Yoga Poses You Must Practice

When one starts practicing yoga, one can hold for three full breaths through most yoga poses. If you feel comfortable in the pose, hold for longer, if uncomfortable, you should come out of the pose immediately.

Types of Yoga Poses
Seated poses – Seated poses are useful for practicing breathing exercises and relaxation or meditation techniques. Seated poses are also often used as a warm up or as a starting point for other poses. Performing seated poses can help improve your posture and open your hips.

Standing poses – Standing poses are often used as warm up or as a starting point for other poses.Standing poses are beneficial for strengthening your legs, opening your hips and improving your sense of balance.

Inversions – Inversions are excellent poses to improve your blood circulation, quiet your mind and improve your overall health when performed. Inversions are also believed to reverse the ageing process and reduce the effect of the gravity on your body.

Relaxation and restorative poses – It is important to take time to perform relaxation or restorative poses at the end of each yoga practice. You can use this time to relax your body and mind and allow energy released by the poses in your practice to move freely throughout your body.

Counter poses – A counter pose is a pose that stretches your spine in the opposite direction from a previous pose or returns your spine to a neutral position.

Twists – You can perform twists to stretch and strengthen your back and abdominal muscles,increase the flexibility of your spine and improve fluid circulation. Twists improve the functioning of your internal organs by providing them with a fresh supply of blood as you twist and release your body.

Balancing poses – Balancing poses are great for improving focus and coordination as well as developing your ability to remain grounded in a pose. Keeping your body balanced encourages you to focus, quiet and balance your mind.

Forward bends – Forward bends stretch the entire back of your body, especially the hamstrings. Forward bends are also often used to release tension, calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Similar to back bends, forward bends help keep your spine strong and supple.

Back bends – Back bends are among the most challenging poses in yoga. Bending backward helps strengthen the back and keep your spine strong and supple. Back bends also open the front of your body, especially your chest region.

Yoga for Cycling: A Few Key Exercises

Cyclists often experience tightness in the major muscle groups used in riding a bike: the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, shoulders, and neck are particularly in need of regular stretching. This short series of yoga for cyclists poses is designed for the recreational cyclist and should be done when the muscles are already warm. It’s useful to have a few props handy, though you can substitute household items if you don’t have them.

Yoga for Cyclists

Yoga for Cyclists

Pelvic Tilts

Start with this wonderful, gentle release for the low back.

Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

A stretch for the glutes, back, and shoulders. If your neck bothers you, you can keep it in a neutral position instead of turning it to the side. Be sure to do both sides.

Seated Forward Bend – Paschimottanasana

The classic hamstring stretch, yoga-style. This means that it’s not all about touching your toes. Work on moving into the forward bend by rotating from your pelvis (as in the pelvic tilt, above) while keeping the spine long instead of slumping into it. Also use your breath, lengthening the spine on each inhale and deepening the forward bend on each exhale.

Cow Face Pose – Gomukhasana

We’re concentrating on the shoulder stretch here, so if you have sensitive knees, just keep your legs out long as in the previous pose. Use a strap behind your back if necessary.

Camel Pose – Ustrasana

The quads, the large muscles in the front of the thighs, are especially in need of stretching. Do camel pose with blocks under your hands to emphasize the quad stretch over the back bend. Keep your neck long instead of letting the head drop back.

Yoga Sequence For Hip

A tight lower back and tight hips tend to go hand in hand. If you suffer from these common ailments, here’s a relaxing yoga sequence that can help prevent pain in these areas. Doing these five poses every day will open and release tension, to help you say adios to hip and back pain.

Yoga for Hips

Yoga for Hips

Butterfly

Here’s a pose that stretches both hips and the lower back simultaneously.

Sit on the floor, bending both knees and bringing the feet together. Use your hands to open your feet up like a book.

Lengthen the spine, drawing the belly in. Relax your shoulders and slowly begin to fold forward, drawing the torso toward your legs.

Keep your hands on your feet, pressing your elbows against the inner knees, or extend your arms in front of you to encourage the spine to lengthen.

Hold Butterfly for five breaths.

Double Pigeon

More intense than regular Pigeon Pose, Double Pigeon is one of the most effective hip openers.

From Butterfly, bring your right shin on top of your left so both shins are parallel and your right knee is over your left ankle. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down, and see that your legs make a little triangle.

It’s OK if your top knee is pointing up toward the ceiling — it just means your hips are tight, so just stay where you are and breathe deeply for five breaths.

