What is Yoga?
Yoga nowadays is becoming very popular and commercial that the very essence and beauty of it is being taken away.
Yoga literally means 'joining' or 'union'. This joining or union is between the mind and body; the oneness of being, and when practised continuously we begin to move from the physical into a deeper level of being - spiritual.
We can begin to start the day by practising a few yogic stretches that will:
- Warm the body up
- Begin to work on the deeper level
- Achieve good health and a greater balance of mind
The Sun Salutations
The Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) are a graceful sequence of twelve positions that warm the body up, stimulate and tone up all the nerve centres and prepare you for your day ahead.
1. Firstly stand erect with your feet together and your palms in pray position in front of your chest. Close your eyes and ground yourself - exhaling completely
2. Inhaling, stretch your arms up and arch your back from the waist, pushing the hips out and keeping the legs straight. REMEMBER TO RELAX YOUR NECK.
3. Exhaling, fold forward and press your palms onto the ground, fingers are in line with the toes (bend your knees if you need to - making sure toes are in line with the feet)
4. Inhaling take your right leg back and place the knee on the floor (keep the left knee bent) arch back slightly and look up. Lifting your chin
5. Retain your breath, bring your left leg back and support your weight on your hands and toes, make sure the body in a completely straight line and the bottom is not sticking up
6. Exhaling, lower your knees, then your chest and then your forehead onto the ground. Keeping your hips up and toes curled under
7. Inhaling lower the hips, point your toes and bend your back. Make sure the legs are together and shoulders are down. Look up and back
8. Exhaling, curl your toes under, raise your hips and position yourself into an inverted "V" shape. Try to push your heels and head down and keep your shoulders back
9. Inhaling, step forward and place the right foot between your hands. (Rest the other knee on the floor) Same position as 4
10. Exhaling, bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping palms on the floor and bending the knees if you need to (Same as position 3)
11. Inhaling, stretch your arms forward, then up and back over your head and bend back slowly from the waist (Same as position 2)
12. Exhaling, gently come back to an upright position and bring your arms down by your side.
Repeat with the other leg. One round of Surya Namaskar - consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right foot and the second leading with the left.
If you can start by practising 4 rounds and then increase to 6.
Always work with your own body and listen to your body, if you feel tired then rest. NEVER PUSH YOURSELF.
By Deepa Moodgal
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