By Shameem Akthar
It is advisable to stick to short but regular yoga sessions over long and intense ones that are prone to be interrupted for want of self-discipline
|Shameem Akthar has trained as yoga Acharya with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Kerala, and is a master-trainer in neuro-linguistic psychology. |
One of the hurdles a yoga teacher faces during the holiday seasons looming ahead, is that people take off for a week or so, then return without having practised at all. Many of them are surprised when they realise that even in as short a time as a week they have lost the flexibility and strength that had taken them months to acquire. Disheartened, many may, at this point, drop out of practice altogether. Some never to return to yoga.
Instead of having an ambitious desire to do a two-hour daily practice during their trip, if holiday-goers accommodate even a 15-minute short and intense routine, they will find that their body has not lost the tone, muscular strength or flexibility that they had worked so hard to gain.
This 15-minute ritual will give you more stamina to enjoy your trip. It will prevent jet-lag, save you from the sluggishness that comes from water retention (from extended sitting while commuting in a vehicle), will prevent sickness during the trip, will keep your digestion in top condition, keep you calmer and in control, and hike your pleasure quotient.
The problem with a regular practice of yoga is that most people see it as something that needs to be done. Or they see it as some health ritual that must be treated as a pill or a tonic, and regarded with the same reluctant tolerance. Actually, yoga is a fun thing to do. It is a switch in attitude that ensures regularity of practice, which is the most important aspect of yoga practice.
So plotting a two-hour ritual while on a trip may be noble. But that sort of rigorous practice requires a group’s energy to remain buoyant. Right at the outset you should, unless super-disciplined, decide on a regular over a rigorous practice. Also, have a set of your favorite poses and practices as a sequence that may be fitted into a 15-30 minute daily ritual. If the entire family is `yoga-trained’, then ideally one person who is more disciplined should set the trend. A short ideal set should include a few sun salutes as warm-up, an inversion, a forward bend, backbend, twist and a balancer (either standing or arm balancing one). One pranayama, ideally nadi shodhana (energy channel purifying practice), plus a short rest in shavasana or the corpse pose would make your package complete.
Rest on stomach, chin on ground. Fold both legs at knees, reaching hands behind to grasp either ankle. Inhale, lift thighs, chest and chin off the ground. Continue normal breathing, firming the hold on your ankles, and arching your spine and looking up so the neck also feels a powerful stretch. Initially do thrice. Later hold the pose for a minute.
Benefits: This is a complete pose, working out and toning the entire body, building stamina, boosting mood. The digestive tract is powerfully massaged, as is the uro-genital system. The spine gets a powerful workout as do the spinal nerves.
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