Looking at the world outside, the best way is to look inwards. Health is priceless and it is through yoga, meditation and breathing exercises that you can stay physically and mentally fit. So let us look at three incredibly effective, yet easy-to-do asanas which you can practice at home. Place yourself on a yoga mat, keep a bottle of water beside you and a towel and let the yoga journey begin.
1) Sit in a cross-legged or meditating position, preferably on ground. Make sure that your spine and head are straight.
2) Shut your eyes and relax for a few minutes. This will help in unwinding from the surroundings and relieving stress.
3) Sit in this position for a few minutes with your eyes closed until you are relaxed and ready for Anulom Vilom.
4) Take your right hand and slowly place it on right nostril while resting your left hand on left knee.
5) Press hard so that airflow through this nostril is temporarily obstructed.
6) Slowly take a deep breath from your left nostril.
7) Shut both nostrils and hold the inhaled breath for a few seconds.
8) Release your finger from right nostril which will allow you to exhale the air from it.
9) Make sure that your left nostril is safely shut with the help of your ring and little finger.
10) Be slow in the process of exhaling air from your right nostril, attempting to take a longer time than inhalation.
11) Deeply inhale from your right nostril while shutting the other one with the ring finger and little finger.
12) Similarly, hold your breath for a few seconds by keeping both nostrils shut.
13) Exhale from left nostril while shutting right one with the thumb.
Note: As a beginner, it is not essential to have a very long exhalation as compared for inhalation. You can opt for an equal ratio of the two and can gradually increase to a ratio of 1:2 for inhalation and exhalation time.
1) Its practice has a calming and relieving effect on the brain and thus helps in preventing depression. It helps to improve cognitive functioning and may help in preventing age-related memory loss.
2) It can benefit your skin by reducing the incidence of acne and dermatitis.
3) It helps to improve vision and eyesight by enhancing blood flow to eyes preventing vision loss.
4) It aids to lower blood pressure and thus has cardioprotective actions, reducing risks of cardiovascular disorders.
5) Since this pranayama enhances an individual’s control over breathing, its practice is helpful in the management of asthmatic episodes. It also enhances ventilation of the body and also helps in reducing dyspnoea & wheezing.
6) Studies have found that its practice assists in weight loss and improvement of flexibility.
7) Its practice during pregnancy helps in reducing the risk of maternal depression which tends to extend postpartum if not treated. In non-pregnant women, this helps to relieve premenstrual symptoms.
1) Stand on the ground barefoot with your legs and feet joined together. Bend your knees slightly and then straighten them to help loosen your joints.
2) Firm thigh muscles and turn them slightly inwards while lifting your knee cap. Keep in mind not to harden your lower belly. Strengthen inner arches of your ankles while lifting them.
3) Lengthen your tailbone and imagine a line of energy passing through your body.
4) Going up, lift your chest up and out and push your shoulder blades back. Widen your collarbones.
5) Raise your head, lengthening your neck in the process. Keep breathing deeply. While inhaling you will feel the breath travelling through your toes, stomach and up to the head. As you exhale, feel your breath going down from head to stomach and finally feet.
6) Breathe in and raise your toes gently and try to balance your body on your heels. Stretch your shoulders, arms and chest upwards while your toes bear your body weight. Feel the stretch in your body from head to feet. Hold this pose for about 5 to 10 seconds and then gently exhale. This is a variation to Tadasana is known as Palm Tree pose.
1) It helps in correcting your posture & improves your balance.
2) This asana aids in increasing flexibility of your ankles, thighs and joints.
3) It can tone your hips and abdomen and helps gain control over your muscular movements.
4) It may help in increasing your height if practised during formative years.
5) It strengthens your nervous system and regulates your respiratory, digestive functions.
1) Begin this yoga posture by standing straight in Tadasana or mountain pose. Place your feet apart from each other while keeping them in a parallel position to the outer edges.
2) Inhale deeply and extend both of your arms in the outward direction parallel to the floor. Turn your left foot inwards and your right foot in an outward direction in a right angle. See to it that your right foot and knee are in a straight direction and front side of your heel is straight in line with the centre of your back.
3) Gently place your left hand on your left buttock. Exhale deeply and bend your right knee while reaching for your right hand’s fingertips almost nine to ten inches in the front direction of your toe.
4) Inhale and press your right foot on the floor while straightening your right leg. Lift right leg while balancing your right foot.
5) Spread left toes and externally rotate your left buttock and ribcage in the direction of the sky.
6) Your right fingertips should be placed under your shoulder while you extend your left arm above your left shoulder.
7) While inhaling press the leg which is standing.
8) To come back to rest, lower your left foot on the mat behind your right foot coming into Triangle pose. Inhale deeply and press down your feet while you rise to stand. Place your hands on your hips, straighten your right leg and turn the leg inwards while keeping the feet parallel. Turn your left leg outwards and repeat the same steps.
1) This helps improve body balance. The person becomes aware of their body.
2) It strengthens hamstrings, thighs and ankles.
3) Keeps thighbones strong while helping to get rid of back pain.
4) It strengthens buttocks, spine and abdominal muscles.
5) The process of digestion improves to a great extent.
The writer is a yoga instructor and meditation expert.