Seated T

This pose may look relaxing, but it’s even more intense than Double Pigeon.

From Double Pigeon use your hands to help wiggle your feet away from each other, keeping your shins in one straight line, and making a T-shape with your legs. Flex your feet, lean forward, and press your palms into the inside of your ankles.

Hold here for five breaths, releasing any tightness in the hips with each exhale.

Extended Twist

Tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain. Extended Twist will open the backs of the legs as well as offer a relaxing spinal twist.

From Seated T, draw your left foot in toward your right hip. Bring your left hand to the outside edge of your right foot and straighten the leg. Press your right palm into the floor behind your pelvis and twist to the right.

Seated Twist

This pose offers an even deeper spinal twist.

From Extended Twist maintain the twist to the right as you bend your right knee and place your right foot to the left of your left knee.

Bend your left elbow and press it firmly against your outer right thigh, increasing the twist even further.

Enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then repeat this sequence with the left leg.

More on Yoga for Hips

Yoga and Health of Cancer Patients

Yoga Helps Cancer Patients

Yoga and Health of Cancer Patients

Yoga and Health of Cancer Patients

A gentle form of yoga helps those with lymphoma sleep better. Lymphoma is a cancer that arises in the cells of the immune system. The investigators found that among 39 patients being treated for lymphoma, those who participated in only seven weekly sessions of yoga said they got to sleep sooner, slept for longer, and needed fewer drugs to fall asleep. Study author Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, explained that living with cancer can be a very stressful experience, as patients cope with a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness and the side effects of treatment. As is well known, stress can often interfere with patients’ sleep habits. Over the years, studies have linked yoga and health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, beating fatigue and easing chronic pain. In the current report, Cohen and his team asked half of the patients to participate in seven weekly sessions of yoga and the results were compared to other patients with lymphoma who did not participate in the yoga program. Some studies have suggested that up to three quarters of cancer patients struggle with sleep. This may have important health consequences since sleep disturbances have been linked with problems with the immune system, and an increased risk of illness or death. Individuals with cancer should be cautioned that while undergoing or recovering from treatment one should adopt a gentle routine, and avoid excessively strenuous routines. This is particularly true for cancer patients who have metastases to the bones which would make the skeletal system more prone to fractures. There is good reason to expect that a gentle form of yoga would be beneficial to not only patients with lymphoma, but those suffering from other types of cancer.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to improve physical and emotional well-being. Several recent studies have been conducted with cancer patients and survivors. Nine studies conducted with cancer patients and survivors yielded modest improvements in sleep quality, mood, stress, cancer-related distress, cancer-related symptoms, and overall quality of life. Studies conducted in other patient populations and healthy individuals have shown beneficial effects on psychological symptoms, as well as other aspects of physical function. Results from the emerging literature on yoga and cancer provide preliminary support for yoga interventions for cancer patients, although controlled trials are lacking.

Dr. Ray Sahelian comments: I started yoga 20 years ago and I love it. It makes me feel so relax with Yoga, revitalized, and supple. I heard someone once say, “You’re as young as your spine is flexible.” Although not completely true, part of staying younger is to have flexibility of tendons and ligaments. No amount of a healthy diet and supplement intake is going to replace the benefits of yoga or other forms of stretching practices. Although I realize how important yoga is, sometimes I don’t have the patience to attend a one and half hour class, so I do it at home at 20 minute intervals a few times a week. There are several yoga programs on TV, particularly the public funded channels, and you can tape some and do the yoga postures at your leisure. Or, you can attend a local yoga class.

Yoga for cancer patients and survivors

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to improve physical and emotional well-being. Empirical research on yoga has been ongoing for several decades, including several recent studies conducted with cancer patients and survivors. METHODS: This review provides a general introduction to yoga and a detailed review of yoga research in cancer. RESULTS: Nine studies conducted with cancer patients and survivors yielded modest improvements in sleep quality, mood, stress, cancer-related distress, cancer-related symptoms, and overall quality of life. Studies conducted in other patient populations and healthy individuals have shown beneficial effects on psychological and somatic symptoms, as well as other aspects of physical function. CONCLUSIONS: Results from the emerging literature on yoga and cancer provide preliminary support for the feasibility and efficacy of yoga interventions for cancer patients, although controlled trials are lacking. Further research is required to determine the reliability of these effects and to identify their underlying mechanisms.

Yoga Helps for Better Sleep

A good night’s sleep really is within reach and the often-recommended treatment is to establish a relaxing bedtime routine. The following yoga stretches can help you to relax and enjoy a peaceful sleep.

