While Diwali has just ended, we find ourselves right in the middle of the festive season. Excitement is in the air and with the Covid19 fatigue well and truly setting in, we’re more than likely to indulge in all the revelry. As the year winds down it is tough to find balance between staying fit this festive season and enjoying to your hearts content.
So If you’ve eaten more than a fair share of mithais this Diwali, these five yoga asanas are just what you need to get you back to your best before the Christmas & New year celebrations begin.
These asanas have been hand picked since;
- They’re super easy to follow
- They can be attempted by everyone, irrespective of your experience with Yoga
- They’re amazing calorie burners and will
1. Chaturanga Dandasana
Teju Dhoot on her Ebony Yoga Mat
- Strengthens the back, core, shoulders, arms and thighs
- Improves your posture, stability and balance
- Builds functional strength and improves stability
Getting into Chaturanga Dandasana:
- Begin in a high plank keeping your wrists directly under your shoulders and keep a slight bend in your elbows.
- Bend your elbows and lower your shoulders so they’re at the same height as your elbows.
- Tightly squeeze your elbows in toward your body. Try and keep your upper body and legs a few inches above the floor.
- Gaze down or lift your head slightly.
- You can use blocks a pair of blocks as an aid until you build up the strength to hold the pose unassisted.
2. Utkatasana or Chair Pose
Sahiba on her Blush Yoga Mat
- Strengthens the legs and especially targets the quads
- Strengthens the ankles, hip-flexors, back and ankles
- Stretches the chest and back
- Stimulates the heart and abs
Getting into Utkatasana:
- Begin by standing upright
Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Keep the arms parallel to each other, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
- Focus on keeping your inner thighs parallel to each other and press down through your heels.
- Retract your shoulder blades to keep you back straight and long.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths. Inhale and release.
Akshu on her PUre Yoga Mat in Blue
- Opens your hips and groin
- Stretches your ankles, hamstrings, back and neck
- Tones your abs
- Improves metabolism
Getting into Malasana:
- Begin in a squat. Keep your feet close to each other, with your heels firmly on your mat.
- Spread out your thighs, keeping them slightly wider than your torso.
- Bring your palms to the center of your chest and press your elbows against the inner thighs.
- As you press with your elbows, lift the chest up to maintain a straight back.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths. Inhale and release.
4. Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II Pose
Akshu on her PUre Yoga Mat in Pink
- Strengthens the ankles, legs, shoulders, back and arms
- Improves balance and posture
- Helps open up the hips
Getting into the Warrior II Pose:
- Keeping your feet hips-width apart, step your left foot to the back of your Yoga mat (about one legs-length) keeping your feet in one line.
- Adjust the distance between your feet so that you feel stable.
- Bend your right knee to make your right thigh parallel to the ground, keeping the right shin perpendicular and right knee stacked over the right ankle.
- Extend your arms, keeping them parallel to the ground
- Focus on squaring your hips and keeping your chest lifted up
- Keep your neck neutral and relaxed.
- Breathe mindfully and hold. Repeat on the other leg.
5. Surya Namaskar
Sonia on her Blue Foliage Yoga Mat
The 12 steps of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) stretch and strengthen all the major muscle groups of the body and hence, in itself, the Surya Namaskar is a complete body workout. This sequence of poses is perhaps the ultimate way to increase your strength, endurance and flexibility.
- Strengthens and stretches almost every major muscle group of your body
- Increases mental awareness and alertness, helping you stay composed during pressure moments and keeping your reflexes sharp as you rally for the ball
- It is the best way to increase endurance. Practice 10 - 15 Surya namaskars daily and gradually work yourself up to do 108 unbroken surya namaskars. 90minutes on the pitch will then seem like a walk in the park.
Performing Sun Salutations:
While there are many variations to a Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) this article is a great initiation to the sequence.
- Practice holding these postures for 10 controlled breaths and work your way up to holding them 30 breaths.
- With Surya Namaskars, start with 10 and aim to do at least 30 unbroken
As with all yoga practice, be mindful and aware of your body and its alignment. Work on establishing a mind-body connection by focussing on active muscles in each asana.
Not only will this help you get awareness, but will also further your relationship with the practice.
Don't forget to be kind to yourself, if you binge a little extra this year don't fret, there's nothing a lilttle Yoga can't fix.
About the Author: This article is written by Harneet Jayakar, a Yoga teacher and professor.
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As beautiful as the monsoons make everything, they play havoc on our fitness routines. Morning runs are replaced by snoozed alarms, yoga classes are skipped for simmering cups of chai, and gym sessions are traded for binge sessions in bed.
But have you ever wondered why you turn into a sloth the moment the rains set in?
Don’t blame yourself for being lazy, there’s science at play!