossFit
Yoga Fitness
Zumba Fitness
Copyright © 2015 by Mitchell Lane Publishers
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced without written permission
from the publisher. Printed and bound in the
United States of America.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The facts in this book
have been thoroughly researched.
Documentation of such research can be found
on page 45. While every possible effort has
been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher
will not assume liability for damages caused
by inaccuracies in the data, and makes no
warranty on the accuracy of the information
contained herein.
The Internet sites referenced herein
were active as of the publication date. Due
to the fleeting nature of some web sites, we
cannot guarantee that they will all be active
when you are reading this book.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 2

Printing
1
2
3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Library of Congress
Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Leavitt, Amie Jane.
Yoga fitness / by Amie Jane Leavitt.
pages cm. — (Dance and fitness trends)
Audience: Age 9-13.
Audience: Grade 4 to 8.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-61228-551-1 (library bound)
1. Hatha yoga—Juvenile literature.
2. Exercise—Juvenile literature. 3. Mind and
body—Juvenile literature. I. Title.
RA781.7.L435 2015
613.7’046—dc23
2014006933
eBook ISBN: 9781612285917

5/6/14 11:32 AM

Contents

Chapter One
Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini? .......................5
Popularity of Yoga & Fun Yoga Facts .......................... 11
Chapter Two
Thousands of Years Ago and Thousands of Miles Away.... 13
Six Paths of Yoga ................................................... 21
Chapter Three
How Are a Pigeon, a Cobra, and a Downward-Facing
Dog Alike? ........................................................ 23
How Can I Get Started? ........................................... 29
Chapter Four
Yoga: The Strengthening of Body, Mind, and Spirit ........ 31
How Do People Benefit from Doing Yoga? .................... 37
Chapter Five
Taking Your Practice to the Next Level ....................... 39
Who is Yoga For? ................................................... 43
Where to Get Started ................................................. 44
Further Reading ......................................................... 45
Books .................................................................. 45
Recommended DVDs ............................................... 45
On the Internet ..................................................... 45
Works Consulted .................................................... 45
Glossary ................................................................... 46
Index....................................................................... 47

Yoga Fitness book.indd 3

5/6/14 11:33 AM

When standing in mountain pose, the body is strong and
the mind is quiet. Mountain pose is also called tadasana.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 4

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1
Do I Really Want to Be
a Yogi or Yogini?
Lizzie follows her friend Micah up the stairs into the large
studio at the community center. It’s cozy and warm inside
with soft lighting, dark hardwood floors, and a creamy vanillacolored paint on the walls. The large picture windows on the
west side of the room sparkle with golden sunlight. Red,
orange, and yellow leaves dance about on the trees outside as
the wind softly rustles through them.
It’s late afternoon in early autumn and today is the day
Lizzie has finally agreed to try her very first yoga class. She’s
a little worried. Will she like yoga as much as Micah has
promised? Will she be any good at it?
“You can put your shoes, socks, and jacket over here,”
Micah says as he places his own jacket on a hook and kicks his
shoes and socks under a long wooden bench. Then as Lizzie
puts away her shoes and jacket, Micah opens up one of the
cupboards. “Here is a yoga mat for you to use,” he says,
handing her a long green mat that is rolled up like a tube.
“Don’t worry,” Micah says as he sees the anxious look on her
face. “I’ll show you how to roll it out and the teacher will
show you how to do all the poses. It’s going to be fun!”
Micah and Lizzie walk barefoot over to the middle of the
room. They unroll their mats and lay them out near each
other. “It’s best if they’re not right next to each other,” Micah
explains. “That way we will have plenty of room to move our
arms and legs out during the poses.”
Soon, the rest of the room fills up with mats and people of
all ages. Lizzie and Micah are definitely not the youngest,
even though she thought they would be. Three second graders,