Forward Bend (Hastapadasana): Helps stretch the back muscles, invigorates the nervous system by increasing blood supply, and makes the spine supple.

Cat Stretch (Marjariasana): Excellent stretch for spine flexibility. Also helps massage the digestive organs and improve digestion, thereby helping you to sleep well. Also improves blood circulation and relaxes the mind.

Child Pose(Shishuasana): A deeply relaxing stretch for the back which also helps calm the nervous system so that you can sleep at peace.

Butterfly Pose (BaddhaKonasana): This pose can help remove fatigue from long hours of standing or walking. Also a good stretch for inner thighs, groin and knees.

Legs-up-the-wall Pose (ViparitaKarani)
Lie down straight on your back. Now lift one leg up, followed by the next, and let your feet rest on the wall.

Extend the arms along the sides, palms facing up.

Now close your eyes and keep taking deep breaths as you relax into the pose. You may use an eye cushion over your eyes to block the light and completely relax. Stay in the pose for as long as you comfortably can and then slowly come out, bringing the legs down.

Source : Yoga For Sleep

Resolution for Yoga !!!

Come December and out are those personal diaries which may be lying somewhere covered in dust. These diaries are out for a reason at this time of the year. For, it’s the time to exercise your grey cells and chalk out a plan for the New Year. A plan for your family, for yourself, for a healthy body and a stress-free mind. The last two may seem easy to implement by including yoga practice in your resolution list. We bring you six good reasons why yoga should be one of your resolutions the coming year. After all, we can’t rub cold shoulders to a trend which is more than 5,000 years old!

1. For improved flexibility: How many times have we, knowingly or unknowingly, massaged our hurting back? Many a time, we try to reach for a jar only to realize that we have ended up getting a muscle pull. Are we aging? The answer is “always”. In this world of quick fixes, fast food and speeding cars, we seem to have forgotten our traditional practices and ignored the fact that a stich in time saves nine. A few gentle body stretches or some quick rounds of Surya Namaskarin the morning can work wonders for your body. It wouldn’t be late before you come to know that your body has become more flexible and reaching for the jar is just another child’s play!

2. For a fitter body: Most of you would have ‘going to the gym’ or ‘cycling’ or ‘reducing my waistline’ on your resolution list. Yoga can help take care of all your weight-related concerns. A few minutes of Kapalbhati Pranayama everyday could surprise your tailor at your waistline measurement when you visit him next! Surya Namaskar – a series of different yoga poses which work on the core muscles of your body –is a complete body workout and a few quick rounds everyday would not only leave you fresh and energetic but also help you lose an inch or two.

3. For sharp minds and sharp decisions: A hasty decision may sometimes lead to undesired results. Some decisions require you to sit, think and re-strategize yourself. Yoga practices help you become a wiser and calmer person. You become capable of taking the right call at the right time without wasting time on re-strategizing.“Yoga helped me discover skills and capabilities I never knew I had. You almost become a channel for the most surprising things that flow through you,”shares Srinivas Uppaluri, Management Consultant, Bangalore.

Source : Why Yoga Should Be On Your Resolution List

Yoga From Mom with Love

“Rahul, can you switch off your PlayStation for a while and pay attention to what I have to say?” I knew my voice fell on deaf ears. I knew somewhere that my son, who was so engrossed in the game, found it confusing to switch between the real and virtual worlds.

A common scenario in any household today. Parents want their Children to avoid watching the TV or playing hardcore action games which only induce inertness, lethargy and violence in their nature. There is an uncanny worry haunting them when they sit to think of their kid’s future.

A few years ago, I was also on the same boat, worrying about my kid’s future,until I met Shweta, a yoga teacher who used to teach at the studio round the corner. I had never seen someone so dedicated and passionate about their hobby as Shweta. She used to take yoga sessions for kids, youth and adults all day during weekends, and morning and evening during weekdays.

Rahul was very stubborn to take up the classes so I used to accompany him,only to realize that I was not the only one. I came across mothers who were thinking on the same line as mine, who cared about their children and who wanted a healthy future for their children. Shweta would bring a lot of fun factor to the yoga poses and stretches, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed.

Rahul had also now started enjoying headstands, arch poses and pranayamas, which took me to surprise! Being a mother means you start noticing even the most minor change in your kid, without the need for a microscope!

Seeing my own kid change, I am inspired to bring forth some reasons why we should encourage our children to take up yoga.

