Bakasana comes from the word "baka" and is translated as crane pose. Most students who are new to Bakasana may find it difficult to lift themselves off the floor so it may be helpful to use modifications or props when first practicing this pose. The most important beginner’s tip for this pose is that the heels and hips should be close together with the body tucked in tight. Once the feet are off the ground, the upper arms should be placed against the shins for better support while the groin is pushed into the pelvic region. This makes it easier to balance the body. To perform Bakasana, you need good strength of the wrist, hands, core and shoulders along with a sense of balance to maintain the position for up to 20 seconds. Bakasana is the foundation and key to all other arm balances in yoga.
Caution: Those with high blood pressure and cerebral thrombosis should avoid this asana. Do not practice this pose if you have chronic wrist or shoulder injury, or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this pose. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. Prior to beginning any exercise regimen including yoga, talk with your doctor first about any medical issues.
Yoga offers many benefits, from reduced stress to improved strength and flexibility. But it can also be intimidating to some people. You may not be able to keep up with the pace in a yoga class, or have physical limitations that prevent you from easily moving from the floor to standing poses for a full hour. Seated floor yoga, is a gentle style of yoga that incorporates the breathing and mind-body benefits of a traditional class.
This is a slow, gentle and restorative yoga practice of floor stretches and seated poses perfect for beginners, those recuperating from illness or those who just want to take it easy. Use this yoga sequence on days when you need some stress relief. If you choose to practice with props, use a yoga block and belt.
*Before you begin any new physical activity, you should consult with your healthcare provider. These poses are suitable for most people, including seniors and people living with chronic pain.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. These are a system of seven energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioral characteristics and stages of spiritual growth. Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you to align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. Understanding how to fine tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body and spirit.
There are seven chakras, each associated with a different part of the body along the spine from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is associated with a particular body location, a color, a central emotional/behavioral issue, as well as many other personal aspects including identity, goals, rights, etc.
The seven chakras are:
Muladhara - base of the spine
Svadhisthana - abdomen, genitals, lower back/hip
Manipura - solar plexus
Anahata - heart area
Visshudha – throat
Ajna – brow
Sahasrara - top of head, cerebral cortex
Through the movements and postures of yoga, you can learn to focus your concentration and energy to and from the various chakras in your body. This can allow you to compensate for areas that may be out of sync with the rest of your body or not active at all. By balancing the energy among all seven of the chakras, balance can be achieved. This spiritual energy is known as Kundalini energy. In its dormant state, it can be visualized as a coiled up snake resting at the base of your spine, the Muladhara chakra. Since the chakras act as valves or pumps regulating the flow of energy through your system, controlled and purposeful movements such as yoga can be extremely beneficial in realigning your chakras in a way that can cause great benefits to you in your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Above are 7 yoga poses to help balance your chakras.
Warrior 1 is a common yoga pose that is practiced in many styles of yoga and is often followed by other Warrior variations, such as Warriors 2. It is also a great posture for preparing the body for back-bends and is also seen in the traditional Sun Salutation B sequence. This pose was named after the mythic warrior Vibabhadra, it is meant to promote a feeling of strength and power.
Warrior poses are very physically demanding quite symbolic of the warrior energy. Although they require some strength; they also require the chest and heart area remain open. Strength and softness. Warrior 1 is a great posture for stretching many areas of both the lower and upper body.
Beginners usually find it hard to ground the back heel and lengthen the lower back in this pose. A solution to this could be to lift the back heel on a height like sand bag.
Use a chair or fitness ball under the hips to take some of the weight off of the front leg. Or hold onto the back of the chair (turned sideways) or a wall for support.
Warrior I Pose precautions:
Avoid this pose if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems. Those with shoulder problems/injuries should keep their raised arms either parallel or a little wider than parallel to each other.
Those with neck problems should keep their head in a position that is neutral and not look up at the hands.
Heartburn or acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when acid flows back into your esophagus causing irritation and a burning pain in the chest. When many people see headstands or deep backbends that so often characterize yoga poses, they would think that these poses would cause more pain, not relieve it. But in fact, certain yoga poses can help to alleviate acid reflux.
Typical treatment for acid reflux may include the use of antacids, prescription medications and lifestyle and diet adjustments; but yoga can help these changes to further counteract indigestion and bring much needed relief. Yoga cannot cure your acid reflux, but when practiced in conjunction with medical attention it may help to alleviate some of your discomfort. Here are a few yoga poses that may help to alleviate acid reflux.
