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Title:Yoga poses that can beat air pollution

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While growing up, we were reprimanded for shallow breathing or not tucking in the tummy while exhaling. Never did we imagine that the same air that pumps our lungs with oxygen could turn dangerous for our mere existence.

World Health Organization's latest assessment claims that deaths due to air pollution have increased fourfold across the globe over the past decade. And India clearly tops the list with the national capital, Delhi, landing in the most critical category.

So before we succumb to the grim reality of the air that surrounds us, it's time we prepare ourselves with the most trusted technique, Yoga, to cleanse our lungs. Sunaina Rekhi, yoga expert shares 5 yoga asanas that can help you:

Trikonasana (Triangle pose)
Inhale and step your feet wide apart. Now turn your right leg, including your thigh, knee and foot, out by 90 degrees leaving a 3 feet gap between the two. Next, raise your arms to the shoulder level with your palms facing the floor. Exhale and stretch your upper body towards the right, while maintaining your right hip on the same plane as your shoulders. Now place your hands on your right shin, ankle or hold the big toe with the first two fingers and pull on it, creating counter tension and oppositional stretch. Turn your head to look up towards the left thumb, opening chest towards the sky. You will be able to fee the rotation of the hips as the right hip moves under and the left hip rotates open. Hold for five breaths. Inhale, come up slowly. Repeat on other side.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Start by lying down on your stomach, while keeping your toes flat on the floor and forehead on the ground. Engage your abs while keeping your legs together with your feet and heels touching each other very lightly. Place your hands on the floor, right under your shoulders, ensuring your elbows are parallel and near your torso. Now press your palms into the floor while dropping your shoulders back, away from your ears. Take a deep breath and lift your head, chest and abdomen while keeping your navel on the floor.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog)
Lie down on your stomach with your feet facing down. Keep your arms stretched downwards along the length of the body. Now bend your elbows and keep your palms next to the lowest rib. Inhale as you keep your palms pressed firmly on the mat and slowly lift your torso, hips and knees. Make sure your entire weight is resting on the palms and feet. You can either look straight or slightly tilt your head backwards. Your wrists should be in the same line as your shoulders so that your neck doesn't strain. Hold this pose for a few breaths. Now exhale, lower your knees, hips and torso back on the mat slowly.

Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows breath)
Sit on the floor cross-legged and breathe normally. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale and exhale in rapid succession 20 times through the left nostril. The abdominal wall moves in and out like bellows. With the 20th breath, inhale and exhale deeply through the left nostril then change the nostril. Continue the breathing pattern through the right nostril. With the 20th breath inhale deeply and exhale slowly through the right nostril. Return the hand to the knee and repeat the exercise with both nostrils.

Relax for a short time breathing normally and then continue the next round beginning with the right nostril first. Alternate the left and right nostrils when beginning any further rounds of Bhastrika.

Sukhasana
Start by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out. Now fold the left leg and slip it under the right thigh. Now fold the right leg and slip it under the left thigh. Now keep the palms on the knees facing the sky. Sit erect with spine straight and relax your whole body and breathe normally. Maintain this position for as long a comfortable.

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