Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yug’, which means to join or unite. Yoga is about uniting the mind and the body in the ultimate pursuit of spiritual realization and peace. Yoga provides health, happiness, peace, and poise. Listening to the inner voice and the feeling of the mind and body being at peace with each other is a central aspect of yoga.
Yoga is as important for women as for men. However, their bodies are created differently and over the period of a lifetime, a woman has to handle more physiological stress than men. It is therefore important that women practice certain asanas regularly for life-long benefit.
In this section we will look at the five most important asanas for women.
I. Surya Namaskaar
Only 35 to 40% of your muscles are used in daily activities; whereas, the rest of them remain inactive. Surya Namaskaar is a physical exercise where almost 95% to 97% of your muscles are switched on to the active mode. Doing the surya namaskar ensures that the muscles remain active, hours ahead during the day, till you recharge them the next morning. The surya namaskar or the sun salutation consists of 12 postures. Done with both the sides of the body; it would equal to 24 postures in each cycle.
Sarvangasana is an inverted pose and is considered as the ‘queen’ of asanas. Many practitioners consider it to be an especially important and beneficial pose. In Sanskrit language ‘sarvangasan’ means “posture of the complete body.”
Benefits & Precautions
Advanced practitioners hold this pose for long periods of time – as much as three hours. However, because of the threat of neck injury, this is not advisable.
The pose is not advisable for the women suffering from high blood pressure, menstruation, thyroid disorders, angina, and spinal weakness caused by conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. If you are pregnant, consult a qualified yoga instructor or your physician before attempting this pose.
Dwichakrikasan is another important asana that should be practiced by women regularly. This is the best exercise to reduce weight. If this is done regularly for 5 to 10 minutes, unnecessary weight can be reduced in minimum time.
This asana also gives a good shape to the stomach. It activates the intestine and cures constipation dysentery, acidity etc. In case of backache, you should do the exercise by raising one leg.
Chakrasan or the wheel pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, back and legs and deeply opens the chest and hips. It energizes the body and stimulates the nervous, endocrine, respiratory and circulatory systems.
Shavasan helps to bring down high blood pressure (arterial hypertension) and gives immense relief to the mind (any individual who has been restricted from doing other asanas due to high blood pressure can perform this asana). It also helps ease tension and stress for those involved in physical activities. This asana should be performed after completing the daily round of yogic asanas. Shavasan done during fasting soothes the nervous system. Every one should attempt this asana, barring children below 12 years of age.