5

Yoga Fitness book.indd 5

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1
one third grader, and one fourth grader from their school have
set up their mats in the front of the room near the teacher.
“That’s Emmaline,” Micah says. “She’s the teacher.”
Emmaline unrolls her mat and places it just below the big
picture windows. She slips off her flip-flops and places them
by the front wall. Then, she sits down on her mat and speaks
to the class. “Do any of you have any concerns you’d like me
to know about tonight?” Emmaline has a soft, soothing voice
that Lizzie finds very calming and peaceful.
One man in the back raises his hand and says he has a
lower back injury. A lady in the front raises her hand and says
that she must be careful with her shoulders and neck because
of a surgery she had years ago. A young teenager near the
door says he recently hurt his knee in football practice.
“Thank you for this information,” Emmaline says. “I will
make sure I give some extra help to those students as we
move through our poses. Oh, I guess I should ask too, is anyone
here today for the first time?”
“My friend Lizzie is,” Micah announces to the class.
Lizzie shrinks on her mat. She gets a little shy around
people she doesn’t know. But then instantly Emmaline speaks
out to reassure her.
“Welcome, Lizzie,” Emmaline says. “Just follow my lead
tonight and you will be fine. If you have any questions, be
sure to let me know.” She gives Lizzie a warm smile. Lizzie
smiles back.
Emmaline then walks across the room and puts on some
soft music. It reminds Lizzie of the music she hears at the
Indian restaurant that her family goes to often. She really
likes it. It feels peaceful and relaxing. “Om, Om, Om,” the
voice chants through the speakers.
“Stand at the top of your mats, students. Your feet should
be hip-distance apart. Spread your toes out so they grip the
mat. Now, place your arms and hands directly beside your

6
Yoga Fitness book.indd 6

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini?
legs. This is mountain pose,” Emmaline speaks slowly and
clearly in her smooth, calm voice.
Lizzie follows Emmaline’s instructions. “This is easy,” she
thinks to herself. “First pose, done.”
“Look down at your fingers and think about the present
moment. Forget about all the stress from your day. Let it melt
away. Think about what you’d like to accomplish with your
yoga practice today. Be mindful of your breath. Let it fill your
lungs and warm your body,” Emmaline explains. She takes a
long deep breath through her nose to demonstrate proper
breathing to the class.
This long deep breath reminds Lizzie of the powerful sound
of the ocean’s waves as they crash on the shore at the beach.
She also likes the way it feels when she breathes in so deep
that she can almost feel it in her toes!
“Now, as you breathe in, lift your hands up in a big arch
towards the sky,” Emmaline says. “Look up at your fingertips.
Then, as you breathe out, lower them back down as you swan
dive into our second pose, the forward bend. Slightly bend
your knees and touch your fingertips to the floor if you can. If
you can’t touch the floor, bend your knees a little more until
your fingers are on your mat. We will hold this pose a little
longer this time and let you breathe in and out a few breaths.”
Lizzie likes the way this pose feels. She felt graceful as she
swooped down with her arms in the swan dive. Now, the
forward bend is stretching the backs of her legs. She hadn’t
realized it before, but her legs sure are tense from sitting at
her school desk all day long.
“Now, straighten your legs, class,” Emmaline instructs.
“Then, as you breathe in, straighten your back out like a
table. Breath out and return back to forward bend.” The class
moves into poses called cobra and downward-facing dog. Lizzie
can feel both the front and the back of her body stretching in
these positions. Emmaline instructs the class to move into a

7

Yoga Fitness book.indd 7

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1

There are several different ways to do the forward bend, or
uttanasana. The full pose, like the one shown in the picture, is the
most advanced. The knees are kept straight and the hands are
completely on the floor. Other modifications can include bending
the knees or resting the hands on blocks.

8
Yoga Fitness book.indd 8

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini?
forward bend again. “Now, breathe in and swoop back up for
a reverse swan dive. Breathe out and bring your hands back to
your side. Congratulations to our first timer, Lizzie. She just
completed her very first sun salutation.”
Lizzie beams. “My first sun salutation? How cool is this?”
she thinks to herself.
Micah can see the happiness on her face. “See, I told you
it was fun and easy. You’ll like the rest of the practice, too,”
he smiles back at her.
Micah is right. Lizzie does like the rest of the practice.
They do many other kinds of fun poses like tree pose, child’s
pose, and pigeon. She never knew that yoga had so many fun
names for its exercises. It feels like she is playing or creating
more than she is working out. Maybe there is something to
this yoga after all, she decides.
At the end of the one-hour practice, Lizzie is feeling a
little tired from all the poses. Yet her muscles feel energized
and long and lean.
Emmaline tells the class to lie down on the floor with their
backs flat on their mats. She tells them to just let their arms
relax out to their sides with their palms facing up. Their legs
should be stretched out flat on the mat. Then, she turns out
the lights and closes the blinds of the big picture windows so
it’s dark in the room.
She speaks in her soothing, calm voice again. “All of you
who are familiar with yoga know that this is our favorite part.
Those who are new to this practice, let me explain what we’re
doing now. This is called shavasana, or corpse pose. For the
next five minutes, I want you to just completely relax. Release
all the tension from your toes, your fingertips, your legs, your
arms, your back. Relax your face muscles and keep your eyes
closed. Relax your breath.”
Lizzie feels completely relaxed. In fact, she has never felt
so comfortable in her life, not even on her own comfy bed.
And here she was lying on a thin rubber mat on a hard wood

