Yoga postures

Extract from the booklet ‘International Day of Yoga’ issued by the Indian ministry of ayurveda, yoga & naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH), part IV

Standing Postures

Tadasana (palm tree posture) helps attain stability and firmness. Its benefits include clearing up congestion of spinal nerves; correcting faulty posture; and, increasing height up to a certain age. Avoid lifting the toes in case of acute cardiac problems, varicose veins and vertigo.

Vrksasana (tree posture) helps improve neuro-muscular coordination, balance, endurance and alertness. It tones up the leg muscles and rejuvenates the ligaments. Those with arthritis, vertigo and obesity should avoid this practice.

Padahastasana (hands to feet posture also referred as uttanasana) helps make the spine flexible, improves digestions, and prevents constipation and menstrual problems. Avoid this practice in case of cardiac or back problems, abdominal inflammation, hernia and ulcers, high myopia, vertigo and during pregnancy. Those with vertebral and disc disorders should also avoid this practice.

Ardhachakrasana (half wheel posture) helps make the spine flexible and strengthens the spinal nerves and neck muscles, and improves breathing capacity. It also helps patient of cervical spondylitis. Avoid this posture in case of vertigo or a tendency to giddiness. Hypertensive patients should bend with care.

Trikonasana (triangle posture) helps prevent flat foot, strengthens calf, thigh and waist muscles, makes the spine flexible and improves lungs’ capacity. Avoid this posture in case of slipped disc, sciatica, and post an abdominal surgery. Don’t do beyond limits and overdo the lateral stretch. If you can’t touch the feet, reach for the knees instead.

Sitting Postures

Bhadrasana (firm/auspicious posture) keeps the body firm; stabilizes the mind; promotes knees and hip joints’ health; helps relieve knee pain; acts on the abdominal organs and releases any tension in the abdomen; and, provides relief to women from abdominal pain experienced during menstruation. Avoid this practice in case of severe arthritis and sciatica.

Ardhaustrasana (half camel posture) helps relieve constipation and back pain; and, increases blood circulation to the head and cardiac region. Avoid the posture in case of hernia and abdominal injuries, arthritis, vertigo and pregnancy.

Sasankasana (hare posture) helps reduce stress and anger; tones up reproductive organs; relieves constipation and back pain; and, improves digestion. Avoid this posture in case of acute backache. Patients with osteoarthritis should practice with caution.

Vakrasana (spinal twist posture) increases flexibility of the spine; helps to overcome constipation and dyspepsia; stimulates pancreas and helps in the management of diabetes. Avoid this posture in case of severe back pain, vertebral and disc disorders, post an abdominal surgery and during menstruation.

Prone Postures

Bhujangasana (cobra posture) is quite helpful for stress management. It reduces abdominal fat and alleviates constipation; and, helps relieve backache and bronchial problems. Those who have undergone an abdominal surgery should avoid this asana for two to three months. Patients suffering from hernia and ulcers should refrain from this posture.

Salabhasana (locust posture) helps people with sciatica and lower backache; tones the hip muscles and those in the kidney region; reduces fat on the thighs and buttocks to promote weight management; and, helps the abdominal organs aiding digestion. Cardiac patients and people with high blood pressure, peptic ulcers and hernia should avoid this posture. Those with sever lower back pain should practice with caution.

Makarasana (crocodile posture) promotes relaxation of the lower back; helps in recovery of back problems; it is beneficial for all orthopedic ailments; and, counters stress and anxiety. Avoid this practice in case of low blood pressure, severe cardiac problems and during pregnancy.

Supine Postures

Setubhandasana (bridge posture) relieves depression and anxiety; strengthens lower back muscles; stretches abdominal organs, improves digestion and helps relieve constipation. People suffering from ulcers and hernia, and women in advanced stages of pregnancy should not practice this asana.

Pavanamutkasana (wind releasing posture) helps prevent constipation; gives relief from flatulence; decreases bloating sensation in the abdomen and aids digestion; offers deep internal pressure, massage and stretching of the highly complicated network of muscles, ligaments and tendons in the pelvis and waist region; and tones up the back muscles and spinal nerves. Avoid this practice in case of abdominal injuries, hernia, sciatica or severe back pain and during pregnancy.

Savasana (dead body posture) helps relieve all kinds of tensions and gives rest to both the body and mind; relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system; and, helps the mind calm down and eliminate external disturbances. It is found to be very beneficial in the management of stress and its consequences.

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