Yoga, and the power of three .. this is part 2 of the Yoga guestpost series
I’m in my early thirties, and bed-ridden for two days. How could this be, when a week ago I had happily run downhill a mountain, celebrating youth. There was no accident, only the pounding my knees, hips and muscles suffered as a result of bad running technique and inexperience. Before being bed-ridden, I’d got out of a car I was driving and taken three steps toward my grandmother only to collapse like a ragdoll before her eyes. I felt no sensation whatsoever below my waist, had to crawl on all fours – and ended up using grandma’s walking stick to get through the door. No time for humiliation.
In short, I had in fact damaged my spine with rude use, and the chiropractor put me right. That made me realise, if I were to continue enjoying all that life had to offer, I had to have priorities. And that’s to work toward total wellness in terms of mind, body and soul. Here is one other great reason to start on yoga. And here is how you can snack well an hour or two before a yoga session.
According to “Swami Sivananda, three asanas (yogic postures) alone will keep the body in perfect health – the Headstand, the Shoulderstand and the Forward Bend (The Book of Yoga, (The Sivananda Yoga Centre) by Lucy Lidell with Narayani and Giris Rabinovitch) .“The Shoulderstand invigorates and rejuvenates the whole body – the Sanskrit name Sarvangasana literally means ‘all parts pose’. This ideal pick-me-up gives many of the same benefits as the Headstand, with the difference that inverting the body at right angles to the head stretches the neck and upper spine, and most important, stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands by pressing your chin into the base of your throat. The pose encourages deep abdominal breathing because it limits the use of the top of your lungs.” Initially, this feels a little constricting, but as you adapt to the pose, relaxation follows.In reality, as is the case for any other type of physical activity, you’ll need proper warm-up (the Sun Salutation) and for each pose, a counter-pose. Yoga places great emphasis on purifying and invigorating the internal organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, digestive system, as well as the central and peripheral nervous system. The analogy is such: imagine pinching your arm and then letting go. At first the area goes pale, then blood rushes back in. The yogic poses and counter-poses thus act to drive blood in and out of such organs, culminating in a tremendous sense of well-being and feeling of lightness. They also allow for your limbs and spine, the potential of which is much underused, to be flexed (bent forward), bent backward, bent sideways, rotated and swayed (circumducted) in a combination of movements. There’s satisfaction in being able to inch forward a millimeter at a time in the Forward Bend. And believe me, that’s not easy at all. Time stands still when I’m in the Shoulderstand. Energy flows from a good session done mindfully. And now, strengthened to the core, I’m all ready for the next session of beach volleyball.
Note: This blog post does not attempt to teach you the yogic postures, as you ought to have a well-qualified yoga instructor to help you and correct whatever imbalances you may have. As each individual has different skeletal, muscular structures, we ought to be very patient with what our body can achieve and not try at all to compete with our neighbor. Also, it’s important to ensure your instructor is aware of any pre-existing health problems you may have.
About today’s guestwriter:
Sue Chien Lee is a Malaysian writer based in Barcelona, Spain. Sue teaches legal and general English and writes for The Malaysian Insider and Cikipedia, a compendium on health. Follow her on Twitter: @suechienlee