New Delhi: The United Nations (UN) describes Yoga as an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of body and consciousness. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity. Ahead of International Day of Yoga, marked annually on June 21, we interact with Sharan Khanna – Multi-disciplinary Yoga teacher – Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga specialist and Founder of SharanKhannaYoga.
Sharan Khanna takes us through a set of postures, covering all parts of the body. These postures can be practised regularly for good health and well-being.
Sharan recommends starting the session with chanting and then moving on to postures.
Tadasana – For A Full Spinal Extension
How to do:
- To start this practice, put your hands on the thighs. Fix the gaze on a spot in front of you.
- Inhale and lift the spine up.
- It releases stiffness from the body.
- It strengthens the spine, and the nervous system, and increases your breathing capacity.
- When coordinated with the breath, this practice can remove stiffness.
Vrikshasana – Balancing Posture
How to do:
- Shift all the weight onto the left foot. Inhale and raise the heel up. You can place the heel on the groin – above the knee or below the knee.
- Keep your hands in front of the chest to stabilise the body. Fix the gaze.
- In the next inhalation, raise your hands up. Every inhalation, lengthen the spine, and every exhalation ground the left foot into the mat.
- To release the posture, exhale and release your hands. Inhale, hold the ankle and bring it down with grace.
- Practising this posture every day for about five to 10 breaths strengthens the spine and leg muscles.
- It increases your lung capacity, and removes stiffness from the neck and shoulders.
- It quietens the mind down, brings a sense of focus and improves concentration.
How to do:
- Open up your feet, hip distance apart with toes pointed in front.
- Inhale and raise your hands up. Hold your elbows; upper arm in line with the ear.
- Inhale and lift the spine up. Exhale and fall from the hip. Keep your knees soft or slightly bent.
- Every inhalation, lengthen the spine, and every exhalation, close yourself.
- Stay in this for about five to 10 breaths.
- Slowly inhale and come up. Exhale and release your hands and release your legs back into Tadasana.
- Forward fold are therapeutic postures. When you are in a forward fold, you improve the blood circulation to the head and the abdominal area.
- If you suffer from tension headaches, migraines, or stress in the body, improving blood circulation to the head really helps in getting rid of all of these things.
- This posture also improves joint flexibility and strengthens back muscles.
How to do:
- Open up your feet wide, and point your toe slightly outwards. Exhale and sit.
- Hook your armpit to the knee. Hands in the namaskar mudra, elbows in one straight line, arch the back and hold.
- Hold the posture for five to eight deep breaths.
- To come out of it gently – inhale and get up. Exhale and release the posture.
- It increases the flexibility in the hip joint.
- Releases stiffness in your ankles, knees, and calf muscles and strengthens the back.
- It aids digestion.
Bhujangasana (Basic back bend)
How to do:
- Lie down on your belly and put your forehead on the mat.
- Place your hands next to the chest. Take your hands behind the back and interlock.
- Roll the shoulders out, inhale and lift the spine up. Exhale and slowly release.
- To hold the posture – inhale and lift the chest up. Ensure your feet stay on the ground. Ideally close to each other, heels together.
- Focus on the length of the inhalation. Hold it for about five to six breaths. Exhale and slowly release the posture.
Note: If you are a beginner, place your hands next to the chest and use about 30 per cent of your arm strength. Inhale and lift the chest up and hold the posture and breathe.
- It is excellent for strengthening back muscles.
- It increases lung capacity.
- It is amazing for your spinal health, hip muscles and leg muscles.
Cat-Cow Pose Or Tiger Breathing
How to do:
- Come on to your knees and your hands. To check the alignment ensure there is a forearm distance between your knees and a forearm distance between the hands and the knees. Spread your fingers well.
- Stand on your knees and your hands. Inhale and drop the back. Arch the chest.
- Exhale and pull the belly in, chin to the chest.
- Slowly bring the knees together and push back. Keep your forehead on the mat. Take a deep breath, inhale and slowly come up, release your hip and lie down on your back.
Note: If you have a severe cervical issue, avoid moving the neck. Otherwise, this practice can be practiced by everybody.
- It is therapeutic and releases stress
- It is excellent to build flexibility in the spine, remove stiffness from the body and improve your breathing capacity.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
How to do:
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees. Ensure your heel is in line with the hip and there is one hand distance between the heel and the hip.
- Put your hands on the sides and spread your fingers.
- Inhale and lift the hip up. Hold in this position and breathe.
- In every inhalation, expand the chest; in every exhalation, lift the lip higher.
- Exhale, and slowly come down and gently release the legs.
- It strengthens the muscles and quadriceps.
- It removes stiffness from the neck and shoulders, which a lot of us suffer from today.
- The posture helps reduce fat from the body, especially on the buttocks and hip area.
- It strengthens the legs, and back muscles, and increases lung capacity.
Jathar Parivartan Asana (Spinal Twisting)
End your yoga practise with spinal twisting.
How to do:
- Hug your knees and bring them to your chest. Ensure your feet are together.
- Open up your arms on either side of the body.
- Inhale in the center and exhale and drop both knees to the right side. Look over the left shoulder.
- Keep pressing the left shoulder into the mat.
- Practise this five times on both sides. You can also hold the posture for about five breaths. Start with dynamic movements and at the end, hold the fifth one.
Note: If you have neck issues, avoid moving the neck too much. You may look up.
- It is therapeutic and a good practise if you have stress and anxiety.
- It is good to start or end your day with spinal twisting.
- Shavasana relaxes the body at a physical level and also your nervous system. Lie on the ground and belly breathe – inhale, and feel the navel rise. Exhale and feel the navel go down.
- Slowly interlock your hands above the head. Bring the feet together, and stretch the spine completely.
- Bend your knees one by one. Roll over to the right side and gently sit up.
Ending The Yoga Practise
- Sit in any comfortable cross-legged position of your choice.
- Close your eyes and sit with your back straight with your hands in front of your chest.
- Inhale deeply and end the practice by chanting Om together.
- Slowly rub your palms against each other, generate energy, cup your eyes, take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale, and slowly blink open in the palm of your hand.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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