On June 21, the fifth International Yoga Day will be celebrated across the world in a grand fashion, with yoga camps being organized and thousands of people partaking in the ages-old discipline.
This International Yoga Day, keep yourself aware of Asanas that will benefit your physical and mental health. Here are 10 asanas that you need to know about:
Sukhasana or the easy pose is a meditative pose that calms and unites the body and mind. While opening the hips and lengthening the spine, the asana's relative ease on the knees makes it easier than Siddhasana or Padmasana for people with physical difficulties. Some schools do not consider it to be as effective for prolonged meditation sessions because it is easy to slump forward while sitting in it. For meditation, it is important that the spine be straight and aligned with the head and neck. It helps reduce high blood pressure as it makes your body more balanced and your mind, free and joyful.
Also known as the resting pose, child’s pose, or Shishuasana, is especially helpful to induce relaxation after various inversions and backbends during a yoga routine. The name Shishuasana is derived from Sanskrit and was brought about by the way a baby sleeps. The exercise requires one to sit on their knees and then bend forward to touch their forehead to the ground. The palms are facing upwards and are rested beside the body, in full stretch.
Child’s Pose helps to promote calm mentally as well as physically and is one of the restorative yoga poses that promote gentle stretching of your hips, ankles, and thighs.
Shavasana or the corpse pose is performed by lying on the back with the legs spread as wide as the yoga mat and arms relaxed to the side, preferably with no props. The eyes are closed and the breath is deep with the use of deergha (long) pranayama. The whole body is relaxed on the floor with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath. During Shavasana, all parts of the body are scanned for muscular tension of any kind. Any muscular tension the body finds is consciously released as it is found. Shavasana is typically practiced for 5–10 minutes at the end of an asana practice but can be practiced for 20–30 minutes.
It relieves stress, depression, and fatigue and also helps the body to relax and prepare for sound sleep along with stimulating the blood circulation.
Malasana or the garland pose is used for a different squatting pose with the feet together and the back rounded with multiple hand placement variations. the feet are together with the arms wrapped around the back, while the chin touches the floor. When the arms are bound behind this asana is also called kanchyasana ("golden belt pose").
It improves posture in general and relieves tension for those whose daily schedule involves a lot of sedentary desk work.
5. Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana or four-limbed staff pose, the hands and feet are on the floor, supporting the body, which is parallel to and lowered toward, but not touching, the floor. It looks much like a push-up, but with the hands quite low (just above the pelvis), and the elbows kept in along the sides of the body.
This asana helps to tone the arm and forearm muscles and develops flexibility and power in the wrists, as well as toning abdominal organs and building repository muscles.
6. Utthita Trikonasana
Trikonasana or the extended triangle pose is performed in two parts, facing left, and then facing right. The practitioner begins by standing with the feet one leg-length apart, knees unbent. He/she then turns the right foot completely to the outside and the left foot less than 45 degrees to the inside, keeping the heels in line with the hips. The arms are spread out to the sides, parallel to the ground, palms facing down; the trunk is extended as far as is comfortable to the right, while the arms remain parallel to the floor. Once the trunk is fully extended to the right, the right arm is dropped so that the right-hand reaches the shin to the front of the right foot, with the palm down. The left arm is extended vertically, and the spine and trunk are gently twisted counterclockwise using the extended arms as a lever, while the spine remains parallel to the ground. The arms are stretched away from one another, and the head is often turned to gaze at the left thumb, slightly intensifying the spinal twist. Returning to standing, the bend is then repeated to the left.
It helps in stimulating the abdominal organs alongside improving digestion and relieving stress.
In Utkatasana or chair pose, the knees are hip-width apart, the knees are bent, the hips are back, the chest is forward, and the arms are above the head, in line with the ears. It is like sitting on an imaginary chair but in proper posture. Its variations include a rotated pose, Parivritta Utkatasana.
This asana helps in correcting one's posture and improves the body balance of the practitioner.
Shirshasana or the yoga headstand involves the body to be completely inverted and held upright supported by the forearms and the crown of the head. There are many variations for this pose as it can be altered in terms of the angle and the extension.
Shirshasana strengthens the core by improving the upper body strength, and muscle endurance.
9. Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or bridge pose is a common posture or asana that involves stretching your back, neck, and chest that relaxes your body. This pose resembles the structure of a bridge, and therefore, it is named as such.
Practicing this asana reduces depression, stress, and anxiety and calms the brain.
10. Viparita Karani
Viparita Karani or legs-up-the-wall pose is described as "a restful practice, where the body is inverted without effort", and the lower back and buttocks are supported with a pile of blankets, while the legs are rested against a wall. Alternatively, the back can rest on the floor and the legs point straight up (also called Uttanapadasana), either against a wall or free.
This asana has therapeutic benefits for the following: anxiety, arthritis, digestive problems, headaches, high, and low blood pressure, insomnia, migraines, mild depression, respiratory ailments, urinary disorder., varicose veins, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and menopause.