The responsibilities of modern women can take their toll, even on the best of us. Lava Yoga, a women-only hot yoga studio from Japan shows five asanas or yoga poses that can help us towards a better well-being.
Pose 1: Garland Pose “Malasana” derives its name from the Sanskrit word “mala” which means “garland’. This asana is known to invoke a sense of calmness and because it is done in a squatting position, it also improves strength particularly to the lower back and core.
How-to: Start by bending the knees and sitting in a squat position. Position your arms with elbows touching on the inside of your knees or thighs. Bring your palms together in front of your chest while keeping your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Remember to focus on your breathing.
Benefits: The Garland Pose is known to tone the abdominals and stretches the groin, ankles and back. It also strengthens the pelvic floor, which in turn may reduce the problem of incontinence for mature practitioners. With regular practice, this asana alleviates fatigue and tiredness while improving your metabolism.
Pose 2: Boat Pose The term “Navasana” is derived from the Sanskrit words “nava” which means, “boat”. This asana may look challenging but with focus and steady breathing, it is easier to perform.
How-to: Start in a sitting position with your legs outstretched and knees together. Bend and hold the back of your knees or thighs. Now lean back slightly and gently so that you rest on the back edge of your sit bones. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your back as straight as possible. Maintain a focal point with your gaze, inhale and slowly lift your feet a few inches off the ground. Adopt a steady breathing pattern as you find your balance. Slowly raise your feet to the height of your knees and once you’re comfortable, gently extend your legs fully. Continue with the steady breathing and slowly let go of your hold on the back of the knees or thighs. Keep your arms straight.
Benefits: The Boat Pose strengthens the abdominal muscles, hips and thighs. These in turn will increase your core strength significantly. Apart from improving balance co-ordination and focus, this asana also encourages better digestion. It is also known to stimulate the kidneys and thyroids for better health.
Pose 3: Child’s Pose The name “Balasana” is derived from the Sanskrit words “bala” and “asana”, which means “child” and “pose” respectively. This asana is widely regarded as the most calming and therapeutic of yoga poses.
How-to: Start in a kneeling position on the yoga mat with your knees together. Gently sit back so your buttocks go towards or touch your heels. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, slowly stretch your arms and body forward so your stomach rests on the thighs and your forehead touches the mat. Ideally, you will feel a mild stretch in your shoulders, buttocks and down the length of your spine and arms. It is important to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed so ease into this asana as comfortably as you can get.
Benefits: The Child’s Pose helps to release tensions in the back, shoulders and chest. It’s an effective remedy for dizziness, fatigue and can relieve neck and lower back pain. When performed correctly, it can alleviate stress and anxiety as well as it calms the mind, encouraging strong and steady breathing.
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