My yoga routine

I’d intended to post this yesterday, June 21, International Yoga Day! But anyway here it is – a casual post on my yoga routine – one that I try to practice as often as possible. I have not described the poses in detail as you can find lot of good information regarding that on the web. I just want to share how yoga heals and relaxes and the benefits I derive from them. I have also mentioned when not to perform some of the poses.

  1. Sun salutation (suryanamaskar) – I always start my routine with a couple of rounds of this set of 12 poses to warm up and let me tell you it’s quite a workout! I have written a post on this – https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/happytimebreak.wordpress.com/289 People with high blood pressure, heart problems, back issues or those who are pregnant should avoid this.
  2. Tree pose (vriksasana) – It is a standing pose that involves balancing on one leg at a time while raising the hands. It builds balance and strengthens the ankles and calf muscles. I usually hold this pose for 4-5 deep breaths on each leg. Someone with high blood pressure should not raise their hands and those with any kind of balancing issues should take the support of a wall to perform this pose.
  3. Warrior (virabhadrasana) 1 and 2 poses – These are also standing poses that build balance and focus. I especially love warrior 2 pose. It instantly grounds me whenever I am in need to. People with blood pressure and cardiac problems should however avoid them.
  4. Seated forward bend (paschimottanasana) – This is a seated pose and gives me a good spinal stretch. It also acts as a stress buster. I relax into this pose for at least a minute. It should be avoided by people with asthma and back problems.
  5. Head-to-knee forward bend (janu sirsasana) – Quite similar to the seated forward bend, it is also a stress buster as well as good for digestion. It should be avoided in case of low back pain, pregnancy or knee problems.
  6. Seated spinal twist (ardha matsyandrasana) – I love this pose! It stimulates the liver and kidneys and helps in digestion. The twisting part opens up the chest. It should be avoided in case of low back pain.
  7. Child pose (balasana) – A very simple and restful seated pose, I use it to take a minute long break to cool down and rest. It is so relaxing.
  8. Wind relieving pose (pavanmuktasana) – It is a supine pose where the legs are brought up to the chest. It is excellent for relieving gas from intestines. I also find it quite calming and relaxing for my spine.
  9. Happy baby pose (ananda balasana) – What can I say? The name says it all! Do you really feel happy and content? Well you have to try!
  10. Bridge pose (setu bandhasana) – I find this one of the most simple and effective poses. It builds strength in the abdomen as well as the legs. It strengthens the spine and calms the nervous system. It also relieves menstrual and menopausal issues. Of course it should be avoided in case of neck pain or back or knee injuries.
  11. Supine bound angle (supta baddha konasana) – It is a great hip and shoulder opener and very relaxing. I think it is a great pose to unwind at the end of a long tiring day!
  12. Corpse (shavasana) – I use this very restful pose to end my practice.

Happy yoga

A daily ritual

Yesterday after more than a month, I picked up my daily ritual of yoga stretches. I knew there was something missing. I could feel it in my bones! When you take a pause from your daily ritual, you don’t feel anything for sometime but after a while it starts taking its toll on you and considering the chaos we are already experiencing around us these days, it is easy to get overwhelmed and let our emotions get the better of us.

My daily ritual got lost somewhere in all of this – that little peaceful corner in my mind, no longer accessible…. And so patience started running short and the creative tank a little stale. Something was indeed missing! How do I refuel?

Stretching through the asanas followed by a few minutes of quiet breathing brought me back home – to that place of groundedness and calm. In the soft light of the early morning I listened to only one thing – sound of my breath…..

Surya Namaskar : a yoga practice

What is Surya Namaskar?
Does it help lose weight?
Is it “cardio” enough?

SURYA NAMASKAR is a yoga practice that comprises of a set / round of 12 poses that are performed rhythmically in a certain order.
Yes! it does help lose extra pounds. One round burns about 13.9 calories.
And it does raise your heart rate also.
BUT if you’ve never tried yoga before, try a couple of classes (maybe at your local gym) to see if it’s your thing AND do consult your physician before trying any new exercises if you have health issues.

SURYA = Sun & NAMASKAR = Salutation

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It’s best to start small and build it gradually. You can start with 1 round, take a little rest and complete the second round. As soon as you begin to feel tired, stop and rest.
Round 1
Asana 1 – Pranamasana / Prayer Pose
Stand straight with your feet together and hands joined against your chest in a prayer position. Breathe in and breathe out.
Asana 2 – Hastauttanasana / Raised hands pose
As you breathe in, raise your arms towards the sky. You may bend slightly backward as you do this.
Asana 3 – Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot Pose
Breathing out, bring your arms down to your feet. For those who find this difficult, you can reach as far as possible and can even bend your knees.
Asana 4 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equestrian pose
As you breathe in, stretch your left leg as far back as possible and bring up your right knee with palms touching the floor.
Asana 5 – Dandasana / Stick Pose
Breathing out, push your right leg back and bring your body in a straight line with arms perpendicular to the floor, as if you are doing a push-up.
Asana 6 – Ashtanga Namaskar / 8 point salutation
Breathe in and lie straight with the 8 points – your feet, hands, knees, chest, and chin touching the floor and the hips raised slightly. Breathe out.
Asana 7 – Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose
As you breathe in, raise your chest upwards with elbows bent and hands touching the floor.
Asana 8 – Parvatasana / Mountain or Downward facing dog pose
Breathing out, raise your hips up and head and chest down in an inverted V position.
Asana 9 – Ashwa Sanchalanasana (asana 4)
As you breathe in, stretch your left leg as far back as possible and bring up your right knee with palms touching the floor.
Asana 10 – Hastapadasana (asana 3)
Breathing out, bring your arms down to your feet. For those who find this difficult, you can reach as far as possible and can even bend your knees.
Asana 11 – Hastauttasana (asana 2)
As you breathe in, raise your arms towards the sky. You may bend slightly backward as you do this.
Asana 12 – Pranamasana (asana 1)
Breathe out and stand straight with your feet together and hands joined against your chest in a prayer position. Breathe in and breathe out.

Round 2
It’s the same as round 1 except that asanas 4 & 9 are performed with left knee bent and right leg pushed backward.
Take it easy, breathe and relax.