For those of us who have difficulty in calming the mind and find the whole thought a little intimidating, yoga can be a good way to begin feeling what it’s like to be in a meditative state. Some of us have an easier time doing something while we are working towards quieting the mind, and yoga is perfect for that.
Yoga puts you in touch with your breath, your body and slowly gets you relaxed and quiet in your mind. Aside from the inner well-being benefits, Yoga is also a great physical activity for both men and women in not only gaining flexibility, but also balance and strength.
Below is a 20 minute routine that can be practiced in the morning for a yoga practice.
Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation)
In Sanskrit it means Surya- Sun, Namaskar is a form of salutation. Surya Namaskara are a sequence of 12 asanas of Yoga, that include: the Mountain Pose, Overhead Reach, Forward Fold, High Lunge, Plank, Caterpillar, Cobra, Downward-Facing Dog, 2nd High Lunge, and then back to Forward Fold, Overhead Reach and Mountain Pose The sequence is very important as they gradually revitalise your body and stimulate ‘prana’ -life force- to raise your energy levels. This pose is traditionally performed as a way to awaken the body. Experts say it is best to do this routine as soon as you wake up.
Step 1: Pranamasan
Stand in an erect position, facing the sun, with palms folded near the chest in namaskar. Keep the feet together and breathe normally.
Step 2: Hasta uttanasana
Breathe in, raise the arms upward, and bend backwards with the face pointing upwards and towards the sky. The back should be arched while bending backwards.
Step 3: Pada hastasana
Exhale and keeping knees straight, bend down till the head touches the knees. The hands should touch the floor on either side of the feet with the palms flush against the ground.
Step 4: Ashwa-sanchalan-asana
Inhale and stretch the left leg backwards, and balance the leg on the toes with the heel raised upwards. The right leg is bent at the knee and the head is lifted upwards to face the sky, while the hands remain stretched with the palms flush against the floor.
Step 5: Parvatasana
Exhale and keeping the palms flush against the ground, the right leg is pushed back to stay parallel with the left leg. The hip is raised with the head bent downwards to face the navel.
Step 6: Ashtanga namaskar
Inhale and lower the hips. The toes, knees, chest, and face touch the floor while the hips are slightly raised.
Step 7: Bhujangasana
Exhale and stretch arms. Lift the chest so the back arches and the head is bent backwards to face the sky.
Step 8: Parvatasana
Exhale and perform as in step 5
Step 9: Ashwa-sanchalan-asana
Inhale and perform as in step 4
Step 10: Pada hastasana
Exhale and perform as in step 3
Step 11: Hasta Uttanasana
Inhale and perform as in step 2.
Step 12: Pranamasan
Bring back the hands in a folded namaskar to the chest, and breathe normally as in step 1.
The steps are repeated once again, using the opposite leg in steps 4 to 9. One round of surya namaskar thus consists of 24 steps. The ideal regimen requires an individual to perform 12 rounds.
This forms a quick 20 minute workout for the body and invigorates you for the whole day.