4.1 Concept of Stress
Benefits: This gives a good lateral bending to the spine and helps in keeping it flexible and healthy. Also improves the liver function.
III. PÁDA HASTÁSANA (Forward-Bend Posture)
* Come to Tádásana
1. Stand erect with legs together, slowly bend down.
2. Loosen the shoulders and allow the arms to hang down freely.
3. Making the back concave, bend forward till the body comes to a horizontal position. Attempt to push the bottom of the spine forward while bending down. Breathe out while going down. Then inhale.
4. While exhaling bend down. Relax the neck muscles and let the head hang down freely. Then allow the waist joints to loosen and bend till the palms can rest on the ground and forehead can touch the knees. Retain the position for about two minutes without allowing the knees to bend. Return to Tádásana slowly.
Benefits: Makes the spine flexible; helps to remove back pain. Strengthens the thighs. Helpful in preventing constipation. Corrects menstrual problems.
IV. ARDHA CAKRÁSANA (Half-wheel Posture)
* Start with Tádásana
1. Slowly slide both the palms along the thighs. Support the back at the waist with the palms. Exhale.
2. Bend the head backwards, by relaxing the muscles of the neck. Bend backwards from the lumbar region. Inhale while bending. Retain the position for about a minute; normal breathing.
• Return to Sthiti (Tádásana).
Benefits: Makes the spine flexible. Stimulates the spinal nerves; Promotes circulation of blood into the head.
V. VAJRÁSANA (The Ankle Posture)
1. Sit with legs stretched out, keeping the heels about a foot apart. Taking the support of the palms, slightly lean backwards. Relax the neck muscles and let the head hang down freely backwards. Now relax the whole body in this leg-stretched sitting position. Now straighten the back to proceed to Vajrásana.
2. Slowly fold the right leg backwards and keep the heel under the right buttock.
3. Now fold the left leg to bring it under the left buttock. Sit in between heels. Keep the knees together, spine erect, the head, shoulders and buttocks in a vertical line. Rest the palms on the thighs covering the knees. Close the eyes and feel the changes in the back and all through the head.
Benefits: A meditative posture to sit comfortably for a long time with erect spine. Useful in cases of varicose veins; mobilises stiff ankles and knees.
VI. SÁSAÑKÁSANA (Moon Posture)
* Sit in Vajrásana
1. Take both the arms back, hold the right wrist with the left hand. while sitting in Vajrásana. Loosen the shoulders and the arms on the back.
2. Slowly allow the trunk to move forward and down keeping the back bone concave near the lumbar region. Feel the abdominal muscles pressing the thighs. Let the forehead touch the ground. Loosen the shoulders and the arms. Feel the relaxation and the slowing of breath.
3. Return to Vajrásana with arms back.
4. Bring the arms to the front and place them on the thighs near the knees.
Benefits: Helps in increasing the circulation of blood to the head and, hence, is good for developing concentration and memory. Beneficial for slow learners and all those suffering from low back pain, gastritis and obesity.
Those (especially the obese) who cannot perform this ásana easily can keep the knees about a foot apart and bend forward. The space between the knees accommodates the abdomen.
(to be continued in the next issue)