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yoga-asanas

10 benefits of yoga asanas for health

Article written by Didi A. Devapriya

The regular practice of even a short 15 minute routine of yoga asanas provides multiple levels of benefit to all of the systems of our body. This two part article will cover ten benefits of yoga:

1. Strengthening yoga postures increase bone density

Many yoga exercises, or asanas are considered excellent weight bearing exercises. Our bones reach their maximum density at around 30 years old, and all of us will naturally begins to lose some bone mass with aging. However, especially in women,  this loss can be as dramatic as 20% in the first 5-7 years after menopause,* (1) leading eventually to the painful, degenerative condition of osteoporosis.
Integrating weight bearing exercises into your daily routine is important to prevent bone loss. Yoga postures that support the body’s weight and are held isometrically, such as the plank pose, cakrasana (wheel), sahajasana (chair pose)  not only strengthen the muscular system, but also increase bone density.  Asanas increase the pressure on bones without stressing the joints as movements are slow, deliberate and careful attention is given to proper alignment.

2. Yoga benefits the heart and circulation

While most of us tend to think that only aerobic training benefits the heart, recent research demonstrates that as little as 10 minutes of a regular stretching routines improves heart health. *(2)
Asana practice, which includes not only stretching and but also breath-awareness, deep relaxation and gentle movements improves blood pressure, calms the mind and increases resistance to stress. “A recent review of yoga and cardiovascular disease published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology indicates that yoga may help lower heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise, such as brisk walking.” (3)

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yoga pentru incepatori

Ananda Marga Yoga Postures

The following asanas are prescribed according to individual needs by an Acarya, or trained teacher of Ananda Marga.  It is not recommended to practice them without specific guidance, in order to avoid risk of injury.

A prescription of asanas usually includes from 3 to maximum 6 of these postures adapted to the individual.  As asanas help to harmonize and regulate the glandular system, they can be used as a part of an overall holistic approach to preventative medicine, as well as complimenting treatments for various chronic physical conditions. In addition, psychic tendencies  such as excessive anger, fearfulness, arrogance, anxiety, depression, lethargy and dullness can gradually be transformed and brought into balance through the regular practice of specific asanas.

This chart is designed to aid those that have received a prescription of  yoga asanas to identify and remember their asanas:

 

AsanasChart

 

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Kaoshiiki: the most complete exercise ever

 

Kaoshiiki – a yoga dance!

I believe that Kaoshikii dance is one of the most complete, all-round workouts ever invented.  It is a rhythmic yogic dance, that uniquely combines a stretching of the spine in all directions while at the same time giving an aerobic workout to the heart.  The cross-lateral movements of the feet, which tap a toe behind the heel of the opposite foot, this crossing over the body’s center line,  are considered by authors such as Eric Jenson, who wrote “Brain Based Learning” to be connected to improved brain coordination and increased mental acuity.  At the same time, the arms are gracefully bending to the sides, forwards and backwards, open up the major meridians of the body, increasing circulation and energy flow. The forward bends are calming, while the backward bends are invigorating and energizing.

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Seven secrets of spiritual success

What does success really mean? Dada Madhuvidyananda explores the spiritual definition of success in this talk. He also reveals – that spiritual secrets are secret, not because someone is shrouding them purposefully in mystery – but rather because they are subtle. This talk is based on an ancient teaching, given in the form of a dialog between the yogi Shiva and his wife Parvati, 7000 years ago.

I first saw Dada speak when I was a very new meditator – and found his talks extremely accessible and clear. Here he introduces the first of the seven secrets. His book can be found on Amazon.uk – click here.

In January, I will be presenting a seminar on the Seven Secrets at Morningstar Center!

Didi A. Devapriya

Songs of the New Dawn

The founder of Ananda Marga, Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar composed a body of poetic, devotional songs known as “Prabhat Samgiita” – Songs of the New Dawn. Each song captures a particular inner feeling in our relationship to that Supreme Entity. Some songs are full of sadness and longing, others filled with bliss, reflecting the ups and downs of the spiritual journey. Many of the songs are reflective meditations on the beauty of nature and the metaphors it evokes. Continue reading Songs of the New Dawn

Jyosna in Brazil – beautiful yogic devotional song

Jyosna – is one of my good friends and sisters on the path of bliss. Seeing this made me miss her – and the moments we have shared, in Italy, Sweden, Copenhagen, Germany – singing and dancing together to the mantra “Baba Nam Kevalam”. Cultural programs at retreats often end with a special kiirtan sung to all of the directions – and when she plays, such a sweet flow of blissful energy is created that I never want it to stop. Often indeed, it would be well past midnight when she stopped and we sat to meditate. Continue reading Jyosna in Brazil – beautiful yogic devotional song