9

Yoga Fitness book.indd 9

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1

In corpse pose, or shavasana, yogis lie on their backs with their
arms and legs flat on the mat. This pose, the last one of any
yoga practice, is a pose of relaxation.

floor! She feels as though she is floating on a soft, puffy cloud
and all the stress from her day has totally disappeared.
She almost drifts off to sleep, but then she hears Emmaline’s
soft, soothing voice.
“Okay, class, the five minutes is up. It’s now time to slowly
come out of shavasana. Start to wiggle your fingers and toes.
Keep your eyes closed, but slowly roll over to your right side
with your legs curled. When you’re ready, raise yourself to a
seated position with your legs crossed. Now, place your right
thumb over your right nostril and breathe through your left
nostril. Now, remove your thumb. Take your right index finger
over your left nostril and breathe through your right nostril.
Slowly open your eyes. I hope you have all met your intentions
for your practice today. Go out and have a great rest of the
day! I’ll see you back here on Thursday. Namaste.”
The teacher bows to the class from her seated position.
Then, she gets up and slowly opens the blinds on the windows.
“So what did you think?” Micah asks Lizzie.
“I loved it!” she replies. “What time is class on Thursday?”

10
Yoga Fitness book.indd 10

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Popularity of Yoga & Fun Yoga Facts
Over the last decade, yoga has become very popular
in the United States. In 2008, Yoga Journal conducted
a study through Sports Marketing Surveys USA. It
was found that about 15.8 million people in the
United States practiced yoga on a regular basis. Now,
fast forward four years to 2012. The same survey
was conducted, but by that year, 20.4 million people
were practicing yoga on a regular basis and 44.4
percent of the people who were not practicing said
they would very much like to get involved in it.
Here are some more interesting yoga statistics:
Of the 20.4 million people who were practicing
yoga in the United States in 2012,
• 44.8 percent consider themselves beginners
(of that number, 22.9 percent are new to yoga
while 21.9 percent are beginning to practice
yoga again after taking some time off)
• 39.6 percent consider themselves
intermediate
• 15.6 percent consider themselves
advanced/expert
And, some fun yoga facts.
People are combining yoga with
other workouts and hobbies to
create new and exciting types
of fitness regimes.
Doga: Don’t leave Fido at
home! Bring him with you to
these people- and pet-friendly
workouts. Chances are your
dog will love doing the
downward-facing dog!
Yogalates: This workout
blends the best of yoga and
Pilates together!
Acroyoga: Work together
with a friend or classmate to
do acrobatic movements as
a team.

Dance

Acroyoga

Fitness

11

Yoga Fitness book.indd 11

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Placing the hands at heart’s center reminds yogis to be
mindful of their practice. That means that they are to
think about their breath and their poses and forget about
the worries and stresses of their day.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 12

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 2
Thousands of Years Ago and
Thousands of Miles Away
Unlike many other fitness programs that have their origins in
modern times, yoga actually began many thousands of years
ago in a place many thousands of miles away.
The Indus Valley is located in what is today known as
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India. It extends along
the Indus River, which is one of Asia’s most important rivers.
This area is home to one of humanity’s earliest civilizations:
the Indus Valley Civilization. At its peak, it’s believed that this
civilization had a population of over five million. The people
of the Indus Valley farmed, built homes out of mud bricks,
made handicrafts and artwork out of clay and metal, crafted
tools and weapons out of bronze and copper, and traded with
other people who lived along the river. And apparently, some
of these people also did yoga!
The Indus Valley Civilization existed around five thousand
years ago. Archaeologists have discovered stone seals here
that they believe were carved by these people. These
sculptures are particularly interesting because they are the
oldest known pieces of art that show people in yoga poses.
This artwork dates back to about 3000 BCE. Beginning in the
third century BCE, written texts from northwestern India also
described yoga poses, meditation, and the benefits of doing
both.
So, exactly what is yoga? Yoga is a philosophy, or way of
thinking. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language. It
means to “yoke” or “unite.” This “uniting” has two meanings.
First of all, in yoga, it’s important for the physical body to
become more aware of, or united with, the mind and the

