Yoga: A Balancing Act


The Forward Fold Pose (pictured above) is one of many yoga poses that can be beneficial for students. (Photo Illustration by Andronika Zimmerman/ The Observer)


The Forward Fold Pose (pictured above) is one of many yoga poses that can be beneficial for students. (Photo Illustration by Andronika Zimmerman/ The Observer)
The Forward Fold Pose (pictured above) is one of many yoga poses that can be beneficial for students. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ANDRONIKA ZIMMERMAN/THE OBSERVER)

The students of Fordham Lincoln Center are no strangers to walking. Between weekday commutes to class, internships and work, and weekend excursions to museums and restaurants, students may be logging more steps than they think.

For students on the go, walking is the exercise that we don’t realize we are already fitting in everyday. Walking is the workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. Even at a moderate pace you burn calories and improve your general fitness level.

However, the repetitive motion of walking can agitate your hip flexors, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable gait. Your lower back can become tight after walking long distances as well. And though walking overworks some muscles, it leaves other muscles almost completely untouched. Walking works your hamstrings and quadricep muscles, but the adductor muscle group—the muscles that make up the inside of your thighs—is left undeveloped.

It is important to know what parts of your body need extra attention after you exercise. Practicing poses that target certain muscle groups can help you balance your workout. By focusing on poses that release tight muscles and others that build muscle tone, you can balance out your body after a long day of running around the city.

The following are poses that will balance you out post-walk.

Forward Fold Pose

Why It’s Great: This super simple pose releases your hamstrings and the muscles in your lower back.

How To: Stand with your feet hip distance (roughly two fists) apart. As you inhale, reach your fingers up towards the ceiling, stacking your hips above your feet. As you exhale, bend at the hips, bringing your hands to your knees, shins or the floor. Let your chest hug your knees, focusing on keeping your back straight in order to fully access the stretch in your hamstrings. As you inhale, lengthen your spine and as you exhale, fold a little deeper, reaching towards the floor. Hold this pose for 15 breaths, rising to a standing position on your final inhalation.

Standing Straddle With Arm Extension

Why It’s Great: It releases your lower back while working your adductor muscles. Plus it strengthens your core!

How To: With your feet spread wide, toes pointing directly forward, extend your arms to the ceiling. As you exhale, maintain a straight and elongated back, slowly hinging at the hips. Once your torso is parallel with the floor, focus your attention on your breathing. As you inhale, lengthen your back while simultaneously drawing your belly in towards your spine. Hold this pose for five breaths.

Happy Baby Pose

Why It’s Great: It opens and stretches your hips while releasing your back.

How To: Lay flat on the ground and draw your knees into your chest, rolling slightly from side to side to gently release your back. After a few rolls, come back to a still position. Grab the inside of your feet, placing your fingers on the arches of your feet. Press your feet up towards the ceiling as you draw your knees into your armpits. Keep your tailbone on the ground, being mindful of keeping your spine lengthened. As you inhale, press your feet into your palms and let your knees fall lower as you exhale. Hold this pose for one minute before drawing your knees back into your chest, rolling from side to side once more.
Yoga is the perfect complement to students that are constantly on the go. Targeting body parts that would otherwise go unworked and stretching those that are overworked is essential to remaining healthy. And when you have to get up and walk the next morning, maintaining balance will keep you energized throughout the day.