4 magical yoga pose benefits

We all know how yoga poses affect our bodies, but have you ever considered how they affect your thoughts, feelings, and psyche?

I was thinking about this the other day while taking a vinyasa-style session. The teacher made up the poses as she walked along, putting them together spontaneously as the session progressed. I was agitated after class. I was fatigued. I was irritated! Why?

When I was in a Sivananda Yoga Teacher’s Training Course in New York for 28 days, we learned about the postures in ways I had never considered before. The poses are more than just muscular stretches and strengtheners. They affect a much greater part of us, and they have a significant impact on our insides–body, and mind.

Let me take a step back for a few paragraphs. Do you know anything about Swami Sivananda? He is a world-renowned guru who serves as the inspiration for all Sivananda Yoga centers and ashrams worldwide. He was a well-regarded medical doctor for decades before becoming a swami (a Hindu monk). He cured his patients of a wide range of diseases.

The odd thing is that he frequently recommended yoga postures, or ‘asanas,’ to his patients to help them recuperate. We do not see this today, at least not in the West. Scientific studies have recently begun to tap into the asanas’ allegedly mystical healing qualities, but it is still not a mainstream form of healing.

Let me take you back to my teacher training course in New York. Aside from the benefits to the musculoskeletal system, I discovered that these postures had a lot more up their sleeves. Here are four of my favorite poses for both body and mind that offer “magical” benefits:

  • Shoulderstand
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Cobra Pose
  • Corpse Pose

Let’s look deeper into each one.

Sarvangasana (shoulderstand)

Sarvangasana literally translates to “all members stance” since this asana engages all body regions. You raise your trunk, hips, and legs and use your two hands to support your back. Place your chin against your chest. Pay attention to the thyroid gland, located in the front lower area of the neck.

Shoulderstand Advantages: This asana stimulates the thyroid gland. Because the thyroid plays an essential role in the body’s metabolism, growth, and nutrition, it is stated that when the thyroid is healthy, the circulatory and respiratory systems, as well as the neurological system, will follow. Because the thyroid works in tandem with other glands, it affects other glands when it is healthy.

This asana is thought to aid in the development of a healthy thyroid. It helps to maintain the spine pliable by supplying a high amount of blood to the spinal roots of the nerves.

You can tell that the shoulderstand has an effect on spine elasticity since attempting the shoulderstand in the morning vs. evening might be considerably more difficult in the morning when the body is less flexible.

This asana can be done twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. It’s soothing, so it’s a great way to start and end your day!

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

This position is done while seated on the ground, legs together and spread out in front of you. Bend your trunk forward and grab your toes or legs, depending on your level of flexibility. Breathe. That’s all there is to it.

Benefits of Seated Forward Bend: It’s difficult to envision such a fundamental position having such significant health benefits. However, sometimes less is more. The digestive system benefits most from the seated forward bend. Swami Sivananda explains in his book Yoga Asanas that this pose stimulates the stomach fire and removes abdominal fat. He describes it as an excellent posture for obesity.

This position also helps with constipation and stiff backs since it stretches the entire back of the body.

You can do this asana several times a day, but make sure to follow it up with a back-bending position to avoid becoming imbalanced! Experiment with the backbend indicated in #3

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Lie flat with your face down. Place your hands below your shoulders, palms up. Lift your upper body from the floor while keeping your hips down, using the strength of your lower back. Don’t put too much pressure on your hands. Breathe in via your nose.

Cobra Advantages: This is another straightforward position with significant advantages. The primary benefit of this asana is that it reduces hunchback and other back disorders that keep the spine bent forward excessively. It also cures constipation due to the intra-abdominal pressure created during the posture. It also raises body temperature. Thus, it is beneficial to practice when you are cold!

You can do cobra pose whenever you want throughout the day, but if it’s been a scorching day, it could be a better idea to focus on more cooling postures.

Savasana, Corpse Pose

This is the one that everyone knows and loves. Thus no need for a photo! Simply lie on your back and relax all of your muscles. So the advantages are self-evident, right? You simply unwind! However, there is a precise approach to relaxing that will provide you with profound benefits.

It’s recommended to relax one muscle, or muscle group, at a time to get the most out of your relaxation. We begin at the feet and work our way up to the head utilizing autosuggestion or the silent repetition of command to relax each muscle group three times. It goes like this: “I’m relaxing my feet.” I’m putting my feet up. “My feet feel at ease.” Every muscle in the body, mind, and psyche is relaxed one by one.

Benefits of Corpse Position: According to Swami Sivananda, savasana combines pose and meditation. It is beneficial not only to the body but also to the mind and soul. It’s essential for muscular activities, and you can even perform it after a regular workout by relaxing all the muscles that have just been strained. However, it is equally significant in providing relaxation, comfort, and peace to the mind and soul.

4 Magical Yoga Pose Benefits (Continued)

In my experience with yoga, I have found that any style of yoga has benefits for the musculoskeletal system. I always get a good stretch out of it. However, when it comes to internal advantages, I feel that a classical method of yoga, where all components of the posture are considered–the impacts on the body, mind, psyche, and soul–provides the most benefit.

Most classical yoga schools, such as the Sivananda style, have a set order for performing the postures. This allows you to delve into the nitty-gritty of each pose, which helped me come to know my own body better.

I was so stressed when I helped develop The Yoga Summit, an online yoga event that would start in February. I had so many guest speakers to organize that I didn’t feel like I had time for anything else. To make matters worse, the Yoga Summit’s guest speakers are well-known yoga gurus, so I had to confront my worries of not being “good enough” for these interviews. I was pretty worried because this event was about to begin and many people would be present. I knew I needed to calm down–badly! So, when I practiced yoga, I stuck to the tried-and-true fundamentals: the typical Sivananda sequence, breathwork, and daily meditation. Every time I did it, I felt better. I never got over being agitated. These no-frills poses helped me regain my equilibrium. Whenever my task threw me off balance, these positions would help me regain my composure. (After all, I ended up liking the Yoga Summit interviews!)

If you want a yoga system that truly serves the whole of you–not just your muscles–look for a classical yoga system and go deep. Without hurrying to the next pose, take your time with each one. Be where you are and reap all of the miraculous blessings that come with it.

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