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Digestion

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Spinal Twist in Ashwasanchalanasana

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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)

Mythical references :  Legend goes that Lord Shiva explained the mysteries of yoga to his companion Parvathi, in the river nearby there was a fish who listened quietly to the entire narrative. Lord shiva realising that the fish had learnt Yoga blessed it. The fish took the divine form of Lord Matsyendra, Lord of the fishes. How to do Matsyedrasana Sit with the legs stretched out in front of you. Bend the right knee in under the left leg, to bring the right foot close to the left buttock. Bend the left knee to bring the left foot over the right knee and flat on the floor outside of the right knee. Bring the left hand through the space between the chest and the right knee. Twisting the torso to bring the left armpit over the right knee. Hold the right foot / ankle with the left hand Place the right hand on the floor behind and use as a lever to open up your chest. Sit up straight. Reverse the movement to come out of the posture and repeat on the other side. Benefits: It stretches the muscles on the upper back, shoulders, hips, and neck. Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly This asana massages the abdominal organs alleviating digestive ailments.It regulates the secretion of the adrenal glands, liver and pancreas. Contra-indication : Pregnant women should avoid this asana.

Chakrasama (Wheel pose)

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Chakrasana (wheel pose)   How to do Chakrasana? -Lie on the back with knees bent and the heels touching the buttock. – Place the palms on the floor besides the head with the fingers pointing towards the shoulders. This is the starting position. […]

Surya Namaskaar (Sun salutation)

  SURYA NAMASKAR is a complete Sadhana (spiritual practice) in itself for it includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation techniques.  In English we know the practice as Sun Salutation; which is the literal translation of the Indian (Sanskrit language) term. It is interesting to learn that the Sanskrit word ‘Surya’ (meaning the Sun) – literally translates into ‘Beautiful Light‘. This is an indication that Surya Namaskar is at once an energizing practice. In the ancient times; people would practice Surya Namaskaar at sunrise; the practice would be done facing up to the sun. The Yogis of yore refined the practice into something resembling the modern day practice with a sequence of 12 postures. For the Yogis; it became a staple practice to loosen the limbs in the mornings, and also as a preparation and warm-up for the other Asanas and Pranayam practices they would undertake. In fact the various postures in Surya Namaskaar helped in energizing each of the 7 Chakras (energy centers) in the human body. How to practice Surya-Namaskaar? The practice involves 12 poses – alternately stretching the Spine backwards and forwards; and with alternate Inhale and Exhale instructions. Also, each posture has a chant associated with it - these are all different Sanskrit names of the Sun. Pranamasana   Position 1--Pranamasana (prayer pose)  "Om Mitraya Namah"  Keep the eyes closed and remain standing upright with the feet together and palms together in front of your    chest in namaskara mudra.  Mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of energy.  Relax the whole body.  Benefits: This pose establishes a state of concentration and calmness in preparation of the practice to  be performed. Hasta Uttanasana   Position 2--Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose) "Om Ravaye Namah"  Raise [...]

Supta Pawanmuktasana (wind-release pose)

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    Asana Description Supta pawana muktasana strengthens the lower back muscles and loosens the spinal vertebrae. It massages the abdomen and the digestive organs and is therefore very effective in removing wind and constipation. By massaging the the pelvic muscles and reproductive organs, it is also useful for impotence, sterility and menstrual problems. How to do Pawakmuktasa? - Begin by lying on the back - Bend both knees and bring the thighs to the chest - Interlock the fingers and clasp the hands on the shin bones just below the knees - Inhale deeply - Exhaling, raise the head and the shoulders and try to place the nose in the space between the knees - Hold the raised position for a few moments - Slowly lower the head and shoulder while inhaling - Practice this three times Contraindications Do not perform this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure or serious back conditions such as sciatica and slipped disk. - Catherine Juliano

Parivrtta Janusirasana (revolved knee-to-head pose)

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Asana description Parivrtta Janu Sirasana (Revolved head to knee pose) gives a lateral stretch to the body and also stretches the hamstrings and behind the shoulders. It gives a beneficial compression of the abdominal muscles and organs on one side of the body and simultaneously stretches them on the other side. It prepares the body for long hours of sitting in meditation. How to do Parivrtta Janusirasana? - Sit with legs about a meter apart. Bend the left knee and place the heel against perineum. - Bend forward, inclining the body to the right to hold the right foot with the right hand. - The fingers should be in contact with the arch of the foot and the thumb should be on top. - Place the elbow on the floor on the inside of the strait leg. - Bring the left arm over the head and grasp the right foot with the left hand. - Ease the head under the left arm, relax the back and twist the trunk as much as possible so that the chest is open and facing forward. - Hold for as long as is comfortable. Release the hands and slowly return to the starting position. Contraindications Pregnant women and people with back complaints should not perform this asana. It is a rather advanced practice, so be sure you are comfortable with janu sirasana before you attempt the revolved variation. - Catherine Juliano

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

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

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Sit in padmasana and relax the whole body. Carefully bend backward supporting the body with the arms and elbows. Inhale and lift your chest toward the ceiling, creating an arch in the back. Allow the head and neck to relax, dropping the crown of the head on the floor. The weight of the body should be supported by the elbows, not the head. Breath deeply and slowly in the final posture. How it helps: Relieves tension in the neck, throat and shoulders. Good for correcting rounded shoulders. Stretches the intestines and abdominal organs, useful for all abdominal ailments. Good for asthma and bronchitis as it encourages deep respiration. Regulates the function of the thyroid gland. Matsyasana should always be practiced after sarvanagasana (Shoulder stand.) In sarvangasana the throat becomes locked as the chin presses onto the collar bone. In matsyasana we unlock the throat. If it is difficult to sit in padmasana, you can practice the variation pictured above, keeping the legs strait and together throughout the practice.

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  

Shashank bhujangasana (striking cobra pose)

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Start in sharnagat mudra. Be sure to keep the hands in the same position throughout the practice. Lift the buttock from the heels and slowly begin to move forward. Slide the chest as close to the ground as possible and begin to arch the back as you extend the elbows. Open the chest and lift the chin in the final position. Stay here for a few moments and then begin to move backward. Pushing the hips back toward the heels as you exhale. How it helps: This asana combines the benefits of the backward bend of bhujangasana and the forward bending of sharnagat mudra. Dynamic movements are a great way to limber up the spine and can also be beneficial when preparing for other backbends. It tones the abdominal and pevic muscles and promotes good bowel movements. It also is useful in relieving menstrual cramps, backache and neck ache.

Shalabhasana (Locust pose)

Assume the prone position with chin on the ground. Tuck the arms underneath thebody, palms facing downwards until pinky fingers are touching, elbows resting close to the navel. Inhale and raise both the legs together from the hips. Knees should be stretched the whole time and chin should not leave the floor. Slowly lower the legs after a few breaths. How it helps  Builds strength in the muscles of the lower back. Increases flexibility in the back. Especially recommended for relieving sciatica and pain in the lower back. Massages the internal organs. Improves digestion. Strengthens the arms and shoulders.

Dhanurasana (bow pose)

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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.