Swati Chitalia has been counselling on holistic yoga for the past 17 years. She is a certified Yoga teacher from The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, the oldest organized yoga center in the world. She holds top honours in Yoga Philosophy discipline from Mumbai University. Swati enjoys embroidery, travel and cooking healthy and tasty food.
Yoga asanas enhance flexibility, self-control, strength and coordination. They also improve circulation, digestion, respiration and enhance immunity. Pranayama breathing helps kids relax, concentrate better, be more compassionate and co-operative, and less affected by competitive stress. Learning Yoga at a young age makes perfect sense!
Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your palms adjacent to the body, facing down. Press your feet and arms on the floor, inhale, lift your hips and chest, rolling your spine off the floor. Keep your knees hip-width apart. Hold the pose for 4-8 breaths. Feel the pressure on your lower spine. Exhale and slowly roll your spine back to the floor.
Sit on floor with legs straight. Bend right leg at the knee, place right foot on the root of the left thigh, ensuring the right heel is near the navel. Now bend left leg and place it on your right thigh. Stretch your arms keeping spine erect. Place hands over respective knees with thumb and forefinger bent, touching each other. Alternate by starting pose with other leg first.
Sit on your hip bones with your feet stretched out forward. Fold your right leg so that your right hip bone rests on the inner part of your right foot. Likewise with the left leg. Sway a bit forward and back, and right and left, to find your equilibrium point where your back is straight and vertical. Relax your neck, shoulders, arms and back, and hold the pose while breathing normally.
Yoga relaxes muscles and nerves. It helps regulate hormonal balance and keeps the fight-or-flight response in check. It opens up respiratory channels, increases lung capacity and improves flow of oxygenated blood to all cells. By stimulating the lymphatic nodes, it prevents build-up of toxins. All of these contribute towards building a strong immune system.
Asanas which cause torsion help in digestion and detox, relieve back pain, and improve spinal mobility. Try out Ardh Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), Bharadvajasana (Lateral Twist of the Spine), Konasana (Windmill Pose), Marichyasana (Torso and Leg Stretch), Garudasana (Eagle Pose) and Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Twist).
Lie on your back, keep arms out to sides, palms downwards. Bend both knees into chest. While exhaling drop both knees as close to the left arm, twisting spine and low back. Keep shoulders flat on floor, close eyes, and relax and let gravity keep knees down. Breathe and hold for 6-10 breaths. Repeat on opp side. Avoid if pregnant or if you have knee ligament injury.