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Yoga for the Back

Know your asana- VAJRASANA

Vajrasana is one of the most popular meditative postures. The asana is being used since five thousand years. And when Buddha attained enlightenment, Vajrasana was called the "Indestructible seat." As, the posture helps in absolute stillness inside-out. What is so special about Vajrasana? Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose is considered to be the best sitting posture, for practicing breathing exercises and meditation. Besides, in India, a lot of people sit in this asana after eating their meals. This is a great posture for smooth digestion. Chakra-wise When sitting in Vajrasana with your eyes closed, the Ajna Chakra is stimulated. The third eye chakra is an instrument to perceive the more subtle qualities of reality. It goes beyond the more physical senses into the realm of subtle energies. Being tuned into this chakra, allows you to open up to an intuitive sensibility and inner perception. Benefits of Vajrasana Better digestion: The kneeling posture helps better blood circulation in the body. It modifies the blood flow by reducing the blood flow in lower portion, especially in the legs and increasing blood flow to the digestive organs resulting to efficiency of the digestive system. People with weak digestion are benefited. Strengthens the back: As the spine is erect and our hips are supported by the heels, it helps in strengthening the back. Optimal organ functioning: As the torso is kept straight, there is optimal place for every internal organ. Thereby, the organs are not squeezed and can function effectively. Thigh toner: Sitting in this asana helps in toning the thighs overtime. It also stretches tight hamstrings. Calming effect: As the torso is erect and we focus towards the eyebrow center, there is an incredible calming effect on the mind and body. Great meditative asana: Yoga asanas [...]

Know your asana: Chakrasana

In the esoteric tradition of hatha yoga, Chakrasana creates a bridge between six chakras. Besides, helping the mind, body and breath, the wheel posture stimulates the energy flow in the entire body. Also, this posture is popular because of its' benefits and its' aesthetic appeal. What is so special about Chakrasana? It is an intense backward bend which creates necessary space in the spine to keep young and healthy. Just like a wheel sets the momentum for the car, this asana sets the momentum for the circulatory system, nervous system and endocrine system. Chakra-wise Chakrasana introduces our conscious awareness to the energy flowing through the chakras. While the torso is reflexed, the Manipura chakra is affected.  And as the seat of digestive fire, this Chakra regulates the function of the Pancreas and digestive organs. The solar plexus contains many precious jewels such as the qualities of clarity, self-confidence, bliss, self-assurance, knowledge, wisdom and the ability to make correct decisions. Benefits of Chakrasana Spine flexibilty and strength-  Wheel pose strengthens and lengthens the vertebrae, which increases elasticity and flexibility of the spine. As we age, our spines compress, but this asana helps us stand tall in the later years too! Tones the abdominal region- Regular practice ensure that the obliques and the abdominal fat is reduced. Opens up the chest- while increasing the lung capacity. Thereby it helps in more oxygen being circulated in the body. Stimulates nervous system and endocrine system- Due to stimulation of the thyroid and pituitary glands, when engaged in the posture, happy hormones/chemicals are secreted. It energises and de-stresses you. Stretches the hip while increasing hip flexibility. Heart opener- As the chest is pushed out, the cardiovascular health improves, the energy is activated. This helps in emotional [...]

Know your asana – Sethu bandhasana

Sethu bandhasana can be used to fire up or cool down your yoga practice. The bridge posture is great for the spine, thus the vertebrae is lengthened and strengthened. This asana can be used as a preparatory posture for Chakrasana. What is so special about Sethu bandhasana? This asana can be a restorative posture or a dynamic way to open and strengthen your body. It opens the thoracic spine (the middle and upper back) and imprints important alignment principles in the lower body. Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years, you can reap benefits from building a strong Bridge! Besides, it is a great warm up for the abdomen too. :) Chakra-wise Manipura chakra is associated with the natural element fire and directly linked to your sense of self. A healthy solar plexus ensures that you are comfortable with your own inherent power and become empowered. This energy center is associated with your self-esteem, sense of purpose, personal identity, individual will, digestion and metabolism. Benefits of Sethu bandhasana Opens shoulders and chest-  Rolling onto the tops of your shoulders, helps in opening the chest and strengthening the upper back. This pose is very restorative for anyone who notices that they droop in the shoulders – be it while standing or sitting. Opens the hip-  Bridge asana opens the hip flexors, creating length where there needs to be length, and tension where tension is needed. Great posture to be practiced, after sitting for a long time. De-stressing and calming effects- in the brain and nervous system. Aligns and strengthens the vertebrae.  Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands and abdominal organs- while improving digestion ,circulatory system and respiration. Backbend- Sethu bandhasana is a mild backbend and tones the whole [...]

