It is about two years since I stopped teaching Yoga actively. There were a couple of reasons for this, but mainly I had to undergo an eye surgery that put off my practice for a while. It took almost 3 months before I could do a decent bit of Yoga again. Then my practice waned a bit on and off. Now, there was no pressure to keep practising regularly given I didn’t have to plan to be at a class teaching. But I always enjoy a yoga session. And I enjoy even more a meditation session. The calm that a meditation session brings to myself is unparalleled. However, irregular was my practice, I managed to do some asanas at least once a week if not twice. Given there was a week or two when I didn’t practice at all – this was when I was on vacation or my weekend got too busy. But somehow I have managed to still keep up a lot of flexibility. When it comes to flexibility, one has to focus on the middle – if it get big, that would draw it down. As long as you keep practicing forward bends and back bends, you can more or less retain enough flexibility to take to the full extent when necessary. That’s how I have been able to manage my routines whenever I practiced. I always would do Vajrasan – the Diamond posture. This ensures the knees are in good shape and the ankles are flexible. Flexibility in ankles is key to old age. Many time, I have slipped and turned my foot only to get out of it without any sprains. Then I always practice Padmasan. This is another posture that ensures the knees and leg muscles are in good condition. Then the killer, which is the forward bend. I always practice the side bends, with the legs open taking each side at a time and breathing at least eight breaths. This ensures flexibility in the middle – both front and back. Topping of the forward-side bends, is the full stretch forward bend with the legs open. Ah, this is a great one for the lower back. It stretches it so well that you feel youth rushing into your back, you feel the rush of energy, rejuvenating the hips and then your thigh muscles get engaged and keeps them young. Additionally, if not all the aforesaid benefits were enough, the hamstring which is where the fat tends to build up, get taut like a lithe stick and squeezes the fat out of them. And those hamstrings are key to keeping up the flexibility to the forward bends.
I also practice the Camel, both half-Camel and Full-Camel. This releases the lower back and hip joints so well when I take a deep breath. Moreover, the top of the lungs feel great with that rush of oxygen in the full Camel, much like in any back bend. You should always do a Child posture after a back bend, more so after a Camel. This brings the blood flowing back into the head and a sense of calmness. In the Child posture, the abdomen feels tight. I always enjoy the pressure on the intestines in the forward bends – it feels like a nice massage as you breathe.
I ended up doing Yoga for over 40 minutes Friday. After all the above, I did the Cobra which is again great for your upper lungs and lower back. In the Cobra, you can also try raising the legs up and this retains the tautness in your thighs. The Cobra is also great workout for your arms as it is weight-bearing. Weight-bearing exercises are recommended for those with Osteoporosis.. After the Cobra, I did the Locust and then the Bow. The Bow is a hard one and you don’t realize how much you enjoy until you get into the posture. It works the arms, the legs and of course, the lower back. It is always a challenge and a pleasure to breath deep in any bend – forward or backward. I ended the session with Sarvangasan and Halasan, two favorites of mine. Well, I ended the entire session with meditation – nice easy breathing while in Siddhasan, a variant of Padmasan. Keeping the back high and erect, letting the breathe move up and down easily filled lightness in my body and mind. That kind of lightness is unparalleled except when you feel happy, which is actually comparing apples and oranges. The lightness in meditation is addicting.