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Yoga Positions
by Editor K Bajaj

With the growing awareness of physical fitness, all of us resort to some form of exercise or the other, and when the going gets tough many of us give it up. You want to tone your body but do not want to go through the rigors of daily disciplined exercise. It is here then that Yoga steps in, for it helps to control the mind, create self-awareness and in the process helps you to achieve mental and emotional well being in addition to physical fitness. It encompasses within its purview factors that contribute to good health and vitality. Yoga positions or Asanas as they are called inculcate discipline in temperament, help to regulate the respiratory process, soothes the turbulent mind through meditation, and helps you to focus and channelise our lives. That sounds vague, doesnt it? A bird?s eye view of some of the basic positions will dispel any doubts that you may entertain.

Yoga positions involve simple movements well within the performing capacity of the normal individual and for best results the mind and the body must work in phase and complement each other. All movements must be slow, gentle and relaxed to be meaningful, so never go beyond the limits of your endurance. Although there are several positions, the main categories are what we will confine ourselves to.

Standing Yoga Asanas

More often than not, when you simply think of the amount of work (physical and mental), which is pending, you feel exhausted. So, If you want to Increase the levels of your endurance and bring flexibility and suppleness to your joints and muscles, begin with the basic standing yoga positions like Tadasana and ardha chandrasana.

Forward bending and back bending

Asanas Having achieved a certain amount of pliability, you would need to correlate mental and physical activities and this is where these yoga positions help. A gradual stretching of the body helps to extend the back portion of spine and in the process certain elasticity is achieved that adds suppleness to the limbs. Paschimotanasana if done regularly will keep those aches at bay.

Back Bending Yoga Asanas achieve the opposite effect by extending the front portion of the spine, so it complements the forward bending asana. If the bhujangasana, which a back bending yoga position is combined with a Paschimotanasana, the end result is that you succeed in what you have set out to do. Since the spine is the pivot for all our movements, these two yoga positions can help us to achieve immense agility and nimbleness and consequently mental keenness, for a supple body houses a supple mind.

While the above 2 asanas focus on the front and back of the spine, more resilience and elasticity is achieved with twisting positions, which encompass lateral stretching and twisting of the spine. The internal organs are also toned and a sense of peace and harmony is achieved. Practicing the Matsyendrasana position in combination with the above 2 asanas ensures buoyancy of the spirit and a whole arrange of new body movements.

Postural defects are the bane of human beings. Over the years you misuse your body and limbs to such an extent that the muscles become inelastic and you are unable to hold yourself upright. Padmasana, Vajrasana, Simhasana are sitting and supine yoga positions that help to keep the body upright, firms and tones the muscles and corrects a defective posture. The inverted postures like the adho mukhasvasana help to combat the stress of everyday life. It rejuvenates and helps us to be balanced in all our actions, be it mental or emotional. While strengthening and toning the spine is fine, the pelvic and lumbar regions also need attention.

Abdominal and lumbar asanas like the marichyasana focus on these areas and the abdominal organs; the pelvic and lumbar areas are massaged and toned, keeping them in a good functional state. All the important parts of the body apparently seem to have been taken care of, but the arms and wrists. The Balancing Asanas do just that. The Sirsasana and the sarvangasana help to strengthen the forelimbs and also have a salutary effect on the abdominal organs.

That appears tiring? imagine going through all those yoga positions at one go. Never do that. Listen to your body and when it cries halt, just stop. Practice different sets of asanas each day for variety, or initially to start off with do it every alternate day for 15-20 minutes. Increased blood flow, removal of toxins, an invigorated spirit, a toned body, flexible joints and tendons, effective digestion, a sense of well being and a remarkable zest for life are just some of the benefits that accrue. A little time spent in exertion augurs good health and an increase in energy levels beyond compare.

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