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    Yoga Poses for Women's Health

    About 35 million people practice yoga in the United States—and more than 70% of them are women.

    Why Women Should Practice Yoga

    Research shows that a regular yoga practice can boost well-being for all practitioners. Among the potential benefits are greater strength and flexibility, improved sleep, brighter mood, reduced pain and enhanced circulatory and respiratory function. 

    In addition, there are reasons why women in particular are drawn to yoga.

    How Yoga Can Help Women

    For one thing, yoga can help women become more comfortable with their own bodies.

    “In our culture, body issues run rampant among women,” says self-described “yoga enthusiast” Erica Rodefer. “Yoga has helped me to see that no matter what the models in advertisements look like, I’m perfect just the way I am.”

    What’s more, a yoga practice can be adapted to suit any body type…and any age.

    “Skinny, fat, tall, short, muscular, flexible, stiff—whatever!” says Rodefer, who blogs “Yogis come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t get caught up in appearances. There’s a yoga for you no matter what stage of life you’re in at the moment…adolescence through menopause.”

    One way yoga helps women become more comfortable with themselves is by helping them get in touch with what’s happening within their bodies.

    I encourage women to focus on the way the asana (pose) makes the body feel, experience, remember, let go, etc.” advisesyoga therapist Stella Davie, PRYT E-RYT.

    Listen to the body as you move through any sequence. Maybe the hip-opening poses feel good, but perhaps the backbend feels better! Why am I getting teary during this twist?

    “Listening to the body during asana is a powerful tool that helps women connect to the body, learn more about how theyreallyfeel about what is going on in their lives and how to respond authentically,” Davie says.

    For Rodefer—and for many other women—just the idea of taking time to do yoga is a form of self-care.

     “I see so many women get bogged down in work and home obligations that they let things that are important to them slide in order to take care of the people around them,” she notes. “If you’re not practicing yoga because you think you don’t have time, make time!”

    How to Do Kegels

    Kegel exercises do not come from yoga.

    However, you should do Kegels daily because they helptone muscles in yourpelvic floor—the structure responsible for holding your bladder, bowel and uterus in place. These muscles can weaken after childbirth or as you get older, leading to problems such as difficulties with bladder control.

    To do Kegels properly:

    1. Isolate your pelvic floor muscles by stopping urination midstream. (Just do this once or twice; repeatedly doing Kegels while urinating can cause the bladder to not empty completely, which puts you at risk for an infection.)
    2. Contract these muscles and hold for 5 seconds, then release for 5 seconds. Don’t flex the muscles in your abdomen, buttocks or thighs, and avoid holding your breath.
    3. Repeat 10 times, three times daily.

      A Yoga Sequence for Women

      The following sequence of poses is designed to help you maintain flexibility, balance and strength while addressing issues that are often of concern to women.

      If you’re new to yoga, it’s a good idea to consult your healthcare practitioner before starting a practice, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are pregnant. You may also want to take a yoga class or two, or contact a yoga instructor for a few private lessons.

      After the last pose of any yoga sequence it’s good to go into Savasana—every practitioner’s favorite!—by lying down on your mat, arms at your sides with palms facing upwards, for anywhere from 10 t0 15 minutes. (If you need to, use a support under your neck; you can also cover yourself with a blanket to avoid becoming chilled.)

      Legs Up the Wall

      This is a great pose for easing into your practice, as it calms the mind and stretches the back of the body. Legs Up the Wall also promotes better circulation while helping to reduce foot swelling and ease menstrual pain.

      Place a yoga mat or folded blanket against a wall. Then:

      1. Sit on the mat or blanket with either hip as close to the wall as possible. Take a breath, and as you exhale, smoothly move your legs up the wall, turning to lie perpendicular to the wall with your shoulders firmly rooted to the ground. It may take a few tries—don’t get discouraged.
      2. Soften the throat by gently lifting the base of your skull away from the back of the neck. Use a small neck support if you need to.
      3. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Stay in this position for 5–15 minutes.
      4. Be careful to not twist your spine as you come out of the pose.


        Technically two separate poses, Cat and Cow are almost always combined. In addition to helping with stress relief, Cat/Cow promotes greater flexibility and better posture while strengthening the spine and massaging the internal organs.

