No matter how regular we hit the gymnasium or keep off the junk foods, one tends to get affected by everyday stress, anxiety, and stiff competition at places of work, etceteras. These can be taken care with few ‘yoga asanas’, which can heal most of the common health problem.
It may be recalled that our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi had called for the adoption of June 21 as “International Day of Yoga” at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) wherein he had stated as “Yoga as an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. Since its inception by UNGA in 2015 it is celebrated annually.
Regular ‘yoga asanas’ disciplines our body physically, mentally and spiritually. The effectiveness of yoga is a complementary intervention for many diseases and reduces risk factors and aids the patient’s psychological healing process. Yoga’s combined focus is on mindfulness, eyesight’s, breathing and physical movements. Yoga participants report better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, improved blood circulation and breathing aspect benefiting heart rate and blood pressure.
“I feel yoga provides an opportunity to engineer your internal and external transformation of your life. It is an authentic activity for self-empowerment and personal growth and living life with the fullest positive potential. In other words, yoga develops personality, improve inner well-being, better health, clarity, stress-free and improved relationships.”
Practising ‘asanas’ should be steady and comfortable and experiencing no discomfort to the body.
Listed below are the traditional rules for performing ‘yoga’ and ‘asanas:
- The stomach should be empty;
- The place should be calm;
- Choose a mat or a blanket;
- Take out at least 15 to 30 minutes every day and extend your time frame according to one’s capacity;
- Start and end your yoga sessions by ‘meditation’ – chanting ‘Om’ mantra at least11 times by closing your eyes and concentrating on your breath, which is referred to as ‘Pran Dharana’. It gives you divine feeling and creates effective vibrations;
- Start with basic warm up exercises known as ‘Sukshma Vyayam’;
- ‘Asanas’ are a type of body posture in which a person practices ‘yoga’. ‘pranayama’ and ‘meditation’.
- Try simple and at least 5 ‘asanas’ daily.
- Force or pressure should not be used nor the body tremble;
- Lower the head and other parts of the body slowly;
- Breathing should be controlled;
- If tired or your body is stressed, perform a corpse pose.
There are several forms of yogas mentioned herein below and each of them has its own benefits:
SUKSHMA VYAYAM is a minor exercise from head to toes, a whole series of joint movements before starting ‘asanas’ to make your body flexible with leg, hand, neck and head joint movements. Sitting straight with hands on either sides of your back, you should move your toes and then your feet up and down for 10 times. Then rotate your feet both clockwise and anticlockwise direction for 5 times which can be gradually increased. Join the bottoms of your feet keeping it closer to you, cross your fingers and put them below the feet and flip your legs up and down for 10 times, just like butterfly flapping. Then open and close your fists for 10 times and stretch your fingers when you open the fist. Rotate fists in both clockwise and anticlockwise direction for 5 times. Stretch your hands on either sides and then bend them to touch the shoulders and rotate it both, clockwise and anticlockwise. Join both the palms as if doing ‘namaskara’ and clap them for 10 times. Thereafter rotate your neck both clockwise and anticlockwise direction for 5 times. Looking down move your eyeball to all direction at least for 5 times and then close it for 10 seconds. With the help of your palms, open and close your ears for 10 times. Widely open your mouth and stretch your cheeks and then relax.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES BY BREATHING SLOWLY AND DEEPLY AT LEAST 20 TIMES:
- Stand with a correct posture and twist your waist clockwise and anti-clockwise.
- Stand with legs apart and place your hands on your hips. Bend your knees a little and move your hips in a circular motion clockwise and anti-clockwise 20 times.
- Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position and your palms touch the ground. Now lift your body and stay in that position. Then bend your lower back and turn your face upwards and then downwards.
- Stand straight and put up your hands and stretch them as much as you can. (It relieves your hands, back, spine and helps increasing the height as well).
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees so that your feet lie flat on the floor. Keep distance between your legs and lift your body in the upward direction. This uplifts your thighs and lower back.
