Unlike most other forms of exercises, yoga is about gentle, conscious movements that are well timed with the correct breathing techniques. The beauty of the postures listed here is that they can be performed by anyone, regardless of age or expertise. Moreover, one may perform these exercises either early in the morning, evening or at any other suitable time in the day. Do remember, however, to perform these asanas 3–4 hours after a heavy meal.
‘Tada’ in Sanskrit means mountain. Considered one of the foundational and most beneficial poses of yoga, Tadasana is the base of every other standing posture in yoga. It encourages proper body alignment and helps one understand the muscle movements that are involved while standing.
Drishti (the gazing technique): Your gaze should be fixed at a point in front of your eyes, and maintained at the eye level.
Recommended duration for optimal benefits: One should start slowly by holding each of these four asanas for 20–30 seconds, with normal breathing, and then gradually increase it to 45–60 seconds.
- This asana helps correct your standing posture.
- Tadasana develops muscular balance and symmetry.Performing the posture makes you aware of postural alignment, thus helping you ward off many lifestyle-related problems like back pain, knee pain and hip pain.
- The pelvic alignment the asana brings helps strengthen the back and core muscles.
- It is claimed that if performed from childhood, this asana can even add to the height of the child.
‘Parvat’ in Sanskrit means mountain. Translated to ‘mountain pose’, the asana helps stretch the whole body, accelerating blood circulation and thus bringing many benefits.
Drishti: Your gaze should be fixed at a point in front of your eyes, and maintained at the eye level.
- Performing the asana regularly helps increase blood circulation in your body, reducing mental fatigue, improving memory and thus one’s focus.
- The asana improves lung capacity and makes costal and inter-costal muscles flexible, even as it gives the spine a good vertical stretch.
- It helps prevent injuries by strengthening the fragile parts of our body. Performing Parvatasana is also known to remove blood congestion.
- The asana also helps in case of frozen or drooping shoulders.
‘Ut’ in ‘Uttana’ means intense while ‘tan’ means to stretch; ‘vakra’ means twisted—‘uttana vakrasana’ means to come to an intensely twisted posture. This spinal-twisting posture helps soothe and help reduce back problems.
Drishti: You are to gaze at a point on your right side when your head turns to the right, and vice versa.
- The twisting movement of the spine increases blood flow to the abdominal and spinal regions while making your spine supple.
- Uttana Vakrasana stimulates the pancreas and eliminates the collection of undesirable blood around that area.
- Placing your hands behind your head helps release stiffness from the shoulders.
- The asana releases tiredness due to sitting for long hours.
‘Bhujanga’ translates to cobra in Sanskrit. Known as the ‘cobra pose’ in English, Bhujangasana strengthens the spine, chest, shoulders, abdomen and buttocks.
Drishti: Gaze in between your eyebrows (bhumadhya drishti)
- Bhujangasana, while stretching your spine and making it supple, works on the digestive system and helps deal with acidity and indigestion.
- The asana also helps provide an internal massage for the pancreas, spleen and kidney.
- It helps in toning the midsection and strengthens your neck and back muscles.
- The asana is recommended for those who suffer from disc problems and nerve-related hip pains.
- It helps in releasing stiffness from the back while improving the lung capacity.
- The therapeutic asana also improves your breathing pattern.