Go gaga over yoga

BEND IT Some asanas have a cooling effect and work wonders on the body, writes Dr Ashwini Konnur

health

With the arrival of summer, our body’s natural hydration levels take a plunge. It is necessary to replenish our body with loads of fluids by increasing our water intake and through the consumption of fruits and also by avoiding spices. Another important way to beat the heat is by exercising effectively. Some yoga poses are just perfect for this season to help keep your body and mind calm.

Yoga is a field that needs no introduction and offers a solution to all health problems, from mental to physical.

Following are five yoga poses that’ll help you beat the heat:

Sitali breath

Sit erect and pay attention to your breathing patterns. Extend your tongue out and roll the outer edges together. Breathe in deeply to a count of three through the tube in your tongue. Hold the breath for a moment. After you have inhaled, draw your tongue back into your mouth, seal your lips and breathe out through your nose, long and smooth, for a count of three. Try doing it for at least 10 rounds, moving up to 50 breaths for more complete cooling. This asana has an instant cooling effect.

Anjaneyasana or low lunges

From downward facing dog position, get your right foot between your hands. Place your left knee on the mat. Extend your hands to your right knee or sway them up to the sky and hook your thumbs. Get your shoulders down your back as you relax, and look up slightly. Lift from the back of your heart, from the thoracic spine, to notice a small backbend. Stay for five full breaths. Bring your hands back down to frame your right foot, tuck your left toe and step back to downward facing dog position. Repeat on the left side. This exercise helps lengthen your muscles while unclogging your heart.

Vrikshasana or tree pose

This is also known as the tree pose which helps calm your mind and strengthen your muscles. Stand in the Tadasana position. Move your left knee towards your chest and hence, to the side. Place your left foot over the right calf or reach down and grab your left ankle and place it on your right thigh. Extend your hands while folding them and placing them near your chest or over your head. Reach for the surface with your right foot and lift up through the crown of your head. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side of your body.

Baddha Konasana

Too much heat can result in stress on the body. From a relaxed, stationed and seated position, fold your knees and place the soles of both your feet together. Heels of the feet can be as close to or far away from the groin as you find comfortable. Position your arms and palm around your feet. Slightly bend forward, trying to place your heart towards your toes, gently curving the spine until you find the pose that is right for you. Hold this for 10 to 15 breaths. Any forward fold can help reduce tension, but the butterfly pose further relaxes the upper, inner quadriceps, very similar to what the low lunges do to the body. Enjoy the calming feeling of turning your thoughts inward while you are performing this asana.

Simhasana or
lion pose

To perform the asana, kneel down on the floor. Intersect your ankles such that the right ankle crosses over the back of the left ankle. The feet must be pointed outwards on both the sides. Then, place your palms on your knees. Spread out your palms, such that your fingers are extended. Press them firmly against each knee. On doing these, inhale through the nose, and as you do that, open your mouth and extend your tongue. Curl its tip towards the chin. Your eyes must be wide open, and the muscles anterior of the throat must be contracted. Breathe out through your mouth as you produce a ‘ha’ sound. You must keep in mind that it is necessary that the breath passes over the back of the throat.

(The author is ayurvedic consultant, AyurUniverse)

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