The 6 most Popular Yoga Asanas
Posted on May 22 2017
Have you ever walked past a yoga studio and wondered why the people inside seem to be having such fun? Well, in spite of it looking so soft and easy, yoga brings a different level of well being to the practitioner. Yoga’s benefits are different to gym or running or other regular sports. Many benefits are indeed the same, but yoga has its own unique end results. Yoga is, by definition, stretching and breathing. While that might sound so simple and even silly to those engaged in conventional sporting pastimes, yoga’s benefits are myriad and address the whole of you in ways no other practice does.
The poses or asanas (pronounced AH-sa-nahs)
The old school wisdom of the gym is that three exercises can tone and muscle-up a body viz. squats, bench-press and chin-ups. Is it possible to find a similar snapshot among the hundreds of asanas (poses or positions) in yoga? The short answer is, yes! And here they are. Always stretch gently and roll or softly manipulate joints and limbs for a few minutes before adopting a pose. Breath into the asana and, as you exhale, twist or turn a little more into it. Slowly finding comfort in the discomfort, practice these asanas regularly and enjoy the benefits for yourself.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist) is a remarkably stretching pose that you can feel working on your body. This asana works wonders on tired, stiff spines and limbs. As you exhale, twist ever so gently more, trying to get to a point where your head is facing backwards, looking at the wall behind you, without forcing and with a straight spine.
Twist to the one side and hold for a while and then release and twist to the other side as shown. Yoga always does to the left as it does to the right.
Setu asana (bridge) is a staple, great asana especially useful for those who sit in an office chair all day. It opens the chest and relieves the effects of hunching over & poor posture. Breathe out when raising the tailbone first and coming up to the position shown here. Hold for a few breaths. Slowly lower the body back to the floor, rolling down from the neck one vertebrae at a time while exhaling. Repeat several times over, breathing consciously all the while.
Phalakasana (plank) is performed with the hands beneath the shoulders, the back straight and looking either down or forwards. An amazingly useful pose that tones almost the entire body and allows good stamina and focus to develop, this pose is not only a favorite with beginners, but is also never abandoned by wiser, experienced practitioners.
Trikonasana (triangle) is another excellent pose for developing balance and toning the whole body. Slowly move into this position feet first and lower the one hand before raising the other and turning the body to one side. Remember to perform this pose to both sides equally.
Try not to allow the spine to bend or slouch but keep it straight out from the hips. Choose a point of focus and hold the pose for as long as is comfortable.
Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior pose 2) is a powerful pose, full of poise and balance, demanding a firm stance and steady focus. Perform the pose first stepping forward with one leg, bending the knee and raising the arms as shown. Keep the spine erect and don’t lean either forwards or backwards. Repeat on the other side once held for a minute or two.