13

Yoga Fitness book.indd 13

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 2
spirit. It’s also important for the physical body to become
more united with nature, or the universe as a whole.
The most popular path of yoga in the Western world is
hatha yoga, which emphasizes physical movements and breath
control. Because of that, it’s this specific type of yoga that
will be focused on throughout the rest of this book.
Hatha yoga includes many different styles, but within all of
these styles, the same postures are taught. For example, all
hatha styles teach the pose called “downward-facing dog.”
However, one style might have you move quickly through this
pose while another style might have you hold it for a longer
length of time and really focus on your alignment (the way
your body is positioned) and your breathing.
Here are five examples of different styles of hatha yoga.
Iyengar Yoga
This style of teaching was developed by a man named B.K.S.
Iyengar. He is known all over the world as one of the greatest
living yogis (people who practice yoga). He spent several
decades developing this style.
Iyengar yoga is a therapeutic type of yoga. It is really great
for people who have had injuries because it is a slow moving
yoga that places emphasis on proper alignment of the muscles
and skeleton. In Iyengar yoga, the poses are held for a longer
length of time than in most other types of yoga. The idea
with this type of yoga is that when the poses are done
precisely, the person will develop balance, flexibility, stamina,
and improved overall health.
In Iyengar yoga, many different types of props are used,
like blankets, straps, blocks, ropes, sandbags, wedges, benches,
stools, boxes, and even wooden gymnastic-type horses.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
This type of yoga is also just called Ashtanga yoga, vinyasa
yoga, or flow yoga. It is probably one of the most well-known

14
Yoga Fitness book.indd 14

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Thousands of Years Ago and Thousands of Miles Away
types of hatha yoga because it’s the yoga that is generally
offered at fitness gyms. Power yoga is also based on this type
of yoga. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga was initially developed by K.
Pattabhi Jois in the mid-1900s at his Ashtanga Yoga Research
Institute in southern India.
In this type of yoga, students learn a series of postures
and perform them in a specific order. The class begins with
the sun salutation poses, or as they are called in Sanskrit,
surya namaskara. In traditional Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, the
poses are taught in a primary series, an intermediate series,
and four advanced series. Students do not move on to the
intermediate series until the poses in the primary series have
been mastered. In many gyms, a derivative form is taught
that incorporates the same poses, but the teacher has more
freedom to arrange the order of the poses. The reason that
Ashtanga vinyasa is also called “flow yoga” is because each
pose flows smoothly into the next pose until the entire series
is finished.
As students complete the poses in Ashtanga vinyasa, they
are expected to breathe in a certain way through their noses.
It is called the ujjayi (ooh-JAI-ee) breath. Ujjayi is a deep
breath that fills the entire belly and chest cavity with air and
makes an ocean-like sound when it passes over the back of
the throat. This breath is supposed to do three things: warm
up the body, get oxygen to all areas of the body, and help the
person to really focus their awareness on the breath while
doing difficult poses.
Ashtanga vinyasa is a very vigorous style of yoga. The
students flow through the poses rather smoothly and quickly.
Some students claim they get an aerobic workout from doing
Ashtanga vinyasa, but health experts generally agree that the
practice doesn’t escalate the heart rate enough to truly call it
a cardio program.

15

Yoga Fitness book.indd 15

5/6/14 11:33 AM

16
Yoga Fitness book.indd 16

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Even the military includes yoga in their exercise
regimens. Here, Major Lucy Carillo of the 379th Air
Expeditionary Wing Judge Advocate, leads a yoga
class in Southeast Asia.

17

Yoga Fitness book.indd 17

5/6/14 11:33 AM

There are many different types of yoga. This particular one, taught at
Chapter 2
Rain City Yoga in Seattle, is an advanced prana vinyasa class.

