Tuesday, January 12, 2010

30 minutes of your daily Yoga and meditation - handy practice checklist for the initiated.

Yoga integrates your body, mind and spirit.It relaxes and strengthens body, while toning the internal organs and stimulating the endocrine glands.Keep your eyes closed for inner awareness.

Proper breathing practises clean the lungs and affect our state of mind. It gives clear thinking and can make us excited or calm, tense or relaxed. In the yogic tradition, Pranayama is translated as prana or breath control. The ancient yogis developed many breathing techniques to maximize the benefits of prana.

Sharing for you the most important and simple techniques learned from different instituitions over the years, for regular practise:

General breathing principles for yoga asanas:
  • Breathe in, while expanding;
  • Breathe out, while contracting;
  • Hold each posture for 3 to 5 breaths, or as long as comfortable
Daily Yoga:
1. Warm up: 5 minutes
It is very essential to warm up before you do any workout.Rotate the following body parts to increase blood circulation in all moving parts of the body:Eyes/Neck/Shoulder/Elbows/Fingers/Wrists/Hips/Knees/Ankles

2. Yog Asana: 15 minutes
Yog asana stretches rejuvenates your internal organs and strengthens your body.
  1. Ardha Shalbh asana /Half Locust Posture - one leg at a time
  2. Shalbh asana /Locust Posture - Rest in Makarasana / the Crocodile posture
  3. Bhujang asana /Cobra posture
  4. Vipareet Shalbh asana/Superman Posture
  5. Shavasana /Turn over on your back and rest in the sleeping posture
  6. Nauka asana/Boat Posture - Rest in Shavasana/sleeping posture
  7. Ardha Pawanmukt Asana /Win Release posture
  8. Pawan Mukta asana /Knee hugging posture
  9. Natraj asana /Spine Twist posture - situp
  10. Parvat asana - Mountain posture
Relax. Rest in shavasana /sleeping posture.

3. Pranayama: 5 minutes
See techniques given below. Then proceed to Shavasana.

4. Mindfulness meditation: 5 to15 minutes or more as per your experience.
  1. Be seated calmly in a quiet place - be silent  and close your eyes
  2. Inhale and exhale normally.Simple observe your breathing - donot try to change or control it consciously.
  3. As you observe your breathe, you may notice it changing by itself with rhythmic variations.Simply observe.
  4. You may notice other thoughts or noises drifting your attention, from breathing.Gently return your attention back to breathing
  5. You may notice that you are focussing on some feeling, mood, or expectation.Treat this as any other thought and gently bring your attention back to breathing.
  6. Practice this for 5 to 15 minutes.Towards the end, keep your eyes closed and sit easily for two or three minutes.
Allow yourself to come out of the meditation gradually before opening your eyes.

Pranayama: Pranayama is used in yoga as a separate practice to help clear and cleanse the body and mind. It is also used in preparation for meditation, and in asana,the practice of postures, to help maximize the benefits of the practice, and focus the mind.
Sit with your spine erect, or lie down on your back. Take long, slow, and deep breaths through the nostrils.
1.As you inhale, allow the belly to fill with air, drawing air deep into the lower lungs. As you exhale, allow the belly to deflate like a balloon. Repeat several times, keeping the breath smooth and relaxed.
2.Breathe into your belly as above, and now expand the mid-chest region by allowing the rib cage to open outward to the sides. Exhale and repeat several times.
3.Follow the above two steps while continue inhaling by opening the upper chest region. Exhale and repeat.
Combine these steps into one continuous flow for 5 minutes.

Ujjayi pranayama breath: Ujjayi breathing is a breathing technique employed in a variety of Hindu and Taoist Yoga practices. In relation to Hindu Yoga, it is sometimes called "the ocean breath". Unlike some other forms of pranayama, the ujjayi breath is typically done in association with asana practice.Ujjayi, sometimes referred to as "cobra breathing", is also a helpful way for the yogi or yogini to keep the vital life force, prana, circulating throughout the body rather than escaping from it. Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower belly (activating the first and second chakras), rises to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally moves into the upper chest and throat.

Inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose. The "ocean sound" is created by moving the glottis as air passes in and out. As the throat passage is narrowed so, too, is the airway, the passage of air through which creates a "rushing" sound. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm, the strengthening of which is, in part, the purpose of ujjayi. The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, and are controlled in a manner that causes no distress to the practitioner. This helps to focus the mind, increases mindfulness.
1. Take a comfortable seated position.Keep your spine erect or lie down on your back. Take long, slow, and deep breaths through the nostrils.
2. Take relaxed and gentle breath, as you slightly contract the back of your throat creating a steady hissing sound as you breathe in and out. The sound need not be forced, but it should be loud enough so that if someone came close to you they would hear it.
3. Lengthen the inhalation and the exhalation as much as possible without creating tension anywhere in your body, and allow the sound of the breath to be continuous and smooth.

To help create the proper "aH" sound, hold your hand up to your mouth and exhale as if trying to fog a mirror. Inhale the same way. Notice how you constrict the back of the throat to create the fog effect. Now close your mouth and do the same thing while breathing through the nose.You can do this anytime you want to concentrate.

Regular yoga and breathing practise keeps the doctor away!
Do enjoy the daily yoga workout, preferably on mornings - gaining freshness and strength for your body and internal organs, peace of mind. Remember to do this with a smile on your face.

1 comment:

  1. I like this very much. Please pass on as much information as possible, so that the needy and interesting people are able to know much more baout the asanas. tks and best regards,

    Please inform me the breathing technique while doing pawanmukthasana, (whether hold the breath in side while the legs are brought closer to chest or exhale and bring the legs to the chest. My e-mail id. trn07@yahoo.com. Please send me a reply if possible. rgds =
    t r nair


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