A feasible everyday yoga routine
Yoga (योग) is an ancient Indian way of sustainable, healthy living. Yoga is not just exercises or asanas (poses), (unlike what most people think of it today) it is more than that. Yes, it includes exercises, but moreover, it encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life, starting from diet and sleep routines to mental attitude.
Having said that, even just yoga exercises are still one of the best ways (tried and tested) of preventing most common diseases and ailments. While our tight schedules these days do not allow us to follow Yoga as a lifestyle, one can get significant health benefits from just 20 minutes of yoga-asanas. What’s more, most of these can be easily practiced by a beginner (it goes without saying you will start getting better at it in just a few weeks of regular practice).
This routine is best performed in the morning on an empty stomach.
PHASE – I: You do these asanas sitting down
Manduka in Sanskrit means ‘frog’ and that’s what this pose will look like. This will improve the function (of the beta cells) of your pancreas, which means it is great for people suffering from diabetes, and people at a higher risk of the disease (due to family history). It will work wonders for your digestion, improving functioning of your liver, spleen and kidneys. It is super-easy to practice.
Shashank in Sanskrit means hare / rabbit. This pose especially helps improve blood circulation to the head and is beneficial to the eyes and the brain functions. It relaxes your spine and back muscles, and massages your digestive organs (due to abdominal breathing in this position).
Vakrasana is nothing but a simple spinal twisting pose, a simplified version of the Ardhamatsyendrasana. What is important to know that this asana gives phenomenal benefits, along with a good stretch. It increases the elasticity of the spine and loosens the hip joints. It is good for people suffering from stiffness of the vertebrae, and also helps reduce flab on the lateral side of the abdomen.
The cow-face pose or Go-mukh-asana is very beneficial for the shoulders, chest, hips, deltoids and triceps. It helps relieve knee pain and helps decompress the lower part of the spine. It also reduces stress and anxiety.
PHASE – II: These asanas are done lying on your stomach
Locust pose, or shalabh-asana strengthens your lower back, hip and leg muscles. It also helps regulate the acid-balance in your body and encourages a better posture. Most of the working professionals today have to be seated for 8-10 hours a day, and this asana will help prevent lower back issues. This exercise can be a little challenging, so it is advisable to try some easy variations of this asana first.
Our day to day activities give a lot of forward-bending, but little to no backward-bending movement to our spine. The cobra-pose or bhujang-asana works wonders for your spine and stimulates your digestive, reproductive and urinary systems. It helps improve metabolism and opens up the lungs, and works as a great stress release.
The bow pose, strengthens the muscles in your back and abdomen, tones your leg and arm muscles and also helps relieve stress. Dhanurasana can ease menstrual discomfort in women and even aids healthy functioning of kidneys. However, please take care while practicing this asana. Bend your body only as much as is possible comfortably and do not overdo the stretch. Relax and continue taking deep breaths.
PHASE – III: The asanas in this phase are done as you lie on your back.
The monkey-pose is an easy to do pose having tremendous benefits. It exercises the large intestine and tackles all problems related to stomach, along with relaxing mind and body. The most serious victim of a sedentary lifestyle is the lower back. It is especially helpful in cervical spondylosis, slip disc and sciatica.
The wind-relieving pose as the name suggests is a great way of releasing gases trapped inside one’s system, and stimulating the digestive tract. Notably, this is one pose (or one of the variations) almost everybody can do irrespective of their level of expertise in practicing yoga. But don’t let the ease of performing it fool you. It is one of the best asanas for strengthening the abdominal and back muscles as well as stimulating and improving the functioning of the reproductive organs.
10. Eka-pada vrittasana
This asana is an easier variation of the dwipada-vrittasana. Lie down on your back with your hands next to your legs and palms facing upward. Slowly raise one leg in the air (while inhaling) and stretch it out. Now rotate your leg from the hip joint and make few (start with 2-3 each) circles in the air (clockwise and anticlockwise). Repeat with other leg. This exercise will strengthen your hip joints and help relieve any tightness in your lower back muscles. Remember to not do this motion too quickly.
11. Dwichakrikasana or Paad-sanchalan-asana
This is also known as the cycling pose, as it involves cycling your legs in the air while lying down on your back. This asana keeps the hip and knee joints flexible, and also getting rid of constipation. It is also very beneficial for women after pregnancy, although during post-pregnancy recovery, it is advisable to consult your doctor before incorporating this in your routine. It keeps the reproductive system healthy and helps you get rid of constipation.
The areas this routine targets is stomach, lower back / spine, joints and reproductive organs. If you look closely, these are the areas where most of today’s lifestyle disorders begin.
Perform this at the end of your yoga routine. Lie down on your back with your feet about 20-30 cm apart and your hands facing up. Close your eyes, breathe smooth and deep, and do not engage in any thinking. Concentrate on your breathing to make sure you don’t accidentally doze off. Within just a couple of minutes you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to take on the day!
Please check out this video of Swami Ramdev ji performing this routine and talking about the benefits of these asanas.
These asanas are best performed in the given order in 3 phases. Be sure to do some light stretching for a few minutes before you begin this routine. 20 minutes of this simple routine everyday could easily keep most diseases away and give you more productive hours at work and at leisure.
P.S.: Almost all the asanas listed above have easy variations to start with and you can perform these everyday. However, people with serious medical conditions should always consult their doctor or family physician before starting such a routine.