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April 27, 2015
Basic Yoga Postures and Their Variations
By Chukwuemeka Oparaocha
1. THE COBRA: Do this in easy stages. Lie down, face prone, legs tightly together and stretched back, forehead on the floor. Put your hands, palm down, just under your shoulders. Inhale and raise your head, pressing your neck back, now use your hands to push your trunk up until you are bending in a beautiful arc from your lower spine to the back of your neck. You need go no further than this. However, if you are supple enough, you can now straighten your arms completely, bend the legs at the knees and drop your head back to touch your feet. Even if your head goes nowhere near your feet, drop it back as far as possible and hold the posture with deep breathing. Come out of the posture very slowly, returning to the face prone posture. Relax with your head to one side. Repeat.
2. THE BOW: This is also an extreme version of the simple bow. It is surprising how many children can do it immediately. Take it, once again, in easy stages. Lie face prone on your mat. If you are very slim have a nice thick, padded mat for this one. Inhale and bend your knees up. Stretch back with your arms and catch hold of your ankles, keeping fingers and thumbs all together on the outside. Inhale and at the same time raise your head and chest, pulling at your ankles and lifting knees and thighs off the floor. Breathe normally, trying to kick up your legs higher and lifting your head up. You are now bent like a bow, balancing the weight of your body on your abdomen. You can stop right here but if you can still stretch further, then slide your hands down your legs, lift them higher, keep the knees together and pull back as much as you can. Hold for a few normal deep breaths, then relax back to the face-prone position, head to one side.
3. THE SHOOTING BOW: In Sanskrit this is known as Akarna Dhanurasana and one leg is drawn up like a shooting bow. Sit with both legs stretched out in front and back straight. Reach forward with both hands and clasp your feet, catching the right foot with the left hand and the left foot with the right hand. Inhale, bend the left knee and pull the foot across the body, close to your chest, pointing the elbow up and twisting the body slightly to the right. The left hand stays firm and tight, holding the right foot. Hold posture with normal breathing, release slowly, and relax. Repeat on other side. In the beginning it is enough to hold the bent left leg with the right hand. When this is easy, stretch down and hold the left foot with the right hand. Continue to pull on the left foot, lifting it higher on each exhalation.
April 27, 2015
The Top 4 Yoga Sequences for All Locations
By Aaron Matthew Ang
There is one big challenge when you are doing yoga by yourself: yoga sequences. It is difficult to put every sequence and position into mind even if you have learned these positions in yoga class. It is important that you have a guide so you can maximize the full benefits of yoga and ensure a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a high level of spirituality. Here we will show you great sequences of yoga while seated that you can easily perform at home. All you need is a mat and you are good to go.
The Easy Pose
Make sure that your feet are crossed comfortably and your hands are resting on your knees or thighs. You do not have to do the lotus position yet if you are not yet that flexible. Once the position is assumed, inhale deeply, press the hips down and raise your chin to lengthen the spine. While inhaling, roll the shoulders slowly up and down to open the chest. Make sure your face is relaxed and that your tongue is touching the roof of your mouth. The kind of breathing needed to do here is inhalation through the belly and exhalation through the nose but not through the mouth. Keep the mouth closed and do this for about 10 times before moving to the next sequence.
The Table Position
The next step is to lie on all fours, keeping the spine straight so your body will look like a table. The palms should be parallel or under the shoulders and the knees should be align with the hips. As mentioned earlier, your spine should be straight and your eyes should be looking down on your hands, not forward. While in this position, press your hips backwards and press your head forward easily to lengthen the spine. While inhaling, you need to move to the succeeding yoga sequences.
The Dog and Cat Position
While inhaling, arch your behind upward while pushing the belly down and raising your head high. Position will resemble a howling dog or wolf. During exhalation, move the position to the cat tilt. This means while inhaling, you need to arch your spine to pull up the belly and letting the head drop, mimicking a cat's position when preparing for a fight. Inhale and exhale about five times, moving back and forth between the dog and cat positions before moving to the last of the basic yoga sequences.
The Dog Facing Downward
After doing the previous sequence, you will be doing a variation of the dog position. While inhaling, stand on your feet, keeping the soles of the feet pressed flat on the floor. Lift the hips up and arch your buttocks, reaching high, while the arms are extended forward and the head tucked under. This position should let you form the triangle shape with your arms on the left side, your feet on the right side, and your buttocks on the tip.
The yoga positions and sequences above are for beginners. These are also good for individuals who are always busy because these positions may be performed even in the office and do not need a huge area to perform the exercises.
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