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Spinal Twist in Ashwasanchalanasana


Assume posture no. 3 of surya namaskar, ashwasanchalan. With the left leg in the front. Allow the back knee to rest on the floor. Take your right arm over the left knee so that the armpit is resting over the knee. This will allow you to turn your upper body to face the left side. Join your hands to make a Namaste at the centre of your chest. Gaze at your left elbow. This is the final posture. Hold for as long as comfortable. Repeat on the other side.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal-Twist Posture)

[dropcapA[/dropcap]rdha Matsyendrasana is a good spinal-twisting posture that keeps the spinal column supple, flexible and strong. This is also a very important Yoga posture for the management of Diabetes – as the pose involves applying a beneficial stress on the pancreas, ‘Insulin’ is secreted by the body which helps in managing blood sugar levels and dealing with Type 2 Diabetes. Mythical reference: According to Indian mythology, the pose is dedicated to Lord Matsyendranath (Lord of the Fishes). The story goes that once a man was consumed by a large fish which went down to the bottom of the sea. There Lord Shiva, considered the first Guru of Yoga, was sharing his knowledge on Yoga with his consort Parvati. The man inside the fish heard this discourse, and on understanding this knowledge, became enlightened. When the fish returned to the top of the sea, the man came out and became a renowned Yogi called Matsyendranath! (literal translation: ‘Lord of the Fishes’) How to do Ardha Matsyendrasana? Sit with your legs stretched out. Bend your right leg and place the foot over your left leg. Bring your right knee close to your chest. Place the outside of your left elbow to lock your right knee close to the chest. Then twist your back and turn backwards, placing your right palm on the floor behind your back. Open your right shoulder backwards and turn to the back. Hold this posture while breathing normally for 30 secs-1 min. Then repeat on the other side. Counter-Indications: If you have a severe backache, please consult your doctor or yoga teacher before attempting this posture. Modifications: If you are unable to do the pose, then you can do the same [...]

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Lie flat on the back with legs and feet together, place arms by the sides with palms facing down. Raise both legs to the vertical position. Press down on the arms and raise the buttocks, rolling the back away from the floor Lower the legs over the head and bring the toes to the floor. Do not force. Turn the palms up and place the hands behind the rib cage to support the back. Relax and hold the final pose for as long as is comfortable. This asana should not be practiced by those who suffer from hernia, slipped disc, sciatica or high blood pressure. If you feel any pain in the neck, please avoid doing this asana. How it helps: The movement of the diaphragm which takes place during haalasana massages all the internal organs, activates digestion, relieves constipation and promotes the production of insulin by the pancreas. It is best to perform this asana immediately after sarvangasana. Immediately following haalasana practice matsyasana or fish pose. By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano

Sarpasana (Snake pose)

Lie flat on your stomach Bring your arms behind your back clasping the hands together>Rest the forehead on the ground and relax the whole body. Inhale deeply expanding the chest and abdomen as much as possible. Begin to lift the shoulders and chest off the mat by contracting the back muscles and tensing the arms. Raise the body as high as you can without causing any strain. After a comfortable length of time slowly lower the body to the floor while exhaling. Completely relax the body in the starting position. Allow respiration to return to normal. How it helps: Sarpasana strengthens the back, massages the abdominal organs, relieves back pain and aids with digestion ailments such as constipation. It is also beneficial for those with diabetes. By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano  

Shava Udarakarashansana (Universal spinal twist)

Lying in shavasana stretch out both hands paralell to the shoulders, palms facing down. Bend your right knee and place the right sole on the left thigh. Bring the knee down toward the floor, twisting to the left side. Be sure to keep the right shoulder in contact with the floor. Turn the head to the right. Stay for a few breaths, inhale and come back to the center. Change sides. This asana rectifies the disorders of hip joint, relieves the strain and pain of the waist and pelvic area, removes the unnecessary fats stored in the waist area, eliminates constipation by providing abdominal massage. It can be performed after back bending to ensure suppleness of the spine. This asana is also great for those suffering form diabetes. The pancreas is squeezed in the twist secreting insulin and promoting healthy function of the pancreas. By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano

Marjari-asana (cat stretch pose)

Start on hands and knees with shoulders stacked over the wrists and knees directly below the hips. Moving with the inhalation start to arch the back, lifting the chin and hips. On the exhale press the palms into the mat, round the spine and tuck the chin to the chest. Continue with this movement 3-4 times. How it helps: If you have a rigid back or regular back ache this asana should be practiced often. It helps to loosen up the spine and gently stimulates the spinal nerves. It is an excellent asana for post-pregnancy cases as it tightens the abdominal muscles and encourages the abdomen to resume its normal shape. It can be practiced safely during pregnancy, just avoid any contraction in the abdomen.

Dhanurasana (bow pose)


How to do Dhanurasana  Lie flat on the stomach with legs and feet together, the arms and hands resting beside the body. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Clasp the hands around the ankles. Chin should be resting on the floor. Use the leg muscles to push the feet away from the body and into the hands. Arch the back, lifting the thighs, chest and head together. Keep the arms strait. In the final position the only muscular contraction is in the legs, arms and back should remain relaxed. Hold the final position for as long as is comfortable. Release the pose and relax in prone position until the breath returns to normal. How it helps: The entire alimentary canal is reconditioned by this asana. The liver, abdominal organs,  and muscles are massaged. The pancreas and adrenal glads are massaged, balancing your hormones. The kidneys are massaged and it is effective if you are trying to loose weight around the abdomen. It is useful for the management of diabetes. It improve blood flow throughout the body. Stiffness leaves the back as muscles and nerves are activated. It helps to correct hunching of the upper back and increases the strength of the thighs.