New Delhi: Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind and helps manage stress and anxiety while keeping one relaxed. It also helps to increase flexibility, muscle strength, tone the body and improves respiration, energy and vitality. Practicing yoga might seem like just stretching, but it can do much more for your body from the way you feel, look and move.
Bollywood actress and Reebok ambassador Malaika Arora who has been practicing yoga for long shares a few basic yoga asanas which you can practice at home and kick-start your day by filling in positivity and stay motivated. Each pose can be held for 3 to 5 long breaths. You can practice these twice a week and gradually make it a part of your daily routine.
She says: “I am mindful of the fact that I feel centered within myself. There may be a storm out there, but there is a calm within. I am grateful for the calm that I have experienced through my practice of Yoga, and I am mindful that my life has changed positively because of this.”
A few things to note before you begin your journey:
* Focus on the breath, right from the beginning.
* Do what you easily can. There is no competition. You are expected to move at your own pace. Listen to your body and do not push yourself.
* Don`t get discouraged by the initial lack of flexibility or strength, it improves over time. Be patient and give your body the time to respond.
* Understand that every body is unique. Everyone has different levels of strength, stamina, and flexibility. Your lifestyle and goals may also vary. Find a style of yoga that suits your needs.
* The best time to practice yoga is early in the morning and empty stomach. So, begin your day with yoga
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This pose teaches one to stand with majestic steadiness like a mountain. It involves a major group of muscles and improves focus and concentration.
* Stand with your heels slightly apart and hang your arms besides the torso.
* Gently lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor.
* Balance your body weight on your feet. Lift your ankles and firm your thigh muscles while rotating them inwards.
* As you inhale, elongate your torso and when you exhale release your shoulder blades away from your head.
* Broaden your collarbone and elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be in one line.
* You can check your alignment by standing against the wall initially. You can even raise your hands and stretch them. Breathe easy.
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
This pose gives you a sense of grounding. It improves your balance and strengthens your legs and back.
* Place your right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of the foot should be flat and placed firmly. Keep your left leg straight and find your balance.
* While inhaling, raise your arms over your head and bring your palms together. Ensure that your spine is straight and take a few deep breaths.
* Slowly exhale, bring your hands down and release your right leg. Back in the standing position repeat the same with the other leg.
3. Adho Mukho Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
This pose stretches hamstrings, chest and lengthens the spine, providing additional blood flow to the head. It will leave you feeling energized.
* Sit on your heels, stretch your arms forward on the mat and lower your head.
* Form a table, like pushing your hands, strengthening your legs and slowly raising your hips.
* Press your heels down, let your head hand freely and tighten your waist.
4. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
It stretches the legs and torso, mobilises the hips and promotes deep breathing, leaving one with enlivening effects.
* Stand with your feet wide apart. Stretch your right foot out (90 degrees) while keeping the leg closer to the torso.
* Keep your feet pressed against the ground and balance your weight equally on both feet. Inhale and as you exhale bend your right arm and make it touch the ground while your left arm goes up.
* Keep your waist straight. Ensure that your body is bent sideways and not forward or backwards. Stretch as much as you can while taking long, deep breaths.
* Repeat on the other side.
5. Kursiasana (Chair Pose)
An intensely powerful pose, this one strengthens the muscles of the legs and arms. It builds your willpower and has an energizing effect on the body and mind.
* Stand straight with your feet slightly apart.
* Stretch your arms but don`t bend your elbow. Inhale and bend your knees, pushing your pelvis down like you are sitting on chair.
* Keep your hands parallel to the ground and back straight. Take deep breaths. Bend gradually but make sure your knees don`t go beyond your toes.