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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A House Built On Rock

To build anything lasting one must lay a strong foundation. For an energetic, flexible body it is essential to have healthy, well lubricated joints. Tense muscles and stiff joints are like rusty unused hinges – creaking, hurting. This is indicative of blocked energy due to long, hours at the computer, bad posture, and imbalanced lifestyle, psychological and emotional problems.

Now I am presenting here with one of the special contributions of the Bihar School of Yoga (biharyoga.net) that will address all of these problems. A series of simple movements that remove existing energy blocks and promote the free flow of energy in the body and mind, it is best that these are practiced in the given sequence. For lack of space if only a few movements are featured here, be patient, use these as an add-on your on going practice and continue to watch this space for the rest of this magical series!

Who are these meant for?

• All those who wish to lay a foundation for further yoga practice.
• For those with rheumatism, arthritis, heart problems.
• Convalescents wishing to build up physical and mental strength.
• For aching legs, computer fatigued arms, shoulders, necks.
• Nervous systems strained to screaming point.

Just take a look at following Yoga Video of Shri. Ramdevji Maharaj especially made for women.

Prarambhik Stithi:

• Sit on a mat with your legs outstretched.
• Place your palms on the floor behind your buttocks comfortably far enough so you can support your body.
• Keep the elbows, back, head and neck straight.
• Lean back slightly, close the eyes and practice body index.

Padanguli Naman / Toe Bending: 10 times:

• Focus attention on your toes. Keep the soles of your feet straight and try not to let them move.
• As you inhale curl and clench the toes tightly.
• As you exhale stretch and move the toes towards yourself.
• Pay special attention to soles remaining straight and the ankles remaining motionless.

Goolf Naman / Ankle Bending: 10 times.

• Now move your focus to the ankle joints – the feet are moved back and forth, bending them from the ankles, not the toes. Keeping the heels on the floor throughout.
• Inhaling stretch the feet forwards as if to touch the floor.
• Exhaling flex the feet – pushing the heels out.

Goolf Chakra / Ankle rotation: 10 times.

• Keeping the heels on the ground throughout, slowly rotate the right foot clockwise from the ankle ten times.
• Repeat the movement anti-clockwise with the same foot ten times.
• Repeat sequence with the left foot.
• When pressed for time you may practice with both feet together.
• For upward half of the circle breathe in, downward half breathe out.

NOTE: do not let your knees move and observe the difference this makes to your ankles.

Janu Naman / Knee bending: 5-10 times each leg

• This is best practiced in the base position.
• Bend the right leg, clasp the hands under the thigh or knee.
• Inhaling, straighten leg, pulling up the kneecap. Do not allow the foot to touch the floor.
• Exhaling, bend the right knee again bringing the thigh as close to the chest as possible.
• Try to keep the back and the spine as straight as possible. This is one round.
• Practice the number of rounds you have decided upon, and then repeat the sequence with the left leg.

Janu Chakra / Knee rotation: 3-5 times each leg

• Sitting in the base position, clasp your right thigh tightly to your chest.
• Move the lower leg from the knee in a large circle, trying to straighten the leg at the tip of the upward movement.
• Breathe in going up, breathe out coming down.
• Try to keep the thigh and the trunk completely still.
• After the decided number of rounds with right leg, close your eyes, see how your knee feels, then practice with your left leg.

NOTE: Imagine a clock in front of you as you carefully move your leg around it.

Ardha Titali / Half Butterfly: 10 times each leg

• Sitting in the base position, place the right foot high on your left thigh.
• Place the right hand on the bent right knee, with the left hand hold the toes.
• While breathing in, gently bring the knee towards the chest.
• While breathing out, push the knee down, trying to touch the knee to the floor.
• Do not let the trunk move, The leg muscles should be passive, all exertion being done by the arm.

NOTE: Upon finishing, carefully straighten the leg, bend it once and straighten it again. This is important as it will ensure that the knee joint is aligned correctly.

As you practice be aware of Level 1:

• The interaction between the bones, muscles and joints.
• The sensations of stretching and relaxation – the pleasure, the difficulty if any.
• Mental counting of each completed round.
• The thoughts that arise in the mind as you practice.

Level 2:

To the awareness of the physical movement:

• Add the dimension of breath.
• Synchronize the individual movement with the in and the out breath as instructed. The movements then become slower which, in turn slows the brain waves inducing relaxation and harmony.

Learn to Breathe Correctly:

• Always breath through the nostrils, not the mouth.
• The natural pattern of breathing is wavelike, using both the chest and the lower abdomen. Observe a sleeping baby!
• Breathe into the chest first, normally, effortlessly, and then let the breath further descend into the lower abdomen, letting it rise gently.
• To breathe out, allow the abdomen to go in, pulling the muscles gently in and up to let the wave return to the chest and out through the nose.
• Do not force the breath making it longer and deeper than usual. Be patient.
• Follow the instructions using your normal breath and you soon begin to notice a difference.
• To make all of this easier you can imagine the breath as a wave of the sea reaching the shore of your lower abdomen and then returning through your nostrils to rejoin the ocean.
If you have a problem sleeping use the above visualization in bed letting the rhythm rock you to sleep!

At the end of your asana practice lie down, relax, practice the body index. Then do the above for 10-20 breaths as time permits.

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04. How to take care of Dimonds and Semi Precious Jewellery
05. Dental Care : The best Ayurvedic Treatment
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09. How to do Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
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11. Eye Care : Exercise for your Eyes!
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