Know your asana – MERUDANDASANA

Babies are natural yogis! Just watch a baby playing, you'll see them twisting, bending, putting their toes into their mouths, raising their shoulders & head and so many variations of yoga asanas. Similarly, Merudandasana is a playful posture which stretches the hips and hamstrings. This is also called the balancing bear pose. What is special about Merudandasana? Usually, standing postures are perceived to be balance asanas. Whereas, Merudandasana is a seated balance asana. It is a great for the spine and especially the lower back. It is a great preparatory pose for Naukasana. Besides, balancing bear is a great hip opener and over time increases the lower body flexibility. :) Chakra-wise As we balance on the sacrum and coccyx, the Mooladhara chakra is stimulated. The Swadhistana chakra is also affected. The asana helps us feel more secure. It also opens the yogi's creative energy and stimulates feelings of pleasure, abundance and joy. Benefits of Merudandasana Great stretch for the hips and hamstrings- The asana stretches the legs, adductors and the glutes. This helps in opening the hips and lengthens the thigh muscles. Strengthens the lower back - While balancing the lower back is engaged and hips are stabilised. Consistent practice strengthens the lower back. And, always remember, to have a strong core, a strong lower back is essential! Realigns the spine- The torso and spine are stretched. This also gives optimal place for the organs to function effectively.  Tones the abdomen - works especially on the liver, and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It helps to stimulate intestinal peristalsis, alleviating constipation. Improves balance, focus and flexibility Contra-indications Avoid in case of hip surgery, injuries. For severe knee pain or knee injury, keep the knees bent. Pro-tip Keep the back straight and [...]

Know your asana- ARDHA CHANDRASANA

Ardha Chandrasana is a pinnacle pose that once understood lays the foundation for other balance postures. The asana is used more by the modern yogis as an alternate to Veerabhadrasana 3. We lovingly refer to it as the cheat pose, but Half moon pose is a great balance and stabilising asana. What makes Ardha Chandrasana so special? Ardha Chandrasana challenges the body, balance and mind. It is a great posture for hip flexibility, strong legs and an aligned spine. Besides, it stretches the whole torso which provides optimal space to all the internal organs. This ensures effective functioning of every organ. And, like they say, "Every posture affects your muscles but more importantly, it balances the functioning of the Human body." Chakra-wise Practicing Ardha Chandrasana stimulates the Mooladhara chakra. Its energy is based on the earth element. It’s associated with the feeling of safety and grounding. It’s at the base of the chakra system and lays the foundation for expansion in your life. Benefits of  Ardha Chandrasana Strengthens ankles, knees and legs - As our weight is balanced on one foot, the hamstrings and quadriceps are engaged resulting in strong legs. Hip Stability -  This asana is particularly beneficial to the external rotators and stabilizers of the hip while increasing the hip flexibility and strength. Strengthens the abdomen and spine- The asana also tones the core while improving the digestion and making the spine more mobile. Relieves stress  -  The balancing act is very powerful, as it helps in practicing mindfulness. Thereby, the deep breathing helps us concentrate and relax. Better Focus - Like every balance asana, there is more mental work to do than physical. There will be days when you can hold the posture for 30 seconds. And there [...]

Know your asana- VEERABHADRASANA 3

One of the most celebrated asanas in Yoga is the Veerabhadrasana. Today we will learn more about the balance posture, Veerabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3. The common characters of a warrior is their ferocity and anger. But this asana concentrates on their strength and calmness.  Veerabhadrasana 3 is about learning how to respond rather than react. Fight, Flight or Freeze are the common reactions, but we train to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. What makes  Veerabhadrasana 3 so special? This is a dynamic posture!! It works on your lower body, core and more importantly it teaches us patience and perseverance. Every posture in yoga works on our internal organs, muscles, breathing pattern and our personality. Warrior 3 is an epitome of all this. Besides, it's a journey from playing hopscotch in the first class to the time when we can hold it for 30 seconds. :) Chakra-wise Having your intentions in the right place during your practice allows for a deeper focus. Being a balance posture,  Mooladhara chakra ( root chakra) is stimulated. Our need for security, survival and stability is balanced. Thereby, we are more self-aware, courageous and fearless. :) Benefits of Veerabhadrasana 3 Strengthens the ankles and legs- Did you know that the foot and ankle complex have more than 33 joints and over 100 muscles and connective tissues? This pose helps in strengthening and aligning these muscles and bones. Besides, the legs are toned and strengthened. Improves core endurance and hip stability- To hold the posture, the core is engaged. Thereby the abdominal muscles are toned and strengthened . Simultaneously, the gluteus maximus becomes strong and hip flexors are opened.  Aligns your spine and sharpens your focus. Teaches patience, perseverance and focus- Getting this posture right may take weeks [...]