**As with any alternative therapy, always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen including a yoga practice to treat symptoms of acid reflux. Certain postures are not safe for individuals with digestive problems, back pain and other health conditions.
Yoga is an ancient science that aims to create a balance between the body, mind and spirit, thereby curing physical mental and spiritual disorders that are caused by this imbalance. In common language, yoga means union; it’s a union of the individual consciousness with the super-consciousness. To be exact, yoga aims at reminding the individual of this union that already exists and has merely been forgotten. To put it simply, yoga is experiencing and knowing what already exists, not inventing anything new.
At the physical level, yoga can create a balance and harmony among the various organs and systems of the body, allowing the healing powers inherent in the body to work and cure physical ailments. At the mental level, yoga is the harmony between mind, heart and hands or between thought, speech and action. At the spiritual level, yoga aims to destroy the individual ego that stands between the individual and the cosmos, thus attaining to the ultimate truth.
Yoga is a set of systematically devised physical exercises that lay emphasis on balance and posture. Combined with breathing exercises they have the capacity to cure almost any ailment of the body and mind. The underlying concept of yoga is to create the situation in which the human body can function at its optimum capacity.
Yoga Asanas or poses are simple and effective body movements that massage the muscles lubricate the joints and tone the whole body. Yoga poses help to keep the body healthy and the mind peaceful. Asanas exercise the nerves, glands, ligaments, and muscles. These exercises increase flexibility and balance in the body.
Yoga poses refer to the sequence of exercises which is extremely important to get the best results. They are scientifically graded to move from the simple to the complex, to cure the body first and then move on to mental and spiritual goals.
Though it is best to begin yoga practice under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher, you can now learn to do these exercises at home with the help of books, videos and online yoga classes. Once you have learned the basic exercises you can make it a part of your daily routine. It’s best to have a time and place for practicing yoga so that you can be regular and reap rich benefits from it. After some time you will see a change in yourself. Your body will become more flexible, stronger and healthy; you will have a positive attitude and your worldview on life will become beautiful. You will feel blessed!
Most of us who study Yoga have been taught that an abundance of Prana (vital air or vital energy), can be found at the ocean, lakes, large open fields, and in the mountains. Although the air is different, this same energy can be found where people assemble for a positive reason. For example: when people assemble to meditate or pray.
You can feel it in your home, at a church, mosque, temple, shrine, ashram, seminar, martial arts hall, etc. This is when people bond in a mass for the common good. The energy can be used to help humanity and our little planet for the best.
You can project this energy outward by acts of kindness every moment of your life. This is not to say, you allow yourself to be abused. You can be kind to everyone who comes into your life, without becoming a “doormat.”
You have influence over a limited number of people who you see in a day. Why not make every contact a harmonious and positive experience?
Some examples would be:
Stop making foul gestures, becoming angry, and swearing when another driver on the road has irritated you.
Don't take advantage of respect with anyone.
Treat everyone as special – no matter what their economic status.
What is the mystery behind attracting positive energy?
To be honest, there isn't one, but I will give you the formula.
First, you have to realize that you have infinite potential, and it comes from within. You also have unlimited potential from the outside, when you engage in prayer, and meditation, on a daily basis. Prayer and meditation will positively charge you, and you will contribute to the benefit of others as a result of it.
In turn, all of this helping of others will result in finding people around you who are more than willing to give you a helping hand.
The following ideas will cultivate positive energy around you.
Make it a point to wake up in the morning with excitement and say hello to everyone you come into contact with. This goes for the security guard, janitor, your coffee barista, garage attendant, cashier at the store, and anyone else you may overlook in the course of your day.
Stop criticizing your family members, co-workers, friends, and associates.
Be diplomatic first, before giving any advice.
Let your family know that you love them every day.
Be sincere and treat everyone as important.
Take time to give to people. This doesn't have to be expensive. You could give a smile, a compliment, a card, a letter, or flowers.
Become a trustworthy partner with family, friends, co-workers and associates.
Set goals - whether they are tangible or not. It is a healthy practice to have goals at any age. The final results will be that your positive energy will attract positively charged personalities and successful people will seek you out. If this is a major change for you, it will not happen overnight.
