Obesity And Suryanamaskar
By Dr. Rita Khanna
The dynamic series known as Surya Namaskara (Salutation to the Sun) is the best way to burn the calories and reduce weight. Surya Namaskara is full Yoga by itself. It tones up the whole body & has a unique influence on the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and nervous system, helping to correct metabolic imbalances that cause and perpetuate obesity.
Being a dynamic practice, it is also an excellent exercise equated to cycling, jogging, or swimming. Practiced daily, it will not only help you in reducing weight but will bring flexibility to your spine and joints. It will rejuvenate you & bring in beauty and longevity. It is best done while the stomach is empty.
The Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing.
Method Of Performing Suryanamaskara
Position of Readiness:
- Stand erect near the top of the mat with both the feet together, arms are at your sides, fingers together, legs straight and start.
1. Namaskarasana (Prayer Pose)
- Bring the palms together in prayer position in the middle of your chest where heart is located; make sure your weight is evenly distributed.
- Let the breathing be normal.
2. Hastottanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
- Breathe in deeply.
- Extend both the hands forward & then above the head.
- When both hands reach near both ears on the sides of the head, arch back from the waist, as far as you can go, pushing the hips out, legs straight.
- By the time you have stretched your arm, you should go on inhaling the breath.
- Do not bend the arms from the elbows.
Do not bend the head on the backward side before both the hands are positioned on the side of the head. This is because the centre of the body is situated in the head. If head bends towards the back earlier, the centre will go eccentric and there are chances of getting toppled over. Hence, understand the instructions carefully and bend the head only when it is in the centre of both the hands.
3. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
- With both the hands remaining in Namaskara position, stand straight
- Breathe out.
- Bend forward at the waist with your head & go on releasing the breath.
- Once you reach down, separate the hands, place them down on the floor on both the sides of the feet.
- By the time your hands touch the ground, you should complete exhaling.
- Knees should remain straight & try to touch the forehead with the knees. If you are not that flexible, then just do the best you can.
This type of position is not easily possible in the beginning. Do not get disheartened. Bend your knees if necessary. Make efforts but do not overstrain. Try to perform the pose as well as possible.
4. Ashwasanchalanasana (Lunge / Equestrian pose)
- Lower your hips and move the right leg away from the body in a wide backward step.
- Let the right knee touch the ground.
- The toes of right leg should be touching the ground, heel should be on top.
- Left knee should come near the chest, and should be between the two hands and pointing upward.
- Now breathe in.
- Look up and arch back by lifting your chin up.
5. Dandasana (Plank Pose)
- Hold the breath in.
- Bring the other leg back and put it alongside the right leg.
- Both the knees should be straight, up & off the floor. Back also should be straight.
- The weight of the whole body will be supported on both the hands and the toes of the feet.
- The whole body should remain in one line parallel to the floor and look at ground between the hands as you are in push-up position.
6. Sashtanga Namaskara asana (Salute with Eight Parts)
- Now exhale.
- Put your knees, chest and forehead to the floor, keeping your hips slightly off the floor and your toes curled inward.
- Both the hands should be on both sides of the chest and should be parallel to each other; the elbows should be pointing upward.
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Now keep the hips also down to the floor; the body position is absolutely straight & flat on the floor.
If your hands are not under the chest, adjust them & keep them directly under the chest, keep the elbows half bent & parallel to the ground.
- Breathe in deeply.
- Equally, share the weight of the body on both the hands and raise forehead, head and chest up to the navel by bending the head backward.
- Do not straighten the arms. Elbows should be half bent and touching the body.
- Keep the fingers and the thumbs of both the hands pointing outward; palms should be resting fully on the ground and your toes curled under.
8. Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
- Now exhale.
- Share your weight on the palms of both the hands and on the toes of the feet, raise the knees, back, buttocks and chest into an inverted ‘V’ shape, forming an upward arch.
- Keep the head in between both the arms, push the body little more backwards and up so that both the heels of the feet could touch the ground.
Hereafter numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12 Asanas are repetition of Asanas Nos. 4, 3, 2, and 1 respectively.
9. Ashvasanchalanasana (Lunge / Equestrian pose)
- Remember the leg, which was drawn backward in the 4th position. Yes, that was the right leg. Allow right leg to remain straight backward.
- Now taking a wide forward step bring the left leg in between both the hands. The right knee should touch the ground. Left knee should remain in between both the hands.
- Look up and arch back.
10. Hastapadasana (Hand to Foot Pose)
- Bring the right foot forward in line with the left foot and bend down from the waist. Knees should remain straight.
- Both the hands should be on both the sides of the feet as in position 3.
- Try to bring the forehead closer to knees without excess strain.
11. Hastottanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
- Now here without changing the position, first bring both hands together in prayer position again, head lying in between the arms.
- Come up while extending your arms forward, up, over your head then bend back slowly with feet together from the waist, as in position 2.
Initially assume standing position with head and legs in a straight line and then bend with the hands and head behind ensuring that knees and elbows do not bend.
12. Namaskarasana (Prayer Pose)
- Now exhale.
- Return to the first position (standing position) with palms together in the middle of your chest in pose of Namaskara.
- Then bring the arms down by the sides.
This constitutes one Surya Namaskara. One round of Surya Namaskara consists of two sequences, the first leading with the right leg (in position 4) and the second leading with the left leg. With each Surya Namaskara keep alternating your legs.
