“Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself.”Swami Vivekananda
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. … Thus the aim of Yoga is Self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to ‘the state of liberation’ (Moksha) or ‘freedom’ (Kaivalya).
The heightened stress and fast pace of today’s world make yoga more relevant than ever. Yoga can help people manage stress and get sound body and mind. When you do yoga, your nervous system calms down and you get out of that fight-or-flight state. Just sitting and breathing can be yoga. ‘You’re aware, you’re in the moment, and you can find peace in that moment.’
BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga helps you to build strength.
Yoga improves your posture.
Yoga helps to keep your joints healthy.
Yoga is a powerful mindfulness practice.
Yoga reduces stress.
Yoga lowers blood pressure.
Yoga helps you to make healthier life choices.
Yoga helps with back pain relief.
Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms.
Yoga benefits heart health.
Yoga relaxes you, to help you sleep better.
Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods.
Yoga improves flexibility.
FEW BENEFICIAL YOGA POSTURES
Bridge – Bandha Sarvangasana
The Bridge yoga pose is a great front hip joints opener, it also strengthens your spine, opens the chest, and improves your spinal flexibility in addition to stimulating your thyroid. This pose brings many benefits to your body, such as the relief from stress, anxiety, insomnia and it can help with depression.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, hip-width apart, heels directly below your knees. Leave your upper arms on the floor and bend your elbows alongside your ribs, pointing your forearms and fingers toward the ceiling. Turn your palms to face one another.
- Press your elbows and shoulder heads down into the floor, lift your chest, and bring your shoulder blades onto your upper back, wrapping your outer arms toward the floor. Keep your gaze straight up.
- Press into your feet and slowly send your knees forward, wrapping your outer hips toward the ceiling; then lift your buttocks away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Straighten your elbows and interlace your fingers underneath you, drawing your shoulder blades deeper into your upper back, keeping the tops of your shoulders in line with the base of your neck.
- Gently press the center of the back of your head into the floor. Broaden your collarbones and lift your chest, bringing your sternum toward your chin. Lightly reach your chin away from your chest, keeping space between the back of your neck and the floor. Simultaneously extend out through your knees as you lift your sternum. Take a few rounds of breath here.
- To release, unlace your fingers and slowly lower your torso back to the floor.
Downward Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
The Downward Dog yoga pose lengthens and decompresses the spine, stretches the hamstrings, strengthens your arms, flushes your brain with fresh oxygen and calms your mind.
- Set up on all fours with your hands about 3 inches ahead of your shoulders and shoulder-width apart.
2. Align your wrist creases so they are parallel to the front edge of the mat, then root down evenly through the whole of each hand.
3. Press down firmly with your fingertips to pull your forearms toward the front of the room. Keep your knuckles grounded as you do this.
4. Spin your biceps forward while firming your triceps into your midline.
5. Roll your inner upper arms toward the wall in front of you while engaging your outer upper arms.
6. Inhale, and tuck your toes under; exhale, and press your hips back and up.
7.Glance back at your feet to make sure they are hip-width apart and parallel.
8.Let your head hang freely so there is no tension in the neck; bring your gaze toward your feet.
9. Allow your shoulder blades to spin out and up, away from your spine and toward your outer armpits (upward rotation) in order to maintain the articulation of the bones of your shoulder and spaciousness at the base of your neck.
10. Maintain the hand and arm actions from all fours to open your shoulders without overstretching or sinking through the armpits.
11. If your lower back feels rounded, bend your knees in order to send your sitting bones straight back and up.
12. With each exhalation, root down firmly through your hands; with each subsequent inhalation, send your hips back and up even more. •Hold for anywhere from a few breaths to a few minutes, then release.
Child Pose – Balasana
The Child Pose is a resting pose useful to relieve neck, back and hip strain. While in the posture you should have slow are regulated breath; extended arms; resting hips and your forehead should be touching the mat. You can always return to this pose as at it is one of the most restorative and calming pose.
- Come to your hands and knees on the mat.
2. Spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching.
3. Bring your belly to rest between your thighs and root your forehead to the floor. Relax the shoulders, jaw, and eyes. If it is not comfortable to place the forehead on the floor, rest it on a block or two stacked fists. There is an energy point at the center of the forehead in between the eyebrows that stimulates the vagus nerve and supports a “rest and digest” response. Finding a comfortable place for the forehead is key to gaining this soothing benefit.
