Grandmaster Akshar Tells You His Secret Behind Mastering Yoga
Grandmaster Akshar, a world-renowned yoga practitioner, shares his secret behind mastering the craft - bringing it closer to your everyday living.Yoga marks the perfect communion of the body and the soul. Integrating multiple elements of life to provide a holistic solution to mankind, yoga is one of the oldest forms of fitness regimens, rooted in Indian ancestral wisdom. The curative properties of yoga have been much deliberated about, but the more interesting aspect is its flexibility. One needn’t really designate a specific time or location to perform yoga. It can be performed by anyone, at any point in time.
Be it at your workplace, while travelling, or even at the pool! Yoga can be fun, even off the mat. Given below are a few ways to bring yoga closer to your lives:
- In the morning – As soon as the alarm goes off early in the morning, instead of waking up with a frown, embrace the day with a smile, so you can look at the upcoming day as an enlightening experience. Concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes – this is an essential part of yoga, and try to enjoy the solitude. This will help you approach the challenges in your day-to-day life with restraint. Stretch your entire body to relax your muscles and joints, and enjoy the bliss of yoga right on your bed.
Sukshma Vyayam – Sukshma vyayam, or subtle exercises, can be practised to gently mobilise your muscles and get the day started on an active note. Here is a simple torso movement for your upper back, shoulders, and neck:
- Sit in sukhasana, or the cross-legged posture, with your back straight.
- Head, neck, and spine should be erect, and in one straight line.
- Interlock your fingers in front of your chest and inhale.
- Exhale to stretch your hands out forward, keeping your elbows straight and palms connected.
- Gently inhale and turn towards the right side with arms stretched out, exhale, and come back centre.
- Inhale and turn left with your arms stretched out forward, keeping your back straight.
- Repeat this 3-4 times.
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Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) – Formation of the posture:
- Lie flat on your stomach with your toes out.
- Place your palms under your shoulders; fingers together, pointing forward.
- Tuck elbows into the body and point them towards the sky.
- Keep your feet together at the back, heels touching.
- Rest your forehead on the floor, and relax the whole body.
- Slowly raise your head and tilt it backwards, with your chin pointing upwards.
- Inhale as you slide, chest forward, lifting your shoulders up. Straighten elbows, palms gently pressing into the ground.
- Arch your spine and focus on your eyebrow centre.
- Hips and thighs should remain on the floor.
- Open the shoulders and keep your neck neutral.
- Hold for 30 seconds, retaining inhalation.
- Exhale and lie down.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
- Strengthens the spine, particularly the thoracic vertebrae.
- Gives a deep stretch to the upper and lower back.
- Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, abdomen, and thighs.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Increases lung capacity.
- Releases tension in the upper back.
- Tones the ovaries and the uterus.
- Stimulates appetite, alleviates constipation, and is beneficial for abdominal organs.
2. While commuting – Making a move to your day’s destination can be a hectic process. While everyone you see is on the run, you can try practising mindfulness to let things fall into place. Taking deep breaths and counting the process can calm your nerves, and provide you with patience to deal with the rest of the day. Apply it while driving, walking to work, or taking a cab.
Basthrika Pranayam – Practice balanced breathing with basthrika. Inhale, retain breath, and exhale – all for the same number of counts. Practice up to 10-15 counts.
Sahej Pranayam – Sahej means simple or easy. Practice this relaxed breathing with your stomach tucked in; consciously inhale and exhale, by simply counting the number of breaths taken. Practice for 2-3 minutes.
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3. During work time – When you are busy working and planning your day-to-day activities, you tend to forget to give the much-needed care your body deserves. A few simple yoga poses can be practised while sitting at your desk, just before a meeting, or while walking over to your client’s/boss’s office.
Malasana variation (Thigh stretch) – Kneel on the floor, placing your palms on a chair in front of you. Sit on your haunches, bringing your toes in. Lift your knees just above the floor and balance. Slowly inhale and look up, then exhale and look forward, finally bringing your head back centre.
- Enhances concentration.
- Strengthens the thighs and spine.
- Stretches the toes.
- Tones calf muscles.
- Massages abdominal organs.
- Improves digestion.
- Stimulates diaphragm and heart.
- Improves posture.
- Strengthens knees and ankle joints.
- Reduces flat feet.
- Strengthens the lower body.
Samakonasana (Backstretch) – Formation of the posture:
- Stand straight, and slightly away from the chair.
- Lean forward and place your palms on the armrests of the chair, forming a 90-degree angle with your legs.
- Your arms should be straight. Place your head between your arms.
- Hold the posture for 30 seconds, keeping a gentle bend on the knees.
- Inhale to come back up straight, exhale and go halfway down.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
- Strengthens the shoulders and back.
- Corrects poor posture.
- Relieves tension.
4. After a meal – Who doesn’t love a hearty meal? But what most of us don’t really bother about is the process that is initiated soon after the consumption of food. Only proper digestion can ensure healthy bowel movements, and your colorectal tract will be fit and fine. Sit in the following pose during a meal. A great asana for spine and digestion, this provides the digestive organs with a good internal massage and stretch.
Sukhasana (Cross-legged posture/Happy pose) – Formation of the posture:
- Lie down on your back, stretch your legs forward, and bring your hands beside your body with palms on the floor.
- Lift your upper body to attain a sitting posture, with the legs stretched out.
- Fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh.
- Then fold the right leg and tuck inside the left thigh.
- Bring your palms together in a pranam pose in front of your Heart chakra.
- Sit erect with your spine straight.
Navigating back from the posture
- Place your palms on the floor beside your pelvis and straighten out your legs.
- Relax in dandasana.
- It stretches and lengthens your spine.
- Broadens your collarbones and chest.
- Calms your mind.
- Enhances peace and serenity.
- Kicks out anxiety, stress, and mental tiredness.
- Helps in improving body posture.
- Opens up your hips.
Caution – Do not perform this pose in case of a severe leg problem, pain in the lower spine or sciatica, or severe knee problems.
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose) – Formation of the posture:
- Sit on the floor with your knees close together.
- Place your right big toe on your left big toe, heels apart.
- Place your pelvis in between your heels and your hands on your knees, palms facing down.
- Your spine, head, and neck should be upright and straight, without straining. Do not arch your back.
- Observe the total posture of your body and make the necessary adjustments so that perfect alignment and balance are the experience.
- This asana helps with digestion.
- Calf muscles are also sometimes known as the second heart of the body, because our mobility is determined by the strength in the calf muscles. Vajrasana mobilises and massages these muscles.
- Relaxes and strengthens feet, ankle, and knee caps.
- Flexes the ankles.
- Massages the abdominal organs.
- Good posture for meditation and/or pranayam.
This is the only asana which can be done any time of the day. You can even do this right before or after eating.
While watching TV – After an exhausting day, all you need is some me-time, watching your favourite TV shows. You can try a few simple yoga stretches such as cow face pose, vajrasana etc, and build your muscle core even while enjoying TV.