Many of you reading this piece might already have practiced Yoga at some point in your life. However, did you try to dig deeper into what Yoga is all about? Well, let me explain. Yoga was started in India 5,000 years ago as a spiritual tradition and since has helped many people heal their mental and physical illness. Yoga, in Sanskrit means ‘Union’ as it is believed that yoga helps the person meet his or her inner self. On the physical front, it helps in strengthening the muscles, increases body flexibility, improves balance and leads to weight loss, to list a few. Yoga has a lot of psychological benefits as well – it relaxes the mind, improves concentration and reduces stress.
I am in late 20’s living in India and have been practicing Yoga for the past 9 years. For the span when I used to work for a full-time corporate job, I couldn’t spend much time in practicing Yoga, however, there are 5 Asanas which I used to do for a quick 10 minutes before leaving for work and it helped me stay fresh and active for the entire day. Here’s the list of 5 quick yoga asanas to practice every morning after three long breaths-
1. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
The Vrikshasana improves balance and endurance and increases mental focus. This posture tones up ligaments and leg muscles. Fix your gaze at one point while performing this asana. Inhale while taking your arms up over the head and exhale once you have attained the pose. Keep taking deep breaths while you stay there for a minute. Repeat the same with another leg.
2. Virabhadrasana (The Warrior Pose)
This asana is one of the three variations of the Virabhadrasana. Suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners, it helps improve the respiratory system, stretches knees, hips, shoulders and ankles and tones the entire body. People with heart and blood pressure problems should avoid this posture. Exhale when you bend the knee and keep breathing normally while you are holding the pose. Inhale to bring back the knee and exhale to get your arms down from sides.
3. Cat and Cow Pose
A great exercise for the spine and abdomen, Cat & Cow Pose are generally practiced for a warm-up. It releases stress around your spine, neck and shoulder, and helps in building a stronger core. Inhale as you begin with the cow pose and exhale while going into the cat pose. Repeat for at least 5-20 times, depending on your capacity.
4. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
One of the basic sitting postures, Ardha Matsyendrasana helps open the chest and spine, supplying more oxygen to the lungs. It is a great asana for your lower back and stimulates the internal organs of the body. Enter into the posture and take long breaths. Exhale as you come back to the normal stance. Repeat the same towards the other side.
5. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)
Surya Namaskar is the most widely practiced yoga asana in the world. It is a sequence of 12 postures that warms up the entire body and perhaps stretches all the muscles, leading to good overall health. So, if you are one of those who don’t have time to perform all the yoga asanas, practice only Surya Namaskar every day and you’ll feel healthier and flexible.
Hope you’ll now spare 10 minutes of your day to practice these asanas and feel the difference in your body. Remember to perform correct postures within your body limits, do not overstress your muscles. Also, focus on the right breathing techniques. If you have any illness or past injuries, consult a professional before practicing Yoga.