The Benefits of Asanas
People today have a greater knowledge of the many positive ways physical fitness can impact their health. Most people try to exercise their bodies with programs that appeal to them, but there are also a lot of fad programs that seem to disappear almost as quickly as they appeared to become part of mainstream fitness. Many regimens are tough to adhere to which is why so many people end up exercising very little or not at all. It is, however, possible to strengthen your body without going to a gym, straining your body, or publicly sweating out your entire water supply. Through yoga, one can exercise their body and mind simultaneously and achieve an overall sense of well-being. The health benefits that one can achieve through yoga are enormous and affect everything from the muscles and joints to the blood circulatory system.
The yoga postures called asanas improve respiration through focused breathing techniques while the body maintains the specific poses. Meditation clears the mind and allows one to focus on the important things in life and channel out negativity. Yoga teaches people to be aware of their mind and body as well as the needs of both.
Asanas are most effective when the mind and body work in unison. A person should only perform the asanas to the best of their ability. Not one yoga instructor or fellow yogi will ever ask a yoga student to cause distress to their body. The point of yoga is to make oneself feel better, not worse than before they began. For this reason, each movement is performed slowly with a heightened consciousness of what is happening during this time. There are many asanas, especially now since many new types of yoga are surfacing as part of the phenomenon, but most can be categorized into groups of similar asanas.
Standing asanas promote joint and muscle flexibility. Ardha Chandrasana and Tadasana are two examples of standing positions. Standing yoga asanas also promote an increase in stamina, and they feel the most natural of all the positions. They are great asanas to begin with if you have not practiced yoga before.
Forward and backward bending asanas are a different stage of yoga. Many people find these asanas difficult to perform until they become more limber with the help of other postures. The mind helps a great deal when attempting these poses; one should remain focused and steady. The Paschimotanasana yoga posture greatly reduces back aches and pains if practiced on a regular basis. This yoga pose is a forward bending pose.
The yoga asanas that require back bending work the body in the opposite way by elongating the front area of the spinal chord. The two bending positions complement each other. The Bhujangasana yoga posture is a back bending position, so when performed before or after the Paschimotanasana, these positions are more effective to the body. The spine moves with most of our movements, and most exercise programs do not work to specifically target the area. Flexibility of the spine is imperative for healthy daily movements and the key to the body’s overall plasticity.
Twisting positions also work the muscles in the core of the body – the chest and abdomen – and the spinal chord. By focusing on this portion of the body, certain movements reach the body’s internal organs, which are exercised as well. The Matsyendrasana yoga position should be combined with the above bending positions for the greatest body elasticity and ultimate functions of those joints, bones, and organs.
Posture is yet one more thing that can stress the back, and over time affects other areas of the body. During youth, the body is often neglected and when people reach older ages they make health excuses as to why they cannot improve their health. This can create poor posture which redirects the alignment of the body so muscles become stiff and less useful to the body. Three yoga positions that a person performs either sitting or laying down are Simhasana, Padmasana, and Vajrasana. These three positions promote correct posture, while also toning and strengthening the body so it becomes able to hold the upright position.
The abdomen also plays a key role in good posture. You may be able to keep your spine straight and shoulders back, but if your stomach lands over your pants; your body can be thrown off balance, which renders the other actions ineffective. Asanas that work the abdominal and loins, for example the yoga posture called Marichyasana, work these body parts as well as the organs the outside body harbors. The pelvis also greatly benefits from these exercises both in form and function.
Yogasanas that work the arms and hands include the yoga postures Sirasana and Sarvangasana, two exercises that strengthen the arms as well as benefit the organs of the abdomen. Many asanas are performed by putting weight on the arms and hands to balance the body, but these parts also need the attention of specific asanas. Yoga is all about balance, and working every area of the body.
These many asanas may seem overwhelming to practice all at once, and thankfully they are not intended to be. You can alternate different asanas daily or practice different sets of asanas on alternating days. Yogasanas remove toxins from the body, and after each session you will notice you feel a great deal better than when began. Long term improvements of the body include a happier spirit, toned muscles, better digestion, and a deeper love for your body. Yoga is an ideal practice for that looking to better their bodies and lives, and no one is happier to teach you the techniques than your local yoga instructor or fellow yogi.