Infections? Fight Back With Yoga
Yoga is defined as an ancient practice which basically involves physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing exercises. Yoga exercise is mainly done to promote health and well being by improving the endurance, strength, flexibility and calmness.
In today’s world, yoga is so popular that a survey done in the US suggested that every one out of seven persons have done yoga practice in the last year.
What is yoga exercise?
Yoga actually dates back as old as time and is believed to be originated in India. The Indian monks made it popular elsewhere and even in western countries, owing to its all-round benefits and as they say, the word spreads fast. Its philosophy is about connecting the inner soul or spirit, mind and body in a way that helps you stay fit, active and increase your self-awareness.
There are 6 different branches of yoga, each having a different core area of the body to focus and work upon. Some examples are:
- Hatha yoga (helps in mind and body wellness),
- Raja yoga (involves meditation and strict mind control exercises to achieve self-realization and enlightenment),
- Karma yoga (helps in removing negativity and selfishness),
- Bhakti yoga (involves devotion, enhances acceptance and tolerance to emotions),
- Jnana yoga (a path of wisdom and developing intellect thorough scripture studies),
- Tantra yoga (a pathway to fruitful relationship through rituals or religious ceremonies).
Another important aspect of understanding yoga before we delve into the poses and its benefits is “Chakras” or circles. You must be familiar with “the lion king” song “circle of life” right? Let’s know about them.
Chakra or spinning circles of life are considered as the center points of our body’s energy, thoughts and feelings5. Experts yoga teachers believe that these chakras determine how a person experiences reality through emotional reactions, including desires, confidence or fear, and even some physical symptoms and effects.
It is said that when a person’s energy gets blocked into a chakra, it triggers physical, mental, or emotional imbalances or disturbances. Now, these imbalances further convert to symptoms like anxiety, lethargy, poor digestion and ultimately higher risk of getting infected with diseases.
Coming back to the asanas which you’re eager to read and start doing. They are some distinct physical poses which helps you free the blocked energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra and the body to fight off infections and other bad things.
Since there are many recommended asanas of yoga, a person should always choose a combination of those which suits their goals and fitness level. Let’s do some YOGA!
15 Yoga poses and their benefits!
As we’ve discussed the types of yoga and a little bit of a story behind it, let’s discuss some poses that’ll help you get all-round health. And yeah don’t worry, there are pictures to it that’ll guide you do the poses perfectly.
The poses along with their original names have also been given just in case if you are a Sanskrit admirer.
1. Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
The downward dog pose helps give you a good composure and structure to your spine. It lengthens and decompresses the spine, stretches the hamstring muscles, strengthens your arms, and freshens up your brain with oxygen to help calm your mind and forget the stress7.
2. Bridge - Bandha Sarvangasana
For the fans of Shakira, The Bridge pose helps in opening or loosening up the front hip joints and also strengthens the spine, opens the chest, and improves its flexibility. Moreover, it also helps stimulate your thyroid gland which is involved in maintaining body metabolism and growth. Some other benefits include stress and anxiety relief, better sleep and help with depression8.
3. Easy Pose - Sukhasana
This may seem easy and less intimidating, but has many great benefits for the body. For example, it helps in opening hip joints, it is calming, and eases women’s menstrual pain along with lowering anxiety levels. A pro tip is to make sure your spine is straightened while doing the pose9.
4. Child Pose - Balasana
As the name suggests, The Child Pose is a type of resting pose useful for pain relief in body parts such as neck, back and hips. One thing to consider while doing the pose is that one should have a slow and regulated breath; extended arms and resting the hips and forehead while touching the mat. One can return back to this pose after any exercise, as it is one of the most restorative and calming one9.
5. Triangle - Trikonasana
A very popular and beneficial pose is The Triangle pose. Apart from improving the spine flexibility, it improves the alignment of your shoulders, relieves back pain and neck stiffness. As posture of our body is the key to long lasting physical fitness, doing this pose will help you attain that after a regular practice10.
But, yeah make sure you don’t forget to practice the pose on both left and right sides. Balance is important right?
6. Warrior 1 - Virabhadrasana I
Don’t get so happy yet. Now this pose won’t make you a warrior just right away but will help you develop those qualities which mainly are strength, agility and pin point focus.
The Warrior I pose is for those who’ve had a hectic work day and just need the body and mind to relax. This pose strengthens your legs, opens up your shoulders and chest. This movements are actually tough to do while at work, right? but are nonetheless very important for a good posture and peaceful mind. So, make sure you incorporate this in your workout routine.
7. Warrior 2 - Virabhadrasana II
Just like every good movie has a sequel to it, the warrior pose has its own as well. The Warrior II pose also has the same functions such as strengthening arms and legs, opening up chest and shoulders, and contraction of the abdominal organs10.
But the takeaway from this pose is that the breath needs to be regulated more here and our focus should be on the expansion of arms which ultimately improves our patience. Also, while doing the pose, keep yourself elevated rather than falling down with your hips10.
Don’t let the gravity pull you down and yeah stay strong. That’s where you have to build the strength and patience right?
