When it comes to yoga, the benefits to your physical, mental and spiritual health are aplenty. One of the oldest disciplines rooted in practices that belong to ancient India, it’s clear that it survives today because it has helped a lot of people. Recent scientific research reflects that there are proven improvements to a person’s strength, flexibility and balance. This is why many would say taking yoga would help your performance in other sports and exercise routines.
Many different schools of yoga flourish, each with different methods. I believe that one must look into the various approaches of yoga to find what’s best suited for your own goals and needs. It also doesn’t hurt to try these schools of thought when it comes to yoga to be certain of what’s best for you. It helps you connect and communicate with your body on a deeper level.
But what I want to concentrate on here is how different yoga positions have a direct effect on the body. Since yoga is also about purpose, each yoga pose has a significant meaning. Every position is targeted to a concern you have, from lack of flexibility to weight loss, from stress to simple neck pain. Scroll down to see how five yoga positions are meant to address a particular body/mental issue. If you’re a newbie or a regular yoga enthusiast, I think knowledge of this will deepen your appreciation for the practice.
1. Upward Facing Dog Pose for weight loss
Known as the urdhva mukha svanasana, this pose belongs to the traditional sun salutation sequence. You can practice this pose on its own, holding it from 15 to 30 seconds while you breathe easily.
2. Channel Clearing Pose for anti-stress
The nadi shodshana is a step to pranayama, the formal practice of controlling your breath. The pose is to be done only with the guidance of a teacher, especially for beginners, as it involves breathing through one nostril at a time while blocking one nostril with your finger.
3. Extended Triangle Pose for flexibility
From a mountain pose, where you’re standing straight, big toes touching each other but heels apart, you jump and land around four feet apart. Build slowly until you can place one arm on your shin or ankle, bending on your hips, while the other arm’s to the ceiling. This pose is standard in many different types of yoga and helps increase your overall flexibility.
4. Cow Pose for back pain
When paired with the cat’s pose, the cow pose or bitilasana, helps ease the back of tension and helps warm it up. Kneel while placing your hands flat on the floor as if you were a table. Center your head first before you lift it up, looking ahead. Inhale and while you raise your chest up, leaving your belly down. Exhale when you come back to neutral position.
5. Salutation Seal for carpal tunnel syndrome
I think this is important to know when you work with your hands constantly. The Anjali Mudra can be done sitting or standing while you press your palms against each other, making sure neither hand is dominating the other. This is also the pose you can take to start a five minute meditation aside from relieving the cramped muscles in your arms and hands.
Ria Prieto is an editor, columnist and consultant who loves all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. To read more of her musings, log on to www.riarecommends.com.