From left: Certified Vinyasa teacher Luna Toma; Luna and Tara for Reebok Yoga
San Francisco native Luna Toma, initially took up yoga to tone up and lose a few extra pounds. She quickly fell in love with the practice not only for the physical rewards but also because it brought her clarity and inner peace. Now, three years later, she is a certified Vinyasa Yoga teacher in NYC and has recently shot with Tara Stiles and Heidi Kristoffer for Reebok Yoga.
We’ve asked Luna to explain why doing yoga helps us feel and look younger.
“Yoga is one of the few physical activities you can improve upon as you age. I am now in my thirties and easily in the best shape of my life. It’s easy on the body and accessible to anyone. As we get older we lose flexibility, strength and balance. Our bodies and organs begin to sag.
Tara Stiles, Heidi Kristoffer and Luna Toma for Reebok Yoga
Our blood naturally flows towards our feet being upright and moving all day. Any time you do a pose where your heart is above your head (i.e. all inversions and partial inversions, such as a forward fold), it helps the blood flow and circulate back to your face, hair and head. It also shifts your organs back to their original positions so they can work more effectively. Partial and full inversions have also been shown to reduce hair loss and gray hair. ”
Here are five anti aging yoga poses Luna recommends for improved blood circulation and overall wellness.
5 Anti aging yoga poses
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
To find the length of your downward dog (the distance from your feet to your hands), start on all fours. Spread your fingers out wide and have your palms like suction cups. Place your shoulders above your wrists and your knees above your ankles. Extend your right leg as far as you can and set it down on the mat. Place your left leg down. Lift your hips up and back. Reach your chest to your thighs and lift your thighs away from the mat. Relax your shoulders. Stay in this pose 1-3 minutes.
– helps prevent osteoperosis
– relieves headaches, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
– therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, and sinusitis
Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Hinge forward from your hips and fold. Relax your head and neck and do your favorite arm variation (grab your big toes with your peace fingers, grab opposite elbows, or place your hands on the mat). Remain in pose for 30 seconds up to a minute.
– Lowers blood pressure.
– Strengthens the spine and builds flexibility. The spine is one of the first affected by age.
– Relieves tension in the spine, neck, and back.
Supported shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Lie on your back. Place your arms alongside your torso. Walk your heels close to your sitting bones. Exhale. Press your arms against the floor and lift your body and legs up. Walk your fingers up your back to help create more lift. Hold for a minute and work your way up to 5-6 minutes.
– Improves circulation.
– Gets the thyroid gland (which controls your metabolism) working more efficiently.
– Improves varicose veins.
Lie on your back with your legs stretched out, arms face down at your sides. Press your palms down on your mat and on inhale, use your core to bring your legs over your head and onto the floor. Hold for five breaths.
– Brings circulation.
– Stimulates the ab organs and the thyroid gland.
– Calms the brain.
Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
Lie down with the soles of your feet on the mat. Have your heels directly underneath your knees and as wide as your sitting bones. Inhale as you press down on the soles of your feet and lift your hips up. Keep your thighs and feet parallel. Stand on the tops of your shoulders. Clasp your hands below the pelvis and extend through the arms. Stay for 8 breaths.
FULL VERSION: FULL WHEEL
Lie on your back. Bend your knees. Place your palms beside your head with your fingers towards your shoulders. Exhale and lift your tailbone and the crown of your head. Straighten your arms.
– Improves digestion and blood circulation.
– Helps alleviate stress (which we know, can quickly age us) and mild depression.
– Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs.
Luna’s favorite yoga equipment:
1.Jade Yoga Mat 1/4″ – It is medium weight — not too flimsy and not too heavy. I love how grippy it is (especially useful if you practice in a heated room) and it’s the one I use.
3. Wall, yoga block (I recommend the heavy ones over the foams ones), yoga strap.
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originally published July 16, 2013 — last updated December 12, 2019