The roots of Yoga can be traced back 5,000 years. The earliest reference to Yoga was the Indus valley, a powerful and influential civilization in the early antique period. This culture evolved around the Indus and Sarasvati rivers, in northern India.
Archaeological findings from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, revealed a portrait of a human being or god meditating in what appears to be a Yoga posture. The Rig-Veda work, that describes different Yoga methods, is thought to be derived from the Inus-Sarasvati people, and has been dated between 3000 to 5000 B.C.
Here are three common and beneficial yoga poses:
Yoga MudrÄ: Symbol of Yoga
The Yoga MudrÄ Pose begins with the Padmãsana pose. The feet should be in the hip joints (against the butt), and the heels should press against the abdomen. The hands are brought behind the back, with the right hand grasping the left wrist.
Now, bend forward and lie as flat as possible on the heels, and try to touch the floor with your forehead. This forward movement should be made slowly, and with control. After holding the position for two to five seconds, return your body back to the erect posture (or Padmasana pose).
The Yoga MudrÄ is an excellent exercise for the abdominal wall, internal organs, and the pelvic area. When bending forward, the pressure of the heels is on the caecum and pelvic loop, and is beneficial if you suffer from constipation.
If the abdomen muscular wall is weak, use the hands to grasp the heels, so that your knuckles press into the abdomen, as you bend your body forward. This action pushes the internal organs into their proper place, and helps to relieve constipation.
Breathe naturally, although exhaling when bending may be helpful, especially when the hands grasp the heels.
SimhÄsana: The Lion Pose
The Lion Pose is a vigorous pose, and imitates the fierceness of a lion just about to spring. Kneel and rest the buttocks on your heels; resting your extended hands on your knees. You will feel a sense of muscular tension throughout the body as you expand your chest. Open your mouth (jaws) and thrust the tongue forward, as far as possible. Open your eyes in a fierce gaze, and stiffen your arms and fingers.
The Lion Pose is invigorating and beneficial to the throat muscles, eyes, chest, and spine. In the beginning, hold the position for one minute, and as you progress, this position may be held for three minutes.
SavÄsana: Dead Pose
The Dead Pose is a relaxing pose, offering complete rest and tranquillity to the body, mind, and nervous system. This pose should be the last pose you do in your exercise routine. It’s easy just to lie down flat on your back, but systematic relaxation requires involvement of your mind.
Concentration is key to this pose. Think only of your feet, and relax them. Then relax your legs, arms, abdomen, chest, throat, facial muscles, and eyes. Fix your attention on your limbs, chest, muscles and others individually until a complete feeling of relaxation of all parts of the body is achieved.
When learning yoga, relaxation and breathing go hand in hand. If you notice your breath is uneven, direct your attention to the airflow to achieve a natural breathing rhythm. This will help to find complete relaxation of the body and the mind.
More than 30 million people practice yoga regularly. Yoga is the most rapidly growing health movement of today, despite having existed for thousands of years.
Attitudes towards health, spirituality, way of life, and positions in society have dramatically changed, and people are looking for answers to solve everyday problems. Nowadays, our environment is fighting for survival, and we suffer from physical and psychological stress. New diseases develop while old ones, that we thought we could handle with antibiotics, return with a vengeance. We can’t always control these developments, but we can learn to face them through yoga techniques..
Master the science behind Vinyasa Flow and the standing poses of Hatha Yoga. Dr. Ray Long guides you on a visual narrative through the anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology of this ancient art, decoding each pose along the way. The Mat Companion series provides you with beautifully illustrated, step-by-step instructions on how to use scientific principles to obtain the maximum benefit from your practice. Each book includes the Bandha Yoga Codex, a simple five-step process that can be applied to any pose to improve strength, flexibility, and precision -- no matter what style of yoga you practice.
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