Experienced practitioners of yoga believe that yoga exercise (Hatha Yoga) can improve mental and physical health by helping you to relax, improve your posture and tone up your muscles, heart and nerves. They need take up no more than 10-15 minutes once or twice a day and can usually be safely undertaken by people of all ages because they concentrate on breathing and stretching and should be done without straining. Check with your Doctor first if you are suffering from any physical complaint such as arthritis or a bad back.
The best way to learn yoga correctly is to attend classes run by a reputable teacher.
Practice in a quiet moderately warm airy room with space to stretch out. Coldness makes it difficult to relax, so lie on a carpeted floor or a rug or blanket. Wear loose clothing and no shoes. Hold a posture only as long as it is comfortable. Breathe normally through your nose and stretch slowly. Focus your thoughts on making a tense muscle relax.
Here are some beginner’s yoga exercises that can be done in the home:
Resting posture lie on your back, arms by your sides, palms up, legs out stretched and slightly apart. Close your eyes and imagine you are floating on water. Slowly roll your head from left to right and aback ten times. Relax each part of your body, starting from the feet and working towards the head. Concentrate on each part until it feels free of tension.
Breathing exercise Lie on your back and relax. Slowly inhale to the count of four – bulging out your stomach and distending your lower ribs smoothly, without strain, Exhale slowly to the same count.
Hero posture Use a rolled up blanket as a pad to support your feet, and another blanket placed on top of the first for sitting on.
Kneel on the floor. Support yourself with your hands on the floor and rest your feet across the rolled up blanket. With knees together, spread your feet about 18 inches apart. Lower your buttocks onto the top blanket and rest your hands on your knees. Do not place any body weight on your lower legs. Lower your chin a little; lower your eyelids and look at the floor. Keep your shoulders down and spine straight. Try to maintain the posture for two to five minutes, breathing naturally.
Try this next
Salutation to the Sun
1 Stand with your feet together: inhale deeply, raise your arms over your head and stretch backwards.
2 As you exhale, bend slowly forward until your hands touch the floor.
3 Inhale deeply as you bend your left knee and extend your right leg behind you, stretching your neck forward. Then rest on your hands, arms straight, while you extend the left leg behind you, keeping your body in a straight line.
4 As you exhale, lower your knees, forehead and chest to the floor: then lower your hips and relax your feet.
5 Inhale again while you raise your upper torso on your extended arms, slowly stretching upwards with back arched and head back: do not hunch your shoulders.
6 Push up on your arms, putting your feet flat on the floor and raise your hips until your legs are straight.
7 Bend your right knees and bring your right foot forward. Then bring the left foot forward and straighten your legs.
Slowly stand, resuming the first posture.