By Bipin Baloni
The ancient tradition of yoga that took birth in the Indian sub-continent is much more than just a mere physical exercise. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means to unite or join. Yoga is a way of life through which a person attains unification of the individual consciousness with the higher ‘self’ or universal consciousness.
The spiritual discipline of yoga focuses on harmonizing the body, mind and soul through different practices or principles. Patanjali, the great Indian sage came up with the 8 limbs of yoga which guides a person on how to live life the yogic way and gradually progress towards the final state of enlightenment or Samadhi. Among the 8 limbs of yoga, asanas are the physical exercises meant to keep the body healthy, fit and strong. Since the soul resides in the body (the vehicle), it is important to take proper care of the body in the quest for enlightenment.
There are numerous yoga poses and styles available but for those who are just stepping into the vast world of yoga, a few foundational poses can do wonders in just a month. Here’s a look at 5 such yoga poses:
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This is the foundational pose for all types of standing poses. The Mountain Pose can be practiced during any time and helps in improving body posture, reduces flat feet, tones the abdomen and buttocks, improves balance and make the spine agile.
How to do:
- Stand straight with the legs apart by a few inches.
- Hands should hang beside the body.
- Keep the thigh muscles engaged and lift the kneecaps.
- Draw in the abdomen, expand the chest and keep the shoulders relaxed.
- The palms of the hands should be facing the body.
Those with the following issues should avoid the practice of this asana:
- Low Blood Pressure
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose resembles the shape of a triangle and hence the name. Apart from improving bodily functions, the pose stretches the muscles and needs to be practiced with the eyes open. Regular practice of the pose aids digestion, reduces stress and anxiety as well as strengthens the chest, legs, arms, ankles and knees.
How to do:
- Stand straight with a gap of 3-4 feet between the legs.
- Place the right foot at ninety degrees and the left foot at fifteen degrees.
- Ensure that the entire weight of the body is equally distributed.
- Inhale and while exhaling bend the body towards the right keeping the waist straight.
- Touch the ground with the right hand and lift up the left arm.
- Look at your left palm and be stable.
- Keep breathing normally.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds, release and repeat on the other side.
- People with neck problems should avoid looking up and instead, look straight.
- Those with heart conditions should perform the pose against a wall.
- Those suffering from diarrhea, headache or low blood pressure should avoid the pose.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Ever noticed a dog stretching out its front paws and bending the body backward? That’s Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dos pose. It is quite an easy pose which needs to be performed when the stomach and bowels are empty. Daily practice of the pose improves blood circulation, digestion, decreases anxiety and strengthens the muscles of the abdomen.
How to do:
- Stand on all fours resembling the shape of a table.
- Breathe out, straighten the knees and elbows and lift the hips slightly.
- Ensure that the body forms the shape of the letter ‘V’.
- Press firmly with the palms on the ground and shift the gaze towards the navel.
- Keep breathing.
- Stay in the position for 15 seconds and gently release.
People suffering from the following conditions should avoid the pose:
- High Blood Pressure
- Dislocated Shoulder
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Detached Retina
- Weak Eye Capillaries
- Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1 Pose)
The pose resembles a mythical warrior and is undoubtedly an elegant and graceful pose that comes with a plethora of benefits. This pose is a must include when it comes to 200 hour yoga teacher training in Bangalore, Rishikesh, Nepal or any location. The asana helps to treat frozen shoulders, relaxes the mind, strengthens the legs, arms and back and increases stamina.
How to do:
- Stand straight with the legs 3-4 feet apart.
- Rotate the right feet outwards by ninety degrees.
- Rotate the left feet by fifteen degrees.
- Lift the arms so that they are parallel to the ground (palms should face upwards).
- Bend the right knee slightly and ensure that the ankle and knee forms a straight line.
- Look to the right.
- Now join both the palms in Namaskar position above the head.
- Keep breathing and feel relaxed in the pose.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- People with chronic illness and spinal issues need to consult their GP before practicing the pose.
- People with high BP (blood pressure) and heart issues should avoid the pose.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)
A beautiful Hatha Yoga pose, Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose) is especially beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. It is also a wonderful pose for stretching the entire body.
How to do:
- Sit with a straight back and the legs stretched out in front.
- Take a deep breath and raise the arms.
- While breathing out, bend forward and move the chin towards the toes.
- Again take a breath, slightly lift the head and elongate the spine.
- Breathe out and move the navel close to the knees.
- Keep doing it a few times and release gently after 3-4 minutes.
- Those suffering from diarrhea and asthma should not practice this pose.
- Pregnant women should avoid this pose.
- Those with back injuries should take the help of a professional teacher before doing this pose.
Practice the above mentioned 5 yoga poses on a daily basis for one month and witness the physical and mental change yourself.
Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organize 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.