Try these yoga poses while on holiday!
In the second part of the series, Shameem Akhtar shares with us yoga poses that you can practice while you're on your vacation too!
Using a compact yoga package while travelling is a great way to ensure that you do not lose your practice. It also will help you travel better, with less of the physical discomforts that surprise many travellers.
This is the second in the series on simple practices that you can do while travelling, in any mode of vehicle, as well in cramped quarters, as in hotel rooms.
It has been noted that in a person who is sedentary or not exercising, the muscle tone starts to become flaccid in just a week's time. That should be a warning to ensure that a ten-15 minute practice daily is at least adhered to, to ensure that you are in peak condition during your travel. Also, since these poses may be modified to cramped space, you do not need to carry a mat or need lot of floor space, as you would with a normal practice at home. Ideally you should be practicing your normal set, but that becomes impractical for several reasons while travelling. This article is for those who wish to cram a bit of yoga even while travelling.
Some tips: include a daily routine instead of having long routines interspersed by long gaps. This will help you maintain the discipline and regularity. Add a few pranayama practices and a meditation, if possible to ensure that your practice adds emotional strength to the physical relief you find in your practice. Do short routines on days instead of skipping practice altogether. Once the practice is skipped it is difficult to return to it, while travelling.
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, takes you through five practices that may be done while traveling.
For more of Shameem's yoga writings visit http://jaisivananda.blogspot.com. Follow Shameem's yoga products on her online shop Yogatique on Rediff Shopping here. Shameem's second book Yoga in the workplace, with photographs by ace photographer Fawzan Husain, is now available at online shops and bookshops across the country.
Disclaimer: This column just shares the columnist's passion for yoga which is ideally learned under the guidance of an expert.
Image: Try these yoga poses while vacationing
Belly breathing (In the supine position this is called Apanasana)
This may be done supine or seated (as shown). If lying, place hand on stomach. If seated, place right hand on belly. Shut eyes. Ideally chose a cross-legged seated posture. It may be done on a chair also, if space is a constraint. Inhale and exhale gently, with the entire focus on the belly movement as it goes up and down.
Do not force the movement or make it longer or deep. Just watch the movement with the focus not shifting. Count each inhalation-exhalation as one round. Count 50 rounds if you have 15 minutes or so. Otherwise, just time yourself with a clock (with alarm, as in a mobile), and do for five minutes.
Benefits: It is very soothing. It is known to improve breathing and increase oxygen levels in the blood. The mind's focus creates a ripple effect along the master glands that signal de-stress and health, so that the repairing mechanism in the nervous system(para sympathetic ) kicks in to create a powerful healing effect. Relieves tension. Improves digestion.
Image: Belly breathing
Ardhamatysendrasana (Half-spinal twist)
It may be done seated on floor, or even in chair. If the legs are out, grasp toe as shown. Otherwise the shin, if particularly stiff. If seated, hold the knee. If doing as above, left leg is stretched out, hold left big toe with left hand. Place right hand behind, with elbow straight out, as shown. Right knee is bent. Inhale, exhaling, twist to look over the right shoulder. Continue normal breathing, holding the pose. Inhale, to return to the center.
Then repeat for the opposite side.
Benefits: Gives a sideways traction to entire spine. Squeezes and massages the major organs along liver like the heart, lungs, stomach, liver and also the uro-genital glands. Is a detox practice.
Yogamudrasana (Psychic union pose):
It may be done seated on ground or chair. If on floor, sit cross-legged as shown. Place hands gently on knees (hands may also be twined lightly behind, at the hips). Inhale, exhaling lean forward to place forehead to the ground. Hold the pose for as long as possible, continuing normal breathing. Inhale, to raise your head.
Benefits: Calms you down immediately. The pressure at the abdomen deepens the breathing, plus improves the digestion. It is a cure-all pose in several ailments. It gives a great traction to the spine.
Points to note: If having lower back problem, do the bend fully. Place fore-head on a high bolster or stool.
Veerasana (Thinking man's pose):
Lie on your stomach as shown. You may do this seated also, and using a table in front on which to place the elbows. If doing as in picture, spread out legs a bit. Place hands as shown to cup the chin. Shut eyes in the pose and relax as along as is possible.
Benefits: Improves belly breathing. The pressure at the chin tweaks an important acupressure point for overall health. The lower back, kidneys, stress glands and the legs get a nice tone and relaxation.
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose):
Sit on your knees, squatting as shown. You may place one over other as shown, to hold the Bhairavi mudra. Shut eyes and stay in it as long as you like.
Benefits: It is a cure-all pose, used in various ailments and for creating health, strength and focus in the body and mind.
Points to note: Avoid if having severe knee problems.