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Sunday, December 27, 1998
By Anup Deb Nath
YOGA is more than just a simple routine of exercises put together. It consists of scientifically-based exercises for the entire body. These help in removing mental tension, fatigue, insomnia and other ailments.
Yoga is most popular for exercises that help to relax and remove stress as well as relieve ailments that modern medicine has no cure for. Yoga can be done by almost anyone, irrespective of age and the level of physical fitness.
There are stages in yoga just like in other forms of exercise. There is a specific routine for the beginners or those who are very out of shape, another one for the intermediate and then advanced exercises which should only be undertaken once you are familiar with the easier levels.
The biggest criticism that yoga faces is from people who feel that it is not strenuous enough and involves very easy to do exercises. That is not correct. Yoga, if done properly, requires good control over the body and stamina to do all the movements correctly. These movements, though slow and controlled, require concentration and stamina.
Some exercises sound easy and are easy to do, but give you great results if done regularly. One easy way to relax is by standing with your feet apart and arms hanging by your sides. Leave your body as loose and free as far as it can go and let your body flop forward. Count until 10 and then slowly straighten up again. Initially you may find that you do not manage to bend very far. With a little practice, you will be able to bend till your hands touch the floor. This exercise helps to relax and head, neck, shoulders, arms, back and hands.
For people who work under a lot of pressure, rolling the head from side to side has a very relaxing effect and helps to reduce tension in the neck. Keeping the muscles and bones of the neck lubricated and free of settling toxins helps to avoid tension and headaches. It is easier to relax while sitting and so that is preferred. Remember to keep your movements smooth and without any jerks.
Sit down in a comfortable position, either on a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Take a deep breath and try to relax your body as much as you can. Gently turn your head to the left, hold it for a couple of seconds and then turn it as far back as it can go easily. Hold it here again for a few seconds and then turn it to the right and hold. Slowly let your head move towards the front and drop your head down. Repeat these exercises slowly and smoothly in opposite directions.
An exercise to help cleans the lungs is by the standing straight and keeping your feet together. Inhale deeply while slowly raising your arms until your palms touch each other above your head. Make sure not to bend your elbows. Hold your breath and remain in this position for a couple of seconds then turn your palms out. Slowly your arms as you exhale.
Done correctly, this exercise will give you a tingling sensation in your palms and fingertips. This exercise helps to cleanse your breath and lungs and reduces breathing difficulties as well. Yoga also includes exercises for the internal organs. These can reduce any existing problem that you already have or even to keep the organ functioning well. A good exercise to stimulate and improve the functioning of the liver and the spleen is as follows:
Sit on the floor with both legs bent onto your right side. Raise the arms above your head and clasp them together. Take a deep breath, bend your body to the right as low as you can take it and partly exhale your breath. Now sway your whole lower body while exhaling in short, forceful breaths. During this time take care that neither your upraised arms nor your head should move, all the movement that is being done should be restricted to the upper part of the body and the bending at the waist.
Return to your original position and repeat. After this sit with your legs folded to the left and repeat the bends to the left twice. Make sure that your movements are slow and controlled and that your breathing is exactly as specified to gain maximum benefit from any yoga exercises.
Yoga is a great way to keep your organs functioning at their peak, your body supple and graceful and give you a glow of health and a look of vitality.
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