There is a Zulu saying: “Patience is an egg that hatches great birds.”
Why should you become an eternal optimist?
Every one of us has a choice. When you fall down, you must pick yourself up. You can't blame life's hurdles or obstacles – you have to find solutions to get over, around, under, or through them.
Focus on your past achievements and learn to be happy with yourself. Everyone has failed, at some point, but we must constructively learn from our past experience.
Your individual approach, to life's daily obstacles, is the gateway to success or failure. Therefore, success is a matter of choice.
Building Positive Energy
In relation to what most of us see as possible - success is unlimited. When primal man first discovered fire, could he imagine the concept of a forge? When modern man discovered the forge, could he imagine sky scrapers? To build positive energy for pursuit of common goals and success, you need a support group. Find and seek out like-minded people.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) is a standing pose that stretches the obliques and strengthens the legs and the core. When you think of stretching and flexibility, most people picture sitting on the floor and reaching for your feet or contorting your body in different and challenging ways. Poses like Extended Side Angle are very effective in opening the hips and stretching the torso. Using your body weight against gravity is an excellent way to open tight muscles and release connective tissue. In the traditional Extended Side Angle pose you reach your hand all the way to the floor. This is an excellent stretch, however not possible for everyone due to an inflexible spine or tight hips. Resting your elbow on your knee (as pictured) eases up some on the stretch and allows you to rest as much or as little weight on your knee as you wish. Once you are able to complete this stretch with elbow on knee you can begin to reach your hand to the ground for a deeper stretch.
How to: Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Step your feet apart, about 3-4 feet. Lift your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor. Focus on reaching out through your fingers, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly and turn your right foot out 90 degrees. Anchor the outside of your left foot into the mat and bend your right knee. Bring your left arm up toward the ceiling and turn your palm toward your head. Look to your left. Exhale and bend to your right, trying to put the right side of your torso on your right thigh. Place your right fingertips or hand on the floor or a block just outside of your right foot. If that stretch is too deep, place your right elbow on your right knee with the palm up. Hold the pose for 5 long breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.
Caution: Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing headaches, insomnia, or high or low blood pressure. If you have a neck injury or current neck pain, do not turn your head upward in the pose. Instead, keep your gaze straight ahead with both sides of your neck evenly extended. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
If you’re overweight or need to lose some weight, it can be difficult to take that first step into any new fitness program. There’s the general assumption that you have to be in shape to exercise. Yet you can’t get in shape unless you exercise. It can be a frustrating circle. With yoga there are no barriers. It is infinitely adaptable and can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels.
Find a Good Yoga Instructor
It’s always important to find a good yoga instructor. They can guide you to achieve the best poses without causing injury. However, if you’re overweight it’s even more important to find a skilled instructor. You want to find someone who is supportive and willing to work with you to modify the poses to fit your current body and fitness level. There are many yoga instructors who are overweight themselves and serve as an inspiration. Some of these instructors offer specialty classes to their overweight students. You don’t need to find a special class, necessarily, but do look for a skilled and supportive instructor. Ask around to see what teachers in your area receive high reviews. You may also want to take a few one-on-one sessions so that you can get a feel for the instructor’s style. Or call a few yoga studios in your area to find out what is offered.
There are literally dozens of different types of yoga styles to choose from. Some like Hot or Vinyasa style yoga, may not be a good place to start. It’s always best to begin with a gentle yoga class and/or a beginner class if available. Hatha, Kripalu, or Viniyoga are all great styles to begin with. Don’t worry, if you have an aspiration to try Hot or Vinyasa yoga, you’ll get there. For now, learn the basics and develop your fitness.
Be willing to modify the poses to fit your body, your fitness level, and your needs. For example, some poses may require you to use blocks or to widen your stance to accommodate your body. Relax and do what you can. As your practice improves, your modifications will change. Your body will change too. You’ll notice that your alignment improves, your strength increases, and your endurance and flexibility will improve as well.
If you want to lose weight, get in shape, and are interested in yoga then give it a try. Don’t be discouraged by instructors or classmates who can bend their bodies into pretzels – you’ll get there if you want to. For now, enjoy the many amazing physical and mental health benefits of yoga.
**The information in this article should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Before beginning any exercise program including yoga, always check with your physician first to ensure there are no underlying issues that could negatively impact your regimen.
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