Yoga is not a system of mere body culture, and since you are not in competition with yourself, you need not be disturbed or discouraged at any point simply because you cannot do at once what you are trying to do. Of course, with patience you may be able to improve steadily and limber up as time goes on, and be the better for it. Below are two yoga asanas to benefit your health greatly.
1. Ardja-Matsyendrasana, named after the Yogi teacher Matsyendra, is the only exercise of its kind, since it strengthens the backbone through a twisting movement to either side. It is a variation on the original movement, too difficult for the Western student to contemplate; even so it may prove difficult for the beginner and will require patient application.
Method: Sit on the mat or rug with legs outstretched, holding the trunk erect. Then, cross your right foot over your left knee and place it flat on the floor, next to your left knee. Place the fingers of your left hand on top of the toes of your right foot.
This is the first stage of this Deep Contraction exercise. For Stage Two, stretch the left arm and grip the toes of the right foot. Place your right arm across your back so that the hand, with palm outward, rests on the waistline near the left hip. As you do this, your torso will be turned half-right. Hold this position, stretching consciously, for a few seconds.
Check to see that the chest is erect, otherwise you will not get the full benefit of the asana. Relax. Repeat, reversing the motions, bending the right leg, and so on, and finally turning half-left. Relax again. Increase the stretch by one second every time you do this exercise, until you are able to hold the position for a full minute. Always remember that your motions must be smooth, gradual, and never jerky.
Therapeutic Value: This asana helps keep the spine supple and in perfect health, in addition to massaging the abdominal organs. Consequently it will relieve, and even more importantly prevent, lumbago and muscular rheumatism, as well as guard against slipped disks. Since it places pressure upon the spleen, liver and kidneys, it eliminates their sluggishness. It also helps tone the entire nervous system, acting to rejuvenate the whole body. Consequently it is considered one of the most useful of asanas.
2. Vakrasana, or Twisting Posture, a simpler variation of the previous exercise, is one of the Yoga asanas to bring the body into equilibrium.:
Method: Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out straight, draw right leg up until the thigh and knee press hard against the abdomen and chest. Lift the right foot over the left and place its sole flat on the floor against the left thigh. Twist the torso to the right and place the palm of the right hand on the floor, with fingers outward, so that the body is balanced.
Hold this position the length of three breaths. Relax. Reverse, then relax once more. This position may be varied by bending the outstretched leg under, and by turning the torso more definitely sideways.
Therapeutic Value: The Vakrasana has the same value as the Ardja-Matsyendrasana, but is milder. Part of its benefit is said to be derived from bringing the positive and negative currents in the body into equilibrium. It helps build self-confidence, determination and perseverance - literally "strengthening the backbone" in a figurative as well as a physical manner.
These are both yoga asanas to give you a healthier, more flexible body.You will never be wasting your time when you dedicate yourself to yoga.
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