Yoga Routine

FitnessVigil Staff Nov 26, 2018
Yoga has become a household name, and most people must have tried it at least once in their lifetime. Here are a few yoga exercises, along with their benefits, that will help you attain both physical and mental fitness.

The true meaning of Yoga

The word yoga in Sanskrit means 'to unite'. It is an ancient Indian discipline which is done with the purpose of uniting the body, spirit, and mind. It is a science that works not just at the conscious level but at the subconscious level as well. 

Benefits of Yoga

The list of benefits associated with this form of exercise is endless. It helps in generating good health, contributing to longevity, fighting food cravings, boosting sexual performance and immunity, losing weight, relieving stress, bettering relationships, providing good sleep, and making one live with greater awareness.
It is extremely important to observe the flow of breath while performing the exercises, as breath is the core of yoga. This form of exercise is quite popular with people of all ages, and has gained immense popularity even in western countries, such as the U.S., U.K, and other European countries.
Mentioned here is a 15-minute yoga routine which has 12 asanas (positions), including Shavasana (the death pose) which is the last one. In the death pose, you lie down flat on your back with your eyes closed. To begin with, you can play some soft, soothing music. You can try Hariprasad Chaurasia's bansuri (bamboo flute) or Ravi Shankar's sitar. 
Though the names of the asanas sound complex, don't let that scare you off, as most of the positions are fairly simple. Just breathe normally through all these exercises, and don't force your body to stretch beyond its capacity. Take it slowly and steadily, and stretch further as you become more flexible with regular practice.

Utthita Trikonasana

Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Turn the foot of your right leg outward and that of your left leg a little inward. Raise your arms from the sides, and hold them parallel to the floor.
Now, bend sideways from the waist to touch your right foot with your right hand, with the left arm stretched towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a minute. Straighten up, and repeat on the other side. This workout gives a great stretch and improves flexibility and balance.

Padahastasana

Stand with your feet together. Raise your arms overhead, and bend forward from your waist and touch your toes. Hold this position for a minute, and return to the starting position. As you become more flexible, you can grab hold of the ankles and try making the forehead touch the knees. In this, the spine and hamstrings get a great stretch.

Janusirsasana

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend you left leg at the knee so that the sole of the foot rests on the inside thigh of your right leg.
Now, raise your arms and bend forward, and get hold of your right leg's toes with both your hands. Try to get your face as close as possible to your right knee. Hold for one minute and come up. Repeat on the other side. It is a good stretch for the hamstrings and back. It gives your internal organs a great massage.

Paschimottanasana

Sit erect with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Now, raise your arms up, bend forward, and grab hold of your toes. Try to get your face as close as possible to your knees. Don't let your knees lift off the floor. Hold for a minute and come up. The spine, hamstrings and calf muscles get a good stretch. Also, massages the abdominal region.

Bhujangasana

It is also known as the Cobra pose. Lie down flat on your belly. Place your palms on the floor at shoulder level. 
Now, lift your head and chest off the floor, straightening your arms, while the lower portion of your body, from belly down, remains on the floor. Stretch your head back, and look up at the ceiling. Hold for a minute, and come down gently. It is great for the spine, and gives a nice stretch to the chest and arms.

Upavishtakonasana

Sit with your legs stretched sideways as far out as possible. Bend forward and try to touch your chin to the floor in front of you. While doing so, grab hold of your toes on either side with your hands.
Try to keep your spine as straight as possible, and try not to bend your knees. Hold for one minute, and release the stretch. This gives an intense stretch to the inner thighs, and improves the flexibility of the pelvic region.

Shalabhasana

It is also known as the Locust pose or Grasshopper pose. Lie down flat on your belly on the floor, with your arms by your sides.
Now, lift your head, torso, arms, and legs off the floor such that you are just balancing on the lower part of your belly. Hold for one minute, and come down gently. It is great for toning up the back muscles, and strengthening the spine.

Dhanurasana

Lie down on your belly, with your face turned down. Bend your knees backwards. Stretch your hands back, and try to grab hold of each ankle with each hand. Now, pull your legs up from behind, and lift your head and torso up. Hold for one minute, and release the stretch gently. An extremely beneficial drill for your back muscles and spine.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana

Begin by lying down on your back, with the arms by your side. Now, place your hands, with the palms facing down, under your lower back. Then, tautening your abs and tightening your leg muscles, lift both the legs off the floor to a height of about 30 degrees. Hold them there for a few seconds (till a count of ten). 
Then, raise your legs to a height of about 60 degrees, and hold for a few seconds. Then, lift it up to 90 degrees or straight up. Then, reverse the process by coming down to 60 degrees, then 30 degrees, and finally down on the floor. It is very good for the abs.

Halasana

Lie down on your back. Lift both your legs and raise your hips up, off the floor, and swing them behind to reach over your head such that the tips of your toes touch the floor above your head. Hold for one minute. It is terrific for the spine, and massages the abs too. 
However, this workout requires some expertise, therefore, have an expert beside you while performing this one.

Sarvangasana

Lie on your back. Lift both your legs and hips off the floor, lifting them straight up, until your whole body is balanced on the shoulders and nape of your neck. Position your hands in such a way that they support your waist from behind.
This exercise is considered to be the queen of all asanas (the king being the Sirshasana or the head stand). This asana tones the whole body, including the glandular system deep inside. But, this exercise too needs a fair amount of expertise. So, learn the technique from an expert first.

Shavasana

Lie down flat on your back. Close your eyes, and relax the whole body completely. Breathe deeply and slowly. Relax completely for one minute. Feel the soft music flowing over you and through you. This provides great relaxation after doing the asanas.
The best part about the mentioned set of exercises is that you get a total body workout in just about 15 minutes of time. However, all forms of exercise are liable to cause injury, so immediately seek medical help in case of a mishap.
When attempting the asanas for the first time, always do so only under the tutelage of a qualified instructor. Eat well, exercise regularly, and stay fit!
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.