Interesting post about yoga from a runner!
Perhaps the question I’m asked most frequently is about what poses I believe should be done daily to maintain good functioning of life and limb. I’ve come up with 5 poses for beginners, intermediates and advanced students alike. These poses address body parts which are prone to injury or neglect. These poses are low impact, so there’s very little room for injury. So, without further ado, the five poses I’ve homed in on are as follows and in sequence:
1. Marjari Asana or the Cat Stretch – this asana has many physical benefits and is great to gently ease open a stiff spine. It allows you to breathe more deeply, completely and efficiently. It helps to strengthen your wrists and arms, as well as move the cervical region. This goes a long way in maintaining the flexibility of the neck muscles, preventing stiffness of the neck and shoulders, and ensuring that no stress is stored and built up in the neck and along the length of the spine .
2. Virbhadrasana or the Warrior Pose – This is a great pose to tone up your abdomen and legs. Hold it for a couple of breaths to strengthen the legs and tone the abdominal muscles. It allows the chest to fully open up and enables better breathing. Your arms shoulders and legs get a great stretch. The massage to the abdominal organs increases metabolism and helps eliminate excess fat around the waist.
3. Janu Sirsasana or Head to Knee Pose – This pose is a complete stretch for the body. The stretch originates at the back of your ankles and goes up your calves, the back of your knees, your thighs, your back, shoulders and arms. It is believed that this pose helps in preventing wrinkles and calming the mind. It also provides a massage to your abdominal organs and therefore is great to reduce excess fat around your waist and increase your metabolism.
4. Pashchima Namaskarasana or the Reverse Prayer Pose – This is a great one to open up your chest and to stretch, strengthen and tone the arms. Doing this every day ensures that your shoulder blades and back get a good stretch. Movement of the shoulder joint also ensures flexibility and mobility of this joint.
5. Padmasana or the Lotus Pose –The ankle, knee and hip joints tend to get ignored when we have too little time to workout. The Padmasana and its variations ensure that you work on the flexibility of your lower body while at the same time ensuring that you’re working on your posture, your abdominal muscles and your meditation abilities.
Pictures for these coming up soon!
At the end of the yoga session today my teacher talked about his belief regarding ‘Mindful Observation of Thoughts’ (which will make for another interesting blog post). The gist of it was relevant to the eternal quest for inner peace. He said that we spend our lives searching for this inner peace. We look for it in our thoughts, our surroundings, perhaps in the food that we eat, the people who we choose to be with…however, we can’t look for peace outside and assimilate it within us. We have to create a silence within us for peace to reside, and look at life from the vantage point of this silence. And that is when you will be in a state of bliss.
So here are 5 ways to cultivate the silence within:
1. Spend 5 minutes every day observing your thoughts. Make an effort during these 5 minutes to not sit in judgement of the thoughts that are passing through your mind. Also make an effort not to relive the emotions brought about these thoughts, be they positive or negative.
2. Start your day before those in your house do. Even if it’s just 15 minutes early. Spend those first 15 minutes of the day with yourself. Water your plants. Drink lukewarm lemon and honey water. Stretch. Smile. Read. Spending 15 minutes daily with yourself will ensure you nurture a more fulfilling relationship with yourself, and this will ensure better quality of your days.
3. Pursue an extra-curricular activity passionately. So if you’ve always wanted to learn photography, do so now. If you’ve always wanted to learn karv maga, do so now. Making time and effort to pursue something you’ve been putting off creates a behavioural pattern which tells you that what you want to do can be fulfilling, and enables you to put yourself first before the rest of life.
4. Accept the situation and work around it. You might not like your job, but until you change it, deal with it. You might not like your neighbour, but until you live next to each other, deal with it. You might not like your current haircut, but until it grows out, deal with it.
5. Breathe deeply. Whether you are stressed, overwhelmed, happy, annoyed, joyful, irritated, elated, blissful, worried, tired, energetic, optimistic, pessimistic, disappointed, fascinated, delighted….