Iyengar yoga teacher Maria Shiffers offers these three simple exercises. They will help you to get or keep fit, performed one after the other, and take no more than 15 minutes of your time. At the beginning or at the end of the day, they will help us to come to inner peace and serenity.
1. Clear your mind
Adho Mukha Svanasana (or Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
When our mind is overexcited we sometimes literally feel the heat in the brain area. To relax we must “cool” the head. You should breathe easily in this position. Ground your palms firmly onto the floor and straighten your legs as much as possible. Pelvic bones should be directed upwards. Your heels can be slightly lifted. Relax your head and abdomen. Aim your look towards the navel. In this asana you need to breathe easily – practicing yoga, we do it only through the nose – and to remain in this position for 2-3 minutes. Your forehead can be put on a stand to make it easier for your brain to relax.
Results: the feeling of relief, peace; relaxation and stretching of your back and neck muscles.
2. Reconcile your mind and senses
Viloma-Pranayama (or Nostril Breathing Exercise)
Sit cross-legged and tilt your head forward, keep your spine straight. Close your eyes and connect your palms so that the thumbs are just above your solar plexus. Spread your shoulders. Your abdomen and pelvis should be completely relaxed. Take a long breath through the nose so that the air fills your chest, your stomach remains relaxed. Exhale harshly in one second. Make a one-second pause. Repeat the breaths until you feel the tightening in your abdomen. At this point, stop – your stomach shouldn’t be compressed. Make three normal inhalations and exhalations, and then go back to the exercise. Do it for about 5 minutes.
For those who are prone to depression, don’t have enough willpower or faith in themselves it’s better, on the contrary, to extend the exhales and to make the inhales short.
Results: improved lymph circulation and brain, tissues, and muscles oxygenation; the awareness of your own breathing, body movements, and thoughts.
3. Feel inner silence
Savasana (or Corpse Pose)
Lie down on your back. To make your spine stretched out, put a special cushion for yoga or a small pillow under your head so that your shoulders are pulled back as far as possible from your ears. Place your arms at a small distance from your body, lay them loosely, palms up, shoulders not strained. Your legs are slightly apart and relaxed, lying on the carpet, toes directed to the ground. The coccyx stretches towards the ankles. The pillow under your head must be thick enough for your face to be tilted. The larynx and throat are completely relaxed. Give your eyes some rest too – you can even tie them to reach complete relaxation.
Here is one of the secrets of this yoga pose: they say skin reflects the state of our body and eyes are the mirror of the mind. And if our brain doesn’t rest – our eyes cannot rest. To rest your mind properly, relax the bones of your head, especially face: start from your skin, mouth (gluing tongue to the palate), and then ease facial muscles, at first from your forehead to chin, then from the center of your face to your temples. Breathe naturally and calmly, directing attention inside of your body.
Results: peace of mind; recovery from the nervous, muscular, and mental stress; unity of your body and mind.
Doing these three simple yoga poses every day allow you to actually improve the state of your health, reach peace of mind, and obtain better results than you expect. Yoga is the philosophy of body and soul unity: use it and get your benefits!