1.  Strong foundation: As a skyscraper requires a strong foundation, so does our kids. I believe that once the child starts practicing different yoga poses on a regular basis, it learns to balance its body while also layingthe foundation for good health in the future. Yoga strengthens the body and makes the bones stronger too.

2.  Sharp kids finish first: The headstand and shoulder stands get the blood flowing to the head region, supplying more oxygen to the grey cells which start functioning better. The end result – a sharp kid who raises his finger first to answer any difficult question the teacher asks in class.

3.  Boon to immunity: How often do we need to take our kids to the family doctor every change of season? Yoga can bring a change this season, as asanas and pranayamashelp improve the immune function.The open-chest postures expand the chest region which in turn helpsus breathe smoothly.

4.  Calm and composed: A dream of every parent to see their child as one of the quietest and most obedient. Yoga brings a flavor of calmness. I observed that Rahul had not only started lending his ear to what I had to say but was now taking a meticulous approach to his daily chores, whether it was sitting at the dining table for breakfast or giving his clothes for laundry.

5. P for patience, P for pranayama: My weekly catch-ups with Shweta made me learn that alternate nostril breathing (NadiShodhan Pranayama) activates both the nostrils at the same time, which in turn activates the nervous system. The oxygenated blood relaxes the nervous system which brings more patience, alertness and focus. All these contribute to the child’s growth.

6.  Yoga is not just asanas– Haven’t we thought of yoga as just yoga postures or asanas? The truth is beyond it. Yoga as a package has a lot more to offer than just the yoga poses; it’s a lifestyle which very few people follow religiously. It includes food, meditation, yoga poses, and yoga philosophy or wisdom. The yoga philosophy teaches our children to practice non-violence, encourages vegetarianism and promotes good human values.

Source : From Mom with Love

Yoga in Modern World

If A is for Apple, E is for Elephant, and U for Umbrella, don’t be surprised if kids reading alphabets today spell “Y for Yoga”. Indeed, yoga is becoming more and more popular today. While there may be many reasons for this, one who has experienced the powerful benefits of simple yogic practices would hardly be surprised at how the ‘Y’ word has risen to great popularity. Since the only qualification required for yoga is the ‘ability to breathe’, people from all backgrounds, age groups and occupations could choose to take its benefits. How to do that?

To most people, the word ‘Yoga’ means a set of physical exercises or postures (called ‘asanas’ in Sanskrit). It is very interesting to know that these ‘asanas’ or physical exercises are just one of the eight “limbs of Yoga”, as explained by Maharishi Patanjali in the ancient times. Aside from the Asanas, yoga also consists of meditation, breathing techniques such as Pranayams and  Sudarshan Kriya , hygiene and the practice of moral values. As a whole, yoga brings about not just good health to the body, but also to the mind, emotions, energy and personality. In short, it contributes to a wholesome and fulfilling life.

modern world yoga

A complete and fulfilling life is often missing today, perhaps more than ever before. Longer working hours, reduced physical exercise, greater competition at schools and workplaces, increasing use of chemicals in food and items of daily use are some of the common factors which are leading to unbalanced, unhealthy and stressful lifestyles today. Left unchecked, this can lead to psychological and health issues. It is not surprising that diseases of the body – heart ailments, diabetes, obesity – and mind – depression, anxiety, insomnia (problems with sleep) and phobias – are so common today. Yoga offers protection from these ailments.

The old proverb ‘Prevention is better than cure’ applies perfectly well to the practice of Yoga. Apart from preventing the emotional trauma suffered by the ill and their families, one can also avoid the rising costs of medication as well as the harmful side-effects that invariably accompany allopathic medicines. But the stand-out advantage of a ‘Sadhak’ (one who practices Yoga) over others is the tremendous strength and qualities he or she gets in personality, such as the ability to focus and yet be relaxed at the same time, overcoming failure and rejection, high self-confidence and clarity of thought. His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said: “Look at the benefits of spirituality. 1) It brings enthusiasm. 2) There is more time in your life. You can do with only 5-6 hours of sleep. It will keep you energized. 3) Will enhance your Creativity 4) Increase your Energy levels. All these lead to prosperity.”

