The moment we land in our mid-30s, we started to feel a bit aged as we lose lean muscle mass, we understand things more maturely, we hold a lot of responsibilities, and our body tends to suffer more because of stress, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, slowing of our metabolism, and thus living a sedentary lifestyle. That’s why we call it a “Mid-life crisis”.
“Yoga is not just some exercise. It is much more – it expands your awareness, sharpens your intellect, and enhances your intuitive ability”. – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
It’s the life stage when we want to make some serious lifestyle changes and adapt to Self-care therapy. One of the best ways to heal our body and mind is through the way of Yoga. Yoga is said to be the “fountain of Youth” as it benefits us to improve our flexibility, physical function, mental health, and balances how we age gracefully. The best thing about Yoga- That people of all ages can benefit to stay healthy and youthful.
Research and studies over the years have shown that the practice of Yoga and Meditation has contributed to reversing the way we age. As we age, we are likely to face sore muscles, rounded shoulders, weight gain, stiff joints, and a lack of energy. However, with regular practice of Yoga, we can enhance our age experience with better decision-making, and also improve our self-confidence, empathy, and body image. Uplift your spirit as Yoga practice helps to relax the state of mind, induces better sleep, and boosts energy levels. However, there is no general age to start a Yoga practice, all you need is a yoga mat and there you go.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
According to the “International Journal of Yoga”, Yoga is a form of medicine to heal the mind and the body by combining mental, physical, and spiritual elements. Pranayama is a yogic practice that involves breathing techniques in different patterns and styles up to a certain length. Yoga and pranayama manage stress by way of holistic healing to the mind and control of negative emotions. Try to keep a consistent hold on yoga poses to give you an extraordinary way to stay fit and promote longevity.
Asana for slowing down the age:
Simhasana also known as “Lion Pose” is very much part of Hatha yoga and modern yoga. It benefits the face and also the throat from the sluggish thyroid gland.
Benefits of Simhasana
- Simhasana is the best exercise for the face, eyes, tongue, and throat.
- It reduces tension on the facial muscle and therefore improves the fine lines of aging.
- It also helps in maintaining skin firmness.
- It helps to clear the vocal cords and prevents soreness of the throat.
- It’s beneficial for throat problems such as tonsils and the functioning of thyroid glands.
- It clears the chest area and opens the respiratory tract.
- It strengthens fingers and joints and relieves back pain.
- It cures bad breath.
Steps for Simhasana
- Sit in the Vajrayana position
- Your spine should be straight and relaxed
- The fingers should face backward and be kept straight in between your legs.
- Inhale and slowly take out your tongue.
- Try to look between the eyebrows and exhale slowly.
- The breath should pass over the back of the throat.
- During exhaling roar like a lion.
- After Roaring hold the pose for 20 to 30 sec.
- Repeat this process about 3 to 5 times.
Hastapadasana represents Forward Bend Pose, “Hasta” means Hand; “Pada” means Foot. It’s a cycle of energy generated within the body.
Benefits of Hastapadasana
- It results in extreme stretching of all the muscles.
- It brings flexibility to your spine.
- It makes your blood circulate to your abdomen and pelvic viscera.
- It burns extra fat around your belly and gives the body a nice shape.
- It helps you to balance your body weight
- It’s effective to increase height.
Steps for Hastapadasana
- Stand with an erect spine with both legs joined together and hands at the side.
- While inhaling, raise both your hands overhead.
- Slowly start exhaling by bending your body forward and touching your toes or ankle with both hands. Keep your head and hand together and bend down holding your ankles. Do not bend your knees.
- Hold on to the position few seconds and breathe normally.
- Try to touch your forehead to the knees.
- Slowly start inhaling again, and raise your hands above your head.
- As you exhale, come back to starting position by bringing your hands down to the sides in a sweeping motion.
Virabhadrasana represents an incarnation of Lord Shiva named Veerabhadra, a fierce warrior.
Benefits of Virabhadrasana
- Virabhadrasana strengthens the arms, legs, and lower back.
- It helps to stabilize the overall balance in the body and increases stamina
- beneficial for people living sedentary lifestyles and office desk jobs
- It helps to ease out frozen shoulders in a very short period.
- It spiritually heals with courage, grace, and peace.
Steps for Virabhadrasana
- Stand straight and spread your legs about 3-4 feet apart. Your right foot should be in the 90 degrees front and your left foot behind about 15 degrees.
- Your thigh should be approximately parallel to the floor, your knee stacked over your ankle, and your right outer hip pinned back.
- Lift your arms sideways until they reach the height of your shoulders. Your arms must be parallel to the ground, and your palms should be facing upward.
- Exhale and bend your right knee, such that your knee and ankle form a straight line. Make sure that your knee does not go ahead of your ankle.
- Now turn your gaze to your right.
