Back in 2011, I was a fresh graduate with Engineering Degree in hand and a Job offer from one of the well known IT companies. Well, the job was based out of Bangalore and I have never lived out of Hyderabad. The change was something I did not expect how it would be. Without family and friends, not even one person I knew in the city, was making it difficult to stay. I had a very serious decision to make with respect to my career. And I did. It was difficult no doubt, to let go of the opportunity. But in the end, I left with free heart and peaceful mind.
Back in Hyderabad, I had two options: look for another job and soon. Or pursue post graduation. Well, I did apply for a lot of jobs and the jobs that came my way were not matching with my education. And so I chose post graduation.
Now all of this happened in the span of 2-3 months. Needless to say, I was worried about my future and was super stressed. I was gaining weight by the day! It went on for a couple of months and then I decided: that’s it! I am going to do something about this!
I started asking people about their fitness routine and how they stay healthy. I could have joined gym, but in my head, once we start and stop at any point in future, we would gain weight again. So, gym was not an option for me. That’s when my eldest sister suggested Yoga. It sounded simple, little effort for losing weight. And then I did my research and read success stories. That’s when I decided, Yoga it is!
When I started, I made a list of asanas I wanted to include in my yoga routine. There were quite a few asanas I was practicing at that point in time. However, over a period of time, when you are accustomed to these exercises, you will realize which asanas are more effective to your body type. And the rest, I just did away with them. Today, my routine consists of asanas that help me tone my arms, abs and legs.
For the beginners, when you are in the learning stage don’t push yourself too hard. If you are unable to hold a pose as good as it is shown in the pictures below, Rome was not built in a day! It takes time and practice for you to ace these asanas.
For the first couple of days, focus on stretching as much as you can and eventually you will be able to do it. Also, keep a check on how long you are able to hold a pose, start with 15 seconds on the first day and if you think you can hold it for a bit longer, increase the time to 20 seconds. The next day, try for 30 seconds and so on. Ideal time would be one minute for each pose.
10 years back when I started with Yoga, the asanas that are currently being practiced were done differently. So, today when I sat down to write this article and checking for reference in Google, the images that came up threw me off. I was in dilemma. Was I doing this wrong all along? This question plagued me for quite some time. Then I looked up for variations of each asana. Apparently, asanas also evolve over the time!
Anyway, in this post, I will cover the asanas I have been practicing for a decade now. These asanas helped me maintain my body weight between 48-50Kgs throughout. There were times when my work schedule did not allow me enough time for yoga and I have let it go for months together only to pick it up from where I have left off, with zero change in my body weight.
To begin with, I have few standing asanas, floor asanas and just one sitting asana. Will take you through them in the order I follow.
All the standing asanas begin with standing in a relaxed position. Lift both your arms, stretch them upward and join them in namaskaram. Simultaneously lift your feet and balance your weight on your toes. As mentioned earlier, start with 15 sec and increase time the next day. While you are holding poses practice deep breathing exercises.
Benefits: When you are in this pose you will feel the pull in the calf muscles. This asana helps in strengthening your legs and tones them.
After every standing asana, come back to relaxing pose.
Take a step forward with your right leg while your left leg remains as is. Now bring both your palms forward and join them resting on your right knee. Bend your right knee and stretch backwards, stretch your hands back too, as far as you can go. Hold this asana for a minute and change to the next leg. Stretch your left leg forwards and repeat the asana and hold it for one minute.
Benefits: You will feel the pull in your back muscles, when you bend backwards. This asana will helps in strengthening your back muscles and helps people suffering from back pain.
Stretch your legs as far apart as you can. Turn your right foot towards right side and bend down to touch the ground, next to your foot with your right hand. Both foot and palm should be placed parallel to one another. Lift your left hand upwards and hold his pose for a minute. Try the same pose with your left hand and foot too.
Benefits: This pose is especially beneficial to all the ladies out there. It helps in getting your body in that highly rated “hour-glass” shape. This asana strengthens arms and thigh muscles. Helps toning abdominal, arms and thigh muscles.
This is the only sitting pose I have in my routine. Start with sitting cross-legged on the mat. Stretch both your arms outward and raise the arms over your head and keep the palms facing upward. Hold this pose for a minute.
Benefits: You will feel the pull in your shoulders and back muscles, which also helps in strengthening them.
While this is not an asana as such, but it helps in toning your entire body. Hence, I have included this in my routine and my floor asanas start from here. Balance your weight on your forearms and toes for a minute.
Lay flat on your stomach and lift your upper body with the help of your hands balanced on either side of you. Stretch your neck backwards and hold this pose of a minute.
Benefits: You will feel the pull in your upper arms. This asana helps in strengthening shoulders, arms and back muscles.
Fold your legs at the knee and bend forward to touch your forehead to ground. Simultaneously stretch your hands over your head on either side and hold this pose for a minute.
Benefits: The second you are in this pose, you will feel the pull between your shoulder blades and it will be sharp. Try to deep breath through it. It tones your abdomen and back.
Lay flat on your stomach and pull your ankles towards your back, using your hands, which also cause your shoulders pulling back simultaneously. Keep your head stretched back as well. Hold this pose for a minute.
Benefits: You will feel an immense pull between your shoulder blades. This pose helps in strengthening your abdomen, arms and leg muscles along with toning them.
Lay flat on your back and lift both your legs up, perpendicular to your body. If you are not able to hold the position, you can use your hands or wall to support your legs. Hold this position for a minute.
Benefits: You will feel the pull on the back of your legs. This asana helps in toning your lower abdomen and legs.
Lay on your back, fold your legs at knee and bring them flat to your abdomen and hold them there with your forearms. Simultaneously bend your head forward. Hold this pose for a minute.
Benefits: This asana helps in toning your abdomen, legs and arm muscles.
In this asana, repeat the previous asana with each leg separately. Place your left leg flat on the ground and fold your right leg at knee and bring it flat to your abdomen and hold it there using your hands for a minute and repeat the same with the other leg.
Place your feet flat on the ground. Lift your back slowly off the ground and balance your weight on your head, shoulders and feet. Hold this pose for a minute.
Now, try to hold the same pose with one leg each, while the other is raised at 45 degree angle from the ground. This asana is the bit challenging for the beginners, so you can start with less time and increase it once you get comfortable with it. Ultimate goal is to hold the pose for a minute.
Benefits: This asana helps in strengthening and toning your calves, thighs and lower back.
The most favorite asana for yoga practitioners. Just lay there for a minute to catch your breath after this rigorous work out session.
Remember, all the asanas will flow one after the other in quick succession. If you take longer breaks in between asanas, the results might not be as good. Ideally, this entire routine should not go beyond 20 minutes. And the best time to practice yoga will be early morning. Since I am not a morning person, I prefer doing it in the evenings. Also, if you choose to do it in the evenings, make sure you have at least 2 hours gap after a meal.
In my next post on Health and happiness, I will be sharing asanas that help in reducing the belly fat and lower abdomen.