Yoga Asanas For Health And Fitness

Yoga asanas also known as yoga poses are the third limb of Patanjali's ashtanga yoga. The posture in which one can sit for indefinite period comfortably is called 'asana'. Indian legend claims that Lord Shiva originally demonstrated 84,000 postures and exercises for maintaining health and attaining self discipline. Patanjali, the father of Yoga, reduced the essential number of asanas to 84. As a beginner, you can select the asanas you can do easily for starting yoga.

Asanas are supposed to be carried smoothly and without straining the body. General Yoga workout tips will be helpful for your yoga journey.

Yoga asanas/ Yoga poses can be classified into three categories

  • Meditative asanas. Practiced for meditation
  • Asanas providing mental tranquility. Provides total mental peace and tranquility and prevents wandering of mind.
  • Asanas providing physical strength. For physical strength and body power.

Every asana consists of three stages, that is coming into the prescribed pose, holding it or keeping stationery and then coming out of it. For beginners holding stage will generally be minimal initially. These three stages of asanas are accompanied by breathing control depending on the particular asana. 

Can I Do Yoga Asanas If My Body Is Not Flexible?

If your body is not in peak of health, you will certainly lack the flexibility required for most of the asanas. In our daily life some of our joints are rarely used and it will take time to regain flexibility. A beginner should not get discouraged or confused. Start with asanas which you can do easily. In case your body is inflexible, still don't lose heart. Regular practice of even two or three asanas combined with pranayama and stretching exercises will develop your body to undertake more difficult asanas. There will come a stage when you will start enjoying yoga asanas.

Yoga Asanas Vs Exercise

By practicing asanas one can develop physical health, endurance, vitality, perfect health and achieve longevity. Asanas not only help a practitioner getting freedom from physical disabilities and mental distractions but also achieve complete equilibrium of body, mind and spirit. Metabolism rate of the body drops which means less of wear and tear. As body's digestive system becomes more efficient, you can get more energy with lesser quantity of food.

As we breathe, the diaphragm rises and falls, the organs in upper abdominal cavity the stomach, small intestine, pancreas and liver receive regular massage at the rate of some thirty to forty strokes a minute. Shallow breathing habit as we generally breathe may result in frequent complaints of gas or acid stomach or it may lead to more serious disorders. But with the regular practice of appropriate asanas the abdominal muscles readily regain their elasticity and tone.

Ordinary exercise seldom has any direct bearing on the proper functioning of the endocrine glands but many of the asanas will stimulate the functioning of one or another set of endocrines. Similarly, there are asanas for stimulating the proper functioning of the kidneys, the large intestine and the colon.

By the practice of asanas, blood circulation and digestion improves which directly affect the health of the nerves. A better supply of blood to the brain inevitably results in improved memory, alertness and overall feeling of well being, an overall improvement in your mental attitudes and a revitalization of all the faculties. Your whole outlook is therefore affected by what looks like a series of exercises in the beginning.

Practice of asanas must be accompanied by good thoughts, good actions and moderation in diet. There is no infrastructure required to practice asanas, just a mat and clean airy space is required. You can practice asanas in any well ventilated room in your home. So there should be no more excuses.

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