KOCHI: During busy work schedules and family life, women struggle to keep a tab on their health. The International Yoga Day is a reminder that it’s important to energise and balance mind and body.
Deepika Dikshit, senior yoga teacher of Jindal Naturecure Institute in Bengaluru stresses that women not only possesses external beauty, with a soft and graceful form but a force of character that gives her the power of endurance. Deepika proposes a few yoga poses that women must do daily to maintain balance.
Marjaryasana (cat/cow pose)
How to do: Start from a table-top position with your wrist under your shoulder and your knees under your hips. Make sure your core is engaged and your spine is in a neutral position. Inhale and push down your belly towards the floor. Lift your tailbone and neck towards the ceiling. This is the cow pose. Hold this position for a second and then move to the cat pose by lifting your spine towards the ceiling. Tuck in your tailbone and keep your chin on your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds. Do these poses ten times.
Contraindications: Someone with weak or not-so-strong wrists and shoulders can avoid the practice of this pose, and move to the simpler version of the Seated Cat-Cow Pose. Any kind of injury to the shoulders should be taken seriously when practising Marjaryasana.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)
How to do: Come on all fours with your knee right under your hip and wrists under your shoulders. Now, lift your knees off the floor and place your hand forward to form an inverted ‘V’. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs are straight. Hold this position for about two minutes and then return to the original position.
You should not practice inversions, such as downward dog if you have: carpal tunnel syndrome, late-term pregnancy, high blood pressure or related issues. People with injuries on the back, arms, or shoulders should also take expert opinion before performing.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)
How to do: Stand straight with your feet one metre apart and your hands at your side. Turn your right feet to your right and raise your hands to your shoulder level. Now, bend your right knee to a lunge position. Keep your left leg straight. Hold this position for about three minutes and then return to the original position. Do the same on the other side.
Contraindications: Those who are menstruating or pregnant should not hold this pose too long. A simple variation can be done using a chair.
Balasana (Child’s pose)
How to do: Kneel on the floor with your hands at your side and your knees around hip-width apart. Now, sit back on your heels. Bend forward to place your chest on your thighs. Hold this position for about three minutes and then come to the original position.
Contraindications: Don’t perform the pose, if you are pregnant, suffering from diarrhoea or have a knee injury.
Dr Deepak Mittal, Yoga expert and founder of Divine Soul Yoga in Delhi, says the hormonal imbalances in most women make them prone to physical, psychological and mental problems. Yoga helps women balance their lives by improving body strength, hormonal balance and self-acceptance. When combined with breathing exercises like Pranayama, 30-45 mins of Yoga can reduce stress, improve sleep and govern essential body functions like heart rate, respiration, blood pressure etc. They have to just take some time out in the morning or evening.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
How to do: Begin by lying down on the floor on your back. Keep your hands at your side and your legs together. Now, slowly lift your legs without bending them. Also, lift your upper body off the floor and stretch your arms towards your legs. Hold this position for about three minutes and then return to the original position.
Contraindications: Do not practice if you have low blood pressure, severe headache, or migraine if you have suffered from some chronic diseases or spinal disorders in the recent past. Asthma and heart patients are also advised to avoid this pose.
Vasisthasana (Side plank)
How to do: Start in a plank position, shift body weight into the right hand, wrist under shoulder, drop heels to the right side onto the mat, rotate the body to face the left side, and lift your left arm into the air at shoulder height and twist. Raise hips as high to the ceiling as possible.
Contraindications: People with an injury to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, back, knees, or ankles should avoid practising it. Any injury to the muscles of the legs, back and arms are contraindications.
How to do: Do preliminary conditioning in Sukhasana or any other meditative posture. Sit on a firm chair with an erect backrest, if unable to sit on the floor. Keep the body above the waist straight and the spine erect. Inhale and then exhale slowly, smoothly and continuously in a controlled manner from the nostrils with a little force, making a humming sound like the black bee. Keep the mouth closed throughout the practice. The sound need not be very loud but should create vibrations. Practice five times, with pausing in-between rounds.
Contraindications: Don’t practise if you’re pregnant or menstruating. It is also not suitable if you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, chest pain, or an active ear infection.
How to do: Close your eyes and sit in Padmasana. Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Inhale slowly through the left nostril, taking in as much air as you can to fill your lungs. Remove the thumb from your right nostril and exhale. While exhaling, use the middle finger to close your left nostril and inhale with your right nostril. Remove the thumb from the right nostril and exhale. Perform for 2-5 minutes.
Contraindications: Don’t perform, if you are taking medicine for blood pressure. The same can be done without holding your breath.