Life, as it slowly unfolds, I really find no better teacher than it. And perhaps the best lesson is when it teaches about how much precious Life itself is. As the world is fighting the pandemic in its own level, I in my small world was also not spared and during these difficult times, the best thing that Life taught me is that when the time comes I too can turn into a warrior. During these hard times, I realised, alongwith the prayers and the good wishes of my loved ones what gave me strength is my indomitable belief in God and the power of Yoga. I realised one doesn’t have to be a master in Yoga to yield results, I carried on with my daily yoga practices with the minimal strength my body was left with and the small learning I had acquired from my online sessions with my sister in law, and it was not long that I found within me the slow shift of my mind from despair to positivity and in my body from sickness to health.
Today when I am once again slowly returning back to my life that earlier was, I compare my timeline with how it was then, and how it is now. Now I have learnt to be happier, more patient, more accepting and more appreciating. I cherish my time spent with my kids and my dear hubby and my friends, I cherish the distant calls I have with my sisters and parents and In laws and friends, I enjoy listening to all the mundane or exciting things of their life discussed over phone and enjoy imagining myself in those moments. Now I believe that the “I” in the sloka “योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम्” (I shall ensure the safety and well being of my devotees _verse from Shrimad Bhagavadgita, spoken by Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna, the warrior) also means this strong inner spirit in me and the devotees here means my body.
Today I will mention some of seated Yoga asanas which I practiced daily and continuing to do so. The benefits of seated asanas is that one gets to conserve the strength and also doesn’t have to worry about maintaining the balance of the body all throughout. It is also convenient for the people who have issues with standing for long. These asanas are mainly for building a strong spine, for a healthy and strong spine is the key to unlocking the good health of our whole body.
Easy seated Yoga asanas for beginners
Janu Sirsasana (Head to knee Pose): The Janu Sirsasana or Head to knee pose has several varieties. Here Janu means knee and Sirsa means head. I practice two variations Here I am writing about the simple version.
Begin with a seated position with both legs stretched out in front.
Keeping the right leg extended, slowly bend your left knee and rest the foot near the inner right thigh.
With a deep inhale, extend your arms straight upward and slowly bend your spine and lean forward over the right leg. Slowly stretch your hands forward as you go and grab your right toe or middle of the foot with both hands and relax your head over the right knee. Stay here till the count of ten.
Slowly with a deep exhale release your hands and raise your body and bring back to the sitting position.
Repeat with the left leg.
Repeat this for 3 times.
Benefits of Janu Sirasana (Head to knee Pose):
It increases flexibility of spine and back muscles.
It also relieves back ache and helps in reducing belly fat.
Regular practice of this asana helps to calm the mind and fills it with positivity.
Paschimottanasana (Intense back stretch pose): The Sanskrit word paschima means West or Back and Uttana means intense stretch. Thus as the name signifies this asana is the intense stretch of the back. My beginners, while doing this asana, please keep in mind to keep the stretch to the level you are comfortable with and not to overdo. For reaching the perfection level, some might take days and months of practice.
Begin with sitting straight on the mat with both legs stretched out with toes together and pointing forward.
Slowly with a deep inhale, raise your arms.
Bend the body forward exhaling slowly and bend the body forward.
Grab your heels with your hands and touch your knees with your nose.
Hold the position initially to a count of 10 which you can gradually increase to as long as you feel comfortable.
Continue this for two rounds which may be gradually increased for the number of rounds as well as the duration of holding the pose.
Benefits of Paschimottanasana:
This asana is very beneficial for the spine.
This asana is also effective in burning belly fat and also helps in weight loss.
It is also beneficial for people with diabetes as it provides adequate stimulation to pancreas and the endocrine gland.
It also improves digestion and is beneficial for hamstrings.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting half Spinal Twist pose): The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Ardha’ is half, ‘Matsya’ is fish and the word ‘Indra’ stands for King thus literally meaning half Lord of Fishes pose. It is also called Half spinal twist pose.
Begin with a sitting pose with legs stretched out. Keep your feet together with a straight spine.
Slowly bend your left leg so that the left foot lays near the right hip. The legs may also be stretched out in an another variation.
Place the right leg over the left knee.
With your left hand more particularly with the elbow push your right knee and grab your leg around.
Twist from your waist, neck and shoulder towards the right and look backwards. Ensure that the spine is erect.
Hold the pose for a few seconds which may be gradually increased. Keep breathing slowly and deeply.
Exhale and slowly release the right hand, waist and bring back your body to the initial position.
Repeat the steps on the other side and initially may be done three rounds.
Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana:
This asana strengthens the spine and makes it more flexible. It also relieves stiffness and back pain.
This asana helps to stretch the body muscle while compressing the muscles.
It also helps in digestion and in long run improves the digestive system.
I have found it also helps in relieving and loosening the joints and also beneficial for people with diabetes.
Somebody had said that well begun is half done. My readers, today I realize the decision that I had taken of making Yoga a part of my life was already a 'well begun' step for me. As I am slowly getting back my strength I thank each one of my well wishers and would sincerely advise each and every one out there embrace a healthy lifestyle. You may never know when a small hour of your life spent in taking care of your body and mind may turn out to be your biggest life saver.
Till we meet again friends….Stay Happy, stay healthy and stay Safe.