Yoga to keep you healthy

Yoga asanas are designed not just to tone the external body but also to work internally. A well-planned combination of asanas is thus great for achieving overall health and fitness. Here, we look at the top ten asanas to make up an ideal yoga routine for you.

Tadasana or palm tree pose

1. Stand erect with feet together and hands by your side.
2. Slowly raise hands above your head, palms facing each other.
3. Simultaneously raise your heels and stand on your toes.
4. Stretch your body as high as you can.
5. Maintain balance by gazing at a point in front and hold pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
6. Repeat twice.

Benefits: Helps you stand correctly and achieve a good posture. Increases the elasticity of the spine.

Gomukhasana or cow mouth pose
1. Sit with legs in front.
2. Bending right leg over left, place heel near left hip joint; place left heel next to right hip joint.
3. Bending right hand over head, place palm on back.
4. Bending left hand behind, try to hold the right.
5. Close eyes and maintain pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
6. Release and repeat on other side.

Benefits: Strengthens shoulder and hip joints and muscles of the back, arms and legs.

Bhujangasana or cobra pose
1. Lie on your stomach with palms on the ground under your shoulders.
2. Rest forehead on the ground and point toes behind.
3. While inhaling, raise your head and chest up to the naval and bend backwards. Hold elbows close to your chest.
4. Close your eyes and maintain the pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Exhale while releasing.
5. Repeat two – three times.

Benefits: Helps to open your chest and realign the spine.

Trikonasana or triangle pose
1. Stand with legs far apart and hands raised at shoulders by your side.
2. Bend diagonally and touch your right hand to the left foot.
3. At the same time look up at your left hand pointing straight upwards.
4. Maintain pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
5. Repeat the same on the other side.

Benefits: Stretches your back, neck and chest and firms the legs and ankles.

Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend
1. Sit with legs stretched in front and hands by your side.
2. Bend forward slowly, keeping knees straight.
3. Hold your big toe of each foot with the first two fingers of corresponding hands. Rest head between the knees.
4. Close eyes and maintain pose for 30 seconds – 2 minutes, breathing evenly.
5. Repeat two to three times.

Benefits: Develops your abdominal muscles. Improves functioning of the kidneys and digestive system.

Bhadarasana or throne pose
1. Sit with your legs stretched in front and palms by your side.
2. Slowly bend both legs at the knees so the soles touch each other.
3. Hold your feet with your hands and bring them closer to your perineum. Ensure that your knees remain on the ground.
4. Close your eyes and maintain pose for 1 to 2 minutes, breathing evenly.
5. Repeat twice.

Benefits: Opens your pelvis, stretches the inner thighs and supports the lumbar region.

Urdhva dhanurasana or upward bow pose

1. Lie on your back with knees bent and palms on floor by head, fingers towards shoulders.
2. Lift hips off the ground.
3. Push up with the palms and lift chest off the floor.
4. Push feet and palms against floor and straighten elbows.
5. Close eyes and maintain pose for 15 – 30 seconds, breathing evenly.
6. Repeat 3 – 4 times.

Benefits: It strengthens the muscles of your abdomen, arms and legs. It stretches your spine and helps digestion.

Padmasana or lotus pose

1. Sit erect.
2. Bend right leg, hold ankle and place it on left thigh.
3. Now bend left leg and place ankle on right thigh.
4. Ensure heels are close to navel center and both knees touch the ground.
5. Close eyes and maintain pose for up to 5 – 10 minutes as per capacity.

In the beginning you may keep only one ankle on other thigh, and the other below.

Benefits: Strengthens legs, pelvic region and spine

Sarvangasana or shoulder stand

1.Lie on your back with legs straight.
2.Slowly raise legs, keeping palms on ground.
3.Support your waist with the palms, keeping elbows on the ground.
4.Straighten the trunk and legs so that your body is in one line.
5.Close your eyes and maintain pose for 1 – 3 minutes or longer.
6.Repeat twice.

Benefits: Energizes your body, stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands and boosts circulation. Soothes the nerves and relieves constipation, urinary disorders and asthma.

Shavasana or corpse pose
1. Lie on your back in a relaxed position. Keep your hands and legs spread slightly apart with palms facing upward.
2. Keep your head straight.
3. Focus on different parts of your body, from toes to the head, consciously relaxing them. Also observe your breathing.
4. Remain in this pose for at least 5 to 15 minutes. Do this at the end of each yoga session.

Benefits: Relaxes your body and mind. Reduces fatigue, supports digestion and overcomes anxiety and insomnia

Source: Bolohealth
Image: Flickr Creativecommons lululemonathletica