Do you know what’s the best way to improve your flexibility? A successful person has a healthy mind and a healthy body. In today’s world who doesn’t want a good physique and an ailment free body! No wonders people are ready to spend billions of their earnings to undergo surgeries, take medications and use various products like slime sauna belt, tummy oils and the list goes on and on…
But the dream of building a good body is not impossible nor does it require your money. All you need to do is go back to the Vedic age and adopt certain methods from that era to get a good, healthy and flexible body. The techniques which can be adopted are:
- A good diet
- Practice of Yoga
Yoga has its origin in India and has been practised by the saints and the general public since ages. Yoga improves your flexibility, Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown betters your Bone health, is Useful for your heart rate and Maintains Nervous System.
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word YUJ which means to join. It is said that it originated 5000 years ago but the first mention of this word was in the Rig Veda.
Historians have found wall paintings, pillar carvings depicting various yoga postures of the Indus valley civilisation. This simply shows that ancient people were conscious of their health as well. The scriptures clearly mention that yoga improves your flexibility, makes bones and muscles strong and helps in attaining mental peace.
The article throws light on the top 5 benefits of yoga including the various asanas which help in getting the benefits. But before knowing about the benefits one must know the basic definition of yoga.
Yoga can be described as a group of activities which helps to attain physical and mental peace. It helps a person to improve the flexibility of the body and the meditation practices help to attain mental peace which is a necessity in today’s world.
When one thinks of adopting this strategy for a healthy life, the problem that arises is where to learn YOGA from?
As the technology is advancing so are the methods to access it. There are various YouTube channels which provide free yoga lessons. Some authors have also written books on yoga asanas which will teach you to perform different asanas step by step. To name a few we have:
- The Anatomy of Yoga
- Light on yoga
- Hatha yoga pradipika
1. Improve your flexibility with yoga
Many of the yoga asanas are well known to improve your flexibility. Flexibility (also called limberness) is defined as the maximum amount of stretching a person can do without experiencing any pain or injury. Each time you perform an asana the muscles of the body undergo rapid contraction and relaxation. The tissues of our body are hydrated during birth. With age, the tissues start losing moisture which means that they become more prone to injury.
The muscle fibres adhere to each other when they lose moisture as a result of which they become less flexible. This ageing of muscle fibres is similar to the turning of animal hide to leather (a process called tanning). But when you stretch your body, the dehydration process slows down as a result of which the flexibility increases. So the idea of performing yoga asanas is to slow down the dehydration process and improve your flexibility. Here are some asanas which improve your flexibility:
- Big Toe Pose. Padangusthasana.
- Bound Angle Pose. Baddha Konasana.
- Child’s Pose. Balasana.
- Cow Face Pose. Gomukhasana.
- Downward-Facing Dog. Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- Extended Puppy Pose. Uttana Shishosana.
- Extended Triangle Pose. Utthita Trikonasana.
- Fire Log Pose. Agnistambhasana.
Prevent joint and cartilage breakdown
As mentioned previously yoga is extremely useful in slowing down the muscles’ ageing. When muscles become strong and flexible, so do the joints. Joint is an articulation where bones meet.. Apart from improving the flexibility yoga also prevents joint and cartilage breakdown. Strengthening muscles with yoga asana will ultimately create healthier joints, as stronger muscles will support the body, relieving stress and strain on the joint. Weaker muscles mean that the body relies on the joints for stability. You may be locking out your joints due to weakness in the surrounding muscles. Some useful asanas are:
- Tad asana
Improve your flexibility and bone health
Bone is connective tissue. With age, the bone density starts deteriorating. Initially, it was believed that yoga leads to fractures and weakening of bones. But with the researches carried, it has been discovered that young osteoblasts do respond quite vigorously to the forces generated by muscles, which is likely to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis until later in life. So when you stretch your muscles the osteoblasts respond to it and as a result of which the bone-related ailments can easily be avoided in the future. It improves your flexibility and physical balance, which means you’re less likely to fall and break something—and if you do start to fall, your briskness may help you catch yourself. It also helps to strengthen the spine, improve your posture and helps to cure cervical spondylitis.
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
According to recent research made at Harvard Medical School, performing a variety of yoga asanas gently stretches and improves your flexibility. This helps them become more sensitive to insulin, which is important for controlling blood sugar. Deep breathing can help lower blood pressure. Mind-relaxing meditation, another important part of yoga, quiets the nervous system and eases stress. All of these improvements may help prevent heart disease, and can definitely help people with cardiovascular problems.
The main idea behind this is that when you do yoga, you tend to lose some weight. Because of this, the fat deposits in your body are reduced so the blood can circulate freely in the body. As a result of this, the body is not prone to any heart diseases and a normal systolic and diastolic pressure is also maintained.
Maintains nervous system
The central nervous system consists of two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system is responsible for stimulating the body’s fight or flight response. Our body performs various functions at a time. During this, a large amount of cortisol is secreted in the body. The increased amount of cortisol lowers the bone density, weakens the immune system and also reduces our retaining power. It is helpful in reducing the levels of cortisol by coordinating the functioning of the mind and the body. Breathing and various postures decrease muscular tension and help in the transmission of nerve impulses. The most effective combination for strengthening the nervous system, as in research from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation in India, is to practice more actively and then practice relaxing poses and breathing techniques.
Asanas to improve your flexibility
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Seated Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)
- Anuloma-Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
- Down Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Dirgha Shwasan (Deep Breathing)
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Kona Asana):
Apart from these, yoga is extremely useful to tackle the stressful situations we face in our day to day lives. Moreover, it is a boon with which we live a blissful life.