- As you move into the pose, stretch your arms further and join your palms above your head. Look at your palms. Gently push your pelvis down.
- Hold the pose with the same determination as a warrior, and wear a smile on your face. Breathe normally and keep going down.
- Breathe in and come up.
- Breathe out and gently bring your hands down from the sides.
- Repeat this pose on the left side, your left foot should be in the 90 degrees front and your right foot behind about 15 degrees
Adho Mukha Svanasana is a Sanskrit phrase that means downward-facing dog pose. This pose is widely practiced by beginners and advanced yoga practitioners
Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana
- One of the most useful postures is to strengthen the whole upper body- arms, shoulders, abdomen, and legs.
- It stretches the muscle along your spine, hamstrings, calves, and ankles.
- Stimulates blood circulation and digestion
- Uplift your spirit and calms the mind
- Rest the spine between strong backbends and forward bends.
- Stimulate your immune system as it brings more blood flow to the brain/
- Relives the feeling of fatigue
Steps for Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Start in all-four positions, with your hips above your knees and shoulders above your wrists.
- As you breathe out lift this, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body
- Spread your fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips
- Start rotating your upper arms so that your shoulders broaden. This will release any tension in your neck.
- Your skull should be aligned with your pelvis. You want to lengthen the line of the skull, without letting your chin drop.
- Stay for 5 breaths, hold the downward dog pose, and take long deep breaths.
- Bend your knees to release and come back to your hands and knees. Relax.
Dhanurasana has been named after a bow, the shape the body takes while performing Dhanurasana. Dhanu means bow and asana mean posture or pose.
Benefits of Dhanurasana
- Strengthens the back and abdominal muscles
- Stretches and lengthens your abdominal muscles, psoas, and quadriceps
- balances the functions of your stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and pancreas, tones all digestive organs and improves digestion, through abdominal pressure
- Compresses your entire spine and rejuvenates your intervertebral discs and your central nervous system
- Stimulates the reproductive organs,
- Opens up the chest, neck, and shoulders
- Tones the leg and arm muscles
- Adds greater flexibility to the back
- Alleviates stress and fatigue
- Relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation
- Helps people with renal disorders
Steps for Dhanurasana
- Lie on your stomach with your legs hip-distance apart, and your palms beside your lower ribs.
- Fold your knees, take your hands backward, and hold your ankles.
- Inhale, and lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and towards the back.
- Look straight ahead with a smile on your face.
- Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your body is now curved and as taut as a bow.
- Continue to take long, deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But, bend only as far as your body permits you to. Do not overdo the stretch.
- After 15 -20 seconds, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground as you exhale. Then release your grip.
Kapalbhati Pranayama is an ancient breathing technique, it can transform your physical and mental well-being. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, ‘Kapal’ means forehead, and ‘Bhati’ means shining.
Benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Kapalbhati Pranayama activates the chakras in your body. It generates heat in your body, dissolving toxins and other waste matter.
- The breathing technique improves the functioning of the kidneys and liver.
- It soothes your eyes and removes dark circles under your eyes.
- It improves blood circulation and digestion.
- Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits from weight loss as well. This is possible as it increases your metabolic rate rapidly.
- This breathing technique practice refreshes the brain and energizes your nerves.
- Since Kapalbhati Pranayama calms your mind and keeps depression and anxiety at bay.
- It improves the functioning of your kidneys and liver.
- It lowers blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas.
- It strengthens bones by causing an increase in your body’s calcium levels.
- It can cure acne and treat varicose veins.
- It can regularise women’s menstrual cycles
- It slows down your body’s ageing process.
- It also cures insomnia.
- It rejuvenates your brain and improves memory and concentration power.
- It eliminates acidity and gas-related problems.
- Kapalbhati strengthens your lungs and increases their capacity.
- It helps in curing asthma and sinus.
Steps for Kapalbhati Pranayama
- To perform the Kapalbhati, start with a position, and sit in Vajrasana or Sukhasana.
- Keep your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and your neck unstrained.
- Gently press your right nostril while you exhale through the left with force. Repeat on the other side.
- Now both nostrils are open, close your eyes and Inhale through both nostrils deeply while focusing on the belly region.
- As you exhale, pull your navel back towards the spine, as much as you can.
- Pull your stomach inwards. During exhalation, you should be able to hear a hissing sound.
- When you inhale, the stomach should come outwards, and upon exhalation, it should move inwards.
Aging is an inevitable process, but regular practice and movement with Yoga can help to Slow down the effects of time. Just as our body heals the injuries over time, Yoga serves even more healing to our overall health and mind. Maintaining and training your body through yoga practices will allow you to maintain your metabolism, body weight, muscle mass, bone density, and energy level as you age. It’s never too late from where you are starting or at what age you begin, just stay consistent with your practice and you shall seek visible results.