- Stand straight and then bend touching your right hand to the left toe and vice versa left hand to the right toe. Thereafter exhale and bend downwards and touch your feet with your fingers and slowly rise upwards to the first position.
- Lie on your belly with your hands resting below your thighs and try to raise your each leg in turns and then finally both your legs.
- Sit down and make fists of both your hands and place them on the navel. Press both the fists against your abdomen and try to touch the ground with your forehead for 20 seconds and then release.
- The last known as ‘Shavasana’ (the corpse pose), for this lie down on your back with your legs spread with ankles and hands resting on the ground. Breathe slowly and deeply and relax with concentration.
HATHA YOGA denotes system of physical techniques (postures). Hindu tradition believes that Lord Shiva is the founder of ‘Hatha Yoga’, which is also called as Hatha Vidya.
RAJA YOGA also known as ‘Royal Yoga’ is inclusive of all yogas. It emphasizes the benefits of meditation for spiritual self-realization. It enhances and enriches life. You can achieve the following like ‘Yamas’ (Abstentions): Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truth), Asetya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity), Apragraha (non-greed); ‘Nivamas’ (Moral Observations): Susha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhava (study of the scriptures), Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to God); ‘Asana’: Steady posture; ‘Pranayama’: Control of vital energy through breath work; ‘Pratyahara’: Withdrawal of the senses; ‘Dharana’: Concentration of the mind; ‘Dhyana’: Meditation and ‘Samadhi’: Enlightenment, union with the Divine.
KARMA YOGA is a way of acting, thinking and willing by which one orients oneself towards realization in accordance with one’s duty without consideration or self-centered desires. In practicing it one does not get irritated, annoyed or unhappy.
DHYANA YOGA means contemplation and meditation. It is a part of a self-directed awareness and unifying yoga realizing self and his relationship with reality – other living beings.
BHAKTI YOGA is spiritual practice focused on the cultivation of love and devotion towards God. It is the easiest way for ordinary people to attain a spiritually liberated state.
ASHTANGA YOGA is a modern style of gymnastic exercises and stretching with breathing. Also termed as ‘Power Yoga’ it refers to any type of vigorous aerobic exercises.
MY FIVE YOGA AASANS:
You can do yoga after sleep in the morning, which is very healthy. It also includes Pranayam, breathing exercise slowly and deeply sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. There are various types like Kapalbhati, Anulom-Vilom, Nadi Shuddhi, Bhastrika, Ujjayi and others. (Those having breathing problems, heart ailments, blood pressure, injuries in any joints, neck or shoulder should consult their physician before performing them)
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees with your palms open. Then take a deep breath in slowly and forcefully exhale with a sound.
- As you exhale pull your navel backwards towards your spine. Repeat the steps quickly as many times comfortably.
Removes carbon dioxide from our body leading to blood purification. Gives you shining and glow on your face. Improves digestive tract, rejuvenates tired cells and helps in reducing wrinkles and signs of ageing and achieve flat tummy.
People with high blood pressure, heart problems, women during their menstrual cycle or after giving birth should not attempt it.
- Sit in a cross-legged position. Then place your left hand in Chin Mudra and right in Vishnu Mudra (when index and middle finger touch the base of the thumb and the ring, little and the thumb remain up). You should first close your eyes and relax all your muscles for a while. Then, inhale from your left nostril while keeping your right nostril closed with the thumb of your right hand.
- Retain the breath and exhale from your right nostril with your ring and little finger closing your left nostril.
It purifies the mind and body and useful in releasing stress and anxiety. It balance the body’s three doshas – Vata (Wind), Pitta (A bilious humour or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes and skin) and Kapha (body fluid principle which relates to mucus, lubrication and the carrier of nutrient). It also brings relief in conditions like sinus, respiratory problems and asthma, removing artery blockages, maintenance of cholesterol levels. Also, effective in dealing with conditions like constipation, flatulence, diabetes and obesity.
Women should avoid performing during pregnancy. Individuals who suffer from heart troubles should not perform with too much force.