18
Yoga Fitness book.indd 18

5/6/14 11:33 AM



YOGA

Fitness

Amie Jane
Leavitt

P.O. Box 196
Hockessin, DE 19707

Yoga Fitness book.indd 1

5/6/14 11:32 AM

African Dance Trends
Get Fit with Video Workouts
Line Dances Around the World
Trends in Hip-Hop Dance
Trends in Martial Arts
The World of CrossFit
Yoga Fitness
Zumba Fitness
Copyright © 2015 by Mitchell Lane Publishers
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced without written permission
from the publisher. Printed and bound in the
United States of America.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The facts in this book
have been thoroughly researched.
Documentation of such research can be found
on page 45. While every possible effort has
been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher
will not assume liability for damages caused
by inaccuracies in the data, and makes no
warranty on the accuracy of the information
contained herein.
The Internet sites referenced herein
were active as of the publication date. Due
to the fleeting nature of some web sites, we
cannot guarantee that they will all be active
when you are reading this book.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 2

Printing
1
2
3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Library of Congress
Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Leavitt, Amie Jane.
Yoga fitness / by Amie Jane Leavitt.
pages cm. — (Dance and fitness trends)
Audience: Age 9-13.
Audience: Grade 4 to 8.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-61228-551-1 (library bound)
1. Hatha yoga—Juvenile literature.
2. Exercise—Juvenile literature. 3. Mind and
body—Juvenile literature. I. Title.
RA781.7.L435 2015
613.7’046—dc23
2014006933
eBook ISBN: 9781612285917

5/6/14 11:32 AM

Contents

Chapter One
Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini? .......................5
Popularity of Yoga & Fun Yoga Facts .......................... 11
Chapter Two
Thousands of Years Ago and Thousands of Miles Away.... 13
Six Paths of Yoga ................................................... 21
Chapter Three
How Are a Pigeon, a Cobra, and a Downward-Facing
Dog Alike? ........................................................ 23
How Can I Get Started? ........................................... 29
Chapter Four
Yoga: The Strengthening of Body, Mind, and Spirit ........ 31
How Do People Benefit from Doing Yoga? .................... 37
Chapter Five
Taking Your Practice to the Next Level ....................... 39
Who is Yoga For? ................................................... 43
Where to Get Started ................................................. 44
Further Reading ......................................................... 45
Books .................................................................. 45
Recommended DVDs ............................................... 45
On the Internet ..................................................... 45
Works Consulted .................................................... 45
Glossary ................................................................... 46
Index....................................................................... 47

Yoga Fitness book.indd 3

5/6/14 11:33 AM

When standing in mountain pose, the body is strong and
the mind is quiet. Mountain pose is also called tadasana.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 4

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1
Do I Really Want to Be
a Yogi or Yogini?
Lizzie follows her friend Micah up the stairs into the large
studio at the community center. It’s cozy and warm inside
with soft lighting, dark hardwood floors, and a creamy vanillacolored paint on the walls. The large picture windows on the
west side of the room sparkle with golden sunlight. Red,
orange, and yellow leaves dance about on the trees outside as
the wind softly rustles through them.
It’s late afternoon in early autumn and today is the day
Lizzie has finally agreed to try her very first yoga class. She’s
a little worried. Will she like yoga as much as Micah has
promised? Will she be any good at it?
“You can put your shoes, socks, and jacket over here,”
Micah says as he places his own jacket on a hook and kicks his
shoes and socks under a long wooden bench. Then as Lizzie
puts away her shoes and jacket, Micah opens up one of the
cupboards. “Here is a yoga mat for you to use,” he says,
handing her a long green mat that is rolled up like a tube.
“Don’t worry,” Micah says as he sees the anxious look on her
face. “I’ll show you how to roll it out and the teacher will
show you how to do all the poses. It’s going to be fun!”
Micah and Lizzie walk barefoot over to the middle of the
room. They unroll their mats and lay them out near each
other. “It’s best if they’re not right next to each other,” Micah
explains. “That way we will have plenty of room to move our
arms and legs out during the poses.”
Soon, the rest of the room fills up with mats and people of
all ages. Lizzie and Micah are definitely not the youngest,
even though she thought they would be. Three second graders,

