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Yoga for Sports

//Yoga for Sports

Yoga for Sports series of articles explores how yoga can help you improve at different sports.

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- Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana

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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: NAUKASANA

Naukasana is one of the most challenging postures on day 1 or year 10 of your practice. Naukasana or the boat posture along with its variations has made it's way into Pilates and the Gym. Moreover, want to check your fitness level, hold the posture for 60 seconds and you'll know where you stand. :) What makes Naukasana so special? The boat posture utilizes all of your muscles in one stationary pose. This asana is an abdominal strengthener and also strengthens the deep hip flexors that attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine. Naukasana is lovingly nicknamed "The core killer". :) Chakra-wise The asana works on your core which activates the abdominal organs and activates the Manipura Chakra. On the physical level, the function of this Chakra is similar to that of a fireplace. When the energy of our food is not properly absorbed, utilised and distributed in the Manipura Chakra we feel tired, weak and ill, but with an active Manipura Chakra the body is provided with sufficient energy. Benefits of Naukasana Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine as we balance on our tail bone and push the core towards the spine. Since we engage our core, the abdominal organs are stimulated. It regulates and ensures better functioning of the kidneys, thyroid - prostate glands and intestines. The core killer helps in toning the fat around the stomach. Thereby, regular practice will keep your abdomen taut and toned. Helps to increases the circulation of blood in all the abdominal organs and maintain the sugar level. Therefore, it helps in improving digestion. While balancing in the posture, keep your legs and knees straight, thereby strengthening and toning the legs. Contra-indications Avoid in [...]

Unlearning through Yoga

"Education is a process of Unlearning and learning." Similarly, Yoga is a process of unlearning and learning afresh. Thanks to our lifestyle and occupational hazards, we have acute stiffness, pains and bad postures. A lot of the new practitioners are taught how to stand right, sit with the spine straight and breathe deep. But, this proves to be more difficult than learning asanas due to the ingrained habits. Part of the path of yoga is to learn to let go of the ego. The ego doesn’t like to be ordered around and it detests changes. Yoga as a lifestyle My journey had a lot of unlearning and letting go. There was too much effort in my postures and in my breathing. My breath was shallow and I was tensing up the shoulders and spine in every posture. Overtime with awareness, I learnt to relax the muscles and focus on a particular stretch or asana. There were a few instructions that I could not follow. But with time, practice and a lot of unlearning, I was gaining more composure in my yoga practice. As per Patanjali's Yoga sutras, " Sthira Sukha Asana" , every practitioner should be steady and comfortable in a posture. On a physical level, an asana should be held comfortably for an extended period. And when we look inside, the key is to pay attention and respond to how you feel moment to moment, rather than imposing a structure from the outside. Our fast-paced lives and the prevalence of stress-related illnesses, make it clear that we need to simplify and declutter our lives. So, let's begin with our body and mind. Many a times we need to unlearn, to improve the quality of our [...]

By | July 26th, 2017|Total Yoga, Total Yogis, Yoga, yoga for energy, Yoga for Runners, Yoga for Sports, Yoga in Daily Life|Comments Off on Unlearning through Yoga