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Yoga makes you aware of your body; you will start to feel each and every muscle twitching, stretching, flexing and then relaxing. Practicing yoga is akin to the incessant ebb and flow of tides - subtle yet quite prominent. Yoga integrates your body, mind and soul together unlike any other activity and that is why it can be the answer to most of lifestyle related health woes of the 21st century.
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Yoga and Mental Health
Believe it or not, yoga as well as mindful meditation can not only help relieve stress but also facilitate in treating anxiety and mental disorders. There are a host of easy asanas that can help you de-stress, unwind and feel mentally rejuvenated.
Similar to our ‘namaste', sit cross-legged on the floor and bring your palms together with the fingers stretching out to the centre of your chest (heart chakra). This represents the harmony of the two sides (right and left). Now close your eyes and slowly inhale, hold your breath for a few minutes, and then exhale. Continue this pattern for a few minutes.
Other poses that would help would include: Balasana, Uttanasana, Uttana Shishosana, Savasana
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Healthy bones are extremely crucial for our health. Apart from ensuring a regular intake of calcium and Vitamin D, regular exercising is equally important for maintaining healthy bones. Not only does yoga aid in strengthening our bones but some of the postures can even help those suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis. Seema Sondhi explains that practicing certain weight-bearing postures can help ward off off bone related ailments like osteoporosis.
The warrior pose or Veerabhadrasana
It involves going into the mountain pose, followed by stretching one of your legs back and with the other leg going into a lunge like position with your knee at a ninety degree positioning and your hands stretched right above your head. You can take this further to the veerabhadrasana II or warrior pose 2 wherein you bring your hands in front of the chest and straighten your stretched leg, pointing it outwards while your other leg is still at ninety degrees and your both arms are stretched out wide apart.
Some of the other asanas would include: Triangle pose, Bridge pose
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Yoga and Obesity
Yoga aims at making you fit and fights extra fat by increasing flexibility and strengthening your muscles. The various postures involve twisting the body, forward and backward bends, inversions and other activities that help in weight loss.
Postures that are great for inducing weight loss and combating obesity would include:-
The warrior pose or Veerabhadrasana, Surya Namaskar, Triangular pose or Trikonasana, The boat pose, The bridge pose, Upward plank or Purvottanasana
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If these aren't enough for you and you would like to try your hands at something challenging and different then you might want to give Power Yoga, Ashtang yoga, Hatha or Kundalini yoga a try. Fitness institutes these days are offering an exciting mix of yoga postures incorporated in dance moves - if you are more on the groovier side, try Dance yoga as well.
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Yoga for Diabetes
Practicing yoga is great to stimulate various organs and improve our metabolic processes. Various asanas help in making organs like liver and pancreas more active, which may further help in regulating and managing high cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Some of the most recent medical studies have reported yoga to be beneficial in insulin production as well as aiding in treating diabetes along with prescribed medication. Essentially, postures which involve a lot of twisting or stimulating the abdominal area help a great deal for diabetics as well as keeping a check on cholesterol and high blood sugar levels.
Sit up with your back straight and toes pointing outwards. Breathe in and raise your hands over your head and stretch. Now, while breathing out bring your hands down and bend then forward to touch your legs. Place your hands wherever they reach, hold your toes if you can but don't force yourself. Breathe in and elongate your spine. While breathing out, keep your navel close to your knees.
Other asanas would include: Vakrasana, Vajrasana, Chakrasan, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Kapalbhati, Pranayam
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Apart from the ones mentioned, regular practice of yoga also fortifies your immunity, works up your heart and prevents risks of cardiovascular diseases. Specialized yoga postures are extremely helpful for pregnant women and facilitate normal delivery without any difficulties. Experts also believe that yoga can help in treating conditions like insomnia, mood disorders, digestive troubles, high blood pressure and so on.
- Seated twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) for indigestion
- Tree pose (Vakrasana) for anxiety and stress
- Standing forward bend (Uttanasana) for lower back pain
- Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana) for headache
- Child's pose (Balasana) for insomnia