- Keep your hands in one place from positions 3 to 10 and try to co-ordinate your movements with your breathing.
- Start by practicing four rounds and gradually build up to twelve rounds.
- Irrespective of the number of rounds you are performing, it is a must to do Shavasana after that.
- People with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, hernia or back problem should check with the doctor & practice Surya Namaskara with guidance from qualified & experienced yoga experts.
In case of any queries, contact:
Dr Rita Khanna
Mobile: 09849772485 Ph:-040-65173344
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What exactly is Yoga therapy, and what are its origins? Should a Yoga teacher consider becoming a Yoga therapist? Where will Yogic therapy go in the future?
If we look at a simplistic definition of what Yoga therapy is, it might be described as: A Yogic practice, which uses breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (asanas), hygienic duties (kriyas), proper diet, meditation, and many more methods, which treat mental, emotional, and physical ailments.
The origin of Yoga is, at least, 5,000 years old, but a contemporary school of therapy can be traced to Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya, who is often regarded as a teacher of master teachers. Among his students were T.K.V. Desikachar, T.K. Sribhashyam, K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and more.
If a Yoga teacher considers becoming a therapist, there are a number of requirements to become competent. One priority is to develop in-depth knowledge of anatomy. This will require extra training and study. Some physical therapists, and physicians, are also Yoga teachers, so the jump to Yoga therapy is a logical one.
However, the average instructor does not have a medical background. Continuing education becomes the next logical step in this case. Another point to mention is that therapy, of any kind, requires compassion.
If compassion is not a natural ingredient built into the personality of an instructor, why pursue teaching Yoga as therapy? The truth is: A personality without compassion should not be teaching classes in any subject. There are a rare few people, who derive pleasure from pushing others into pain. They should not be working with the public in any type of care-giving capacity.
Where will Yoga therapy go in the future? It is only a matter of time for Yoga to be integrated into standard medical therapies. Being cost efficient, and without negative side effects, has made a very strong case for proponents of Yoga therapy. As studies continue to reveal the results of a holistic and pro-active approach to health, standard medicine will evolve.
Yoga, in itself, has always been therapy – in every shape and form. If you look at a promising athletic child, or a student in a wheel chair, you will clearly see healthy results, which are mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual, in nature.
After observing martial artists, gymnasts, dancers, and competitive athletes closely, Yoga practice is much more than a form of cross training. Many of them learned to work around pre-existing injuries and ailments, as a result of practicing Yoga on a therapeutic level.
In the case of children learning proper breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (asanas), proper diet, meditation, and deep relaxation – Yogic methods become a natural form of therapy, and give them valuable life skills. Children need to have the skills to deal with stress, peer pressure, and finding their way throughout life.
The most common form of contemporary Yogic therapy has been relief from an existing ailment. The list of potential ailments seems to be endless. We may naturally think of using a combination of standard medical practices and Yoga therapy for neurological disorders, such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Ataxia, and Parkinson’s disease. Yet, there are many more neurological disorders, diseases, and ailments.
Students and clients are seeing good results and improvements in their lives. Yogic therapy and medicine can work in harmony to treat any ailment. In the case of postures (asanas): They can be modified for anyone, even if the student is in a hospital bed.
There are so many breathing techniques (pranayama) to choose from; they can also be modified for the particular student. Pranayama and asana are just two aspects of a huge and evolving therapeutic field.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Teaching Chair Yoga – The Real Need for More Trained Instructors
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
See clips from Paul’s chair yoga DVDIf you think, for a second, that there are enough Yoga instructors available already – think again. Each geographic area has different needs, but optimum health is needed everywhere.
When looking at the needs of students with Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Ataxia, and students who are recovering from a stroke, this need is only the “tip of the iceberg.”
The need for instructors, who can teach Yogic health maintenance, from a chair, goes far deeper than any of us thought ten years ago. Here are just a few reasons why this is a growth opportunity for competent chair Yoga teachers.
We know the population is aging. The number of people crossing the age of 50 is growing worldwide. Some of us are very mobile, and some of us are not, but Yoga in a chair makes perfect sense because it is a safe form of cross training.
How often have you heard about someone getting hurt during an activity? The truth is – you can be injured while golfing, jogging, skiing, walking, playing tennis, or getting out of bed. However, if you are properly warmed up, you are much less likely to be injured, while participating in your favorite activity.
With all of the cut backs in physical education, and the super-sizing of our youth, Yoga should be a strong consideration in our public schools. The sad fact is – many children cannot run around the block once, because they are too far out of shape, or just plain too big. Yoga in a chair, proper diet, and a regular walking program, has the potential to prevent health problems for obese children.
Negligent health habits have gone past the point of humor. When you watch re-runs of television shows from the 60’s, look at the characters that we thought were big. Do you remember Skipper, Hoss, and Schultz? They are just average sized men by today’s standards.
As a result of a worldwide obesity epidemic, there is definitely a need for more office Yoga classes, and a chair is the primary prop. Companies and governments are slow to change, but statistics tell the true story: Carrying extra weight, leads to many health problems, and is a health risk factor, which leads to a lack of production and high medical costs.
Current production seems to be one of the “bottom lines” that all governments and businesses acknowledge. This scenario of poor production results in a tremendous financial drain on companies and governments. Therefore, a fitness program that is a combination of low impact and low friction movement, along with changes in one’s lifestyle, is required. As you already know, Yoga in a chair is exactly what is needed.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications