Padangusthasana or Big Toe Pose is a beginner yoga asana (pose) that is a very good stretching pose for all muscles of the body – from head to toe. In Sanskrit Padangusthasana translates as Pada meaning foot, angustha meaning thumb, hasta meaning hand, so the pose literally translates to thumb to foot pose and hand to foot pose.
Practicing this pose increases blood circulation to the brain and stretches the thigh muscles, hamstrings, calf muscles and the back, lower back and both the arms. This is one of the very few poses that increase muscle density and burn fat accumulated in them. Padangusthasana massages the liver and spleen and gives strength to the knees.
This pose is said to balance the body and mind is ideal for women who are trying to conceive due to its stretching quality. Big Toe Pose improves concentration, memory and focus and can help prevent osteoporosis to a great extent. It calms down the practitioner and cures headache and insomnia, making the body more flexible at the same time. The Big Toe Pose helps relieve wind and rejuvenates tired muscles.
How to do Padangusthasana:
Caution: In all forward bending poses, be to fold from the hips, not the waist. As you fold from the hips it will require a little more effort as you are moving more of your body than when folding at the waist. Performing hip flexion instead of spinal flexion in this pose will protect your intervertebral discs.
For centuries yoga has been used as a powerful method to nourish mind, body, and soul. More and more people across the globe are accepting the fact that yoga has the power to go beyond one’s physical well being. It can strengthen our mental toughness, improve concentration and can even transcend our mind into a much deeper metaphysical world. Mindfulness and meditation have a deep connection with yoga. To put it concisely, regular yoga practice can help us to make the most of our meditation sessions.
To start, a study conducted by The University of Illinois, practicing yoga for 20 minutes on a daily basis has the potential to improve brain function. The study also illustrated the participants, after going through their yoga session, was better able to utilize their mental resources, process information more effectively, and retain information for a longer period of time.
Yoga allows you to focus inward; the way you breathe and align your body moves through transitions in the form of “asanas”, you get the results that are otherwise achieved through supreme meditation – focus, energy, confidence and a blissful state of being.
Here is a list of the best yoga asanas that will help you meditate more effectively:
The Crow Pose (Bakasana)
The Crow pose (also interchangeably known as the crane pose) is basically a balancing exercise that has immense health benefits if done properly. This asana is the symbol of happiness, youthfulness, and longevity. This pose makes you feel light and joyful due to which your attitude towards life gets renewed. These qualities make crow pose a powerful asana that allows you to meditate with yoga. Physically, it is very important in strengthening your wrists, abs, upper back and legs. It increases your digestion as well as the flexibility and elasticity of your spine.
How to do it:
Place your palms firmly on the floor, bend your knees, join your legs, stretch your feet. Now lift your body into the air. Transfer your weight evenly on to your hands and squeeze your elbows in alignment with your shoulder in order to lift your body higher. Now breathe calmly and stabilize your shoulder muscles, and hold in this position for a few breaths.
The Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
Virabhadrasana 1 or the Warrior 1 pose depicts and honors the exploits of an ancient fierce warrior called “Veerbhadra”. While standing in this pose, it allows you to overcome negative feelings – anger, impatience, and tension. So rather than reacting, just observe your thoughts and start believing that just like this pose, all the negative things in life will eventually end.
It takes away your feeling of irritation and makes you appreciate the stillness of the moment even while your thighs are burning. In this very moment, you will experience a sense of mindfulness, for you will witness the present moment without judgment or reaction.
How to do it:
Stand straight and spread your legs. Bend your forward leg while stretching the rear leg. Now lift your arms sideways, bring them over your head and join them. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply and make sure that your knees did not go ahead of your toe. Remember to hold this pose with the same determination of a warrior.
The Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
The Eagle pose or Garudasana is performed in the honor of Garuda – a mythical bird from Hindu mythology which is half eagle and half human. It is like a phoenix that represents birth after death, i.e., the moving aspect of creation and destruction. You need to do this pose in the early morning with an empty stomach. The eagle pose is especially beneficial for cultivating focus as it makes your mind silent and pure.
It strengthens the muscles of your legs, balances your body and helps restore your neuromuscular coordination. When you master this pose, your body feels like it is riding in the wind, just as an eagle does. This sense of overcoming obstacles allows a positive energy flow through your mind and body.
How to do it:
Stand straight, bend your right knee and wrap your left leg with your right ankle. Raise your arms in front of your eyes, wrap them also with one another and join your palms, and close your eyes. Bring down your hips and hold the pose for a few seconds. Breathe slowly and deeply and let go of the negative emotions.
The Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
The Lotus pose or Padmasana is the most germane and fundamental asana of Yoga. It is an extremely powerful pose that wonderfully connects mind, body, and spirit. Lotus is an auspicious symbol found in Buddhism as well as Hinduism. Many Hindu gods along with Buddha are often seen sitting in this posture and meditating. It increases your awareness and attentiveness that are very important for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
This simple asana can create a deep change within you. Other benefits of Padmasana are: it opens up the hips, keeps the spine straight, eases menstrual discomfort and sciatica and restores energy levels.
How to do it:
Sit quietly on the floor with palms down. Bend your right knee and put it on your left lap, similarly bend your left knee and put it on your right lap. Now stretch your hands and put them on their respective knees with palms facing forward. Take deep and slow breaths and remain in this calm position for a few seconds.
The Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
The Fish pose or Matsyasana is a complete pose in itself. It opens up the chest and releases tension from the worked out shoulders. It also stretches the muscles between the ribs and the throats and in this process relieves the stiffness of the neck. It involves a large number of muscles of your body and increases blood circulation in all these regions.
Matsyasana is extremely helpful in regulating emotions and reducing stress. It has a great effect on your mind. Also by working in the crown on your head, it has great psychological benefits. If you practice the fish pose regularly, it will take you in a position where you can express yourself better by feeling better.
How to do it:
Lie down on your back, join your legs and stretch your body. Now place your hands underneath your torso and lift your chest by opening it, forming an arc with your back caving in. Drop your head down keeping the arc intact with your feet together but relaxed. Breathe slowly and steadily and hold your body in this position for some moments.
Suzanne is an independent healthcare industry analyst & speaker and entrepreneur. Having hands-on experience in health, she has the answer to all your health-related queries. She loves to share her thoughts by writing article and discussion with people. She is also a contributor on BookMeditationRetreats.com.
Yoga is no longer just a trend, fitness routine or a fashion statement; it has become a way of life. Yoga has been in practice for thousands in India practiced then by ancient sages as part of their devotion to God. The practice of yoga helps your mind, heart and body fit and ready for the many challenges of life.
Total fitness is something that most people want and desire. In pursuit of a healthy and strong body people join the gym or a fitness club, but often they don't continue it for long. Why not opt for yoga?, It doesn't require a lot of time nor equipment and gives you total fitness guaranteed. Yoga in the western world concentrates more on poses called asanas. They are usually a mixture of a form of breathing breathing and meditation techniques. Many yoga poses are specially designed for the relaxation of mind and body. Yoga has exercises or styles that help you move your body in new ways which increases flexibility, mobility, strength and balance.
Health Benefits оf Yoga
A woman undergoes hormonal changes all of her life and this gives rise to different issues. To make sure that she can handle different issues properly, it is important to understand the benefits of yoga for a peaceful and healthy life. Yoga enhances muscle flexibility and stretching involved in various yoga poses releases the lactic acid which is the main cause of muscle pain after a workout. There are different types of yoga that focus on muscles and strengthening the core of the body. If you practice yoga regularly, in time you will see an increase in your endurance levels. A woman who practices yoga regularly seldom suffers from muscle pain because she is stretching her muscles through the practice of yoga. Yoga should be a must for women suffering from breathing problems as it improves breathing capacity and lung functions, as well as for women who have migraines, have difficult menstrual cycles and for women who are in menopause (just to name a few). Yoga also teaches you to control your breathing in order to deal with stressful situations.
Benefits of Yoga for Women
Yoga health benefits are more than just stretching and improving the shape of your body. They also exercise your internal organs and allow one to achieve complete body and mind fitness.
It increases flexibility and joints in the body.
Different yoga exercises increase the conditioning of joints, tendons and ligaments. This helps in reduction of pain caused by an old injury.
Yoga is 360° workout. Which means from head to toe you are using every single muscle which helps in strengthening the nervous system.
As you continue practicing yoga asana for weight loss, your overall cholesterol levels will begin to drop. This helps in fat burning and weight loss.
One of the best benefits of yoga is improved blood circulation. Regular practice of yoga will help with conditions like low blood pressure and anxiety.
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