A toned abdomen is often considered as a sign of a healthy body. And there are others who crave for a waistline that does not embarrass us and allows us to wear the clothes that we like. For those who are still struggling to tuck in their tummy and get well-toned abs, yoga can be of great help. In my last series, I discussed the Cobra Pose and Seated Forward Bend which target the upper and lower abdominal muscle at the same time. These do not only build your abs but simultaneously messages and toned up your pelvic organs relieving the stresses present in those organs keeping the diseases and disorders at the bay.
Now in this series, I will discuss another two powerful poses: Standing Forward Bend and Warrior Pose.\
A/ Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)
All the muscles of the back are stretched in the Standing forward bend. This posture tones the abdominal organs and also improves the blood supply to the nervous system. It also put beneficial stretches to the hamstring muscles present at the back of the legs and thighs. It is pronounced as Has-tah-pada-sanah. The word Hastapadasana can be split into three parts like Hasta- hand; Padah- foot; asana- pose thus it is named Standing Forward Bend.
- Stand straight with feet together and arms alongside the body.
- Balance your weight equally on both feet.
- Breathing in, extend your arms overhead.
- Breathing out, bend forward and down towards the feet.
- Stay in the posture for 20-30 seconds and continue to breathe deeply.
- Keep the legs and spine erect; hands rest either on the floor, beside the feet or on the legs.
- On the out breath, move the chest towards the knees; lift the hips and tailbone higher; press the heels down; let the head relax and move it gently towards the feet. Keep breathing deeply.
- Breathing in, stretch your arms forward and up, slowly come up to the standing position.
- Breathing out, bring the arms to the sides.
- Stretches all the muscles of the back of the body and also legs.
- Invigorates the nervous system by increasing the -blood supply.
- Makes the spine supple.
- Tones the abdominal organs.
People suffering from lower back injuries, Spondylitis, Cervical pain or any kind of back and spinal problems should not do this pose.
B/ Veerabhadrasana or (Warrior Pose)
The Warrior pose stretches and strengthens the shoulders, chest, belly and groins. It also helps tone the body and is an effective stress relieving posture. This pose is named after Veerabhadra, a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The story of the warrior Veerabhadra, as all stories from Upanishads, has a moral that adds value to our life.
Veera – vigorous, warrior, courageous; Bhadra – good, auspicious; Asana – Posture
The asana is pronounced as Vee- Ra- Bha- Dra-asana.
Veerabhadrasana or Virabhadrasana is one of the most graceful yoga postures and it adds beauty and grace to one’s yoga practice.
- Stand straight with your legs wide apart by a distance of at least 3-4 feet.
- Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by about 15 degrees.
- Checkpoint: Is the heel of the right foot aligned to the centre of the left foot? Lift both arms sideways to shoulder height with your palms facing upwards.
- Checkpoint: Are your arms parallel to the ground?
- Breathing out, bend your right knee.
- Checkpoint: Are your right knee and right ankle forming a straight line? Ensure that your knee does not overshoot the ankle.
- Turn your head and look to your right.
- As you settle down in the yoga posture stretch your arms further.
- Make a gentle effort to push your pelvis down. Hold the yoga posture with the determination of a warrior. Smile like a happy smiling warrior. Keep breathing as you go down.
- Breathing in, come up.
- Breathing out, bring your hands down from the sides.
- Repeat the yoga posture for the left side (turn your left foot out by 90 degrees and turn the right foot in by about 15 degrees).
- Strengthens and tones the arms, legs and lower back.
- Improves balance in the body, helps increase stamina.
- Beneficial for those with sedentary or deskbound jobs.
- Extremely beneficial in case of frozen shoulders.
- Releases stress in the shoulders very effectively in a short span of time.
- Brings auspiciousness, courage, grace and peace.
- Practice Warrior Pose (Veerabhadrasana) only after consulting your doctor if you have experienced spinal disorders recently or just recovered from a chronic illness.
- High blood pressure patients should avoid this posture.
- Veerabhadrasana especially benefits pregnant ladies in their second and third trimester provided they have been practising yoga regularly. Practice Veerabhadrasana while standing close to a wall so you can support yourself if required. However, do consult your doctor before doing this yoga posture.
- Avoid this posture if you are suffering or had recently suffered from diarrhoea.
- If you have knee pain or arthritis, use some support at the knee to hold this yoga posture.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. The benefits of regular yoga practice lead to a healthy body and a calm mind. Yoga is more about toning your entire body rather than just body-building. So, even if you become irregular in your practice, the chances of weight bouncing back will be a slower process as compared to a gaming routine.
Happy practising and feel free to share like and comments. More useful posture on this topic will be discussed in my next post! So do follow my blog.
Source: The Art of Living