Yoga

Utthita Trikonasana

Utthita Trikonasana is one of the most popular postures of yoga, as it focuses on many parts of the physical and subtle body at the same time. Also known as Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita – Extended, Trikona – Triangle and Asana – Pose), this yoga posture has the uniqueness of being able to be practiced anytime, anywhere, without much preparation. It helps in stretching, lengthening and strengthening various parts of the body. It also encourages blood circulation and eliminates pains and aches from your body, and benefits the body’s overall balance.

Procedure:

1. Stand firm on the ground, with your feet about 3 feet wide apart. 2. Turn the left foot in slightly to the right and turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Both heels should be in alignment. 3. As you breathe, spread your shoulder blades wide, lift your hands parallel to the floor, with your palms facing the floor. 4. As you exhale, bend your upper torso over the right leg. To maintain balance, exert more pressure on the left foot. 5. Bring your right hand down, placing it where it ends up, on the ankle or the floor outside the foot. 6. Lift your left arm straight up to the ceiling, and turn your chest towards the ceiling. 7. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left with your gaze resting on the left thumb. 8. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, taking deep and calm breaths. 9. Exhale as you bring your left arm down. 10. Straighten your body and rest your hands on your hips, and breathe deep. 11. Repeat the feat in the other foot as well.

Extended Triangle pose is best suited for people in desk jobs as it stretches all muscle groups which are most affected by a sedentary lifestyle. The pose teaches your body better sense of balance, as it strengthens and relaxes the least used muscles.

Beginners Tip:

Rest your right hand where it ends and never try desperately to touch the floor the first time you do, as this pose can be tricky for beginners. To keep yourself steady, it is advised to perform the asana while resting your back against a wall.

Precautions – Avoid the practice of this pose if you suffer from diarrhoea, headaches or low blood pressure. Look straight ahead if you have neck problems and if you suffer from high blood pressure turn your head downwards while practicing. Also, if you have severe neck & back pain, it is recommended to seek advice from an experienced Ayurvedic Doctor before beginning to practice extended triangle pose.

Vrikshasana

Vrikshasana, a standing pose, is one of the most fascinating and effective of all yoga poses. Also known as Tree Pose, this magical posture enhances your equilibrium and tones the entire body. It not only strengthens the muscles of the legs, ligaments of the feet, tendons and arches, but also builds incredible inner and outer strength. This famous posture, known to benefit the whole body, also increases concentration and memory power.

Procedure:

1. Stand upright with your arms at your side, your feet firmly grounded, and your whole body relaxed. 2. Without bending your left knee, lift your right foot and place it on the knee of the left leg. The toes should be facing downwards, and the heel should press the inside of the thigh. 3. Make sure that your left leg is stable and straight, and find your balance. 4. Once well balanced, join your palms and fingers and bring them to the middle of the chest, fingers pointing upwards in prayer pose. 5. Inhale and raise your hands over your head, with the palms joined together in prayer pose, and keep your eyes straight, your gaze fixed on a point for steady balance. 6. Let your whole body be raised, and firm. 7. Breathe more in and out. Relax more as you exhale each time. 8. Exhaling slowly, bring your hands down gently and also slowly lower the right leg. 9. Pause for some while and repeat the asana with the left leg.

Vrikshasana is very beneficial for people suffering from spine deformities, osteoarthritis, shoulder and leg weakness, and also dizziness, as it helps easy much of the body pain.

Beginner’s Tip

Balancing may be difficult at the beginning stages of performing this asana. Balance comes with practice. It is best to support yourself against a wall till you gain the balance to do this pose. If you are trying to do it without support, always stand near a chair or wall, so as to prevent from falling in case you lose your balance. Keep your eyes open and gaze fixed to improve your stability.

Precautions: This yoga posture must not be performed if you are suffering from migraine, insomnia, or have had a knee or hip injury. Those suffering from high blood pressure should not raise their hands over their head, or stay with hands raised for too long.

Chakrasana

Chakrasana, also known as ‘The Wheel Pose’ (Chakra – Wheel, asana – pose) is an iconic yoga posture that offers wonders for the spine and heart. The beautiful stretch not only gives flexibility and strength to the spine but also extends a complete stretch for your chest, thereby keeping you in optimal health. This amazing yoga pose is a blessing in disguise for all those weight losers as it helps in removing those troublesome fat bundles from the abdominal region.

Procedure

1. Lie on your back with your arms beside the body. 2. Spread your legs about a foot apart and bend your knees. Keep your heels on the ground close to your buttocks. 3. Raise your arms and place your palms close to your head. Your fingers must point towards your body and elbows must point up. 4. While inhaling, slowly, push your body up with the support of the palms and the feet. Rotate your head slightly so that your gaze is fixed on the floor. 5. Stretch your thighs and shoulders until your body is fully extended in the shape of an inverted U. 6. Breathing in and out, slowly and rhythmically, maintain in this position for about half a minute. 7. To release, while exhaling, slowly lower your body till it touches the ground. Lie flat on the ground, in supine position. Repeat.

