Indians are becoming more fitness conscious. From politicians to sports and media celebs, we have enough sources now to inspire us to be fit. Among the plethora of fitness trends, Yoga, an age-old tradition, has been seeing a resurgence. However, yoga postures and practice schedules can be quite intimidating for a novice. As with all exercise regimens, it’s important to start slow and get comfortable with the technique. Here are a few yoga asanas that can be learnt and practised without any formal training. Spread your mat and kickstart your fitness routine with these simple exercises…
It’s a foundational yoga posture which helps align the spine and balance body weight. Stand straight like a mountain with your feet together. Focus on the present moment and breathe easily. Slightly rock forward and backward without lifting your feet while maintaining a balance. You can close your eyes to gain more awareness about the environment around you.
Adho Mukho Svanasana is an all-round rejuvenating pose. Come to the ground on your hands and knees. Exhale and lift your knees and heels away from the floor, until only your palms and toes are touching the ground. Gradually raise your thighs up while straightening your knees and pushing the heels down. Stretch your arms and lengthen them as much as you can. Hold on to this position with normal breathing while keeping your head aligned between your extended arms – do not let it hang. This asana relieves the pain and stiffness in the legs and strengthens the arms and core muscles.
Also known as Utkatasana, this is a standing yoga posture that tones the entire body, particularly the thighs and helps relieve pain in the lower back. It also stimulates the diaphragm and the heart. Stand in Tadasana with your arms perpendicular to the floor. Exhale and bend your knees slightly to take your thighs almost parallel to the floor. Make sure to concentrate your body weight on the thighs. After a few seconds, inhale, straighten your knees; exhale, stand up tall and relax your body.
Stand with your feet comfortably apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, and your left foot inwards about 15 degrees. Centre your weight on both feet. Slowly, inhale deeply and exhale as you bend your body to the right. Now bend down to the right keeping your waist straight. Extend your right hand to your shin, ankle or in front of your right foot, just as far as you are able to reach easily. Extend the left arm straight up. Keep your gaze softly focused on your left palm. Remain in this posture for a few seconds and inhale and exhale for a few breaths. As you inhale, slowly come up, bring your arms together and stand straight. Repeat on the left side. This asana prevents flat feet and strengthens the muscles around calves, thighs and waist. It also makes the spine flexible.
Stand in Tadasana. Shift your weight to your left leg, keeping your inner foot firmly pressed against the floor. Bend your right knee, reach down and firmly grasp the right ankle. Draw in your right foot and place it on the inside of the left thigh. Firmly press right sole into the left inner thigh while resisting with the left. Inhale, and extend your arms above the head to join the palms. Stay in this position for a few seconds and breathe normally. Step back to Tadasana on the exhalation. Repeat this exercise with the other foot. This asana improves alertness, neuromuscular coordination and endurance.