- Kneel down and interlock the fingers of your hands and place them and your forearms on the ground with elbows fairly close.
- Place the back of your head into the hollow of the palms.
- Rise up off your knees and take a step or two towards your head. Inhale and slowly raise the legs until they are vertical. Keep your back straight and relax. Breathe slowly and deeply from the abdomen.
- Concentrate on the brain or the pineal gland between the eyebrows. To come down, bend your knees and lower one leg and then the other.
Keeps entire body system in good order. Increases vitality and confidence. Improves ailments such as nervousness, tension, fatigue, sleeplessness, dullness, fear, poor blood circulation, bad memory, asthma, headaches, constipation, congested throat and liver or spleen, promotes hair growth.
Persons having low or high blood pressure, blocked blood vessels, history of strokes, eye diseases, neck injuries should not attempt this asan.
- Sit erect with legs straight ahead. Fold the left knee like sitting in cross-legged position.
- Fold the other knee. Keep the right foot close to the knee of left foot. Take the knee over and above the left knee.
- Then take the right hand behind your back. Now lift the left hand up. Stretch it and take it across the right knee and towards the right ankle.
- Twist the waist and the spine and look across your right shoulder behind you if you can deeper then, join both the hands from under your right knee.
It improves breathing, flexibility of the spine and makes it supple whereas the chest and hip joints become more elastic.
Pregnant woman and people with heart, abdominal or brain surgeries, spinal problems should not practice this asana.
- Stand with arms by the side. Then bend your right knee and place your right foot high up on the left thigh. The sole should be placed flat and firmly near the root of the thigh.
- Once you balance start taking a deep breath. Then raise your arms over your head from the side and bring your palms together (folded hands).
- With your spine firm, look straight at some distant object in front of you. Keep taking long deep breaths and with each exhalation relax. Slow down and gently release your hands and right leg. Repeat this with the left leg too.
Strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles and spine. Relieves pain affecting the back, hip and outer side of the legs. Improves your balance sense and stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders.
People experience headaches, insomnia, dizzy and low blood pressure should not practice it.
ADHO MUKHA SHWANASANA
- The preparatory position is with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulder, fingers spread wide, knees under the hips and typically apart with spine straightened and relaxed.
- On a deep exhale, the hips are pushed toward the ceiling forming an inverted V-shape. The back is straight with the front ribs tucked in. The legs are straight with the heels reaching the floor. The hands are open like starfish, keeping the forefinger and thumb pressing down on the floor. Turning the elbows up towards the ceiling will engage the triceps and build strength.
Stretches the shoulders, legs, spine and the whole body, builds strength, relieves fatigue, rejuvenates the body, improves immune system, digestion, improves liver and pancreas and blood flow to the sinuses. It also calms the mind and lifts the spirits.
- Sitting with both legs outstretched with hands by the sides, palms resting on the ground, fingers together pointing forward, the legs are hinged at the knee so the soles of the feet meet.
- The legs are grasped at the ankles and folded more until the heels reach the perineum. The knees remain on the ground, erect body and gaze in the front.
Relieves pain and heaviness in the testicles. Reduces infertility, high blood pressure, asthama, checks irregular menses in women.
- Hands are placed on the floor, shins rest upon upper arms and feet lift up.
- The simple method of achieving it is by pushing up from a crouching position whereas the advanced method is to drop down from a head stand.
Strengthens shoulders, arms, wrists and hands, as well the organs of the abdomen.
I prefer brisk walking in the morning for at least an hour. Males will prefer to have a work out with dum bells for building shoulder and hands.
Push up and cycling is the other way out to do the trick.
Bundle these format of exercises when always on the move:
Grouping number 1
Body-weight squat x 50 repetitions
Push up x 25 repetitions
Crunch x 50 repetitions
Grouping number 2
Jump squat x 25 repetitions
Push up x 25 repetitions
Crunch x 25 repetitions
Bicycles/kicks x 50 repetitions
Alternate each grouping for a total of five sets with 60 seconds rest between each set.