        Get onto all fours, shoulders above wrists and hips above ankles; your back should be in a neutral position. Then:

        1. Go into Cow Pose by inhaling and simultaneously lifting your bottom and pressing your chest forward, letting the abdomen sink towards the floor, gazing straight ahead. Don’t hunch your shoulders.
        2. Go into Cat Pose by exhaling and rounding your spine while tucking in your tailbone, releasing your head towards the floor (don’t force your chin to your chest).
        3. Go back and forth between the two poses for up to 10 breaths.

          Seated Twist

          In yoga, twists are believed to help detoxify the internal organs by squeezing them and then promoting greater blood flow when the twist is released; that makes this pose helpful for those days when you’re feeling just sort of yucky. It also opens the hips—where a lot of women carry tension—and stretches the chest, neck and upper back. 

          1. Sit tall on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your hands on the mat behind you, fingers pointed away.
          2. Bend your right leg over your left, placing your right foot next to your left thigh.
          3. Twist your torso gently to the right, grasping your right knee with your left hand and keeping your right hand behind you for balance.
          4. Come out of the pose by twisting your torso back to the starting position. Then bring your right leg back to meet the left and place the left hand behind you as at the start.
          5. Repeat on the other side.


            Looking to make life in the bedroom more lively? This pose stretches muscles and ligaments in the hips and pelvis, helping to open the joints, while increasing pelvic flexibility and blood flow. Straddle also promotes concentration and helps reduce stress.

            This pose can be intense, especially if you’re new to yoga. You can make it easier in the beginning by resting your forehead on a yoga block or a small pillow when you come forward and/or supporting your hips with a folded blanket.

            1. Sit upright, spreading legs wide apart and pressing the backs of your legs into the floor. Knees and toes should point toward the sky.
            2. Inhale and lengthen your torso. Exhale and lean forward from your hips, walking your fingers forward until your torso touches the floor.
            3. Hold for 10 breaths. With every inhale, lengthen your torso; with every exhale, extend the chest farther forward as you lower down.
            4. Slowly walk your hands back toward your body as you come out of the pose.


              Cobra opens the upper body and lungs while strengthening the back body. It also promotes better sleep and posture, and isbelieved to support immune health by stimulating thethymus, an organ behind the breastbone that is responsible for the growth of T-cells.

              1. Lie on your stomach, then place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight back, close to your sides. Spread your fingers wide.
              2. Slowly raise your torso and head, supporting yourself on your hands; most of your weight should be in the palms. The arms should be bent at the elbows. Keep your navel pressed to the floor.
              3. Arch your neck slightly backwards and look up, then press your toes into the floor before extending them out.
              4. Hold 5–10 seconds before lowering your torso.

                Warrior I

                If you want to improve your balance, Warrior I should definitely be a part of your practice. This powerful pose also expands the diaphragm, which benefits the respiratory system, and tones the ankles, feet and legs.

                1. Start in Mountain Pose at the short end of the mat. Then step your left foot back, keeping your right foot pointed towards the front and angling the left one out about 45 degrees.
                2. Exhale and rotate to the right, lining up your hips with the short end of the mat as much as possible. Draw your tailbone towards the floor while pulling your upper torso into a slight backbend.
                3. Keep your left heel firmly planted while bending your right knee over your right ankle to form a 90-degree angle.
                4. Reach overhead, lifting your ribcage while grounding down through your back foot. The palms of your hands should face each other; bring them together if possible. Look up.
                5. Hold for up to a minute before stepping forward, taking a full cycle of breath and repeating on the other side.

                  Standing Forward Bend

                  Forward bends are a great way to stretch out the backs of your legs while strengthening the thighs and knees. They also encourage mental relaxation and better digestion.

                  1. Start in Mountain Pose. Then place your hands on your hips and breathe in; as you exhale, fold forward from the hips (not the waist), trying to lengthen the front of your torso as much as possible—avoid rounding your shoulders.
                  2. If you can, bring your hands to the floor in front of or beside your feet. If you can’t, cross your forearms and hold your elbows. As you breathe, try to deepen the bend on each exhalation.
                  3. After anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, place your hands on your thighs and come back up with a straight back while inhaling.


