This is a continuation from the previous entry.
- (7) Ardha Matsyendrasana – for flexible spine and toning up the hips – sit with your legs stretched out in the front, and bend the right leg so that upper end of the heel touches the upper end of thigh. Then place the left foot just outside the right knee, place the left hand behind back so that the hand touches right hip, and swivel to the left (stay in this position for one minute). Then return to original position. Now repeat this with your legs reversed. This is a very good asana for diabetes patient, as it massages your liver, pancreas, bladder and kidneys.
(8) Raised Hooded Snake – bhujanasana – Lie face down, arms bent, palms on floor in line with shoulders. Press the palms, breath in and raise head and shoulders. Raise your head and shoulders as high as possible but keep abdomen and pelvic area on the floor. After five seconds, breath out and return to original position. Slowly increase the duration of this exercise to ten seconds. This will make your spine and back supple and increase breathing power; it will also strengthen your shoulders and arms.
(9) Artha salabhasana – raising of lower portion: legs, knees and lower thighs – lie face down with legs stretched out and arms parallel to the body. Raise one leg, knee and thigh slowly as high as possible without folding, then do the same with other leg, knee and thigh. After doing this and if you feel comfortable, breath out, then press the body down with arms and raise both legs, knees and thighs as high as possible. Then back to normal and take a shallow breathing. This exercise strengthens your legs and lower thighs.
(10) Full salabhasana – raising upper portion and lower portion of the body – lie face down with legs stretched and arms stretched in the front. Breathe out and raise legs, thighs, hands, head and shoulders as high as possible without straining; return to normal position. This exercise strengthens hips, abdomen, pelvic area and the lower back (hip).
(11) Lower back stretch – lie face down with legs stretched out and knees rigid. Keep the hands on the lower back, breath in and raise head, shoulders and chest as high as possible without strain. This will stretch and strengthen your lower back and spine.
(12) Bhunamasana – sit upright on the floor and spread your legs wide, at about 1.5 feet. Breathe out, bend forward and place your hands first on the knees. Without bending the knees, try to grasp each angle in the beginning; after some regular practice, try to touch heels with your hands and hold position for a few seconds, before returning to the normal position. Conclude by breathing in. This exercise is excellent for stretching the spine, ligaments of thighs, legs and the entire sacro-iliac area.
(13) Chakrasana – circular position – lie on your back with feet well apart, with a distance of about 1.5 feet. Bend legs and keep the soles firmly on the ground nearer to knees. At the same time bend hands and place your palms on the floor, a little behind your head. Breathe in and try to raise your body into an arch so that it rests on your feet and hands. If you find it difficult, in the initial stages raise only the lower back as high as possible. This exercise strengthens and stretches your back, shoulders and neck.
(14) Dhanurasana – stringed bow – lie face down, bend both your legs back at the knees and grasp the angles with hands, first breath out and pull; at the same time raise head, shoulders and chest and breath in. When done properly, the body will rest mainly on the abdomen and pelvic area. This exercise stretches the back, shoulders and neck. It is good for reducing the fat in the stomach, improves digestion, gives a good blood supply to the pancreas and kidneys, and is beneficial for diabetic patients.
The above two asanas (13 and 14) should be done one after the other, as the spine is contracted (13) and stretched (14).
~ A. Santhanam