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immunity yoga

Lifestyle Yoga

The Sarvangasana Cycle

March 24, 2020

It is one of the greatest boons conferred on humanity by our ancient sages.  (Light on Yoga p 212)

Sarvangasana variations comprise the ‘Sarvangasana cycle’. The immunity sequence comprises of :

  • Eka Pada Sarvangasana :  In this variation (shown on the left), one leg is brought down to rest on the floor similar to Halasana.  The other leg should be absolutely straight.  This posture draws upon the the flexibility of the hamstrings and the strength of the quadriceps muscles too.
  • Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana : In this variation (shown on the right), one leg is brought down to the side of the body, diagonal from the trunk.  As with all Sarvangasana variations, this requires control and strength of the core muscles, but this variation also requires an flexible hip joint.

We perform these variations to gain more control over our bodies.  They require us to use more of our core strength, or cultivate the necessary core strength.  All Sarvangasana variations are great to tone and strengthen the muscles of the legs and are a boon for the kidneys.

Contraindications

The contraindications that apply for Sarvangasana apply to the variations as well.

Busting the Myths

When students first start practicing these variations there is a rush to touch the toes to the floor.  This compromises the alignment of the raised leg. Read on for some practice pointers.

Practice Pointers

  • The variations can be performed after staying in the Sarvangasana for 5-10 minutes.
  • Do them for 30 seconds on each side.
  • If your leg doesn’t reach the floor use a stool or chair under it (see video).

 

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

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Lifestyle Yoga

Dwi-Pada Viparita Dandasana – Two-Legged Inverted Staff Posture

March 17, 2020

The Hindu devotee prostrates before the Lord lying flat upon the floor, face downwards with hands outstretched.  The Yogi on the other hand prostrates himself in the graceful inverted arch… (Light on Yoga, p 373)

Dwi pada means both feet.  Viparita means reverse or inverted.  Danda means staff or rod, a symbol, authority or punishment as well as the body and its prostration.

It helps to:

  • Expand the chest enabling deeper breathing.
  • Relax an anxious mind.
  • Keep the spine healthy.
  • Relieves pain in the coccyx.
  • Energises the whole body.

 

Contraindications

Those who suffer from vertigo should practice this with due caution.

 

Busting the Myths

Many practitioners don’t fully understand the benefit of using props for yoga practice.  Many think they don’t ‘need’ props, feeling that it shows physical weakness to use props.  The truth is that props are akin to a teacher.  Used correctly, props can have a powerful impact on your yoga practice.  Read on for some practice pointers…

Practice Pointers

  • If you feel queasy or dizzy in this posture, adjust the position of your back on the chair and use some support under your head.
  • Tighten your thighs and roll them in to activate your legs and engage your core.

 

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

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Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.

Lifestyle Yoga

Sirsasana – The King of Asanas

March 17, 2020

The weight of the body will be felt on the elbows and the position of the head may change.  The face will appear to be flushed and the eyes either strained or puffed.  It is therefore, advisable for a beginner to do the head stand in a corner where two walls meet, placing the head some 2 to 3 inches from either wall.(Light on Yoga, p 182)

The sirsasana is the king of the asanas.  It’s not hard to see why.  Sirsa means head, and this is the seat of the brain.  The brain controls the entire nervous system.  It is where your knowledge, intellect, wisdom and power come from.

It helps to:

  • Increase blood flow to the head.
  • Improve immunity by flushing the lymphatic system.
  • Improve digestion.
  • Relieve fatigue.
  • Improve insomnia.

 

Contraindications

Those who suffer from high or low blood pressure must never practice sirsasana.

 

Busting the Myths

Most practitioners think that balance is the only important aspect of sirsasana.  In reality, in this posture we have to keep our awareness on our body alignment at all times and continue to fix it moment by moment.  Read on for some practice pointers…

Practice Pointers

  • In the final position only an area the size of a rupee on top of your head should be in contact with the floor.
  • The head, the trunk, the back of the thighs and the heels should be in a straight line.  Avoid ‘banana-back’.
  • Do not widen the elbows thinking it will give you better balance. In reality this will make the pose weaker and lead to a neck injury.

 

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

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Yoga

Uttanasana – The Standing Forward Bend

March 11, 2020

 

Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity.  The verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out.  In this asana, the spine is given a deliberate and an intense stretch. (Light on Yoga, p. 92)

The Uttanasana is the first posture in the immunity sequence, and, if practiced  correctly, very powerful.

It helps to:

  • Stretch and tone the entire back of the body.
  • Cures stomach pains, including menstrual cramps.
  • Tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys.
  • Because of the reversal of blood flow, the mind is refreshed.
  • Relaxes the nervous system and reduces stress.
  • Improves balance and coordination.
  • Pacifies anxiety and depression.

 

Contraindications

Practice with the utmost care if you have chronic back pain or injuries to your ankles and knees.

 

Busting the Myths

In many yoga classes there is an emphasis on straightening the legs.  Guess what?  Your legs do not need to be straight.  Read on for some practice pointers…

Practice Pointers

  • Instead of focusing on straightening the knees at any cost, focus on lengthening the spine, as though you want to extend your head to the floor.
  • Spread your soles firmly to the ground, distributing your weight evenly.
  • Lift your hips up, as though the tailbone has to reach the ceiling.  You will feel an extension on the hamstrings too.
  • When you have a cold or flared up sinuses, you will feel very uncomfortable with your head hanging forward.  Rest your head on a block or a chair and et viola!  your Uttanasana feels good again.  Same thing if you have vertigo or a fluctuating BP.

Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.

Download the Daily Yoga Practice Checklist.

Follow Amrutha Bindu Yoga here.

Follow Medha Bhaskar here.

Follow me (Pragya Bhatt) here.