4.There are several possible arm variations. You can stretch your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor or bring your arms back alongside your thighs with the palms facing upwards. These are the most common variations. But you can also stretch the arms forward with palms facing up for a shoulder release or try bending the elbows so that the palms touch and rest the thumbs at the back of the neck. In this position inch the elbows forward.
5. Do whichever feel more comfortable for you. If you’ve been doing a lot of shoulder work, the second option feels nice.
6. Stay as long as you like, eventually reconnecting with the steady inhales and exhales of your breath.
Easy Pose – Sukhasana
The Easy Pose may seem as an easy pose but it has many benefits for the body. For example, it is a hip opener, it is calming, and it eases the menstrual pain for women in addition to lowering the level of anxiety. (while doing the posture make sure your spine is streightened)
- Sit on the floor. For those with tight hips, sit on top of a block, bolster, or folded towel.
2. Cross one shin in front of the other, bringing each foot underneath the opposite knee.
3. Relax your feet with the pinky toe edge resting on the floor.
4. Sit with your pelvis in a neutral position
5. On an inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ears and on an exhale, roll your shoulders down your back. This straightens your spine and improves posture.
6. Bring your head over your pelvis, creating one long line of energy up and down your body. Imagine that a string is pulling the crown of your head towards the ceiling.
7. Elongate your neck. Bring your chin parallel to the floor and gaze gently in front of you.
8. Release every muscle in your face, including your forehead, scalp, and tongue. Fully relax your face while keeping the rest of your body active.
9. Place your hands on top of your knees. Palms can be facing the down or facing the sky with the option of taking a mudra position.
Warrior 1 – Virabhadrasana I
The Warrior I is a great pose for those of you who have had a hectic day at work and just need to relax your body and mind. While in this pose you are strengthening your legs, your are opening your chest and shoulders, movements which we usually don’t do throughout our day, but they are necessary for a good posture and peaceful mind. The effects out of this posture are tremendous: it strengthens the muscles of your knees and feet, it stretches your shoulders and spine, and it improves your focus.
- From Tadasana / Mountain pose, step your left foot back, toes pointing slightly out, feet hip distance apart. Adjust your stance so that you feel stable and grounded through the feet.
2. Bring your hands on the hips, align your hips with the front edge of the mat, by rolling your outer right hip back a bit and the outer left hip forward. Keep your upper body facing the front edge of the mat and your shoulders level.
3. Bend your right knee, the right thigh towards parallel to the floor. Keep the weight in the front heel and big toe.
4. Press the back foot down and lift from the inner arch. Keep the back leg engaged – this is your anchor.
5. Draw your lower abdomen gently in and up, lengthen your spine and soften the base of your neck.
Collarbones spread, lift your arms over your head, opening the chest.
6. Widen between the shoulder blades, the base of the shoulder blades lifting in and up towards the spine. Firm your triceps in to straighten the arms.
7. If your neck allows it, look up, lifting your breast bone but keeping the lower ribs down.
8. Stay in this pose between the 5 and 15 breaths, softening your face, and feeling the strength arising from your foundation.
9.To come out of the pose, inhale and press through your back heel as you straighten the front leg. Exhale and lower your arms. Step your back foot forwards coming back to Tadasana, and then repeat on the other side.
Warrior 2 – Virabhadrasana II
The Warrior II yoga pose also strengthens your legs and arms, opens your chest and shoulders, and it contracts your abdominal organs. Your breath needs to be regulated, your focus should be on the expansion of your arms which will help you to improve your patience. Keep your self elevated rather than collapsing with your hips – don’t allow gravitation to pull you down. Stay strong.
- Stand in a wide position with your feet parallel and approximately three feet apart. Extend your arms straight out from your sides. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
2. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees, then bend your knee into a lunge. Be sure to keep your knee above your ankle and pointing over your toes. Turn your head to the left and look over your fingers. Repeat on the other side.
Triangle – Trikonasana
The Triangle is one of those postures that brings to your body many benefits. For example, it improves the flexibility of your spine; it helps with the alignment of your shoulders; it relieves back pain and stiffness in the neck area, but don’t forget you need to practice each posture on the left and right site – balancing your postures is very important. With the practice of this posture you will notice many improvements, but especially for your posture.
- Engage your right thigh muscles and draw your right femur into its socket. Extend your right hand toward the front of the room, keeping your right hip tucked.