5

Yoga Fitness book.indd 5

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1
one third grader, and one fourth grader from their school have
set up their mats in the front of the room near the teacher.
“That’s Emmaline,” Micah says. “She’s the teacher.”
Emmaline unrolls her mat and places it just below the big
picture windows. She slips off her flip-flops and places them
by the front wall. Then, she sits down on her mat and speaks
to the class. “Do any of you have any concerns you’d like me
to know about tonight?” Emmaline has a soft, soothing voice
that Lizzie finds very calming and peaceful.
One man in the back raises his hand and says he has a
lower back injury. A lady in the front raises her hand and says
that she must be careful with her shoulders and neck because
of a surgery she had years ago. A young teenager near the
door says he recently hurt his knee in football practice.
“Thank you for this information,” Emmaline says. “I will
make sure I give some extra help to those students as we
move through our poses. Oh, I guess I should ask too, is anyone
here today for the first time?”
“My friend Lizzie is,” Micah announces to the class.
Lizzie shrinks on her mat. She gets a little shy around
people she doesn’t know. But then instantly Emmaline speaks
out to reassure her.
“Welcome, Lizzie,” Emmaline says. “Just follow my lead
tonight and you will be fine. If you have any questions, be
sure to let me know.” She gives Lizzie a warm smile. Lizzie
smiles back.
Emmaline then walks across the room and puts on some
soft music. It reminds Lizzie of the music she hears at the
Indian restaurant that her family goes to often. She really
likes it. It feels peaceful and relaxing. “Om, Om, Om,” the
voice chants through the speakers.
“Stand at the top of your mats, students. Your feet should
be hip-distance apart. Spread your toes out so they grip the
mat. Now, place your arms and hands directly beside your

6
Yoga Fitness book.indd 6

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini?
legs. This is mountain pose,” Emmaline speaks slowly and
clearly in her smooth, calm voice.
Lizzie follows Emmaline’s instructions. “This is easy,” she
thinks to herself. “First pose, done.”
“Look down at your fingers and think about the present
moment. Forget about all the stress from your day. Let it melt
away. Think about what you’d like to accomplish with your
yoga practice today. Be mindful of your breath. Let it fill your
lungs and warm your body,” Emmaline explains. She takes a
long deep breath through her nose to demonstrate proper
breathing to the class.
This long deep breath reminds Lizzie of the powerful sound
of the ocean’s waves as they crash on the shore at the beach.
She also likes the way it feels when she breathes in so deep
that she can almost feel it in her toes!
“Now, as you breathe in, lift your hands up in a big arch
towards the sky,” Emmaline says. “Look up at your fingertips.
Then, as you breathe out, lower them back down as you swan
dive into our second pose, the forward bend. Slightly bend
your knees and touch your fingertips to the floor if you can. If
you can’t touch the floor, bend your knees a little more until
your fingers are on your mat. We will hold this pose a little
longer this time and let you breathe in and out a few breaths.”
Lizzie likes the way this pose feels. She felt graceful as she
swooped down with her arms in the swan dive. Now, the
forward bend is stretching the backs of her legs. She hadn’t
realized it before, but her legs sure are tense from sitting at
her school desk all day long.
“Now, straighten your legs, class,” Emmaline instructs.
“Then, as you breathe in, straighten your back out like a
table. Breath out and return back to forward bend.” The class
moves into poses called cobra and downward-facing dog. Lizzie
can feel both the front and the back of her body stretching in
these positions. Emmaline instructs the class to move into a

7

Yoga Fitness book.indd 7

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1

There are several different ways to do the forward bend, or
uttanasana. The full pose, like the one shown in the picture, is the
most advanced. The knees are kept straight and the hands are
completely on the floor. Other modifications can include bending
the knees or resting the hands on blocks.

8
Yoga Fitness book.indd 8

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Do I Really Want to Be a Yogi or Yogini?
forward bend again. “Now, breathe in and swoop back up for
a reverse swan dive. Breathe out and bring your hands back to
your side. Congratulations to our first timer, Lizzie. She just
completed her very first sun salutation.”
Lizzie beams. “My first sun salutation? How cool is this?”
she thinks to herself.
Micah can see the happiness on her face. “See, I told you
it was fun and easy. You’ll like the rest of the practice, too,”
he smiles back at her.
Micah is right. Lizzie does like the rest of the practice.
They do many other kinds of fun poses like tree pose, child’s
pose, and pigeon. She never knew that yoga had so many fun
names for its exercises. It feels like she is playing or creating
more than she is working out. Maybe there is something to
this yoga after all, she decides.
At the end of the one-hour practice, Lizzie is feeling a
little tired from all the poses. Yet her muscles feel energized
and long and lean.
Emmaline tells the class to lie down on the floor with their
backs flat on their mats. She tells them to just let their arms
relax out to their sides with their palms facing up. Their legs
should be stretched out flat on the mat. Then, she turns out
the lights and closes the blinds of the big picture windows so
it’s dark in the room.
She speaks in her soothing, calm voice again. “All of you
who are familiar with yoga know that this is our favorite part.
Those who are new to this practice, let me explain what we’re
doing now. This is called shavasana, or corpse pose. For the
next five minutes, I want you to just completely relax. Release
all the tension from your toes, your fingertips, your legs, your
arms, your back. Relax your face muscles and keep your eyes
closed. Relax your breath.”
Lizzie feels completely relaxed. In fact, she has never felt
so comfortable in her life, not even on her own comfy bed.
And here she was lying on a thin rubber mat on a hard wood

