International Yoga Day: Stave off diseases with these five Yogic poses by Ruchi Khosla
In Sanskrit, yoga means “union” -- the synchronisation of mind and body creates a sense of calm during practice. The regimen represents a combination of varied postures, breathing exercises, strength and meditation. At the physical level, yoga mainly functions as a stressbuster. Through its practice, it is easier to manage multiple chronic diseases including hypertension, thyroid malfunction, heart disease and diabetes. This International Yoga Day, Yoga and wellness expert Ruchi Khosla, Mind-Body Breathwork Coach and Yoga Therapist at BeatO, shows us five Yoga poses that will go a long way in maintaining the overall well-being of the mind and body.
1. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana): This twisting pose stimulates the abdominal organs, which may help lower blood sugar. It also helps to improve digestion and boost your energy levels.
a. While in a cross-legged position, scoot your right foot to the outside of your left hip.
b. Cross your left leg over your right leg, so that your left foot sits at the outside of your right thigh.
c. Root into your sit bones and lengthen your spine.
d. Twist your body to the left.
e. Bring your left hand to the floor behind you.
f. Bring your right upper arm to the outside of your left thigh. You can rest your hand on your
thigh or keep the forearm lifted straight into the air.
g. On each inhale, focus on lengthening and lifting.
h. Twist a bit deeper to the right with each exhale.
i. Bring your gaze to look over either shoulder.
j. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
k. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: It stimulates liver and kidneys, stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck and energises the spine. It further stimulates the digestive fire in the belly and relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache. It is therapeutic for asthma and infertility.
Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most of the deadly diseases including diabetes, and awakens kundalini.
Caution: In case of a back or spine injury, perform this pose only under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
2. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): This backbend opens up the chest and stimulates the abdominal organs. This may help lower your blood sugar levels as well as will help relieve constipation and respiratory ailments.
a. Lie down on your stomach.
b. Allow your arms to rest alongside your body with your palms facing up.
c. Bend your knees and bring your hands to the outside of your ankles.
d. Lift up your head, chest, and knees.
e. Breathe deeply and gaze forward.
f. Remain in the pose for up to 30 seconds.
g. On exhale, release the pose.
h. Place one hand on top of the other to make a pillow for your forehead.
i. Gently shake your hips from side-to-side to relax your lower back.
j. You may repeat this pose one or two times.
Benefits: Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck and helps stretch the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors. It strengthens the back muscles and improves posture.
Caution: If not done properly, it may cause high or low blood pressure, migraine, insomnia and
serious lower-back or neck injury.
3. Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)
This pose is a therapeutic forward bend. In addition to lowering blood pressure and promoting weight loss, this pose may help relieve anxiety, headache, and fatigue.
a. Sit on the edge of a folded blanket and extend your legs long.
b. You may place a prop under your knees for support.
c. Imagine that you’re pressing the soles of your feet against a wall so that your toes are drawing back toward your shins.
d. Root into your sit bones, lengthen your spine, and open your heart centre.
e. Hinge at your hips as you bend forward.
f. Walk your hands down to your feet, stopping when you reach a comfortable position. Your torso should fold into your legs.
g. Tuck your chin into your chest.
h. Remain in the pose for up to 3 minutes.
Benefits: Helps calm the brain, relieve stress and mild depression. It stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings and stimulates liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus. It also improves digestion and helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort. Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue and is therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis. Traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures diseases.
Caution: People with Asthma, Diarrhea Back injury should perform this pose
under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
4. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): This restorative inversion allows for relaxation. It helps lower stress levels, which may in turn help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It can also help relieve headaches, boost energy, and increase circulation.
a. Fold up a blanket or towel to sit on.
b. Sit with your right side against a wall.
c. Swing your legs up along the wall as you move to lay flat on your back. Your body should form a 90-degree angle against the wall.
d. Keep your sitting bones as close to the wall as possible.
e. Relax your neck, chin, and throat.
f. Stretch your arms out to the side with your palms facing up.
g. Remain in this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
h. Release by slowly sliding your legs down to the side.
Benefits: This asana relieves tired or cramped legs and feet and gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck. It relieves mild backache and calms the mind, lowers blood pressure.
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana ): This restorative pose can help lower blood pressure, relax the body, and calm the mind. It may also help relieve headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It’s traditionally done at the end of your yoga practice.
a. Lay flat on your back, with your feet spread out a little wider than your hips.
b. Rest your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing up.
c. Align your torso so that it’s in a straight line. Your body should form a Y shape.
d. Allow your body to press into the floor. You should completely relax your body and release any tension you’re holding.
e. Remain in this pose for 10–20 minutes.
Benefits: It helps calm the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. It relaxes the body, reduces headache, fatigue, insomnia and helps to lower blood pressure.
Ruchi Khosla also stresses the importance of meditation in our daily lives and recommends a period of daily meditation. "Add it to the end of the asana practice, or set aside another block of time. The important thing is that one should find a time that works the best for them. But one shouldn’t do too much too soon else he/she will get discouraged and stop altogether," tells Khosla.