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A complete Hatha Yoga session should be aimed at holistic wellness of mind, body and soul. It should contain a well designed sequence of Asanas or yogic poses, Pranayam or breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and Dhyana or Meditation. The Yoga session should begin with a prayer or chanting of “Om”, the primary sound of universe. This helps in relaxing and focusing the mind, and bringing calmness to the senses. This should be followed by warming up exercises known as “Yogic Suksma Vyayamas” to improve flexibility of joints and muscles, so that we do not suffer from pulled muscles while performing Asanas. This should be followed by a sequence of Asanas, first supine poses, then prone poses, followed by seated poses and finally standing poses. Asanas should be followed by relaxation poses such as “Shavasana” or Corpse pose. Pranayam or breathing exercises should be performed after Asanas.
The session should end with Dhyana or Meditation to calm the mind. The first part of the session includes warming up with Suksma Vyayamas, the aim is to warm up the major joints of the body. First Vyayama involves movement of neck to right and left, followed by forward and backward bending, each for 10 times. Next one involves moving the arms in circular movements clockwise then anti-clockwise, 10 times each. This should be followed by raising each leg, one by one, forward and moving it in small circles, clockwise and anticlockwise, 5 times each. Asanas should be performed now in following sequence- first supine postures like “Chakrasana” or Wheel pose which is an inverted pose and then “Halasana” or Plough pose which is its counter pose, then prone postures like “Dhanurasana” or bow pose and “Bhujangasana” or Cobra pose involving backward bending, followed by sitting postures like “Balasana” or Child pose which is a counter pose of Bhujangasana, “Vakrasana” or twisted pose and “Poorna Paschimottasana” which is a forward bending pose, and finally standing postures like “Trikonasana” or triangle pose involving side stretch, and “Tadasana” or Palm pose which involves stretching of the whole body. Asanas should be followed by “Shavasana” or Corpse pose for relaxation.
After relaxation Pranayam like “Bhramari Pranayam” should be done, followed by Meditation. Thus my session includes- Yogic Suksma Vyayamas for warming up, and following Asanas: Chakrasana or Wheel pose- Involves bending backward of torso like an arch. It strengthens the back and abdomen, affects all the organs of the body, and cleans the Chakras. Halasana or Plough pose- Involves raising the legs and then lowering them behind the head, toes touching the ground, forming a plough. It enhances the benefits of Chakrasana, being its counter pose. Also regulates the function of Thyroid and Thymus glands. Dhanurasana or Bow pose-Bending backward holding both ankles with hands, and stretching the body like a bow. Improves digestion, strengthens the back, shoulders, arms, and legs.
“Bhujangasana” or Cobra pose- Involves lying in prone position and raising head and shoulders like a cobra. It strengthens back, shoulders, and neck and improves respiration. “Balasana” or Child pose- Involves sitting and bending forward, face touching the floor. It is the counter asana of Cobra pose, enhancing its benefits. “Vakrasana” or twisted pose- One leg is bent at knee, and the other is straight, the waist is twisted to the opposite side of the bent leg. It improves flexibility of spine, waist and legs.
“Poorna Paschimottasana”- It involves sitting with stretched legs and bending forward to hold the toes with hands, face resting on thighs. Greatly improves spinal flexibility. “Trikonasana” or triangle pose- Involve sideward bending and stretching making a triangle. Improves waistline, strengthens the arms, and improves balance of the body. “Tadasana” or Palm pose- Arms raised upward, pulling the body upwards while standing on toes. It improves balance, reduces belly fat, and improves height and agility.
Finally, doing “Shavasana” or Corpse pose, lying down with relaxed limbs and neck like a corpse for deep relaxation. I’ve chosen “Bhramari Pranayam”, sitting with legs folded, deep inhalation followed by exhaling with a humming sound, while keeping the mouth closed, ears closed with thumbs and fingers placed on closed eyes, for complete relaxation of mind; followed by deep breathing, with mind focused on breath in a state of Dhyana or Meditation.
Yoga postures should be done slowly with smooth movements, jerky and harsh moves should be avoided. Each posture should be held for 15-20 seconds initially, gradually increasing the practice time to 5 minutes. “Yoga” means a communion of mind, body and divine. It improves flexibility and balance making us fitter, calmer and happy. It helps in maintaining hormonal balance. One should practice yoga for its multiple benefits.
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