9

Yoga Fitness book.indd 9

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 1

In corpse pose, or shavasana, yogis lie on their backs with their
arms and legs flat on the mat. This pose, the last one of any
yoga practice, is a pose of relaxation.

floor! She feels as though she is floating on a soft, puffy cloud
and all the stress from her day has totally disappeared.
She almost drifts off to sleep, but then she hears Emmaline’s
soft, soothing voice.
“Okay, class, the five minutes is up. It’s now time to slowly
come out of shavasana. Start to wiggle your fingers and toes.
Keep your eyes closed, but slowly roll over to your right side
with your legs curled. When you’re ready, raise yourself to a
seated position with your legs crossed. Now, place your right
thumb over your right nostril and breathe through your left
nostril. Now, remove your thumb. Take your right index finger
over your left nostril and breathe through your right nostril.
Slowly open your eyes. I hope you have all met your intentions
for your practice today. Go out and have a great rest of the
day! I’ll see you back here on Thursday. Namaste.”
The teacher bows to the class from her seated position.
Then, she gets up and slowly opens the blinds on the windows.
“So what did you think?” Micah asks Lizzie.
“I loved it!” she replies. “What time is class on Thursday?”

10
Yoga Fitness book.indd 10

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Popularity of Yoga & Fun Yoga Facts
Over the last decade, yoga has become very popular
in the United States. In 2008, Yoga Journal conducted
a study through Sports Marketing Surveys USA. It
was found that about 15.8 million people in the
United States practiced yoga on a regular basis. Now,
fast forward four years to 2012. The same survey
was conducted, but by that year, 20.4 million people
were practicing yoga on a regular basis and 44.4
percent of the people who were not practicing said
they would very much like to get involved in it.
Here are some more interesting yoga statistics:
Of the 20.4 million people who were practicing
yoga in the United States in 2012,
• 44.8 percent consider themselves beginners
(of that number, 22.9 percent are new to yoga
while 21.9 percent are beginning to practice
yoga again after taking some time off)
• 39.6 percent consider themselves
intermediate
• 15.6 percent consider themselves
advanced/expert
And, some fun yoga facts.
People are combining yoga with
other workouts and hobbies to
create new and exciting types
of fitness regimes.
Doga: Don’t leave Fido at
home! Bring him with you to
these people- and pet-friendly
workouts. Chances are your
dog will love doing the
downward-facing dog!
Yogalates: This workout
blends the best of yoga and
Pilates together!
Acroyoga: Work together
with a friend or classmate to
do acrobatic movements as
a team.

Dance

Acroyoga

Fitness

11

Yoga Fitness book.indd 11

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Placing the hands at heart’s center reminds yogis to be
mindful of their practice. That means that they are to
think about their breath and their poses and forget about
the worries and stresses of their day.

Yoga Fitness book.indd 12

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 2
Thousands of Years Ago and
Thousands of Miles Away
Unlike many other fitness programs that have their origins in
modern times, yoga actually began many thousands of years
ago in a place many thousands of miles away.
The Indus Valley is located in what is today known as
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India. It extends along
the Indus River, which is one of Asia’s most important rivers.
This area is home to one of humanity’s earliest civilizations:
the Indus Valley Civilization. At its peak, it’s believed that this
civilization had a population of over five million. The people
of the Indus Valley farmed, built homes out of mud bricks,
made handicrafts and artwork out of clay and metal, crafted
tools and weapons out of bronze and copper, and traded with
other people who lived along the river. And apparently, some
of these people also did yoga!
The Indus Valley Civilization existed around five thousand
years ago. Archaeologists have discovered stone seals here
that they believe were carved by these people. These
sculptures are particularly interesting because they are the
oldest known pieces of art that show people in yoga poses.
This artwork dates back to about 3000 BCE. Beginning in the
third century BCE, written texts from northwestern India also
described yoga poses, meditation, and the benefits of doing
both.
So, exactly what is yoga? Yoga is a philosophy, or way of
thinking. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language. It
means to “yoke” or “unite.” This “uniting” has two meanings.
First of all, in yoga, it’s important for the physical body to
become more aware of, or united with, the mind and the

