Yoga For Youthful Fitness

Yoga is viewed as many things by different people. The average person thinks yoga is just stretching exercises for bad backs, stress and tension. Yoga is much more. The exercises or 'asanas' are many and varied, as are the tasks, which they can accomplish. some of the exercises help to make the body stronger, more flexible and healthier. Others reduce stress and tension and help you to better cope with the trails of everyday life.

Developing your intuition and clear insight is the purpose of other yoga exercises. The underlying purpose of all the yoga tools is spiritual evolution, the lifting of our consciousness from a mundane, worldly level to an awareness and sensitivity for all creation. Yoga benefits your whole body. Through a systematic set of stretching and strengthening exercise you can stretch and strengthen all of your major muscles groups and develop muscle tone and flexibility. the strengthening of the muscles around the spine is particularly important for keeping the spine in proper alignment and having a healthy, strong spine.

Yoga exercises improve your cardio-vascular system by strengthening and stretching of the heart muscles and making the arteries and veins more elastic. This elasticity allows the vascular walls to expand and carry more elastic. This elasticity allows the vascular walls to expand and carry more volume of blood to get to the part of the body where it is needed without having to increase the blood pressure. By bending and twisting the body in a myriad of ways, your internal organs get massaged which increases their circulation bringing with the extra blood supply more oxygen and nutrients and taking away with the venous blood flow more toxins and waste material. Similarly, through the bending, twisting and stretching, you enhance the function of your lymphatic system.

Some yoga exercises improve your eyes, making the eyes healthier, and even help to tone the muscles behind the eyes, which control the shape of the eyes and affect your vision. Through regular practice of yoga postures, your body will regain some of its youth and vigor, making you feel and look younger. You will have more energy and endurance.

Yogic exercises offer a variety of tools for a variety of needs. If you are interested in the just physical, the mental, the spiritual or all the three, yoga works. Yoga is a very effective way of getting fit and healthy, and remaining so. It has its origin in India. The word yoga means communication. Yoga is pragmatic science, which has been evolved the yeas and deals with physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being. There are eight limbs of Yoga as given out by Pantanal in about 200BC.

These are as follows:-

Yama- Moral commandments.
Niyama-Purification through discipline.
Pranayama-Rhythmic control of the breath.
Asanas- Postures, which keep the body healthy and strong.
Prathyahara- Feeling the mind from the senses.
Dharana- Concentration
Dhyana- Meditation.
Samadhi- A state of supper consciousness brought about by deep meditation.

The first two control passion and emotion. Pranayama and Pratyahara are known as the inner quest. The last two allow the yogi to realize his 'self' The relaxation and physical benefits achieved from practicing even just once a week are sufficient reward for many beginners and quickly become apparent.

Fitness through Yoga.

Stress, fatigue, depression, obesity and heart troubles are some of the most common offshoots of modern lifestyles. India had an answer to the disorders riddling both the mind and the body thousands of years ago in the form of Yoga. So, yoga is a sure fire way to maintain a high level of fitness in the modern day.

Benefits of yoga
  • Regular practice of yoga strengthen the muscles. Yoga controls cholesterol level, reduces weight, keeps your blood pressure under check and generally improves the functioning of the heart.
  • Exercises like the Surya namaskar improve the capacity of the lungs and oxygenate the blood.
  • Stretching and bending during the asanas helps in removing hypertension and ensures better functioning of the nervous system.
  • Yoga reduces the process of cell deterioration and delays the ageing process.
Surya Namaskar

Although yoga is a vast subject which works both for mental and physical fitness, if you are targeting physical fitness and do not have the time for a range of asanas, surya namaskar is the regimen for you.
'Surya Namaskar' or Salutations to the Sun God is a series of 12 postures that can be performed as one complete exercise. The 'Surya namaskar' is one of the most comprehensive and basic yogasanas and can be performed every morning or evening or at any convenient time of the day. Surya namaskar is a warming-up, body toning exercise which energizes the body  and also an excellent breath control exercise. All movements should be relaxed and rhythmical and should be practiced at least for five minutes every day, to achieve the best results.


12 Postures in Surya Namaskar

1. Namaskarasana. Stand erect facing the sun, with your palms pressed together against the chest in the namaskar posture. The elbows should be level with the shoulders, and the feet close together. Breathe deeply and relax. This posture is good for the stomach muscles.

2.Urdhva Namaskarasana. Inahale deeply, and raise your arms high above your head, with palms still together and eyes following the hands. Bend your body backwards from the waist, slowly, this asana stretches the front of your body, relaxes muscles, and improve circulation.

3. Uttanasana. Exale slowly, bend your body forward from the waist, and bring your hands down to the ground in a wide arc. Your head should touch the knees. With practice, you should be able to rest your palms fully on the ground. This asana helps in stretching the back, shoulder and hamstrings.

4.Ekapaada Prasaranaasana. While inhaling, gradually lower the body, raise the head, and move the right leg far back in a wide arc. At the end, the right foot knee touch the ground, while the left foot remains between the hands. This movement exercises the chest, lower back and legs.

5.Dwipaada Prasaranaasana. As you exhale, extend the left foot and place it next to the right foot. Keep your arms and body straight, and your eyes looking ahead. In this position, you are resting on your hands and toes.

6.Bhujangasana. While inhaling, slowly lower your hips till they are just above the ground. Bend your head and torso as far back as possible. This posture is very good for the spine.

7.Ashtaanga Namaskarasana. While exhaling, slowly lower your body until only the feet, knees, hands, chest and forehead touch the ground. Maintain the posture for a few seconds. Exercises the shoulders, back the chest.
8. Bhujangasana. This is similar to the position in step 6. While inhaling, with hands and feet on the ground, pull your body forward and bend it as far back as you can. Exercises the shoulder, lower back, abdomen and hands.
9.Adhomukha Shvaanasana. As you exhale, curve your body away from the hips, and bend your head towards your chest. exercise the neck, back, hips and legs.

10.Ekapaada Prasranaasana. While inhaling, return to the position in step 4. Bring your left leg forward and place it between the hands. In the final pose, your right leg is stretched back, and the head is high.

11.Uttanasana. This is the same as the position in step 3. Exhale, and bring the right leg next to the left leg while raising the body. The head touches the knees.

12. Back to Namaskarasana. As you inhale, raise the arms over your head and bend backwards in a repeat of step 2. After that, return to the position step 1.

Note: Do the exercise in a well-ventilated area, wearing minimal clothing. There are 12 positions in Surya Namaskar, nd you should always go through the entire cycle. However, you can take some rest in between exercises. Ensure that your breathing is correct. Much of the benefit of Surya Namaskar is lost if you do not breathe in and out as recommended.



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