Continuing on the asana’s
- 25. Natraj asana (dance pose) – known as king of dancers’ pose, a salute to Lord Shiva of the Trinity – stand erect, bend left leg back at knee, grasp big toe with left hand; pull towards head, then thrust out right arm as if pushing some invisible object and lean forward at a comfortable angle; repeat with right leg. Excellent for leg muscles, back, balance and poise. In the initial stage you will find it a bit difficult, hence try doing it next to wall, but regular practice will benefit you. Breathe normally. *This is generally good asana for practicing classical or ballet dancers and sports athletes.
- 26. Knee crunch – stand on your feet and raise right leg bent at knee as much high as you can without strain; maintain the position for 10 seconds in the beginning and slowly increase the duration to 30 seconds. Now repeat with left leg. Stretches knee and thigh muscles and strengthens them. Also improves balance. Breathe normally.
- 27. Neck exercises – (a) sit upright or stand straight, turn head slowly to your left as far as it will go without strain; then to your right. You should not move body or shoulders.
- (b) Then bend head sideways slowly, first to left and then to right and try to press ear towards shoulder ( but do not raise shoulder to ear).
- (c) Thereafter, press head slowly forward towards your chest, so that your chin touches chest while keeping body upright; then move head towards your back as much as possible. Please do this very very slowly to avoid straining your neck. *Caution advised.
- (d) Afterwards, bend head forward and rotate head and neck slowly from left to right and then reverse it – from right to left.
- Then relax and repeat 5 times each of the above (a to d). Stretches the neck muscles and you will feel relaxed. DO THIS EXERCISE SLOWLY AS ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENT WILL HURT YOUR NECK. Breathe normally.
- 28. Padahastasana – stand erect with arms stretched above head, breathe in and then breathe out, bend and touch floor with palms, then grip back of each ankle with hands; keeping knees rigid, bend head and place forehead on knees. In the initial stages, it may not be possible without bending knees; once this has been mastered, go one stage further and grip toes with fingers while your face is placed on knees. This asana removes stiffness of the back, makes it elastic and supple; stretches ligaments in the thighs, supply blood to brain, which helps in relaxing mind and body. Thereafter, slowly straighten your body and relax.
- 29. Padmasana – sit down with legs stretched out, place right foot on left thigh with sole facing partially up, fold left leg over right leg to place on right thigh with sole upturned; place hands with palms facing upwards on knees. Breathe normally, relax and gaze straight. Makes knees, ankles and toes flexible.
- 30. Matsyasana (fish pose) – sit as described above in (29). With help of elbows lie down on your back. With help of hands lift back and bend your head and rest so that your upper back looks like a bow. Then with hands hold your big toes. Breathe deeply 4/5 times. All glands are activated, spine becomes strong, chest expands and lungs breathe in more air; constipation is cured. Also good for removing cough, phlegm etc.
*Most if not all yoga asanas are good for a healthy mind and body and can be done in moderation by youngsters and adults for relaxation.
~ A. Santhanam