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YOGA & EXERCISE
June 11th, 2021
3 mins read

5 Simple Yoga Poses to Stretch and Strengthen  

Yoga not only improves flexibility and balance, but also helps with weight loss 

Anyone can practice yoga, from beginners to the most advanced 

Yoga asanas can help you focus on and strengthen a specific part of your body 

Originating in India, this traditional form of exercise consisting of postures, breathing techniques and meditation principles has taken the world by storm. Read on to know why.  

Health benefits of yoga

This ancient form of exercise offers tons of benefits for the body and mind. Here’s a look at just a few of them.  

  • Yoga increases your balance and flexibility 
  • Yoga helps build stamina and strength 
  • Yoga improves immunity 
  • Yoga improves your overall posture 
  • Yoga works to maintain healthy joints  
  • Yoga brings down stress levels 
  • Yoga helps lower blood pressure 
  • Yoga helps you sleep better 

Why has yoga become so popular the world over?

Research suggests that there are over 300 million yoga practitioners across the globe today. Over the past few decades, a large part of the population has realised the benefits of physical and mental wellness. People have seen and experienced the many advantages of yoga and how it enhances the overall quality of life. Many have also taken to practicing yoga for immunity as it lowers the stress hormones which affect the immune system, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Additional Read: Importance of Yoga in Modern Life

Additionally, with yoga festivals being held across continents, yoga instructors learning and teaching the form the world over, and even an International Yoga Day (on June 21), this ancient form of exercise has found a special place in many hearts and minds globally. 

simple yoga poses

Simple yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the body

Here are some simple asanas to begin with as a practitioner.  

Tadasana or mountain pose

This asana helps improve posture, tone the abdomen, and aids in digestion and blood circulation.
How to do the asana: Stand upright with your feet together and back straight. Interlock your fingers in front of you and now inhale as you lift and stretch your arms upwards with the palms facing outward. Gently look up. Hold this pose for 5-10 seconds and then release. 

Uttanasana or standing forward bend

This asana strengthens the hamstrings, hip joints, thighs, knees, and calves. It also improves digestion, and stimulates the kidneys and liver. This is also used as a base pose for exercises pertaining to power yoga for weight loss. 

How to do the asana: Begin in Tadasana pose. Then slowly bend forward over your legs and reach for the floor. Ensure you bend from your hip and not your waist. You can bend you knees slightly if needed. Let the head hang loose. Try and place palms on the floor or hold the back of your calves or ankles. 

Chakravakasana or the cat-cow stretch

This helps stretch the back, hips, abdomen and also strengthens the spine.

How to do the asana: Begin with the tabletop position i.e., with your palms and knees on the floor. Ensure your palms are in line with the shoulders. Exhale and push your spine towards the ceiling and let your head fall downwards. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the tabletop position. Then let your spine dip low in the centre as if your tummy is sinking towards the floor as you push your hip and shoulders upwards. Hold for a few seconds again and release.

Bhujangasana or cobra pose

This specific posture tones the abdomen and buttocks and strengthens the spine. It is also among the recommended yoga exercises for weight loss as it helps burn belly fat.
How to do the asana:  Lie face down on the floor. Place palms on the ground in line with your shoulders, with the elbows tucked in. Gently lift the upper body off the ground, ensuring the navel still touches the floor. Hold for 10 seconds before releasing.

Supta Jaṭhara Parivartanasana or supine twist

This asana helps stretch and strengthen the back and the spine.
How to do the asana: Lie flat on your back and stretch your arms out on either side in a ‘T’ formation. Now bend your right knee and place it across the left knee, dropping the right knee over to the left side of your body. This will form a twist and will stretch out the back. Ensure your shoulders are flat on the floor. Hold for 8-10 seconds. Then release and repeat the same on the other side.

Additional Read: Try these Yoga Poses to Increase Height

Trends in yoga

The beauty of yoga lies in the fact that it has taken so many various forms over the years, be it Iyengar Yoga, Power yoga (or Vinyasa yoga) or Bikram Hot Yoga, and it still continues to do so. Take a look at some of the newer trends in yoga.  

Latest forms of yoga  Descriptions 
Mom and baby yoga  A fun and easy way to get back into your exercise routine postpartum, these sessions are usually light workouts where mama holds baby and gently performs certain stretches. 

 

Aerial yoga  Here you can perform yoga poses while suspended in the air with the help of a hammock. It is important to do this following expert guidance. 

 

AcroYoga  This combines acrobatics and yoga and usually has people working out with one or more partners to do lifts or elevated poses. 

 

SUP yoga  Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga or Paddleboard Yoga came about in 2013 in the USA and involves performing yoga positions while standing up on a paddleboard in calm waters such as a lake or a harbour.  

 

Broga  With a larger percentage of yoga practitioners in the West being women, Broga has come about as a phenomenon that promotes this traditional form of exercise within the male population. It blends yoga with strength building, muscle toning and cardio.  

 

As you explore yoga and its myriad benefits to stretch your body, bring serenity to the mind and juice your joints, ensure you talk to your general physician as well as a naturopathy or ayurvedic doctor. This will help you address your health holistically and tackle health issues before the symptoms worse. Now, you can book appointments with renowned doctors on Bajaj Finserv Health. Here you can schedule in-person appointments and video consultations, and also avail deals and discounts from partner clinics, diagnostic centres and hospitals.

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