Yogasanas – Preparation for and getting started...
Performing the asanas with the right preparation and in the correct manner makes them more efficient and increases the benefits. Here are some points to keep in mind...
Breathing – Always breathe through the nose unless specified differently.
Awareness – Consciously note the physical movement, posture, breathing, sensations, thoughts and feelings during the practice. This is important in order to reap the maximum benefits of performing the asanas.
Emptying the bowels - Emptying the bladder and intestines are preferable before commencing asanas.
Time and place of practice – Any time of the day, after heavy meals minimum 1 to 1.5 hrs gap should be kept. The best time, however is before and during sunrise, or around sunset. Practice in a calm, quiet, well-ventilated room. Try to avoid use of the fan unless it is very hot. A cold shower before starting improves the effect of the asanas.
Accessories – Use a yoga mat or folded blanket to practice the asanas on. Loose, light and comfortable clothing is the best.
Relaxation – Shavasana can be performed whenever one feels physically or mentally exhausted during the practice.
Precautions – Do not strain or exert force to perform any asanas. Consult a yoga instructor/doctor before performing asanas if you have any chronic ailments. In case of too much pain in any body part after performing the asana, stop the asana and seek medical advice if required.
Let’s get started....
The yogasanas described below are for beginners. They belong to the Pawanamuktasana series. Pawanamuktasana is the group of asanas that remove blockages from the joints and other parts of the body in order to allow free flow of energy in the body and mind.
Start position – Sit with your legs outstretched, palms on the floor to your side behind the buttocks. Your elbows, back, neck and head should be straight. Lean back slightly. Close your eyes and relax your body.
Toe bending (Padanguli naman) – In the base position, move the toes of both feet slowly backward and forward. Keep your feet upright and relax the ankles. Do not move the ankles. Inhale while moving your toes backward, exhale as your toes move forward. Be aware of the stretching.
Ankle bending (Goolf naman) - Keep your feet slightly apart in the base position and slowly move both feet forward and backward, bending them at the ankle. Stretch the feet forward as far as possible and then draw them backwards. Inhale while moving your feet backward, exhale as your feet move forward. Be aware of the stretch in the foot, ankle and leg muscles.
Ankle rotation (Goolf chakra) - Keep your feet slightly apart in the base position. Rotate the right foot 10 times clockwise from the ankle. Repeat in the anticlockwise direction. Do the same for the left foot. In the next practice, place your feet touching together and rotate both in the clockwise and then in the anticlockwise direction. In the next one, keep your feet separated and slowly rotate both feet together but in the opposite directions. Inhale when your foot is moving upward, exhale on the downward movement. Be aware of your breath and feet rotation.
Kneecap contraction (Janufalak akarshan) – In the base position, contract your muscles surrounding the right knee. Alternatively, you can keep a napkin under your knee and press the napkin to the floor. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds. Release and bring the kneecap to its normal position. Repeat 5 times. Do the same with the left kneecap. Then repeat with both kneecaps simultaneously. Inhale when contracting. Hold the breath and exhale while relaxing the muscles. Be aware of the contraction and counting.
Our next article continues with the Pawanamuktasana series...