8. Standing backbend - Anuvittasana
The Standing backbend pose helps in opening up the front portion of the body and prepare for deeper and harder back bending postures. This pose specifically helps in strengthening the lower back, and most importantly enhances the functioning of the heart and lungs. It also helps in improving general posture and flexibility like the others11.
9. Locust pose - Shalabhasana
After strengthening the front portion, comes this. The Locust pose is a simple yet effective back bending posture that builds back strength and stretched the front part of the body. Some other benefits include back and buttock muscle toning, opening up the chest and shoulders, stimulation or activation of the abdominal organs, reduced lower back pain and fatigue or tiredness.
10. Chair - Utkatasana
The Chair pose as the name suggests tones up your leg muscles, strengthens hips, ankles, calves and back. It also helps in stretching the chest and shoulders. Most importantly, it helps reduce the symptoms of flat feet, stimulates the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs12.
11. Boat - Navasana
Talk about patience and stability and this pose comes into picture. The Boat pose requires one to be stable and still as a boat on water which means a straight back, forward looking chin and locked up arms and knees. Well, this is not easy to do but it helps you build strong abdominal muscles and a straight body core11,12.
12. King Dancer - Natarajasana
For dance and art lovers or enthusiasts, this one’s for you. The King Dancer pose makes the legs moving and strong, improves overall balance and core body strength and also stretches the shoulders and improves focus12. This pose is considered as one of the most graceful asanas. Isn’t it obvious though? Get your dancing shoes on and start practicing it.
13. Tree - Vrksasana
This seems like an easy one, well, maybe it is, but it’s not a resting pose. While doing The Tree pose, your back should be extended and aligned properly and hips must be at one level. Now, since the stability depends on distributing the weight on your standing leg, make sure you do that while maintaining and improving your balance. This pose is good for building a good core, balancing the body and improving focus.
14. The Diamond - Vajrasana
Sitting for even 5 minutes in The Diamond pose can have a load of health benefits. This pose helps your immune system get strong and improves the digestion. It also promotes blood flow to the vital organs of our body and enhances liver function.
Moreover, it calms your mind and makes it stable. If practised regularly, it can eliminate the unwanted stress triggers or tremors.
15. Corpse – Savasana
The Corpse pose helps you rejuvenate your mind and body after practicing all the different poses like the ones listed above and also some other exercises as well. This pose allows you to shift the focus to your inner-self which helps in lowering blood pressure, calms the mind and gives the sense of peace to absorb all the benefits you’ve acquired after working out.
After learning about yoga exercises, it is pretty clear that it comes with multiple benefits, and with science proving the benefits, you should definitely try incorporating these into your daily routine and make the much-needed difference in your fitness goals and day-to-day life.
So, go on grab those yoga mats and start doing the above poses one by one. If you feel the need to know more, take a look at the sources below.
- Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International journal of yoga, 4(2), 49. https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0973-6131.85485
- James-Palmer, A., Anderson, E. Z., Zucker, L., Kofman, Y., & Daneault, J. F. (2020). Yoga as an intervention for the reduction of symptoms of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Frontiers in pediatrics, 8, 78. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.00078
- Douglass, L. (2007). How did we get here? A history of yoga in America, 1800-1970. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 17(1), 35-42. https://doi.org/10.17761/ijyt.17.1.180p845622653856
- Cramer, H., Ward, L., Saper, R., Fishbein, D., Dobos, G., & Lauche, R. (2015). The safety of yoga: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American journal of epidemiology, 182(4), 281-293. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwv071
- Ling, H. W. (2020). The importance of correcting chakras energy centers alterations to prevent pacemaker indication. Acta Sci Med Sci, 4, 102-9.
- Maxwell, R. W. (2009). The physiological foundation of yoga chakra expression. Zygon®, 44(4), 807-824. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01035.x
- Webb, J. B., Vinoski, E. R., Warren-Findlow, J., Burrell, M. I., & Putz, D. Y. (2017). Downward dog becomes fit body, inc.: A content analysis of 40 years of female cover images of Yoga Journal. Body Image, 22, 129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.07.001
- Jose, J., & Shailesh, S. (2021, March). Yoga Asana Identification: A Deep Learning Approach. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 1110, No. 1, p. 012002). IOP Publishing.
- Kwok, J. Y., Kwan, J. C., Auyeung, M., Mok, V. C., Lau, C. K., Choi, K. C., & Chan, H. Y. (2019). Effects of mindfulness yoga vs stretching and resistance training exercises on anxiety and depression for people with Parkinson disease: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA neurology, 76(7), 755-763. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.0534
- Sriharisukesh, N., & Pailoor, S. (2019). A review of asanas referenced in ancient texts and a brief comparative study of selected asanas. https://www.anantaajournal.com/archives/2019/vol5issue4/PartE/5-4-48-526.pdf
- Salerno, G., & Woodyard, C. (2011). Therapeutic Effects of Yoga. Int J Yoga, 4(2), 49-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0973-6131.85485
- Verma, M., Kumawat, S., Nakashima, Y., & Raman, S. (2020). Yoga-82: a new dataset for fine-grained classification of human poses. In Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (pp. 1038-1039).