This pose is extremely beneficial for those who sit long hours in front of the desk or computer. The backward bend in this pose helps relieve tension or stress and decreases the ailments arising out of the sedentary lifestyle. The pose helps in toning and strengthening the entire back muscles, and the muscles of the legs & abdomen.

Beginner’s Tip

The feet and knees may tend to spread out as you start doing it for the first time. To prevent it, place a block in between your feet and as you try to lift yourself, press the feet into the block. Beginners should not try to hold the position for more than 15 seconds. It is also recommended for beginners to do the forward bend pose after wheel pose.

Note:- Chakrasana is not advised without an Ayurvedic doctor's consent for those who suffer from chronic back pain, pain on the shoulder, elbow or wrist joints.

Salabhasana

Salabhasana also known as the Locust Pose (Salabh – Locust, Asana - pose), is a magical yoga posture that provides great exercise to the spine.

Procedure

• Lie down on the floor on your belly and place your chin on the floor. • Place your hands on the ground below your hips, with your palms facing up. • As you exhale, lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs away from the floor, so that you will be resting on your lower ribs, belly, and front pelvis. Make your buttocks firm and stretch out your legs. • Raise your arms parallel to the ground and stretch them backwards. Your shoulder blades should be pressed into your back. • Look directly forward or a little upward. Take care not to push your chin forward or put pressure on the nape of your neck. • Remain in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute and release with an exhalation.

This stretching pose focuses on abdomen, lower back and thorax. It is a great posture to relieve lower back pain and slip discs problem. It also rejuvenates the body and increases its endurance capacity.

Beginner’s Tip

Beginners may find it difficult to difficult to raise both legs at the same time. So it is advised that they try raising one leg at a time. They should also refrain from putting an excessive amount of stress while rising, as it can put a strain on the neck & back and cause damage.

Note:- This pose is not advised without an Ayurvedic doctor's consent for those who suffer from back, neck or spinal injuries.

Padahastasana

Padahastasana, or Hand to Feet pose is a miraculous yoga posture that highly benefits the body as a whole. It stretches out the entire body from the heels to the head and also helps in trimming the waist, restoring elasticity to the spine, and stretching the ligaments of the legs, especially those of the hamstrings.

Procedure

1. Stand straight with legs shoulder width apart and firm. Feet must be parallel to each other. 2. Inhale and raise your hands straight above the head, with palms facing outwards. Stretch your body as much as possible. 3. Exhale slowly and bend your head and neck, and gradually bring the upper torso down. 4. Keep the knees straight and insert your hands under your feet with palms facing upwards. 5. Bring the head as close to the knees as possible with the neck relaxed. 6. Remain in the position for some time. 7. Inhale and straighten yourself. 8. Take few breaths and repeat again.

Beginner’s Tip

Initially, performing the posture with the knees bent is advised. Also, do not try to stretch beyond your limit as it would lead to sprains and injuries. Try to keep the hands under the feet if only you are able to, and if not, never attempt to do so in the initial stages.

Note:- This pose is not advised without an Ayurvedic doctor's consent for those who suffer from severe back problems and spinal disorders like slipped disc or any such injuries.

Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana, known as the Cobra pose (Bhujanga – Cobra, Asana – pose), is a miraculous back bending yoga posture, which has numerous health benefits from head to feet. The posture and its variations are a boon for those who have backpain and other back problems.

Health benefits

1. Relieves backache 2.Strengthens lower back muscles 3. Strengthens the spine 4. Soothes sciatica 5. Increases flexibility 6. Stimulates abdominal organs 7. Opens heart and lungs 8. Helps proper functioning of thyroid gland 9. Helps relieve stress and fatigue

Steps to do the asana

• Lie prone on the floor and stretch your legs back. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. • Bring both the hands near the chest and place the palms on the ground with the fingers together pointing forward and thumbs pointed towards the body. • The elbows should be raised towards the ceiling close to the body. Place the forehead on the ground. • While inhaling slowly, raise the forehead, bend the neck backwards and then slowly raise the shoulders, chest and abdomen from the ground until the arms are straight, such that it represents the shape of a hooded cobra. • Bend your neck as much as you can to feel the stretch in your spines, and distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine. • Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. • Release the pose by relaxing the abdomen first on the ground, then chest and finally the head.

Note – Do not do this pose if you have a wrist injury, or you are pregnant or have a back injury.

Balasana

Child’s pose or Balasana is one of the most effective yoga postures that helps to relax and recharge the muscles of your back. The pose not only helps release tension from your back but also calms the mind & body by reducing the stress and anxiety.

Health benefits

1. Relieves back and neck pain 2. Lengthens and stretches the spine 3. Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest 4. Increases blood circulation 5. Calms mind and body by alleviating stress and anxiety 6. Stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee 7. Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles 8. Helps relieve stress and fatigue

Steps to do the Asana:

1. Place your knees on the floor and rest your buttocks on your feet. Keep your back straight and your hands resting on your knees. 2. As you exhale and while using your hands as support, slide down and forwards. 3. While you are down, breathe in and out slowly and relax your entire body. 4. Hold this pose for some time, and rise slowly to come out of the pose.

Note - Do not practice this asana if you are suffering from knee pain or joint-pain or you have any injury to the knee.