Yogic practices have also touched the lives of the celebrated and the popular. Bollywood stars Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor are active supporters and teachers of Yoga. The Sri Lankan Government arranged a yoga workshop for its national cricket team following an assassination attempt on the team while on tour in Pakistan in 2009. The Sri Lankan captain was quoted as saying that “he had felt relaxed and calm” after practicing the breathing techniques. Among other famous personalities who have practiced Yoga are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Angelina Jolie Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Modern technology has also made yoga very convenient to practice. Locating yoga classes and regular practice groups has never been easier, thanks to the internet and telephone. Even meditation can be done on the internet with the help of audio tracks which guide the user through instructions. Thanks to music players on mobile phones and other portable instruments, meditation is possible anywhere, anytime using audio tracks – during lunch breaks, while commuting, in busy offices or in serene lawns.

Indeed, it is now possible to practice yoga around hectic schedules and tight deadlines without much effort. The more relevant truth is that today’s fast-paced world makes it necessary to practice yoga to keep good health, joy and a sense of balance in life. It is easy to do. And fun! So, roll out your mat and begin!

Yoga in Punjab

In the general sense, Yoga means Milan or combination of body, mind and soul. One of the most authentic ancient literary resources on Yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In the ultimate analysis Yoga is totally concerned with inner glands. Yoga does wonders at three levels – firstly at physical level, secondly at mental level and thirdly at spiritual level. In the present modern era, Yoga is  being practiced not only in India but across the globe too. In India people from all the regions have adopted Yoga, as they believe in the health benefits it provides. If we talk about the northern region, then the Punjab is the rich and prosperous state where we find large number of Yoga followers. Despite their fitness routine, there still are people in Punjab who are witnessing poor health. The main reason underlying is their ignorance of what, when and how to eat according to the principles of Yoga.

Yoga for students , IT Professionals , housewives and businessmen is popping up all over the country and especially in Punjab. In spite of this increased awareness, there are people in Punjab who lack the knowledge of maintaining their health. The main cause of their ill-health is their lavish lifestyle, and unawareness of what sort of food to eat, at what(when) time and how to consume. Food plays a vital role in Yoga as it excites the senses and passions.

“Nathyasnatastu Yogoasti na chaikantamanasnatah

                             Na chaathisvapnaseelasya jagratho naivacharjuna”.

“Verily, Yoga is not for him who eateth too much, nor he who abstaineth to excess, nor who is too much addicted to sleep, nor even to wakefulness, O Arjuna.” (Gita VI- 16).

The possible side-effects that a large section of population in Punjab can suffer is obesity, cardiovascular arrest, high stress level, high blood pressure. So it is the need of the hour among Punjabis to follow proper food habits. They should lessen the intake of fried pranthas along with butter and lassi. They should take lighter meals if taken heavy breakfasts. They should avoid eating late during nights and avoid fried in the dinner. Punjabis should take high protein diets with rules and regulations.

The benefits of Yoga and meditation are extensive. Daily practice of yoga and meditation relieves the stress of day. It improves flexibility of muscles and joints. It also improves posture and body alignment, digestion, circulation and immunity. One of the main benefits of yoga is that it lowers the amount of coristol in the body which aids in weight loss and fat burning. The yogic breathing brings more oxygen to the heart and removes toxins from our body.

There is a tremendous and wonderful result due to Yoga in Punjab. As per news-report by ANI on April 23, Ferozepur (Punjab), Residents of Begawali village (Ferozepur), have made Yoga an integral part of their daily lifestyle. They are confident of staying healthy. Now with Yoga they got rid of all bad habits.

Sri Sri Ravishankar ji founded a beautiful course SRI-SRI YOGA – a blend of asans, pranayama and meditation. In his words, “Yoga is the science of discovering one’s self-the very source of pure consciousness and bliss.” There are trained teachers under whom a lots of people all over India, abroad and even from Punjab have benefited after attending this course.

Guru Baba Ramdev has revolutionized the concept of living a healthy life through Yoga across the country. Even in Punjab people have benefited a lot after attending his yog shivirs. His effort is on using asanas and vigorous pranayama for healthy benefits.

Yoga is a great need of our time. With increasing stress and demanding lifestyle especially among Punjabis, it is very important to maintain harmony of the mind, body and soul. The main caution to be taken is that practice yoga with a qualified Yoga instructor.

What is yoga ?? by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

In Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali says that the purpose of yoga is to stop misery from befalling you. Sutra (in Sanskrit) literally means a thread or string that holds things together and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism. Patanjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, a major work containing aphorisms on the practical and philosophical wisdom regarding the practice of Yoga.

Guided by a single thread, a kite can glide and soar to amazing heights. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are life’s threads, each one rich with knowledge, tools and techniques. These sutras guide not only the mind, but also one’s very being to its full potential, amidst a 21st century lifestyle.