Practicing yoga brings the body into balance by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight ones to keep you free from injury and pain. The deep breathing calms your nervous system, while the poses help dissolve physical tension. Practice these six poses at least three times a week to release knots of tension and calm a busy mind.
1. Kneel on a mat with your big toes touching and knees about hip-width apart. Sit on your heels.
2. Lay your torso between your thighs and bring your forehead to the mat. Extend your arms straight in front of you, palms on floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay here for at least one minute.
Why it's good for you: Stretches hips, quads, back. This go-to rest pose relieves lower-back tightness.
1. From standing, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot so your toes point toward front of the mat. Turn your left foot in 30 degrees.
2. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel with floor, palms down. Bend your right knee so your right shin and thigh form a 90-degree angle.
3. Gently tuck your tailbone down as you draw your abdomen in. Hold for 5 deep breaths in and out through nose. Straighten your right leg and repeat on the opposite side.
Why it's good for you: Stretches hips, inner thighs, chest; strengthens quadriceps, abdomen, shoulders. This powerful pose will grant you long, toned arms and legs, as well as a firmer core.
1. Get into downward-facing position and press into your palms and bring your chest forward so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and you are in the top of a push-up position.
2. Press your heels toward the wall behind you and extend the crown of your head forward to form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold for at least one minute.
Why it's good for you: Strengthens arms, back, shoulders, core, quadriceps. Plank is a simple but challenging way to build upper body strength – using only your body weight, it works all of the major muscles in your arms, back, and core.
1. Stand with your legs and feet together, hands on hips. Transfer your weight to your left foot as you bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left leg (beginners start at the ankle; more advanced yogis, raise your right foot to the inside of your left thigh. Do not rest your foot on your knee). Gently press your right foot against your left leg.
2. Bring your palms together in front of your heart. Hold for one minute on each side. More advanced yogis: Raise your arms straight directly overhead, palms facing in.
Why it's good for you: Stretches hips, inner thighs; strengthens legs, spine, core. On days when your mind feels scattered, practicing this pose will help centre you.
1. Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly so you’re balancing on your sit bones (the bony parts you feel when you sit on a hard surface). Raise your legs so your shins are parallel to the floor, knees bent.
2. Extend your arms forward, parallel with floor, palms facing in. Keeping your chest high and your core engaged, begin to straighten your legs. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Repeat five times.
Why it's good for you: Strengthens core, psoas muscle, quadriceps. Boat builds a bulletproof core without straining your neck like crunches do.
Seated Half Twist Pose
1. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Bring the sole of your right foot on the floor outside of your left hip (right knee pointing to the ceiling).
2. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot to the outside of your right hip. Place your right hand on the floor just behind your right hip. Lift your left arm to the ceiling. As you exhale, bend your left arm and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
3. Lengthen your spine with each inhale and twist deeper with each exhale. Press your left elbow into your right leg to help revolve your upper body more and more. Look to the wall behind you. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on opposite side.
Why it's good for you: Stretches hips, shoulders, back, neck; strengthens spine. This pose improves digestion by massaging and increasing blood flow in the lower belly.
Q: I am 27 years old and am losing my appetite gradually. I hardly eat two chapattis a day, whcih I tend to gulp down forcefully. I feel it’s due to stress and it’s making me feel weak with every passing day. Please suggest what should I do to increase my appetite. Umaira
A: Dear Umaira, you need to increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids and try to avoid as much caffeine and sugar as possible. Stress can be busted through meditation, walk or exercise, for which you must take out at least half-an-hour from your day to get positive results.
Q: I am 52 years old and a diabetic patient. I want to know what fruits are suitable for diabetic patients. Hasnain
A: Dear Hasnain, you must eat fruits with a low glycemic index such as pear, apple, grapefruit, strawberry, cherry, grapes, plum, peach and orange.
Q: I am a 23-year-old girl. I am really skinny and underweight. Please tell me what I should do to increase my weight according to my height and age. Sakina
A: Dear Sakina, first you need to get your thyroid checked and then consult a doctor accordingly.
Q: Hi, I am a sportsperson and am always engaged in physical activities. However, when I go home, I binge eat because of hunger and cannot stop myself at all. Please tell me how to control this feeling of intense hunger and avoid overeating. Rumesa
A: Dear Rumesa, try to keep your diet restricted to complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Include grilled salmon with brown rice in your diet, especially in your main course. Eat more of Omega 3 fatty acids which can be found in nuts, seeds and olive oil. Even saturated fats can be consumed but during morning, as fats
take time to metabolise. To keep yourself healthy and energetic, build a habit to work out during evening.