13

Yoga Fitness book.indd 13

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Chapter 2
spirit. It’s also important for the physical body to become
more united with nature, or the universe as a whole.
The most popular path of yoga in the Western world is
hatha yoga, which emphasizes physical movements and breath
control. Because of that, it’s this specific type of yoga that
will be focused on throughout the rest of this book.
Hatha yoga includes many different styles, but within all of
these styles, the same postures are taught. For example, all
hatha styles teach the pose called “downward-facing dog.”
However, one style might have you move quickly through this
pose while another style might have you hold it for a longer
length of time and really focus on your alignment (the way
your body is positioned) and your breathing.
Here are five examples of different styles of hatha yoga.
Iyengar Yoga
This style of teaching was developed by a man named B.K.S.
Iyengar. He is known all over the world as one of the greatest
living yogis (people who practice yoga). He spent several
decades developing this style.
Iyengar yoga is a therapeutic type of yoga. It is really great
for people who have had injuries because it is a slow moving
yoga that places emphasis on proper alignment of the muscles
and skeleton. In Iyengar yoga, the poses are held for a longer
length of time than in most other types of yoga. The idea
with this type of yoga is that when the poses are done
precisely, the person will develop balance, flexibility, stamina,
and improved overall health.
In Iyengar yoga, many different types of props are used,
like blankets, straps, blocks, ropes, sandbags, wedges, benches,
stools, boxes, and even wooden gymnastic-type horses.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
This type of yoga is also just called Ashtanga yoga, vinyasa
yoga, or flow yoga. It is probably one of the most well-known

14
Yoga Fitness book.indd 14

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Thousands of Years Ago and Thousands of Miles Away
types of hatha yoga because it’s the yoga that is generally
offered at fitness gyms. Power yoga is also based on this type
of yoga. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga was initially developed by K.
Pattabhi Jois in the mid-1900s at his Ashtanga Yoga Research
Institute in southern India.
In this type of yoga, students learn a series of postures
and perform them in a specific order. The class begins with
the sun salutation poses, or as they are called in Sanskrit,
surya namaskara. In traditional Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, the
poses are taught in a primary series, an intermediate series,
and four advanced series. Students do not move on to the
intermediate series until the poses in the primary series have
been mastered. In many gyms, a derivative form is taught
that incorporates the same poses, but the teacher has more
freedom to arrange the order of the poses. The reason that
Ashtanga vinyasa is also called “flow yoga” is because each
pose flows smoothly into the next pose until the entire series
is finished.
As students complete the poses in Ashtanga vinyasa, they
are expected to breathe in a certain way through their noses.
It is called the ujjayi (ooh-JAI-ee) breath. Ujjayi is a deep
breath that fills the entire belly and chest cavity with air and
makes an ocean-like sound when it passes over the back of
the throat. This breath is supposed to do three things: warm
up the body, get oxygen to all areas of the body, and help the
person to really focus their awareness on the breath while
doing difficult poses.
Ashtanga vinyasa is a very vigorous style of yoga. The
students flow through the poses rather smoothly and quickly.
Some students claim they get an aerobic workout from doing
Ashtanga vinyasa, but health experts generally agree that the
practice doesn’t escalate the heart rate enough to truly call it
a cardio program.

15

Yoga Fitness book.indd 15

5/6/14 11:33 AM

16
Yoga Fitness book.indd 16

5/6/14 11:33 AM

Even the military includes yoga in their exercise
regimens. Here, Major Lucy Carillo of the 379th Air
Expeditionary Wing Judge Advocate, leads a yoga
class in Southeast Asia.

17

Yoga Fitness book.indd 17

5/6/14 11:33 AM

There are many different types of yoga. This particular one, taught at
Chapter 2
Rain City Yoga in Seattle, is an advanced prana vinyasa class.

18
Yoga Fitness book.indd 18

5/6/14 11:33 AM

© 2018-2019 bookprice.uk. All rights reserved