                    The focus it takes to practice this pose helps you concentrate on something other than your stress. Tree Pose also improves balance and posture while strengthening your core and legs.

                    1. Start in Mountain Pose, then bring your hands up to meet in prayer position in front of your heart.
                    2. Shift your weight into one foot, pressing into the big toe and tightening your core.
                    3. Lift the heel of the other foot and turn the foot outward, opening the groin, and bring that foot to the ankle of the standing foot.
                    4. When you feel balanced, lift the turned foot to the side of the calf or the thigh—do not place the foot on the knee.
                    5. If you can, lift your arms above your head for several breaths before bringing them back to prayer position.
                    6. Release from the pose and repeat on the other side.

                      Hero with Block

                      Hero Pose can be difficult to get into for beginners; the block makes it easier. But it’s worth the effortHero not only opens the hips and improves lower-body flexibility, it also promotes proper digestion, strengthens the feet and reduces pregnancy-related swelling of the feet and legs (through the second trimester).

                      1. Begin on all fours, shoulders stacked over wrists and hips over knees, with a yoga block (positioned for low or medium height) between your legs.
                      2. Lean back, bringing your knees together and separating your feet as much as possible.
                      3. Slowly sit down on the block, manually rotating your calves outward if needed. Bring your navel in and up, engaging your core, and relax your shoulders.

                      4. Elongate your neck by lifting the crown of your head. Rest your arms at your side.
                      5. If you need to, add a folded blanket either under your knees or/and between your thighs and calves.


                        Going into Bridge will help stretch your spine while strengthening the muscles of your back and legs. It’s also a good way to open your hips, which can stiffen if you sit all day.

                        1. Lie on your back, then bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart on the mat.
                        2. Put your arms flat on the floor by your sides with your palms against the ground, and spread your fingers.
                        3. Lift your pelvic region off the ground; don’t let the buttocks sag. Keep your shoulders and head on the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, then release.

                          Reclining Spinal Twist

                          This relaxing pose helps ease lower back compression and menstrual pain. It also promotes healthy circulation and digestion.

                          1. Lie on your back and extend your arms out.
                          2. Bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet to the mat, and shift your hips to the right.
                          3. Then draw your knees in (your feet should be off the floor) and lower your legs to the left, knees aligned with your hips. Pull your shins forward until your legs form a 90° angle at the knees. Keep your upper back and shoulders on the mat. (To deepen the pose, turn your head to the right.)
                          4. Hold the pose for up to 10 breaths and come back to the start position before repeating on the other side.


                            A resting pose that’s a good antidote for stress, Child also lengthens the spine and releases tension from the shoulders and back.

                            1. Kneel and touch your big toes together. Then sit on your heels, moving your knees as wide as your hips. If you find this difficult, place a rolled-up blanket between the tops of your calves and the backs of your thighs.
                            2. Exhale and lay your torso between your thighs, trying to broaden your lower back and to lengthen your spine up through your neck.
                            3. Lay your hands on the floor beside you, palms up, allowing the shoulders to open, for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes.

                              IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

                              The information in this blog is provided for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with a doctor or qualified healthcare professional. Consultation with a doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner is strongly advised, before starting any regimen of supplementation, a change in diet or any exercise routine.  Individuals who engage in supplementation to promote health, address conditions or support any structure or function of the body assume all risks.  Women who are pregnant, especially, should seek the advice of a medical doctor before taking any dietary supplement and before starting any change in diet or lifestyle. Descriptions of herbs, vitamins, nutrients or any ingredients are not recommendations to take our products or those of any other company. We are not doctors or primary-source science researchers. Instead, we defer to the findings of scientific experts who conduct studies, as well as those who compile and publish scientific literature on the potential health benefits of nutrients, herbs, spices, vitamins or minerals. We cannot guarantee that any individual will experience any of the health benefits associated with the nutrients described. Natural Organics will not be held liable for any injuries, damages, hinderances or negative effects resulting from any reliance on the information presented, nor will Natural Organics be held accountable for any inaccuracy, miscalculation or error in the scientific literature upon which the information provided is based.

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                              **These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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