2. Lower your right hand down onto your shin or ankle. If you are more open, bring your right hand to the floor on the inside or on the right foot. Do whichever one feels most comfortable.
3. The left shoulder stacks on top of the right one as you open your chest, reaching your left fingertips toward the ceiling while keeping your left shoulder rooted in its socket.
4. Turn your head to take your gaze up toward your left fingertips. If this is uncomfortable for your neck, it’s also fine to keep the head in a more neutral position.
5. Continue to draw your right thigh muscles upward, deepening the crease in your right hip.
6, Soften your right knee slightly to prevent hyperextension (this is called a microbend).
7. Stay for at least 5 breaths.
8. Repeat the pose with your left leg forward.
Chair – Utkatasana
The Chair yoga position tones your leg muscles, strengthens your hip reflexors, ankles, calves and back. It stretches the chest and shoulders. It reduces symptoms of flat feet and it stimulates your heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs.
- Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
2. Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.
3. Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
4. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.
Tree – Vrksasana
The Tree yoga pose may seems as another easy posture but it is not a resting asana. Your back should be aligned property (extended), your hips should be at one level, and since your stability depends on the distribution of your weight on your standing leg ensure you do while maintaing and improving your balance.
Come to stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your hands in Anjali mudra at your heart center.
- Take a moment to feel both your feet root into the floor, your weight distributed equally on all four corners of each foot.
2. Begin to shift your weight into your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight but don’t lock the knee.
3. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh.
4. Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh back into your foot with equal pressure. This will help you keep both hips squared toward the front so your right hip doesn’t jut out.
5. Focus your gaze (Drishti) on something that doesn’t move to help you keep your balance.
6. Take 5 to 10 breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and do the other side.
King Dancer – Natarajasana
The King Dancer yoga pose strengthens your legs, improves balance and core strength while also stretches your shoulders and improves your focus. It is one of the most graceful asana
- Begin by standing tall in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your weight equally distributed in both feet.
2. Shift your weight onto the right foot. Bend your left knee to lift your left foot off the floor. Keep your left knee hugging toward your midline throughout this pose.
3. Grasp the instep of your left foot with your left hand. Your thumb is resting on the sole of your foot and pointing in the direction of your toes.
4. Lift your right arm straight up to the ceiling.
5. Lift your left leg behind you as you bring your torso forward as a counterbalance. Remember that your left knee should not splay out to the side. Your right arm will also move forward.
6. Kick your left foot strongly into your left hand to lift the leg higher and deepen the backbend. Keep your left toes active.
7. Fix your gaze (Drishti) on something that doesn’t move so that you don’t lose the balance.
Hold 5 to 10 breaths.
8. Keep kicking your left foot into your left hand to rise back up. Lower your left leg back in line with your right. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Corpse – Savasana
The Corpse yoga pose is one of the most important postures. It is meant to rejuvenate your mind and body after practice while also allowing you to shift your attention to your inner-self. The benefits: lowering your blood pressure, calming you and giving your body the opportunity to obsorb all of the benefits you worked out for.
- Lie flat on your back, preferably without any props or cushions. Use small pillow below your neck if absolutely required. Close your eyes.
2. Keep your legs comfortable apart and let your feet and knees relax completely, toes facing to the sides.
3. Place your arms alongside, yet a little spread apart from your body. Leave your palms open, facing upward.
4. Taking your attention to different body parts one by one, slowly relax your entire body.
5. Begin with bringing your awareness to the right foot, move on to the right knee (as you complete one leg, move your attention on to the other leg), and so on, and slowly move upwards to your head, relaxing each part of the body.
6. Keep breathing slowly, gently, deeply and allow your breath to relax you more and more. The incoming breath energizes the body while the outgoing breath brings relaxation. Drop all sense of hurry or urgency or any need to attend to anything else. Just be with the body and the breath. Surrender the whole body to the floor and let go. Make sure you don’t fall asleep!
7. After some time, about 10-20minutes when you feel fully relaxed, keeping your eyes closed, slowly roll onto your right side. Lie in that position for a minute or so. Then, taking the support of your right hand, gently sit up into a seated pose such as Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
8.Keep your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths in and out as you gradually become aware of your environment and the body. When you feel complete, slowly and gently open your eyes.
Yoga is the ultimate act of harmony between one’s physical existence and spiritual conscience. The perfect synchronization between the mind and the body is known as yoga. More than a physical form of exercise, it is considered as a spiritual act that makes life peaceful.